Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Learn More About Your Ancestry

Where in the world do I come from?

That's a pretty common question we ask; a normal desire to know our family's story. My paternal grandmother spent years researching our family tree, and I inherited her love of family history. When my grandmother passed away, my aunt sent me the books and paperwork Granny used for her studies, and I have so enjoyed poring over names and dates. I leaped at the chance to work with 23andMe for this post.
Learning More About Ancestry with 23andMe, from Serenity Now blog #spon

What is 23 and Me?

With a simple DNA kit, 23andMe can give you reports on over 240 health conditions, test results for more than 40 inherited conditions, as well as helping you discover your lineage and find relatives. Keep reading to find out how I learned some pretty neat things about my family tree.
Learning More About Ancestry with 23andMe, from Serenity Now blog #spon

I was more interested in the ancestral origins side of things, so when the DNA kit arrived in my mail box, I was excited to send it off and see how the test results compared to what I've grown up learning about my family.

How does it work?

1. The kit arrived in my mail box. It was surprisingly small. No needles, no shots! Just a small vial for saliva.

2. I registered my unique bar code on the site so that my sample could be processed.

3. Next, I followed the simple, quick instructions for leaving my saliva sample.

4. Repackaged, mailed off, and waited for my results. When the "ready" email came in, I just logged onto their site for data!

What did I learn?

I opted not to take a peek at the health records. I'm currently pregnant, and I wasn't sure how I'd handle any stressful or uncertain news. I chose to focus on the positive stuff and see where my ancestors came from! The DNA analysis included data from all sides of my family, reflecting where my fore bearers lived 500 years ago.
Learning More About Ancestry with 23andMe, from Serenity Now blog #spon

I've seen the most research for my maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother's sides of the family, so I knew there was a lot of British and Scottish blood. I was surprised to see such a large percentage of Irish! The "non-specific European" makes sense, as I know some of my grandmother's relatives came from France. The biggest shockers were the mention of Scandinavian and Italian heritage.
Learning More About Ancestry with 23andMe, from Serenity Now blog #spon

One of the coolest things is that if you have any DNA relatives in the system, you can contact them using 23andMe. So far, I see that I have 8 second and third cousins and 570 fourth cousins in their system.
Learning More About Ancestry with 23andMe, from Serenity Now blog #spon

Several years ago, I watched a few episodes of a major network TV show that combined celebrities and their genealogical history. I was jealous when many of them had their genes analyzed by a leading researcher to determine their ancestry. Knowing I could never afford such a costly undertaking, I forgot about it. I was completely floored to learn that 23andMe has reduced the cost of genetic service from $1000 at the time of their founding to just $99 today!

From what I've seen so far, 23andMe can be a valuable tool if you are interested in discovering your family heritage, learning more about your health, or both!

Have you ever researched your family history?

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. That is quite interesting Amanda. We have had a few relatives do research in the past. Always fun to discover where you came from.

  2. I love using genetics to learn more about your ancestral history! How cool!

  3. I would love to do this test to learn more about my ancestry and also to learn what markers I might have for diseases. The cost is reasonable, too.

  4. I'm super fascinated by this! Especially the genetic breakdown. Very cool!

  5. This is awesome! My dad and I have been talking about looking up our ancestry lately. I'm fascinated, thanks for sharing!

  6. That is really interesting! I am fascinated by geneology and I am watching the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? wishing I could dive as deep as they do. We are stuck on one family member and the only way to find out more about them is travel to Europe.

  7. Finding out about your ancestry is pretty cool, huh? I think you were right to not look at the genetics part though while you are pregnant! I'm a genetic counselor by day, and always caution people about getting genetic info this way - it's a good idea to have someone available to help you interpret the results (and not freak out!:) ). The disease information can sometimes be more than you bargained for when you signed up!

  8. I have been wanting to do this! Thanks for the review :)

  9. Umm... this is so cool! I totally need to do this. Would love to know more about our past :)

  10. This is so cool! I've always wanted to find out more information on my ancestry (but doesn't everyone?). I like how the program allows you to contact distant relatives. Such an awesome feature!

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