THE HELGESONS | Elle’s DNA RESULTS

Guys! I received my DNA results and they were not what I was expecting! Have you sent yours in yet? I’m kind of obsessed with family history, culture, and heritage. You know your girl has always been the kind who has boxes filled with photos, albums filling my hall closet, and have binders full of family tree branches as far back as I can reach. So when testing your DNA became a thing, I have been itching to do it.

When the results arrived I was nervous. So anxious in fact that I couldn’t log into my account and my eye started twitching. Since then, I’ve not stopped looking at my pie chart of my ethnic makeup and comparing my matches. Firstly, I found out of my nineteen first cousins, only one of them has also submitted their DNA and we have the exact same regions with a similar makeup. I mean by looks alone, you can tell I’m related to all of my cousins, more so than my own sister. I found an additional 400+ matches with 2-8th cousins that I don’t already know. Which seems so weird to me, because my family is humongous and I know what I thought was all of my first thru fourth cousins. My Grandmother was one of nine and although a large family we hung out almost every summer and holidays either on the Lake of the Ozarks at one of the family cabins or in Jefferson City. So seeing so many name I didn’t know caught me by surprise.

I want to say firstly that a huge reason I have always been so curious about my lineage is that my Grandparents were all very hush, hush about it and were not the kind of people whom talked much about their family. My Father doesn’t even know his Grandmothers real name, and had only met his Step-Grandmother as a child. His Grandmother is someone whom I’ve always been so curious about because it seems a lot of illness came from her side of the family as well as the mystery behind who she was has always had my heart and puzzled me. I find myself drawn to her and finding out who she was hugely because it seems like she was kept as a secret from us and her own Grandchildren and all we’ve ever seen is one or two photos.

My second reason is that I’ve always been asked repeatedly throughout my childhood, what ethnicity my Mother was because they knew someone who looked like her and she had such intriguing features. Being 4’9 with red/auburn wavy hair, yet olive to light brown skin, high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, and a square jawline. She looks a lot like her Mother whom I grew up thinking was a Russian/Native American, not realizing as a child that what I really saw were features from a combination of Russian and Spanish decent. I think my Mom looks more Spanish/Asian, especially in her photos as a small child. I too started getting so many questions pertaining to if I was of Asian decent, from children who didn’t know better. I was actually made fun of quit a bit because of my almond eyes and big high cheeks, which made me embarrassed to smile. Also why do people have such issues with other people who don’t look like them? Isn’t it a good thing we don’t all look and act alike? Anyway, my hair type is extremely fine, heavy, & thin with it too being auburn/honey brown. My skin is olive (don’t be fooled by my pink face it’s caused by dilation of the blood vessels, a side effect to a medical condition), I’m also ridiculously petite. 4’10 ya’ll, I’ll be crying in the back room if you need me. Just kidding I actually love being short, except when I’m around children and they are 5 and taller than me, haha! I have hooded almond shaped eyes, high cheek bones, and can only metabolize a high carb, low protein, low fat diet consistent to that in Asian cultures. And yes, all this sounds very stereotypical I admit, however, it would be great to know why I look the way I do that has always separated me from looking exactly like my Father. Because weirdly I look like my Dad almost completely besides those traits.

Side story: We were at a festival once with my Mom and we had met a lady who looked like she could be my Mom’s sister from Ecuador. It was the cutest thing because you’d swear they were long lost cousins the way they were chatting and giggling about how much they looked alike.

So here’s what I have always been told:

I’ll first mention, I only loosely believed my Grandparents ethnicity they shared with us because they didn’t seem to realize that just because your family moved to America from another country doesn’t mean your 100% that ethnicity. Insert my eye roll towards my very naive Grandparents.

My Dad’s parents: Mother - 100% German, Father - English/Welsh & who knows what else. He literally had no idea what his makeup was. It’s always been speculated that there was African American genetics on one or both of these up-lines, but it was never clear if this was speculation or fact.

My Mom’s parents: Father - 100% German, Mother - Irish, English

What I’ve found in my family tree before my DNA results:

My Dad’s Mother was indeed mostly German, however I found folks from Norway in a few branches. My Grandfather, his results were more slim since his ancestors have been here since we first colonized in America and actually owned a mill still in existence over in Virginia. Gonna have to check that out one day. We also have found some pretty cool info that suggests Troy & I may have had ancestors on the same boat coming over in the very beginning of America’s colonization.

