Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Genealogy DNA by Cindy Flores Martinez

Have you heard about those genealogy DNA tests that claim to reveal your ancestries? Have you thought about taking one but aren’t sure if you should? I’ve taken three of them myself and have had positive experiences. I thought it would be fun to discuss it and pass along some information, although I’m not an expert on the subject.  .

I became interested in genealogy DNA the moment I first heard about it. I knew very little about three of my grandparents, and the idea of learning about my ancestry and finding long lost relatives sounded exciting. After researching companies, I found that the three most popular tests are:

Y-DNA – this is the DNA men inherit strictly from their father’s male line. (their father’s, father’s, father, etc.) Only men can take this test.

mtDNA – this is the DNA both men and women inherit strictly from their mother’s female line. (their mother’s, mother’s, mother, etc.)

Autosomal – this is the DNA everyone inherits from both parents. The idea is that we receive fifty percent of our DNA from each parent, twenty-five percent from each grandparent, and half of that from each great-grandparent.

The most popular companies out there right now are Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA. I started with 23andMe and then transferred my raw data to Family Tree DNA for their autosomal test. Later, I took the AncestryDNA test for free because my mom received it as a gift. My parents also took a test or two along the way.

When your results come in, all three companies give you a list of people who have already taken the test and who are related to you within the last five generations. I have hundreds of DNA cousins at each company, which can be overwhelming, but the great part is that some of them have already done extensive genealogy research and know the names of their ancestors and their birthplaces. By looking at their family tree, you can know that your ancestor is there within it. I found a cousin through 23andMe who shares the same great grandfather as me from Mexico. Meeting him was priceless. I had longed to know someone from that side of the family.

Each company also gives you a percentage of ancestries that you likely belong to. These can be recent or from further back. In my experience, all three companies arrived at similar results and percentages.

By using math and finding the averages, my basic ancestries are:

39 percent Iberian (Spain / Portugal)
32 percent Native American
11 percent Middle Eastern
8 percent Italian
4 percent Irish

There are also some tiny percentages, such as Scandinavian (23andMe and Family Tree DNA) and Finland (Family Tree DNA), among a few others.

My mtDNA is Native American, which they say goes back to Siberia. My dad’s mtDNA is also Native American, which they say goes back to Mongolia. Coincidentally, I have a tiny percentage of Mongolian results on one of the autosomal tests.

My larger percentages didn’t surprise me very much, but I have to say that my dad’s Y-DNA really stunned me. It revealed that his male line isn’t from Spain as I had always thought. According to his DNA cousins who have done the research, they were from an island in Scotland from long ago. Some of them moved to Ireland, (which coincides with my autosomal results), and then to the American continent. I’m still dealing with the shock.

How about you? Have you taken a genealogy DNA test? Did it reveal any surprises?

Cindy Flores Martinez is an Amazon bestselling Spanish romance author. She writes sweet romantic comedy and inspirational romance in English. She has an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. Her debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, started out as a screenplay and movie project, which she shopped around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world. You can learn more about her at www.cindyfloresmartinez.com


  1. Fascinating. Our daughter has taken the Ancestry test and wants us to, too.

    1. It would be interesting to know your results. I'm always fascinated by everyone's results and whether they match their family's oral history.

  2. Very interesting, Cindy. I'm going to look into this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. If you decide to take a test, be sure and let us know about your experience.

  3. I've seen those ads on TV about finding your ancestry, but until now I didn't know anyone who had done it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. The popularity of these tests seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. I'm amazed by how many new DNA cousin matches I have every couple of weeks.

  4. I recently took the Ancestry DNA test and was fascinated with the results. My Mom always said we had Native American roots in our family tree, but not a drop showed up in my test! Thanks for sharing your info!