I had DNA testing on my three teenagers. Here’s how that turned out.

I had DNA testing on my three teenagers. Here is how that turned out

DNA Testing.

I’ve shared on the blog before about how I had my DNA tested through Ancestry.com.

My Results.

My results came in August of 2016.

You can read about that original result in this post: Keys to the Past.

After I wrote that post, I received questions about the process for testing and I shared that process in this post.

My mother and I even planned part of our first overseas trip together to walk the streets of our family lines. That journey can be found here: Going back to my roots.

Just as a quick share, this was the overview of my results:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.08.06 PM

Even this screenshot is a slightly updated version of the original estimates.

You can find the original estimates in my Are You Irish post. That post also talks a little more about my known ancestral line and also some GEDMatch ethnicity results.

For the result locations that aren’t as obvious, Europe West is predominately Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein. Europe South is predominately Italy and Greece. The Iberian Peninsula is primarily Spain and Portugal. And the Middle East is Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, UAE, Lebanon, and Israel.

My Husband’s Results.

So before we get to my children’s results, you would also need to know my husband’s results.

For easy viewing, here is a screenshot of those:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.07.42 PM

Now I found my husband’s results much more exciting than mine.

My results were close to what I expected. My mother had taken the test already and she had also done quite a bit of genealogy work.

We thought that my husband’s test might show something interesting because I like to joke about how his booty (which doesn’t see the light of day) is darker than my legs on a tan day (if you are new here…surprise, I have very fair skin). We thought that it would turn out to be Portuguese or Greecian in nature.

Needless to say, the section we were most surprised by is the Africa Southeastern Bantu.

To cover the areas not included in my results, Caucasus is primarily Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. And the Africa Southeastern Bantu covers South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda.

His paternal aunt had done quite a bit of genealogy work already. So we knew anything outside of Dutch and English was likely from his mother and we didn’t have very much genealogy from her side. I had joined Ancestry in order to work on our family tree and the ability to search records opened up quite a bit of information.

That coupled with a website I stumbled across which spoke about Bertie County, NC (and thought was in my bookmarks, but can’t seem to find…if it’s you and you stumble across me, let me know and I’ll update this) led me to believe that the Africa portion of his DNA is what is referred to in America as from Melungeon heritage.


Melungeons are considered a mixed race of African, Native American, and Caucasian. According to the information in this article, the Africans were often African-Americans who had come here through indentured servitude (I have an Irish ancestor who made their way to America through this process) and were now free. It wasn’t until later that slavery was introduced according to the article. In fact, there are census records that state race as Free Black, and then later this changes to Mulatto. The Africans were free to hold land, etc. so as the Jim Crow laws came into effect and began to jeopardize all that they had worked for, they began to say that they were Portuguese, which was considered white, and you begin to see a change in census records from mulatto to white.

My mother-in-law’s family has deep roots in Bertie County, NC, which is known to have Melungeon roots. The Melungeon’s of Bertie County supposedly do not have DNA ties to the more well known Tennesse Melungeons.

This makes it a little harder for me to know which line leads to this DNA. I had assumed it was his great-grandmother, Mary Winefred Collins (1850-1918) because her parents were James Collins and Martha Bowers, according to her death certificate, and Collins is one of the Melungeon surnames. However, I cannot trace Martha Bowers any farther. In fact, all records bring up James Collins married to a Martha Luten (at a later date). Interestingly, that wedding is performed by Jeremiah Bunch Jr. And Bunch is also a known Melungeon surname.

However, I did run into some questions posed by a Shuford/Ramsaur connection (the other side of his mother’s line) that made me wonder if I was following the wrong line.

In the end, all information points to a Melungeon connection though.

Our Children.

So we decided to have our children tested, just to see what it would say. They are all teenagers, so they had the option of deciding to opt out. They all decided that they would like to see it. The boys finished their test a day prior to Miss Sunshine. I was excited for the results so I dropped theirs in the mail a day early. However, timing decides what it wants. They all were received, but Miss Sunshine’s processed much more quickly.

Here are her original results:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.05.47 PM.png

Miss Sunshine’s Results.

So most of us know that DNA results can have an interesting mix. Parents don’t throw in an even amount of each portion of each area. Yes, you are 50/50 of your parents, but not from an ethnicity standpoint.

However, I was a little confused as to how she could be 23% Scandinavian when I was 5% and my husband was 5%. Now, it was possible for her to be 10%, which would be more than either of us separately, but I didn’t think she could be 23% unless I’d misunderstood something. Honestly, I was thinking that perhaps they’d done mine wrong all along since we know that I think that I’m secretly more Scandinavian.