My Mom’s Mother - (insert another side story because all I can think about right now is how my cousin Chelsie used to call my Mom Aunt Waa-weeze. You’ve probably seen me mention about a hundred times before that I’m from a long line of Louise’s on both sides of my family. Weird, right?) Any-who, my Grandmother has a huge amount of Russian in her, and she must have known since her Mother’s parents were from Russia. But we were only ever told we were Irish and a little English. My Grandfather, it seems is mostly German as he had always said, however, we find it strange no other people other than our own direct family exist with his last name any longer. As in, the story we were told about two German brothers coming over from Germany and starting their farms in Collinsville, Illinois and leaving one brother behind must be true, considering we are directly related to every Strackeljahn on this planet and the majority still live in the area. It’s freaky, yo! Where did everyone go? What happened to the other brother or you know, any other family members.

So here’s the part your here for; my DNA results. Be it as it may, I’m not 100 percent believing them, and as stated by the DNA research companies, it’s not 100% accurate.

Did you ever think I was going to get to this part??

My DNA results:

Drum roll, please!!!!!!!

46% English / Wales / Northwestern Europe

27% Germanic Europe

14% Ireland / Scotland

6% Swedish

5% Russia / Asia - includes 42 other countries in Asia & Europe

2% Norway

Sooo! My discrepancies are such. My immediate upline have Iberian Peninsula, which I expected to see some of since my Mother clearly has pulled so much of it physically. I’m negative rH which is found in that region and that just seems weird that I don’t have any. In the future, I expect to see that region pop up on my results when there’s more data collected across the globe. Secondly, my category for Russia seems extremely vague. Yes, it’s huge! I get it, I would just like to know what general area we are from to determine what I am. Since it could be anywhere from Croatian to Chinese. Two ethnicities I did expect to see were Chinese or Mongolian. However, after reading and speaking with several knowledgeable women from Asian decent the consensus seems to be there is not enough conclusive data from Asian DNA and the results show extremely broad. That made me sad, because I was raised in a home with two religions and cultures, one was heavily influenced by China. We have celebrated and performed in Shaolin demonstrations since I was an infant for Chinese New Year and practicing my whole life. These practices & traditions have been a huge part of my life and I’m glad we continue them in our home. Even though it didn’t specifically say those countries, the Russian category includes parts of both of them.

So now that we’ve established what is missing. Let’s talk quickly (cough, cough, yeah, right! Me??) about what I didn’t expect to be.

I am how much English??? 46% Being that I only had one Grandparent who had English in him, and a second Grandparent who had hardly any (which means I’m not getting it from her.) How is this possible? Well after some reading on Ancestry’s site, I found out that your DNA can look like a broad region and then they place you into a category. So even though it says English, it may be German, which would be expected. Remember I had 2, 100% (ish) German Grandparents, which seems to be accurate based on results of my cousins as well. But here I am now finding out I am Norwegian and Swedish. We had absolutely no idea and I’m rather excited about it because Troy is also Scandinavian and we have been trying to incorporate more of their cultural traditions around the holidays. Can you tell we love celebrating culture and heritage in our home? It’s a great way to teach Cole about all of the different regions & cultures of the World and that we are all different and amazing in our own ways.

All in all, I am happy with my results and the timeliness I received them. I look forward to seeing how and what changes to my results happen over time and what my Mom’s results will look like. I really can’t wait much longer Mom, spit in the tube and mail it in already.

Here’s what you should know before doing your own DNA test.

You will be spitting into a tube and mailing it away. It’s not that bad, it only took me two seconds and one try. Do I get an award??

You may find relatives you never knew you had. I gave my Mom a chance to tell me anything I didn’t already know, just in case.

You get 50% of your DNA from your Mother & 50% from your Father. Which means your getting 25% from each Grandparent. Be that as it may, if your Grandmother was let’s say 10% Iberian Peninsula, your Mother may be 5%, which means in plain math, you’d be around 2.5%. However, that’s just not how it works. Because Science is rude, idk! You may not have any, or you may have more depending on which strands of DNA you took from each parent. It’s like tossing 100 marbles in a jar: 30 blue (German), 50 green (English), 10 yellow (Irish), 9 red (Russian), & 1 purple (East Africa). Out of those 100 marbles, your only getting 50% of those marbles from that parent so what 50 marbles come out, could be any color and in any percentage. With that being said, these tests are not 100% accurate. It’s still early in the game of genetic testing, at least to the public.

Anddddd…you and your siblings will most likely have different percentages. Which is pretty cool.

Get your own kit

If your curious about your own family history through tracing your lineage and would like to find new family members. You can save 15% OFF by using this referral link. Hey maybe we’re related! In which case, I’m sorry!

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Elle Helgeson

Our Fine Art Wedding Photography focuses natural movement & deep connection so you can have romantic images to relive your best memories throughout your lives together.