The Best DNA Tests to Know Your Ancestors 

Do you want to give something original? Do you need to surprise some one and you do not know how? We want to help you by giving you an idea that you might not have thought about: giving a DNA test.

That said, it may not seem interesting, but the truth is that one of the tests below will allow you to know the person to whom you give it – or yourself – a lot of information about your family that you may not have known such as DNA testing for ethnicity.

Indeed, these DNA tests determine your ethnic origins, so you can know where your ancestors come from. There are other tests that, on the other hand, offer genetic information about health, while others are focused on the study of nutrigenetics, your sports ability or your skin.

There are, therefore, many reasons why a DNA test can be a brilliant idea, either to do it yourself or give it to a friend.

Before deciding which one to bet on, take a look at the informative sections that we include to discover what a test of this type consists of and what methodologies are used.

DNA test and how does it work?

Currently, there are only about twenty companies around the world that are dedicated to tracing your DNA to discover the origin of your ancestors, although we may not see much more in the future due to the growing popularity of this business.

A DNA test will allow you to discover the origin of your ancestors and your kinship with other users who have also decided to perform the same DNA test. In fact, the more people who have made the test, the more accurate the results will be.

Now, if you are wondering how you can get a DNA test to know your origins, the answer is very simple: once you choose the company with which you want to carry out the process, you will only have to request the delivery of the DNA extraction kit to the address of your choice.

Normally DNA kits come with one or several tubes that you will have to either fill with saliva, spit after spit, or pass a cotton ball through your mouth to impregnate it with saliva and then insert it into the tube.

The following will be sent by mail to the address indicated. You should know that some companies do not include shipping costs in their purchase price, so you will have to take this detail into account if your priority at the time of choosing is the price of the service.

The process usually takes weeks or even months in some cases, so be patient and do not expect to receive your results too soon. The results are always received by email.

Types of DNA testing methodology

When we did the different DNA tests and had the results on our hands we were quite surprised because, although some companies did offer similar results (which are not identical), others gave us quite different results.

Each DNA company uses its own methods. These methods vary based on three main points: the geographical regions, the way to identify the variation and the size of the database available to the company.

The researcher says that the differences in these three key points can lead to very different results in DNA tests.

Another aspect to be taken into account is the fact that some companies use country names in the results they give to the client to illustrate the different origins of the DNA test.

However, it must be understood that these country names should be understood as regions of origin and not as the country itself.

In the case of DNA tests that also report on possible diseases and health conditions, it should be known that these tests are also affected by the different identification methods used by each company. That is, they could also reflect different results depending on the three key points we mentioned earlier.

Dear Holly: You are My 2nd Cousin’s Doppelganger (The Shell Gene)

1 year, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

I am a person who is amazed by genetics. This is obvious by the fact I have a 2nd YouTube channel dedicated exclusively to this topic.

Therefore, I couldn’t help but notice a while back, that you happen to look a whole lot like my 2nd cousin, Miranda, who was born in December 1990.

She also was born with the last name, Shell; which is fading out in our family tree. Other than your brother, and other than Miranda’s brother, there are no other Shell boys to potentially carry on the family name.

That is, unless Mommy and I have another child and it’s a boy, but we have no plans of that at this time.

So while it has always seemed unlikely that Mommy and I would have 2 children with blonde hair and blue eyes, based on our own darker features, I can begin to understand the true Shell gene has revealed itself in you, and it has my 2nd cousin.

It just so happens that over Christmas, I did a video revealing Papa’s DNA test results from 23andMe, and we learned he is 99% Northwest European.

Though he shows about 25% German, which explains our last name, the rest of his DNA is British.

I think it is remarkable to notice the similarity, when comparing pictures of you and Miranda at similar ages.

We’ll see if over time you keep the Shell look. After all, I have seen how your brother’s hair and skin tone has become darker over the features; though his eyes have remained blue the entire time.

You are proof of the lighter featured genes in our family tree. Even though you’ll eventually get married and change your last name from Shell, you will apparently keep and pass on the otherwise somewhat hidden Shell features.

