Ancestry DNA

When I was growing up and able to watch TV, I saw families depicted as the characters on Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, or Leave it to Beaver. Dad went off to work every day in his suit and tie, and Mom kept house in her pearls and heels, while the kids were deliriously happy in their suburban home and neighborhood.

When I was five, my father left home one day and never returned. My Mom became the person going to work at a factory every day trying hard to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our back. I spent all my school vacation time with my mother’s parents and was very close to them.

As a child I experienced the myriad of emotions connected to feeling rejected by a parent. I spent my grade school years wondering why and what if. Some time during my teenage years, I accepted the cards I’d been dealt and moved on worrying more about my own decisions.

I recently opted to submit my DNA to Ancestry.com for analysis. I paid $99Β online, filled out the form, and they sent me a kit. The kit had a number which I entered online and that activated it. I deposited saliva into the tube, mixed it with the preservative provided, sealed it up, and sent it on its way.

Here’s what I received in about four weeks.

Europe West:Β  Primarily located in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein

If I’d know I was 32% Irish, I probably would have bought more souvenirs when visiting Ireland. πŸ™‚

The genetic communities piece is interesting. I like the idea that the French side might have come down from the St. Lawrence because maybe I’m related to some of the Canadian bloggers I follow. πŸ™‚ I also have a document from a maternal cousin that shows our ancestors were in Rhode Island as early as 1664.

What am I going to do with this information now? I’m still trying to decide if I want to invest further in a subscription and try to establish a family tree. I am very interested in my maternal relatives but not so much with my paternal side. That emotional ship sailed too long ago.

If only I had been wise enough to spend more time asking questions of my grandparents. But, when I was young, I thought I knew everything and what could they possibly know that I didn’t – a lot. If only I’d asked.

Here I am at a similar age, and I don’t have any family members asking me about Β memories either. I guess we don’t learn from generation to generation. Of course, I’m also looking for a good old-fashioned conversation with the sharing of photos in a time when I should be uploading, posting, Β sharing or tweeting.

I have active social media accounts, but I’m not immersed in the online lifestyle, and that’s the way I prefer it even though I know it declares me a dinosaur. πŸ™‚

So, have you used any online options for creating a family tree? Was it worth the cost and effort? Suggestions, comments, or feedback – all are welcome.

Best wishes for a great second week in August. 🌸

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About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
This entry was posted in Family and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Ancestry DNA

  1. mvobsession says:

    Hi… my one daughter and I have been doing the family tree/ancestor thing for about 2 1/2 years now. We did our DNA as did my other daughter, my granddaughter and my husband. The findings were interesting and eye opening in a few cases. We have connected and reconnected with several family members and a few were close enough to where we live that we’ve gotten to visit with them, exchange photos and stories. My daughter and I are still at it and enjoying every step of the adventure.
    Like you, and many others, I didn’t talk much to my grandparents about their lives but in a strange way a lot of stories that I must have heard implanted themselves in my brain and suddenly I’m remembering facts and things I had forgotten. My daughter is a genius at research and documenting things, so the info she has put together on both sides of my family have proof.
    For instance, my mother, who was born in Maine and raised in MA told me we had come over on the Mayflower. Lo and behold my daughter dug into that and my mother was right, we were on the first voyage of the Mayflower and can trace our direct line to that descendant. That in itself has been worth the adventure into genealogy so far πŸ™‚
    So I say to you, go for it… and if you don’t want to spend the money at ancestry try familysearch.com which is a free site and is where we started.
    Good luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your reply, and congrats on helping to settle this nation we all call home. πŸ™‚ It is wonderful that you have been able to approach it together with your daughter and that she has been able to add her technical skills. I also sincerely appreciate your info on family search.com because I was not aware of that option. Again, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Relax... says:

    My first granddaughter’s paternal grandmother, ever remote, emailed me once to ask if my grandmother (“named____”) had thrown my mom a baby shower (“on ___this date) back in the town of “___.” She had already explained she was doing a family tree for our mutual granddaughter. I said yes to it all, and that’s the last I ever heard from her! I was miffed that a) that info was out there, b) that she didn’t go back further on my daughter’s side(s), and c) all I was needed for by her was a yes or no. I now could not care less about family trees! At any rate, I’m sure she did all her research online.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is pretty interesting that she found that really personal info online and then didn’t even share the end result with you. We, humans, are interesting folks that’s for sure. I probably need to up my research skills. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Relax... says:

