I’d seen the commercials for the AncestryDNA™ kit, and I admit I was pretty intrigued. I tried using Ancestry a long time ago to trace my family tree but didn’t get very far. Let’s face it…you can’t really map it out properly until after people die. At that time, I still had a lot of living relatives…not so much these days.
According to the AncestryDNA™ site, this test is different from other DNA tests in that, “Unlike the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA test, AncestryDNA™ uses an autosomal DNA test that surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. It covers both the maternal and paternal sides of the family tree, so it covers all lineages.”
After a lot of researching and reading countless customer reviews (plus a healthy dose of debating whether it was worth the $99 price tag), I decided to pull the trigger and ordered two kits from Amazon…one for me and one for my husband. Two days later on September 16, they arrived. Each kit contains a set of instructions, a collection tube with cap, collection bag and a prepaid mailing box. Before you submit your sample, you must activate your kit online using the unique 15-digit code shown on the collection tube. This code links your sample to you and is the only way Ancestry can identify your sample. Without it you can’t get your results.
The way you submit your DNA is by filling the collection tube with saliva before securing the cap that releases the stabilizing fluid. Then you shake it and seal it in the bag. Simple enough! It’s suggested you don’t eat, drink or smoke within 30 minutes of filling the vial, so my husband and I decided to wait and do it first thing in the morning after we woke up.
You know what? You’re mouth is really dry first thing in the morning! Filling the vial to the max line with “pure saliva” (no bubbles) was hard for me, but for my husband it was no problem (because everything is easier for boys). We mailed off our samples and tried to patiently wait out the “6-8 weeks” processing time. Two days after mailing off the samples, we both received emails letting us know they’d been received. (Ancestry is awesome at keeping you informed!)
Like anything you’re super excited about but have to wait weeks for, I got busy doing other things and forgot about it. Two weeks later, I received another email from Ancestry letting me know “Your DNA is in the lab processing!” That was enough to get me right back into I’m-so-excited-I-think-I’m-gonna-die! mode. Knowing my results would be coming soon, I began researching and reading customer reviews of the various accounts Ancestry offered for access to family tree info. (Because when I do anything, it’s either immediate and spontaneous or after weeks of deliberation…there is NO in-between!) A week later, I signed up for the full access account.
I learned a whole lot in the first few hours of researching my father’s lineage. It was a humbling experience to look at census records from 1940 showing him as a 3 year-old boy and to imagine what life would have been like for him in those days…what it would have been like for everyone in those days. Thanks to the research found in other members’ publicly posted trees, it didn’t take long to find the first person from that side who immigrated from Ireland in the mid-1700’s. My Irish heritage wasn’t exactly a revelation, I’d always known we were Irish, but to see the actual records showing my 5th great-grandfather’s birthplace as “Ireland” was thrilling! But that was only the beginning.
Two days later, on a Sunday morning when my husband was out doing boy stuff, I got another email from Ancestry…. “Your AncestryDNA™ results are in!” It was a good thing I was home alone because I started screaming as I ran through the house. I was literally shaking with excitement as my finger hovered over the “See My Results” link. This was it! I actually felt a little afraid to see the results…what if I wasn’t as Irish as I thought?Turns out there was nothing to fear, but there was a whole lot to go bananas over…and that’s just what I did!
😲 SCANDINAVIA?!?!? 😲
I did NOT see that coming! Essentially 3/4 of my genetic makeup is split evenly between Scandinavia and Ireland. You can imagine, if you know me, how many times I’ve said “It all makes so much sense now!” since I got these incredible results. There have been a handful of people throughout my life who’ve insisted I had Swedish ancestry, based on my blonde hair and blue eyes. I always wrote it off because I inherited those particular attributes from my father, whose family I knew hailed from Ireland. But now I’m pretty much convinced I must have been a Viking or a ShieldMaiden in a past life and I better understand why I love the Hansen family on Deadliest Catch so much! 😀
In all seriousness, knowing so much more about my heritage does make me feel more whole, more connected to who I really am and who I’m really meant to be. I’m on the right track, and I feel like I’m getting closer to solving the Puzzle of Me. I can’t wait to discover where the next few pieces are hiding.