My DNA Adventure, Part 1

There’s much to be said about DNA testing in genealogy, but most of it is best said by Blaine Bettinger on his blog, The Genetic Genealogist, which  I highly recommend.  So please visit there soon.  But for now, I’d like to describe my recent experience with’s DNA offering.

I got in on one of Ancestry’s DNA “sales” where the price was affordable for me to do a 46-marker test (a relatively “high resolution” test). The results came in about 18 days. They were posted in  my “DNA account” at Note you don’t have to be an Ancestry subscriber to get DNA results. DNA Results DNA Results

The screen shot above is what one first encounters on the DNA site. On the left side below “Welcome” are buttons that toggle between “Paternal” (Y-DNA) and “Maternal” (mtDNA).  Below those buttons, we can “Find Matches,” “See Ancestry,” “View DNA,” or “Visit Groups.”   We are toggled to the Y-DNA section;  let’s go “See Ancestry.”

A generic description of my Y-DNA results A generic description of my Y-DNA results

This generic  description of my “deep” paternal ancestry shows my DNA belongs to Haplogroup E1b1a [formerly known as E3a].  This group is associated almost entirely with sub-Saharan Africa, although  some authorities say that is too broad a statement to make at this point in our understanding of the issue. It can be stated confidently that E1b1a has a high frequency in West Africa among Bantu-speaking peoples such as in Cameroon.  E1b1a is now well-dispersed throughout Africa.



The screen above turns up when we click on the “See DNA” button.

Now the fun part.  Let’s “Find Matches!”

The location and names (redacted) of 84 matches!

The location and names (redacted) of 84 matches!

Here we find the locations and names of 84 people who “match” my Y-DNA results.

The "best match" is a person (name redacted) in California

The "best match" is a person (name redacted) in California

Now I have a name and location for the “best match.”  But our “Most Recent Common Ancestor” is likely more than 30 generations away!

My mtDNA Deep Ancestral Results

My mtDNA Deep Ancestral Results

When we toggle over to the “Maternal” side, we get this screen  showing that my mtDNA is classified in Haplogroup  L.  Like my Y-DNA, this shows a connection to Bantu people in West Africa, although the haplogroup is now spread over the entire African continent.  Haplogroup L has subdivisions L0, L1, L2, and L3.   I evidently have some connection to these subgroups.  L3 is said to be the progenitor of  “all non-African haplogroups alive today.”

This is my mtDNA!

This is my mtDNA!

And we can see the alleles in the shot above.

Three people in the database match my mtDNA exactly.

Three people in the database match my mtDNA exactly.

The top three people “match” my mtDNA.  Again, I’ve redacted the names.  The list actually has all names with bewteen 0 and 2 variations.  The top three had zero variations.  Unlike the Y-DNA page, there is not a way to ascertain the physical locations of mtDNA matches in this set. So all I have are names.  Could one of them hold the key to my most uncooperative ancestor, Sarah Gilbert Johnson?


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6 Responses to “My DNA Adventure, Part 1”

  • Douala says:

    I learned a lot reading here today. I will be back.

  • Good for U!

    I did the same for my Uncle (The brother of my Mom) so we could confirm the Father of his Father. ;-D

    Now e just need to figure out who that worthy’s Mom was! ;-D

  • LaMonica Mercy says:

    Cousin Craig,

    Thank you so much for posting this. I was so excited reading it and hope to be able to save up money to get in done in the near future! Again, thank you for sharing your information with us!

    Love you dearly,

  • Craig, thanks so much for this very informative post. It’s so much easier to understand with your method of letting us view pages from your actual results. I’ve sent my DNA sample in to the Sorenson databank in Salt Lake, but I understand it will be at least a year before I see any results. I may just have to contact Ancestry!

  • Great post! I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing an Ancestry DNA test for a while and it’s so awesome to see what results you get. Now if I can just convince my dad to do a cheek swab! Thanks so much!

  • Craig – thank you for the very kind words! Looking forward to hearing more about your DNA adventure. Hopefully you were happy with your journey.

    And congratulations on the ProGenealogist Top 25, it is very well deserved!

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