Monday 11 March 2019

Exploring My Family History with Findmypast

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Where I come from and my family history is always something that has fascinated me. I remember back in school when we had to put together our family tree and I loved it! Finding out all about relatives from the past and seeing how everyone connected together was amazing. So when I was recently offered to chance to delve deeper into my history with the help of my DNA and Findmypast I was so excited to see what they would find. 

Findmypast helps you to uncover the amazing truth behind your ethnicity with the world's most advanced ancestry DNA test. In partnership with Living DNA, Findmypast doesn’t just look at the DNA you have and where in the world it's found, they also look for common patterns. This allows them to provide twice the level of detail of any other ancestry DNA test. They are even able to look at the British and Irish regions you descend from.

Our DNA is such a complex thing and discovering more about it through DNA kits is a great way to discover more about ourselves and is so clever in itself. A simple swab can help us discover who we are, where we came from and so much more about our history, isn't that amazing! 

I received my DNA kit in the post and couldn't wait to get started. The kit is really simple to use and comes with a handy booklet which explains exactly what to do. To use the kit you will also need to register online with a code that is inside your kit. This is how you will receive your results so make sure you set this up before you get started. There is also a really handy video online which talks you through exactly how to take your DNA with the swab provided and its worth watching before you start to ensure you get it right and collect your DNA correctly. 

This is what was inside my kit - 

It includes the instruction booklet, the swab kit, a specimen bag and a postal bag. You take the swab, collect your DNA and then ensure you close the lid tightly (you will hear a click) which locks your DNA inside. You then need to place it in the specimen bag, seal that up and that place it inside the pink postal bag, seal that and then post it. The postage is already paid so you just need to pop it into a post box. 

I was nervous about getting the swab wrong so the video you are shown when you sign up online was really helpful. It does suggest not to eat or drink for around an hour before you swab to ensure your DNA can be collected properly. To collect the DNA you essential roll the swab over the inside of your cheek for around 45 seconds. It doesn't hurt or even scratch so is really easy to do and then you are done! 

Then the waiting begins! It can take up to 6 weeks to receive your results although mine came in around 3 weeks. I received an email letting me know my results were in and prompting me to log into the account I created when I first received my kit. 

I had assumed my DNA would come back as 100% from Great Britain and Ireland however when it came back saying 93.9% Great Britain and Ireland and 6.1% Europe (south) I was so surprised and excited to learn more! 

The Findmypast avatar is another feature you will see once you receive your results. It allows you to see your DNA mix in the last 10 generations and explore it at different levels of detail from global, regional and sub-regional. I loved seeing it broken down in this way and seeing where the highest percentages were. Considering I have always lived in the South West and so have my parents as far as I am aware some of these were a bit of a shock. Especially seeing such a high percentage for Cornwall, but secretly very happy as its one of my most favourite places to visit in the UK. 

It even goes into detail regarding Eurppe, stating that 6.1% of my ancestry points at the Iberian Peninsula and its been fascinating reading up on it a little more online since. 

If you want to go back even further into your ancestry the Living DNA website also has a feature where you can see your ancestry through history. Travelling back through time all the way back to up to 80,000 years ago to the oldest period in history, as far as this genetic map goes. The feature helps to explore how your ancestry sharing with people alive today changes as we move back in time. The map is designed to show a geographical location and the concentration of our common ancestors descendants from that point in history.

Using the Findmypast website I was also able to begin my very own family tree. Searching through lots of birth, death and marriage certificates and matching them up with members of my family to create a really in depth family tree. Having my DNA results made this much easier and it was great seeing how the links in my DNA matched up with where members of my family past and present were from or born, taking the regional breakdown and using that to search for relatives in Findmypast. It is so easy to use and navigate the site too and once you begin typing in names the Findmypast website does all the work finding any documents that may match the person you are looking for, enabling you to match them up correctly. Plus it is always updating and getting bigger which means your family tree will always be growing, finding new members of your family all the time.

Finding out about my ancestry through my DNA has been amazing and definitely eye opening. I have spent so much time exploring the different charts and history available on the website through my results and its been lovely being able to share that with my inquisitive son too! I would never have known about the Europe (south) connection in my DNA had it not been through this kit and I would recommend everyone have a go at this at some point even if you think you know where you are from.

Its an eye opener that's for sure and so simple and easy to do.

Have you ever tried something like this to find out more about your ancestry or is it something you would consider in the future?

** I received payment for this post and my time. However all words and opinions expressed in this post are my own. I retain full control of this post. **


  1. I find these kits so fascinating. You can really learn so much about yourself and your heritage from them.

  2. It is definitely an eye opener, I think mine would be mostly around Africa but I am definitely curious to find out more.

  3. I would love to do this, I know my Great Grandmother was from France, but nothing beyond that

  4. I would LOVE to do this. I'm imagining I would be totally UK but would love to know more!

  5. I do think these kits are great, you can learn so much from them.

  6. This is so interesting. I keep hearing people are so surprised because the results are always such a surprise.

  7. WOW this is so interesting!! I know that my great grandfather was dutch so it would be awesome to find out if there are any other countries in my ancestry! xxx

  8. Wow! Were you surprised with the results? I am so tempted to do this and get one for my husband too! :)

  9. This is so interesting! It’s amazing what we can find out these days