Posts tagged ‘Ancestor’

To DNA…or Not To DNA….That is the question!!

I have been pondering having my genealogical DNA done for quite a while now….and yesterday I took the plunge!!

It really wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to have my DNA done…I truly have wanted to get into the spit pool for a long time.  Its just that circumstances always seemed to block that path. Well, Friday an AncestryDNA kit arrived in my mailbox.  Saturday morning I sent it back to them.  It really was a fairly easy process…And I thought I would share all the details with my followers.

AncestryDNA Kit

AncestryDNA Kit

Here it is…my kit.  The box was smaller than I expected…I’m not sure why I thought it was going to be a big box with a complicated process, but I did.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  It was about 5″x7″…very compact and well thought out.  I held on to it for a few minutes, thinking about all the possibilities of what the test might prove and the doors it might open.  …then I opened it.

The first thing you see when you open the kit..

The first thing you see when you open the kit.

This was the first thing that I saw when I opened the kit…its a very easy to understand instruction folder that walks you thru every step of the process.  Step 1 – Activate Kit Online.  This was super easy!!  It only took about 5 minutes and that’s because I was nervous and double and triple checked everything I typed or clicked on.  I set it to connect to a family tree I already had on Ancestry.com, but will be uploading my correct tree in the next few weeks and will switch the connection to that one soon.  You MUST have a tree to connect it to or you won’t get any connecting results.  To activate the kit and connect it to you, there is a 15-digit code that is on the collection tube that you use.  It’s your DNA’s identity code.  They advise that you mark down the code on the space provided on this instruction folder…Mine also had it typed out on a sticker on the back of the folder….So far…EASY PEASY!

Under the Welcome/Instruction folder.

Under the Welcome/Instruction folder.

This was the rest of the kit…The collection tube and stabilizer on the left, the plastic “bio-hazard” bag, and the Postage Paid mailer box.  Really simple so far.  I took each item out and checked out the process.  I can do this!!  I finished reading the instructions and immediately realized I GOOFED!!!  As I was doing this I was eating breakfast.  There is a big warning on “Step 2 – Gather DNA” that says “Do NOT eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes before giving your saliva sample.”  DARN IT!!  Oh well…can’t change it now…I’ve already started eating my oatmeal…so I’m finishing my breakfast and then I’ll go brush my teeth to make sure no oatmeal gets into the test.

You always have to wait for the good things in life.

You always have to wait for the good things in life.

Tick Tock….Tick Tock…I sat watching the timer waiting for at least 30 minutes so I could begin my test.  I could’ve used my time a little better by doing laundry, washing dishes, or getting the house cleaned up…but instead I sat and watched the time slowly count down….Tick Tock…Tick Tock….BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!  SUCCESS…It’s been 30 minutes….

I took a couple extra minutes to catch my breath….And I slowly opened the container that held the collection vial and the stabilizing solution.  The instructions state simply to “Fill the tube with saliva to the black wavy line”…That’s easy enough.  OK…Maybe not.  All of a sudden my mouth went dry!  I’m panicking.  I remembered reading on a couple Facebook pages that people had to do their DNA test over because they had too many bubbles…not enough sample…contaminated sample…etc.  “What if” started racing thru my brain.  I can’t mess this up…my ancestors are counting on me!!!  I took another deep breath…and started spitting into the tube….as I did it I realized it really wasn’t that bad…they only needed  about 1/4 teaspoon…which isn’t much.  I kept tapping the vial on the table to try to pop some of the bubbles…and it was filling pretty quick.  It only took about 5 minutes to make sure that the sample was just above the wavy line (not including the bubbles)…and then I relaxed a bit.  The picture is a bit deceiving…the collection area isn’t the entire bottom of the vial…the collection area is really only about a 1/4 inch in depth…The bottom of the tube is empty!

Fill with spit to the wavy line (not including the bubbles)...

Fill with spit to the wavy line (not including the bubbles)…

Next step is to take the funnel off the top and replace the funnel with the “cap”…it contains a stabilizing solution to stabilize the DNA in my saliva….

Take off the funnel and screw on the stabilizer solution...

