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Holiday gift focused on ancestry

GAYS MILLS - One of the hot items during this year’s Christmas shopping season it seems was those handy dandy DNA spit tubes.

You’ve probably seen them advertised all over the Internet, TV and on NPR. Companies like 23andMe or offered great sale prices on the little saliva receptacles during the holidays, encouraging people to learn a little more about themselves, a gift that keeps on giving.

I was one of the lucky recipients of a tube. It was something that I had wanted to try for a long, long time.

I have known several people who tried it out and were greatly amused by pouring over their results as well as connecting with all the people who used the same company, and turns out, have the same DNA.

I was probably more shocked by that result than anything when I poked around on the website and saw I had WAY more closely related cousins than I thought.

Getting the kit was a bit of a comical error however, as many things at my home turn out to be.

Chasca is a bit of a self-proclaimed technology caveman. He doesn’t have social media or even really use his email address. He has a smart phone, but doesn’t usually use it for anything but calling and texting and occasionally looking up a recipe for spareribs. So, really, online shopping is out of his realm of interest. Leading me to think all of my not so subtle hints about wanting one of these DNA testing kits were basically in vain.

This was all until one Saturday, nearly a month before Christmas when the postman arrived with a little white box with my name on it—I was quite surprised.

“NO WAY!”  I squealed as I walked up the driveway, tearing the plastic off of the small box that was clearly marked as being from

I will say for a company that ran such a hefty promotion for the holidays, they could have done a better job disguising their boxes.

This all really wouldn’t have mattered at my house though, because, Chasca had the package sent to my name. Surely believing that if it was not in my name, my spit would be cast aside unviewed, to whereever the liquid goes after testing is completed.

However, life got a little busy and the little kit sat half-forgotten about on my kitchen counter for a couple of weeks, before I finally deposited my spit and sent it out. The big sticking point for me was the whole no eating, drinking, or chewing gum 30 minutes before you deposit your spit. For most people this would seem logical to just do it right away in the morning. But apparently I don’t think that way because my brain doesn’t really turn on until have I’ve had a few sips of coffee.

There is a little app you can download on your phone that gives you a glimpse into the journey your spit takes. At least from when it arrives at the laboratory by US Post.

I went into this whole, experiment, believing my heritage was German, Irish and Welsh. And for some reason that was it. That was what my grandparents told me, and they seemed rather confident that there were no strays or fence hopping in our history.

However, when my phone gave me a little beep, beep notification that my results were ready, I was interested to learn that things were quite different than expected.

My ethnicity estimate results according to were as follows:

46% Great Britain (“Primarily located in England, Scotland and Wales”)

20% Ireland/Scotland/Wales (“Primarily located in Ireland/Scotland/Wales but also found in France and England)

These two major slices link me to New York Settlers, Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa settlers, as well as Saint Lawrence River French Settlers and Northeastern States settlers.

From there my DNA reflects:

16% Europe East (Primarily located in Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia)

5% Europe West (Primarily located in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.)

However, the ones that really fascinated me were the “Low Confidence Regions” which just appear to be slivers of my DNA, however they were quite surprising.

4% Iberian Peninsula (Primarily located in Spain and Portugal but also found in France, Morocco, Algeria and Italy.)

4% Europe South (Primarily located in Italy and Greece)

3% Finland/Northwest Russia

1% Scandinavia

and less than one percent  Caucaus (Primarily located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey but also found in Bulgaria, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Romania and Turkmenistan.)

I haven’t had time to dig around at all on the rest of the site other than to glance at the list of my 860 (!!!!) matches that are fourth cousins or closer. However, I look forward to getting a little free time to learn even more about the long line of humans that lead up to me.