Ancestry Blog » AncestryDNA http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:27:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 There’s a 1 in 300 Chance That a Complete Stranger Is Your Cousinhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/theres-a-1-in-300-chance-that-a-complete-stranger-is-your-cousin/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/theres-a-1-in-300-chance-that-a-complete-stranger-is-your-cousin/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:33:14 +0000 Paul Rawlins http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7874 New demographic research has revealed just how likely the British are to be closely related to a complete stranger they might meet in their homeland. Analysis by AncestryDNA, part of the world’s largest online family history resource, of birth rates and population figures for the past two centuries suggests that the typical Brit has 193,000… Read more

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dna-kit

What can AncestryDNA help you discover?

New demographic research has revealed just how likely the British are to be closely related to a complete stranger they might meet in their homeland.

Analysis by AncestryDNA, part of the world’s largest online family history resource, of birth rates and population figures for the past two centuries suggests that the typical Brit has 193,000 living cousins. These relatives are sixth cousins or closer and share a common ancestor born in the last 200 years.

What this means – translating the facts:

  • If you walk across Britain, you’ll find about two cousins per square mile.
  • With over 61 million people in the UK, the average Brit will have enough cousins to fill Wembley Stadium twice.
  • If you finished first in the London Marathon, 111 of your relatives may follow you across the finish line.
  • A cruise on the world’s largest liner would give you the chance to meet nearly 20 relatives at the buffet.
  • Londoners share their daily tube commute with 12,000 unknown relations and will ride with a cousin on one in four (24%) bus journeys.

Methodology:

Researchers at the site mined birth rates and census data from the last two centuries to build a model that estimates how many close living relatives each of us has. The model suggests that the typical Brit has five first cousins, right up to 174,000 sixth cousins (see table one).

 

Type and number of living cousins for the average Brit

 

Type of relation

 

Approximate number of relatives of that relation alive today (3 s.f.)

 

1st cousin

5

2nd cousin

28

3rd cousin

175

4th cousin

1,570

5th cousin

17,300

6th cousin

174,000

Total number of 6th cousin or closer

193,000

 

The research follows the launch of AncestryDNA in the UK and Ireland. This new DNA matching service allows people to discover more about themselves and their family history and also connect with relatives they previously didn’t know existed.

The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides an estimate of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations, including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history and uncover new family connections with other people who have taken the test.

Commenting on the research, Brad Argent, Commercial Director at Ancestry said: “It’s incredible to think that many of us will be in daily contact with unknown relatives – with no idea that we share much more than the same sporting team or commute to work.”

Which means Brits might want to think twice about how they treat that stranger standing next to them on the tube or in the shop. They might be family.

 

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How Your DNA Can Reconstruct Your Great-Great-Grandfather’s Genetic Codehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/05/21/how-your-dna-can-reconstruct-your-great-great-grandfathers-genetic-code/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/05/21/how-your-dna-can-reconstruct-your-great-great-grandfathers-genetic-code/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 00:16:18 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7730 Most people consider their children to be their legacy: people to pass on a mother’s trademark dimple, kids to carry on the family business, someone to tend the headstone. David Speegle, an Alabama farmer born more than 200 years ago, now has a distinctly 21st-century legacy, thanks to AncestryDNA. By combining genetics and genealogy, Ancestry… Read more

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[Image: Shutterstock]

Most people consider their children to be their legacy: people to pass on a mother’s trademark dimple, kids to carry on the family business, someone to tend the headstone. David Speegle, an Alabama farmer born more than 200 years ago, now has a distinctly 21st-century legacy, thanks to AncestryDNA.

By combining genetics and genealogy, Ancestry and AncestryDNA have been able to piece together more than half of the genetic code for Speegle and his two wives using only data from his descendants who have joined AncestryDNA.

In this breakthrough accomplishment, AncestryDNA was able to reconstruct Speegle’s genome without using any hair or other tissue samples from Speegle, who died in 1890. Instead, Ancestry relied on the technology behind its DNA Circles program, in which members send in samples of their saliva to learn more about their own genetic background and discover whether they’re related to other AncestryDNA members.

AncestryDNA combed through the 500,000 genomic samples in their database to locate members with close similarities in their DNA. They then traced those members to a shared ancestor: Speegle, who was born in 1806. The fact that Speegle had 26 children with two wives and more than 150 grandchildren explains how he became the forefather to so many AncestryDNA members today.

