My Ancestry DNA test results have been an enormously fascinating addition to my many years of genealogy research. However, there are some folks who probably shouldn’t have any type of ancestral DNA testing.
Each ancestral DNA testing provider uses a different database and could potentially give you slightly different results. However, there are some things you can count on, no matter what company processes your DNA test. Here are some reasons why you might want to proceed with caution.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read my disclosure here.
You Don’t Want To Be Found
If you have a biological child (or children) and don’t want them to find you, take care when deciding whether to have ancestral DNA testing.
Those who were adopted or whose parents used sperm donors are using genealogy DNA services such as Ancestry DNA to locate their biological parents. Any biological offspring you have out there might be looking for you, and if so, they’ll probably find you.
The first time I logged into Ancestry.com DNA after my parents’ results came in, their names appeared at the very top. It stated quite plainly – this person is your mother, this person is your father.
For me, this was cool, but no great shock, since I’ve known my parents for my entire life. For people looking for a birth parent, this could provide an incredible breakthrough. However, things could get uncomfortable if the parent wants to remain anonymous.
Sure, you can use an alias and choose not to respond to other Ancestry DNA users who reach out to you. However, all of your relatives who have also had Ancestry DNA tests will show up in your biological child’s list of DNA cousins.
And that person will show up as a relative of your relatives who have had Ancestry DNA done. Somehow, some way, someone will probably connect the dots back to you.
You’ll Be Devastated By Unexpected Results
If you think you’re 100 percent anything, you’re most likely wrong. Everyone I know who has had Ancestry DNA testing has seen some surprising results, except for my dad.
All four of his grandparents were Polish immigrants, and his Ancestry DNA shows nearly 100 percent Eastern European heritage. The results also show that his ancestors spent the past few hundred years in Poland.
Probably the most shocking thing about my own Ancestry DNA results was a distant cousin from Ohio in the 1800s. He converted to the Mormon religion, moved to Utah and took a second wife.
It’s not that I disrespect the Mormon religion. I was just surprised to see one of my maternal relatives take that path, given the previous family history I’ve researched over the years.
My maternal line also doesn’t have the German heritage that we expected. We have ancestors who came from Germany, but their ancestors must have hailed from somewhere else.
You’ll Be Bothered By Previously Unknown Cousins
I know someone whose Ancestry DNA results showed a man listed as a first cousin whom she had no knowledge of. She thought she knew all of her close cousins.
She decided that this must have resulted from a relationship one of her uncles had. This uncle was rumored to have had affairs that resulted in children, though she didn’t know about this one.
You Can’t Handle the Truth
If you have biological children from the past, they could find you. You might not have the heritage that you thought you had. You might see evidence that your relatives had children you didn’t know about.
Your Ancestry DNA results could add a new and fascinating twist to your genealogy research. However, if you’re not prepared to deal with whatever truth is in your DNA, you probably should skip it.