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December 31, 2013

DNA Results Have Us Totally Surprised

The graphic on the left shows the surprising results of my husband's mother's DNA. 

As far as we knew she was solid English and W.A.S.P. lines as far back as 10 generations.

So the Yakut and Sub-Saharan African DNA, as small as it is, is a big surprise. I looked up Yakut and it is a small area in what is now Siberia so I'm guessing that's pretty far back in her ancestry. 

This is exciting for any genealogist and now hubs and I are embarking on a new quest. We want to see if there are gaps we missed in tracing his mom's side of the family tree. 

And of course the very exciting find which I talked about in a previous blog post called DNA Results Leave us Gob-Smacked!
is that the man who my mother-in-law thought was her grandfather, was not. DNA matches have proven that another man was her grandfather and we've narrowed the candidates down to two in a certain family. 

So I am going to research each of those two men's lines back as far as I can to see if we an spot a black ancestor there. We realize we're oversimplifying this task but we want to take a basic easy approach to the puzzle at this point. 

Wish us luck! Have you had any surprises in your DNA results?


Anonymous said...

Not being a genetic specialist, I would interpret your results like this.

The Yakut probably comes from Mongolian roots in your Northern european ancestry. Ghengis Khan is believed to have had the most descendents since Adam and Eve.

The small sub-saharan could be Moorish considering you your Iberian (Spanish) results.

The German and French would tie into your English with Anglo-Saxon and Norman roots.

Just my opinion.

Happy New Year


Rhi Gibson said...

I sincerely believe that the DNA is so small as to be useless. Anything below 5% is generally accepted (by all that I've read at least) to be the margin of error and not necessarily indicating hidden ancestry. Dollars to donuts, there is no Black ancestry connected to these results and grandma was still a WASP.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

I don't agree Rhi. My husband's DNA shows .1% African.

We have proof of his African heritage through his' 5th great grandfather Jonathan Butler, who I have written about previously on my blog.

His KNOWN African heritage is from his dad's side, not his mom's. And his dad, whose DNA results just came in, shows .4% African

So although his mom's .1% might be nothing, it could also be something. :-)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thanks for your comment Bernie - appreciate your interpretation!

Laura Davenport said...

Being a population geneticist I'll give you my interpretation, which is the standard atDNA ethnicity "party line": less that 5% (that's five not point five)it's considered noise. You might want to also do some research into how ethnicity is calculated from raw atDNA data.
Ethnicity estimations from atDNA do not use population specific markers like yDNA or mtDNA; they measure the subject's SNP frequencies against those of hypothetical modeled populations. This is why they can change through time (the next time you look they may be different)and this is why you can upload your raw data to GedMatch, use any of the several algorithms provided there, and get several different sets of results.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thank you for your clear explanation Laura! And I get what you are saying, and totally believe you but...

my point is that it isn't always "noise" as witness my husband's .1% African (proven in our research previously) , his father's .4% (proven), my brother's .7% Native American (proven years ago via research) and my own.1% Native American (likewise proven)

Eric Basir said...

That is cool. Lorine (comments section), how many generations back does your husband's .1% African ancestry go?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Eric,

Hubs' 4th great grandfather Jonathan Butler was a black man from Pennsylvania who settled in Ontario

See Finding a Black Ancestor Using Circumstantial Evidence, Part 1

Rebecca said...

Fun - now to find the proof!!!

jleesimons said...

Though it did not show up in mine, my mother's DNA showed Ashkenazi Jew--an exciting find. It is small, so it is likely farther back than we have explored at this point. Another thing I discovered is that you can have a common ancestor with someone and not be a DNA match, since each person inherits a different portion of the DNA pool each generation.

Anonymous said...

This is very funny! I got nearly identical results! .1 Yakut and .1 sub-saharan. I also got .4 "sardinian" (eye roll). These results are imperect and when you're looking at something less than a half of a percent we're looking at something a bit... well, overly speculative.

don't built a myth out of a data sampling error.

Brittany said...

Missing .1% of DNA would obviously cause problems. “Noise” does not exist in biology. You either have a completely functioning organism or you do not.

Rhiannon Gibson said...


Ethnicity is not an accurate science. The "noise" is there, but so small that they cannot determine where you got it from. It's not that the DNA doesn't exist, it's that it's too small for the margin of error to correct it. "Noise" does in fact exist in biology in the millions of pairs of "junk DNA" we have.

Brittany said...

“Junk dna”? I don’t think so. You either have mutations, deletions, or additions of dna. You are also at a loss when there is KNOWN ancestry versus your “junk dna”.