Tag: dna


I received an email the other day from 23andMe letting me know about their new “Ancestry Composition” tool. I let it go to the back-burner since I didn’t have a chance to visit it the other day.

Today visited the link and was quite impressed. This is how it works, according to their site:

Ancestry Composition tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 22 populations worldwide. The analysis includes DNA you received from all of your ancestors, on both sides of your family. The results reflect where your ancestors lived 500 years ago, before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes came on the scene.

Mine wasn’t really that surprising, as usual. Mostly Northern European with most of that going to German/French and small chunks going to the British Isles and Scandinavia, just like my Ancestry.com test. Here is a capture of my data. That 0.2% Unassigned? That’s probably troll or goblin or alien or something. Nothing to worry about.

Click for larger version
Click for larger version

Though, what was slightly surprising is when I loaded up my wife’s Ancestry Composition. I would’ve guessed she is mostly Northern European like me, with most of it going to the British Isles. It turns out she also has some Scandinavian. There was one surprising result on the list. Can you spot it?

Darcy 23andMe

That’s right. 0.2% East Asian & Native American, estimated to be about 0.1% Native American. That’s news to us. I have yet to find any connection to that, though I know this test is for way, way back. I’d be interested to see which side of her genes this came from, paternal or maternal. I’m pretty sure her dad would be interested in getting a test. He’s always interested in stuff like this. Maybe next time we visit, I can ask.

If you took a DNA test, was there anything really interesting or surprising in your results?

I’m going to delve deep into theoretical things here, but it’s something that always sort of fascinated me. Since the completion of the human genome project and the advent of more accessible DNA testing for us “normal” people, there have been amazing things coming out of that area of science and genealogy.

Besides the standard health information and deep ancestry testing, I’ve always been curious about the possibility of our ancestors leaving traces of their memories in their DNA as it gets passed down. This idea has been used in some movies, like the 1980 movie Altered States, or in video games, like the Assassin’s Creed series.

While I doubt that their specific experiences are burned into our DNA, but possibly certain memories related to their experiences. For example, an article that talks about this idea contains this:

Let’s say you have always had a significant fear of bears since you were a child. Even Smokey the Bear and other friendly Hollywood bears could not convince you to regard bears with anything but anxiety and fearful feelings.

Maybe it is possible that deep, deep within your DNA memory banks, your great-great-great-great-grandmother or great-great-great-great-grandfather had a very bad experience with a bear two hundred years ago. Maybe they saw someone be killed by a bear. Maybe they had to climb a tree to save themselves from being eaten by a bear.

Would a life-changing experience like this, resulting in knowledge very useful for survival, possibly be encoded in the DNA and passed on to future generations and you?

Who knows? I find that to be a fascinating idea. Though, I would find it even more fascinating if we could tap into these memories. Maybe then I can finally figure out my great-great-grandfather’s parent’s names.

 

Ancestry sent me an email a few months back giving me an early invitation to their new Ancestry DNA service. I couldn’t resist, so I ordered one and sent it back in. The results were recently posted and there are some cool new things in there.

The first interesting fact is that according to them, I am 50% Eastern Eurpoean (which is no news to me) but that I am also 45% Scandinavian. That is definitely news to me. The other 5% is lumped under “Uncertain.” Obviously, like an genealogy-related DNA test, according to Ancestry, “Your genetic ethnicity results may be updated. As more DNA samples are gathered and more data is analyzed, we expect our ethnicity predictions to become more accurate, and in some cases, more detailed.

My DNA results according to Ancestry DNA

This also doesn’t take into account recent history as DNA goes way, way back. I know I trace my family to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, etc and none of those are listed. Poland and Germany can technically fall under “Eastern European.” According to their info, my guess is that I may descend from either the Vikings or the Goths.

While the Vikings were feared by the coastal towns of medieval Europe as seaborne raiders and violent pillagers, they were also well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers. They raided the Mediterranean coast of Africa, settled areas as far south as the Black Sea, and traded with the Byzantine Empire.

The rise of the Viking culture spread Scandinavian ancestry far throughout Europe. Their earliest coastal voyages took them to Scotland, northeastern England and established the settlement of Dublin, Ireland. As their power continued to grow, the Vikings spread farther afield, down the Volga River in Russia, to the coast of France and Spain.

And it wasn’t just the Vikings who had an irrepressible urge for adventure. In the days of the mighty Roman Empire, the Goths, originally from Sweden, wandered south and settled in what is now eastern Germany.

That could explain the Scandinavian DNA. They settled (and probably sacked) a lot of areas I have ancestry.

The other part of Ancestry’s DNA area is the “Member Match.” The one thing that propels their test over 23andMe’s test is that it’s tired directly to member’s family trees that they uploaded. The matches are broken down into “Confidence” and “Distance.” I had 2 people match me within the “4th Cousin” distance with 96% probability. One was anonymous with no tree, so that wasn’t helpful, but I did leave them a message. The other was helpful and as soon as I saw their tree I knew how we were related.

On a side note, originally I had incorrectly linked my DNA profile to my family tree entry in my Facebook app Ancestry tree, not my full detailed main tree, which threw off the results. After I fixed this issue, when I went back to this match, it actually told me exactly which ancestor we shared. We both shared my 3rd-great-grandparents, William “Curly Bill” CORRIGAN and Mary MCCANN. I found that fascinating as I have not yet even found a genealogical match on my 23andMe test. Hopefully as more people add their DNA, I will get more matches. I do have a bunch of matches in the “5th-8th Cousin” area, but those are at Moderate confidence and I have yet to see any similarities.

Ancestry showing me exactly where we match in our genealogy. Click for larger version.

