23andMe: Finding Out My Ancestry

When I went home for Christmas late last year, a few of my friends mentioned that they were awaiting results on their ancestry tests through 23andMe, a DNA genetic testing and analysis company. Interested in validating what I did know about my ancestry and curious if there was anything I didn’t, I ordered my own kit and sent it away to find out my results.

How It Works

23andMe is really simple to use – you order a kit and register it online, spit into a vial that is provided, mail the vial in, and about 4-6 weeks later your results are provided. Results are provided on the 23andMe website, which shows your ancestry breakdown and health predispositions. If you aren’t interested in the health aspect, it is possible to order the ancestry analysis only at a lower price.

23andme-testing-kit
23andMe kit

What I Knew

Before I go into what my results are, it’s worth mentioning what I already knew.

Mom’s side of the family:

  • My mom and grandmother were born in Switzerland. My great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother were born near the Swiss-Italian border. I know that my family originally came from Italy, particularly the Milan and Bergamo areas.
  • My grandfather was born in Switzerland. My great-grandfather was born in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland, while my great-grandmother was born in the Swiss-French part of Switzerland.

Dad’s side of the family:

  • My dad was born in Algeria. As far as we know, all my relatives have been born in Algeria. Many Algerians have ancestry from the Middle East.

So, without further ado, here are my results:

23andMe

My Reaction

The majority of the report is in line with what I knew – I have largely European, particularly Italian ancestry, as well as North African ancestry.

However, my biggest surprise was to find out I am 11% Iberian. The Iberian peninsula compromises of Spain and Portugal, and I had no idea I had any ties to the region. I also didn’t expect to be 0.5% British & Irish, 2.3% Sub-Saharan African, 0.1% East Asian, or 0.1% Oceanian.

What also was interesting was that despite my grandfather’s parents being Swiss-French and Swiss-German, I am very little actual French or German at only 1.4%.

Have you done an ancestry test? Would you want to?

More Information

Cost: I paid £129 for my ancestry and health analysis; the normal price is £149. Look for specials around holidays, as I got mine on sale after Christmas. In the U.S. the normal price is $99 for ancestry only, and $199 for ancestry and health.

Availability: 23andMe is available to residents of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

Website: 23andMe.com

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