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How can the test tell where I'm from?

Tracing My Genetic Heritage

Alastair Greenshields (Principal) gives expert video advice on: How can the test tell where I'm from?; Would this suggest I am related to them?; How do I decipher the information? and more...

How can the test tell where I'm from?

To a certain extent the DNA test can tell you where you're from. The test that we look at are looking at the direct paternal line and direct maternal line. If you go back ten generations, there are well over a thousand ancestors. You can see what blinkered. We only look at the direct lineages, male and female, nothing in between. The test can look very precise at those lines. They miss everything else, so your Y chromosome might come from Africa, but everything else might come from Asia. If we are only looking at one chromosome, we're only going to pick up that African bit. In a sense, they can tell you where you're from, but at those direct lineages they are very precise.

If your maternal line goes back to the East Africa, you will have a genetic connection with them at some important time, not necessarily very recently but it can be thousands years back. You will share a common ancestor at some point, yes.

Should my immediate family have the same test?

You wouldn't need to test every member of your family. Your DNA is a very good record, so it would come from your mother and your father. So, often, the DNA shared by your brother or your sisters is the same. So it's perfectly good enough to have tested by yourself, and to use those results as proxy for those as well. But then use those to compare with other people or to find out where that DNA is coming from.