Americans unearth surprises about immigrant ancestors using DNA, genealogy tests

Advances in the size and scope of vast digital databases, as well as the low cost of DNA testing, have made it easier than ever to learn about one’s family tree, and whether everything you’ve heard at family gatherings all your life is true.

Bennett Greenspan, president of Houston-based Family Tree DNA, one of several companies mass-marketing consumer DNA-test kits, said people often are surprised when results don’t jibe with family lore. Many immigrants arriving in the U.S. in the 19th or early-20th centuries abandoned Jewish, Irish, Italian and other roots they thought might cause problems for them, Mr. Greenspan said.

So this summer, I sent off my saliva and $100 to AncestryDNA …

I expect my parents would be disappointed to learn our family tree spans lochs, lox and the luck of the Irish. In my house, though, the news has been a big hit. My daughter is excited to be part Jewish; my son is thrilled to learn about the McWhirter-Irish connection. My wife is planning to send her DNA off to be tested soon.

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Fact-Checking Family Folklore With DNA Tests

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