Posted by Carissa Rasmussen on November 18, 2016 in Family History Month, In The Community

Taking the AncestryDNA test to learn more about my ethnicity was important to me because it establishes a connection. It’s made me feel closer to my ancestors, as I continue my search to learn more than just their names and dates.

Feeling close to my ancestors is important to me because it gives me a better understanding of who I am and how I can choose to deal with situations in my life. Knowing what my ancestors sacrificed and the trials they endured gives me hope and peace of mind for the future. I especially take inspiration from the strong women in my past.

hannah ward ashby
Photo courtesy of Carissa Rasmussen

For example, Hannah Ward was born in Belgrave, Leicestershire to Thomas and Truelove Ward in 1825. She was raised by laborers and by the time she was married, she was working as a servant. Servants in 19th century England “had to rise early to do their tasks, stopping when the family arose and restarting late in the evening. Tasks were repetitive and laborious, such as filling a tub with water, which meant heating pails and pails of water and trudging up and down the stairs, or bringing coal to fireplaces and stoves and removing ashes. Much time was spent removing coal ash from fireplaces, and then dusting rooms and sweeping floors clear of the substance.” (The Victorian Domestic Servant, by Trevor May, March 2008)

I can identify with her, as I usually spend a lot of my day as a mother to two young children doing a lot of repetitive and laborious jobs! There are a lot of days where I feel like all I’ve done is walk around cleaning up after everyone.

She was married at age 22, just as I was. She immigrated in 1864 on the ship General McClellan and made her way to Utah, when she was 59 with her 13-year-old daughter, having already lost her husband. She was frugal and never spent money unnecessarily.

That trait of being frugal has been passed down to each of her descendants and I believe that the industrious nature of our family comes from her hard work. My parents are some of the most frugal people I know and they were born more than 130 years later.

On my Instagram, I took a poll to see what others thought my DNA results would be.

I was surprised that so many people guessed Great Britain! Most people even accurately guessed that I was Scandinavian and Great Britain, with Ireland and Scotland and Wales.

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From the DNA test I learned that I have 22% Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland, and Wales. I also have 27% Ireland, which also includes Scotland and Wales. I had no idea that I would have 49% DNA from that region. We’ve located many of our English ancestors but I have yet to find an Irish group!

The Irish are known for holding strong to their culture throughout the centuries, and I’m excited to learn more about my Irish heritage. I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about their family to take the AncestryDNA test. Even though I’ve researched my family lines, there were still surprises in my DNA. It’s gratifying to feel a deeper connection with my past, and I know there are amazing accounts of others finding lost siblings, parents, and children. 

Learn more about the modern tools I use to search out my family history on my Instagram page, Family History Modernized.

Carissa Rasmussen

Carissa Rasmussen is co-founder of Family History Modernized which is dedicated to inspiring young families to love family history. Learn more at Family History Modernized.

18 Comments

  1. Chuck Goehrig

    I wish Ancestry would at least attempt to promote the cousin connection aspect of the DNA testing. Some of us have only done the DNA testing to connect with living cousins to help us with our family trees.

  2. Joyce

    Sometimes DNA can prompt us to research the history of the regions our ancestors lived in.

    I was quite surprised to see N African and Middle Eastern, as well as Spanish ties in my DNA–then when a cousin showed up the same, I researched the history of Sicily, where our common ancestors were from and found the connection was due to the various invasions of Sicily long ago by those regions.

    History is very important to consider when doing genealogy research. I have learned a lot about history both here and in foreign countries by doing genealogy research. If you don’t learn about the history of areas your ancestors were in, you can miss important clues or just important information in understanding them and the times they lived in.

  3. Erykah Brown

    I found Ancestry to have lies on it. Because my grandmother is not dead and she did not have a daughter to die.So before this site publish anything they need to make it true.

  4. Monika

    @Erykah Brown. I suspect that you found this incorrect information on ancestry trees on ancestry.com. I had the same experience when I found a tree on ancestry.com that declared ME and my mother dead. (We are both still very much alive.) She also had my parents live in places in which they never lived. Have no idea where she got that from. So I contacted her, thinking that she might be interested in my explaining to her that my mother and I are still alive. Her response was that I “should mind my own business!” Hhhuuuuh?? Unfortunately, ancestry.com cannot do much about that. (I tried to have them intervene but that tree owner just made her tree private instead, so that now only the people who are invited onto her tree can duplicate the incorrect information. The secret to properly using ancestry.com is to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and do not copy from other peoples trees. There are too many “junk trees” on ancestry.com. Ancestry.com gives you access to accurate birth, marriage and death records. Rely only on original records and be aware that many people have the exact same name. I like to jokingly say that “If I were to search for vital records of Vladimirsky Pumperschnickelbacher, my first reaction would be “Oh, that should be easy! There cannot be that many of them!” Then I press the “search button” and up come 25 Vladimirsky Pumperschnickelbackers!” Good luck in your search!

  5. Joan Lange

    I also followed a family tree someone added to Ancestry.com. when I contacted the owner of the tree (not to say she was wrong) just to ask where her info came from because I can’t find any source information. Never heard back!!

