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Researching Family Trees


100+ Posts
I think it is more an issue of the terminology being used - "ethnicity" is the term used by Ancestry and My Heritage whereas 23andMe uses the term "ancestry". DNA tests do not show your ethnicity based on culture but shared genetic ‘genomes’ found in your DNA sample.

Perhaps "ethnicity" sounds better in marketing than "genetic"?! ;)

If you recall your high school science and Friar Mendel's genetic experiments, DNA indicates what physical characteristics are passed from one generation to another. This is visible where southern Italians generally have dark hair, dark eyes and olive colored skin while people from Scandinavia usually have lighter hair and paler skin.

Besides the indigenous peoples, North America has been a mix of genetic groups from Europe, Africa, Asian and Pacific areas for only a couple hundred years with different groups added over this timeframe. There hasn’t been enough time to develop specific genetic characteristics (genomes) for North Americans to be passed from parent to child.

In contrast, a majority of people in the village where we live have been marrying people from within 50 miles for longer than the US has been a country. The people in our town do not look identical but they have a lot of similar physical characteristics. These would be a result of the ‘genomes’ found in their DNA.

There is a growing subgroup in genealogy research focused solely on Genetic Genealogy based on DNA testing.

There are hundreds of articles and books available on this subject for all interest levels. A good, but thorough book is The Family Tree’s “Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” by B. Bettinger.

chiaro di Luna

100+ Posts
My SILhas been the researcher for my family and has been quite successful. Connections have been made through DNA matches.
I also found a former classmate’s biological daughter who was given up for adoption . A researcher got in touch with me about her. I too was Leary about DNA, however, the cousins ( nieces & nephews) found each other that way.
Ancestors in the UK- Oxfordshire- educators, in London- clergy in church on the Stocks.


100+ Posts
When I did the Ancestry DNA test more than 5 yrs ago, it gave American Indian as 1%, which surprised me as i am 5th generation Australian. Since they update the results regularly, it hasn’t been mentioned in the results since.
The results have matched us with cousins children I didn’t know about on my family tree.
On my husband’s tree a distant relative contacted him with information about the family origins and name change.
It has been interesting and I’ve enjoyed looking at distant relatives family trees.

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