A professional genealogist examined the family trees of those members to confirm that they all shared Speegle as an ancestor. Then, relying on genetics and computer science, AncestryDNA used two processes to rebuild as much of the DNA for Speegle and his wives as possible.

First, AncestryDNA looked for long stretches of DNA that all members in the Speegle DNA Circle shared. Since Speegle was the earliest common ancestor of those members, the geneticists knew those stretches must have come from Speegle and one of his wives — either Winifred, his first, or Nancy, whom he married after Winifred’s death. Then, relying on a technique used in livestock genetics, geneticists took a look at Speegle’s entire family tree and inferred which parts of the genome were transmitted through the pedigree.

With those two techniques, AncestryDNA was able to construct 50 percent of the total human DNA and attribute it to either Speegle or his two wives. AncestryDNA now knows certain aspects of Speegle and his wives’ genetic makeup. Speegle or his wives, for example, possessed the gene for blue eyes. They also carried the gene for male pattern baldness.

While validating the science behind DNA Circles, AncestryDNA’s use of descendants to reconstruct an ancestor’s DNA has broader applications. DNA technology, involving genome reconstruction or other methods, can fill in gaps in family lineages where historical records fall short.

“This is a significant achievement that will have implications in population genetics, genealogy, anthropology and health and offers a preview into future advancements that will be made possible by large databases of genetic and genealogical information,” said Dr. Kenneth Chahine, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA.

“It feels like science fiction, but it is very much a reality and only the beginning. Future insights may come in the form of tracing the source of particular traits in a population, reaching a better understanding of recent population history and enabling more targeted genetic genealogy research.”

While AncestryDNA might not help reconstruct the DNA of your great-great-great-grandfather, there are plenty of other insights the test has to offer, from your personal ethnicity estimate to dozens of living genetic cousins, all to help you come to know more about your past and yourself.

Sandie Angulo Chen

 

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How German Are You? What Your DNA Can Tell You.http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/27/how-german-are-you-what-your-dna-can-tell-you/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/27/how-german-are-you-what-your-dna-can-tell-you/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:33:52 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7628 Many boots have marched across Britain, but which invading army bequeathed the most durable legacy? The Romans left their roads. The Normans left their language. But the Germans left their DNA. Of all the armies that have invaded Britain in recorded history, only Anglo-Saxons managed to substantially alter its genetic and ethnic composition. As a… Read more

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[Photo: Shutterstock]

Many boots have marched across Britain, but which invading army bequeathed the most durable legacy?

The Romans left their roads. The Normans left their language. But the Germans left their DNA.

Of all the armies that have invaded Britain in recorded history, only Anglo-Saxons managed to substantially alter its genetic and ethnic composition. As a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasion around 400-500 AD, most white British people today owe almost 30 percent of their DNA to the ancestors of modern-day Germans.

For people living in southern and central England, it’s true that 40 percent of their DNA comes from the French. But that French connection doesn’t come from any known French invasion force, such as the Normans, who took over England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The French contribution to British DNA probably results from migration from the continent 10,000 years ago, just after the last Ice Age — and long predating anything resembling a military invasion.

Danes also contributed 11 percent of the DNA of a modern British person, while Belgians contributed 9 percent.

These revelations come from a groundbreaking study conducted by Professor Peter Donnelly, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, who co-led the research. As he said: “It has long been known that human populations differ genetically, but never before have we been able to observe such exquisite and fascinating detail.”

The study sampled the DNA of 2,039 British citizens. It also took DNA samples from 6,209 individuals from 10 European countries to determine the contributions their European ancestors made to Britain’s genetic makeup.

Historians suspect that other invaders, such as the Romans and Danish Vikings, didn’t intermingle with the native population or didn’t bring enough of their own people to make an appreciable difference in the long-term ethnic makeup of an entire country.

The Oxford study resolves a long-standing dispute about the way the Anglo-Saxons took over England after the Romans retreated. Cultural clues led some archaeologists to believe that local populations must have retreated to Wales or had possibly been wiped out. But the high percentage of Anglo-Saxon DNA in modern Brits shows that the invaders intermarried with, rather than replaced, the existing population.

