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.

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MyHeritage DNA Test Results of Both Parents: How Dark Featured Parents Have Light Featured Kids (Like on Full House)

It always bothered me on Full House, how the Tanner girls all had blonde hair and blue eyes, yet their dad, played by Jewish-American actor Bob Saget, had dark hair and eyes. The girls’ mother was of Greek descent; we know this because of their uncle Jesse Katsopolis.

Then, to further this unlikely concept, when Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky had twins, their boys had light skin along with blonde hair and blue eyes. One fan theory on the Internet speculates that it was Uncle Joey who was the true father of all 5 kids.

And while that is funny to think about, I now have come to a full understanding of how dark featured parents (like my wife and myself) have children with noticeably lighter features (like our kids).

We have to keep in mind that we adopt half of our DNA from our father and half from our mother, but in the 50% from each parent, it’s a random amount from each.

So it’s this simple, even if there is less “blonde hair, blue eye” genes in the parents, their own children may feature that “hidden” DNA. This also explains how different siblings can look from each other.

To help bring this story to life, below is a breakdown of my own DNA, according to MyHeritage. My maternal grandmother was Mexican and my maternal grandfather was Italian. My mom’s DNA test results showed only 2% Italian, but 15.2% Sephardic Jewish and 14% Middle Eastern. While I definitely received a large amount of DNA from the Mexican side, I adopted absolutely no DNA from the Italian side; which now we realize was a Jewish-Middle Eastern mix.

My DNA:

37.4% North and Western Europe (Germany, France, The Netherlands)

31.8% Iberian (Spain, Portugal)

21.6% Native Central American (Mayan, Aztec, etc.)

6.1% East Europe

2.3% Balkan

0.8% Middle East

Now let’s take a look at my wife’s DNA. Her mother, like mine, is also half Italian. From my wife’s DNA test, we learned that in addition to being Italian, my wife is a decent amount Greek.

My Wife’s DNA:

31.8% England

23.9% Scandinavia

20.1% Greece

7.8% Balkan

5.8% Italy

3.9% Finland

2.7% Ireland, Scotland, Wales

1.9% North Africa

1.4% Ashkenazi Jewish

0.7% Nigeria

But when you break down the most abundant DNA showing up, you’ll see how our kids ending up getting the lighter features. Below are the results of me adding together the DNA from both my wife and me, then dividing it by two. I have ranked the results beginning with the most prominent. The DNA in italics are from my side, the DNA from my wife is in bold font.

Our Children:

18.7% North and Western Europe (Germany, France, The Netherlands)

15.9% Iberian (Spain, Portugal)

15.9% England

11.95% Scandinavia

10.8% Central American-Mexican

10.05% Greek

5.05% Balkan (3.9% Balkan + 1.15% Balkan)

3.05% East Europe

2.9% Italian

1.95% Finland

1.35% Ireland, Scotland, Wales

0.95% North Africa

0.7% Ashkenazi Jewish

0.4% Middle East

So in theory, our kids largely show the German-Dutch-English-Scandinavian genes, while the Spanish-Central American-Greek-Sephardic Jewish-Middle Eastern are more hidden.

Even still, I won’t be surprised, as our kids get older, that they will begin showing more of the rest of their unseen DNA.

I now have peace with why the kids of Full House look the way they do. If you’re curious about your own DNA, you can do like my wife and I did and purchase a kit from MyHeritage.

Disclaimer:

“Family Friendly Daddy Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

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.

Is It Chic to Be a Jew on TV? (By Guest Blogger, Nancy Fingerhood: Who Unlike Me, Actually is Jewish)

Foreword by Nick Shell:

For the past decade of my life, I have been fascinated by the Jewish influence on American pop culture. Part of this is because I was thought I was part Jewish, on the Italian side of my family tree. But then a month ago, I took a DNA test through MyHeritage and was surprised to learn that not only am I not Jewish at all, but instead I am a little bit Middle Eastern.

But even more shocking… I’m not even Italian! Apparently, my “Italian” ancestors who moved here from Italy were a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian, and Iraqi… something like that.

So while I admit it’s a little sad to know that I do not share blood with the Jewish people, who I respect so much, I can still appreciate and acknowledge their influence and contributions to American pop culture.

In fact, one of my most popular blog posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, is The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld, which I published 7 years ago. It points out the fact it’s nearly impossible to name a sitcom in which one or more of the main actors is not Jewish in real life:

Ross, played by David Schwimmer, and Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow, on Friends

Jerry, played by Jerry Seinfeld; George, played by Jason Alexander; Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, on Seinfeld

Denise, played by Lisa Bonet, on The Cosby Show

Kevin, played by Fred Savage; Wayne, played by Jason Hervey; and Paul, played by Josh Saviano on The Wonder Years

Cory, played by Ben Savage, on Boy Meets World

Screech, played by Dustin Diamond, and Jessie, played Elizabeth Berkley, on Saved By the Bell

Considering that Jews only make up about 2.2% of the American population, I made it clear there is undeniably a disproportionate number of Jewish actors in American entertainment… and that’s not a bad thing!

