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Monday, 9 March 2015

Ancestry DNA results: a confident delivery

The results of my recent tests from AncestryDNA have been received, and I am not exotic. I think I can live with it.

My family history is estimated as 83% Irish, and 10% British, with the rest from Western European areas, mostly Iberian Peninsula (a feature often connected with Irish ancestry).

The only real surprise was the lack of Scandinavian influence. My maternal grandmother was a Doyle, a strong Leinster surname widely assumed to suggest Norse/Viking origins.

It was certainly a name well-established before the Anglo-Normans arrived, so I'd been expecting a bit of Eric the Red to be indicated. But no.

In terms of connections made, it's important to remember that the Ancestry DNA database is currently almost entirely made up of North Americans; this will change now that the test is available in Ireland and the UK. On launch, Ancestry DNA predicted that the vast majority of Irish and UK customers will connect with 3rd or 4th cousins immediately. My own results bear this out. While there are no potential 3rd cousins, there are eleven 4th to 6th cousins shown in my Matches list and three of them have a 'confidence' level of 'Extremely High'. Of the eleven, ten have already uploaded some or all of an immediately accessible family tree. There are also 40-odd potential 5th to 8th cousins hits rated with High' confidence. And that's before I even think of checking out the hundreds of 'distant cousins' in the 'Good' category.

I haven't yet had time to really study these results, or delve too deeply into these family trees. But I'm more than satisfied that there is plenty for me to investigate.

What I'm particularly pleased about is the ease and speed with which I can access nearly all of the family trees of these potential Matches – only a handful of the several hundred Matches have not uploaded a tree. Each of the Matches with a tree is presented with a breakdown of the surnames included across its branches, which is important when, as in some of my potential 4th to 6th cousins, there are 14,000+ names in the individual trees. And the interface is very attractive, too, proving that scientific test results don't need to be dished up in dull spreadsheet-style presentations.

I'm looking forward to exploring these results and, hopefully, making contact with some of this first delivery of Matches. As the database expands on this side of the Atlantic, I'm sure future deliveries will bring even more opportunity to connect with distant cousins and expand my own tree.

My test was provided free of charge by Ancestry DNA. See earlier blogpost. Turnaround from sending off the results to Dublin to receipt of results was 5 weeks and two days.