Before beginning a series of posts about San Diego, I wanted to share a recent revelation about my original DNA test results from Ancestry. Many of us are surprised at how diverse our ancestors were but I already knew, from census records, how varied my ethnicity was. My results just didn’t make sense although I am aware the DNA is still a mystery with varying estimates even from siblings.
These are my original results which I featured in a previous post Our Ancestors.
Africa (north) 2%
Middle East 2%
Europe east 1%
Europe west 3%
British Isles 19%
Iberian Peninsula 5%
Asia east 1%
Native American 4%
Since then, I have excitedly tried to find out more about my ancestors but could never understand why I had so little Spanish given my maiden name was de Ortega and I can trace my ancestors from California via Mexico back to Spain. They were conquistadors. Spaniards rarely have 100 % Iberian DNA which includes Portugal. So many invaders and immigrants from Italy, Greece and North Africa left their mark.
My British cousins have created family trees on a European website, MyHeritage and I read that I could download my original DNA results from Ancestry and upload them to MyHeritage. There is no cost but you do have to subscribe to MyHeritage. A few days later, I had yet another exciting reveal and the results are below –
Irish/Scottish/Welsh 53.9 %
Iberian 26.8 %
Balkan 1.1 %
Baltic 1 %
Central American 4.4%
North American 0.8 %
Now we are talking – 25 % Iberian – yay! Even more exciting, they can now differentiate between North and Central Native American. I am mostly Mestizo native described below courtesy of MyHeritage. The largest population of Central America, spanning from Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela, is of Mestizo descent – a mixture of Spanish, Native American, and African ancestry. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, interestingly, have a greater Caucasian population, representing European migration. In contrast, indigenous Central Americans are Mayans, the descendants of the advanced Mayan civilization of pre-Colombian times. Ancient Central American civilizations produced many important innovations, including pyramid construction, complex mathematical and astronomical observations, early forms of medical surgery, accurate calendar systems, and complex agricultural methods. In contemporary society, many people with Central American ethnicity have settled among the nations in South America, reaching as far south as Uruguay and Argentina.
This now makes more sense because although I can trace my North American native ancestor, Mourning Dawn, it is many generations back. When I was tracing back my family in Mexico, I found an ancestor with the name of Xoptoval Ortega born in 1626 in Celaya, Mexico – a Maya name I suspect? Mestizo is sometimes used as an insult in Latino Spanish, meaning mongrel, but I could not be more proud of my 57 varieties. Now I know I am genuinely of Mexican descent. On a funny side-note I recently got a call from one of my first cousins on my father’s side. We have only spoken once but he fascinates me because he looks most like my Dad and even sounds like him. As we were chatting, he mentioned that he had asked one of our great aunts from the Ortega side if we were Mexican. She had a fit and insisted we were 100% Spanish… I mentioned my recent DNA results to my cousin and he hung up on me!!! He really did and I doubt he will ever speak to me again. Mexicans are feisty…
So what other mysteries were revealed. I am Viking! Teddy would love me to look exactly like Lagertha in the Vikings series. Sadly for him, I just look like the Viking Irish – fair, blue eyes and a distinctive short nose. Did you know that Scandinavians still call outlanders, “long noses”? Much of Ireland was invaded by Vikings who settled for generations, trading Irish slaves to the Scandinavian countries. Yeah, there were plenty of nasty human traffickers before America. I have only inherited Celtic DNA (Irish/Scottish/Wales) but I know I have English ancestors. God is good – I am just kidding, English friends! The little bit of Baltic makes sense being so close to Scandinavia but the Balkan DNA is curious – the Balkans stretch from Turkey to Greece incorporating the former Yugoslavia.
So, why are my DNA results so different? Time has passed and DNA analysis has evolved with more information on the databases. I believe that my previous Western European DNA should really have been Iberian and that some of my Irish DNA should have been Scandinavian because my family came from a Viking area in Ireland. That said, I might be wrong and who knows which results are correct? The only way to test it would be to use a third company to take a DNA test and I might yet do that. If you are curious it is very easy to do what I did. Just subscribe to Ancestry and MyHeritage, download your raw DNA from settings onto your computer and then upload it to whichever company is the opposite. You might get a nice surprise like me. Maya maiden, Celtic warrior, Conquistadora and Viking – Kerry is kicking ass!
PS In case you wonder about the location, my hairdresser took the photos this morning.