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Thread: Experiences with Family Tree Research and DNA Tests

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    Experiences with Family Tree Research and DNA Tests

    I've resumed my family tree research this week and have made pretty rapid progress, going back to the middle ages in a couple of ares and even finding distant noble links. I was also delighted to find several lines from Sussex going back centuries, which means a lot to me as I am from Sussex, but recent generations of my family are mostly Middlesex, Surrey and Kent-based.

    Would be interested in others' experiences of ancestry research and how much progress they've made, the furthest you've traced it back etc. as well as people's experiences with DNA tests. My opinion is that they are pretty much all highly dubious (and owned by "them"), especially 23 and Me as that's owned by Google and the CEO praised it as a "DNA database". Haplogroup testing is also very limited and often misleading. I took the Ancestry test though, it's a private company so not owned by some Jewish super-corporation and it uses a different type of genetic testing and is very thorough and honest in explaining how it's calculated, and realistic about how little it can really tell you. Was worth doing (I got 100% European of course, and an estimate of 71% British )

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    Hej ! Would you share your DNA results ?

    A lot of Normans do score great % of british / irish on 23andme (I do score 20% myself). They define it as descent from celts, saxons and viking ancestry which fits to what Normans are considering their ethnogenesis (at least for low Normandy).

    Usually english people are more northern shifted in their results though, how much scandinavian did you get ?

    BTW if you want to share more about your genealogical research, I would be glad to read it here. I am interested in what Sussex ancestry can be considering our common history. If I can help about old norman surnames or anything feel free to ask.

    Personnally the further I go in my own research is barely 17th in Rouen for some maternal ancestors because they had important posts at the moment. Sadly I cannot track it back because they were huguenots protestants and I cannot find the birth document for that person. I only know he had his nobility from a knight who fought in Orleans during the 100years war but I cant rely his son til my ancestor in 17th century for the moment. Still searching

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilma View Post
    Hej ! Would you share your DNA results ?

    A lot of Normans do score great % of british / irish on 23andme (I do score 20% myself). They define it as descent from celts, saxons and viking ancestry which fits to what Normans are considering their ethnogenesis (at least for low Normandy).

    Usually english people are more northern shifted in their results though, how much scandinavian did you get ?

    BTW if you want to share more about your genealogical research, I would be glad to read it here. I am interested in what Sussex ancestry can be considering our common history. If I can help about old norman surnames or anything feel free to ask.

    Personnally the further I go in my own research is barely 17th in Rouen for some maternal ancestors because they had important posts at the moment. Sadly I cannot track it back because they were huguenots protestants and I cannot find the birth document for that person. I only know he had his nobility from a knight who fought in Orleans during the 100years war but I cant rely his son til my ancestor in 17th century for the moment. Still searching
    I'll message you anyway, but I can give the gist of my ethnic makeup. I got 100% European - 71& British, 13% western European (I am 1/8 German so that sounds about right) and 7% Irish. It also gave me ("low confidence") trace regions in Italy/Greece, Iberia and Finland/North West Russia, but I take these with a pinch of salt. I highly recommend trying ancestry, not sure how well it works for French people but you can pay for the membership that includes access to international archives, and the test is a good alternative to have, if you time it right when it's on offer it's quite cheap, and it covers both sides, whereas haplogroups if I am right only go by maternal lines. Also worth bearing mind these "ethnicity" tests are really just working out what areas you have most common ancestors with at some point in time, so it doesn't really mean that much - you can tell by looking at people and getting the basic summary of their ancestry what their ethnicity is - as you say Normans are essentially the same mix as us, and even Celts are basically the same people but with trace mediterranean traits. But it's nice to have and valuable in mapping out your ancestry.

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    It depends on which line. Two of my grandparents have deep colonial roots (ie. family arrived in North America in the 17th/18th centuries) and two are descended from more recent arrivals. The colonial lines are much easier to trace; most of my English, Welsh, Dutch, and French lines go well back into the Middle Ages. My German ancestors are a little less well documented, as the Palatines and Pennsylvania Dutch I descend from hail from areas where most records were destroyed in the Thirty Years War. Fittingly, I mostly hit dead ends with them in the 17th century. As for my more recent European ancestors, the record-keeping does not seem to be as exhaustive as it was in the New World - all of my ancestry in that respect is from England, Scotland, and Ireland, and I have not been able to trace any of those roots further than the late 18th century.