        Oddly enough (or not), I found out online that my father had died — ten years before that brief and torn research night. That probably put a damper on my researching family things, too! But yeah, to mine such personal info about my granddaughter’s relatives, then nada? I felt used by the other grandmother. Badly!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Technology has certainly changed our lives. We use to have public and private lives, but now it is all merged into one and it’s online for everyone to access. I never could have imagined living in a day when births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and what you had for lunch were all shared with your hundreds or thousands of ‘friends’ on line with a post or a tweet. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oddment says:

    This is fascinating! Congratulations on taking this plunge! I am in imminent danger of babbling my head off because you have touched on so many things that I respond to, so I will just say that one of the reasons I’m selling this house (I hope!) is to give myself time to do certain things, one of which is digging into family history. I will be following you and your blog comments eagerly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. quilt32 says:

    My daughter and I have been actively researching our genealogy information for over 25 years and had DNA tests done within the past year. No surprises there but interesting nonetheless.

    I was lucky to have had parents who both shared family stories, if not always actual information. I’ve tried to pass them on to the children who are interested, but some people just don'[t care about this kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can imagine that you and your daughter have quite a family story to tell, and it is even more special because you gathered the information together. Yes, I think some people are genuinely interested in this type of project while others don’t have it on their personal radar at all. πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Sherry Felix says:

    Years ago I put up a site and after a while my long lost relatives found me. I was overjoyed. I too came form a broken home and new almost nothing about my father’s family. I was able to meet some and greatly expand my family tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie Graves says:

    A very poignant story. Alas, no suggestions. But good luck and keep us posted. And, hey, you are of French Canadian heritage. We have that in common!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Thanks for sharing your tender story. My cousin did the ancestry.com thing and is researching family connections. I’m taking old photos and her info to build a website so perhaps interested family can stumble across it someday. Good luck with your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joyce says:

    Fascinating! I always envied those who had an intriguing family history that wound through the US states like yours does. Both sides of my family came from Lithuania at the grandparent level and settled right here in Michigan. The two most interesting stories were that silverware is buried in the family grave plot for future members to retrieve if they ever get back there, and that my maternal grandma (one of 10 siblings) was subbed in to come here at the last second in place of her sister because that one failed the mandatory eye exam. My grandma was the one who fit the packed clothes the best!
    I love that the DNA tests are available to people like you, but my own would say 100% Eastern European – and so would that of my husband, because his family background is the same as my own!
    I wish, too, I’d probed my mother and grandmother for more family info, even though I have a nice handful of stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is wonderful that you are able to know your history from your grandparents – doesn’t get much closer or more accurate than that. I’m glad your grandmother fit the packed clothes, and I sure hope someone in the family lets you know if they find the silverware. πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. joey says:

    My uncle did a lot of research on ancestry, but he was only able to get so far in our shared lineage. He had better luck with other branches and now he’s gone. I’m not sure if my aunt continues the account or is even interested. I worked a bit on it as well, but like him, I couldn’t get past his grandparents. Someone recommended I contact the Seminole Tribe, but he already attempted that.
    On the other side, there’s a lot more information, a longer line, all Italian and Dutch. I got that information from my uncle’s research into other connected branches as well as direct from my great-aunt. On that side, we’re ‘new’ Americans, and it seems Europe keeps better records.
    I was smart enough to put it all in the family bible and hopefully that’ll be helpful if anyone else wants to keep at it.
    I am curious about my ancestry, but not $99 curious. There’s Melungeon in my line, and I know if I do the DNA thing, when anyone from that heritage does it, it adds up to helping solve the mystery.
    I remember growing up thinking Leave It to Beaver was normal and my life was a mess. Later, I found out Leave It to Beaver kids were also a mess, but it was more subtle πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Native American? Now you have my attention. πŸ™‚ I must admit I probably wouldn’t have spent $99 at your age either. When you get a little older, you realize time is not on your side, and if you want an answer you just need to get it. πŸ™‚ Here’s to all of us who survived those messy family lives and lived to tell about it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s fascinating stuff! I love to read it, but I have no interesting in doing the research to find all the ancestors and family stories. My Mom on the other hand is very much into it, and has been doing work on our family tree from her side of the family for years. She’s sent me pedigree charts that I’ve tucked away. She did find our earliest relative to the US was the 1st mate to Henry Hudson when he discovered the Hudson River. She says she’s hit a road block with the European side but has got back at far as 1533. She’s chipping away at it. I’m sure one day she’ll find a thread that keeps it going.

