I know I haven’t written in some time. A lot has been going on. I was teaching a couple of online classes. My dog, Junie passed away about 7 weeks ago after a long illness. My niece got married. So, a great number of factors have been keeping me away. The biggest, is probably writers block. I feel that I have done most of the stories that came easy. I have to dig deeper as a writer and genealogist to get to some new ones. I am working towards that. But, that also means more researching and less writing.
While in Kentucky for the wedding, my mother surprised me by getting her DNA tested through Ancestry. This was a wonderful surprise and led to many discussions during the wedding weekend with the family. I had tested my own DNA with Ancestry several months prior. Trying to explain the different DNA processes to others when I barely knew it myself was a challenge. So, I came back from the trip and did some reading. This is what I have learned as it pertains to my family.
First, the test that I did on my father is called a YDNA test (Family Tree DNA). This test traces the Y-chromosome through the direct paternal line. The reason for this was due to the fact that I have my major brick wall at the 6th great-grandfather of Samuel Whitehead. This test only tests the Y chromosome, that is passed on through the males (in our case, Larry, Fred, Walter, George, etc.). As a result it does not test the autosomal DNA like the Ancestry test. The YDNA test investigates deep ancestry. It is good for surname studies and looking at migration patterns of various Haplogroups. It has not produced the smoking gun that I had hoped. But, I have not given up on it yet.
Second, I tested myself with an autosomal DNA test. This is the test that Ancestry does. This is the test of the 22 pairs of autosomes. These tests are used for recent ancestry, determining genetic cousins. This test provides an admixture analysis also known as Biogeographical ancestry. “An admixture analysis is a method of inferring someone’s geographical origins based on an analysis of their genetic ancestry (ISOGG Wiki).” This is also the test that my mother had done. The benefits of this genetic testing is that it tries to provide an estimate of one’s ethnicity. This is very fun for the average person. It is not as important for the dedicated genealogist, who is more concerned in validating connections.
Lastly, one needs to take these results with the grain of salt. These tests are still new and the companies responsible for making these estimates are not as accurate as they will be. By thinking of them as stepping-stones for future inquiries, you will not be unsatisfied.
As far as my family goes; this is what I know.
Paternally, I know I have German roots. My father’s mother was 100% German. The Whitehead name however has been thought to be English. But, since I have not made a connection to Europe, it still alludes me.
Maternally, I know I have French roots. My mother’s father’s name Sublett derives from a well-known Huguenot family, Soblet. However, on the Moss side, I have not been able to get a connection to Europe. The name however, lends itself to English and Welsh.
The Scandinavia is the ethnicity that struck us the most, as we do not have any knowledge of having family in this region. However, I have read recently, this is one of the areas that Ancestry has been criticized for. According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy,
The Genetic Ethnicity Summary (of Ancestry) consistently overestimates the Central European and Scandinavian ancestral components for people whose ancestors were from the British Isles. The ancestral component from the British Isles is overestimated for people whose ancestors were from continental Europe. Overall, the European ancestry predictions tend to be inaccurate.
Regardless, the main benefit of doing DNA testing on Ancestry is that you can link your genetic matches to your ancestry tree and that is a pretty cool feature.
So, I will continue to explore backwards
ISOGG Wiki retrieved on 9/30/16 from http://www.isogg.org/wiki