It’s not uncommon for a DNA ethnicity test to come back with a surprise. However, I might have underestimated how surprising my mom’s results were.
It’s been about nine months since my mom’s Ancestry DNA test results came back. I highly recommend the test, by the way. I have found so many cousins, along with a wealth of knowledge, photos, and confirmation.
I have my mom’s family tree fleshed out except for the parents of her great-great-grandmother. Besides that, I can tell you we are European. Everything I’ve found points to England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Germany. Here are her results:
1% Asia South (India) and 2% Caucasus (Armenia, Turkey, etc.) puzzled me. I am just now diving into those results to learn more about these trace amounts. For reference, here is how much DNA you inherit from your grandparents:
You don’t typically get EXACTLY 3.125% from each third great-grandparent. DNA is random, and splits randomly in each generation. You could possibly get only 1% or a different percentage. It’s tricky.
I also am not a DNA wiz by any means. My first thought was maybe this was in error…a fluke. I used GEDmatch.com, which is a free tool that you can upload your raw DNA file to. It has many different “admixture” heritage generators. While each one produced different results, one thing was clear: my mom has some Asian DNA.
What I do not understand is where this came from. Judging by the chart above, I would *guess* one of her third great-grandparents would be almost full-blooded South/West Asian. Or perhaps some great-great-greats were part Asian and passed it down. 3% seems like it would be *far* back, *thousands* of years ago, but looking at the chart above, it doesn’t seem that way.
I posted in a AncestryDNA group on Facebook to get some opinions. I got a few surprising responses. People said this could indicate “gypsy” DNA. That was one thing I had not considered. After doing some research, South Asian DNA is prominent in Romani gypsies, not Irish Travellers. The Romani gypsies (forgive me if I don’t use the right terminology here) were ran out of India, and migrated through the West Asia/Caucasus region, and into Great Britain and other parts of the world. They were even in the USA by the 1700s. (More info at this link.)
Interesting. Somehow I still feel like I am grasping at straws, as the saying goes. Like I said before, I have researched my mom’s family tree fairly well. The only person I don’t know much about is her great-great-grandmother, Becky Ann Dial, and I don’t want to assign her a false heritage. I have viewed my mother’s Dial family matches on Ancestry, and while some have Caucasus DNA, they do not have South Asian. I have also viewed other close DNA matches, but cannot seem to find a common link for the 3% Asian DNA.
Maybe the Asian DNA came from multiple sources…but considering I know the history of most of branches, I don’t see how this is possible.
If you have any tips for me in my search for our Asian DNA origins, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.