    I know next to nothing about my biological father’s pedigree. He and my Mom divorced when I was 4. When my Mom remarried when I was 5 he walked away. I’ve never seen him again. From what my Mother knows he and his brother were put in an orphanage by their Mom in the late 30’s because their father walked away from them and she couldn’t support the boys. She was I’m told 100% Native American. The boys (my bio father and his brother) never saw her again. I’ve always been interested in knowing if that were true about being Native American. I should think about doing this test just to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nothing wrong with a Mom who does the research. Love your Henry Hudson connection since I grew up in mid state NY just a block from the Hudson River. πŸ™‚ I can only imagine how interesting it would be to find a direct Native American connection. They have a sale on right now – $79. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • So, just spent an hour on the phone with my Mom. It’s funny/scary how we think the same thoughts sometimes. She said she was comparing 3 DNA testing sites last night because my x-sister-in-law had herself, her mom, and my nephew’s DNA tested and it came back showing nephew has some Jewish heritage. That was a surprise! We expected some Native American b/c my Step-Father’s Grandfather was Choctaw, and Cherokee, but my nephew shows no N.A. in his DNA. Too diluted now we’re thinking. ??

        My Mom has been using the LDS Familysearh.org site to fill in our Family Tree and she’s encouraged me to add my information. She says you start filling in all you know and usually by the time you get to the Grandparents if anyone else has added input that matches your family members your family tree will begin to populate all by itself with that information! She doesn’t think I’ll have to get too far past her before mine starts populating.
        My sister got the Genealogy bug years ago and started doing our Bio Father’s line. My Mom said she put in all she found so, I do have more information available than I knew about! I guess my sister didn’t think I’d be interested. πŸ™‚ But, my Mom cautions , saying, “don’t get excited as the trail dries up with his grandparents, and the spelling of their names change from one document to the next. ” 😦

        I am going to start my family tree on Familysearch.org, and both Mom and I are going to do the DNA test and compare. Mine will be different b/c of biological father, and we don’t have a lot of information on her father’s side because the ancestor that came over with Henry Hudson in 1609 was not using his real name! Where did he come from and who was he really? She discovered that the The Dutch East India Company sold all their records for scrap in the 1880’s I believe she said, so all those logs, and manifests are gone sadly. The trail stops there on that side. It’s fascinating stuff isn’t it?

        Isn’t that bizarre how she’s researching and thinking about the DNA testing and I’m looking at it because of you? oh and btw- Ancestry.com’s price for testing is $69.99 right now. So, now’s the time to do it! πŸ™‚

        Sorry if it’s Too Much Info! I just thought I’d share since my thinking about doing it and hearing my Mom is too:)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you and your Mom for this information – extremely helpful and interesting. I’m going to encounter the issue your Mom noted – my father used his first name and middle name on one document and then the next one shows middle name first and then first name. I guess I’ll have to try one way and then the other. It certainly is a shame that those documents were lost because I’m sure they would have provided answers for many families. A sale?? That is great. Go forth and test and be sure to let me know if you and your Mom were satisfied with your results. πŸ™‚ Thank you again.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Dawn says:

    It’s so fascinating to peek at your DNA report from Ancestry, Judy! My husband has been working very hard on his Greek family tree, on his mother’s side. It all began with some Greek handwriting on the back of some very old family photos that he saved as a little boy. About three years ago, he had the handwriting translated and it deepened his research. Through diligent work and a wonderful bit of unbelievably good luck, he discovered living relatives in Greece. We were so surprised! They were just as surprised to know that there are so many relatives still living here! For some unknown reason, international family communication stopped about 50 years ago. So, now we are enjoying writing letters and Skyping with our ‘new’ aunt in Greece. πŸ™‚ We have been able to send her childhood photos of her parents that she had never seen before. We hope to meet her one day! This past weekend, many of the Greek-American cousins gathered for a Family Reunion. We took lots of family photos to send to our relatives in Greece!
    My husband has used Ancestry.com and the helpful databases from the Mormon family research centers. He stopped short of the DNA research. I’m sure that he would be very happy to talk about genealogy resources with you any time, Judy! πŸ™‚ So excited for you to make more interesting family discoveries! β™‘

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have avoided the whole DNA thing because I know where we came from and whether we are Russian or Polish or some other middle European country is not very relevant. About the only thing I am curious about is where than B+ blood came from … so somewhere in there, there’s someone from another region entirely.

