Part 2 of my Ancestry and Health Report Journey.

DNA Journey

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to my blog. The results of my 23andMe DNA and Health Report came in! I was totally expecting the results of my testing to come in sometime between December 27th, 2018 and January 10th, 2019, but they came in early. I have some good news, bad news, as well as surprising, and not-so-surprising news. I’ll go over the good news first.

I don’t have the faulty breast cancer gene variants they test for, and I also don’t have the Alzheimer’s gene variants that they test for, which means neither my maternal nor my paternal side carry those specific gene variants. However, I am well aware of them not testing for all possible genetic variations for both diseases, so the potential is still there, but personally, I’m going to view that as a low-risk factor for me, since no one in my biological family that I know of has ever had breast cancer or been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Being that I’m a woman, I won’t rule out the breast cancer possibility at all for my future health, so I intend on getting further testing soon (better safe than sorry!).

I also discovered that I have 2 other genetic risk factors, but being that I don’t know my paternal family, I won’t shine a light onto what the 2 risk factors are, because I know that some maternal relatives will see this, and I don’t know if they carry the gene variants for one of the risk factors (the other one has a risk factor that I got from both maternal and paternal), so I won’t share it, in case they don’t want to know. If they do, I’ll just speak with them individually in a more private matter. For the genetic risk factor that I get from both sides of the family, it’s unheard of 100% on my mother’s side, but because I don’t know my sperm donor’s side, I’ll monitor this risk factor and take care of myself as best I can with preventive health maintenance. As far as my Carrier Status Report is concerned, my results were all 100% negative for the gene variants they test for, so I can rest easy on that one for any children I may have in the future with IVF Surrogacy.

Now it’s time to discuss the not-so-surprising news. As expected of any DNA test, no matter what company you go with, there will always be slight genetic result differences. However, I can confirm that Ancestry and 23andMe are both right on certain lineages. Ancestry tells me I’m Welsh, and that is so true, but it doesn’t pick up on my Native American Monacan Indian heritage, yet 23andMe picks up on that while it does not pick up on my Welsh.  23andMe says I’ve got 0.3% in me and that is very accurate.

With that being said, now onto the bad news. The bad news … is that they did not split up my paternal lineage from my maternal lineage. This was honestly a real disappointment for me, but I still have my oldest maternal aunt who will also take the lineage test, so that what she and I have in common for ancestral lineage will determine that whatever we don’t have in common to be from my paternal side. I can rest easy in that area, because it’ll be a simple numbers game at that point. Another piece of bad news is that I have 1,069 genetic matches.

Ancestry tells me I am 61% English, Welsh, and Northwestern European, and I believe that to be true, but 23andMe breaks it down a little, yet it doesn’t. It has absolutely no mention of Wales, but if you know your history and geographical knowledge of Wales and England, then you would know that they are both on the same land and both in the United Kingdom.  23andMe gives me the report of United Kingdom, not England and Wales. Interestingly enough, it says it cannot detect my Irish and Scottish heritage, but I have records of one branch of the family tree that confirm we’re from Ireland and Scotland without a doubt on my maternal grandmother’s maternal side.  23andMe separates United Kingdom from Northwestern European, breaking it down to 41.5% United Kingdom and 24.1% Northwestern European, which if added together equals out to 65.6%, a concerning, yet not-so-surprising 4.6% differential from the combined 61% that Ancestry provides. Honestly? I can accept that differential. What matters to me is that both tests recognized this to be a major part of my heritage.

However, as you saw with in the blog about Part 1 of this DNA journey, I was also listed as 21% Irish and Scottish on Ancestry, 16% Germanic European, and 2% Swedish. I’m not going into the Irish and Scottish bit for 23andMe, because again, 23andMe calls it the United Kingdom (which is Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland in the present day we are in), but then that begs the question of … if it’s part of the UK part of the DNA testing, which is lower, than what else am I? I’ll get to that in just a moment. I want to speak of the Germanic origins first.  23andMe has it listed as 23.4% French and German, but it cannot specify a better breakdown, so if the Ancestry would be accurate about my 16% Germanic origins, then it would likely be that the remaining 7.4% would be for French?