Love,

Daddy

MyHeritage DNA Test: Is This a Middle Eastern Suit and Pocket Decoration? Maybe Egyptian? Or Lebanese? Or Jewish?

By taking a closer look at this man standing behind my great-grandmother, in the wedding photo of my mother’s grandparents’ wedding photo from 1919, it appears we truly are seeing my Middle Eastern, or Jewish, ancestors; which up until this year, we assumed were Italian.

My mom’s MyHeritage DNA test, as well as mine, indicate that my mom’s grandparents on her father’s side consisted of a Middle Eastern man and a Sephardic Jewish woman, from southern Italy.

Overnight, I began receiving several comments from different subscribers across the world, on the YouTube version of yesterday’s blog post. Here are the 3 that stood out the most to me:

“[The groom] does look Middle Eastern. But also Egyptian.”

“[The groom] looks Half Lebanese, Half Egyptian.”

“That man at 3:12 with something in his left shirt pocket, looks 100% middle eastern to me.”

So now I’m really curious… With the help of the Internet, I wonder if anyone would be able to help me pinpoint what native county my Middle Eastern grandfather’s side came from?

I zoomed in on the man who is seen at the 3:12 mark of the video I made. He is the one standing directly behind my Sephardic Jewish great-grandmother.  I had never noticed before how his suit and jacket and noticeably different that the other men. And yes, what exactly is that decoration on his left shirt pocket?

Whose side of the family is he from, anyway? Is he from the Jewish side or the Middle Eastern side? If all the men in the photo are with the groom’s side, then he is Middle Eastern. But if this photo shows the family member’s of each side of the wedding party, then maybe he’s on the Jewish side, which explains why he’s standing behind my great-grandmother?

What exactly can we learn about my ancestors from this man’s suit? Does anyone out there know? Can anyone help me? Please leave a comment below if you have any intuition on the subject.

I am grateful!

Also, if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like my mom and I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage DNA Test: Photos of My Great-Grandparents’ Jewish-Middle Eastern Wedding from 1919- Giuseppe Metallo and Maria “Mary” Vite

Last week at work, my wife was explaining to a coworker how our family is vegetarian and that it all started a few months after we were married in 2008, when I went kosher; meaning I stopped eating pork and shellfish.

The natural follow-up question from her coworker was logical: “Is your husband Jewish or something?”

My wife replied, “Actually, he is. He just took a DNA test and found that out!”

(This is funny because my going kosher had nothing to do with my ethnic background; I simply had to in order to cure my eczema dyshidrosis, severe sinus infections, and allergies. In the end, it worked, by the time I eventually became a vegan in 2013.)

Despite my mom thinking her whole life that she was half Mexican and half Italian, her own DNA test through MyHeritage told a much different story:

True, her mother truly was Mexican; but on her father’s side, her Italian grandfather was mostly Middle Eastern and her Italian grandmother was Sephardic Jewish.

My mom’s mother’s side:

32.9% Central American (Mayan/Aztec)

22% Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese)

My mom’s father’s side:

15.2% Sephardic Jewish

14% Middle East/West Asia (Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Palestine and Georgia)

7.8% Greek

4.5% Italian

2.6% Baltic (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

2.0% West African (Benin, Burkina Faso, the island nation of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo)

These wedding photos are from my mom’s paternal grandparents’ wedding in 1919. This is Giuseppe Metallo (age 28 and a half) with his bride Maria “Mary” Vite (age 19). I speculate this was an arranged marriage, but I have no proof; only speculation, based on their age difference and the fact they were recent immigrants to America from Italy.

They both moved here from Italy, spoke only Italian, and had Italian names… yet ethnically, they were barely Italian at all. My theory is that their own ancestors had settled in Italy a few generations prior but had culturally become Italian by the time they got to America.

I’m guessing their families had both converted to Catholicism by the time they had left Italy.

This stuff is purely fascinating to me!

But what do you think? Are we truly looking at a mainly Middle Eastern groom and a Sephardic Jewish bride, who were known to me up until this year as my Italian great-grandparents?

I would love for you to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

Mixed Race: What Does a Person Look Like Who is Mayan, Aztec, Spanish, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, Baltic, and West African?