Nancy Fingerhood discovered that blog post last week and took the time to submit to me what appeared to be a guest blog post. Even though that wasn’t her intention, I easily talked her into it.

So now, I pass the mic to Jewish writer and performer, Nancy Fingerhood…


Was the Alex Rieger character in “Taxi” a Jew? There are a couple of allusions to his religion. What about Gabe Kotter in “Welcome Back Kotter”? He did say the Yiddish word “yutz” once on screen, so probably.  While there might have been a reference or two to his Jewish identity, it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of many of the shows back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Today, there are a slew of Jewish characters and storylines on television.  Think “The Goldbergs”, “Transparent” and “Difficult People” (a show I found difficult to watch).  As a Jew, I should be excited about this.  But I wonder – in some of these shows is it symbolic of Jews being more mainstream or are they just easier to make fun of?

Let me pick apart one of my favorite shows, “Transparent”.  I do love it but some parts irk me.  “Transparent” depicts a culturally Jewish, yet non-religious family dealing with the patriarch’s revelation he is transgender.  He has three grown children and an ex-wife played by the actually Jewish, Judith Light.  Ms. Light does an extraordinary job of portraying the mother as authentically neurotic as my mother (sometimes I cringed when her acting hit so close to home).  Yet, I started to get annoyed by her overuse of Yiddish words.  She used “oy gevalt”, “fakakta”, and “mashugana” in one sentence (or some variant of those).  It seemed overkill.  Almost like a schtick to get laughs (pardon my Yiddish).

I loved the scene when the rabbi, Raquel, played by Kathryn Hahn (who isn’t Jewish but should be) has a conniption as the eldest daughter, Sarah, tries to prepare a makeshift Seder.  Raquel saw through Sarah’s quest for spirituality through Judaism as a sham and blows up at her, rightfully so.  Her outburst was one of the most genuine reflections on Judaism in the show.

Although there are moments of Jewish cliches in the series, they do show holidays and traditions up close.  I believe the religious facets are part of the story development, unlike some of the other series out there.  I offer my advice to sitcom writers – ask yourself are the main characters purposely Jewish to create a well-developed and nuanced character or a vessel for easy jokes?  I don’t want to feel used by these writers the way Cindy from “Orange is the New Black” uses Judaism to get better food in prison.

Seriously, is there a Jewish Renaissance on TV or a ploy for cheap laughs?  It just seems like it’s a more popular gag and people are getting on the bandwagon.

Oh! The Jew thing works!  Most shows focus on the Jewish kvetching and neurosis.  Maybe I need to watch more television (although my waistline says “I think not”) to find a sitcom that incorporates the culture and traditions. Comedies thrive on neurotic characters.  Perhaps that’s why writers are naturally attracted to that personality type and Jews seem to have a monopoly on that market.

I’m not sure if I’m offended or simply more curious about Hollywood’s interest in Jewish-ness.  When I get curious about intentions, I tend to wander towards a negative train of thought which make me a skeptic. Oh, how Jewish of me!

While I don’t balk at exaggerating stereotypes for the sake of comedy, it would be nice to see more than just exaggerated stereotypes.  It would be nice to see Judaism develop character and plot and not just be used to increase ratings.

Nancy Fingerhood hails from New Jersey and moved out to Colorado 13 years ago.  While she has been a writer and performer for many years, her filmmaking career began 4 years ago with the creation of the video spoof, Middle Aged Women Gone Wild.  After winning the Open Screen Night film makers’ competition in Denver in January 2014, she went to write, produce, direct, edit and star in the spoof commercial, The Fubra.  She again won Open Screen Night in March 2015.  Since then she has created many more comedy videos including her web series Mile High Nancy based on a single mother by choice who is an aspiring comedian and hosts a 420 friendly cooking show.  Several of her videos have been screened at The Emerging Filmmakers Project and Colorado Independent Women in Film festivals.

I Will Be the 1st Person You Know Who Actually Took a DNA Test to Find Out Their Ethnicity (MyHeritage Results by September 2nd)

Some people could care less about what shows up in their family tree. They will just sort of laugh it off with, “Yeah, I’m pretty much a mutt, I guess… A little English, a little Irish, maybe some German- I even heard there’s some Native American Indian in there too.”

But I am not one of those people.

Instead, I am Nick Shell. Therefore, I have always been fascinated by the mystery of my ethnicity.

I suppose I have somewhat of an advantage in that I know for a fact that all my great-grandparents on my mom’s side were born in another country:

Her grandparents on her father’s side were born in Italy and her grandparents on her mother’s side were born in Mexico. It’s just always been taken for granted that my mother is half Italian and half Mexican.

But I can no longer assume that every ancestor on my mom’s side was either 100% Italian or 100% Mexican. Besides, “Mexican” isn’t actually a race; as I understand that Mexicans are ultimately an ethnic mix of Native Americans and Europeans.