    As for DNA tests, I did the Ancestry.com test as I wanted to plug the results into my family tree. No real surprises for someone of quintessential "old stock" Canadian descent; 89% of my genetic ancestry came out as Western European and Ireland/Scotland/Wales, although I was interested to see only 7% from England. Extended relatives in North America who did the test came out with similar results. Interestingly, a second cousin of mine in England came out with less "English" genes than I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist View Post

    As for DNA tests, I did the Ancestry.com test as I wanted to plug the results into my family tree. No real surprises for someone of quintessential "old stock" Canadian descent; 89% of my genetic ancestry came out as Western European and Ireland/Scotland/Wales, although I was interested to see only 7% from England. Extended relatives in North America who did the test came out with similar results. Interestingly, a second cousin of mine in England came out with less "English" genes than I have.
    THer's a reason for that, it's that DNA ancestry test results are fiction.

    For instance: If one DNA company says you're 70% British/Irish, and the second one says you're 6% from Britain and 24% Irish/Scottish how does that reconcile?

    If one says you're 50% West European, and another says that you're 5.3% French/German, who's telling the truth?

    The results above are mine from the two biggest testers... as you can see, one is lying, or maybe both are, or maybe you can't get good results for ancestry.


    What good are they for actual information.

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    Most of them are bullshit, ones that aren't that rely on haplogroups are still really misleading and not that helpful, because by tracing haplogroups you're just following a straight line back through your ancestry. The Ancestry.co.uk/com test uses a different method, and doesn't pretend to tell you more than it can. Celts can only be pinpointed in the British isles because of geographic isolation, that's all they get their distinct ethnicity from. The ancestry DNA test has been updated more recently to more sensible distinctions, I think it has Ireland and Scotland in one category and broadly speaking "British" in the other, so English and Welsh I guess. This makes more sense, as Ireland's ethnic distinctiveness has been hugely exaggerated in the past (some "studies" making bizarre claims that they are part "Basque", as opposed to just having broadly Iberian trace genes, like most Celts in all likelihood)

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    These tests are good at distinguishing continental ancestry, but not so good at discriminating between European populations. In theory , they should be able to see a difference between Irish and English and French and German so maybe it's because their population samples are not very precise. I've pretty much lost interest in them. Maybe in another 15 years they'll have improved a lot.

    For the record, 23andMe at the speculative level gave me 100% European, 95% British/Irish and 2.6% Neanderthal.


    Ilma has disappeared from the forum scene

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aelfgar View Post
    These tests are good at distinguishing continental ancestry, but not so good at discriminating between European populations. In theory , they should be able to see a difference between Irish and English and French and German so maybe it's because their population samples are not very precise. I've pretty much lost interest in them. Maybe in another 15 years they'll have improved a lot.

    For the record, 23andMe at the speculative level gave me 100% European, 95% British/Irish and 2.6% Neanderthal.


    Ilma has disappeared from the forum scene
    Neanderthal percentages are a joke, I think they just make those up. When you consider that we share 96% of a chimpanzee's DNA, that despite our obvious similarity 3-4% of European DNA can be pinpointed to Neanderthals specifically is very revealing. It's not small, but at the moment it's hard to estimate a precise figure. I would just argue that most of our ancestry is Neanderthal, much of that being identical to the homo sapiens DNA, with a small percentage being unique to Neanderthals, with a fraction on top having been enough to change Neanderthal Europeans into modern Europeans.

    I find 23 and Me very dubious, it's owned by google. I am surprised you got 100% as every test i have seen has small percentages of Jewish, black or native American ancestry.

    French ancestry shouldn't be too different from German, some parts of Germany should have more Balto-Slavic ancestry, but both have a mixture of German and Celtic ancestry, some parts of France might have some more exotic Mediterranean ancestry. It is a bit odd that they lump it altogether under the "Western European" label though. Ancestry also lumps Latin and Greek together... I am pretty sure Latin people and Greek people are ethnically distinct enough to tell apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigebrond View Post
    I find 23 and Me very dubious, it's owned by google. I am surprised you got 100% as every test i have seen has small percentages of Jewish, black or native American ancestry.
    That happened to my results, I was 100% European for about a year and a half, then it went to 99.9% European because they added a 0.01% Japanese... That would mean I had a Japanese ancestor sometime before 1750. How likely is that? Not likely at all considering that the Perry Expedition didn't open up Japan until 1854.

    At least I didn't get anything really weird.

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