I don’t know where my parents are from. Let me rephrase that. I don’t know where my birth parents are from. That’s because I’m adopted. I DO know where the parents who raised me are from, and since I was adopted when I was a baby, I’ve always said my heritage was Irish and Russian. Now, thanks to an easy DNA test by MyHeritage DNA, I now know my background according to my DNA ancestry. (*Disclosure below.)
Ever since I can remember, I have known that I was adopted. It wasn’t hidden away from me or not discussed. But I never knew many details. I believe that my biological mother was a nurse and my father was a teacher. And that their heritage was English and Polish. And that they were just too early on in their lives to properly take care of a child. So, they put me up for adoption.
I actually have been intrigued by understanding my blood lineage. So when MyHeritage DNA wanted me to write this article about their DNA service, it aligned well with my own wishes and my desire to provide a bit more context for my children.
Understanding your ancestral roots with MyHeritage DNA involves two processes. The first is using their at-home kit to collect a DNA sample. The second is unleashed once your DNA is analyzed. The second process unwraps a huge discovery moment for you that goes far beyond just DNA analysis. It involves understanding your family heritage, mapping out family trees, potentially discovering long-lost relatives, and more.
About the MyHeritage DNA Kit
First, let me start with the DNA collection. It all starts with ordering a DNA kit. (A quick note here, if you use the discount code BABBLEBOXX2 on the MyHeritage website, you get free shipping!) The DNA kit is a private and secure at-home test you can easily do in a matter of minutes.
The kit consists of:
- 2 check swabs
- 2 vials to store the samples
- A cotton pad to store the vials in shipping
- A mailer
The process consists of ordering the kit, taking the sample, getting your DNA analyzed, and then viewing the results in 3-4 weeks. The instructions themselves are easy to follow, and as I said, you can collect a sample in just a few minutes. You do need to create a MyHeritage account as part of the process as you will need to put in the kit’s ID number to link it back to you and your results.
One more thing, at the end of this article is a giveaway where you have the possibility of getting a free MyHeritage DNA kit. Two different people will win one DNA kit each. This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Understanding your MyHeritage DNA Test Results
Probably the most exciting part of the entire process is receiving the email from MyHeritage that tells you your DNA results are available. You do get an email earlier that says that the sample has been received and that analysis is beginning. That is always nice to have that feedback loop along the way. But the results email is like getting a present. And once you log into the MyHeritage DNA site, you get to unwrap that present. And MyHeritage makes the unveiling quite nice.
At a high-level, you are walked through your results, complete with maps and graphics. Each of the high-level results can be later explored and drilled down into.
Let me talk a bit about what you can expect from a MyHeritage DNA test. I have provided actual examples from my own test to provide context. Again, it is important to note that I don’t have much ancestral context. Part of the power of MyHeritage is to allow you to map out your family tree and build out your historical records. For me, however, I don’t have the luxury of being able to do that. It’s more about learning more details on my ethnic origins.
But here’s the thing. The more people that take the DNA test, the more likelihood of finding close or distant relatives. Which means, for people like me who don’t fully know their bloodline, they may be able to make family tree discoveries that they wouldn’t have been able to do so otherwise.
For starters, you will get an Ethnicity Estimate. In my introduction to my results, I was presented with a high-level breakdown. It turns out that I am 35.5% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. From there, 26.2% of my DNA is East European, and 24.4% is Scandinavian.
You can further drill down into the Ethnicity results, even discovering the number of DNA matches by ethnicity.
And you can see the regions on the map of where the density of ethnicity matching happens.
I was told that I have a total of 6 ethnicities that I matched with. I mentioned three previously. My remaining three ethnicities are Balkan, Baltic and English, all with percentages less than 7%. Your ethnic origins are built from 42 different ethnicities.
Understanding what makes up my DNA heritage is fantastic. But what was almost more compelling to me was seeing if I have any long-lost relatives out there. As I mentioned previously, the more people that have their DNA tested, the more granular details become available and the more of a possibility of discovering an extended family line. This is where the DNA Matches come into play.
My results for the “Close Family” are not surprising actually. I don’t have any matches. It would have been a bombshell if a close family match had shown up. For now, nothing does so I may have to wait to see if anything ever appears in that circle.
However, there is one match under “Extended Family” which is intriguing.
I have to admit, I don’t really, truly understand the “twice removed” aspect of genealogy. But luckily MyHeritage explains it visually through a generic family tree that shows relationship details.
And speaking of family trees, if you subscribe to one of the MyHeritage family tree building plans, you can actually research, contact, and build out your family tree. This may be something that I explore in the future. Depending on the service level you choose, you can even do searches against 9.2 billion historical records to better learn about your heritage and ancestry.
Ok, I mentioned a giveaway earlier. You can easily enter this giveaway to start your own DNA analysis and heritage discovery. Just enter via the widget below (or directly through this link) and remember that this giveaway is only available until September 24th, 2018!
If you aren’t a winner, you can still get a MyHeritage DNA kit and analysis for about $69 (depending on if there is a sale going on or not). And if you enter BABBLEBOXX2 at checkout, you get free shipping!
Until I start diving deeper into my heritage, I do have my ethnic breakdown as a place to start. I’m happy to say that my ancestry doesn’t show that I’m from Mars or some distant galaxy, but heck, you never know if I have some mutant strain of DNA buried inside somewhere. Seriously though, with the MyHeritage DNA results, I can now tell my girls part of their origin story which helps them have a better understanding of who they are.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product or service, as well as monetary compensation for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: Understanding your “origin story” is a great family activity and MyHeritage DNA provides an easy, secure, at-home test plus a detailed analysis of your ethnicity, potentially allowing you to discover a much larger family heritage and ancestry.