The Things You Must Consider Before Uncovering Your Ancestry
Discovering our lineage is something that intrigues most of us. We’ve all seen the TV shows that uncover celebrities as related to royalty, and you can’t help but think that could be you too.
It’s easier than ever before to trace your ancestry, with all manner of revelations unveiled in a matter of weeks. You can hire professionals and even do DNA testing online these days, with the best DNA test for ancestry tracing simply needing a swab sent through the post and they’ll provide results in no time at all and for a very reasonable price.
However, there are a number of things you should consider and do before diving straight in.
Speak To Family Members
Firstly, it’s important you speak to family members first. Some may be against the idea, which should be respected, while others may be able to provide you with information to help experts with their tracing.
You can ask parents and grandparents about where they come from, where their immediate family grew up, died and what they did for a living. It can all paint a picture which can be worked upon.
Additionally, a family member may have suffered through ordeals in their younger years and not particularly want that dragging back up.
Be Prepared To Be Surprised
Which naturally means you should be prepared for all outcomes should you move forward with it.
While you may be related to royalty, perhaps be a distant cousin of JFK, or have an Aunt that once dated Elvis, there may also be a dark side.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ancestry was traced to find that generations before his family were slave owners, while you could well also discover members of your family were slaves, which could be upsetting.
That’s one of a number of parts of a family history which can be upsetting. Political and criminal records can also cast a stain on a family’s lineage.
On the other hand, you may also discover family members that are still alive which you never knew existed. Long lost parents, grandparents or cousins and Aunts and Uncles could be identified and help you reconnect.
Results Can Vary
You should also understand that results can vary. The way ancestry kits work is that they take different parts of your DNA and ultimately take different snapshots.
For the most part people wish to discover their ethnic heritage, which are incredibly accurate. But that doesn’t tell you the full story.
Autosomal DNA test results will tell you your ethnicity from around 500 years ago, ultimately telling you the birthplace of your family. However, if you’re looking to go into more detail, the different snapshots may tell you different things.
If you want the most accurate results, the best method is to use a database which allows you to match your DNA with specific people.
Make Sure You Take Action On Anything That May Need It
Ancestry tests can throw up a number of things you don’t know about, including information that may require action.
Genetic health risks and genetic carriers can pose a particular threat to both yourself, your children and future generations, so if the rest reveals a family member died or carried a certain illness, for example a BRCA gene mutation, then you should get yourself tested too.
However, there is no need to overly panic, risk does not mean you will suffer from the illness, and it’s quite common that it will have no affect on you.
An ancestry test will help create a wider picture of your health risks, which can prove life saving if you react effectively and minimise risks, whether that be through taking more exercise, avoiding alcohol or simply getting checked regularly.
Decide Who You’re Going To Tell Beforehand
As mentioned at the beginning, telling your family your plans can be helpful and polite as results could ultimately tell you something they didn’t want you to know or didn’t know themselves.
However, telling someone beforehand who can offer you support through the process is also helpful, as while it can be an amazing experience, it can also be a traumatic one.
There are so many reasons to take a DNA test, it can really map out your family history, and whether it’s good or bad it is a part of your story.
Sharing that story with someone you trust can help you through it and also make it a much more enjoyable experience, particularly if they are a family member.
A confidant will allow you to discuss matters that arise within the discovery and help you make decisions on where you go next and how you share your information with the wider world.
Adam is a family man with a passion for writing. In his free time he enjoys days out with the family, running, and fishing!