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DNA and family legends

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Last week when my Mother, who’s Welsh, was visiting we were discussing why I’d had my DNA analysed, and why I’d like her to get hers done. I was explaining to her how having her DNA analysed would help me build a more complete understanding of where my DNA has come from. Also, given all the mystery in the Welsh part of our tree, our shared matches might indicate where we should look to find more information and possible family connections and thus enable us to fill in some of the gaps. And believe me, there are huge gaps in the Welsh side of my tree!

During the conversation I commented that a story told in her Welsh family was that Taid (her father) had an ancestor from the Spanish Armada. Mum said, ‘Oh Ruth, no one took that story seriously.’ As it happens the Armada took place in 1588, so even if it were true that Taid had a Spanish ancestor wrecked off the Welsh coast, this wouldn’t show up in my DNA at this point. Well, not in the analysis done by Ancestry anyway.

When I got my DNA analysed I was interested to find that I do have Iberian DNA: 2%. This suggests a Spanish ancestor possibly 5 generations back. The thing is though, that I was hoping (given I didn’t understand how all this works) that Iberian DNA would show up on the Welsh side of my tree. But that isn’t the case. Matches that appear to be Welsh, because they have Welsh names, don’t have any Iberian DNA but also no obvious genealogical connections into the Welsh part of my tree (or any part of my tree). With these matches I’m left wondering, how are we related?

I was interested though, to find that Iberian DNA is present amongst matches on my father’s side of the tree - and where Iberian DNA shows up, like mine, it’s about 2%.

But where has this Iberian DNA come from? - A question I can’t answer at the moment. Although I can say, it’s probably not from the Spanish Armada!

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