Services like Ancestry.com and 23 and Me have sparked interest in our heritages. Where did we come from? Which of our ancestors were first to arrive and set-up shop?
Do we have any surprise, genealogical connections that we may not have known about? Is there a Princess Diaries level reveal waiting in the wings? If so, come on out, Julie Andrews? I'll happy take the tiara and take up Genovian pear juggling.
For many, taking the first step and submitting that DNA swab is intimidating. Discovering where you came from could alter where you are now. Fortunately, people that followed their family history answered Reddit user, r/sator8's question and shared their tales: People who have used DNA-Ancestry testing (ancestry, 23andMe) what were your results and was it worth it?
25. Like Something Out Of Greek MythologyGiphy
I'm adopted and did both ancestry and 23 and me. I found my maternal great aunt on ancestry and my paternal uncle contacted me through 23 and me.
I've spoken to my uncle a couple times and my great aunt a couple times but that's it. I've seen my bio mom and Dad via Facebook and that's enough for me. If you find yourself really uncomfortable and not wanting to go any further, don't let anyone push you into a meeting or relationship you're not ready for or comfortable with.
To me, it's like opening Pandora's box. You have no idea what could happen or who these people really are, so just remember that you have all the power and should be able to control where you and your bio dad go from here. I wish you the best of luck, it's a very very strange situation to find yourself in.
24. Partial Princess?
My sister did this, and we found out we were even whiter than we realized (she had believed we had some Native American in there. We do, but it's way less than she thought)
I've been into genetic genealogy almost as long as it's been a thing (since 2006), and I can't tell you how many white Americans believe they have some significant Native American ancestry somewhere. Many, many families have the clichéd "Cherokee princess" legend that they heard from their grandparents. DNA testing shows that these tales are almost always false, usually to the testee's profound disappointment.
23. Bragging Rights
We did this for my grandma for her birthday a few years ago, it was really interesting! She knew she was mostly Italian, but we found out that she is actually (genetically) more Italian than most people who currently live in Italy.
She got a kick out of that.
22. Your Wife Might Not Be Just Your Wife
I was adopted as a baby, never knew my birth parents. For my wedding, my wife's best friend got us both Ancestry kits. At the time the joke was it would be funny if we found out we were related. We weren't. Flash forward to about a month ago when I got an email in Ancestry from someone saying we may be related. Ancestry classified the connection as very high probability of parent child relationship. So I found my birth father. Trying to figure out how to go forward now.
Since this has come up a lot. My wife and I were not related. 3.5 years after taking the test my biological father reached out to me and said Ancestry.com says we're related and would I like to find out how we were related. I think he was unsure if we were father/son or grandfather/grandson. After a few additional emails back and forth he provided information that confirmed he was my biological father. We are going to meet for coffee at some point in the near future.
21. The Family Castle!Giphy
Found out that my 16th great grandfather owned a castle in wales that is still there today! He was [beheaded] though
20. Knowing Your Past Can Change Your Future
My mom is super into her family tree. She is 99.9% Rusyn (a specific kind of eastern Slavic from the Carpathian Mountains). She was born and raised in North Eastern Pennsylvania and had a feeling that her parents had to be distantly related somehow.
Got both of her parents DNA tests for Christmas this year... and they are indeed distant cousins.
19. Who Am I?
Turns out my neither my mother nor my uncle are related to my grandfather. And my mother and my uncle are half-siblings. So yeah, worth it
18. When You Are What You Hate
I just got mine today. I used Ancestry but because I'm Korean all I got was 100% East Asian (wow so insightful! /s). Anyway then I uploaded my raw data to Wegene that pinpointed my DNA better. I was SHOCKED. I expected Chinese, Mongolian and Korean.
- 55.43% Northern Han Chinese (this makes sense because my dad's side is North Korean and my last name can be traced to Chinese ancestry).
- 44.21% Japanese (the surprise)
- 2.8% Other (stuff they couldn't figure out)
- 0.32% Korean (I don't know if I can classify myself as Korean after that low percentage..... lmao)
So I found out I'm very not Korean and my mum was the most shocked because she absolutely hates the Japanese... and the Japanese dna is most likely from her side.
17. Excuse Me?
The chair of my department at work told me his story recently. He has a brother (we will call him Jeff) and a family friend (we will call him Henry) who was best friends with his brother growing up. Henry's sister did one of those DNA kits. Her results came back saying she had a first cousin in the area, who happened to be Jeff's first cousin. After more investigating they found out that Jeff and Henry were actually switch at birth in the hospital. My department chair's biological brother is actually Henry.
