Who doesn't want to know where they're from? Sure, you may have been told from birth which country or countries you originate from, but aren't you a teeny tiny bit curious to know your ancestors' origins. Maybe you're part Australian or a descendant of a Spanish explorer? Here at HELLO! we put the Ancestry DNA home kit to the test and some of us received very surprising results. Just when we thought we knew ourselves, our saliva samples proved us wrong. Scroll down to see our reaction, but first a word on how the kit works…
How does the Ancestry DNA kit work?
Once you've ordered your kit online, it will arrive in the post within a few days. Inside your kit you'll find clear instructions on how to take the test, plus a collection tube for your saliva sample. There are no needles or blood tests involved, it's just your saliva! You have to spit into the tube until you fill it to the designated line – a word of warning, it takes longer to hawk up that much spit than you might think, and you can't eat or drink for an hour beforehand. You then post your sample back to Ancestry DNA in the pre-paid envelope provided. Make sure to register online to activate your kit, so you can get your results.
The Ancestry DNA kit is easy and simple to use
How and when do you get your results?
It usually takes around six to eight weeks to receive your results. You'll get an email saying your DNA has been processed and once logged into your Ancestry DNA account, you'll be shown on a map the areas you originate from, with percentages.
What do your results tell you?
The colour-coded map shows you your ethnicity. It highlights the countries or areas you're from, with percentages, such as 52 per cent French. If you also agreed to have your results shared within the Ancestry DNA community, you'll be able to see possible DNA matches. You may be surprised to see just how many third and fourth cousins you have! Each possible match tells you how they may be related to you, and how confident Ancestry DNA is in their findings. You can also connect with them via messaging.
The map highlights where in the world you're from
Does it tell you about your health?
Unlike other DNA tests, this kit does not tell you about your health or wellness.
What we liked about the process
We loved the layout of the results. It was so exciting to see different parts of the world highlighted, and to see a breakdown of your ethnicity in percentages.
The kit costs £79 plus shipping
What we didn't like about the process
It does take a long time to wait for your results – you might have already forgotten you'd taken the test! Plus, the spitting is never fun.
Is Ancestry DNA worth the money?
At £79 a pop, plus shipping costs, Ancestry DNA is one of the cheaper kits compared to other brands. It's around £10 more expensive than its competitor, but the more detailed kits that include health reports can be priced from £149 and upwards. If you're really curious about your ancestry and invested in finding out, it's one of the simplest ways and is worth it.
Our reactions – see how the HELLO! team got on…
Andrea: "This DNA kit has been an eye opener for me and my whole family. We're Spanish, all born in the North (Galicia), but we have always been told that our surname originates from Portugal. Much to my surprise, and my family's, the results confirmed the theory and it indicated that I was indeed 49% Portuguese. Not only that, but I also had more French DNA in me than Spanish, with 22% and 21% respectively. For a few weeks it really annoyed me, especially as my South American work colleague, who was born there, had more Spanish DNA in him than me! Having said that, I would highly recommend anyone to get it done, it's fun, you learn a lot and you also meet a lot of people. Just seconds after my DNA results were in, a fourth cousin from Minnesota, America, got in touch. It's been fun exchanging stories and family trees."
Rafael: "I was quite surprised by a few things. Firstly, it was quite interesting being more than 50% Native American! We Colombians are very mixed but the most surprising thing to me was the 6% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe which I have no idea where it might have come from; also this is the region where I live now! The whole process is easy and I really liked the region stories which is a timeline of the places, events, and journeys my ancestors were a part of. I highly recommend doing this."
Emmy: "I liked how simple the test was and how Ancestry DNA keeps you posted on exactly whereabouts they are in the process. It really shows how much work goes into it and is a fascinating insight. I suspected that my family were very boring – and it turns out I was right! Although my results found that I was 100% from England, Wales & Northwestern Europe, even pinpointing the East Midlands, where I was born, it was still fascinating to learn more about my roots, especially when it paired me up to a few distant cousins I would have had no idea about!"
Sophie: "It's an incredibly easy process, almost too easy. It wasn't until the email to tell me my saliva was in the lab and being processed that I decided it might be time to tell my parents I was doing this, in case they had anything they wanted to tell me! Thankfully, all was well, and the results were really fascinating. I love being able to see our family is 10% Norwegian – I've always loved Scandinavia and now I feel I have a real genetic affinity to the place! There were no huge surprises (fascinating to see where my 1% European Jew came into the picture) but also very clever to see that it paired me up with a second cousin with a surname I know is in my family. So although I've yet to connect with any long lost relatives I was left feeling pretty convinced that this was a very accurate and clever test."
Sharnaz: "Since both my parents are from Bangladesh, my results were not completely surprising – 100% Asian. I've always been attached to the country and my family roots but was fascinated to find out if I had any European links since the British Empire ruled India. Although my ethnicity is split between Southern Asia and central India, I was surprised to see I had connections to places as far as Sri Lanka and Nepal. Bangladesh itself is a highly-populated country, which gained independence from Pakistan in 1971, so to discover how far and wide my ancestry is was all the more surprising. I would recommend this to anyone, just the perfect insight my family and I gained about our roots."
Ainhoa: "I always tell people that I'm Filipino/Spanish and a little bit Chinese as my background is quite complicated. Like many people in the Philippines, my parents are mixed and have roots in China or Spain (who colonised the Philippines for over 400 years), but I didn't quite realise how dominant the Chinese part was. I was so surprised to find out that I am only 17% Spanish and 22% Philippines (and Guam!) but a whole 52% Chinese. Fittingly, I was eating Chinese food when I got my results. I was also surprised by the Iran/Persia, Northern Africa, France, Portugal and Italy percentages that crept in. Overall, a very insightful and fun experience!"