Friday, March 17, 2017

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 Scandinavian).  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?) ...


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Susi's Quarter said...

Keep digging it may come to light with you not realizing it. I have two Irish names I never considered Irish.

Lynn David said...

AncestryDNA says I am 1% Irish as well - along with 45% Great Britain ancestry. Neither of which is true. I don't have one ancestor that isn't from the European mainland going back at least 3 generations. The problem I think lies in their sampling and an overt desire to associate DNA with a place and not a group of people. And in my own case a problem of personal genealogical history.

My ancestry is about one-quarter Belgian Wallon/Picard and a quarter northwest German Saxon. These two ancestries make up a good deal of the British peoples; but having these ancestries in one's blood does not make one British. Indeed, I wonder how AncestryDNA would have labelled the ancestries of my parents (if I could have had them tested) as my father was the origin of my Saxon blood and my mother was the origin of my Belgian.

But the thing is that in determining ethnicity, AncestryDNA likely could do a much better job (with a bit more research) of associating autosomal DNA with early Celtic, Germanic, and other tribal groups.