Have you ever been tempted by those ‘Deep Ancestry’ D.N.A tests that you see advertised every now and then? In the name of research (o.k I was really interested) I took the plunge several years ago and sent off my saliva sample to a company in Oxford. In time the results came back bearing a lovely certificate stating that I was of probable Celtic ancestry. O.k, I am descended from one of the great civilizations of ancient Europe, I can live with that. However the certificate also recorded the various Y-STR haplotypes (That is the end of the science talk, I promise!) which they used to determine my ‘clan,’ mine looks like this;
DYS-390 DYS-388 DYS-390 DYS-391 DYS-392 DYS-393 DYS-389a DYS-389b DYS-425
14 12 23 11 13 13 10 16 12
Being the curious sort I dug deeper and from various internet sites it appeared that my STR code actually matched the Frisian haplotype, i.e it had its highest present day concentration in northern Holland.(That made sense. I live about 3 miles from the coast of Suffolk in Eastern England so my energetic ancestors have moved about 100 miles in 8,000 years or so!) I decided to take a test with a different company to check my findings. These came back with a nice map detailing the nucleus of my ‘clan’ to be in north Wales! I queried this and asked them to re-check their findings and they came back with the independent confirmation that I did indeed belong to the Frisian Modal Haplotype (Since known as S21, just to confuse things).
Now I was quite happy to be Celtic or Germanic but I was disappointed by the rather slap dash attitude of the companies involved. If I had not checked the results myself I may have accepted the fact that my ancestors hunted and lived in the area which is now beneath the Irish Sea instead of that which now lays submerged beneath the North Sea. I enjoyed the process and felt that I was glad to have added to my own personal history but if you are considering doing the same I would give you these pieces of advice.
1) Check the results yourself as far as possible. There are countless groups and sources of information on the internet to do this and once you know your haplotype sequence it is easy to check.
2)These tests are only really good enough to pinpoint the general area of the world in which your ancestors lived. If you want to find out whether they were Normans or Alamani you are going to be disappointed whatever the companies may promise. In the end I found out that I am indeed a north-west European, something I could have done by looking in the mirror but hey, it was fun and it is not the worst use to which I have put my money!
Here’s the map of my people and their present day distribution.