Monday, March 18, 2013

DNA Monday: Countries of Ancestry Tool

Recently received my DNA results from 23andMe and am making my way through them and learning what each means as I go. So I thought wouldn't it be swell to post whatever small bit I've found each Monday for a short time thereby exploring some interesting (at least to me) aspects of the results and the way they are presented by 23andMe. Plus, I've received a few emails about previous posts from people interesting in taking the test. It might help them and it will help me slow down and try to understand the deeper meaning as I work on each post.

This week I'm taking a look at a tool that's found at the bottom of the list of "Ancestry Overview", within which is "Ancestry Tools", and then "Countries of Ancestry." (See below.)
"Ancestry Tools"

The "Countries of Ancestry" Tool
This tool is offered by an group within 23andMe, as I understand it, working on a project and looking for feedback as to its usefulness. Here's what it says about these tools:
23andMe Tools are features that may still be in development, require specialized knowledge or appeal to only some of our customers. We encourage you to try them out and let us know what you think!
Then it says about the Countries of Ancestry tool:
Ancestry Finder shows you the country each part of your genome may have come from. This lab is fueled by the 23andMe Community's responses to the "Where Are You From?" ancestry survey.
OK, so this special tool is another way to review where you think your ancestors came from vs. where the DNA test said they came from. (And correct me if I'm wrong.) We've seen the "Ancestry Composition" report page and here it is again in two of its forms and that's 23andMe's report on where they think my ancestors come from based on my DNA. By contrast, the Countries of Ancestry tool shows what they think and then gives you a shot at telling them what you now know based on your research. Me versus 23andMe:) Sort of.
So let's look again at the 23andMe Ancestry Composition report based solely on my DNA, below.
"Ancestry Composition" Report

"Ancestry Composition" Report Page
So, I'm looking at these two reports and asking what's the difference? Let's take a real close look at the results.

The "Countries of Ancestry" Tool

"Ancestry Composition" Report Page
Here are some observations:
* In the Countries of Ancestry Tool page, Ireland is separate from the United Kingdom and I like that, especially so close to St. Patrick's Day.
* But why is there such a whopping difference between the two when you add United Kingdom and Ireland (1.7% in total) in the top chart and 22.7% in the bottom?
* Finnish is .5% (top) and .6% (bottom), and that's close enough for me. Musta been a Viking on his trip to Ireland;) More likely, it was the result of my Workman / Woeterman ancestor's stay a generation in Holland.
* Where's French and German on the top chart? If my DNA is 4.1% then I'd expect something to show up, no?
* Grenada?! At .2%? Oh, now you're losing me. Or is that just a vestige of a connection between my DNA and some long ago Iberian Peninsula tryst between some ancient ancestors after the last Ice Age?
Thanks to Randy Seaver for paving the way and showing me it's OK to think in "long-ago" terms, and that I need to start thinking about some of this new information in terms of the Way Back machine and get informed about human migrations over many tens of thousands of years. As I read Randy's post, began to think back beyond what is now known to Mom and I about the ancestors. You can read his post here.
The next thing that caught my attention was the big green bar "Update Your Ancestry Survey", so I clicked there to take a survey of country of origin back to my grandparents. That was a little disappointing because I would think that anyone taking a DNA test to explore their ancestry would have a couple more generations at hand.
Then I slid down below the bar chart to another bar, this one turquoise color, that says "Download Diane Weintraub's Ancestry Finder Matches". Cool!! Maybe I'll find cousins here:) I downloaded and saved the spreadsheet matches and that's gonna take a while to process.
Then I find a small (to me) line of text near the top left that says "See How This Works" and click through. OK, here's a tutorial on this tool, and I need to spend time with it now that I have downloaded my Ancestry Finder Matches. Frankly, should have started here first.
There's also a line of text promising "Show Advanced Controls" and who doesn't like to play with advanced controls? That shifts the results too. I find that you can click on the line so I click on Ireland and now can see where my Irish genes are and on which chromosomes. That's fun. Then I notice there's a check box that says "Only show segments that belong to public individuals" and click there. I can mouse over a chromosome segment and up pops the match box of a possible "cousin". It's of course left to me to discover where we connect. Here's that screen and I'm loving it!
Have blocked out this guy's name for privacy.

This is probably too DNA-geeky for most and by now I've likely lost plenty of readers. Sorry... got carried away. You'll see when you get your test results back;)
Anyone else in haplogroup H3? I want to find out more about my haplogroup! And what the heck is a haplogroup anyway? So much to discover, so much fun:)
Photo of the Day from the Archive:

The two photos above were taken in 1986 when Mom, Dad and I went to Ireland to discover our roots and a couple of pubs. Mom found my 2nd GGF's tombstone in St. Michael's Cemetery, Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland and saw that he was born in Shannonbridge Ireland, Clonmacnoise Parrish in 1828. If that wasn't on his tombstone we never would have made it here to the historic site of Clonmacnoise right on the beautiful Shannon River.

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