Undeniably, my mom’s MyHeritage DNA test results were all over the place: Literally, all over the globe. It took a lot of ancestors from a lot of different places to get my mom here… and me, as well.

So now that we know my mom’s ethnicity mix (as well as half of mine), let’s take a moment to assess the situation by asking this question:

Can you see the following ethnic backgrounds in my mom and me? These are my mom’s MyHeritage DNA test results:

32.9% Central American (Mayan/Aztec)

22% Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese)

15.2% Sephardic Jewish (via Spain)

14% Middle East/West Asia (Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Palestine and Georgia)

7.8% Greek

4.5% Italian

2.6% Baltic (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

2.0% West African (Benin, Burkina Faso, the island nation of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo)

It could be easy to say, “Well, you’re barely African.”

True, I am only 1% African and my mom is 2%. But without that one African ancestor, somewhere in our family history, even if it were nearly 200 years ago that they became part of it, my mom and I would cease to exist.

Granted, I’m not claiming to be an African-American. But at the same time, I can imagine how my 1% and my mom’s 2% would have been a whole different issue back when “The One Drop Rule” was still in effect in America. After all, I have “one drop” of African blood in me.

I am proud of every bit of my DNA.

It’s especially interesting that my mom and I are nearly equal parts Jewish and Middle Eastern.

From the best my mom and I can figure, this is how it happened:

Her Italian grandfather, Giuseppe Metallo, who moved to America from southern Italy, was barely Italian; which explains how he had an Italian name and only spoke Italian, yet why my mom only showed up as 4.5% Italian. Instead, I theorize he was actually mostly Middle Eastern; with a little bit of Italian and Baltic thrown in there.

He married Maria Vite, who was a Sephardic Jew whose family had moved to America from Italy, as well. (Vite is derived from Vitalli; a Sephardic Jewish last name.)

So in theory, my mom had two “Italian” grandparents, one of whom was mainly Middle Eastern and one was mainly Jewish.

I think that’s just fascinating.

Some people could care less about their ethnicity, but I am not one of those people.

Instead, I think it’s one of the coolest things in the world.

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage DNA Test Results are Back… But Do You Agree with the Results?

Either my DNA results from MyHeritage are inaccurate, or what my family has believed this whole time about our ethnicity has been inaccurate.

Currently, I am sort of baffled. I am still sorting out the confusion. My Italian grandfather, Alberto Victorio Metallo, whose own father arrived in America a hundred years ago from Italy and could only barely speak English when he died in 1983, was Italian.

However, my results from MyHeritage do not remotely reflect my Italian heritage. Instead, the test shows I am literally 0% Italian. I went through the trouble of looking up exactly what countries of origin my DNA traces back to, according to the regions that MyHeritage provided, and removed the countries in which the test showed I have no DNA connection.

Here’s my DNA:

Nick Shell

100.0%

37.4% Central Western European (Germany, The Netherlands/Holland, France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland)

31.8% Iberian (Spain/Portugal)

21.6% Central American (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)

6.1% Eastern European (Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia)

2.3% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania)

0.8% Middle Eastern (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan)

0% (England, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Scandinavia, Greece, Italy, Sardinia, EstoniaLatviaLithuania, Ashkenazi Jewish, Yemenite Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish, Native American, South American, Indigenous Amazonian, African, Asian, Oceanic)

My whole life I have had reason to believe I am one quarter Italian, but I was open-minded to the idea my test would reveal instead of being 25% Italian, maybe I would only be 12.5%, as my great-grandfather Joseph Metallo (the one who came here from Italy) married a woman named Maria Vite; who could have possibly been of French descent, based on vite being a French word.

(That’s my Italian grandfather pictured above on the left; opposite me, with my son.)

However, my great-grandmother also emigrated here from Italy and spoke Italian. Maria “Mary” Vite died at age 38 in the year 1938, so there is definitely some mystery as to her family tree. But even if she was 100% French yet born in Italy, my great-grandfather would have had to been mainly of Spanish or Portuguese descent and his family would have had to at some point adopted Italian names, including their last name, Metallo.