I was excited to see that she’d gotten a piece of the husband’s Africa Southeastern Bantu because I think diversity is AWESOME.

But then I was also a little confused by the European Jewish, also known by Ashkenazi Jew, because neither my husband or I showed up with that. I had planned to call Ancestry to ask them about it when the boys’ results came in.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.06.23 PM.png

Big Mr.’s Results.

As you can see, they’ve changed their estimates. They added more samples and slightly changed the regions.

They changed Scandinavia into both Norway and Sweden.

Apparently, Big Mr’s DNA shows Norway.

Given the fact that he stands close to 6’6″, I thought that sounds about right.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.09.20 PM.png

Mr. D’s Results.

So, Mr. D is the most fair-skinned of my three and is my redhead. I wasn’t overly surprised by his results.

However, you can see that they sifted out the low confidence regions.

I would have liked to have seen results similar to Miss Sunshine’s so that I could see if I thought the trace regions were relevant.

Miss Sunshine’s Updated Results.

Because we go back and gather Miss Sunshine’s updated estimates and:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.11.20 PM.png

Suddenly, her Scandinavia drops (makes sense since she shouldn’t be over 10%) to Sweden 2%. However, she loses that Africa Southeastern Bantu completely. A segment that historically actually makes sense.

Husband’s Updated Results.

So you may be thinking, well the updated results of the husband may have wiped out those historical facts.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.09.52 PM

Shifted their definitions and lowered them, yes. Eradicated them, no. The map area covers a more defined region, but it is still there. It makes me question the fact that they removed it from Miss Sunshine’s updated results and we’ll never know if it was on Big Mr. and Mr. D’s older results.

But what about my updated results!

Well, here they are.

My Results.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.10.26 PM.png

I decided to include the map portion.

They took away all of my lower confidence regions along with my Scandinavian portion.

So we can definitely see why my heart loves it when I visit the UK.

Questions I have.

However, one of my main issues with these newer results is that both my husband and I lost our Scandinavian estimates.

And yet, Miss Sunshine shows as 2% Sweden and Big Mr. shows as 3% Norway?


And just in case anyone wants to throw out that random question, yes, the DNA results show that both my husband and I are the parents of all three teens.

Not that either of us was concerned.

But just in case you might be…

I also know that my Van Hoose line originates out of Schleswig-Holstein on the Germany/Denmark border and that I show no Northern Germany, even though certain segments on DNA matches would seem to reflect the fact that I do indeed have a large portion of this DNA.


I think that this process is getting better and they are learning more on a constant basis. I find DNA to be absolutely fascinating. However, given the discrepancies between the results of my children as compared to their parents (aka the hubby and me), I think there is still some fine-tuning to be done.

Also, I should note that ethnicity is still an area that is a work in progress. They are always getting new sample populations and redefining the regions.

Plus, they are able to match you to relatives which is fascinating as well and helps tremendously with genealogy research.

I am just referring to where the ethnicity accuracy stands at this point.

Have you had DNA testing done?

What was your experience?


28 thoughts on “I had DNA testing on my three teenagers. Here’s how that turned out.

  1. I had the testing done and while half of it was what I expected (knew the continent just not what countries) the other half was a shocker. And I’ve since spoken with and met new cousins from that DNA strand that I never knew about. Life is funny like that…

    1. It is really funny what kinds of doors the testing opens up. My maternal great-grandmother passed away when my grandfather was 10. Through the testing, my mother was able to find her siblings and extended family that had remained in Canada. We’ve also made many more discoveries through the process.

  2. I guess the interesting thing to me is that England was invaded several times – so many of us have a small amount of scandinavian DNA. I’ll have to look at getting ours done too 🙂

    1. That’s true. In my initial testing, I found it interesting that my Great Britain DNA percentage is actually higher than the average Great Britain resident. I suppose that’s due to those invasions and perhaps my line was less invaded. lol. 😉
      I love information and have always found DNA to be fascinating, so I thought it was great to take the test. They often run specials on the kits.

  3. This is one of my Christmas wants 😛 I have ALWAYS wanted to try DNA testing, especially with my sister. I heard that sisters can have drastic DNA differences. For instance, my sister might have a higher percentage of Austrian in here, whereas I have a higher percentage of Scottish. Now you have me looking at DNA testing prices again 😉

    1. I think the information is fascinating. I would love for my brother and father to take the test so that we could all compare. It was definitely fun and interesting to see how my children compared to each other and to both my husband and me.
      I know that Ancestry runs specials on the kits quite often (usually around various holidays).

  4. I don;t doubt the accuracy of these tests but I have to admit to being totally befuddled by how siblings who are known to be from the same parents can produce such different results. My mom and her brother did theirs recently and came up with really different and very confusing results as well. There must be something I just don’t get about how this works, but it sure is a fascinating look at where we came from.

