Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day - I Didn't Know I Was Irish Until My DNA Told Me So!

Am I Irish if my AncestryDNA test says that I am 18% Irish ancestry?  I guess I'm entitled to post this:

Here are my AncestryDNA test results (two screens):

Some thoughts about my "Irish" ancestry:

*  The matches they've made of my autosomal DNA with that of other "Irish" people show that I'm 18% "Irish."  however, the range could be 3% to 32%.

*  This ethnicity estimate is based on a pool of 154 persons identified as having "Irish" ancestry.  That's probably why the ethnicity range is so wide.  I really question how they can make judgments when there are so few persons for comparison purposes.

*  I am nowhere near the percentage of the "typical native" of Ireland.  For all we know, those 154 could have significant English ancestry.

*  From what I've heard, the autosomal DNA test indicates ethnicity as of about 2,000 years ago - around the time of the Roman invasion and rule of southern England, but not of Ireland.  The Celts in England were pushed westward to Ireland and Wales and Cornwall.  There were earlier migrations to the British Isles in prehistoric times from central Europe, Gaul and Iberia. 

*  My ethnicity according to my genealogy research is about 65% British Isles and about 35% Western Europe (mainly Germany, with a little Dutch, French and Scandinavia).  But that's based on where my ancestors lived about 500 years ago.  Of course, it's those Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans, Vikings, etc. who muddied up the gene pool in England. 

*  Over the last 400 years, I may have a few ancestors who lived in Ireland, but I doubt that I have 18%.  If the ethnicity estimate was 3% or even 6%, I'd tend to believe it.  It may be that some of those conquering heroes took Celtic wives and they contributed to my gene pool with a fair amount of Irish ancestry in the green end. 

For the record:

*  I love Irish music.

*  I love the spirit of the Irish people, both sides, Orange and Green.

*  I've been to Northern Ireland once on business in 1985, and it was really green.

*  We visited Dublin for a day on the Legacy Family Tree 2013 genealogy cruise, and we visited St. Patrick's cathedral.

*  I don't like beer, and especially green beer.

* I would love to experience Irish research...if I could only find the connection in my genealogy.  I do have some "dead ends" in my pedigree chart, and some of them may lead to Irish ancestry if I can find the intervening generations. 

I also posed for this picture in Dublin with a wee Irish lass (is this my cousin?) ...

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/03/happy-st-patricks-day-i-didnt-know-i.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Stephen said...

I got my Ancestry DNA test results back the other day, and I was also surprised to find that I was 25% "Irish". I've traced most of my lines to the original immigrants, and know them to be of Scottish origin (some through Ulster). I have to assume that's where the "Irish" comes from, since I know of no lines (yet) that originated in Ireland. But I guess today we can just be proud of our "Irish" heritage...

Kat said...

Great post Randy! We'll claim ye!

Unknown said...

I've been having a good time making up what thoughts the wee lass is having with you holding into her.
Since this is a family blog I won't repeat most of them! :-)

Lynn David said...

Ancestry allows me 1% Irish ancestry as well. But Ancestry also has me with 45% British ancestry. Thing is, however, I know my ancestry is from neither region. Rather, I am one quarter Belgian and one quarter northwest German Saxon. It seems that my ancestry is derived from that Celtic tribe, the Belgae, which peopled the British Isles in pre-Roman times, and those Saxons which invaded Britain in post-Roman times.

nancy said...

Per my comment at end of post, St Patrick's day has had a whole new meaning for me, since Judy Russell's 2013 blog post "awakened" me to bragging rights our DNA gave us, being descended from Irish warlord Niall of the 9 Hostages :-)