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Not who I thought I was!
Old 05-05-2013, 08:55 AM   #1
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Not who I thought I was!

DH and I just got our results from some genetic testing we had done with 23andme.

I was immensely surprised that I'm 100% European descent. I've always been told that my mother's grandmother was 100% native american. Well, according to the test that can't be true. Will have to ask mom about it. It did confirm that I'm German, English and Irish which I knew, so at least I know it wasn't a botched test.

On a funny note, both DH and I are distantly related to Jimmie Buffett...which I guess means DH and I are distantly related!
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:57 AM   #2
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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That's interesting I've always been a bit interested in DNA tests, out of curiosity for the different areas my family is from.

I'm not sure how 23andme works. Do they compare your DNA with the DNA of other people to find out who you're distantly related to, or do they trace genealogy as well? I'm African American, so a lot of the genealogy programs won't work with me, but DNA testing is pretty spot on, so that might be interesting to try

I know there was a trend for a while for a lot of European Americans to claim they were Native American when they weren't in a place where it would hinder them, to seem more exotic and interesting. The trend now seems to be that 'I'm 1/16th Cherokee'. Your great grandmother may have just been having fun with that :P
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Yes, they compare your DNA to others in the 23andme registry to find who you're related to. There are a little over 500 people in their system that I'm 'related' to in some way but most are very distant. I have found one person that the DNA says is somewhere between my 2nd and fourth cousin. She and I are trading emails to figure out how we're related.

They don't, however, do genealogy. It's all based on DNA.

And I've seen pictures of the relative who claimed to be Native American. She sure looked like it, but maybe she was simply Irish with a great summer tan!
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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And I've seen pictures of the relative who claimed to be Native American. She sure looked like it, but maybe she was simply Irish with a great summer tan!


Perhaps she was "Black Irish": Black Irish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (That would also seem to fit within your 23andme results.)

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Old 05-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #6
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How interesting!

I thought about doing the "23 and me" testing, but I am not as brave as you are. Who knows what I might discover? If I have any genetic health problems, at this age (almost 65) I don't want to know about it.

It might provide an answer to the enigma of my (adopted) grandmother's ancestors, though. She had beautiful thick red hair, and she was told that her biological parents were Dutch. But often, I wonder if perhaps they were German and she just said they were Dutch, because of the stigma some German-Americans suffered around World War I. Here is a photo of her with my mother, in 1909.
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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OP, it would be cool to be part Native and I'm sure you're great no matter who your ancestors were.

Someone at work had his DNA tested (his mother sent him the kit as a birthday gift) and was excited to learn it was something like 2% Neanderthal. Apparently that is a common/usual finding for people of western European descent, which means I probably am too :-)

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Old 05-05-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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W2R, something about your lovely grandmother's cast of features looks Scandinavian to me.

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It might provide an answer to the enigma of my (adopted) grandmother's ancestors, though. She had beautiful thick red hair, and she was told that her biological parents were Dutch. But often, I wonder if perhaps they were German and she just said they were Dutch, because of the stigma some German-Americans suffered around World War I. Here is a photo of her with my mother, in 1909.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:21 PM   #9
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Someone at work had his DNA tested (his mother sent him the kit as a birthday gift) and was excited to learn it was something like 2% Neanderthal. Apparently that is a common/usual finding for people of western European descent, which means I probably am too :-)

Amethyst
You're right in that almost everyone of Western European descent is part Neanderthal. The average is 2% according to the site. I was surprised to learn that I have 2.9% and DH was making fun of me (kindly) until his test came back and he has 2.8%!

As for the medical side of it, I agree W2R it is a bit scary. But there was one thing in particular that I felt I needed to be as informed as possible because of some family history and the test did that for me.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
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Lisa, can you explain in a little more detail what kind of information that you got back from 23andme?

They actually sent you contact information from DNA matches?
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #11
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$99?
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:02 PM   #12
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Lisa, can you explain in a little more detail what kind of information that you got back from 23andme?

They actually sent you contact information from DNA matches?
The site sends a list of registered 23andme profiles that match my DNA. Some of those profiles have full information including name, location, known last names in the family, etc. Other profiles include the DNA sequence only.

When you have the testing done you specify whether you want potential matches to be able to contact you. Since I said yes, even though the potential relatives don't know my name, 23andme sends me messages from people who think they may be related to me. I've had 5 people contact me and I've responded to one so far.

There are several stories on the site about people finding close relatives they didn't know about and one where it turned out her 'dad' really wasn't her dad...so you have to be aware that there can be some surprises!

And on the medical side I've found out I metabolize caffeine slowly which explains why I get shaky after too much tea and that I'm resistant to the norovirus which is why I've never been sick with 'stomach flu'. Some of the other results can be life saving. I now know that I can't metabolize warfarin at all so if I were given that blood thinner it could kill me.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:03 PM   #13
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$99?
Yes it was $99. Best money I've spent in a while.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:23 PM   #14
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W2R, just a "perhaps": as no doubt you are aware Germans call themselves "Deutsch," which often got transmuted into "dutch" (such as Pennsylvania Dutch).

