A Little Pie for Breakfast

Good Morning. It looks as if I’ve been served up a pie to go with my coffee this morning – my DNA results have come in! Here’s my pie chart:

That’s a lot of UK in that pie, more than I was expecting. But the big surprise is the 17% Scandinavia. Perhaps I should change my name to Thor, god of thunder. Or not. The big surprise is that I am only listed as 9% Irish, such is the nature of randomness and inheritance. This, from Ancestry – Unexpected Ethnicity Results, helps explain.

At seven generations back, less than 1% of your DNA is likely to come from any given ancestor.

Because inheritance is random, one doesn’t necessarily inherit the same amount of DNA from grandparents of the same level; one great-grandparent may have passed on 12% of their DNA to you, while another great-grandparent may have passed on only 4%. Likewise, percentages of ethnicity are not passed on in equal amounts. If your grandparent is 100% Korean and none of your other three grandparents are Korean at all, you may be anywhere from 0 – 50% Korean, depending on which genes you inherited from your half-Korean parent. It is much more likely that your ethnicity will be closer to 25% Korean than to 0 or 50% Korean, but neither end of the 0 – 50% spectrum is outside the realm of possibility.

Beyond the genetic makeup, the thing I was most anxious to see were the possible DNA Matches within the Ancestry database. And while there are plenty (if you want to call close to 23000 possible matches plenty) there are also some issues. The first issue is my lazy cousins. (I kid, I kid). Of my four listed possible second cousins, three don’t have a family tree attached. Extend that to the first page of matches and 29 out of 50 don’t have a family tree to go along with their profile. Time for a few kindly worded emails.

I am very interested in learning more about my father’s side of my family, but that brings up a second issue. While my mother had six siblings and half-siblings, my dad was an only child. No aunts, uncles, or first cousins there. His father was one of seven children, but only two of his siblings (one brother and one sister) had children. His father, my great-grandfather, had one sister who never had any children. I haven’t discovered any brothers or sisters for my great-great-grandfather, although they may be out there.

I’ve got some work to do. “Dear Lazy…”


  1. I would imagine that the basic question is are you surprised/upset by your results? As your analysis made clear, there is WAY too much analytic room to take the percentages as gospel. (Despite the lederhosen commercials.)
    How do y’all feel about your results? Have any of your progeny done this analysis? Might be interesting…
    Personally, I think it’s a way for the labs to gather data for sale. But I’m an old cynical bastard….

    1. Mildly surprised, but not upset. I figure there’s no reason to be upset about anything I can’t control (an attitude I try to carry over in a lot of other areas of my life). The biggest surprise is the Scandinavian – I have no idea where that comes in.

      As for the suggested matches, the first reply I received was from my 2nd cousin who I haven’t talked to in years.

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