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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree September 2018 > Interpreting ethnicity

Interpreting ethnicity

After testing with two DNA companies, Geoff Wicks set off on a genetic journey to explore his ethnicity



On paper I would appear to be about as English as you can get. I have traced all sides of my family back to between 200 and 250 years ago and my ancestors, with scarcely an exception, were born, brought up, lived and died in England.

Would DNA testing confirm my ethnicity? Surprisingly The answer is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. One company assesses my ethnicity as being 29 per cent British and anoTher 91.4 per cent. Which is right? Perhaps both, and The lesson is that we have to be careful in interpreting ethnicity results from DNA testing and look deeper than first impressions.

Taking a test

Family historians probably have two reasons for taking a DNA test. The first is to find unknown cousins and The oTher to discover something of Their earlier origins and roots.

Maybe I have been unlucky, but DNA testing has not helped me find any unknown relatives. However, it has sent me on a fascinating voyage of discovery about my ethnicity. Two tools have been essential on this voyage: my internet search engine and Archer Software’s British Surname Atlas –

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About Family Tree

The wish to find out about your family history always begins with a question. That special something that you want to know about those who’ve come before you, that missing piece of the puzzle that you'd like to find about your own roots... So, because the internet is such a very valuable resource for hunting for these family history clues, this issue we’ve got a bumper guide to help your research. Read it and discover how to: 1. Search smarter and trace that family story. 2. Learn new search hacks and make new discoveries. 3. Get the low-down on searching the major family history websites. Lastly, you may notice something different this issue – our new look! Re-energised and packed as ever with know-how, advice and real-life tales, our revamp will provide you with fresh inspiration to find your family’s story.