January 15, 2018

I decided to get my DNA tested

Last year, one of my favorite travel bloggers, Polka Dot Passport, talked about her decision to learn more about her genetic origins and shared her AncestryDNA results. Even though I had been aware of Ancestry and similar sites like 23andMe before, I never fully knew what they offered and seeing the specificity of her results was what planted the seeds for me to eventually seek out my own origins.

It’s not like I’ve never thought about it before. In fact, it’s something I’ve always felt hyper aware of because I look so different from my relatives (but according to everyone, I look exactly like my maternal grandfather). Both sides of my family are mostly Filipino but my paternal grandmother is half-English (and little Spanish) and my maternal grandfather is half-Chinese. So this is always how I’ve seen myself: 75% Filipino, 12.5% Chinese, 12.5% English and 5% Spanish.

But again, this was all guess work and as I started asking questions about grandparents’ and even great-grandparents’ heritages, it became clear that my parents, aunts and uncles didn’t have the full story themselves. So when a year later I still couldn’t stop thinking about AncestryDNA, I decided to take the plunge in November (thanks to a Black Friday sale!) and get tested. It was really simple. They sent me a kit, I spit into a tube and mailed it back right away. I got my results on Christmas, of all days, and was completely shocked by what I found out.

my results!
It turns out that I am 88% Filipino (for both Asia East & Polynesia, it said primarily Philippines & Guam), not Chinese or English at all, 5% Asian mix and a 1% mix of various European countries (Ireland?!). I was so surprised that I did two things: immediately Googled how my results could be so unexpected (which led to an informative post on the breakdown of inheritance percentages) and I told my cousins. They were just as shocked and jokingly asked me if I did the kit right. I said yes and that I had proof.

So the other side of AncestryDNA is that it allows you to create family trees and if you do the test, it’ll show you DNA matches that are also on the website. 34 matches of 4th cousins or closer came up for me! I was most interested in the four 2nd cousins listed. One of them was shown to manage the other accounts so I reached out to him. Turns out we truly are 2nd cousins! He spoke to his mom and aunt and said they knew my name (I knew theirs once he told me). They’re my mom’s 1st cousins and we’re related because his grandmother is the sister of my grandfather.

My mind was blown. I had had some doubts about how legit this was in the beginning, but I’m totally a believer now. All my cousins are interested in doing it too and one of them even ordered a kit the day I shared this story. I’m excited to see what his results will be and to continue reaching out to my other matches and seeing where our families intersect.

If there's one thing I've gained from all of this, it's how incredible it is to know where you're from and a deeper desire to learn about my family's heritage.

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Have any of you guys tried a DNA test or been
interested in doing on? 

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