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DNA: which test?

I have taken quite a few genetic tests and for over 10 years have included DNA tests in talks and articles and so I am occasionally asked to recommend particular companies for tests.

I am really just a novice and am still trying to make sense of what the results tell me. But I respond “it depends on what you are trying to find out”: maternal ancestry, paternal ancestry but most seem interested in the so called ethnicity tests (autosomal). This makes sense for people with limited documentary evidence and/or mixed-ancestry but really at the moment this is the least useful for researching ancestral roots below continental level, but is great for connecting with close family.

For a recent talk recounting the motivation behind my family history research  and experience researching my Barbadian ancestry I thought it would be interesting to summarise results. Some of the information has been discussed in these pages: My genes and my genes update, but I was most surprised by the results when I saw my ethnicity tests in a table.

DNA ethnicity tests from 5 companies

Results from 5 ethnicity tests

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Reflections of past two years

I am surprised that it has been over 2 years since I last wrote on this blog. The highlight for 2016 for me was working with the Barbados and Friends Association (Reading) on their Heritage Project: The Story so far: a celebration Barbadian settlement in Reading. We hosted workshops where people from the local Bajan community brought artefacts and were invited to talk about their experiences of Barbados, and their settlement, education and employment in Reading. The project ended with a Cultural Extravaganza and a display of artefacts in Reading Museum.

Over the past two years I had lost the energy and enthusiasm in pursuing my personal and Caribbean research. I put off giving talks and writing articles and didn’t undertake any family history. Even so, I continued to play and active role in the Berkshire Family History Society as a volunteer on the committee on the Computer branch and gave a couple of talks to several branches. I took the opportunity on further price drops and sales  for DNA tests to take further autosomal tests with AncestryDNA and 23&me. These haven’t really added much to my knowledge but have different sets of matches which I will follow up. 

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