The study contained other insights, such as the lack of a genetic basis for a single “Celtic” group. In fact, residents of areas associated with Celtic culture today — Scotland, Northern Ireland,Wales, and Cornwall — were among the most unlike each other, at least in terms of their DNA. But no group stood out more than the residents of the Orkney Isles in Northern Scotland. Twenty-five percent of their DNA came from Norwegian ancestors who invaded the islands in the 9th century.

If your DNA wasn’t selected for an Oxford University study, don’t despair. AncestryDNA lets you to research your own genetic past with just a small saliva sample. You’ll get a personal ethnicity estimate that tracks your ethnic heritage across 26 regions.

Through DNA matching and historical records available on Ancestry, AncestryDNA can even identify potential relatives who are Ancestry members and have taken the AncestryDNA test. With millions of family trees and more than 850,000 people who have taken a DNA test, Ancestry and AncestryDNA are great tools to start or expand your understanding of your own family tree.

— Sandie Angulo Chen

 

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Switched At Birth: 7 Stories of Triumph Over This Unbelievable Phenomenonhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/20/switched-at-birth-7-true-stories/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/20/switched-at-birth-7-true-stories/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:58:20 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7559 If you or someone you know has had a baby recently, you might have seen nurses carefully check the newborn’s tiny bracelet against his mother’s own cuff, making sure multiple times that the names and codes match up — particularly before it’s time to leave for home. This is not just hospital paranoia. Babies, perhaps… Read more

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[Photo: Shutterstock]

If you or someone you know has had a baby recently, you might have seen nurses carefully check the newborn’s tiny bracelet against his mother’s own cuff, making sure multiple times that the names and codes match up — particularly before it’s time to leave for home.

This is not just hospital paranoia. Babies, perhaps more than you think possible, have been accidentally sent home with the wrong families for decades. These are stories that practically inspired the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction.” They make us feel like soap operas and primetime dramas are basically documentaries.

It’s a relatively modern phenomenon, as the children of earlier generations were born at home (with a whole other set of worries). And as DNA data is becoming an extra tool in the genealogists’ arsenal, a little changeling could turn carefully mapped history into chaos — or open up amazing new branches in a family tree.

There’s no doubt these errors can be devastating to all involved, but here are seven stories in which the involved families made the most of a nightmare situation.

Sophia Adelaide Kent

Was Queen Victoria’s first child, also named Victoria, swapped with the daughter of her father’s first, unofficial wife? A quirky article from The New York Times in 1889 recounts an event in New York City, where the claims of a woman named Sophia Adelaide Kent were presented to the audience. She said her “father,” Prince Albert, as well as Victoria’s rumored late-life companion, John Brown, supported her until their respective deaths. The woman also asserted that the Vatican, for some reason, held the proof of her birth. The press at the time must have been much tamer than today; otherwise, this story would have been all over the place.

Agnes and Lenie

In 1933, in a maternity ward at the Leiden Academic Hospital, the Netherlands, two women in adjacent beds were handed their baby girls who had just been washed and dressed. It wasn’t until 23 years later, when they met while attending the same wedding, that the women realized that Agnes looked like Lenie’s tall blonde sisters and Lenie resembled Agnes’ short brunette sisters. Their court case went to the Hague in the ’50s but went unresolved in the days before DNA tests existed. In 2012, the hospital issued an official apology to the woman.

Philippe, Paul, and Ernstli

In the small town of Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1941, identical twins Philippe and Paul Joye were born to a French family, and Ernstli Vatter to a German family; but nurses mistakenly placed Paul and Ernstli in the other’s bed. Philippe and his “brother” lived as fraternal twins until at the age of 5, when they all attended the same school and teachers pointed out how much alike Philippe and the boy raised as Ernstli looked. All three boys became the subjects of scientific studies for years. At age 7, the boys were returned to their biological families, and they are said to have adjusted well, though their mothers never got over the trauma.

Marti and Sue

From day one, Mary Miller suspected that the little girl she took home from the hospital in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1951, was not her daughter. But she was ill from postpartum complications and had six other kids to take care of, so she didn’t say anything about it … for 43 years! A 2008 episode of “This American Life” tells the whole story, with in-depth interviews with Martha “Marti” Miller, Sue McDonald, and the rest of their families — who have welcomed both women into their lives with love and a whole lot of “oh, so that explains…” The women feel a little more awkward about each other, in fact, than they do about their mothers.