His mother remembers there being some confusion with the babies in the hospital but never thought anything of it again after that. This is probably one of the craziest stories I have ever heard.
16. Sounds Like A Crazy Doctor's OfficeGiphy
I have a crazy story. The ancestry results were definitely unexpected in this case.
My friends mom did the ancestry test. She loved the whole thing and got her dad to try it, too.
The results showed he wasn't her father. They weren't connected via the site. She performed a paternity test (saying it was part 2 of the ancestry test) and confirmed that he is not biologically her father.
Then she nonchalantly brought up her (late) mom being pregnant and her father said that they had difficulty getting pregnant so her and her brother and sister were all conceived via artificially insemination. This was like the 1950s. Freezing sperm wasn't a thing then and her father claims to have been there. So there's probably only one to two other men in the room - the doctor and maybe an assistant.
Idk what happened in the doctors office 60 years ago (for three children) but secrets were definitely kept.
15. A Little Certainty
There were a lot of very interesting tidbits I picked up about my DNA that I wasn't expecting, and a lot of it made sense too. For example I found out that, according to my DNA, I metabolize a certain drug too quickly... And guess what? My mum has been on triple treatments of said drug for months with no result.
The reason I wanted to do it, though, was because my granddad on my mum's side was abandoned as a baby and never knew where he came from. Looks wise, he was clearly foreign and that passed through to my mum and to me (my brother looks more typically Irish, like my dad). So I wanted to find out where that part of my ancestry traced to. The results were a bit confusing and didn't outright say... But according to my results, my maternal haplogroup is a pretty rare one that is most common among the Sami people of Scandinavia. Looking at photos of traditional Sami people they look /a lot/ like my granddad and my uncles, so it kind of fits - but I'd still like to know with certainty.
14. Having A Good Laugh
Brother did one. Turns out the family rumor of Irish/Native American descent was in fact incorrect and we are 98.9% Welsh, with the rest being a mixture of French and German.
13. Old Photos Take On New MeaningGiphy
My dad never knew who his father was; I've spent my adult life helping him search with what little information we had (which all turned out to be total red herrings) and it's basically been my life mission to find this person while my dad is still alive.
I bought him one of those ancestry DNA kits for his birthday last year, which brought up some "connections" that didn't make sense; first, second cousins we couldn't figure out. Luckily one of the people he connected with was really into geneology and had done a lot of groundwork themselves. They went through their photos and found one of a man at his wedding, said "Hey, you look a lot like my uncle"; the resemblance was totally uncanny but we didn't want to get too excited.
So from that, the children of the man in the photo did their own DNA tests to corroborate what we thought we were looking at. Yep - turns out that the man in the photo was my dad's father. He now has a whole new extended family he never knew about (he was an only child) and can finally finish searching for this piece of his life puzzle.
So yes, worth it.
12. Welcome To The Family
I signed up for 23andMe, primarily to do research on possible markers for some hereditary health concerns that run in my family line (all is good there). While I was there, I started digging into the ancestry side of the site. That is when my life split open.
Turns out I have a half-sister. My mom gave birth to a baby girl a few years before marrying my dad, and put her up for adoption. I had no idea about this, and I actually kinda doubt that my dad knew either.
You can imagine that this kind of new can really rock a family. With us, it's all been positive. Both of my parents have passed away, which eliminates a lot of the possibilities for awkward or problematic fallout. Basically, it just means that my brother, sister and I have another sister that we just have never met. All good! She has now met my (our) sister, and she is coming out to visit me in a couple months.
For her, it's been quite a ride. She has been searching for family for her whole life, and she finally found us! Of course, she was also very interested in finding out about her father. My mom never once mentioned old boyfriends to me, so I really didn't know how to help her, but now she had a bit more info to go on, and her search continued.
But wait, there's more! So, when she visited our sister, they were digging through old photos, and they came across a dated one of her with a guy, that was more than likey taken right around the date she was conceived. So she manages to track this guy down (she's been searching for decades, and apparently is damn good at it by now). She gives him call, and learns that the photo was taken at a party at one of his friend's house.
11. Getting Told, "NOPE."
I grew up being told I was primarily Cherokee Native American among many other things. My aunt and grandmother collected Cherokee artwork and artifacts to honor our heritage. Got my test results back... NOPE! I'm all white.
10. Doesn't Make SenseGiphy
I have believe my whole life that I was half Native American and half German. My father is Lumbee Native American and he and I both are registered and enrolled in the Lumbee tribe. I took a DNA test and the results came back that I was 88% European and 12% Sub-Saharan African. No Native American whatsoever. It kind of feels like my whole life was a lie.
