So finally the long wait is over – I got the anticipated email from Ancestry to say that my DNA results were now available to view.
I saw the email first thing before driving to work that day, but without time to look. It was lunchtime before I was able to log into Ancestry and take a peek.
It was no surprise to see that it reckons 88% of my ancestry is from England, Wales and north-western Europe and that probably the greatest proportion is from southeast England. The Greater London area (which appears to include the Oxfordshire borders) also fits well. However, it also suggests a link with Devon and Cornwall, where I have absolutely no known ancestors, which is interesting. As with the LivingDNA profile there is no highlighted association with Norfolk, which is rather disappointing, but probably the biggest surprise is the suggestion of 10% ancestry from Sweden (probably including Denmark)!
Comparing the results with those from the LivingDNA test, I see that Cornwall featured there too, so that’s certainly something to have in the back of my mind during my research. With LivingDNA’s slightly more sophisticated mapping tool, it gives more detail of specific areas within England, including South Yorkshire (maybe my Wakefield ancestors really did come from Yorkshire?). The European connection featured in this test is 15% Germanic (the map shows Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium). Viewed in tandem with the Ancestry results, then, my hunch would be that it is the Norfolk connection who had come from across the water, from somewhere in Europe or Scandinavia, which would fit with what I know of immigration to East Anglia.
So much for the ethnicity results then. What about the matches? This was the aspect of Living DNA which had been so disappointing. Well there are LOADS of them! But how could I tell whether any of them were a close match? At this point I was jolly glad that I had previously come across the International Society of Genetic Genealogy https://isogg.org/ . Here I found this invaluable table:
I thought I’d start by focussing on those where the amount of shared centiMorgans is either very high or extremely high. Ancestry helpfully indicates whether or not the matched person has an Ancestry tree which you can view and will take you to your common ancestor if there appears to be one. Annoyingly, my top 2 matches (72 and 62 shared centiMorgans) have no tree to view, so I have left them for the time being. I moved on to those in the ‘very high’ category and that same evening messaged four of them (better not go overboard to start with or I might not cope with the correspondence!). Two were connected to the Neighbour tree, one to the Mitchells and one to the Georges. The following day I had a reply from one person, which was very exciting! This has led to us exchanging ancestral photos, research notes and hunches. So far there has been no reply from any of the others, but then I have experienced this in the past, with people taking a long time to respond to messages via Ancestry.
I am very pleased with the matching results which the Ancestry test has provided, and I can work my way through my closest matches and those with common ancestors to see how they fit in. I like the way you can then group your matches and colour-code them according to the family they belong to. Perhaps I can also read up on why I have high matches with people who apparently have no shared surnames or birth locations. It can all get a bit technical, but there is lots of help out there and hopefully all those detailed Family Tree magazine articles will now make rather more sense!