If you get an invitation or Ancestry opens the test up to everyone, I would recommend ordering one. Though, make sure you have a nice detailed tree uploaded and this will help a lot. I love the future of Ancestral DNA and it’s only getting better and cheaper.

NOTE: This post is from 2011. Some of these videos may or may not be available to stream as of today.

I’ve been a customer of Netflix for many years now. Back when I first signed up, it was only DVDs by mail. Now you get instantly streaming shows and movies into your living room through a PC or an XBox or a Wii console and it’s glorious.

I’ve run across a bunch of different history and genealogy related instant streaming options and I thought I’d share them with you. Though, these are not all specifically genealogy-related, some may be about the areas your ancestors once lived. Also, these videos are obviously more related to my ancestry than just general ancestry. If you have a Netflix account, these links should link you right to the video info page. If you don’t have a Netflix account, I will try to find another informational page for you to view. These are only Netflix Instant versions, not DVD by mail versions. There are a lot more if you also count DVD versions, though you’ll need to wait for those. Instant ones you can watch right now. Let’s see the list I can up with. (more…)

My maternal results

On National DNA Day, April 23rd, there was news that 23andMe was selling the “Complete Edition” of their genetic test for $99. The usual price for this test is $499, so a savings of 80%. I couldn’t pass up this deal since a) I am always curious about data and information b) I wanted to go deeper into my ancestry with DNA as I’ve only done basic tests. I also planned on getting it for my wife, also, but by the time we checked the site later in the evening the price was back to normal even though it was only about 8PM here.

Well, I sent in my sample and it says it will take 6-8 weeks for results. I got my results about 4 weeks later, so that was a surprise. The Complete Edition also includes the “Health” information, which is interesting. As they mention many times, I take all of that information with a grain of salt, even though there isn’t anything major to worry about in my results.

But, this site is less interested in what type of earwax I have or my Alcohol Flush Reaction and more interested in my Maternal and Paternal DNA information. I had previous known that my maternal line was H and my paternal line was R1a1. This gave me some insight into my genetic history, but it was a basic overview. I now know more details.

My maternal line has been traced in more detail to the H11a group. Their site describes it:

H originated in the Near East and then expanded after the peak of the Ice Age into Europe, where it is the most prevalent haplogroup today. It is present in about half of the Scandinavian population and is also common along the continent’s Atlantic coast.

My maternal line is basically all German, as I wrote about in a recent SNGF post.

My paternal line (or my Zalewski line) has been traced in more detail to the R1a1a subgroup.

R1a1a is the primary haplogroup of Eastern Europe, where it spread after the end of the Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. The haplogroup is most common in a swath from Ukraine and the Balkans north and west into Scandinavia, along the path of the men who followed the receding glaciers into Europe. It is also common near its presumed point of origin in south-central Asia. R1a1 is one of the two most common Y-haplogroups in Slavic-speaking populations.

That makes sense, since the Zalewski line traces back to Poland/Prussia, which is in the area mentioned.

The site also has a nice “Relative Finder” that will show you people who are more than likely closely-related to you based on your genetics. You can then send an introduction to them and if they accept, you can compare your basic results. I’ve sent a few intros to people who it predicts are somewhere between 3rd and 7th cousins to me. I have yet to receive a response, but it’s only been a few days.

All of the other info it gives like my “Health Traits” and my “Disease Risk” are interesting to browse. While they have useful info, such as certain risks, it shouldn’t (and doesn’t) affect my daily life due to the new nature of this field, but it’s nice to know.

Anyone else in either of these haplogroups?

For Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post, he asks:

  1. List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!
  2. Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.
  3. Post your responses on your own blog post.

I’ve already done this since, yes, I have had my mDNA tested. I had it done for the National Geographic’s Genographic Project.

  1. Me, Brian ZALEWSKI
  2. Sharon THIELKE (Living) married John ZALEWSKI
  3. Marjorie DeBROUX (Living)  married LeRoy THIELKE
  4. Mildred Vida VAN PRICE (1903 Mattoon, WI – 1994 Port Washington, WI) married Leon DeBROUX
  5. Minnie M MUHM (1879 Norwood Twsp, WI – 1959 Port Washington, WI) married Pieter Franciscus VAN PARIJS
  6. Ida SCHAVANDIE (1852 Wisconsin or Germany – 1934 Antigo, WI) married Peter MUHM
  7. Anna RASCH (? Germany – ?) married Lawrence SCHAVANDIE

So, Anna RASCH is as far back as I’ve traced so far. When I took the test, I only had up to Ida and not much info about her, so I am making progress. Pieter VAN PARIJS changed his name to Peter VAN PRICE, which is why the name changes during that generation. That caused me some headache until I figured it out.

According to my DNA test, my Mitochondrial line hapolgroup is H. According to the Haplogroup H Wikipedia entry,  it is the most common mtDNA haplogroup in Europe.  About one half of Europeans are of mtDNA haplogroup H. That does back up the German heritage of my line.

As the news mentioned last week, Ancestry has opened it’s DNA area. I’ve been a user on Ancestry for many years and I also have become involved in Genetic Genealogy via the National Geographic study and also Family Tree DNA. So, I was more than happy to test our Ancestry’s system.

It was easy to transfer my data over from FTDNA to Ancestry. Currently, they can only transfer from FTDNA or National Geographic, though I imagine if you have your data handy you can convert it yourself. You just need to bring up your DNA data and type in the values into Ancestry from one of these two companies.

It took a few minutes after I entered it for it to find some matches, though unfortunately there are none before 26 generations out. They show you your matches in a nice graphical format including a map. They also give you an estimate of the number of years, along with generations, that this person and you may have a common ancestor.

If you have an Ancestry.com account and also have received your DNA info, I would recommend trying this out. Any and all data can help everyone!

Link: Ancestry DNA