3 Things to Keep in Mind When It Comes to Your DNA Ancestry Results
People love finding out where they came from. It’s a good way to learn more about yourself, and an even better way to see the similarities between you and your ancestors. One of the ways that people are doing that is by using DNA ancestry tests. Companies market these tests as a way to tell where you came from, mostly by telling you what geological area your genes indicate your ancestors might have lived. This sounds great! But there are some important things that these companies might not tell you up front. Here’s what you should know about how the results of these DNA ancestry tests apply to you.
They’re not 100% accurate
Because of how they function, there’s no way to tell with 100% accuracy what area of the world your ancestors came from with a DNA ancestry test. Essentially, these tests match a few hundred of your gene pairs with gene pairs from people in geographical parts of the world today, and when certain instances match, it’s likely that a percentage of your ancestors came from that portion of the world. But because they only match a few hundred gene pairs, and because these pairs might not be proportionally representative of the rest of your genes, there’s a chance that they could come up with a wildly incorrect guess of where your ancestors were from. Don’t worry though; it’s rare that the guess is off very far, and it should give you a fairly accurate generalization. Still, you shouldn’t rely on it down to the percent. If you want to get a good idea, you should take multiple tests from many different companies and compare the results.
They can’t tell you the exact country you came from
Genetic markers aren’t able to pinpoint the exact area of your ancestors’ birth. Rather, they trace to general geographic areas, such as Eastern Europe or North America. Some might be able to trace your ancestry to general ethnic groups, but won’t be able to give you a detailed explanation as to where those groups came from. But it can still be helpful; even knowing the general area is a start, and it can help you get more in touch with your family or ancestral traditions. It’s especially helpful if you don’t know very many people in your biological family. Knowing what parts of the world your ancestors were from can help you get in touch with your family history, even if you haven’t talked to any of the people that came from those areas.
You might come into contact with long-lost family members through these tests
When you take a DNA ancestry test, it will generally give you a list of family members that have taken tests through the same company, and an estimate of how closely you’re related to them. If they’ve allowed it, you might even get contact information that could allow you to get in touch with them. This is a special advantage if you don’t know many people in your biological family and are looking for a way to contact them. If you take tests from multiple websites, you might be able to run into someone in your family who’s also taken the test by chance, and reconnect.
Even if they don’t give you any contact information, don’t lose hope. You can take the name of those family members, and, with a little bit of guesswork, use PeopleFinders to get in touch with them. Use the public records search to find clues that could help, such as marriage records, or use the people search to get detailed information, such as phone numbers or email addresses, that you could use to contact a long-lost relative. If you already know that you have missing family members, it can’t hurt to try using this avenue of discovery.
Using a DNA ancestry test can be a great way to learn more about yourself and your family. Once you do get the information you’re looking for, you might even be able to get in contact with family members you didn’t know about! If you’ve found family members, but they didn’t list any information to contact them, don’t let the lack of official contact information stop your search. Use PeopleFinders to take that general information and turn it into specific information. You’ll be happy you did!
Categorized in: People Data