Damn you shiny distractions!

I had big plans, BIG PLANS for what I was going to write for this week’s blog post, but some shiny things were waved in front of my face and I succumbed to their wiles as I waved a dismissive hand at my blogging responsibilities.

Sorry ’bout that.

But I think it’s good every once in a while to give myself a break from the extreme pressure I put on myself to write a blog-worthy post *cough* and churn out a piece of tripe.

So here it is.

I have finally been making some headway as far as work is concerned. It felt like I had been lagging behind since the beginning of December, but after working some overtime a couple weeks ago, I’d say I’m caught up to about March now. Huge, HUGE relief. (I hate being behind, but sometimes with my job it cannot be helped.)

This reduction in my stress levels allowed me to actually focus on relaxing at home in the evenings instead of trying to plan out the next work day in my head, thinking of everything that needed to get done. It was in this relaxed state that the shiny things took control.

I paid for a month-long subscription to Ancestry.ca and couldn’t stop clicking through all the hints that had popped up since the last time I subscribed to the paid content. The first night, I stayed up a little later than usual just clicking through immigration records and photos of gravestones. I mostly worked on the part of my family tree from the U.K. and got as far as my 4th great-grandfather and grandmother. I also found out that one of my ancestors baked a birthday cake for a member of the royal family back in the day. Very cool! I used Google Maps to help me plot my places of origin — all of which are close to London!

I heard that Netflix added some new content recently, so I spent some time browsing through their new additions. MISTAKE! Soooooo much good stuff! I had to add the new Louis C.K. stand-up 2017 to my list (sorry, but I’m a fan) as well as 13 Reasons Why (have you watched it? I’ve heard really good things so far!) But I have to say, if you are waffling on what to watch next, watch the BBC drama series Thirteen. It was amazing! But I will tell you right now that there are no plans for a second series, so enjoy the five episodes you do get. Just… wow. I’m not saying much because I really want you to see it for yourself… then we can discuss it once you have!

Photo credit:  BBC

Like I said, I had big plans for a great blog post that obviously didn’t happen. But I only work three days this week then I get a nice five-day weekend, meaning I will have time to type up a super spiffy post for you!

Then we’ll be about square. *draws a square in the air with her right pointer finger* ;)

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My AncestryDNA results

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for a few weeks now, but other posts always took precedence over it. My life finally became boring enough to give me the opportunity to write it. ;)

I received my AncestryDNA results about two months after I mailed off a tiny test tube of my saliva to Ancestry’s lab in Ireland (I’ve seen that other kits get sent to Utah. I’m not sure why my saliva was so special that it had to be sent overseas). I didn’t mind waiting this much time to receive my results because, for one thing, it was realistic due to the large volume of kits they would have received from individuals who received them as Christmas gifts. Secondly, I would hope that they would need a proper amount of time to complete the test, otherwise I would have received inaccurate results (and I ain’t paying that much money for a botched genealogical test!)

I’m not sure how loud I gasped when I first saw the email with the subject “Your AncestryDNA results are in!”, but I do remember my eyes bugging out of my head and my fingers were suddenly unable to type properly while trying to text my husband that I finally received that long-awaited notification. I logged into the website with bated breath, my left hand covering my mouth as I read my results.

I was not surprised that the test determined I was 50% Eastern European since my mother is 100% Polish. I also was not surprised that I had roots in Great Britain, but I originally thought them to be 25% instead of 32% (this may also shed some light about the great love I have for London, England). The biggest surprise was the 9% Finland/Northwest Russia since I have never heard of any family being from this region and thought the 9% would be Netherlands. Once I read further into my analysis, I understood that these numbers reflect “where your ancestors came from hundreds to thousands of years ago”, so my ancestors probably immigrated from Finland/Northwest Russia to the Netherlands and I just haven’t been able to go that far back in my family tree yet (something I now look forward to doing!)

Another neat thing you get out of the results are relationship links to other people who have taken the AncestryDNA test that are related to you. Through this feature, I found out that I have a third cousin living in Edmonton that I have never met (at least I don’t think I have). I’ve already been creepy and stalked her on Facebook, but I’m too timid to friend her (AWKWARD!) Maybe I will if we connect through the Ancestry website first.

And the more people take the AncestryDNA test, the better the results become regarding your ancestry! This past week, AncestryDNA introduced a new feature called Genetic Communities which are groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived. This feature, which is still in beta testing, was where I understood and finally found my connection to the Netherlands.

Now that I have a better idea of my ancestry, I am tempted to obtain a paid subscription to the website so I can add more information to my family tree.

And maybe eventually I’ll make contact with that third cousin I’ve been stalking.

Jennealogy 101

How was your first week of the new year? Mine was… hectic. At least it felt that way. I imagine it is because everyone was back at work and trying to catch up after the holidays. I did work a few days between Christmas and New Year’s and was able to play catch-up, but this past week made it feel like I didn’t catch up enough. Oh well. I’ll probably feel better in a week or so.

I finally got around to using a Christmas gift I bought myself on Cyber Monday in November. Do you do buy yourself Christmas gifts? I never used to and would avoid buying myself anything a month before hand, but when things I want are on sale for such a good price, it is torture to wait a full month to get it. This year, I bought myself the Ancestry DNA kit (not a sponsor, I assure you.)

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I’ve had an Ancestry.ca account for a few years now, but before it I had a rough idea of my heritage: 50% Polish, 25% Dutch, and 25% English. Through the website, I was able to further determine the cities/towns of my origin:

  • Groningen, Netherlands (my paternal grandfather’s side)
  • Taplow, England (my paternal grandmother’s side)
  • Busko-Zdr√≥j, Poland (my maternal grandfather’s side)
  • Domaniewice, Poland (my maternal grandmother’s side)

One of the most interesting things I’ve found out since working on my family tree is that I am related to one of my co-workers. We’ve worked together for almost two years now and during that time I’ve noticed many similarities between us. It’s fascinating!

Now with the DNA kit, I’m not sure what to expect, but I was obviously intrigued enough to order one to see what it would reveal. Inside the kit is a test tube that you spit into for the DNA sample (yes, eww), stabilizing solution for the sample, a bag to put the sample in, and a box to mail the sample to Ancestry’s lab in Ireland (prepaid postage).

Test tube pre-spit (you're welcome)

Test tube, pre-spit (you’re welcome)

I mailed the sample on Friday and the instructions say to expect it to take six to eight weeks from when the lab receives my sample to get my results. So… I have a bit of a wait ahead of me. When I receive my results I will let you know what they say.

Your turn!

Do you know your heritage?

Do we have similar backgrounds?

Would you ever do an Ancestry DNA kit to find out more about yourself?