Posted by Anna Swayne on July 2, 2014 in AncestryDNA

There are many reasons to take an AncestryDNA test  – below are top five reasons, in no particular order:

1. Learning Your Ethnicity

ethnicity estimateA question that each of us ask ourselves at least once in our life is, “Where did I come from?” Are you really Irish? Or are you Italian?

Anyone can discover what their ethnic origins are going back 500-1,000 years or more by taking an AncestryDNA test.

How can we do this? We take your DNA and then compare it to the DNA from the 26 different regions around the world.

After the comparison is made we then give you an estimate of which region your DNA matches up with. This estimate is based on research we have done today and may change as time goes on and more research is done as science and technology are advancing to help us discover more about ourselves. Read a recent story shared with us about how Lexi found a connection to one of her ethnic groups. What is your unique mix?

2. Breaking Through a Brick Wall

We are combining two powerful things — DNA and family trees — to provide a tool that can help us answer the questions we have about our story. Since we inherit DNA in a unique way (50% from mom and 50% from dad) the results are unique to each person and even a sibling wouldn’t have the exact same set of results that you would.

Julie and Susan had always thought they were 2nd cousins until recent rumors surfaced that perhaps their great-grandmother hadn’t provided all the details of who fathered her first born child (Julie’s grandfather). They wanted to know if DNA could help answer the question. Yes, it can, and we identified who else needed to take the test to provide a higher “confirmation” to their question. They took the test and the results were conclusive-yes, they shared the same great-grandfather and, yes, they were really 2nd cousins. They put that rumor to rest.

3. Leaving a Legacy

What is that one thing you wish you had from your grandfather or your great-grandmother? Or from any of your ancestors? Samantha J. from Florida said, “I wish I had their family photo album or the journal of my grandmother who emigrated in the early 1800s. I have now preserved those things for my kids and I believe for my descendants they are going to be asking if DNA testing was done on me. So, I took the test to preserve what I got. I don’t know everything they will find out, but I don’t want anyone shaking their fists up at me in heaven and saying, if only grandma would have spit into a tube so we knew what her DNA was telling us.”

chairWhen Samantha shared that with me, it got me thinking. I recently inherited a beautiful dining room table from my great-grandmother. She needle-stitched the chairs to have a matching set. When my mom called to ask me if I wanted it, she told me that she remembers having many special meals at that table. I was excited. Not only did I need a table, but it was something from family — it came with the stories. I also received the chair that she sat in to make the needlepoint. If only the table and chairs could talk — I would be rich with information.

DNA wasn’t available to be tested back then, but I agree with Samantha. I believe it’s one of those things if we don’t take advantage of it now someone will most likely be asking for it later and regretting that they don’t have it.

4. Connecting to a Cousin

Who has the wedding photo of your great-grandparents? Do you have all the information on all of your family lines? DNA testing is being used to connect with others who are working on the same family lines to network with each other, verify research that has already been done, and share stories and photos. Each of us has part of the story and it’s our job to share it with others. It’s an opportunity to use other tools that search other records — the genetic records inside us and then comparing ourselves to others. My AncestryDNA test lead me to a wonderful family treasure.

5. Making New Discoveries

dif recordsNo records available? If written records aren’t around to answer our questions, what is our next step? DNA is another record that is inside us, ready to tell us something unique about ourselves, and this genetic record can be tested to unlock a piece of our story. Each record has a purpose in providing us information and no other record, marriage, census or pension records can do what DNA can do.

The best part is that DNA is the record that keeps on giving. Once you take the test, your results are updated when AncestryDNA makes updates to the tools.



Why did you take the AncestryDNA test? If you haven’t taken it yet, why do you want to take an AncestryDNA test? Share with us in the comments below.


Anna Swayne

Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.


  1. Linda

    I have been so intrigued with the DNA since I saw it on a series on PBS with professor Gates which got me into working with my parents (divorced) to continue with what they had already done! I took the DNA which confirmed both maternal and paternal sides are from the same European areas such as British Isles etc. I would love to have both parents take the test as they are up in years.

  2. Daymon Jones

    I was actually quite disgusted with the numerous claims of Native American ancestry, but no one willing to prove it. I had researched my family line back to discover that my family came to Arkansas across the Trail of Tears. They were not the Cherokee driven on that death march, they were the whites doing the driving. I found records they were even disciplined for cruelty. They (three brothers) were awfully bad to even have that happen on a death march!

    My test has caused a lot of fighting in my family. Those who accept the results that we have NO Native blood. And those who are demonizing and vilifying me and those that know it is true. I think this is the biggest family wide fight since my great grandmother died in 1968.

    I am grateful for the chance to “prove” official records were true. I am also grateful that I can admit their disgrace. I am grateful I will not perpetrate the cover up of their crimes. Hopefully that blood stain will be wiped from my daughter and grandchildren. At least they will not be carrying on with a family wide cover up.

