not an exact science

The idea of inheriting ethnicity through DNA is a bit problematic:

  • Biology and culture are different things. Culture is not passed genetically.
  • Genes are randomly inherited in each generation. The more generations back you go, the more random it is.
  • There is no single “French gene” that you might have 36% of. Either you carry a gene or you don’t, and all of this stuff comes down to statistical analysis from data that comes from peoples’ family histories.

So I think of this as mostly “for entertainment purposes only.” That said, here’s what Ancestry.com says about me after the latest statistical update:

It’s a slight tweak from the reading a few years ago, but no big surprises. Looking at the family tree research my mom has done, as far back as is documented right now, it adds up. There’s a very clear “all Scotland all the time” going back from my mother’s father’s mother, but most branches on both sides of my family, if they don’t fade into obscurity in Kentucky or New York, point at England, Ireland, Scotland, and some Germany and Switzerland. It would be really cool to be able to trace DNA to specific relatives on the family tree, but I don’t think things work that way, even if they all had samples.

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