Ancestry discoveries – well, *that’s* interesting!

My Eurogenes K13 breakdown - high level
My Eurogenes K13 breakdown – high level

I’ve had to give up most coffee and all chocolate, because of migraine headaches.

No, I’m not happy about it. The headaches are so much better, but cutting back on those was not my first choice.

I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke anything, and aside from work, I’m running out of vices. Happily, has stepped in to fill that vice void.

GEDmatch is a wondrous thing — I can’t stop laughing about how amazing it is. Very simply, you upload your raw DNA data (that you get from or or some other ancestry DNA service). In a matter of minutes, they parse it all out to tell you what populations your DNA comes from. I’ve spent more hours than I can count, combing through the results. And wonder of wonders, they now have a spreadsheet feature(!) that shows you the “Oracle” breakdown of all your source populations.

That shows you breakdowns by source populations in more detail. The Oracle results show you distances and percentages and the Oracle-4 results give you even more detail around source populations.

You can even choose to see your chromosome makeups.

I ran the numbers the other day, and under the MDLP calculations, I came away with 662 different populations. I studied the list, which was chock-full of all kinds of surprises (including LOTS of Subsaharan Africa DNA). However, it seemed like it might be more “enthusiastic” than is prudent. After a bit more reading online, I discovered that MDLP is not quite as reliable as I’d like. And the Eurogenes calculator was more reliable.

So, of course I re-ran my data through Eurogenes (K13), and I came away with 204 source populations, which seemed more reasonable. But still — all those surprises… including DNA from some of the earliest genomes sequenced, ever. Chances are, we all can trace our DNA back to 7,000 year-old caveman remains with both European and African DNA, but it’s super-cool to see myself connected to that, no matter how distant the connection may be.

The thing that strikes me, as I comb the list of all these DNA influences, is that many of the assumptions I’ve made about my heritage could use some updating. I turned the corner on 50 years, almost a year ago, and I’m thinking more and more about my legacy — what I’ll leave behind me in this world, both while I’m walking around here, and after I’m gone. I’m also thinking about those who have come before me… to see what they may have “left” to me, in terms of personality and character.

I know some are skeptical about the concept of  “cellular memory”, however, intergenerational effects are recognized in terms of emotional resilience and mental health. Plus, recent research has actually shown that daughters inherit corticolimbic circuit attributes from their mothers, and since the biological line from mother to daughter is unbroken, then for sure, women in particular can trace their roots back in a very personal way. Men, too, I’m sure. I just don’t have the research on hand, just now.

I know of one DNA test that looks at mitochondrial DNA — which is passed through the matrilineal line. I think there are patrilineal DNA analyses out there, too — possibly from the same company? And you can trace back your matrilineal heritage, waaaaayyyy back. A friend of mine did that once, and it was very cool hearing about who her foremothers were.

As for me, I’m going to have to do more digging. There are all kinds of surprises in there, for someone who’s always thought of herself in terms of being west-central European — French, German, Italian, Swiss, with a bit of English thrown in for good measure — and not much else.

Turns out, this is my heritage:

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent
1 North_Atlantic 45.35
2 Baltic 21.39
3 West_Med 15.66
4 West_Asian 8.51
5 East_Med 7.49

204 populations found.
13 components mode.

The Baltic, West Asian, and Eastern Mediterranean are big surprises.

And when I dig into the 204 distinct populations, I find a whole lot of surprises. Including many, many Siberian influences, and Eastern European sources, many from along the Volga river. And then there’s the Brahmin from Uttar Pradesh. And Papua. Maasai. Yoruba.

How very cool is that?

And so the quest commences.

GEDmyth – Digging into the past with

My Dodecad V3 Admixture Proportions – some of it’s surprising.

Some who know me are aware that I’m big into genealogy. I come from a fairly connected extended family who have mostly kept in touch with each other, and my relatives have done a fair amount of family history research. History never gets boring for me, and when it has to do with my own lineage, so much the better.

When I was living in Germany from 1985-87, I spent the holidays with my distant relatives in Rohrbach-am-Hahn as well as Freiburg im Breisgau. I’ve also done a fair amount of reading about European history (since that’s where I always assumed that my heritage sprang from), and I’ve collected sufficient details about the gyrations of the European continent, to make sense of things and better place myself in the context of history.


So, of course, I plunged into Traced one line back to a certain “Knight of the Goat”, while others terminated on battlefields in long-forgotten England. And I had my DNA analyzed. That was interesting… albeit a little high-level for my tastes.

What really lit my fire was when I discovered

GEDmatch basically lets you analyze your raw DNA data (from Ancestry or 123-and-me, or some other source) and break it down to see where all you’re really from. It’s free. And it’s maintained by some extremely smart people who provide a lot of explanations and documentation for their own approaches to analysis.

As it turns out, my assumptions about being German-Swiss-Italian-French aren’t entirely accurate. There’s a whole lot of other DNA in there, from places I never – ever – expected to hail from.

Biggest surprise was the  Balochi bloodline. Balochi?! I had to look that one up.

More on that later.

Individual populations aside, the thing that fascinates me, is knowing that I’ve got (give or take) 662 different global populations represented in my DNA. And interestingly, Sub-Saharan Africa has the most frequent presence. Seriously, I need to look up all these people and learn more about them. I’ve got DNA from Pygmies, Kongo, Borneo… even indigenous peoples of Taiwan… and Mixtec. Whoah – I studied them at university. That’s wild… Oh, and of course there’s all the northeastern European stock. Apparently, Ukraine has a strong presence, according to one test. And Bulgaria. And a fair amount of Roma. The Roma piece probably explains a bit about me.

Now, all these different tests have a way of producing slightly different results, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of overlap, however some results do not synch with each other, so you have to just treat it as a collective work-in-progress. The most valuable thing to me, is how your understanding of who you are and how you’re connected to everyone else can shift from having just a general knowledge that you’re not only from one place, and one place alone.

With 662 different populations represented in my double helix, I clearly have a lot of biological ties to a lot of different peoples. Even folks in the Arctic. And parts of West Asia that I never knew existed — Balochistan, for instance. I’m apparently 16% Balochi. How about that.

I’ll be writing a lot more on this over the coming weeks, and posting my genetic breakdowns, according to different calculators. It’s not only fascinating and stimulating for me to see where my heritage lies, but it’s also got me thinking about all the different ways we fashion the stories, the myths, of our lives… and so derive meaning from the lot of it.

In the end, we’re a lot more connected than we think. And figuring out just how that happens, is one of the things that keeps the wheels in this head turning.

How fun!