I actually received my Ancestry.com results a couple of days ago, but I have been so busy with life in general as well as making new discoveries of new cousins. I may even be close to breaking down a wall in my mom’s maternal great-grandma’s branch! It’s exciting to say the least! There is a cousin who is certain that we meet up there through her 90 year old father with a surname I have never heard of in our history. She is supposed to be getting me some information soon.
I have to say, I am already starting to meet some amazing people from both sides of my family tree through Ancestry and 23andMe. Many of my cousins on there are very similar to the ones I have grown up knowing: super caring and seem to be really fun to know!
It’s honestly a bit easier to find out your joint family history and also about these individuals as a whole through Ancestry. I did, however, already meet a handful of great individuals through 23andMe. I am totally pleased with my decision to do both tests.
Which Test Do I Recommend
If you are looking to do your own DNA testing and don’t know which to do, here are my basic recommendations:
If you know both sides of your family and you are more interested in genealogy, then go with the one at Ancestry.
If you know both sides of your family and are more interested in the health, the more science-y side of it, your haplogroup(s), and actually seeing in cool graphics where your identical DNA strands match with other people, then definitely go with the 23andMe. By the way, my maternal haplogroup is V7. It showed me that Benjamin Franklin is also part of the V group and therefore somehow related through our female ancestors. In my experience so far, connections on 23andMe are less likely to respond (or respond knowing much about their extended family history) than those on Ancestry. This is likely because many do the 23andMe for the health results and the big events they do in some cities trying to get a lot more people tested. They did this awhile back in the Reno area and it was HUGE! Many who I personally know that did it then actually have no interest in genealogy. Some of the connections I have found through 23andMe have been really helpful, though! You can check out my post about my 23andMe DNA results here.
If you don’t know one or both of your sides and can afford it (I bought both of mine during amazing sales, which they often have around big family-related holidays, especially)… then I recommend both. A big reason for this is because you will have a much larger pool of connections since most people only do one or the other. I wouldn’t have found a potential first cousin if I hadn’t done the 23andMe. I also wouldn’t have found the amazing (likely about 3rd or 4th) cousins that I have found and who are trying to help me crack the code if I hadn’t done Ancestry.
One of my super helpful new-found cousins also told me about GedMatch where you can connect with people who have only done one of the three main DNA tests. There is also one called something like Family Finder.
GedMatch takes raw data from each of these and blends them together. You have to submit one, but it’s relatively easy to do. They recommend if you have done more that one test to choose the test to upload raw data from in this order (you only upload one no matter what… also remember to NOT unzip the file before uploading. I did that incorrectly the first time I tried): The older 23andMe test (I believe they said by or before 2014 testing), then Ancestry, then the newer 23andMe, and finally the Family Finder one. This is mostly due to something the test companies do or don’t do that can cap off the information available even in the raw form. I uploaded from my Ancestry test.
Gedmatch is also great, because at least one of the tests I did caps it off at a certain amount of connections it will show you. What if one that they don’t share is actually important to your search? Well, if he or she also did GedMatch, you can now find out about them! Too cool!
My raw data is still being crunched on GedMatch, but I am looking forward to checking out all that they have to offer, too. Apparently they have some cool tools that the other two don’t. Yes, I have now been researching that, too. You know me. 😉
How Do My 23andMe and Ancestry DNA Results Differ
This chart from Ancestry.com differs a bit from my DNA test from 23andMe, but that is because they sampled and grouped their findings differently.
Here is a side-to-side comparison:
The Ancestry one lumps more into the Great Britain category than 23’s British and Irish. The Scandinavian on Ancestry is more defined than 23’s Broadly Northwestern Europe (which would include that and more).
They both show 100% European, so yes… I’m still disappointed. LOL Believing all my life of a generous amount of Native American blood and loving that part of my history… I was truly hoping that 23andMe somehow doesn’t have it all defined or something…. I know, wishful thinking. BUT, I just discovered something the other day on there. You can change the “confidence level” from 50% to 90% which is much more conservative and not as speculative.
When I do that, my European goes down to 98.8%. Interesting….
- British and Irish from 60.6% to 13.7%… huge difference. So they are assuming quite a lot when they are guesstimating that it’s all from Britain and Ireland in the usual confidence level they use. It does by the way (in the regular confidence view) show both of these nationalities, but British is about twice as much as the Irish in their estimation on there.
- Scandinavian from 4.4% to 0.6% (but we are quite sure of this being in our family on my mom’s side).
- French and German from 20.8% to 0.3%.
- Broadly Northwestern European from 13.9% to 70.6%. I have to say, if I had seen this percentage meaning that they pretty much don’t know what I am… I would have been even more disappointed. This is likely what ate up my Iberian, too.
