For half my life I have been building my family tree (and have helped many others do the same) and have traced it to the Mayflower and way beyond in some places, and in other places no further back than an arrival in this country. I did the DNA test in hopes of breaking down brick walls in my family tree, and hoped that it would help me figure out what stories were true and which were lies.
Like the Ancestry commercial, I was raised to believe that Germany, and then England, were my two primary countries of origin, and the records have supported that. I even wore a dirndle for International day in 3rd grade… that is how German I thought I was. To quote the great Clark W Griswold, “If I woke up with my head stapled to the carpet, I wouldn’t be as surprised as I am right now!”
Onward to the results.
So 27% Scandinavian? At first I was very surprised by this, but as I researched this, I found that it is very common for people with deep English ancestry to have Scandinavian dna because of migration patterns. I knew I had some because of my family history research, but I was expecting this to he more like less than 10%
21% Europe West. I thought this would be higher. This encompasses all of my lines that came from Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I was expecting this to be considerably higher.
21% Italy/Greece. This was my biggest shocker. I am still not entirely sure where this is coming from, but I suspect it is coming from my Dad. His mom’s family comes from a small town in Zurich, and when I put my raw dna into Gedmatch, I was able to clarify that it is mostly Northern Italian with a little Tuscan and Serbian thrown in for good measure. It is not a huge leap to say that they migrated from one side of the Alps to the other. We have always wondered where the dark hair and olive toned skin comes from, but we will find out for sure when we get his DNA results back. Here is where it is like the commercial: turns out that I am more Italian than I am German, when you consider that the Europe West encompasses many regions. And there is still alot I don’t know about Dad’s family…
15% Ireland. I am pretty sure that this is coming from the same place as the Scandinavian. When I organize and pivot my DNA (yes, I built a pivot table), Ireland is commonly associated with one particular line of my mom’s family.
7% Iberian Peninsula. This is well and truly a shocker. I have an idea of where this comes from, but I will pause on this for a moment so I can tell the story. GedMatch breaks this into several regions within Spain, plus Portugal for good measure.
6% Great Britain. I was expecting these numbers to be reversed with Scandinavian, but it makes sense, now that I have reseached it.
Trace Regions of 2% NW Russia and 1% Europe East. Not sure whether this is Mom or Dad, but either way I am not surprised.
So back to the Iberian Peninsula for a moment. Is everyone tucked in for a good story?
My great grandmother had three girls with, whom I thought was, my Great Grandfather. When my gram was three, they split and the two older girls were sent to live with great-grandfather’s family in NJ, while my gram stayed with her mother in Queens, NY. In recent months, in trying to understand why a family would be split that way, the idea occurred to me that, who I thought was my gr-grandfather might not actually be my bio-great grandfather. And it turns out that I was right. I have no DNA match to that family. So the search begins to fill this new gap in the tree. And this is where I believe the Iberian Peninsula comes from, but again, we will see for sure when my parents get their tests back.
So yeah. I said coming into this that I was not expecting many surprises… that I thought I knew mostly what would show up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Does this shift things for me? Yeah, it does, and I am super excited to better understand all of this, and of course to figure out who my gr-geandfather actually was! I feel like I have more questions than before, and as some of those answers unfold, I will share them with you!
If you want to know more about my gedmatch breakdown, let me know in the comments.