90-year-old Grandmother’s Success Story

16-11-03_bettieThis is a heart-warming story from SBS, promoting Who Do You Think You Are, about a 90-year-old woman who finally had some answers about her biological family through conventional archival genealogy research and also information from an AncestryDNA test.

90 year old grandmother finally solves the mystery of her adoption

Bettie's ethnicity results

Bettie’s ethnicity results

However, I would like to point out that there is some misinformation given in the article about ethnicity results. The article says, “Bettie was recently able to explore her paternal side through DNA testing. Taking an AncestryDNA test gave Bettie the opportunity to analyse the ethnic origins within her genetics… With the background knowledge that Lucy Greenish’s family largely originates from Belgium (thus occupying the Western Europe area), it can be assumed that the dominating percentage of UK genetics comes from Bettie’s father. This is not information she could have bet on prior to the test.”

This is not necessarily true: most people with British heritage on both sides of their family will be likely to show some Western Europe ancestry because of the amount of migration throughout Europe that has occurred over the past millennia, especially considering the interaction between France and England throughout the Medieval period. So whilst we could conjecture that Bettie’s parents are both European, it is not possible to assign the “Western Europe” heritage to her mother’s Belgium ancestry and the remainder to mean her father was only of British heritage.

Ethnicity results still need to be regarded with some scepticism, especially if you are of European heritage: you could show an admixture of Western Europe, Scandinavia, even Spain and Italy and Eastern Europe, and all you can really know for certain is that you are European 🙂

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