Kay Rene and DeeAnn

Marjorie Angell wondered why the baby handed to her after a bath at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Oregon, on May 3, 1953, weighed less than she had when she was born. But she tossed out the doubt that DeeAnn was hers and raised her right along with her five other children. Meanwhile, growing up, Kay Rene Reed wondered why she had brown eyes, while her parents had blue. But it wasn’t until both DeeAnn and Kay Rene were grandmothers themselves that an elderly mutual acquaintance of the two families showed Kay Rene’s brother a photo of one of the other Angell girls, who looked exactly like his sister. In 2009 the “swisters,” as they call themselves, had DNA testing that proved they were switched. The news was hard to take, but since they both lived happy lives with the “wrong” families, they feel luckier than most and have been working together to adjust to the truth.

Dimas and Elton

When he was 14, Dimas Aliprandi saw a TV show about babies who were switched at birth and wondered if that could be why he looked so different from his Italian-Brazilian family, but DNA testing was too expensive at the time. Ten years later, in 2008, he finally did the test and the Sao Paulo hospital where he was born helped track down his biological family and the Aliprandis’ biological son, Elton Plaster, at a nearby farm. Both families reacted to the news in the most unusual way: The Aliprandis built a home on the Plaster farm and they all live there, happily ever after.

Manon Serrano

Sophie Serrano made headlines this year when she and her unnamed co-plaintiffs were awarded 2 million euros per family for the switching of their daughters at a Cannes clinic in 1994. Serrano questioned why daughter Manon’s hair seemed thicker after being treated for jaundice, and for years, Manon’s father wondered why she was darker than both her parents. A paternity test taken when she was 10 shocked everyone. Her biological parents were of Creole descent, and both babies were placed naked in the same incubator. Twenty years later, the families have decided that they’re too different from each other to maintain contact, and Manon feels closer to her mother, Sophie, than any relation by blood.

Think one of your ancestors was switched at birth? Or want to know if you inherited your idiosyncrasies from some great-great-grandmother? Order your AncestryDNA kit today and discover more about your ethnic makeup and family history.

— Sabrina Rojas Weiss

 

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New DNA Breakthrough Connects You to Ancestors in the 1700shttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/07/new-dna-breakthrough-connects-you-to-ancestors-in-the-1700s/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/04/07/new-dna-breakthrough-connects-you-to-ancestors-in-the-1700s/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:09:42 +0000 Paul Rawlins http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7417 Latest Breakthrough in Consumer Genetics Connects People to Ancestors Dating Back to the 1700s Using Just Their DNA DNA testing has turned out to be a godsend for adoptees searching for lost family members who are still alive and family historians looking to connect with genetic cousins. The tests work by looking for strands of… Read more

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Discover more with AncestryDNA

Latest Breakthrough in Consumer Genetics Connects People to Ancestors Dating Back to the 1700s Using Just Their DNA

DNA testing has turned out to be a godsend for adoptees searching for lost family members who are still alive and family historians looking to connect with genetic cousins. The tests work by looking for strands of DNA two people share in common and using statistics to estimate what their relationship might be. So how is AncestryDNA using their DNA test to find relatives who lived up to 300 years ago who have no sample in the DNA database?   

New Ancestor Discoveries

Ancestry calls their groundbreaking new feature New Ancestor Discoveries. They work through a unique combination of AncestryDNA results and the millions of family trees shared by Ancestry members.

First, AncestryDNA tracks down living cousins for each person who has taken an AncestryDNA test and organizes them into family networks called DNA Circles. These Circles bring together groups of people who are genetically related to a common ancestor who appears in each Circle member’s online family tree. New Ancestor Discoveries take this one step further by finding people who are a genetic match to members of a Circle but don’t have a Circle’s common ancestor in their tree—or don’t have a tree at all. Their genetics suggest that the Circle’s common ancestor could be their ancestor, too, so Ancestry passes this hint along.

A “Shortcut Through Time”

“It is effectively a shortcut through time – you take the test today and we tell you who your ancestors were, for example, in the 1700s. You don’t need to research records or build a family tree – AncestryDNA now transports you to the past,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, SVP and GM of AncestryDNA.  “It’s a combination of three things that allowed us to achieve this breakthrough innovation: (1) millions of family trees created by Ancestry members, (2) the fastest growing genetic database in the world, currently with more than 800,000 genotyped members, and (3) a dedicated team of scientists who are pushing the boundaries of genetics and statistics to help people make family history discoveries in ways never before possible.”

