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DNA testing? Is it worth a try?

(24 Posts)
GreenGran78 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:13:07

My family have suggested getting me a DNA testing kit for Christmas, as I can’t think of anything I particularly want. I’m intrigued, but wonder how accurate they are. It would be an interesting experience. My cousin has done some research, and we seem to be a very boring family.
Can anyone give me some feedback on tests they have had, or recommend a Company that does them?

MrsThreadgoode Mon 16-Nov-20 10:17:47

I did mine through Ancestry as I have my FT on there, I’ve been in touch with 2nd and 3rd cousins I didn’t know I had, some of them had photographs of my relatives that I didn’t have and have kindly sent me copies. Many more ‘matches’ but so far no actual names that match on our trees.
Someone I know has been looking for her father and has found family in the USA.

paddyanne Mon 16-Nov-20 10:31:26

My OH did one last year ,as far as he knew he was Scots /Irish like me with one English GGGgrandfather .Well what a surprise his ancestry covers a lot of western Europe with over 900 living relatives in France .I have always said he looked mediteranean and it seems I wasn't far off .He gets relatives popping up daily ,alas he's not really interested in anestry and only did the test as it was a gift.If it was me I'd be super excited .Hope yours throws up some surprises .

EllanVannin Mon 16-Nov-20 10:38:27

My D in Oz did a DNA test with Ancestry and it was found that there's 38% European in the family, with Germany featured, which would account for all the blonde children in the family. The rest is made up of a smattering of Scottish and the remainder English. There is a German ancestor on mum's side.

We've covered a lot of ground on mum's side and D is delving on my dad's side now.

On mum's side there are relatives in Oz-- my second cousins, New Zealand, and New York. The cousin in NY had more pics of my mum as a girl than I have. All very interesting.

gt66 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:44:42

I've also done a test with Ancestry, as I find family history fascinating. My father is from Northern Ireland, but apparently I'm 70% Scottish (I believe there is a close association between the two places). I also have a smattering of Swedish (no idea), the rest English, but what I'm hoping to find in time is my bigamous grandfather's second family!

GreenGran78 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:55:51

I know that I have a large numbers of relations in Liverpool. My parents moved to a different area, during the war, and weren’t good at keeping in touch. I don’t know where any of them live.

Maggiemaybe Mon 16-Nov-20 11:45:05

I think it’s worth doing. DH and I had no exotic surprises. I’m more or less equal parts North East English/Scottish/Welsh, with a dash of Norwegian. He’s 90% Yorkshire, which must mean that if we cut him he’ll bleed strong tea. grin

He’s reluctant to put himself out there for family matches. They could be very interesting, as his great-grandad was a foundling and we could perhaps get some clues as to his origins.

Blossoming Mon 16-Nov-20 11:52:01

I did the Ancestry one, very interesting. The biggest percentage N.E. Scotland, which I expected, with some English, Welsh and Irish. A little from France. No surprises there, but 15% Scandinavian which I didn’t expect.

Alegrias2 Mon 16-Nov-20 12:35:52

I did an online DNA Genealogy course this year, it was fascinating. The tests will tell you where your ancestors came from, by percentage, like Blossoming describes. If you want to find relatives you don't know about, you have to upload the information to the website you get the test from, and it matches you to other people with the "right" DNA. Ancestry is best because it has the biggest number of people who have done that already, so you are more likely to find someone who is related to you.

I took a DNA test years ago and I found out that at least some of my ancestors had arrived in Scotland just after the Ice Age. I was thrilled!

M0nica Mon 16-Nov-20 13:43:38

I think most of them are good, but be sceptical over the lower percentage results - 5% Inuit, and similar. All the companies do the calculations based on their database, and the databases are all different, so the number of data entries relating to Inuits can be very small,so not reliable.

gt66 the reason that Ulster is so Protestant is because of the number of Scots who emigrated there after the Flight of the Earls in 1607. The government took the opportunity to confiscate six of the nine Ulster counties and grant the land to Protestant settlers, mainly from Scotland, thereby laying the foundation of today's divided island.

My paternal grandfather was from Northern ireland and with a good Scottish surname, however he was a catholic, not protestant. In the 1960s I worked with a protestant Ulsterman with a Scottish surname and he kept asking, if my grandfather was from Northern Ireland and had a Scottish name, why was he was a catholic. He just couldn't believe it was possible.

NfkDumpling Mon 16-Nov-20 14:13:25

I'm Norfolk born and bred so shouldn't have been surprised that my Ancestry test came back saying I'm mostly from Scandinavian (Dane) crossed with Dutch/Belgium/Northern France (Norman) with a little bit of Briton thrown in. I found it surprising how little my ancestors mixed.

Floradora9 Mon 16-Nov-20 16:13:08

I had great results from having mine done Ifound people I really wanted to connect to . However I am mad keen on tracing my family tree and this connected me to them . If only to get the result of your ethnicity I do not know if it is worth it . I was 91 % Scottish which came as no surprize but I managed to confirm my suspicions that my grandfather had children with two diffent women . One of my father's sisters is a full aunt another a half aunt .

ayse Mon 16-Nov-20 16:23:07

My daughter found two half uncles via Ancestry and dna matching. I’ve reconnected with two second cousins.

I’d already done my family tree so when I had mine done I started with Living DNA and found my heritage began in the Middle East (thousands of years ago). Migration followed and was mainly Saxon. This was born out by my family tree. I could check out health via this site but decided not to.

Ancestry is the one IMO if you want to connect with those carrying the same genes and trace trees. The results here just confirmed my own tree findings but it was good to know.

It depends what you want to do. Check out latest comparisons about which sites are best for what you want to do with the results.

