Through companies like 23andMe, ancestry.com, and Helix, users can dive deep into their ancestral history and genetic information with ease. While some kits do require a doctor’s approval, the process is fairly simple and straight-forward; all you need to do is order a kit, provide a DNA sample (e.g. saliva), mail it back, and wait for the results. Depending on which company you choose, the information can vary; providing either ancestry/relatives or your ethnic background. Matching relatives is fairly straight-forward, as it is just comparing DNA to others and tracing it back. Ethnic background is determined by scientists who analyze your chromosomes in pieces and compare them to genes of various regions of the world. As pieces match, a probability is generated as to where you come from. For you and your family, this information can go far beyond what is on a piece of paper.
Getting to know who your ancestors are and where they come from can give a strong sense of identity and connection to the world.
Seeing your family’s ancestors shows your kids how they came to be. Getting to know the stories of generations ago begins a conversation: How did we get here? Where do we come from? While you may know a fraction of your genealogy now, seeing that parts of your roots go to Spain, Thailand, or Southern Africa, for example, opens up a conversation about how those cultures are reflected in your family today. What are traits common to those regions? Are any of those traits found in your family? Researching more about how these regions impact your family’s genealogy can turn into a history lesson; learning not just about your roots but about very different cultures. Looking into something as simple as cooking foods native to your family’s roots can help you understand more about your heritage. Opening up the world beyond where you grow up helps give perspective, especially when there is a connection to new places. Learning more about how they came to be can open up your kid’s eyes to the world around them.