Well now I’m confused. I had my DNA tested by http://www.ancestry.co.uk around 2 years ago. This weekend I uploaded the ancestry DNA results to a different site – http://www.myheritage.com and it came back with some very different results and theories.
Here’s the summary of my family tree that I have researched so far using birth, death, marriage records and other primary source materials.
- Grandfather (Stewart) is 50/50 Scottish/Anglo-Irish. The Scottish records date back to c.1820 while the Ango-Irish dates back well before the 1600s.
- Grandmother (Paterson) is from Fife and Edinburgh, Scotland,back to the mid 1700s.
- Grandfather (McCully) and his family come from near Coleraine in Ulster and I have traced most of his ancestors back to there around 1800.
- Grandmother (Davies) traced back to Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire, Wales in the early 1800s.
The outside row on this colour coded wheel chart shows where my family was based around 1770. From this I would have thought that my breakdown would have been approx. –
Ulster Scots 25%,
Ireland (Anglo Irish) 12.5%.
Neither Ancestry nor My Heritage results match my estimates, and both companies came up with a completely different ethnicity estimates from the same set of DNA results. Here you can see see the very different results from Ancestry and My Heritage. In the chart below them I’ve made a comparison with my own tree and you can see for yourself how different the results are.
Comparison of my ethnicity estimate between Ancestry.co.uk and Myheritage.com
Comparison between my own estimates and Ancestry and Myheritage.
I am not a scientist and am only at the early stages of working with DNA in genealogy. It would seem in the case of my own DNA that Ancestry’s estimate is a closer match to my family tree in the 1700s than what My Heritage are trying to tell me. I would be very interested to hear other people’s experiences of all the various DNA companies.
DNA on it’s own, without a well researched family tree, using primary sources, will be of little use. However, I truly believe that DNA, in combination with a reliably produced family tree, is the way forward in the world of genealogy and will unlock many of the closed doors we currently find in our searches.
Probably one of the main questions which leads to every family tree search is ‘Where do I come from?’ Growing up as I child I simply knew that my mum was from Cork and my dad from Dublin. I then learnt that My mum’s mother was Welsh are her fathers parents were Scottish and Irish. On my dad’s side, his mother was Scottish (though born in the North of England) and his father’s family had come from Northern Ireland. So what did that make me? Born in Cork, I suppose I’ll always be first and foremost a Cork woman. My Birth-Cert and passport say I’m Irish. I look Irish (in a conventional sort of way). I sound Irish. I feel Irish. That begs another question – What is Irish? Going back just two generations my ancestors were certainly not from this island of Ireland. Of my 8 great-grandparents, 3 were Scottish (Stewart, Paterson, Barclay), 2 were Welsh (Davies, Jones), 1 from Northern Ireland (McCully) and 2 from what is today called Ireland (McConnell, Wood).
Not being of a scientific mind-set and therefore not really understanding DNA I was slow and sceptical to have my DNA tested. Eventually however, curiosity got the better of me and I just had to give it a go. The first test I had done was for my adult son as this would show up both my own and my husband’s DNA and possibly link me to more relatives. As I keep my tree on http://www.ancestry.co.uk, I decided to use their autosomal testing service. It really couldn’t have been any easier and in just a few short weeks, his results came back. Even though I sent it off with just a number for a reference and not linked to my tree it came back showing that the closest relative on their database was a cousin of my father-in-law. This gave me confidence in the system . I was surprised how much of his DNA originated outside of the British Isles.
Now curiosity really got the better of me as I didn’t know which part of his DNA was mine and which was his father’s. The only answer was to get my own test done. The results have just come back and surprisingly the two results are quite similar. Even more reassuring is that Andrew is definitely my son!! I’m not sure how I’d have reacted if that hadn’t been the case. Unfortunately there are no close family links connected with my test on the ancestry database yet.
Having traced much of my family back to the 1700’s on many of my branches I haven’t found any proof of them stemming from mainland Europe or beyond. It’s quite unlikely that I ever will. But it’s nice to know the migration pattern of my ancestors. I hope that as more people get tested that I may get links to others who share a common ancestry.
As for the question of where am I from? – I’m still a Cork woman. I’m still Irish and now I can say with confidence that I’m European.