Davidhs Mon 16-Nov-20 16:30:01

The results will certainly be interesting, be prepared for surprises - like a half brother a couple of streets away. New relatives are not always welcome additions, the ones you know about are probably the best of the bunch.
Plenty of secrets are taken to the grave by relatives

Alegrias2 Mon 16-Nov-20 16:48:03


The results will certainly be interesting, be prepared for surprises - like a half brother a couple of streets away. New relatives are not always welcome additions, the ones you know about are probably the best of the bunch.
Plenty of secrets are taken to the grave by relatives

I learnt a new abbreviation when I did the course Davidhs. NPE - Not Parent Expected!

Onthenaughtystep1 Mon 16-Nov-20 17:12:33

I am currently doing an extra mural university genealogy course and, by chance last week’s subject was DNA testing.

What I have learned is that most DNA testing of the type you are considering is autosomal testing. It gives scientific results allowing you to establish family relationships back about 5 generations or about 200 years with confidence. Occasionally relationships may be slightly off as when cousins marry cousins but generally it gives you accurate information about the different branches of your family tree.
It can also indicate the percentages of your ancestry which come from different geographical origins. At present this aspect of the test should be viewed with caution as it is completely dependent on comparing your test with a database of world reference population and the reliability is dependent on how representative this reference population is. To summarise, when it comes to telling you your ethnic background the results should be viewed with caution.

If your family are researching the family ancestry then your results will be of great help, either now or in the future.

Which company you use depends on where most of your ancestors are likely to have come from. You want to use a company which operates and has lots of customers in that area.
If the U.K. probably Ancestry if the New World probably 23 and me.

Another feature of 23 and me is the medical information. For example I chose to use that company because I wanted to know what my DNA told me about my health. In particular I wanted to know if I carried the prostate cancer/ breast cancer gene. Getting the additional genealogical information actually sparked my interest in finding my ancestors. You don’t have to access the medical information with 23 and me but I found it liberating as I now know I don’t have the Alzheimer’s gene or the breast/prostate cancer gene, or Parkinson’s. If I had got different results I would have made medical decisions accordingly.

If other family members are going to be tested you should all use the same company. Finding out family history is a lot of fun and challenging. I was not looking forward to a winter lockdown, now I am deeply engrossed.

Grammaretto Tue 17-Nov-20 08:19:53

I had mine tested with Ancestry. I have a fairly good family tree anyway, pieced together over decades with 12,000 names on it, and I have met "new" cousins at reunions etc . However I really wanted to solve a family legend that my Grandfather was not the son of his father but someone else...... the DNA proved the rumour true.

GreenGran78 Wed 18-Nov-20 00:09:24

Thanks, everyone. Some very interesting stories and information. I presume that the initial cost is just for the DNA testing and you have to pay extra for being told about connected relations etc?
I think that I will go ahead, but may delay until next year. Results may not be as accurate if Covid is limiting the amount of people working on the checks.

Grammaretto Wed 18-Nov-20 07:08:00

Go for it now! It's a booming industry and there are discounts. DD has just had hers done proving she's my daughter which is a relief.

On Ancestry you can have a free trial and then either cancel it or spend time and money finding more about your fascinating family. grin

Alegrias2 Wed 18-Nov-20 08:06:22


Thanks, everyone. Some very interesting stories and information. I presume that the initial cost is just for the DNA testing and you have to pay extra for being told about connected relations etc?
I think that I will go ahead, but may delay until next year. Results may not be as accurate if Covid is limiting the amount of people working on the checks.

Agree with Grammaretto, go for it! The checks are done automatically by the software, no people involved. And you can ignore any matches you don't want to follow up.

gt66 Wed 18-Nov-20 08:22:23

Hi GreenGran78; no you will be given access to all your dna matches and new ones that come along after. You just need to have an account with them, which you can open for free. I haven't paid for an Ancestry subscription for donkeys years...ever since, back in the early days, you bought 'credits' that only lasted a short time. You will be able to view your matches ethnicity, which can help you work out which side of the family they're from (e.g. Irish), a portion of their family tree and you can make contact with them, all without paying for a subscription. I use and which are free to search. Free bmd is only England and Wales, but Family Search has worldwide records. You will receive thousands of 4th to 6th cousins and maybe a few hundred closer matches; they will be the ones you'll be most interested in. Go for it!

gt66 Wed 18-Nov-20 08:34:29

Monica I've just come back to the thread and read your reply regarding the Scots in Northern Ireland. Very interesting, thankyou!

My grandmother was Catholic, but grandfather was Presbyterian.

M0nica Wed 18-Nov-20 08:50:29

gt66, mixed (religions) on both sides. Scottish Irish, and Irish Irish marrying good English Cof E partners. In each case the CofE converted to catholicism.

petunia Wed 18-Nov-20 09:18:54

I had the health as well as hereditary DNA. I found it fascinating. I found many many relatives who went over to America 2-3 generations ago. My interest was in the hereditary to start with but I became drawn to the health side.

Mine told me all sorts of things that I both knew and didn't know. I have an aversion to hearing people eat. It can drive me insane. Turns out its in my genes. So going from me feeling that I could control this crazy thing, I realise I am biologically programmed to feel that way.

I also found out I had one gene that increased my risk of dementia. This has made me examine my lifestyle and look at diet, exercise etc. The diagram of risk helped me put that risk into perspective.

Reading the report I felt I was looking at my life-mainly because I was looking at my life. Ha ha. From eye colour to muscle mass. One thing I found was that my muscle composition suggested someone who could be very athletic. I fell off my chair laughing at that one.

however, if you feel that this might raise issues you dont want to know at the moment, stick to the hereditary. I did 23 and me and get regular updates on health issues and family history. Go for it