My AncestryDNA results say I'm from the Emerald Isle

Annie's Ethnicity Chart
Annie's Ethnicity Chart

Yesterday, I received the results of my AncestryDNA test. In a previous post I hinted that I thought I'd be predominantly British with possibly some Irish, Scandinavian and Western European genes. I wasn't too far off except to learn that I've inherited a substantial percentage of Irish ethnicity, estimated to be more than half.

I find this quite surprising as the only link to Ireland that I've made is a 2 x great-grandmother on my mother's side. I believe she was called Mary Ann Burgoyne but there is even confusion over her maiden name as my great-grandmother's birth certificate states she was previously called Congdon.

Mary Ann married John Gale Hellier/Hellyer in Shanagolden, Limerick, Ireland in 1871 and their first child was born in Devonport, Plymouth in 1878. John was in the Royal Navy but it is nevertheless puzzling as to why there were so many years between the marriage and the children arriving, especially as I have a feeling he may have been shored-based at various times during this period. Did Mary Ann stay in Ireland for a few years after she was married?

To add to the confusion, Mary Ann's father, William, was described as a sailor on her marriage certificate so it is possible that her own family moved around when she was growing up. Burgoyne is not an uncommon name in Tavistock, Devon, which is where the Hellyer family were from so could she have been a local girl after all?

None of this explains the exceptionally strong Irish connection in my DNA but, as DNA is passed down randomly, it's possible that I've inherited more Irish genes than I might have done if I'd been created on another day!

The DNA results incorporate hundreds of years, even up to a thousand, so it was interesting, though not surprising, to discover that I'm definitely from the European continent:

Ireland - 52%
Great Britain - 15%
Scandinavia - 15%
Iberian Peninsula (ie. Spain & Portugal) - 10%
Europe West - 5%

Plus less than 1% traces each of Europe West, Italy/Greece and Asia South which apparently may or may not be part of my genetic ethnicity.

Obviously there was a lot of migration between neighbouring regions so these figures are merely estimates but I find it fascinating nonetheless.

If other family members take the test, it makes it easier to see which DNA matches we have in common and therefore can offer clues about how we might be related to other people and which ancestral line we are connected through. My mum and dad have already agreed to take part.

If you're related to me and this interests you, may I encourage you to take an AncestryDNA test so we can compare notes and find those elusive ancestors.

You can see my ethnicity page here.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Category: DNA

« Prev item - Next Item »


No comments yet. You can be the first!

Leave comment

(Comments will be approved before being published.)