  6. Griselda De Los Angeles Sanchez Tejera

    I’m going to be 61 in March I have not seen my father Juan Tejera since I was in the 6th grade I know that I have step brothers and sisters on his side I do not know if he’s dead or alive but I definitely want to get in touch with my family in Dominican Republic it’s one of my wishes before I die to meet my brothers and sisters even if my father is passed if you can actually help me with this I would be so grateful for the rest of my life I’ve tried and tried to get information from my mother but she refuses to speak of the past I have cousins who asked me about my family tree and I can only mention about myself my husband and my 5 kids my grandkids and my great-grandchildren I wish before I die to meet them please help me God bless you and may you come up with some answers for me that I could not find out my own thank you

  7. keniarosas

    I need help to. Find my dad in mexico Baja California I haven’t. Know who he was why he left me I need the information. About him please help me

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      Have you checked what the status is of your DNA through your account? If you log in to your account and click on the DNA tab in the black bar at the top of the page, you will be brought the DNA Page and it will either have a status bar of what stage the kit is at or your results will be there. If you do not see anything like this, then please give us a call, so that we can look in to this further.

  8. Steve

    I have been trying to find my biological father that my mother dated for about six months and got pregnant with me. Well to fast forward to present day I found out about after both of my parents passed away so I took a DNA test with my sister and sure enough we do not share the same father so I then took one through Ancestry.com and it came back with my DNA/ Ancestry and as it turns out I have 36 people that are fourth Cousins or closer , now that being said we know both sides of my mothers parents side and my fathers came back as being polish, so I have contacted two ladies on my list of relatives one of which cooperated greatly and I am very thankful but she could only assisted me so much so I contacted Ancestry.com about using a professional Geneologist, I then received a call from a very nice lady who explained to me that I had to open an account and put two thousand dollars into it then they get $30.00 per hour and that they would only bill for the hous worked as well as telling me that had done quite a bit of work already to find my father but that she could most likely find him pretty quickly because she specialized in adopted children. But I was a little suspicious about that putting that much money and how would I know if she would actually do that for sure or just a scammer so I didn’t do it, so my question is is this actually how it is done by your company.

    • Jessica Murray

      Steve, It sounds like you may have expressed interest in our ProGenealogists and they’re the ones who may have reached out to you. They’re a group of professional researchers that work for Ancestry and help with a variety of family history research projects for clients across the globe. You can find them by visiting https://www.progenealogists.com/ and they can help answer more specific questions about your interest.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      You would purchase a DNA kit from us either by calling us on 1-800-262-3787, between the hours of 9am to 11pm EST, or by going online to http://www.ancestry.com/dna. Once you receive the kit, you will activate the kit on your online account and then send the sample back to us in the free return postage box. Once we receive your sample, we will start processing it. It can take 6-8 weeks for the results to be finished. Once they are in, you will click on the DNA tab on the Ancestry tab to view them. You will get an email when the results are ready.

  9. Fontaine Boutwell

    My grandfather George P Boutwell was orphaned at age 4 when his mother died his father disappeared. This is the story he shared with me before his death. He lived on the boat docks in San Francisco selling newspapers on the street corners and at night he would sleep on the tug boats that were tied up at the docks. The men would leave him a meal and left the door open to the bunks. This lasted until he was age 7 when the police picked him up for truency. That is when someone noticed he was an orphan living on the streets so he was sent to a Catholic orphanage where he lived until he was age 15. It was felt he was Jewish, at least that is what he was told when he got there so he had to live in the infirmary with the Jewish Doctor. That Doctor raised him as a Jewish child, he was not allowed to live with the Catholic boys and had to take care of them when they got sick. Needless to say he does not have much regard for the Catholic religion or the people who manage their behaviors. When I took my DNA test I expected to fine Jewish DNA in my results but I was negative. The Boutwell’s came from England and originally settle in Salem MA. If DNA had been around in 1900 more than likely my grandfather would not have been treated so badly by a major religious organization. Both sides of my family came to America for religious reasons, we know about the Salem group and the Fontaine’s came to Virginia from France, Ireland, or England originally as French Huguenots. Just no Jewish issues in my family background as thought. Now I can speak with conviction!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      In order to view your DNA results, go to http://www.ancestry.com/dna and click Sign In on the top right hand corner. Then enter your username and password. Once logged in, click on the DNA tab in the black bar at the top of the Ancestry page to see your results.

  10. Ilene Strauss

    I hope you get more than Mr. Boutwell got in his DNA test. Just saying where he came from in two short sentences really does not tell me much. I hope there is more that we, the general public, do not see. Thanks. Ilene

  11. ashley greenfield

    Please I can’t find out bc I don’t have the funding .but I have pushed around and lies to . just want to know about my father who died .his name patrick wayne greenfield that was with a woman named Valerie mauz y ..my own step mom won’t tell me about my father .I tried ancestry and I am not getting any help bc then here it has said to me that my father took is alive .please I would be so blessed .I would have closure

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