Even if the test was a little inaccurate, I would still think I would show up at least a little bit Italian. After all, Middle Eastern DNA showed up in me, along with Eastern European, but not Italian?

If you’re wondering why I show up as nearly a quarter Central American and nearly a third Spanish (or Portuguese), it’s because my grandmother (who my Italian grandfather was married to) was Mexican.

(This is her, pictured below, being able to meet my daughter.)

That actually brings up another surprise. By quadrupling my Central American DNA, which is 21.6%, that indicates my Mexican grandmother was actually 86.4% Central American, only leaving 13.6% (that’s close to one eighth) to be Spanish. Then, once I subtracted that 13.6% from the Spanish part of me (31.8%), it left 18.2%. I then multiplied that percentage times 4 again, to assume how Spanish my Italian grandfather must have been: 72.8%.

According to my theory, my Mexican grandmother was mainly Central American (barely Spanish) and my Italian grandfather was mainly Spanish (not Italian at all); leaving the rest of him to have been 9.2% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania). That brings my Italian grandfathers DNA up to exactly 82%.

Next I added the 3.2% Middle Eastern he must have been; now totaling 85.2%. That implies the rest of him had to have been Central Western European, which includes French.

This also means, by default, my dad has to be of Spanish descent as well, because there’s still Spanish DNA to be accounted for.

Most of my test makes sense. My last name is Shell, which in German, means “loud and noisy.” So that accounts for some of the 37.4% Central Western European.

But is this test accurate? Is it possible that I am truly not Italian at all? What do you think?

In the meantime, my mom is taking the test too. Being half-Mexican, half-Italian her whole life, I’m curious to know what the test says about her. We should know by October…

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

5 Reasons It Took Me 7 Years to Finally Decide to Take a DNA Test (through MyHeritage)

Back in 2010 when the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” premiered, I learned how it had become possible to take a simple DNA test and find out my ethnicity. What took me so long, though? If finding out my own ethnicity has always been important to me, why I wasn’t I one of the first people in line to take a DNA test.

These were the 5 obstacles I had to overcome, to get me to the point where I finally purchased my DNA test through MyHeritage.

1- The Perception of Difficult Access– Until I started seeing commercials for these tests a couple of years ago, I always assumed I had to drive hours to certain cities where these tests were conducted and pay at least $1,000. So I didn’t bother looking into it. Finally, a few years ago, I starting seeing commercials on YouTube, making me aware how I could just buy one off the Internet for $100; but I still didn’t immediately react.

2- Having to Wait for Results– Perhaps the main reason is that in an age of instant gratification, I didn’t want to have to go through the process: Go to the website, pull out my wallet and type in my credit card info, wait a week for them to mail me the test, take the test, mail the test back, then wait a month for them to mail back the results.

3- Paying the Money for It– I didn’t want to have to part with 100 bucks of my own “blow money”. (This is a Dave Ramsey term, which means that my wife and I have a limited set amount of money we can spend on ourselves for things other than paying the bills.) It’s not that $100 was too high of a price point, but it’s just there were other things I wanted more. Somehow at age 36, I have apparently acquired all the toys I have always wanted. Or more importantly, MyHeritage was having a sale.

4- Needing Assurance of Specific Results– It was my assumption that if I bought my test from the “wrong company”, it wouldn’t be specific enough. But then I watched a commercial for MyHeritage in which an African-American took the test and learned he is 3% Finnish. After hearing MyHeritage’s test was that specific, not just simply telling him he was 3% Scandinavian or Northern European, I realized this test was legit.

5- Wanting Confirmation from an Actual User– My final step in choosing MyHeritage was when I sent a message to them on Twitter, asking them if the test could discover Jewish DNA. Not only was MyHeritage quick to respond from their Twitter account, but so was an apparently unaffiliated girl from Tel Aviv, Israel with the handle, @shaindlinger. She testified to me that the test confirmed she is Jewish; which therefore answered my question. So she was the final element in my decision to choose MyHeritage for my DNA test.

It took overcoming all this to get where I am today. And now, we shall all wait until September 2nd at the latest, for me to reveal the results. Stay tuned…

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.