My grandma and I recently tried out AncestryDNA to see what our genetic genealogy revealed. For her, it was expected, with a slight twist. Knowing that all of her grandparents emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we were pretty sure she’d show up as Eastern European. However, we didn’t expect her to be on par with the natives.
Below is her ethnicity estimate, both as a pie chart, list with percentages and a map.
One of the features of AncestryDNA is that you can click on one of the regions and it will compare your genetic genealogy to the natives of that region. Below, my grandma (top) was compared to the European East native (below). Genetically, she’d pass for a local!
Two generations later, I came along and well, things changed up a little bit.
This, I was not expecting. I knew I had roots in Eastern Europe, Germany, England and Wales, but 36% Scandinavian? 17% Irish? Where did those come from? Is there something someone wants to come clean about?
After a bit of processing, I began looking into these anomalies a bit closer. I clicked on the Ireland region and found that it includes Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In addition, the ancestors that I’ve been able to locate are in the southwest portion of the United Kingdom, specifically where the second ring of yellow is on the map below. So I guess Ireland makes a bit of sense now. 17% is still very high. And why didn’t it show up as Great Britain? (Questions for another day.)
As for the 36% Scandinavian ancestry, I decided to look into Scandinavian migratory patterns. Now, I still have a lot of research ahead of me, but a preliminary review shows that Scandinavians (which included Vikings) migrated to the rest of Europe in the 8th to 11th centuries.
Below shows an overview from “Moving People Changing Places”. This could explain how Scandinavian DNA ended up in me, especially with the migration to the UK, Germany and even parts of Eastern Europe.
In addition, Dr. Anna Ritchie, a Viking specialist, shows Viking invasions to England and other parts of the UK. It’s possible that my ancestors came into England that way and then moved around the country over the course of the next several centuries.
Of course, this is all speculation. It’d be very cool to be a Viking, but who knows. I don’t know exactly where this Scandinavian DNA came from, or why there’s more Irish than British. But it’s a pretty cool piece of the genealogy puzzle that I can’t wait to learn more about.