Yes, I know William the Conqueror was French, but that accounts for French genes crossing the English Channel. Who are the Brits — and there would seem to be a few of them — who rowed in the opposite direction for the purpose of tilting my husband’s ethnic estimate through AncestryDNA to 51 percent British?
Moreover, he also is described as having 33 percent ancestry from the Iberian Peninsula, which is Spain and Portugal.
So, am I convinced of Gaelen Saucier’s new identity? Not a bit.
More than 35 years of genealogical research into my husband’s Saucier-Chamberland ancestry convinces me he is as Franco-American as you can get. All 16 of his great-great-grandparents are Franco — most of them French-Canadian from Quebec, with his Theriault line bringing in Acadian genes.
We have many more pedigree charts for his side of the family than for mine, and all those immigrant ancestors in the 1600s and 1700s are from France. I think we found one connection to Switzerland.
So what’s the deal? Was the test just defective? There are other explanations.
First, this kind of genetic testing is not a scientific representation of one or more countries as a whole. Obviously, it’s not done randomly, as a well-done political poll would be, for example.
This testing represents those who participate — the same way a TV or newspaper question of the day does. It draws participation by those who are interested in it, and genealogy over the years has traditionally involved countless people of British ancestry because of the availability of published works that support that kind of research.
British in this sense refers to England, Scotland and Wales, according to the AncestryDNA website, but the map shows a larger “circle” that overlaps a good section of western France, including the city of Paris, the hometown of the Saucier ancestors.
The description of Iberian Peninsula includes Spain and Portugal, but the “circle” on this map for ethnic ancestry overlaps a section of southern France.
One of the features this testing offers is a list of participants — not by name — who share some ancestry. My test a year ago listed several entrants that were as close as fourth cousins, and some of these included pedigree charts that allowed me to survey them to see where our lines intersected.
Gaelen’s testing claims to offer a list of entrants as close as second or third cousins. I looked at just a few of these that included pedigree charts and did indeed find some Saucier lines — thus confirming that part of my research. As time permits, I will look at more charts and see what else I find.
What I expected to see in the estimate of my husband’s ethnic ancestry was the category called Europe west, which includes France and Germany.
So I need to look at pedigree charts, and it would be good if I read up on some more history.
Am I less enthusiastic about these $100 DNA testing programs now? I would say so. But I am open to learning more and possibly trying some others as time goes on. We are still in the early stages of affordable DNA testing, I believe.
In 1979, home pregnancy tests were new on the market and took two hours for the result to develop. My “negative” pregnancy test is now 36.
On that note, how did 2015 go so fast? It won’t be long until Bangor Public Library reopens. The date has been moved from Jan. 4 to Jan. 11, so we will look forward to that.
I wish you many blessings in the New Year, and may we all have good luck in uncovering more ancestors.
For i nformation on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.