DNA Admixture – Is it a Clue?

Over the holiday, I had my dad’s DNA tested. It took a while to come back, but by mid- January I had the results!

To be honest, I wasn’t too surprised at the results. Delighted, but not surprised.

I know that the ethnicity results (normally called admixture) aren’t anything to really go by. They are a great conversation starter, but really, because there are so many variables to the test, it isn’t something to ONLY test for. You shouldn’t be testing just to see those results, in other words.

To see more on what two experts (they are experts to me!) say about admixture, see the following blog posts:

Ethnicity Testing and Results” by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained

Admixture: Not Soup Yet” by Judy G Russell on the Legal Genealogist

And if you’re curious about the science behind admixture results, check out this link: ISOGG Admixture Analyses

So, I do get it. It is an estimate. It’s a conversation starter, and it isn’t always accurate. Autosomal DNA is a random recombination of DNA from your ancestors. Just because you don’t show any of that Native American DNA (which you may have documented as being far back in your tree) doesn’t mean a sibling or cousin won’t. It is random.

Nonetheless, I’m intrigued. Here are my results from FamilyTreeDNA (which was transferred from AncestryDNA):

admixture results from FTDNA

The European was not in the least surprising, nor was any of that actually. According to family lore and what I knew so far, that all made sense. That Middle Eastern part held my interest though. Knowing my maternal grandfather’s background, I had assumed it came from him. His results didn’t have any Middle Eastern though. Again, knowing that that doesn’t mean anything, I was still a bit surprised.

So I had my dad tested. Just to see.

Dad's Admixture

Well what do you know – Middle Eastern! And it’s about double mine, which makes sense. How I wish my paternal grandparents were still alive so I could see what it would be for them!

Again, I try to rein in my excitement, remembering that these admixture results aren’t something to really go by. Yet… I can’t help my curiosity. Especially since I remember my paternal grandmother mentioning that we have Gypsy blood. I had always thought she said that because I wished to move all over and didn’t like the idea of settling in one place (this became very true for me in later years – my family moved my freshman year of college and after that, I never stayed in one apartment or city for longer than a year for 11 years – we finally bought a house a few years back but I began itching to move again after a year, much to my husband’s annoyance).

So, could that family story be true? Is there really a possible connection to that random family story I happen to remember and in my DNA? And which side did it come from? My paternal grandfather’s or grandmother’s?

What’s my plan now?

Well I’m going to take the DNA results from both my dad and me and analyze our results for possible connections. Looking at their admixture results may help me to narrow down that list a bit, but I’ll be focusing more on their actual documented family trees for obvious reasons. I hope to be able to narrow this down to a possible line and get some answers along the way! I’ll be sharing my analysis and my results (or really, the more questions I’ll gather) alone the way.

Have any of you had some interesting results in your admixture that you began to explore?

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  1. My grandparents both tested recently and were very upset by the results. They were looking for ethnicity estimates and didn’t talk to me first. My grandpa (no blood relation) showed 0% for Native American. He is part Cherokee, member of the tribe, married on the res, etc. So of course he thinks the tests are all bogus now. 🙂 They are willing to give me their passwords and let me tinker around with their results. I just haven’t gotten them yet. It will be my first experience working with DNA. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Nichelle Barra

      Just curious, how much Cherokee is he? Maybe some of your tinkering can help change their minds. 🙂 I don’t know a lot at the moment but let me know if you have questions or anything! I do love this part of genealogy!

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