Have you ever wondered where your family came from? Find out how Living DNA can help you discover more about your ancestors!
Promotional feature – contains PR samples
Do you ever wonder about your family history?
More and more people are getting interested in researching their family tree, and TV programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? are really popular.
But do you ever stop and think about where you really came from? Not just your recent family history, but further back in time.
Recently I was asked if I’d like to find out about my distant family history, by trying out the personal DNA service from Living DNA. They help people discover more about where they come from, in unparalleled detail. The DNA testing service costs £99, and you can pay an additional fee to have your results presented in a hardback book.
Now, obviously I was keen to give this service a try.
As my Dad’s family is Irish and my Mom’s is from Birmingham, I was expecting to see that most of my DNA is from the British Isles. But would there be anything unusual in my Living DNA results? Would the results back up my Mom’s theory that there was some Spanish in our ancestry?
While there weren’t too many surprises in my results, I found them quite intriguing. Read on to find out why!
What is Living DNA?
Living DNA offers the most advanced ancestry DNA service currently available. The service has been running since 2016, and is a collaboration of over 100 world-leading scientists, academic researchers and genetic experts from around the world.
Their aim is simple – to bring cutting edge DNA technology to the world, making this complex area simple to understand.
Living DNA’s parent company, DNA Worldwide Group, is run by David Nicholson and Hannah Morden. They saw an opportunity to show that ‘we are all made up of all of us’, an idea that essentially dissolves the concept of race.
All testing takes place in a state-of-the-art lab in Denmark, which can currently handle up to 18,000 samples per week. Living DNA services use GLP and GCP certified personnel, processes and equipment, to ensure the highest levels of quality.
Living DNA process all DNA samples using unique barcodes. This ensures that no personal information is ever known by the technicians who are handling your data. And the labs have multi-level biometric entry, around the clock surveillance and time coded sample storage. So you can be sure that your genetic information is kept safe and secure.
Taking your DNA Sample
Once you have placed your order on the Living DNA website, a Living DNA sampling kit will be sent to you by post. You will need to activate the kit on the website before you take your sample. Inside the kit, you will find a mouth swab, specimen bag, free returns envelope and full instructions on how to take the DNA sample.
It’s important to make sure that you get the best possible sample of your DNA. So make sure you don’t eat, smoke or drink caffeine for one hour before you plan to sample your DNA.
And 30 minutes before you take your sample, you should rinse your mouth with water. This will clear away any remaining food debris.
Then when you’re ready to take your sample, you open up the mouth swab and rub it on the inside of your cheek for 30-45 seconds, using a firm anti-clockwise action.
The specimen bag has a barcode sticker on it, which you place on the lid of the mouth swab after you’ve taken the sample. Seal the mouth swab inside the specimen bag, and then put that into the return mailer.
Once you’ve popped it in the post, all you have to do is wait for the results to come in!
It generally takes about six weeks for your results to arrive. You can either opt to just receive the results by email, or you can also pay £39 to receive them in the form of a hardback book.
This would make a lovely memento if you are buying the Living DNA service as a gift for someone.
When the notification popped up in my email inbox, I logged into the website to see my results.
The results of your DNA sampling are displayed in a series of charts and maps, which make it easy to understand. As I expected, nearly 95% of my DNA can be traced to the British Isles.
And it looks like the olive skin and dark eyes in my youngest son could indeed come from Spanish or Portugese DNA.
But Scandinavia? That came as a bit of a surprise!
Apparently around 4% of my DNA is likely to have come from Scandinavia, and I really didn’t expect to see that!
The second map breaks the information down into sub regions, so you can see the information in a little more detail. I know that my Mom’s ancestors were called Owen a few generations ago, so it’s no surprise to see South Wales featuring on my map.
And my Dad’s family come from Monaghan in the northern part of Ireland, which is probably why Scotland features so prominently in my map.
Exploring your Haplogroup
I was also intrigued by the information Living DNA provide about my motherline DNA (mtDNA). Your haplogroup is a collection of related family lines that you can trace back through your ancestry. As I am female, I don’t have a Y chromosome, so my fatherline DNA can’t be traced.
Living DNA provide a map which illustrates an approximation of where your haplogroup can be found today. I was intrigued to learn that my haplogroup is fairly rare in Western Europe. Apparently it is more commonly found in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
They also provide an animation showing the journey that your haplogroup has taken. My haplogroup is likely to have originally emerged in Kenya, and travelled through the Middle East, into Russia and then on to Scandinavia.
Although it’s only an approximation, it’s really fascinating to think that my DNA can be traced back along this journey.
Living DNA – My Verdict
I found the whole Living DNA experience to be absolutely fascinating. But of course, it’s raised as many questions as it has answered. How far back would I need to trace my family tree to find my Scottish and Scandinavian family?
If you’re interested to find out more about your ancestry, I would definitely recommend the Living DNA service. And it would also make a really different gift idea, for someone who is interested in their family tree.