This especially affected my father, because he grew up with this tribe in North Carolina and they've been fighting for federal recognition from the government for years. Just doesn't make sense.
9. What If You Hailed From Thor?
I won a test for free in a competition. There had been rumors in the family of Australian indigenous and American indigenous ancestry. Turns out they were incorrect as that didn't show up at all. What did show up was mostly as expected. Around 10% Pacific islands (Maori great-grandfather), 10% European Jewish, and the rest was mostly British isles.
The only unexpected thing was like 10% Scandinavian which we had no clue about. I'm not sure if that might've been random like Viking ancestry or something lol.
8. Show Me The MoneyGiphy
Apparently, I'm a fourth degree relative of Te Atairangikaahu (Maori monarch) family line on my father's side, and a very distant relative of the Norwegian Royal Family on my mother's side
So, technically, I'm part of the goddamn royalty. I'm still waiting on the gold, land and peasants.
It was worth it honestly. I am half African-American... so searching for your historical roots is a hot mess of a situation. Records are scattered around. There were always rumors in the family about where we originate from... but when I did the DNA testing it was... I don't know how to describe it -- a relief? To see where my ancestors came from in Africa, to see there were people that I share blood with. As an African-American, there is a strong community to other black people, but to see on paper that at one time, long ago, you belonged to a region, to a group of people... and that they are still there, it is just... powerful. Also found some cool stuff on the white side of me (German/English ancestry I didn't know about). Would recommend especially to people of color.
6. What Was Your Dad Getting Up To?
Found out that my best friend growing up is actually my half-brother.
My Dad had a lot to explain that day.
5. Was It Worth It?
Yes, in a couple of ways.
Finding out I have a significant percentage of Jewish ancestry I knew nothing about got me major points with my Jewish mother in law.
I was also able to take the raw genetic sequencing data to my doctor to find out I have a genetic mutation causing my chronic fatigue. Something called MTHFR (because it makes a mess of your life) that makes it hard for your body to absorb folic acid, which in turn makes it hard for your body to process essential B vitamins. I now take a really inexpensive over the counter supplement called methyl-folate and avoid energy drinks and BAM! Chronic fatigue almost completely gone literally overnight.
4. Covering All Your Bases
I did a mtDNA (mother's direct female line) years ago because I had hit a wall. This line is more likely British.
Had my male cousin do my mom's father's side, yDNA (direct male line). I knew they were Jewish, but discovered that this direct male line is from Siberia. About 8% of Ashkenazi Jews are this group. It's been worth it because I'm able to see we are related to other families with same and different surname. One would have expected the surname to be the same.
I sent my Chinese mother-in-law a test. One of her grandmothers was adopted and the family is uncertain of her ethnicity. Hoping the test may provide some information.
I just sent in a sample for a total breakdown of my ethnicity for fun.
I think if you are doing the work of genealogy it's a great tool. It can't provide all answers, but it can verify or disprove some information. As more people do testing, the more precise the information will be. Also, finding cousins is a help as they may have information and documentation.
3. House of LiesGiphy
Quite worth it, confirmed some of the family legend and opened a whole shocking new chapter.
"Russian" as written in the passport and by name of both parents, but as it turns out Hungarian (but again, less than 10% while we thought it would be at least 25%) - that is what we knew, Ashkenazi Jewish - that is what we also knew (but less than 10%, and we thought it was about half), and a whole bunch of specific ethnicities and places in Western Europe (about 80%+) - that which we did not know.
2. When Parents Come To Blows
Well I am an orphan. All I knew is that I was Italian.
I am 98% Italian.
Mom side has been in America since 1910s. Help run the American Mafia and fight the prohibition. My family name is found with some of the worst American mafia members.
Dad side corrupted a part of the Italian police force. The corruption is still going on. My family helped put a communism leader in office and when he turned his back on my family, they took him out.
I have no surviving family members in America. I got a couple cousins in prison for robbery and money laundering. I got a grandfather in Mexico hiding from the American police. He is a wanted suspect for the Manson murders.
Not a fun read. I read so many police records it made my head spin.
1. Sigh of Relief
I found my biological father and 4 half siblings, so I'm going to go with yes it was worth it. I also found that I don't have any of the incredibly obscure genetic diseases 23andme looks for - nowhere near as informative as I hoped, but okay.
Story - my actual father couldn't have kids but my mother wanted them, so they went the donor route. I've known this my entire life, so it's no big deal to me. I also grew up knowing that I could never find out who my biological father was, because anonymity is built into the donor process. Well... turns out he wanted to find any potential offspring and put himself out on a couple DNA testing websites. I found him in March. It's been a pretty interesting few months!