    Garry would be a much more interesting study. He’s from everywhere on earth, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Judy, I have one of the free Ancestry accounts and started a very simple family tree years ago but haven’t done much with it for a long time. I know some history from both sides of my family but not a lot of detail. I do know that I have ancestors on both sides who fought in the Revolution and that most of my ancestors came from England, Ireland, Scotland, and France.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’ve long been curious about the generations before me – especially on my father’s side which we know virtually nothing about.
    It’s hard being a 1st generation Canadian. Trying to access Dutch, Belgian, or Italian records is next to impossible without some language skills 😦
    I would love to do a dna test, but husband (aka Mr Science) scoffs at it as irrelevant. I have to admit that the generalization of categories like “Europe West” is pretty vague. I could make a prediction as to what mine might say. More than anything, I’m curious as to whether or not I’m right.

    I have not ventured into paying for online family tree services. I suspect it’s great for people with several generations in North America, or heritage from England/Scotland/Ireland, but less useful for people like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sue says:

    If people do the DNA and post results other matches can appear and contact you if you wish. Can be good, can stir up mysteries. My paternal grma was always very English..my mom thought she looked down on her as “shanty Irish” but my and sis DNA come back as overwhelmingly Irish 70% in my case. So maybe grma Ann didn’t know everything about her mom and dad.
    I also have a close match with a beautiful blond named Ivana in Slovenia???
    i know some situations that have shook some people’s perception of their family. European continent has been thru such turmoil over the years that purely one area, nationality is rare.
    I lived with my grands off and on till I was 8 and both sides were talkers so I’ve been able to fill a few gaps for family who are interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It will be fascinating to see what you unearth in your research, Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve used the Ancestry website for years and have been very pleased with the results. It can be a bit expensive so, for those times when I can’t manage a subscription, I use the edition available for free at our local library.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that info. Does the info you have researched stay on your account or do you have to download to a flash drive or something like that?

      Like

      • If you have an account with Ancestry you can still access your family tree even if you don’t have a current subscription but, to be on the safe side, I purchased a version of their family tree software. You can download all the info from the Ancestry tree directly into it. I also saved a copy of all the documents I found in my own files. As I mentioned, I’ve been working on my family tree for years and now have more than 6,000 names on file.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I have yet to be bitten by the ancestry research bug but I know several people who are. I share your regret about not asking more questions of my parents and grandparents when they were alive. I found out something very surprising about my mother’s background too late to ask her any questions and so it will remain shrouded in mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. WOW Judy how interesting, and I never knew this about your dad 😦 Must have been so hard. I did not have a good relationship with mine ( Long Story but Same Boat πŸ™‚

    A few of us started finding each other on Ancestry.com…then the rest is history and I recorded a lot of it on my blog / maternal side only.

    Basically it is all on my blog under some Ancestry / Family tree category but we could only get so far, when they came over on the boat, until a German speaker could contact the Germans, parish records etc over there. Then we hit a gold mine. I’d say that process took a good decade but it was worth it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rose says:

    I am sorry you had that to live through when you were young, and hate that you have that memory now. But it sounds like you have learned to deal with it.

    I was not around my grandparents…the grandpa on my dad’s side was alive but I only remember seeing him a couple times, though I am sure I probably seen him more than that…my maternal grandmother I only saw once or twice a year and she did not talk much. Like you I did not ask my mom and dad questions, but so wish I had. It wasn’t even a thing of not wanting to listen…I was just too stupid to ask.

