Reading the emails which came through the lists, I began to wonder what I might learn from my spouse’s family. He is a man who loves his privacy and I respect his desire to have a very minimal internet presence. I have Buckley’s chance of getting him to test his DNA. Given his disinclination, till now I had also resigned myself to leaving my children untested too. However, my eldest son, aged twenty, expressed a desire to be tested. I reminded him that his father wasn’t keen and he did some research, deciding that his DNA was not going to be the same as his father’s anyway. So we did it! As it turns out, my spouse has handled the news quite well, as long as it doesn’t become a main topic of conversation.
It was rather exciting to purchase another kit. I uploaded my son’s gedcom, added his ancestor names and looked forward to what amazing discoveries it would lead to. Having set up his account, there was nothing more to be done for it so I returned to my own.
This time, I looked at the ‘My Origins’ page in the Family Finder section. It had recently been improved into a map showing the ancestral regions of the kit. I knew I was going to be strongly British Isles and indeed I was – 98% European in the British Isles with no further breakdown. As expected.
The other 2% was Central/South Asian with the indicator centred over Afghanistan. This was not expected. 2% is pretty small, but I’m still curious about it. How far back is this branch of my tree? Who was this exotic person and their many ancestors which I share? How far back? 2,000 years? 10,000 years? One day, maybe DNA testing will be advanced enough to tell us.
The other interesting thing was that I could see the origin percentages of my matches, which I guessed might give me a clue. Jennifer the Unresponsive was 100% European. John my 2nd-4th cousin, however, was 97% European and 3% Central/South Asian. Hmm, I thought. Was this a clue? My three cousins in Prince Edward Island show as ‘In Common With’ matches with John my 2nd-4th cousin but actually match him on a different chromosome to the one he matches me on. I guess that’s Scottish families for you. Of those three, two were 100% European and one was 97% European and 3% something else but not South Asian. The page only tells me which matches share my own origins so if it is different I can’t see it.
My 2nd-4th cousin was the only one in the list – which did not show everyone – who had South Asian ancestry so I think we must have an MRCA couple where one spouse is related to the Prince Edward Island group and the other spouse has the South East Asian inheritance. However, it might just be luck of the draw and whoever inherited which genes from the same ancestor. Hmm, I think again to myself, what if I can talk my parents into testing? Who knows what a generation closer might show.
I have no idea how I might talk my parents into it. They live in another state and I suspect it would be easier face to face. I put that tantalising thought aside and looked again at my own details.
At this time, I had gleaned all I could out of it. I was back to the fact that I couldn’t identify a common ancestor with 279 of my 280 matches (new people coming in each week). I realised I had more work to do on my tree.
1) Verify the names I had
2) Get another few generations back – I needed to reach 1700 on all sides to do this properly
3) Build down. Add siblings, find out who they married, see if I can identify some cousins that way.
I had bought myself a $300 puzzle that I simply could not put down.