The media has, and rightly so for privacy and other reasons, cast aspersions on the relatively new industry of DNA analysis for family history.
My husband and I took tests about five years ago and found that, in both cases, our report mirrored what we knew of our family background. For me, it nearly mimicked my four grand-parents. While my DNA has, of course, not changed since I first took the test, the sample size has increased as more people take the test. Again, my numbers were about as I expected, mostly western Europe and the
But a new featured called Thru Lines allows me to see the family trees of those with whom I may share DNA. There are about 30 trees to which I have a genetic connection.
Today I was running up a branch of my family tree and ran into a fourth cousin I’ve never met. I knew her parents and grandparents when I was a child. I wrote her a note on the internal Ancestry message board.
Her grandparents and her father are deceased. She lives in Minnesota and recently was visiting her mother in Pennsylvania. Her mother suggested to her, sort of out of the blue, that she and I should connect. Apparently, my fourth cousin is moving her mother (no relation to me) to a smaller home and found pictures of my family. While my mother wasn’t interested in family history per se, she was a great letter-writer and one who communicated with family members far and near. I’m certain that the pictures of my family came to my cousin’s mother from my mom.
My cousin and I will soon talk on the phone to compare notes on our research. I know that my mom is smiling widely out there somewhere. What is amazing to me about this feature is that through this simple saliva test I am linked to many others, often corroborating information I already had.
Another new feature to the DNA report is Traits. A person’s DNA can suggest certain traits. My report listed more than a dozen traits including an affinity for sweets (true!), pale skin, freckles, and dark hair. The report suggested I have dark eyes. Mine are a medium green. Missed on that mark.
The report also suggested that my close male relatives (attention, son and nephew) have a low chance of male pattern baldness.
I do not have a cleft chin, and the report suggested I did not. The report said my earwax is yellow and sticky (correct, but TMI) and that my earlobes are not attached. And apparently I’m not a vampire as my pointer and middle finger are longer than my ring finger, as the report predicted.
The most bizarre note on the report was the suggestion that I can smell my urine after I eat asparagus. Since I despise asparagus, I’m not sure if this is the case.
Back to my regularly scheduled hunting. A friend suggested I’ll probably go all the way back to Adam and Eve (which we all do), actually we’re all from Africa science tells us. But I have fairly exhausted all my lines in America and will be starting Europe soon.