    One thing, our granddaughter likes for me to tell her stories of when her mom and Aunt were young, or when Roger or I were young…that used to be how she went to sleep was by me telling her childhood stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Marie says:

    Hey, Judy. I did the Ancestry DNA test as well and we surprised by the results, in comparison to my family tree anyway. There was nothing shocking, just out of synch with family records. I have worked on a fairly extensive family tree with information from older relatives and other sources. My maternal grandfather’s family was Bohemian/Czech way back, but my DNA didn’t show Eastern Europe connections. My grandfather and his brothers still spoke Czech to each other. And my paternal grandmother’s family was heavily Irish/English (some came to the US in the 1600’s) but I only had small amounts of each. I want one of my siblings to do one to see if they pick up other areas because I understand they won’t match. I found it an interesting test though and might actually do the 23andMe(?) test to see if the results match, just out of curiosity.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. germac4 says:

    Great post .. You have started something here … So many people are interested in family history. French settlers along Saint Lawrence sounds fascinating, very tough for those early settlers I’d imagine. I’m pretty sure I’m pure Irish..My parents lived on three continents so lucky they were good storytellers & enjoyed telling their grandchildren all their stories. .. Dad began to elaborate his stories as he got older so I’m researching the facts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The comments have been so interesting – I love each one. πŸ™‚ Pure Irish + my 32% = waving of the green. ☘️ It is funny how a story gets told over and over and eventually it may take on a life of its own. Not bad, it just kind of makes you smile.

      Like

  23. Brenda says:

    I find ancestry research fascinating. I love history and it puts a personal touch on it. Going to the Fredericksburg battle site and seeing where my great-great-grandfather died made the experience far more compelling than if I had no personal connection with it. A few branches of our family tree have been well-researched already and my daughter has done quite a bit with Ancestry.com in the past. We intend to make a project of it together this winter and also will go through old photographs to see if we can match faces with names. It’s unfortunate that people seldom write down the identity of people in photographs. We live for such a short time, but for us, it’s the ONLY time, and it’s hard to grasp just how quickly a generation dies out and the memories with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You phrased it well. When I visited the town in Germany where my uncle died and then the cemetery in Luxembourg where he was buried, it was extremely emotional. Having visited Gettysburg and been totally moved by the experience, I cannot even imagine the emotions that you experienced. Hope you and your daughter are very successful in your research.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Dan Antion says:

    It’s interesting to see what they provide. I tried Ancestry one free weekend, and got as far back as I could go on my mom’s side. Of course, that was a long time ago, and maybe others have added to it by now. My father was first generation born in the US, and I’ve been able to find his parent’s records from Ellis Island online without a fee. My mom had relatives who documented her mother’s family quite well. My maternal grandfather’s parents came over from Germany in the aftermath of WWI, so I’d imagine I’d find multiple dead branches in that tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Almost Iowa says:

    It was always assumed that my wife’s mother was British and her father was Irish. After an Ancestry DNA test, my wife learned that she is more British than her mother and more Irish than her sister…but that is the way DNA works.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I have recently started doing it. My Grandmother is about 90 years of age, she doesn’t stay with us but whenever we visit our remote place I try to spend lot of time with her. She loves telling stories and sharing memories… It’s so beautiful πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› Thank you for such retrospective post. Cheers, Charu

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Grandma Kc says:

    Jenna has always been the one to dig into these things for all of us. For her last birthday we had her DNA done for her through Ancestry. SHe also has a family tree subscription through them and she thoroughly enjoys it. I leave it in her capable hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. reocochran says:

    Happy family tree building! The test results sound wonderful and interesting, Judy. πŸ’žπŸŒ³
    It is strange in my family. Mom’s parents came from Germany and Sweden. Her mom came as a teen from Germany, her dad’s parents came in their twenties together leaving Sweden behind. My Dad’s family came 50% Scotland and 50% England. I have a tree for my Dad’s which includes Alexander Calder as my Grandma’s grand uncle. It is cool to know art is in our blood. (Mostly in my Dad when he was alive and in my brother, Randy.)

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Eliza Waters says:

    Sorry to hear that you had such early family trauma, Judy. Kids don’t understand that it isn’t about them, when it’s really all about the parent. Your DNA findings were interesting.
    I’m French Canadian on both sides with huge families. Others before me did a lot of research (back before the internet!) and while I’ve only been mildly interested in our history, I’m glad someone holds the information. My boys never ask about their parents or grandparents history, they are too busy building their own!

    Liked by 1 person

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