Results – Ancestry Edition

The results are in. Leah is Eastern Asian. What. A. Shock. (that’s sarcasm, for those of you who don’t know me well yet)

Actually, her maternal line is Eastern Asian. Because she’s a girl and therefore lacks a Y chromosome, they can’t trace her paternal line. Bummer.

There is more than just that one chart. Thank goodness. We also get this handy dandy map showing us her “Maternal Haplogroup” :

What is a “Haplogroup”? Good question! Let’s go to our friend Wikipedia for the answer…

In molecular evolution, a haplogroup (from the Greek: απλούς, haploûs, “onefold, single, simple”) is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor having the same single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation in both haplotypes. Because a haplogroup consists of similar haplotypes, this is what makes it possible to predict a haplogroup from haplotypes. A SNP test confirms a haplogroup. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations, for example R1b1. Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups have different haplogroup designations. Haplogroups pertain to deep ancestral origins dating back thousands of years.[1]

So basically, your Haplogroup is telling you more of a distant ancestry, versus who your grandparents are.

And what do we know about this Haplogroup known as “Group F”?

TaDa! Something a little more specific than “Eastern Asian”. A lot more, actually. Because it turns out that Daic is a Chinese line that flows directly into Thai. So my girl has a pretty significant amount of Thai in her. Cool, right? She thinks so. 🙂

But wait! There’s more!

23andMe has this feature called “Relative Finder” where it shows you a list of other 23andMe members who share DNA with you, out to 5th cousin or so. (Beyond that it’s just called “remote” cousin). What is a 5th cousin? Good question! Take it away 23andMe…


It’s a bit “Schoolhouse Rock”, but actually a very helpful tutorial on how 2nd…3rd…etc cousins work. Totally worth four minutes of your time.

Okay so yesterday when I logged in, Leah had two relative matches. One was a “3rd to distant” and one was a “4th to distant”. The 3rd to distant has part of her profile public, including her birthplace. Guess where? Thailand! Interesting, no? Extra interesting is this woman (who is about my age) currently lives in Germany. Hmmm! So I clicked on “send a message” today and wrote a hopefully non-creepy note saying we’ve found a relative match and we’d love to learn more about her ancestry. (It seems like an awfully intrusive question to ask a stranger, but given that she’s on 23andMe, one can assume she is equally interested. I hope.) (I also hope that given she is Thai and living in Germany she speaks some English! Otherwise, this won’t go very far…)

Then today, when I went back again, surprise! More relatives! I don’t understand why. Maybe it takes a while to process all the way or something? But now she has 7 on her list, including one more who is “3rd to distant”. But this one doesn’t have any public information so I clicked on “send an introduction” and tried once more to sound altogether un-stalkery while also asking for personal info about a total stranger. Isn’t the internet fun?

Next up: Getting the data over to Family Tree DNA for the Khmer Cousins Project. Which, it turns out, may be harder than originally thought because apparently 23andMe recently updated their test and now Family Tree is playing catch up to make their system compatible or some such thing. But we shall press on! Because every new “cousin” takes us one step closer to maybe some day having some answers about Leah’s birthfamily… and even if that never happens, just knowing her genetic ancestry gives new dimension to Leah’s sense of identity and that in itself, is very very good.

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5 thoughts on “Results – Ancestry Edition

  1. Your posts on this made my week. What a wonderfui idea to help fill in your daughters genetic ancestry – all my life I wondered my nationalities. Thank you from an old and pretty grumpy adult adoptee…

  2. I just got back DS’s results from 23 and Me and he has 17 cousins who are registered with them. I don’t know where to start. 17?? I was hoping for one. Wow. Lots to digest.

    1. Oh my goodness Heather – 17!! That’s awesome!
      Unfortunately, the two cousins I tried to contact on 23andMe haven’t replied yet. I might try contacting some of the more distant cousins next.

      1. Well, most of them are 3rd or 4th or distant cousins and have Chinese or Vietnamese ancestry, so I’m not quite sure what to do with the information, since none of them are directly from Cambodia. I need to sit on all this for a while. I am still glad I did it because there are some health issues we can monitor in the future which I never would have known about.

  3. Heather… I know what you mean. I’m kind of not sure to go with the more distant ones… but it’s good to know they are there and we can always attempt contact at some point.
    For me the health part was really important too- I’m glad you gained some valuable information from that.

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