AncestryDNA®Test Review: What I Discovered When I Took the AncestryDNA Test
Have you ever wondered what you’d learn about yourself and your ancestors if you did an at-home DNA test?
I’ve been curious about what such a test would reveal about both my ethnicity and family history, ever since I started watching ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ on Channel SBS. Have you seen it? The things people find out about their family on that show are fascinating.
So, when I was offered the opportunity to review an AncestryDNA test, I was thrilled…(and truth be told), a little nervous too. What might I discover?
The At-home AncestryDNA® kit
Completing the at-home AncestryDNA® kit really couldn’t be simpler. Everything you need to take your DNA sample and send it back to the lab comes in the kit, including clear and simple instructions and a postage paid return envelope.
Here’s how it works:
Step One:Order your AncestryDNA® kit online here
Step Two: Set up your free Ancestry®account by visiting the Ancestry website. This enables you to receive your results later in the process.
Step Three: When your kit arrives, unpack the contents and read the instructions carefully. They are straightforward and simple to follow. The kit contains a saliva collection tube that you are required to fill with spit, a second tube that contains a chemical mix that will stabilise your saliva sample, and a prepaid postage envelope so you can return it.
To provide the best DNA sample for testing and to minimise contaminating your DNA with other substances you should not eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum for at least 30 minutes prior to taking the test.
Step Four: Each kit has its own unique serial number. You MUST activate your kit online before returning it – otherwise it won’t be processed in the lab This serial number links your DNA sample with your account so that you can receive your results. It also protects your privacy. The lab that analyses your sample never knows any personal information about you – the only thing they get is an anonymous ID number.
Step Five: Wait for your results. These usually take between 6-8 weeks. Ancestry will send you an email confirmation when your sample has been received, and you can login to check on the progress. Ancestry will send you another email when your results are ready, and that is where the fun begins.
My AncestryDNA® Results
Growing up, my sister and I always fantasised that somewhere back in our family tree, we had heritage from across the globe. Given our Dad had been adopted by his step-father from a young age, and had never managed to pry any information about his real paternity from his mother, anything was possible. At one stage during our childhood, after realising our parents were never going to supply us with the little brother we both desperately wanted, we also concocted between us, the possibility of a long-lost older brother somewhere out in the world.
My results however, told a different story.
Besides the 3% Norwegian in my ethnicity estimate (no doubt a throw back to when the Vikings invaded Great Britain) my DNA is predominantly from the United Kingdom. Since I know my mother’s family is from South Wales, and my father’s family is from England, there really weren’t any surprises in these results – besides the fact that there is nothing very exotic about our heritage at all!
The Ancestry® website has some great interactive features that really bring the story of your ancestry to life. For example, you can click on any ethnicity percentage for a zoomed in look at the region your DNA is from. You can also click on the timeline for more information about the area during specific time periods.It is worth returning to the site periodically to check up any recent up dates to your DNA story. Whilst your DNA doesn’t change, the science they use to analyse it is continually evolving. This means that your results may change over time, giving you an even more accurate DNA story.
Ancestry® also identified my sister (who had taken the test a year earlier) as a match and a full sibling. It also matched me with my cousin who took the test more recently – identifying her correctly as a first cousin. But, Ancestry® also provides you with a whole load of other possible 3rd, 4th, 5thcousins (and the list goes on), who you share DNA and common ancestors with.
Ancestry® allows you to connect and communicate with your matches, to try to solve the mystery of how you are related.
I don’t mind telling you that I also signed up for the free trial of the Ancestry subscription so that I could dig further into my family tree. I went on to pay for a further 3 months after that, and lost three whole days, I was so immersed in my study of the online documents and records that it gave me access to. I have managed to trace my family tree back five generations so far on my mother’s side, and have uncovered some very interesting information about some of my more colourful ancestors!
In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I did end up putting a hold on my subscription, as selling our family home and moving interstate, made for a few super busy and stressful months where I needed to focus my attention on the present. But I do intend to pick up where I left off as soon as everything is unpacked and we are settled in our new home. In the meantime, new matches continue to show up, as more people take the DNA test. So, there is still hope for the imaginary older brother! Ha ha!
I might start gifting them to my close relatives for Christmas and birthdays so we can all join in the investigation together.
Why Choose Ancestry?
If your intention in taking the DNA test is to learn more about your ethnic origins and connect with relatives across the globe, AncestryDNA is a great choice. Unlike some other DNA testing companies, AncestryDNA® tests are autosomal. This means it traces all of your family lines, rather than just your paternal or just your maternal. This allows it to provide a thoroughly comprehensive look into your ancestry.
Moreover, Ancestry® is the number one consumer choice. It now has more than 15 million people in the AncestryDNA network meaning that you’ll have a much greater chance of finding living relatives based on your results.
Disclosure: I was gifted the AncestryDNA® kit for the purpose of providing an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.