Pushing through, projects, and a detailed DNA update

As you can tell from my last post, life has sucked lately.  Losing my gardening buddy was not on my radar, at least not consciously.  We noticed he wasn’t as perky lately the last week or two, but aging cats do slow down.  Snuggled with us most of the day Sunday, then slowly wound down like an old clock until he passed quietly yesterday.  We buried him next to his brother out in the garden next to the roses.  We took it hard, but the little one took it even harder as she’s always had the cats with her from the time she was an infant.  I took her to the craft store and we bought a cross and a small angel statue to place on his final resting place.  Thankfully the weather held off until last night before the skies opened up, raining hard all night long.  It cleared up around mid morning today, in time for the trick-or-treaters to come by this evening.

Since my “retirement”, I’ve found I have difficulty focusing on tasks at hand.  Since I’ve always arranged my schedule around work, suddenly not having that anchor has left me drifting to a degree.  Either that, or it’s attention deficit disorder.  I’ll start on something, turn around and see something else I need to do, start working on that, walk into another room and be reminded of something else I need to do, etc, etc.  In the end I wind up with a lot of unfinished business and me chasing my tail.

Because of the above, I’m trying a new strategy.  I dedicate an hour to whatever task I’m trying to accomplish.  At the end of that hour I move on to the next thing on my list.  If the original task is unfinished and it can wait, I’ll dedicate another hour to it the following day.  Having a deadline, so to speak, does seem to help.  It has slowed me down a bit with other projects, though.  One project is a proofreading job I’m doing for a friend.  The problem I’m having with it is the fact I’m supposed to be proofreading, but the story is unique and I’m finding myself reading instead of proofing, and then I have to go back and proof what I read.  Hence, it’s taking me longer to do with my self-imposed hour limit a day.  Hopefully she won’t hate me by the time I’m finished with it!

Ancestry finally did an update on the DNA test results.  When I first took the test, the ethnicity results were more generalized with the promise of a more detailed analysis as they refined the data.  And it came with a nifty little lesson about DNA, too.  While an individual will get half of their DNA from their mother and half from their father, the individual doesn’t get exactly half of the mother’s or father’s unique DNA footprint.  The best way to explain it would be if the father is 50% Italian, and the mother has no Italian.  Their biological child could have anywhere from zero to the 50% Italian, depending on what the DNA makeup is from the father.  One child could have 15% of the Italian DNA characteristics while its sibling could end up with 40% of those characteristics.  Kind of like how little Bobby looks identical to Italian great-grandpa Robert on his father’s side, while little Samantha looks more like her red-headed Irish grandmother on her mother’s side.  One child got more of a particular ethnicity characteristic than their sibling when they were conceived.

Here’s another example for a genetic ethnicity that is “missing”. If you have a great-great-grandparent with Native American ancestry, you would theoretically expect to have 1/16th (6%) Native American ancestry. However, the pieces of DNA that you inherited from this great-great-grandparent are random. When the DNA was passed from your great-great-grandparent, to your great-grandparent, to your grandparent, to your parent and then to you, some pieces of DNA from this great-great-grandparent may have been “lost.” Since you might not have any DNA from that great-great-grandparent, you might not have inherited any Native American genetic ethnicity.

So you have to keep in mind the random nature of DNA inheritance, especially if you don’t have exactly the genetic ethnicities that you expected.

How Ancestry calculates the estimate for each ethnicity region is they run forty separate analyses on randomly selected portions of the DNA.  They do forty because ethnicity estimation can be variable from comparison to comparison — different combos of DNA can give different information, so doing multiple analyses can give a more accurate estimate, as well as the likely range.  If they’re looking at Italian, for example, and they take forty randomly selected portions of the DNA to compare it to, they end up with 40 numbers ranging anywhere from zero percent to 100 percent, then they add them all together and divide by 40 for an overall average.  What I like about the update is you don’t have to pay any extra–one fee of $99 to take the test, and any future developments, updates, etc, are all included.

With the latest advances they released the updated results of the DNA test.  My analyses came up with the following averages–I am:

60% Europe West, which includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein.  My range is 28% to 90%.  I know for sure most of my grandfather’s family came from France and most of my grandmother’s family came from Switzerland, so that makes sense.

20% Irish, which includes Ireland, Wales and Scotland.  My range is 5% to 33%.  I know there is an Irish line in my grandmother’s family, but obviously there’s more than that in the mix elsewhere.

9% Scandinavian, which includes Sweden, Norway and Denmark.  My range is zero to 26%.

7% Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain, Portugal, and also France, Morocco, Algeria and Italy.  My range is zero to 17%.

1% Italian/Greek, which includes Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia.  My range is zero to 6%.

1% Europe East, which includes Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  My range is zero to 6%.

Less than 1% Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland, Wales.  My range is zero to 7%.

Less than 1% Near East, which includes Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Israel.  My range is zero to 3%.

Less than 1% Caucasus, which includes Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Azerbijan, as well as Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Palestine.  My range is zero to 3%.

Less than 1% Africa North, which includes Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya as well as Spain, Portugal, the Near East.  My range is zero to less than 1%.

This update confirmed a lot of the information I have in my tree, plus things my grandmother told me.  What I was NOT expecting was to be twenty percent Irish.  I knew I had Irish ancestors, but for me to be that high of a percentage was surprising.  Hubby laughed and said that explained the random curly red hair I have intermixed with my “regular” hair (which drives me nuts because it won’t lay completely flat), as well as my love for Jameson whiskey.  My *ahem* curvaceous backside he attributes to the Caucasus/Armenian ethnicity.  It has always been a running joke that it isn’t a white girl’s backside–I could (and have) weigh 118 pounds and look like a toothpick with a butt.  It was one of my attributes that attracted hubby to me in the first place.  *Wink*

I’ll be looking forward to further updates, more refining and adjusting–it’s always a surprise!


3 thoughts on “Pushing through, projects, and a detailed DNA update

  1. I also just got my detailed ancestry.com DNA. It really showed a much better break down of who you are. Now if only some of my DNA cousins would answer my e-mails.

    • Some people I’ve emailed have been very nice, open and helpful, while others won’t give me the time of day. It’s frustrating when there’s a definite match but they won’t communicate! Just got to keep on trying. 🙂

  2. Interesting explanation of the 50% from the father and 50% from the mother. I have a niece and two nephews – my niece and one nephew look exactly like the father’s side, the other nephew looks exactly like the mother’s side. The distinction is significant – the mother’s side is Italian and that kid looks drastically different than his siblings. Fascinating!

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