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A Year of Ancestry DNA
A Year of Ancestry DNA

A Year of Ancestry DNA

In July 2020, I was gifted an AncestryDNA kit. Being during COVID-19, I thought there might have been some restrictions or delays, but fortunately it was quite timely, taking 6 weeks and 3 days from activation to results. Here is the timeline of my test:

Timeline showing that the test was ordered on 22nd June and dispatched on 23rd. I activated the test on 5th July and posted it the same day. Ancestry received the test on 14th July and began processing it on 11th August. DNA extraction took place on 14th August and my results were in on 19th August.
Timeline of receiving DNA results from Summer 2020. Note: The test arrived within a few days of dispatch, but I did not activate it immediately.

I’m currently awaiting results for my Grandad’s DNA test, which seems to be taking longer than last year. This year it took thirteen days from when I posted the test for it to be registered as received by Ancestry.

From what I know of my family history, of 64 4x great grandparents, 59 were born in England, 2 are uncertain but believed to be England, 2 were born in Scotland, and 1 is completely unknown. Therefore, this is what I predicted my ethnicity results to be if my tree was correct. The ‘Other Northwestern Europe’ row is due to having an unknown 4th great grandparent and two 4th great grandmothers where I haven’t verified their place of birth, although I believe it to be England.

RegionEstimated Percentage
England~ 92.2
Scotland~3.12%
Other Northwestern Europe~4.68%

My estimated ethnicity based on my known genealogy.

Ethnicity Estimate: England, Wales and Northwestern Europe 93%. Within this, communities were detected: The Midlands, England, broken down further into East Midlands and the Potteries, and East Midlands.
Ireland and Scotland 4%. Norway 3%.
My initial Ancestry DNA ethnicity estimate from August 2020.

I couldn’t believe how close my results were. Norway was somewhat a surprise, but I believe that is due to historical migration between the regions making them difficult to distinguish from each other.

In September 2020, Ancestry updated their results. I understand they wanted to get more specific results, but I felt like these results became less accurate, based on what I think I know about my genealogy of course! There’s still a chance my research is wrong in some places. Here are my September 2020 results:

Ethnicity estimate: England and Northwestern Europe 69%, giving the following communities, The Midlands, England, broken down into East Midlands and the Potteries, and East Midlands. Scotland 15%. Ireland 6%. Sweden 4%. Germanic Europe 3%. Wales 3%. On the left of the results is a map of Europe highlighting the UK, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.
My updated Ancestry DNA ethnicity estimate from September 2020.

Of course as genealogists, most of us don’t do DNA tests for the ethnicity estimate, although I think the majority of others do them only for this reason.

As of July 2021, I have 239 4th cousins or closer. Here’s a bit about my top 10 closest matches:

Closest MatchcMSegmentsRelationSide
1st293121st cousin 2x removedPaternal
2nd194141st cousin 2x removedPaternal
3rd16783rd cousin 1x removedPaternal
4th15510UnknownPaternal
5th10754th cousinPaternal
6th6633rd cousin 1x removedMaternal
7th635UnknownPaternal
8th6233rd cousin 1x removedPaternal
9th5643rd cousinPaternal
10th5124th cousinPaternal

My 10 closest DNA matches.

As you can see, I have very few close maternal matches. However, I group matches by which great great grandparent’s side they fall on, and my maternal great great grandfather’s surname is the second largest group, with 24 matches in this category. I have the fewest matches on my mother’s paternal side, so I’m hoping through testing my Grandad I will be able to make more connections and piece together some more matches.

In addition, some of my other more distant matches have given me some insight into a family rumour from my Grandad’s side as well, which is one of the reasons I became invested in family history. My great great grandmother, Clara Dumelow, was said by my family members to have been an adoptee. She was said to visit her mother up in Bakewell, who’d give her money. Her father was rumoured to be the child of an Earl or a Lord. However, some of these more distant DNA matches have suggested that I am related to Clara’s grandparents on both her maternal and paternal sides. This has only furthered my curiosity, and leaves me more eager to see what my Grandad’s results will bring.

Something I have found difficult is following up DNA matches without an Ancestry subscription. When someone has a public tree that is not linked to their results, you can’t see it without a subscription and if they don’t reply to your messages… it’s a bit of a dead end. I do always check for them on other websites though, and sometimes that had proven useful, like when they’ve uploaded a version of their tree to FamilyTreeDNA. Also, some people have had very small family trees linked which means that I can search for some of their relatives through FamilySearch to see if they have an existing profile. This has lead to some breakthroughs in figuring out matches.

One of my biggest successes through doing DNA is that through contacting a 14cM match, my 3rd cousin 2x removed, we’ve managed to identify some photos of my great grandmother’s sister and parents. This match also shared a picture of their spouse with me, who is 2nd in the table above – my 1st cousin 2x removed. This is the first photo of a cousin my grandad has ever seen, as his parents moved away from his mother’s home-county of Somerset before he was born.

My hope for this next year is that I can place my 4th closest DNA match, who only appeared recently. I believe they’re on my paternal side based on our shared matches, but due to adoptions it may prove a little more challenging than the matches I’ve worked on previously.

What has your DNA journey been like since you first took a DNA test? What discoveries have you made? How close was your closest match? Let me know in the comments.

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