Discovering My Ancestry with Living DNA [AD]

Living DNA provided this kit in exchange for a review - however all opinions remain my own.

If you’re anything like me you’re really interested in Ancestry and knowing about where you come from. Programmes such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ have become increasingly popular over the past decade – and I’m happy to admit they are a guilty pleasure of mine. 

So when Living DNA got in touch asking if I’d be interested in trying out their Ancestry DNA test, how would I turn them down?

So here we are, this is my experience tracing my family ancestry thanks to Living DNA.

HOW IT WORKS

So the process itself is really quite easy. You get sent a pack in the post for you to submit your DNA sample ready for testing.  Inside the pack is everything you need to get started. Including your own personal login ID number – which then gets linked to the sample you provide.

First off, you quickly register online – which takes a matter of minutes.  Then once you’ve logged in and set up your profile it’s time to swab. In the kit, there is a cotton swab that you swoosh about the inside of your cheek for 30 seconds or so. You then seal up and secure with your personal kit ID number so they know it’s yours.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

After you’ve collected your sample and popped it in the post you can have a wait of anywhere between 6-12 weeks before you can your results. If when they receive your DNA sample and it doesn’t have a sufficient amount of DNA for them to test, they will notify you and send out another kit to get another sample.

I sent my sample off and 5 weeks later I received an email to say my results were in! Here I was able to log onto the portal and explore my ancestory further.

MY RESULTS

I was pretty pleased to see my results show that I am pretty damn northern! Very northern and very British – which doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. 

The results initially give you an overall look at your ancestry DNA and a map of what you’re made up of. You’re then able to delve further into these areas. With the option to explore your DNA Globally, Regionally and even into Sub-Regions to get more accurate and exact locations.

For me personally, my results showed I am 98.9% European and 1% Asian which came as a nice little surprise. The results are really detailed and can be broken down into very specific regions.

The main portion of my results were European based, which was then broken down into country, and within that was broken down into region of said country (providing the percentages were large enough for that)

Europe 98.9%

Great Britain and Ireland 91.6%

South Yorkshire 25.1%

Southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland 19.1%

North Yorkshire 17.4%

Northwest Scotland 6.7%

Devon 6.5%

Cumbria 6%

Northumbria 5.6%

Aberdeenshire 2.9%

East Anglia 2.1%

Europe (North and West) 4.8%

France 2.2%

Germanic 1.4%

Scandinavia 1.2%

Europe (South) 2.6%

Iberian Peninsula 2.6%

Asia (South)1%

Burusho 1%


As you can see, my European ancestry is predominantly based in the UK, which I was expecting, so didn’t come as too much of a shock.

When I’ve been looking into my family history recently, a large proportion of my family originated in Scotland on my mum’s side. So seeing just over a quarter of my DNA results coming from Scotland makes a lot of sense.

My Dad’s family, on the other hand, have always been a bit of a mystery. He’s adopted so we don’t know where he comes from genetically. So finding out a little more about what my DNA is made up from was really exciting for me.

I was a little surprised to see that the largest UK percentage in my results was South Yorkshire. Now my Dad was originally born in Leeds, so the area of Yorkshire/South Yorkshire is expected. But I was just surprised that it took up the largest percentage of my European heritage. 

But given when my Dad was born, the late 1950’s – I can’t imagine people would have moved around as much as they might do now. So having ancestry based around the region he was born does make sense. I do wish I was able to delve a little deeper into his heritage particularly to find out more about where he comes from.

The next section I explored was the Motherline. Because I am female I am only able to explore my Motherline, as this is something passed from from mothers to daughters. If I wanted to explore the Fatherline my older brother would have to take his own DNA test to find out those results.

What Is The Motherline?

Basically, from my own understanding. From your mitochrondial DNA (mtDNA) you are categorised into a Haplogroup which is then broken down into a subgroup known as a Subclade.

From this information it is then broken down into another list of locations and their percentages. These show the locations of those in which you share a common ancient ancestor with, as you share the same Haplogroup.

  •  Wales 9%
  •  Slovenia 8%
  •  Romania 6%
  •  Belgium 6%
  •  Karachay-Balkars 6%
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina 6%
  •  Slovakia 5%
  •  Russia 5%
  •  Germany 5%
  •  Poland 5%
  •  Estonia 4%
  •  Hungary 4%
  •  Austria 4%
  •  Greece 4%
  •  Iceland 4%
  •  Italy 4%
  •  Czech Republic 4%
  •  Albania 4%
  •  England 4%
  •  Switzerland 4%
  •  Macedonia 4%
  •  Basque 3%
  •  Chuvashia 3%
  •  Spain 3%
  •  Iraq 3%
  •  Palestine 3%
  •  Belarus 3%
  •  Norway 3%
  •  France 3%
  •  Scotland 3%
  •  Bulgaria 3%
  •  Lebanon 2%
  •  Turkey 2%
  •  Finland 2%
  •  Sweden 2%
  •  Portugal 2%
  •  Libya 2%
  •  Armenia 1%
  •  Algeria 1%

I was quite surprised to see Wales being the top result on my Halogroup, although reading through the other regions they are largely European based which was quite nice to see.

There is also a migration map section which is an interactive function that shows you the journey your ancient ancestors could have moved around the world, which allows you to see how your ancestry has developed over time.

There is also more in-depth information regarding your mtDNA, which I admit I found a little difficult to understand. I was more interested in finding out what nationalities my DNA is made up from, so found the DNA map more interesting and easier to digest


Overall, I was really impressed with the information provided from Living DNA. I was able to see the regions that make up my DNA, explore how my ancestry has moved over thousands of years and find out things about my heritage I didn’t know.

Other DNA services I’ve seen offer services where you’re able to see if genetically you’re more likely to have certain diesases – which is something I’d rather not know if I’m honest.

Living DNA has just launched a new feature where you can be connected with others who share your ancestry. This feature isn’t compulsory and you need to opt-in and give Living DNA permission to connect you to those you are related to.

Because this feature is fairly new I don’t have any connections, however the more people that discover their ancestry through Living DNA the more likely it is for you to find a relative. And once you’ve taken your DNA test your profile is there for life – unless you choose to delete your information.

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I am connected to an unknown relative I had no idea about. But for now, I’m going to make the effort to delve further into my family tree to learn more about my family history.


If you’re interested in exploring your family ancestry you can sign up for your own kit from Living DNA here

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Living DNA provided this kit in exchange for a review - however all opinions remain my own.