- Broadly European 13.7% – new category for me. This is basically even more “who knows what you are”. This is probably where much of my Scandinavian and French/German went.
- Unassigned 1.2% – new category for me. Hmm… I wonder what this could be.
As far as the Iberian on 23 (which I have definitely determined to be on my bio father’s side due to about one third of my connections over there having at least a trace)… the Europe West category on Ancestry includes the far eastern part of Spain with it.
I was actually REALLY getting into maybe being a bit Portuguese, especially when I started checking out recipes for my new-found nationality “group”. A lot of their recipes are very similar to how I love to cook, so I thought I was onto something. I might still be, but it’s muddied up a bit now. Either way, I am going to be trying some new recipes soon!
My Desire to be Part Basque
BUT… I’m thinking that this area that Ancestry shows might be where the Basque people are from. I already absolutely LOVE Basque culture, food, etc.
Living for the last 21 years in northern Nevada has taught me all about the Basque. Hubby, “Buddy”, and I LOVE going out to a couple of Basque restaurants (when we can afford it….lol). It’s SO worth the money when you go to the right ones.
Our favorites are The Star in Elko, Nevada (a few hours away) and then J.T. Basque in Minden, Nevada (a little over an hour away). There is also a fave of ours that is a bit closer and in Carson City. Villa Basque Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, so they don’t do the whole family dining experience. They do have some amazing Basque breakfast dishes, though. So amazing that I have yet to try any of their lunches. You can also buy Basque chorizo, tamales, Portuguese Olive Oils, deli meats and cheeses, dry cod (never tried), a variety of pepper jellies, a whole slew of goodies imported from Spain, and some of their homemade sauces to take home. We do this often and Hubby even gets orders from a couple of people to pick some up for them when he goes. There is nothing like handmade Basque chorizo! The best in my opinion. Carson City is about an hour away from us, but we do go there quite often.
Does the Reno area have any good Basque? (We live in a valley outside of Reno.) Depends on who you ask and (as far as I can tell) how familiar they are with REAL Basque dining. 😉 The ones who have experienced places like The Star and JT’s are definitely not so impressed with the Reno area’s offerings. We totally did not like the most popular one in Reno. It wasn’t that good for any type of cuisine (not just comparing to Basque) and the service was horrible. Condescending and minimal to say the least. Trust me! It’s worth the drive to JT’s. 😉
Anyway…..lol Suffice it to say that I would LOVE to find out that I have Basque ancestry!
The Breakdown of Categories on Ancestry DNA
Great Britain 80% – Includes England, Scotland, and Wales.
Scandinavia 9% – Includes Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (Finland is elsewhere; see below).
Europe West 6% – Includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.
Finland/Northwest Russia 3% – Includes Finland and Russia (northwest).
Europe East 1% – Includes Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Croatia.
Ireland/Scotland/Wales <1% – Just includes Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. These nationalities are partly included in Great Britain above.
So, what’s next for me?
I’m waiting to see what I can discover on GedMatch when my results are all analyzed etc. By the way, GedMatch is totally free, but they also take donations because it is totally volunteer. It’s not as flashy as the other two when they give you the results and matches and all, but they have SO much that they do differently. They totally add to the experience by connecting all of the testing sites’ results together. Pretty cool what they are doing!
I am totally looking forward to getting to know my new-found cousins! One even mentioned an upcoming reunion. I know that I cannot afford to attend it, but would love to in the future sometime. One said that we have the same cheeks and smile, but I haven’t seen a picture of her, yet. It’s great to imagine looking like someone else (in addition to my children). My grandma always told me that I looked JUST like her grandma. Problem is… the only picture she had was with her face looking down since she was blind. I do, however, think that I somewhat have my grandma’s smile. It mostly looks like hers during her teen years. Regardless, I honestly do love my smile. Some have told me that it’s too big…Not! 😉 But, I especially love it because both of my children also share it! ❤
After discovering that I am somehow related to a family line with a particular surname, I saw a picture of who is likely some degree of great-uncle (very slight chance direct line, but probably not). He appears to also have my cheekbones and nose.
My nose is a bit on the small side… My sister used to tell me things like God forgot to give me a nose when he was handing them out and asked how I breath through it…. honestly, not too well….lol Besides being smaller, it’s been broken… 😉 But this guy (at least from the front) appears to have a small nose, too.
I’m truly hoping to get more information about my potential first cousin. I now believe that I am the bio daughter of her father’s brother. I came to this conclusion partially since her maiden name is the same as a whole lot of my connections.
The search continues…