So you finally got your results back... Great! Now what can you do?
DNA to-do list
- Read up on your ethnicity breakdown
- Check out and connect with your closest living relatives
- Upload to GEDmatch
- Add yourself to my GEDmatch lists and see if you find any relatives
- Spend the rest of your life Chromosome Mapping to figure out which DNA you inherited from either side of your family*
*Requires extensive advanced research and testing
Understanding your Ethnicity Breakdown
Chances are, unless you were adopted, your ethnicity breakdown won't tell you anything new. And if it does, keep in mind that these are ESTIMATES. These results have trouble getting specific due to migration patterns and a lack of consistent notable DNA differences between certain regions. You'll note Italy and Greece are lumped together. Scotland and Ireland are a big overlapping mess. Eastern Europe is not specific at all.
Here's my estimates, as an example:
In reality, I know from family members and genealogy research that my mom's side is almost exclusively Scottish with a bit of Irish a couple generations back. My dad's side is an even split of Polish and Italian. My breakdown should probably look something like:
- Great Britain 40%
- Ireland 10%
- Italy 25%
- Poland 25%
I don't think DNA tests will ever get that accurate.
In summary: These results are cool, but don't make any life-changing decisions based on them or question long hours of genealogy research.
Exploring close relatives
If you have a 1st or 2nd cousin match, you are one of the lucky ones! I highly recommend you take a good long look at any and all 1st-3rd cousin matches you have. If you don't have an obvious common ancestor, compare surnames. Open their family tree and see if you can trace their family back to the same area as your family.
Send a brief email to each of your close matches after you've researched them, being sure to state your estimated relation and your intentions. If you have a "peace offering" (e.g. photos of their relatives, old letters, or something they might want to see), mention it. It might be incentive for them to respond.
Moving beyond AncestryDNA
Only using AncestryDNA for genetic genealogy could be equated to only using Ancestry.com for record searching. You need to cast your net wider. Let's talk about how in Step 3.