Taking a DNA genetic ethnicity test: Are you who you think you are?

I decided to try Ancestry.com’s DNA test recently, mainly out of curiosity and because I don’t know much about my ancestors. The test costs $100 and is super easy – you just send away for a test kit, spit into a tube, send it to the company, and a few weeks later you get the results online. Here are my results:

A graphical representation of my DNA!

A graphical representation of my DNA!

It says I’m 81% European Jewish (no surprise there), 8% Persian/Turkish/Caucasus, and 6% Finnish/Volga-Ural. I had no idea about the last two. My main complaint is that “European Jewish” is such a broad group – according to the results, it includes Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and other Jewish populations – although if you go by the map representation, it looks mostly Ashkenazi (Eastern European). That’s a little confusing. I was hoping the results would be more specific. It also provides a list of people who are possible DNA matches and may be long-lost cousins, which is interesting, but I’m not really sure how that works. I also thought it was funny that the first line in their “European Jewish” page is, “The bagel was brought to and popularized in the United States by Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants.” Really? Is that the most interesting factoid they could come up with?

In any event, the test was worth doing and has definitely made me think more about my ancestry. I’ve started creating a family tree, also through Ancestry.com, and I’m planning on asking my relatives to help me fill in the branches.


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