DNA testing for race and ancestry-Tracy

A few months ago, we used DNA Tribes to have a test done to determine Colin’s ancestry. We decided to have the test done for Zoe, Christian, and me, too. I posted Zoe’s results yesterday. Colin and Zoe’s results were pretty straightforward, so I expected mine to be as well. But then I got my results back yesterday, and…  

I don’t know what the hell I am! 

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I never knew a lot about my ancestry, but I’ve always thought I was mostly Irish. I’ve been told that my paternal grandpa was German, my paternal grandma was Irish, my maternal grandma was Irish, and my maternal grandpa was Irish with some Native American. I assumed there were some other things in there too, so I really just figured I was kind of a “mutt.”

I didn’t go into great detail on Colin and Zoe’s tests because they weren’t very complicated. The test actually gives three sets of results: Native Population Match Results, Global Population Match Results, and World Region Match Results. Colin and Zoe’s matches were pretty consistent in each of the three sets of results. Mine varied:

Native Population Match Results

These are matches with populations that have experienced minimal movement and admixture in the last 500 years. These results most likely reflect “deep ancestral origins.” My Native Population Results say I match (from highest probability to lowest):

  1. Turkey
  2. Iran
  3. Norway
  4. Glasgow, Scotland
  5. Northern Ireland
  6. Dundee, Scotland
  7. Turkey
  8. Dundee, Scotland
  9. Northeat Spain
  10. Wales, United Kingdom
  11. United Kingdom
  12. Northern Italy
  13. Netherlands
  14. United Arab Emirates
  15. Kurdish (Northern Iraq)
  16. Turkey
  17. London, England
  18. Turkey
  19. Norway
  20. Egyptian Copt (Adaima, Egypt)

OK, so Norway, Scotland, Ireland, etc. aren’t that surprising. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and United Arab Emirates surprised me, but we are talking about “deep” ancestral origins. I could have ancestors who moved from these places to Western Europe and then to the United States. I can wrap my brain around that. It was just a little weird to see it since I’ve never heard any mention of it in my family history.

Global Population Match Results

These are matches in a database of native populations, as well as Diaspora groups that expanded from their homelands in recent history and sometimes mixed with other populations. These are supposed to be a person’s “…closest genetic relatives today and peoples whose blend of geographic ancestry is most similar…” Here are my matches:

  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. Mendoza, Argentina
  3. Turkey
  4. Mestizo (Argentina)
  5. Neuquen, Argentina
  6. Iran
  7. Costa Rica
  8. Norway
  9. Puerto Rican (Springfield, Massachusetts, USA)
  10. Glasgow, Scotland
  11. Colombia
  12. Northern Ireland
  13. Dundee, Scotland
  14. Turkey
  15. Dundee, Scotland
  16. Santa Fe, Argentina
  17. Northeast Spain
  18. Misiones, Argentina
  19. Central Mexico
  20. Wales, United Kingdom

Where did Argentina come from? If I was told my family was Western European (and they look Western European), how is it that my DNA most closely resembles the population of modern Argentina? And that’s an awfully strong statistical similarity to Argentina, too – four of my top five possibilities! I’m Argentinian now? The hell?

Also, Turkey and Iran are in there again. Weird.

 

Global Population Match Results

This is supposed to be the most comprehensive part of the analysis, giving a more general view of genetic ancestry among the major world regions. Instead of a ranking of most statistically similar to least, the first match in this set of results indicates the primary geographic affiliation. Subsequent scores indicate secondary regions where the “blend of ancestry is present and /or possible sources of admixture.” These are my results:

  1. Finno-Ugrian (Finland, Estonia, Hungary)
  2. Northwest European
  3. Mediterranean
  4. Aegean
  5. Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian peoples)

 

Conclusion

The test is really only designed to give you statistical possibilities and probabilities and not definitive answers.  My best guess is that I am mostly Western European, with some Native American, so basically what I thought I was to begin with. I can only speculate that the Argentinian similarity is because of my maternal grandpa’s mother. If she was Native American, her ancestors could have migrated to Latin America and North America from South America at some point. It’s strange that the statistical similarity is so high though, since being Hispanic or Native American has never been part of my identity, or my family’s identity. It’s strange to think that my own analysis left me with more questions than Zoe or Colin’s did!

 

UPDATE: I spoke to Lucas at DNA Tribes and he believes that I am interpreting the results correctly. The Argentina results are probably due to some Native American ancestry, not any direct connection to Argentina as a country or a culture. He was very helpful, so I would highly recommend this company to anyone who is considering doing this kind of testing. Also, I had a commenter on Zoe’s post (who happens to be with another DNA company) say that Zoe’s results do not necessarily rule out European ancestry if it was several generations back. Lucas at DNA Tribes is going to run an additional analysis for me that can say this more definitively. I’ll update the results when I get them.

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12 thoughts on “DNA testing for race and ancestry-Tracy

  1. I am definitely no expert in these things, but can’t it be that your DNA profile matches that of people in Argentina that submitted their samples? The european migration to Argentina in the XIX and XX centuries was overwhelming, so it’s perfectly possible that “your DNA most closely resembles the population of modern Argentina”. In fact, one of the things that strikes US people when they come to Buenos Aires is what they perceive as a “lack of diversity” — the european look is prevalent. Good luck!

  2. I read your original post again and I think I am right: “These are supposed to be a person’s “…closest genetic relatives today and peoples whose blend of geographic ancestry is most similar”.
    I would say you have relatives in all those places in Argentina because some common european ancestor emigrated there.
    By the way, I was born in Argentina, but my father line comes from Italy (emigrated in the XIX century), and my mom’s line from Spain and Portugal (emigrated in the XVII century). No Native American haplogroups for me…

  3. My wife is Colombian. She is a mestiza. Would you be able to identify what tribe she comes from and what percentage of native American blood she has?

    • I’m not sure. Lucas at DNA Tribes was really helpful when we had questions, so you could call him. I don’t know that DNA Tribes tests are that detailed, but there may be another DNA test that it. I think National Geographic is also affiliated with some company doing DNA testing, so that might be a good one to try.

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