    I recommend this test. It’s true, the truth will set you free.

  3. Karen

    I did it to put to rest the rumors that I had Native American ancestry (it seemed quite unlikely, given where my ancestors settled). The results answered that question, but it also led to new ones–such as the origins of the Irish ancestry on my mother’s side. Her parents spoke Pennsylvania German, and we always thought her heritage was central European.

  4. Denise Furlong

    I was raised in foster homes/ children home so my taking the DNA was two-folds. I wanted to know where my ancestors came from. What makes me, me. I missed out on family stories, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. So I had hoped to make connections with cousins who could tell me about my family.

  5. Virginia Perkins

    Ok I too test and glad I did! It shows I have 52% Native American how do I find out what tribe? Or research further on that?

  6. Ruth Detjen

    No one in my family knew anything about my maternal grandfather. I always suspected they did know, but for some reason, did not have his picture or wanted to remember him. I found out doing my own research that he was African-American, who was legally married in 1900 to my maternal grandmother from Russia, but everyone said she was German. After he died, his children passed for white. So, I took the DNA test to findout more – found I am 13% African, which is twice as much as Western European. But most of all, Irish and Scandinavian at 26% and 25% respectively. The testing helped me ferret out the lies and misconceptions!

  7. Jessie Williams

    I can not wait to receive my results. I have been a member since 2006. I am so glad Ancestry is now doing DNA . I hit a brick wall a while back. So this clears up how much White and Native is in my blood line. Good luck to all.

  8. Ron Grimes

    I hadn’t logged into my DNA page in quite some time, and I was pleasantly surprised at the refinements. But, I don’t understand how I went from

    British Isles – 97%
    Unknown – 3%


    Europe West – 64%
    Great Britain – 12%
    Ireland – 11%
    Scandinavia – 6%
    Iberian Peninsula – 6%
    Italy/Greece – 1%

  9. Anna

    @Ron, the ethnicity results are based on the data that is available to be compared against. As we get more data or DNA tests your results may change slightly or be more refined. For example, in the last update, the British Isles was split into Great Britain and Ireland. Because we had tested more people we were able to refine those areas. Your results are based on what we know today. As we make new discoveries we will update your results-you only have to take the test once.

  10. Peggy Castelli

    I am very curious of my back ground! I tried myself, only got as far as a newspaper piece about an adoption! Have no idea who I am.! My mother kept it a dark secret!

  11. Becky

    I convinced my husband to take the DNA test because we wanted to know more about his Native American heritage. His father is deceased and he is estranged from his mother who in the past has provided him with much fabricated information about his family. None of the federal census records show his ancestors as being “Indian” but we have no doubt he has a lot of Native blood in him. Like Virginia Perkins above, we want to know specifically how much from which tribes. How can and the DNA test assist us with this type of search?
    Thank You!

  12. farha

    I don’t know anything about the origin of my grandparents from either side. This test seems quite interesting, if there are any free trial on this please let me know

  13. catcrazykid63

    “Who has the wedding photo of your great-grandparents?” Funny you should ask that. I actually saw mine on my grandmother’s bookshelf. My great-grandfather was so tall, and his wife was so short! I think I got the short genes.

  14. Robert McCormick

    I was very excited to receive my results. Like many, the results were somewhat surprising. I am greater than 99% European, including 63% Western Europe and 33% British/Irish. Nearly all the surnames (of those of which I’m aware, at least 90%) on both sides of my family going back 300 years or so are British and Irish.
    But might I be correct in thinking some of the above ancestors had perhaps had ancestors who were Angles, Saxons, Normans, Vikings, etc, who had migrated to the British Isles? And perhaps could it still be difficult to precisely differentiate between British and Western Europe DNA, considering all the intermingling that went on?
    Finally, I’m sure there’s a simple explanation, but if I’m 63% Europe West with the average person in that area today being 48% Europe West, how is that actually possible? How were sample populations chosen and the Europe West DNA identified as such with today’s percentages?
    Thanks for any light that Anna or anyone else could shed on this.
    Finally, when are further updates anticipated?

  15. Gerald Martin McClain

    I am the sole remaining male still living. My Grandmother moved to California during the 1940’s. She had divorced my Grandfather and left East Prairie, Missouri with my Mother and my Uncle. My Father last name is McClain and was married to my Mother three years due to his drinking and his inability to keep himself employed. My mother never allowed me to associate with my fathers family due to her thinking that they would influence and create another alcoholic. I never had a chance to talk about ancestors and because of failed marriages, I grew up questioning where did my family on both sides, originally born and what was the story on how they ended up in America. The best thing that moving to California did was I was the first member of both sides of family to graduate with a four year college degree. I am also a US.Navy Veteran receiving a Good Conduct Medal and was the Honor Man at my Boot camp graduation. I have no children and just want to know my history. The Truth shall set me free, as stated by above comment.

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