I had decided to take advantage of a special deal with 23andMe and get my DNA tested. I am hoping to learn a bit about my deep ancestry from my mitochondrial DNA in this test, as well as some genetic health risks and susceptibilities.
I tried to order the kit a few days before. I eventually realised that my first order with 23andMe didn’t go through, so I ordered again. I received confirmation that it has been sent, which I hadn’t had before, so obviously I had done something wrong, or not done something, before. So far so good!
Timeline so far:
9 Dec 2010 – I ordered a kit from 23andMe
10 Dec 2010 – Kit was shipped from 23andMe
13 Dec 2010 – Kit arrived at my front door
15 Dec 2010 – I spat my sample into the test tube
16 Dec 2010 – Sample collected by courier
21 Dec 2010 – Sample arrived at the 23andMe lab, and I was reminded to register my kit on the website
The process takes 6-8 weeks, so there will be no new updates for a while.
In the meantime, I had ordered some books from Amazon. That order did go through, and all 5 of them have arrived – 3 all at once and the other 2 individually. I’ve read the first 3, the last one being Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner’s Trace Your Roots with DNA, (2001). Even though the book is nearly 10 years old it gives an excellent introduction to the basics of DNA testing. They discuss the coming developments pretty accurately – more markers, more usefulness for mtDNA, more popularity and so better chances of matching with someone else’s test results.
All this reading has inspired me to more testing! I’ve ordered a test for my maternal uncle, and one for my unsuspecting father or brother.
I’ve also changed companies. I will be using Family Tree DNA for these and probably all subsequent tests. It’s not that I think that they are a better company, or do better tests; it’s more that they do different tests.
Family Tree DNA are more concerned with pure genealogy, whereas 23andMe are more concerned with the health aspects of DNA. It will be interesting to compare the two. Family Tree DNA has, as far as I can tell, the largest number of projects.
A project is what you join if you want to find matches with other people who may be relatives. The pricing is less expensive if you join a project. Most of the projects are for surnames. My husband, for example, is part of the Bassett project, so he can see how closely he is related to other Bassetts around the world, and where their most recent common ancestor came from. There is little point in getting your DNA tested unless you want to compare it with others’.
Other projects are for geographic areas. My uncle is one of the last of a line of Easons, the first of whom came to Australia from County Tyrone in what is now Northern Ireland, so he will be part of the Ulster Project. The story we were told was that Eason was originally a French Huguenot name with a d’ on the front of it. I have not found any evidence of this as yet, but then my trail runs cold in 1813 with the marriage of Sarah Irwin of Clogher, Tyrone, to Richard Eason of Armagh.
Family Tree DNA do not use couriers unless requested, so this story will unfold a little more slowly.
Image courtesy of Chris Harvey at Dreamstime.