Over the years, my mom has reminded me of what she heard as a young girl, when she was around the Italian half of the family: “Just because we have the Metallo name and we’re Italian, that doesn’t mean that’s all we are. There’s other stuff in there too: A little bit of Greek, a little bit of French, and a little bit of Jewish…”

 

And before my Mexican grandmother passed away last year, she told me something I never heard her say before; that when she was a little girl, she saw family members “who had black skin and tight, curly hair.” I believe it is possible there is actually a few drops of African blood in me.

As for my dad’s side of the family, no one really knows. A few years ago, my dad received a book containing all the family tree records, but the names all seem to be predictably “WASP”: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

But I won’t be wondering much longer. Because as of Saturday, July 22nd, I mailed off the DNA test I bought from MyHeritageThe results should be back within 4 to 6 weeks from that day; which would be August 19th be at the soonest, and September 2nd at the latest.

As you can imagine, I am looking forward to finding out the results! No matter what the results reveal, I am sure I will be surprised…

Even though I paid $79 (normally $99) plus shipping, I see there are running a special that ends tonight, on July 31st; for just $69.

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

Dear Jack: To You, a Person’s Hair or Eye Color is Just as Much (or Little) as a Defining Trait as Their Skin Color

5 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: To You, a Person’s Hair or Eye Color is Just as Much (or Little) as a Defining Trait as Their Skin Color

Dear Jack,

While we spent this past weekend at Nonna and Papa’s in Fort Payne, Alabama, I made a comment about how your baby sister Holly is so pink. Just by being out under the overcast, cloudy sky for a few hours on Saturday, she managed to get a bit sunburned; which made her an even darker shade of pink than she naturally is.

After you heard me say a few times that your sister is the color pink, you thought back to the bedtime song I taught you, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious is His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

Wanting to learn more about how people can be different colors, you asked me, “Daddy, who is white?”

I attempted to explain, holding a white piece of paper up to my tan arm: “Well, my skin color is called white, but as you can see, there’s a lot of difference in my skin color and this piece of paper. It’s more like everybody is a shade of brown.”

Your next question was directed to Papa, as you noticed his skin is even tanner than mine; and definitely darker than yours or your sister’s:

“Papa, are you black?” you asked in complete sincerity and innocent curiosity.

The fact you are nearly 6 years-old and still don’t know the generic colors that society identifies as is because I haven’t made a point to explain it to you. I haven’t seen a reason to.

On your own, you have recognized that certain people have darker skin than you, but it’s never been exclusive to someone who is of any certain race.

For example, one of your teachers is from Pakistan; you know that she has very dark skin, but you don’t know what her race is; nor do you care.

From what I can tell, a person’s hair color or eye color is just as much (or little) as a defining trait as their skin.

Love,

Daddy

Should I Check “White, Not Hispanic or Latino”?

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As I was updating my paperwork for the dentist recently, I had to decide whether or not I felt like technically lying.

It’s always something I hesitate on, more than I probably should.

My grandmother is full Mexican. I’m therefore only a quarter Mexican.

So I’m white; but 25% of my genes, and I suppose to some degree, my heritage and culture, is Mexican.

But if I could honestly describe myself to the Census Bureau, which apparently is the organization that most cares about my cultural and ethnic identity, it would simply be this:

Mostly white.

I’m not 100% white, so to proclaim, “white, not Hispanic or Latino” is inaccurate; because I’m absolutely part Hispanic.

The first time I remember having to answer that question was in 1st grade, for a standardized test. I remember how my mom, who is half Mexican and half Italian, told me that she always questioned that herself when she had to answer that question as well.

I think it muddies the waters even more than Italians typically are “more ethnic looking” than most Europeans. I have always thought the same thing about Jews (who are actually considered Middle Eastern) and Greeks (who, like Italians, are Mediterranean).

“White” is a funny term to me, when it references people.

I would love to take one of those ethnic DNA tests where they draw some of your blood and tell you exactly what percentage you are of each people group.

Mainly just because it would be fun to know… exactly. But really, none of that really matters.

What I learned in my HR training course is that ultimately, a person can claim whatever race they most identify with, even if it’s simply cultural.

If you are Chinese but adopted by white parents, you can identify as “white” if you choose to; or Chinese. It’s up to the individual.

As for me, I’m mostly white, based on the last names in my family tree: German (“Shell”), Italian (“Metallo”), Dutch (“Clowers”, derived from “Klaar”), Scottish (“Johnston” and “King”), and English (“Taylor” and “Wiseman”).

And of course I’m also Mexican (“Mendez”). That’s a little confusing as well because ethnically, Mexicans are a mixed race called Mestizos: ultimately, they are around half European (largely including Spanish) and around half Native (or indigenous) Mexican; just like how the United States originally was occupied by Native Americans before the Europeans came over.

The natives in modern Mexico and United States actually derived from Asia, like the Eskimos who settled in Russia and Alaska.

So technically, I’ve got distant traces of Asian blood.

If you really dumb it down, I’m just European and barely Asian.

But there’s not a category for that on the paperwork.