Why Did You Take The AncestryDna Test

Bootstrap DNA by Charles Jencks, 2003Why did you take the AncestryDNA test? I took it hoping to find some relations that might assist in overcoming brick walls. There is nothing I would like more than to shatter the brick wall on my O’Connell ancestors. Even though I broke down one wall last year, another sits in its place.

I have spent some time thinking about the AncestryDNA test the past few days. I know that with companies like 23 and Me, there are many reasons to take the test and some do not include genealogy. I know, shocking! But, going with 23 and Me makes sense to find out about your possible health concerns. So, when a genealogist reaches out to the person who took the test for that specific reason and they reply nicely that they are not interested. We can understand that and maybe plant a little seed letting them know that if they become interested to feel free to make contact in the future.

What I do not understand is that when you took the AncestryDNA it was obviously for ancestral information. Trying to find family links, reaching out for the unknown. On my personal test results, I have 3 people who are in the 95-96% range for being related. I have reached out to each of these individuals hoping that we can try to work on finding a common ancestor together. Each of these people replied kindly and thanked me for reaching out and wished me luck in my research. But, they did not seem very interested in finding that common ancestor.

One email in particular I had found a common name and was hoping that we would work together to see if that is where we relate. Again, same reply good luck in your search.

I get it, many took the test because Ancestry was kind enough to offer it for free. If its free, why not take it? There is a reason behind the test and I am hoping that as more people take the test the more matches will become available to those that would like to truly make a connection and assist each other with finding a common ancestor.

Disclosure: I received my test from AncestryDNA free. They offered the test to a certain number of subscribers and I was lucky enough to be one. I was not compensated for any of my reviews / posts on the subject. Also, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase the AncestryDNA test through the link, I will be compensated with a small percentage of the sale.



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  1. I took it out of curiosity to see if what I had found on paper matches my genetics. It doesn’t, but that’s because Ancestry goes back a bit TOO far in terms of “ancestry”. I also wanted to see the connections. The closest one I had is a possible 3rd or 4th cousin. Now, I know many of my 3rd and 4th cousins so I didn’t think it would be too hard to figure out, but that person’s tree is more “full” in areas in which we would definitely not be related and less complete in ethnicities where we probably are. All I know is, I sure wish my test was FREE since it didn’t give me the level of detail I was looking for!

    1. Donna,

      I agree they do go way back which makes it a bit difficult to make the connections. As for the free test, I just got lucky for once. That is not normal for me. I do know others that have got the 23 and Me test free and I would love to have been on the receiving end of that freebie!

  2. I took it (like Donna) to see if the genetics match what I have found on paper. I’m still waiting my results, so don’t know yet. I also took it instead of another company, because it seemed reasonably priced (at $100 plus processing for members). Also I’d like to see if I make any new connections. Hopefully I’ll have my results in a couple weeks.

  3. I took the test through Ancestry because of the price. I also wanted to find some more relatives since my family was never really close and we have a lot of questions.

    I’ve been able to get in touch with my mom’s cousin who lives in Washington and found out that my mom’s aunt had passed away and no one knew. I was also able to solve the mystery of an outlaw relative and where he ended up (and died) after over a hundred years of uncertainty.

    What bothers me is that so many have taken the test and show up on my results but they either do not have a tree or have a private tree attached to their results. That makes no sense to me. I have contacted some of these people and one lady was kind enough to put together a tree to see where the connections were. I still haven’t found it.

    1. It seems that the connection can be many generations back and you still may have a lot of research to do before you prove the link. I have the same issue. I definitely agree with the issue of no tree, how are we supposed to try and find a connection if you share no information. I think it all comes down to the same old story of people “stealing” information off of ancestry so they refuse to put their tree up. Me, I think that any bit of information shared is a bread crumb for possible cousins to find you in the future. Even if it is 20 years from now.

      Good luck with your results and finding the connections, I think we will all need it!

  4. I’ve also ordered the AncestryDNA test, and am still waiting on results. One reason Ancestry was chosen was because of their brand. My father actually ordered the test, and he is familiar with their name and services, so he has a certain level of trust with them, versus using a company like 23andme, who he is not familiar with at all.
    The second point I would like to make is in response to comments by Lacey. Off hand, I would say that taking a DNA test and not having a tree on ancestry is rather pointless, however, I do not feel that the tree has to be “public” to be useful. My own tree is private, and the primary reason is because I use that tree as a “draft”. This is where my theories go; where I ‘test the waters” on an ancestor, and essentially none of it is confirmed or has more than one source. I choose not to share it publicly because I don’t want other researchers using it as fact and spreading the wrong information across the web and to their families.
    I’m looking forward to my results, and if we’re related, I’m happy to share. 🙂

    1. Jen,

      Keep me updated when you get those results. I agree with the thought that if you take the Ancestry test and do not have your tree up there it serves no purpose. Just like, not wanting to work with others that have taken the test to see if there is a family connection.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jen. It is appreciated.

  5. I took the test because I wanted to confirm if my research was correct. I have to admit. I had my doubts. I am African-American but kept getting a lot of European ancestors. No one in my or my grandmother’s knowledge had ever married (or slept with) anyone of European ancestry, so we thought. But, we soon learned just how fluid race was. I have found a great connection with a cousin. Ancestry.com was able to match our common ancestor for us. I think it was because we both had a ton of data in our trees BEFORE we took the test. We have been talking daily. I have reached out to about 10 other matches, without any luck. I hope you all are able to find true genealogist cousins instead of just a person who took a test.

    1. Julia, how wonderful that you have been able to make a connection and confirm it with your research. I am hoping to have a member of my O’Connell line take the Y-DNA test and see what information that will bring us. It is the line that I am most curious about.

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