Yep, I’m a Whitey

They just updated my Ancestry.com profile and added a new feature that shows the contribution of ethnicity by each parent. Exciting stuff! I couldn’t wait to check it out to discover more insights.

I must say I was a little surprised at the results. Not over the fact that I’m pretty damn white, which I am, but at the specific breakdown. Now, they constantly tweak your results over time as more people take DNA tests and other relatives join the data pool. Anyway, here’s my current overall ethnicity breakdown (everything is an estimated range). Sadly, the cool exotic outliers like the Caucasus and South Asia, have been dropped from my original profile:

Irish 52% — specifically Connacht and the Aran Islands, a remote western area
Wales 16%
Scotland 15%
England/NW Europe 11%
Sweden/Denmark 4%
Norway 2%

Now the interesting thing is my DNA contributed by each parent. Here’s the broad backstory — my mom was born in the UK, but both of her parents were from the Connacht area in Ireland, though I assumed some of my Welsh and English DNA came from her. After all, my maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Walsh, a derivation of Welsh (a lot of Welshmen served the English as soldiers and some settled in Ireland). My dad was born in Virginia — I was told by an aunt who had researched the family that her grandfather was born in England under the surname Leighton and came to the states in the late 19th and early 20th century, but I think this is incorrect. From what I’ve found out from other Ancestry members I’m related to, the Laytons were probably here since the 17th century living in New Jersey until my great grandfather moved to Virginia. I also have ancestors who may have pushed into the Ohio Valley area and ancestors in Virginia from my paternal grandmother.

Anyway, here’s my ethnic breakdown by parent. Parent 1 is my dad and Parent 2 my mom.

What boggles my mind is how Irish my mother was. Now, this isn’t her DNA profile — it’s what she contributed to me. I got zero English DNA from her — a little surprising with England’s long history in Ireland — though her family was in the remote west country. No Scandinavian either despite the Norse having settled in the east of Ireland. And despite her mother’s last name Walsh signifying a Welsh ancestor, she only gave me 3% Welsh DNA. In fact, I get most of my remaining Welsh DNA (13%) from my dad. That’s the whole range of DNA from my mom — nothing but Paddy genes and a smattering of Welsh. I shouldn’t be surprised — my mom’s sister, my Aunt Bernadette, got her DNA tested and she was an astounding 98% Irish, so my mom was probably somewhere in that ballpark. All the rest of the ‘diversity’ comes from my dad — and nothing super exotic there. The initial excitement of my original DNA profile where it showed I had a smidge of Spanish and even better, northern India or Iran, disappeared when that got winnowed out over time. The surprising thing is how little English DNA I got from Dad — only 15% — and his last name is English, for God’s sake. But his mother’s Irish surname was Donovan and I only got 5% of my Irish DNA from that side.

So, at the end of the day, I’m pretty much North West European stock. It’s not terribly exotic, though the Scandinavian ancestors intrigue me though I have no leads on who they were so far. Basically, I’m so white, the Neo Nazis would give me automatic membership if I ever decide to become a racist moron. (Except they probably don’t check that stuff too closely these days, or they might not have as many recruits in the U.S. because you never know what’s hiding in the family woodpile.)

Have you guys done a DNA test and found anything interesting? Comment below.


Photo

Copy of a family photo of the headstone of my maternal great grandfather, John Walsh, who lived in Currawatier*, Ireland.

*Wondering how to pronounce Currawatier? My UK-dwelling relatives pronounce it Cur-ah-Watch-ah.

20 thoughts on “Yep, I’m a Whitey

  1. Lisa Porter Cordovana

    If you were any whiter, you’d be see-through! I had my DNA tested, mostly because I was hoping to find SOME gene of color. I really wanted to see the looks on my racist family members’ faces. But, no dice. Just a tiny smidge of Native American. One of Dad’s Irish relatives married a Cherokee woman. Otherwise, my DNA breakdown looks pretty much the same as yours. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, never, I don’t even know how it’s done, what I’m supposed to do in order to acquire such information. Everything’s difficult back home. I seriously doubt anyone does such stuff, which I find incredibly interesting. It would be awesome to know who my ancestors were.
    What would be “terribly exotic” for you? (You crack me up, Sean.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bojana, I went through Ancestry.com and got a test on sale. Wasn’t too expensive. There are other companies too like 23andMe. Most just give a basic breakdown on your ethnic composition based on haplotypes. Some offer medical based info to see what potential health risk to be aware of.
      Terribly exotic for me is probably any haplotype outside of traditional North Western European populations. The thing is, you could have a really cool ancestor from some other group but never know it because their genes are so few in your modern relatives because of the length of time that you might not have got any from your parents. Like you get 50% from each parent, 25% of each grandparent’s, 12.5% from the great grandparents, 6.25 from each great great grandparent and so on.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I hope you have the opportunity. You get better results the more people whose DNA is in the database, so not sure how detailed your results would be. I’d love to hear about your results if you ever do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t done a test either, and I would love to. I think it’s exciting to find out such information. My guess is I would have some Albanian or Serbian ancestry somewhere, but who knows what else?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe someday, Basilike! I found it interesting. I’ve had distant relatives reach out to me to discuss shared ancestors. One fellow has been quite a sleuth. He’s found that we’re part of a family that doesn’t show up in marriage records. He asked me to take another type of DNA test that offers more info and we both showed common relations with this other family. According to his detective work through historical records, it turns out one of our unmarried 16th-century female ancestors most likely had a sexual encounter with a male from this other family (out of wedlock) and became pregnant. His theory is she ended up moving to the American colonies with her family with her child who kept her name.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! It’s amazing that you can find out such things! I don’t know if I’ll be so lucky to find someone who can dig into records, but I’d give anything to know family stories from so long past. Is it easy to get such a test?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not sure what kind of presence these companies have in Europe, but I would imagine they must have or there are European equivalents. I just went to http://www.ancestry.com and created an account and paid for a test (they run frequent sales). They send you a DNA kid — you spit into the specially prepared tube and mail it back to them. I takes a month or two for their lab to perform the test and then you can view your results on the website. They offer other things like being able to create a family tree and you can message other relatives in the system. They will try to get you to subscribe, which apparently opens up more records, but it seems pricey to me so I didn’t bother (yet). I was lucky that this distant cousin on my dad’s side has done a lot of the leg work. One of my mother’s cousins also had done some research. I’m not sure I would be as persistent.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I am not sure about myself either, and even though having access to more records sounds tempting, the pricey part is a turn-off. Anyway, I still want to try it.

        One of my grandfather’s cousins left for America sometime in the 20s-30s. But then he was lost, no one heard from him again. It would be great to find out if there is anyone related to him still around.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. He had an adopted son before he left, so they probably left together. I’ve seen them only in a picture, a retro photograph we discovered with many others in my grandparents’ house. He lived in Athens too for a while and he was a barber. I wonder what happened to him. I hope everything turned out well, both for him and for your grandmother’s brother. Emigration is not easy, and there was so much racism and prejudice at the time.

        Like

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