These advancements make discovering new ancestors made simple. Customers just provide a small saliva sample for the AncestryDNA test, which reads a person’s genetic code at more than 700,000 DNA markers, and mail it back. Results are available within six to eight weeks, including new possible ancestors, accompanied by historical narratives of their lives that can include photos, locations, and life events available to Ancestry members.

A New Gateway for Discovering Your Past

With this latest innovation, AncestryDNA will open the door to a whole new segment of consumers who may be interested in family history but don’t know how or don’t have the time to search records or build a family tree. It will also meet the needs of experienced genealogists, who may need new genetic connections to their ancestors to help break through dead-ends in their research that historical records alone can’t.

AncestryDNA is now connecting people to ancestors going back generations from all around the world, including Colonial America, the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Poland, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, and more.

It’s the latest example of today’s science taking us back to yesterday’s world in a way that’s never been possible before.

Want to learn more about the new AncestryDNA experience? Visit dna.ancestry.com.

 

 

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How Irish Is Your City? AncestryDNA Has the Answer.http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/03/13/how-irish-is-your-city/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/03/13/how-irish-is-your-city/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 21:01:08 +0000 Paul Rawlins http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7286 At AncestryDNA, we’re exploring how we can use genetics to study Irish heritage in the U.S. Throughout our nation’s history, millions of individuals from Ireland planted new roots here in the United States. While hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1600’s and 1700’s, more than two million arrived in the mid-19th century – most… Read more

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AncestryDNA kit

The AncestryDNA kit can help you discover your family history and ethnicity

At AncestryDNA, we’re exploring how we can use genetics to study Irish heritage in the U.S. Throughout our nation’s history, millions of individuals from Ireland planted new roots here in the United States. While hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1600’s and 1700’s, more than two million arrived in the mid-19th century – most to flee the “Potato Famine” that destroyed crops and led to widespread starvation in Ireland.

Historical records and census data tell us that many Irish settled in the Northeastern region of the United States. By 1850, people from Ireland made up over a quarter of the population of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City.

Let’s fast-forward to the 21st century and discover where descendants of Irish immigrants now live in the United States – using DNA.

 

States with the highest Irish ancestry

First, for all AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates of people born in the same state, we averaged their fractions of Irish ethnicity. Then, we found the U.S. states whose residents have the highest, and lowest, amounts of Irish ancestry.

On the map are the top five states with the highest average Irish ancestry.  Massachusetts is #1, and all of the other top states are also in the Northeast.

IrishMap_USASound familiar?  As we mentioned at the start, Irish immigrants disembarked primarily in the Northeastern region of the U.S., particularly in Boston.

Genetics and history agree!  Using only DNA, we find that many of the present-day descendants of Irish immigrants still live in and are born in the Northeast.

Since descendants of Irish immigrants have made their way all over the country, Irish ancestry is found in many states outside of the Northeast as well.  But some areas of the U.S. seem to be less commonly settled by people of Irish descent.  The states with the lowest average Irish ancestry are North Dakota, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Minnesota, all with less than 12% average Irish ancestry.

 

Cities with the highest Irish ancestry

Which U.S. cities have the highest amounts of Irish ethnicity based on DNA?

To answer this, we averaged the Irish ethnicity of all AncestryDNA customers born in a given city.

In the map below, the darker the green, the higher the average Irish ancestry of the city (bigger circles mean that more AncestryDNA customers were born there).  You may not see your city listed because we only looked at the top 50 cities with more than about 400 AncestryDNA customers.

Irish_city_map
R version 2.15.1 (2012-06-22). Made using googleVis-0.4.7.

 

Here’s a list of the top 10 cities with the highest average Irish ethnicity:

Top 10 Cities

CityAverage Irish Ethnicity
Boston, MA34.3%
Philadelphia, PA22.3%
Pittsburgh, PA19.6%
Fort Worth, TX19.6%
Birmingham, AL19.3%
San Francisco, CA19.0%
Tulsa, OK19.0%
Springfield, MA18.9%
Oklahoma City, OK18.4%
New York, NY18.3%

 

The “greenest” city by a large margin is Boston – with an average Irish ethnicity of 34%!  Other top cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth.

