Friday, October 18, 2013

AncestryDNA Results

Several weeks ago, my husband and I took AncestryDNA tests. My results were posted on within three weeks. Pete's results took eight weeks. I believe they were trying to determine if he is human! ;)

My results surprised me:

AncestryDNA ethnicity

Where were my British Isles genes? Did I get nothing from my Dad? Where was my Jennings second cousin, who I knew took the AncestryDNA test and that we have shared people on our public trees? I was seriously confused.

I tweeted about my confusion and Crista Cowen (@CristaCowan) explained it took a couple of days to load a person's full DNA results.  Sure enough. A few days later, my Jennings second cousin was included in my results. (@Ancestry) tweeted a link to a very helpful video on their YouTube channel. Here's the video that explained why I had no British Isles ethnicity.

AncestryDNA video

You get half your DNA from each parent, but you do not get half of all their DNA. Which means there might be some genes from your father or mother, you don't get at all.  Here's an illustration of that very important point:

The four sets of fruits and vegetables at the top are DNA from your grandparents. The two sets of fruits and vegetables in the middle are DNA from your parents. Your DNA is at the bottom.  You'll notice your fruit parent got a watermelon and a strawberry from one of their parents and passed them to you.  That means you have no DNA from one grandparent. One of your siblings may have gotten some of those genes, but you did not. This is a very simple explanation Crista developed to explain complex science, but it worked for me. It explained why I have no British Isles ethnicity even though all of my father's ancestors that I know about came from England, Scotland, and Ireland.  Some of my Scandinavian and Central European ethnicity could be from my Dad -- think Vikings and Saxon invaders.

Back to my results...

AncestryDNA results page

Out of 97 pages of DNA matches, I only shared a known common ancestor with three people. At first this was disappointing, especially as one tree was private and the other was the second cousin I knew about. But I had no earthly idea who the last match could be.

This DNA match and I were 4th cousins once removed through sons of John William and Anna (Waldron) Jennings. I had my great great grand father, Powhatan Perrow Jennings', brother Pleasant Jefferson Jennings in my tree, but I had not researched any of his nine children who lived to adulthood. I spent the week after receiving my results doing just that. And that research has taken me in some interesting directions.

Pleasant Jefferson Jennings and his wife, Martha Ann Christian (Kelley) Jennings left Virginia with their five children and moved to Walker County, Texas, where Pleasant became an overseer at the Hightower plantation. You'll notice his daughter, Emily Jennings, married a Hightower. Pleasant and Martha Ann had four more children in Texas. Their last living great granddaughter is still alive at 90 years old at the time of this post.

Martha Ann's brother, William Rolfe Kelley, turned out to be a true Texas character. I blogged about his descendants here.

I've since learned AncestryDNA is just the tip of the DNA iceberg. I've uploaded my raw DNA results and family tree to and people there are doing chromosome matching to determine relationships. I have no idea what that is but am trying to learn. I will keep you posted as I figure out this complicated (to me, anyway) science.

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