“Back when we took those aptitude tests in school, they would always have a multiple choice section for race. And I always bubbled-in Asian without hesitation. My Korean grandmother spent a large amount of my childhood raising me, and being Korean became a large part of my identity, despite only being half — my mom is Korean and my dad is a whole mix of European countries. I was told that his side was a jumble of Austrian, German, Polish, and Norwegian. Whether that was true, I didn’t know for sure. On my birthday this year, my thoughtful girlfriend bought me an AncestryDNA kit to unravel the mystery of my other half. The kit they give you is pretty simple. There’s a small tube you fill up with your saliva and a code you redeem online so that the DNA you send through the mail can be matched to your site profile.
They compare parts of your DNA to people in different regions of the world to get a sense of where you might have some ancestry. I think the biggest WTF moment I had wasn’t discovering what my ethnic background was, but the communities that are connected to you. AncestryDNA has something called Genetic Communities that they claim are “groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors.”
There are people on the site who are listed as ‘Extremely High’ in how likely they are to be related to me — a possible second or third cousin that I have never met. Now that’s a trip. I’m tempted to dig into the rabbit hole of genealogy and reach out to some of these people, to learn their stories. But maybe that’s for another time. If you’re big into tracing family trees, and have a side of your heritage that you want to learn more about, take a look into AncestryDNA. Even if your results don’t surprise you, maybe the connections you make with other people on the site will.” —Jeff Barron
Get it on Amazon Canada for $129.