Ancestry.com

An AncestryDNA customer journey: Confirming stories and discovering new ones.

Posted by Stephen Baloglu on February 27, 2013 in AncestryDNA, Stories

Renee was relatively new to Ancestry.com and decided to try the new AncestryDNA test to see just what it could uncover about her family history. Specifically, she wanted to learn more about where her family was from, despite the fact that there were little or no records to be found. Renee was confident her genetic ethnicity results would reveal her African-American heritage, but if only the DNA test could give her more insight into her Irish roots that, for years, has only been hinted at through verbal legend and family stories—but never confirmed. DNA seemed like a great way to prove that story and maybe a bit more.

Renee found the AncestryDNA test simple to use. She got her kit in the mail, activated it online and collected her saliva sample. And, shortly after taking the test, Renee got an email informing her that her DNA results were ready. She immediately opened her personalized AncestryDNA results webpage and there, right before her, were her Irish roots. Her genetic ethnicity results included 11% British Isles (which covers Ireland).

 

Renee’s Genetic Ethnicity Results

 

But the discoveries didn’t end there. The AncestryDNA test matched her to others in the AncestryDNA database who share the same ancestor in their family trees. Renee said, “The DNA matches really paid off! Matching my DNA to others gave me such a thrill, and a couple of cousins contacted me. It’s amazing!”

Renee was able to connect with quite a few of her DNA matches that led her to direct relatives through her mother. Among the many benefits of the new AncestryDNA test is that, not only can women take it, but the test includes links to your past on both your paternal and maternal lines. One DNA match also helped confirm a relation through her great-grandmother to the McCoy clan in Virginia. Now that’s an interesting bit of history to add to the family tree.Renee says, “I would recommend the AncestryDNA test to a lot of people. My friends took the test and we’ll all be sharing the results. I keep getting new, exciting DNA matches that can lead to my next big discovery on Ancestry.com.”

Get started on your own AncestryDNA discovery today. Visit us at www.AncestryDNA.com and check out our special pricing on AncestryDNA for our subscribers or with a new subscription.

19 comments

Comments
1 Sharon WhiteFebruary 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

That is so very exciting!! I, also, have results on my AncestryDNA test. I am curious though. This article says “Among the many benefits of the new AncestryDNA test is that, not only can women take it, but the test includes links to your past on both your paternal and maternal lines.” I was not aware that we women could trace our paternal lines through our own test.

2 Paul HubertFebruary 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Sharon, the test uses what is called autosomal DNA. Ancestry matches us with people who share the same segments. This way, Ancestry can match us with people from all lines/branches of our tree.

With mitocondrial DNA or mtDNA, a female can only see results from her direct maternal line (her mothers mothers mother and son on). The same goes for yDNA, which is limited to the males fathers fathers father, etc.

Males have mtDNA and ydna but females only have mtDNA. Before Autosomal, females needed a brother to complete the y-dna for them.

Humans have 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes (the X and Y). A chromosome not involved in sex determination. Everyone has Autsomal DNA which means everyone gets to participate.

3 Susan Mulledy-DeFrankFebruary 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I have the same question as Sharon White. It’s my understanding that a woman does not carry the Y dna. So does your article mean that a woman can obtain dna through their father’s side ? Thank you

4 BCarrollFebruary 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

My brother and I took the test and our results were different (we are full biological siblings). His reported 99% British Isles while mine reported British Isles and Central European.

This DNA test shows what genetic markers we, as individuals, inherited. There is a good explanation at the DNA home page that I would highly suggest reading to explain how results are determined for individuals – regardless of their gender.

Through ancestry’s DNA test, we’ve discovered a second and third cousin, and have expanded our family tree two generations as a result.

5 Tammy RogersFebruary 28, 2013 at 6:06 am

The McCoy clan was from WEST Virginia, which is an entirely different state that Virginia.

6 KarenFebruary 28, 2013 at 7:52 am

@ Sharon White and Susan Mulledy-DeFrank – There are 3 types of DNA tests that are commonly available today.

The Y-DNA test is the test that can only be taken by males. Only males carry the DNA segment which is passed from father to son. This DNA segment is very stable & remains unchanged for over a 1000 years.