As before, many of these cities are in the Northeast.  Millions of Irish immigrants set their roots there – and genetics shows that many of their descendants have not strayed far.  But the fact that cities outside the Northeast are on this list shows that Irish immigrants also settled in non-Northeastern big cities, and that some of their descendants moved elsewhere.

 

 

What about the cities with the lowest average Irish ancestry?  It might not be a surprise that none of them are in the Northeast.

Bottom 10 Cities

CityAverage Irish Ethnicity
Milwaukee, WI10.3%
Toledo, OH13.0%
Minneapolis, MN13.1%
San Antonio, TX13.3%
Salt Lake City, UT13.3%
Los Angeles, CA13.6%
New Orleans, LA14.0%
St. Paul, MN14.2%
Detroit, MI14.3%
Chicago, IL14.4%

 

While there are likely some people in these cities with Irish heritage, there aren’t as many as in Boston – suggesting that fewer Irish immigrants settled in these areas.

And in cities such as Los Angeles where Irish immigrants are known to have lived, the signal of Irish ancestry has likely been lessened by an influx of immigration of individuals of other ancestries.

 

 

 

So where’s the best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  The “Top 10” list might be a good place to start.  In fact, Bostonians have been celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1737, New Yorkers since 1762, and Philadelphians since 1771.

 

Genetics of Irish Americans

Although everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, AncestryDNA can tell someone whether they have Irish heritage the other 364 days of the year–and whether they might have had an ancestor who immigrated from Ireland to America.  We’ve found that people from states and cities of the Northeast, where many Irish originally started their new future in the U.S., have the highest amounts of Irish ancestry.

While U.S. census data based on “self-reported” Irish ancestry shows similar patterns, our study is unique since we’re using only genetics.  This allows us to incorporate information about “Irishness” from people who may not self-identify as Irish, but still seem to have Irish heritage based on DNA.  Both views of one’s ancestry are equally important.

So even if your AncestryDNA results don’t reveal your Irish heritage, there’s no reason not to wear green and seek out the best corned beef and cabbage.  Now you know where to look for it.

–Julie Granka

Find out more about your ethnic heritage and family history. Get your AncestryDNA test today. 

 

*All AncestryDNA customers in this study consented to participate in research.

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Which “Top Model” Male Contestants Share an Ethnicity?http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/which-of-these-americas-next-top-models-share-an-ethnicity/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/which-of-these-americas-next-top-models-share-an-ethnicity/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:42:01 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=6545 On this season of America’s Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks added a new twist: each of the contestants underwent AncestryDNA genetic testing, along with Tyra herself. When they received the results, they learned that not only are their family backgrounds vastly more diverse than they ever expected but also that they have more in… Read more

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AncestryDNA test can reveal your ethnic mix

Image credit: Flickr

On this season of America’s Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks added a new twist: each of the contestants underwent AncestryDNA genetic testing, along with Tyra herself. When they received the results, they learned that not only are their family backgrounds vastly more diverse than they ever expected but also that they have more in common with each other than meets the eye.

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No one was more surprised to learn of their shared ancestry than two of the male contestants on the show who surprisingly shared three common ethnicities.

Will Jardell and Denzel Wells discovered they both have Finnish, Scandinavian, and European Jewish ancestry. (Fellow contestant Adam found out he’s Korean, Irish, and Polynesian.) Coincidentally, Tyra delivered the news to the two Texans on the heels of a heated argument they’d had on the show, and they chose to take this as a lesson on how little their conflict really meant.

After the models submitted a small saliva sample using the AncestryDNA kit, Ancestry was able to analyze more than 700,000 locations on their DNA map, looking for genetic markers associated with people from 26 different regions of the world. Though on the surface you might label Will as a white American of Northern European descent and Denzel as an African American, their DNA tells a much deeper story.

AncestryDNA’s Ken Chahine told Will that he likely has a grandparent or great-grandparent from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal region).

For Denzel, his African ancestors came primarily from Benin, Togo, and Senegal. In addition to his European origins (Finland and Scandinavia), he also has Native American and Asian markers in his genetic mix.

Are you curious about what your genes say about your family history?

Learn more about the easy-to-take AncestryDNA test today.