Take off the funnel and screw on the stabilizer solution…

See the blue tint to the cap…that’s the solution.  When you tighten the cap, this solution drops into your DNA sample…

When the cap is tight the fluid will drop...shake it for at least 5 minutes.

When the cap is tight the fluid will drop…shake it for at least 5 minutes.

Perfect!  So far so good…..Now I just have to shake it for at least 5 seconds to mix the stabilizing solution with my DNA….this helps the lab process the sample easier.

Insert vial into the protective bag...

Insert vial into the protective bag…

Now its just a simple packaging….drop the vial in the protective Bio-Hazard Bag….

Put in Postage Free box...

Put in Postage Free box…

Pop it in the postage paid mailing box….

Close and seal it up.....its ready to go!

Close and seal it up…..its ready to go!

And seal it with the self adhesive strip…Super Simple…Very little room for error.  Now there is just one more step for the day…I jumped in my Jeep and drove to the Post Office…

Drop in the nearest mailbox....

Drop in the nearest mailbox….

I think at this point I started to breathe again.  I kept thinking about my ancestors and what they might think of this whole process.  Would they be grossed out?  Would they be scared of the technology?  I don’t think any of them would understand it….and that’s ok.  Right at the moment I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the whole process.

Unfortunately, now the waiting begins.  It’s going to take 6-8 weeks before I receive any results…and I’m still not sure how to interpret them…but I’m learning.  I’ve been doing the research…watching the webinars and videos…and taking lots of notes.  It might be easier once I have my own results back to use as an example.

I will chronicle my process here on my blog as this whole thing begins to unfold.  I will share EVERYTHING!  Where my ancestors came from…what the ethnicity results are…all the good and the bad that will soon be revealed.  So stay tuned!!!

Until the results come back I will continue to move my research forward.  Now that I’m back here in my blog I will help you all follow my steps…my research…my struggles…my questions…my trips…and even my failures.  The Genealogy Fanatic is BACK!!!

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How has family history changed you???

I saw this question posted on the Family Search Facebook page a couple days ago…and it’s still got me thinking.  Were they really asking us to reply to it? Or were they hoping to just get us thinking?  Well…it did both for me.  I almost immediately replied to their question….“Its given me a sense of self. A way to find out a deeper meaning of who I really am.”.  But the more I think about it….it goes so much deeper than that.

I used to think I knew who I was.  But I think I’m still finding that out.  I am not just me anymore, but a combination of two people who’s DNA and family history were merged together to create me.  I am my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and on and on.  Every new person I find occupies another part of my life and my history.  I have become a stronger person realizing what struggles my ancestors have overcome.

My family and friends would tell you I’m still the sarcastic, quick on my feet, one-liner dropping person.  And that part of me is still there.  But, I look at life a lot differently since I started digging into my family.  I used to think I was a woman of strength and courage…but that, too, has been put into perspective for me.

My ancestors have lived thru the Great Depression, death of children during epidemics, horrific deaths by accidents, raising children without fathers due to war and death, and leaving their homes to sail across an ocean for better lives, only to live in poverty and hardship to find that prosperity.  What have I done that showed such strength and courage???  Nothing compared to them!

We live in a society that seems to focus more on the wants of a family rather than focusing on the needs.  And I’m just as guilty of this as everyone else.  Times were simpler for my ancestors, as I’m sure it was for yours, too.  They worked hard and provided the necessities of life for their families…and one by one or in small groups they brought them to the United States from all over the world.  Once here they all worked together to provide more and more for their families while continuing to bring extended family members here…acting as sponsors and giving them shelter once they immigrated here.  Their kids were educated in our schools, learned English, and integrated their culture and traditions with those of their new friends and neighbors to help create what has become our new way of life.

So, to go back to that thought provoking question….How has family history changed you?  I guess I’ve become more aware of the struggles, the stories, and most of all the successes of my family and myself.  I no longer look at what I don’t have compared to my peers, but what I have been able to overcome and succeed at in an ever changing, modern world.  A world where my ancestors gave up so much and made, what had to be the most heartbreaking and courageous, decisions of their lives.  Decisions that not only impacted their generations but all generations that followed them.