I'd like to do this testing too!
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:36 PM   #15
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W2R, just a "perhaps": as no doubt you are aware Germans call themselves "Deutsch," which often got transmuted into "dutch" (such as Pennsylvania Dutch).
Exactly! That's what I was thinking, too. Also, it is possible that whoever told her the origins of her biological parents did not really know. AFAIK the rest of my family tree is 100% boring old British Isles (mainly Scottish), so I'd love to find out what her ethnic background was. Who knows, maybe Amethyst is right and she is Scandinavian! That would be fascinating, as would German or Dutch ancestry.

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I'd like to do this testing too!
It is tempting, I admit. Very tempting!


But what if I discovered some dire genetic illness? I'd probably be tremendously upset, and for no reason since I have lived a wonderful life, longer than many already.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #16
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But what if I discovered some dire genetic illness? I'd probably be tremendously upset, and for no reason since I have lived a wonderful life, longer than many already.
The illnesses for which there is currently no cure such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are locked. Meaning that the report on your Genetic test for those diseases is available to you but you have to click a couple of extra buttons to read the report since it comes to you 'locked'.

DH chose to not read the results of one of the locked reports.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:49 PM   #17
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The illnesses for which there is currently no cure such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are locked. Meaning that the report on your Genetic test for those diseases is available to you but you have to click a couple of extra buttons to read the report since it comes to you 'locked'.

DH chose to not read the results of one of the locked reports.
That is a good idea on 23andme's part. Some of us just prefer not to know that kind of stuff at this stage in life.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:42 AM   #18
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Exactly! That's what I was thinking, too. Also, it is possible that whoever told her the origins of her biological parents did not really know. AFAIK the rest of my family tree is 100% boring old British Isles (mainly Scottish), so I'd love to find out what her ethnic background was. Who knows, maybe Amethyst is right and she is Scandinavian! That would be fascinating, as would German or Dutch ancestry.
I think you mentioned that your Grandmother had red hair. Red hair can be found anywhere, but the highest concentration is along the western edges of northern Europe. In particular, 13% of Scots have red hair, and 10% of Irish- more in Ulster than in Republic of Ireland. I also read that red hair is a single recessive gene, so gingers can pop up from time to time in any group that carries the gene. I think that among Scandinavians, it is more common in Norway than in Sweden or Finland. According to this wiki, Queen Elizabeth 1 had red hair.

Red hair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have Irish and English and Scottish and German ancestors, but as far as I know, there has never been a redhead. Brown, black or blond, yes, red, no.

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Old 05-06-2013, 01:11 PM   #19
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W2R, just a "perhaps": as no doubt you are aware Germans call themselves "Deutsch," which often got transmuted into "dutch" (such as Pennsylvania Dutch).
Marita, I can't entirely agree with you on your post. Deutsch is the word used to describe the language spoken in Germany. If you would say that someone is Deutsch, it would translate to mean someone from the country where German is spoken. Likewise, Dutch is the language spoken by the people in the Netherlands. It does get confusing as my ancestors are from the western area of Germany, close to Holland. They spoke a broken language called "low German" which signifies German people from the low lands area of Germany. The "real" German language we called "high German".
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #20
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That's interesting I've always been a bit interested in DNA tests, out of curiosity for the different areas my family is from.

I'm not sure how 23andme works. Do they compare your DNA with the DNA of other people to find out who you're distantly related to, or do they trace genealogy as well? I'm African American, so a lot of the genealogy programs won't work with me, but DNA testing is pretty spot on, so that might be interesting to try

I know there was a trend for a while for a lot of European Americans to claim they were Native American when they weren't in a place where it would hinder them, to seem more exotic and interesting. The trend now seems to be that 'I'm 1/16th Cherokee'. Your great grandmother may have just been having fun with that :P
I'm also African American and have done genealogy as a hobby off & on for many years. I've hit a "brick wall" at the great-grandparents on several lines, but on another can get back to the early 19th century, and on another (my English great-grandmother) can probably trace back further still although I haven't done it yet. One of my goals is to get genetic testing to find out where in Africa my ancestors came from. I've been told I look like an Ethiopian (although I myself don't see the resemblance). There are also a number of unusual surnames in my family tree I'd like to see if I can track down. There is obviously a good deal of European ancestry in my mom's family, and at least one European-American family with the same surname as her maiden name, but DNA is probably the only way to know with certainty whether there is any common ancestry between them.

You might enjoy watching (if you haven't already seen them) the programs that professor Henry Gates did for PBS. These started with African American Lives I & II, and then progressed into more programs with prominent Americans of other ethnicities. For each person profiled, the genealogists get as far as they can with documentary evidence, and then DNA is used to find out even more. Many African Americans also have family stories about Native American ancestry, but most of us don't have as much as we think, and many of us have none at all.
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