The mitochondrial (mtDNA) test can be taken by both sexes. It tests the segment of DNA that is passed from a mother to her children (but only the daughter will pass it on – the son’s children will get their mother’s mtDNA). So the test is for the maternal line. This DNA segment is very stable & remains unchanged for over a 1000 years.

The new AncestryDNA test is an autosomal (atDNA) test and can be taken by both sexes. It tests the other segments of DNA (but not the Y & mt segments). These DNA segments are recombined with each passing from parent to child, therefore some segments are lost over time. That explains why a certain ancestor may not show up in test results. It also explains why sibling DNA differs.

Think of your family tree in the pedigree view (the one that goes from right to left on Ancestry). The Y-DNA test covers the top, paternal line. The mtDNA test covers the bottom, maternal line. The atDNA tests the entire tree. (It does test the top & bottom lines as well, but here the instability applies as it is not dealing with those stable segments).

Hope this helps.

@ Tammy Rogers: West Virginia was part of a much larger state of Virginia until the Civil War.

7 Loressa DunnFebruary 28, 2013 at 8:01 am

I had my husband’s mitochondrial DNA done several years ago after finding some evidence on Ancestry that his great-great-great grandmother might have been a slave in Louisiana. Sure enough his female line showed only West Africa. Kind of boring since there were only two lines; not the web of lines I had seen in all the examples. Still, rather exciting news that lead to a lot of questions and a chat board where I connected with a cousin of his he had no knowledge of (more questions to be answered) as well as a second cousin’s daughter-in-law who is active on Ancestry. Finally, I connected with another cousin who had found that after the move from Louisiana to California, by the end of the 19th century, by almost all the branches of the family, only rarely did the subject come up — of course. The census records for all but one brother who held a position, briefly, as headmaster in an all black boys school in Texas, morphed from ‘mulatto’ or ‘colored’ to ‘white’ in the next census in California. The state of technology at the time kept the family’s secret and they all ‘passed’ as ‘white’ from that time on. Well, until now, at least. History is fascinating, especially family history.

8 I Am CuriousFebruary 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

What happened to the first response in this blog from Basta?

I don’t recall any abusive element that would cause it to be “moderated,” or as most people would term it . . . deleted.

Since there were no other commenters at the time and since he/she did not mention the author, it could not have been disrespectful to either of those.

As I recall, it was basically a statement that said the blog has become a series of commercial messages meant to direct the reader’s attention to various products and services and this “story” of the putative Ancestry customer, Renee, was just the latest example.

BTW, who has the power to delete these comments?

9 AnneFebruary 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I’m adopted and would like to know if anybody else who has NO family info has taken this test and how it came out!

10 BCarrollMarch 1, 2013 at 1:09 am

Anne, this is a great test to use if you know nothing about your family. It will pick up markers (as explained above) that might connect you to cousins or possibly siblings.

Having taken the test, I can say that the results I’ve been given have panned out quite nicely. And since my brother also did the test, he showed up as a sibling. This might be one way for you to go. There is no guarantee that you will match up with someone but like they say, if you don’t try it you won’t know. I am a curious person by nature and if in your situation I would definitely do the test.

We did find, through a separate Y-DNA test that my brother did, that our surname most probably derives from a woman who had an ancestor of ours out of wedlock. When the results for his Y-DNA came back, the results showed that a very different last name held almost all the same markers as ours. For all intents and purposes, it was a solid match. And that surname tree was well documented and men with that surname lived in the same county in Ireland as did our ancestor.

So, you never know what you might find if you do this autosomal test. At the very least, it will give you an idea where your ancestors are from.

Best of luck to you.

11 christy daugherty brandtMarch 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

My brother took the dna test a few months ago. I was disappointed that our grandfather,Daniel Webster Daugherty’s side of the family has not shown up. most of the hints I get are some I already had. any suggestions why my grandfather’s side is not more obvious?

12 Tracy WhittingtonMarch 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

A few years back, I did the Genographic DNA test, but this was before it gave percentages of genetic ethnicity, etc. Is there any way to use the original test for new results? Can the results be shared among companies (ie can I upload my National Geographic test to Ancestry)?