 

—Sabrina Rojas Weiss


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Tyra Banks Gets Surprising DNA Results on ‘America’s Next Top Model’http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/tyra-banks-gets-surprising-dna-results-on-americas-next-top-model/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/tyra-banks-gets-surprising-dna-results-on-americas-next-top-model/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 17:59:46 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=6544 On a recent episode of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks turned her reality show into a DNA laboratory. The supermodel/TV mogul and her contestants each went through an AncestryDNA analysis, and the results surprised everyone. Get AncestryDNA Banks confesses that she isn’t the only one who’s been wondering about where her exotic looks come from.… Read more

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AncestryDNA kitOn a recent episode of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks turned her reality show into a DNA laboratory. The supermodel/TV mogul and her contestants each went through an AncestryDNA analysis, and the results surprised everyone.

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Banks confesses that she isn’t the only one who’s been wondering about where her exotic looks come from.

“People have been asking me my entire life what’s my family history,” she said on the show. “I don’t know; I’m a proud black woman who was born in America. I’m proud of that, but I’m super curious as to what else is running through my veins.”

So, she submitted a saliva sample with the AncestryDNA test, and the experts at Ancestry looked at more than 700,000 locations on her DNA map to reveal that the 5’10″ California beauty is:

  • 79 percent African (She is actually the first black woman to land the cover of GQ, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and the Victoria’s Secret catalog.)
  • 14 percent British (So that’s where her awesome faux-British accent comes from!)
  • 6 percent Native American (Now that you mention it, we can totally see her doing a fierce Sacagawea pose in a pirogue.)

It’s actually quite rare to have such a high percentage of Native American blood — only 1 percent of test takers have more than 5 percent in their DNA, which simply confirms something we already knew about Tyra Banks: she’s one of a rare breed.

The AncestryDNA test is an autosomal test that looks across a person’s entire genome for clues into their past. Family historians use the test to help find both ancestors and living relatives they may not even know they had. By comparing a DNA sample to a reference panel of samples from people with long histories in a particular region, scientists can provide an estimate of a person’s ethnic past.

Do your DNA results hold fascinating clues about your own diverse family background? Learn more about the AncestryDNA test and find out today.

 

—Sabrina Rojas Weiss


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Tyra Banks Discovers Inspiring Stories In Her Family’s Pasthttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/tyra-banks-discovers-inspiring-stories-in-her-familys-past/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/12/29/tyra-banks-discovers-inspiring-stories-in-her-familys-past/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 17:56:59 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=6543 Tyra Banks is known for being a top supermodel, a successful talk-show host, and the co-creator and host of America’s Next Top Model. But when she delved into her ancestry on a recent episode of the show, she discovered she’s not the first in her family to make her own tracks. On ANTM this season,… Read more

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DNA markers from a DNA test

DNA markers. [Image credit: Flickr]

Tyra Banks is known for being a top supermodel, a successful talk-show host, and the co-creator and host of America’s Next Top Model. But when she delved into her ancestry on a recent episode of the show, she discovered she’s not the first in her family to make her own tracks.

On ANTM this season, Tyra said that while she’s proud of what she’s achieved as a black woman in the industry, she’s always been “super curious as to what else is running through my veins.” In addition to taking the AncestryDNA test on the show — which revealed that she’s 79 percent African, 14 percent British, and 6 percent Native American — Banks asked Ancestry’s ProGenealogists to look into her family history.

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By searching through records of births, deaths, military service and other documents, they discovered at least two men in Tyra’s past who made their own mark in the world.

Ken Chahine of AncestryDNA sat down with Tyra and told her about her 4x great-grandfather James Chesley, who enlisted with the U.S. Colored Troops and fought in the Civil War. “He was shot not once, but twice, and guess what he did when he recovered? He went back and fought some more,” Chahine told Banks. She also comes from a long line of “go-getters,” including her great-great-grandfather Walter Taylor, who went from being a simple laborer on the railroad to “owning his own farm free and clear,” Chahine revealed.

“People have been asking me my entire life, what’s my family history?” Banks explained. “I don’t know. I’m a black woman who was born in America, and that’s all I know.” Finding out things she never knew about the struggles and successes of her own ancestors left Banks feeling “connected to my past” in a way she hadn’t been before.

