There are many DNA kits on the market these days, all touting various features and a proprietary method of extracting your DNA to help identify more about your origins and those in your family tree who came before you. Ancestry.com, the renowned genealogical research site, offers their customers an easy-to-use kit that can help you bring the origins of “You” to the surface, confirming or negating claims your great aunt may have made about your heritage around the dinner table at family gatherings. And, as someone who was told throughout my life that I hailed from particular areas of the world, the truth, in reality, couldn’t have been more shocking.
Aside from collecting this information from the results sent to me, I decided it would be absolutely fantastic to plan a trip composed of stops from my confirmed DNA origins along the way. After receiving my DNA kit in the mail, which can be purchased online at Ancestry.com for as little as $99, I followed the simple instructions. Filling a small vile with saliva and mixing it with a pre-mixed solution provided, I popped the kit back in a shipping envelope to Ancestry’s DNA lab in Utah. The results were in a few weeks later.
The results are emailed to you online, in an easy-to-view document that can be interactive as well. It breaks down all the areas of your DNA origins, estimating the percentage of your DNA that comes from that particular area. I learned that I was 22% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) – this was, by far, the largest segment of my DNA. That was followed by 19% Eastern Europe, specifically, Croatia. After that, 19% Great Britain, 14% Scandinavia, 12% Western Europe and 9% Ireland.
With these results, Croatia made sense, and so did Great Britain. These had always been known throughout my maternal and paternal sides of my family. But, what shocked me, was the Iberian Peninsula. I had absolutely no clue that I had origins in Spain and Portugal – my family was shocked as well. Ancestry.com outlines these regions, and details the people from here and their history throughout time. This helps you understand how your ancestors may have gotten from one place to the other.
After analyzing my results, I planned a trip with stops in Portugal, Spain, France, Croatia, the UK and Ireland. The 21 day trip took me from Lisbon to Madrid, Barcelona to Zagreb, Zagreb to Paris, Paris to London and London to Dublin. It was a whirlwind, but was absolutely incredible. I had been to many of these places prior, but, this time, embarked on my journey with a new set of eyes – eyes open in a way that allowed me to look at local faces, cultures and practices differently. How did I fit in here? What similarities did I see?
Ancestry.com, in my opinion, offers a stellar DNA product. It’s essential to leave all your preconceived notions at the door, and let the science do its job. I recommend that you consider a trip based on your DNA, or at least partially, after your results are in. It will be completely different from any other trip you’ve ever taken. A trip with a completely different meaning.