February 2, 2013

The 2.5%

Those who know me know that I love researching my family history. Genealogy is how I passed the long days when I was on disability and didn't know if I'd ever live a pain-free life. The anaesthetic properties of research were healing then, as they are still now.

After a long absence from genealogy I recently picked it up again. There are more tools, more digitized materials, and I can take my extensive amount of work I did the hard way and push further. DNA testing is one of those tools.

I wish it weren't so confusing.

I did Ancestry, and found that none of my Irish lineage turns up. Is that because they were originally Scandinavians who invaded Isles? And the Native American ancestry I'd heard about didn't reveal itself and was probably untrue as well? Not surprising.

What was surprising is that Ancestry, which has great search interfaces, hasn't done the best job at designing their UI. Browsing is for dummies, people. You need to step it up. Thusfar I have no strong matches, and no way to easily search among remote matches for surnames. Waaaaaaah :(

Now I'm doing 23 and Me. Not all of my answers are in, but the genealogical components are perplexing. It shows Ashkenazi ancestry out there in the distant past. And a splash of what may be either Native American or East Asian ancestry. Currently it's marked as Japanese, specifically, which would be a real hoot, especially given my interests.

I don't know what to think of any of it, as it doesn't exactly link up with the Ancestry information. Another feature of 23 and Me is the part that tells you how much of your DNA is derived from your Neanderthal ancestors. I now know that 2.5% of my DNA is Neanderthal. I told mrguy and he said "That's what I wanted to know!" 

You gotta love a guy who wants to know your Neanderthal count.

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