Back at the end of July of 2015, Emily heard about a genetic servicing agency through an acquaintance, so we decided to order two DNA test kits from an online company called 23andMe. The idea is that you send in a sample of saliva, and with that, they will map your DNA for you, letting you know where you and your ancestors came from.
The test kits came about a week after we ordered them and the first thing you must do is go online and register the kit with 23andMe. Once you’ve done this very important first step, you can proceed with filling the tube with your spit…a lot of spit…and sealing it all up, dropping it in your mailbox, waiting for them to receive the sample, and then the waiting game begins.
You can check your kit’s status at any time online, but just know that it takes four to six weeks to get the initial analysis of your sample processed. Patience is the key here, and in the end the results are worth the wait. During the waiting period you have the option to take surveys on 23andMe.com about your family, health, and general information about you and your tendancies. The surveys can be quick, one answer questions or they can be slightly more in depth. I chose to wait until after the results came in to take any surveys because I wanted them to get answers from my saliva, not from me giving them the answers. I wanted my DNA to tell them I was Italian-Irish, not from me telling them about my great-grandparents.
Going into this experience I knew roughly where my genetic makeup fell. My family’s ancestry is Italian on my Dad’s side and a mix of Irish and English on my Mom’s side. I always knew that the Italian side was more Italian and the Irish side was more of a fusion of Irish and English.
About mid-September is when we got our results back and here is what I found out about myself: I am 97.5% of European descent.
Not really a shocking discovery, but there were a few percentages that showed up unexpectedly, like 2.4% Middle Eastern and North African as well as .1% East Asian and Native American. I do not think it entitles me to some of the casino money, but I will have my people look into that.
Now that I know that I am unequivocally from European stock, I wanted to know where in Europe did my ancestors come from? 23andMe answered that question by breaking down that 97.5% number and showing you exactly what percentage came from where in Europe.
Looking under a section of their website called Ancestry Tools, I am able to see which countries of ancestry show up the most in my DNA. The top three, in order, were: Italy, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
23andMe broke down my information even further by separating my blood line into maternal and paternal so I had a better understanding of each side of the family and their story.
Maternal (Mom’s side)
Paternal (Dad’s side)
There are so many more areas that are covered on 23andMe’s website. I have not had a chance to explore all of them at moment, but with more time I will get there. I especially appreciate how they break down the information for you to easily understand it. If you still have unanswered questions they have a community of other 23andMe users who may be able to help you. If you give 23andMe permission to share some of your information, you can even see if you have possible relatives already in their database. I had possible fourth or fifth cousins in the database, but I have no intention of reaching out to anyone.
The cost of the kit was minimal ($99), the process was simple and straightforward, the waiting was anxious at times, and the results were fascinating. Who knew a tube full of my spit would be so exciting? I still do not know my blood type, but now I know more specifically how my past resulted in my presence.
I am so glad we tried 23andMe and if you are interested in trying it as well, please copy and paste this link into your address bar and I can get a referral reward of a $20 amazon gift card for the first three people to order a kit.