See … 23andMe lumps in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Switzerland all in this category. However, disappointingly, though not surprisingly at all, they are not throwing into the mix my roots from the now dissolved country of Prussia, which is a part of my German heritage. I find it unique and I absolutely love it as much as I love the Monacan Indian lineage! As for the 23andMe test, they tell me they can’t break down this part of my heritage any over 23.4% French and German, but I imagine that as testing gets more accurate down the line, there will be better breakdowns in the future. Moving on, though …

Next I found on my DNA list was 2.1% Eastern European, which 23andMe classifies the following countries to be a part of: Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. I believe the Ukraine part, because I’m pretty sure I came across some familial record information on my mother’s paternal side with an ancestor’s immigration from the Ukraine, but I’ll have to look at those records again to re-confirm. As for the rest of these countries all lumped in together … WOW, that’s a lot! Again, this is another section they couldn’t break down for me (go figure). However, I’ve always believed deep down that I might have some Polish ancestry, and was rather surprised when I didn’t see it listed on the Ancestry test, so I just left it go … until now!

The Scandinavian recognition was no surprise, but the numerical amount kind of was. Ancestry had it listed for me as 2% Swedish, but according to 23andMe, Scandinavian cultures also comprise the countries of Denmark, Iceland, and Norway. So, whether I’m actually 2% Swedish or 0.9% Scandinavian is up in the air for me and now begs the question of, “Where on earth is the missing 1.1% of this lineage?” There were a few fresh surprises on the 23andMe test as far as ancestry goes. Well, let’s find out, shall we?

23andMe also stated I am 0.7% Iberian, 4.6% Broadly Southern European, and 2.3% Broadly European. Totally not surprised at all about the broad European part, or even the Southern European part, which 23andMe doesn’t specify on the countries involved in those cultural groups. However, I was totally and completely thrown off by the .7% Iberian lineage, which comprises Portugal and Spain. If 23andMe could detect my Native American Monacan Indian heritage at 0.3%, and considering that 23andMe is the only test recognized by FDA quality and scientific standards of being as accurate as to the .1% of any one person’s heritage, I think I’m going to believe 23andMe’s recognition of my Iberian heritage. Again, however, it doesn’t specify a better breakdown of which, but now I’m really intrigued!

I find it really interesting that Iberian should be on this list. The reason is that spending at least six (6) months in Portugal is something I really, really, really want to do someday. Português also is one (1) of four (4) languages I am actively learning and trying to become fluent in. It’s just a fascinating culture to me. So in conclusion, I have provided a screenshot of the Ancestry and 23andMe DNA tests, so you can see what they look like and how they differ. Take a look at them both, if you would like.

The first photo is the Ancestry DNA Test Results.
The second photo is the 23andMe DNA Test Results.

I know that both tests are 100% accurate, and no DNA test is 100% accurate but they get more accurate over time, and the tests will always be updated. The bad news, however, is a piece of news I’m going to save for another post. It was absolutely devastating to me and took a lot out of me today on the emotional scale, and with it being in the 11th hour of the night, I’m just not in the mood to talk about it right now. I also feel I’m not ready to share the bad news until I’ve done a more thorough investigation first, and I’m going to enlist the help of one of my best friends. For now, I’m just going to focus on spending quality time with family. I must confess, however, that despite the bad news, I still don’t regret taking either of these tests. It’s provided me with more answers to questions I needed for peace of mind. The Thank you for sticking with me on this journey, and though my Health Report journey has made it to the finish line, I will update you with another post after the holidays about this DNA and Family Tree journey. Until my next post, may you all be in peace, joy, good health, and may you all be safe in each of your destinations throughout the holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful, prosperous new year!

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