13 Jeff ZupanMarch 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

to #8 I Am Curious: Most of these blog entries seem to be written by Stephen Baloglu, who is the Director of Product Marketing. Make of that what you will.

to #12 Tracy Whittington: The older Genographic test only did either the Y-DNA test (males only) or the mtDNA test (male or female). These have nothing to do with the current autosomal tests at Ancestry or elsewhere. The results, however CAN be entered into Ancestry. On your home page, hover over the DNA tab, then click “Y-DNA and mtDNA tests”. There should be something on that page to instruct you on entering your results.

14 Anne ReevesMarch 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

No one at Ancestry seems willing to answer my repeated question about their supposed matches to my own DNA reading. That (autosomal) test apparently found that (after much recombination) my DNA derives from two ethnic origins only (despite having several Welsh ancestors): 65% Central European and 35% Scandanavian. Not even 1% unreadable. Yet according to Ancestry they have found matches (??) at both distant and reasonably proximate (4th cousin level) with several people whose DNA readings have NO Central European or Scandanavian traces. That strains credulity. At first I thought that the matches relied solely on surname coincidence; but a couple of the people with whom I have been “matched” have no tree on Ancestry. Credulity strained yet further. Perhaps someone out there might be able to tell me how it is possible to be DNA matched to someone who shares ZERO ethnic origin DNA? If this makes sense.

15 Jeff ZupanMarch 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm

#14 Anne Reeves
I’ll try, although I am not an expert in genetic genealogy. In fact, the field is so new, there may not yet be many experts. That’s part of the problem.
This issue has been discussed to death on the Community Support forums (“Get Help” – upper right corner of your Ancestry home page). You might want to poke around there for a while.
There are two main things to keep in mind.
One – counterintuitive as it may seem, the ethnicity projections and the relationship matches are NOT directly related. Ethnicity is based on a comparison of your DNA with a reference database and when individual genes match up, the computer says, “A-ha! There may be some connection here”. After a number of these “A-ha” moments, the computer decides, “Well, most people who had ancestors from Wales had this same combination of genes, so this person also must have”. The matching “cousins” are individuals who have also been tested and these results are specific to you and them. Although the reference database is the same, one result is based on generalizations and the other on specifics. The ethnicity percentage is based on a statistical interpretation of mathematical probabilities, the relative matches are specific between the two individuals.
Two – at this state of the art, and the small size and U.S.-centricity of the reference database, the ethnicity predictions are not as accurate as we would like. FamilyTreeDNA, one of the other major testing labs, only predicts “European” ethnicity. Ancestry is at least trying to narrow it down a bit more.

[...] Learn about powerful discoveries from AncestryDNA customer Renee who confirms some old family stories—and discovers a few new ones [...]

17 Nancy Buettner MooreApril 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

Trying to find my heritage. I have no brothers or sisters. My parents and grandparent are deceased. Help.

18 Sheri Barber McInturffMay 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I’m reading/learning that the Ancestry DNA test does not use the y-dna or the mtdna. Is there some way with Ancestry’s test to determine the haplogroup? I’ve read the Seven Daughters of Eve book and would like to be able to identify with one of them. Is that possible with Ancestry’s DNA test or does it require a strict mtDNA test?

19 Bibbi HanssonJuly 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

What genetical and statistical scientific METHODS do Ancestry’s experts use? It bothers me that I can’t find these facts reported by the experts on your site since they are vital for presumptive customers to evaluate the quality of the results. Should they even buy these tests?

So:

The Reference Database: how did you gather DNA to establish what genetic populations that are specific for certain areas?

a) Did you do your own gathering of DNA in situ at these places?

b) Are you using another company’s reference data bank? In this case: how did THEY gather their population DNA?

c) Are you trusting Ancestry.com:s own customers to send in their DNA and inform you where they – and their ancestors – are from?

d) Other?

I fear that Ancestry do not use scientifically valid methods. The reason for this is what one of your own people wrote above – #15 Jeff Zupan, March 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm – which suggests that this might be the case. He writes “the computer decides, ‘Well, most people who had ancestors from Wales had this same combination of genes, so this person also must have’.

Please, enlighten me!

And – please – let a real expert do it.

About the Ancestry.com blog

Here you will find informational, and sometimes fun, posts from the folks behind the scenes here at Ancestry.com. We hope you’ll notice just how passionate we are about family history and about the products we’re building to help connect families over distance and time.

Visit Ancestry.com
Notifications

Receive updates from the Ancestry.com blog Learn more