    1. From what I understand, ethnicity components are more random which is why there can be differences between siblings. Each parent gives 50% of the DNA, but the makeup of which segments that 50% is located on can vary from child to child. I’m actually surprised that my three came out as closely as they did. However, I think that there would have been more minor differences if they hadn’t tried to eliminate all those lower confidence regions.
      It is definitely fascinating!

  5. This was SO fascinating to read!!! It is interesting that the three do not have identical regions and percentages. I guess the whole system is fairly new and has room to become more accurate? I really want to do this now!! Thanks for sharing, Amy!

    1. I think DNA is SO fascinating.

      It is normal for siblings to not have identical regions because while each parent gives 50% to the DNA, it’s not always the same exact segments of the DNA, which while I’m no expert, I think accounts for why siblings may have different coloring, features, etc.

      The DNA results were updated because as more people take the test, they have a larger reference sample and can break down regions ever more. Plus technology changes the algorithms.

      I think that it will continually get better and better but was disappointed with the new update that in their effort to cut out lower confidence regions, I think they may have ruled out some ethnic portions that are accurate. It also wouldn’t be feasible for our children to have Norway and Sweden if we didn’t also have those and yet that’s what the testing tries to say.

      So I do think there are improvements to be made, but I’m still amazed by what they have discovered.

      1. Ohh that actually makes a lot of sense (about how the siblings have different DNA) 🧬

        This is all so fascinating! I have loved learning about this. I may request this for my bday from the hubby- it is just so interesting and I’m curious what I would be!

  6. Such an interesting post, Amy! Why were the results updated, will they continue to change still? I always find the idea of where your ancestors come from a bit baffling because if you go far enough, don’t most of us come from the same small areas?

    1. The DNA results were updated because as more people take the test, they have a larger reference sample and can break down regions ever more. Plus technology changes the algorithms.

      I think if you traced much of it back, we’d find that we come from the same small areas. The population of the world was once substantially smaller.

      I read somewhere once that most people of European descent, if they trace back far enough, are related to Charlemagne. I don’t recall where I hear it, so I can’t say whether or not that was accurate.

  7. It is interesting, and the more people who’ve done it, the less surprised I am.
    Also, for the record — Me, Melungeon via my mother’s father’s side, southeast Virginia, Bonnie Blue, just a shade of Melungeon 😉 My wee one looks the part, too, just like my mother’s kin.

    1. I have a distinct memory of sitting in my high school Anatomy & Physiology class in 1993/94 and watching a video on how they were able to solve a crime because the DNA of a tree near the crime scene matched the DNA of the tree parts found in the bed of a pickup truck of the person who they suspected committed the crime.
      I remember being absolutely fascinated by such a thing. My fascination with DNA has remained. lol.
      I think Melungeon history is quite amazing. I had not heard of it until I started researching his family line. It’s sad that they had to change the story of their existence to protect their rights, and that many families didn’t know the full history of their heritage. My MIL had no clue.

      1. I have quite a tale about discovering my Lee County roots. I may one day blog it, or maybe one day I’ll write it and email it to you. You would enjoy the uncanny synchronicity of it.

  8. DNA testing through Ancestry is one of my “goals” for 2019. I’ve been working on my family tree for a number of years to it’s the next logical step.

    1. Taking the test does open up a lot of information when you have been working on the tree.
      I was able to take DNA at perhaps the 3rd-4th cousin level and through looking at our shared matches determine which side they came through and discover information that I hadn’t otherwise known.
      It was helpful that my mother had already taken the test and that my paternal uncle did as well. That made determining lines a little easier. The amount of matches is staggering because more and more people are taking the test. I’ve still barely skimmed the surface of those that are more distant relatives.

  9. Hi Amy, An interesting and thought-provoking post. This is the first time I have heard about a mixed race called Melungeon. I know many people are curious about their genealogy. I find it very complex and sometimes a grey area……although, interesting. Your sentence on the “random” question made me smile.

    1. Hi Erica.
      I had not heard about the Melungeon race until I started tracing my husband’s line to figure out where the Africa segment may have originated from. My mother is the one who got me interested in genealogy. I like to solve mysteries so fitting the pieces together feels like working on solving a giant mystery. I’m glad you smiled at the “random” question. You never know who might stumble across your post and what they might question, so I thought I’d cut that one off before it popped up. lol.

  10. I’ve been considering it, too. Now that they’re running a special, I just might go for it. Considering my Dad, Aunt and Uncle and some cousin’s coloring, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Melungeon as well. I expect to be heavy on German (great granddad van Hoesen) and British.

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