25
Apr

Why I Did a DNA Test for Ethnicity

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My husband and I have what some people in the US call a “mixed status” family.  He is a US permanent resident, and me and the kids are US citizens.  We encountered a lot of obstacles to his getting his residency, and at one point we thought that he wasn’t going to be able to legally stay in the US.  In fact, we were almost sure that we were going to have to sell our home, our belongings, take our kids out of school, and move to a brand-new country.

You might wonder what all this has to do with finding your ethnicity with DNA.  Stay with me, we will get there.

Faced with this idea of moving, I started to go “country shopping”.  I happened upon this blog post  where I learned that people with European ancestry sometimes could get passports through their long-deceased ancestors.  This was a mind-blowing idea for me, and naturally I decided to investigate it further.

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And that’s when I realized:  I had no idea where many of my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents were actually from.  The obvious course of action was to start building a family tree and doing some old-fashioned research.

It turns out that the process is very difficult, and none of my ancestors did what they should have done in order to ensure that their great-great grandchildren could one day return to the motherland with citizenship in-hand.  I did not win the European citizenship-through-ancestry lottery.

While all of this was happening, everything worked out with my husband’s residency application and he was granted permission to stay here in the US.  Whew!  We didn’t have to make an international move.

But, I had contracted the genealogy bug.  I still had blank spots on my family tree, and I was determined to do what I needed to do to fill them in.  Combine that with some mysteries that my adopted husband wanted to solve, and we decided to do the Ancestry DNA test.  We were hoping that the DNA test could help us learn about our ethnicities.


We ordered the tests – which felt like a splurge at the time.  They were “birthday” presents to ourselves.  And I almost fell off my chair when they results came back.  My husband had almost 10% Irish ancestry, despite being from a Latin American country (we had assumed his red hairs were from Spanish ancestry… he had none).

My results surprised me, too!  Here is a shot of my results so you can see them:

The story continues, because I learned that my parents could possibly have different ancestry than me – all because of a process called recombination.  So you can guess where all of the leads:  testing my parents, learning more about DNA.

If you want a more complete, in-depth guide about how to understand and use your DNA results to find family and build your tree, click HERE to learn about my ebook guide to your DNA results.

But now you know the story of why I got started with all of this.  I would love to hear the story of why you want to do an ethnicity test, or why you already did (and what your results are!).  Post them in the comments 🙂