Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working those Autosomal Results

I received my Autosomal DNA test result last Friday exactly 3 weeks after they received my test kit.
This is my personal knowledge of my ethnicity 
So far the test has been very helpful and enlightening!  The the most significant thing to come out of the testing was the confirmation that Nan Harvey and I are indeed cousins. We may also share another common cousin. The test confirmed my French Canadian roots with several confirmed French Canadian matches. It is also suggesting I might actually be related to the Poteet family which I had previously thought not so likely. I was quite surprised with the 5% Native American finding. It appears to be Mayan. Some offshoots of the Mayan population settled in Nicaragua. My Nicaraguan Grandmother completely denied that there was any    intermarriage between her family and the Native population. She probably would not have been aware of her full family history. Considering the family was probably in Central America for many generations I should have considered Native blood more than likely. Another odd surprise is I matched someone with the name Capel which is so close to Kapple. It looks like this is just a coincidence since that Capel was a native of the British Isles and my family is Austro-Hungarian. My ethnic background is more diverse than is represented in my DNA results. Western European actually encompasses much of Europe including Germany. There is a bias in the results towards Western Europe because most of those who have been tested are from there.
I've uploaded my raw data files from FT DNA to Promethease and Gedmatch. I also got a BGA report from Doug McDonald which gives me a little more insight into my possible ethnic roots.
You can get a health report from Promethease after submitting your raw data files. I tried to get the free report but it didn't work so I  paid the $2.00 to get the full report. The report did manage to hone in on known health problems in my family. It stated I would be more likely to become addicted to Nicotine. My father was a heavy smoker. He couldn't even stop when he was dying of COPD. The report also stated I had an increased chance of getting lung cancer. My grandfather and an aunt died of lung cancer. I also had an increased chance of getting Kidney disease which another aunt died of. One aunt also had macular  degeneration which also came up in the report.
I have not had much success with Gedmatch so far. This site helps you find possible autosomal match cousins. I initially just uploaded my raw files and got only one match. When I later uploaded a gedcom file I got 503 matches. Most proved to be not significant. Could not find a common ancestor with most. I did find more French Canadian cousins.
My ethnic background and possible Jewish roots always fascinated me. The BGA report that Doug McDonald generates sounded like just the thing I was looking for as far as establishing my ethnic background. I had not noticed initially that there was a breakdown of my middle eastern roots at FT DNA. I found that after I got my report back from Doug. These two reports came out slightly differently. Doug's report seemed to point to a likelihood of Egyptian ancestry accounting for my Middle Eastern results. FT DNA pointed me toward Bedouin, Mozabite, and Palastinian with a 1% error margin. Doug also included these populations in his reports to me, but felt Egyptian was more likely. I had been leaning toward thinking that the Middle Eastern represented my Kapple family and was Jewish. This may not be the case? The more I read about detecting Jewish roots with autosomal testing the less certain I feel about what my results represent. Jewish heritage is difficult to quantify. The Jewish population is very mixed ethnically and is not represented by a single genetic marker or set or markers. It's a complicated mixture of the different areas the Jews lived in. As more people test my exact Middle Eastern Heritage may become more clear.
I picked up some information about how these DNA percentages tend to correlate with your ancestors. According to The Genetic Genealogist great-grandparents contribute about 12% to your DNA.
What I have learned is you need to use traditional genealogy and family knowledge to put these results into the correct context. I am very pleased with my results so far. The test has been well worth the cost for me.

 Here are examples of the reports I received from Doug McDonald:

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