Born in Inglewood, California, to medical photographer Carolyn London and computer consultant Don Banks, Tyra was an awkward “ugly duckling” (by her own recollection) whose growth spurt at age 11 eventually led her to a brilliant career in modeling. She was the first black woman to grace the covers of GQ, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and the Victoria’s Secret catalog. Not content with just posing in front of the cameras, she’s become an influential TV producer, host, and even a novelist.

Want to find out more about your own family history? It’s simple. Get started with a free trial on Ancestry.com, enter the information you already know about your ancestors, and we’ll help you with the rest. Or get your own AncestryDNA test and discover your own ethnicity and family history today.

 

—Sabrina Rojas Weiss

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10 Weird but True Facts About DNAhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/09/16/10-weird-but-true-facts-about-dna/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2014/09/16/10-weird-but-true-facts-about-dna/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:15:50 +0000 Ancestry Team http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=5683 AncestryDNA does amazing things. With just a few drops of saliva, it can trace your genes to Senegal or Scandinavia. It can reveal hidden branches of your family tree and connect you to previously unknown third cousins. But these revelations are just the beginning of your complex genetic map. Here are some stunning but true… Read more

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facts about DNAAncestryDNA does amazing things. With just a few drops of saliva, it can trace your genes to Senegal or Scandinavia. It can reveal hidden branches of your family tree and connect you to previously unknown third cousins. But these revelations are just the beginning of your complex genetic map. Here are some stunning but true facts about the code that all living organisms have inside them:

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1. Your DNA could stretch from the earth to the sun 600 times.

If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each cell would be 6 feet long. With 100 trillion cells in your body, this means that the total DNA in your body could make hundreds of round trips to the sun and back.

2. We’re all 99.9 percent alike.

Not to diminish your unique genealogical tree, but it’s basically the same as everyone else’s. But those similarities are important: They’re what make you human.

3. We’re over 98 percent identical to chimps.

We’re only 1.2 percent genetically different from chimpanzees. Our last common ancestor lived about 6 million years ago. We’re almost as close to gorillas, but 7 percent different from rhesus monkeys. After billions of years of evolution, we share genes with all living things on earth.

4. Genes make up only 3 percent of your DNA.

The other 97 percent was thought to be “junk” DNA until recently. Scientists have found that this noncoding DNA controls the activity of your genes. It contains switches that turn genes on or off and program other compounds.

5. You can sequence the DNA of a fetus with blood and spit.

With only blood from the mother and saliva from the father, scientists have recently constructed the DNA of an unborn child. That sample alone could help detect genetic diseases in their offspring — with no invasive procedures required.

6. The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA.

Each cell has 3 billion base pairs, or chemical letters. If those letters were typed out, it would take nearly 30 years of typing nonstop. That’s enough text to fill 200 phone books.

7. Your genome contains ancient viruses.

Eight percent of our genome is made up of retrovirus DNA. These are viruses that have been passed down for so long that most have mutated and are held powerless in your system. But some retroviruses can take on new life, such as in people with HIV and several viruses that trigger cancer. When scientists isolated the DNA of both HIV patients and healthy people, they found a virus they called K111, sometimes intact and sometimes not. It is also found in the genome of chimpanzees, so the virus would have infected our ancestors before humans split off over 6 million years ago. When people are infected with HIV, the ancient K111 virus becomes activated.

8. DNA has been traced back over 300,000 years.

In 2013, scientists reported that they had found an ancient Y chromosome in an African-American man in South Carolina. It had been passed down intact for 338,000 years, predating the earliest known fossils of the modern human. The chromosome carried a mutation that scientists matched with one found in people of the Mbo tribe in Cameroon. That means that an ancestor of the Mbo interbred with an archaic African human.

9. A whopping 20 percent of Neanderthal DNA lives on in humans.

People living outside of Africa today have genomes composed of 1 to 4 percent of Neanderthal DNA. Combined, these different scraps make up about one-fifth of Neanderthal DNA. It’s especially found in the genes that make keratin, which affects our hair and skin. The Neanderthal skin color gene is still found in 70 percent of Europeans. Scientists have even sequenced the DNA of a Neanderthal dead for 5,300 years and found he has living relatives.

10. Your boyfriend can smell your DNA.

Studies of kissing have shown that women are more attracted to the scent of a man with a different genetic code than her own. A difference in DNA increases the chance for healthy children. So, what you perceive as chemistry may in fact be DNA!

—Rebecca Dalzell

Find out who’s in your genetic code. Try AncestryDNA today.

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