I finally know my ethnic background, thanks to the newest DNA test offered by Ancestry.com. I am 51 percent Eastern European and 45 percent Finnish/Volga-Ural. Only 4 percent of my ancestry is a mystery.
In plain English, 51 percent of my ancestry comes from the former Eastern Bloc countries, plus Montenegro, Greece and Macedonia, and 45 percent of my ancestry comes from western Russia and its neighbor, Finland.
I was part of the beta group for this new test. I mailed my DNA sample in November and only received the results last week. The results included almost 100 matches for possible 5th to 8th cousins. I am pretty happy with all the results after I only paid for the test’s shipping. More matches will be posted as they arrive.
These results explain why I have several matches on FamilytreeDNA.com with people in Finland. I have yet to prove a connection to any matches on ancestrydna.com or FamilytreeDNA.com. I have a match on FamilyTreeDNA.com for a third cousin whose family lived near one of my great-grandmother’s birthplace. I am waiting for my match to complete research in Polish archives to see whether we can document our connection.
I need stronger matches than a bunch of fifth to eighth cousins to make DNA genealogy well worth it for me. A fifth cousin has a great-great-great-great-grandparent in common as the earliest possible connection.
It is easy to forget the true size of a family tree. Everyone has eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents and 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. Then, when a match arrives for a third cousin, you have to figure out which of the 32 ancestors is the common link. A third cousin could also be linked to a great-great-great-great-great-grandparent.
That is why knowing where your ancestors were born and lived are very important to make DNA genealogy worth the pricey cost. Maybe a good portion of long ago ancestors were born in the place where the family had lived for many generations. But one great-great-grandmother was born 220 miles west of where three of her siblings were born.
My biggest frustration with DNA genealogy is that some people I e-mail for information on their ancestors do not answer my e-mail messages. They assume it will be impossible to prove the connection. I do not understand why these people spend hundreds of dollars per test and do not give every match a chance to prove a connection.
But DNA genealogy is worth the money if you are willing to wait for the matches that will be easy to prove. FamilytreeDNA.com dominates the market for DNA testing so it is best to use that company. Hopefully, more people with ancestry from the former USSR will start using DNA testing for ancestry so I can finally make some more breakthroughs on my Russian family tree.