ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s becoming more and more popular to do a DNA test with one of the companies that offer them to find out what your ethnicity and ancestry is. So, News 6 anchor Ginger Gadsden thought we should try the tests out here at News 6. Gadsden and fellow anchors Matt Austin, Lisa Bell and Julie Broughton all decided to take part.
First, they had to collect their saliva in vials provided by AncestryDNA. Then, they boxed the collection tubes up, sent them off, registered online and waited for several weeks. Finally, it was time to find out their results-- and some of the anchors were more surprised than others.
JULIE BROUGHTON'S RESULTS
Broughton had a little knowledge of her history, so she wasn't too surprised to find out she was 60 percent from Great Britain.
“A lot of my cousins had done ancestry stuff and everything goes back to England,” said Broughton.
She was a little surprised to find out she was nearly a quarter Irish, though. Her heritage is entirely from Europe, with some Iberian Peninsula, Finland/northwest Russia and Scandinavian thrown in as well.
“I didn’t expect Ireland, I kept saying I was going to be 100 percent Great Britain,” said Broughton. “But it’s pretty much what I thought. I was hoping for something a little exciting and exotic so we got a little Spain and Portugal. That’s exciting, right?”
But it did show her family was early settlers of eastern Kentucky and northeast Tennessee -- exactly where her family is from.
“The thing this shows, though, is it’s pretty legit,” said Austin.
GINGER GADSDEN’S RESULTS
Gadsden was really hoping to find out she had royal blood running through her veins.
“Like a Nubian princess?” asked Gadsden. “That’s been like my dream to have my face on currency of a country.”
“Yes, she’s mentioned that several times over the last few weeks,” Broughton said, jokingly.
Gadsden didn’t really have any preconceived notions about what her genetic test would reveal. She said she knew she had African heritage, but didn’t know from which countries. She found she was 27 percent Nigerian and also had 24 percent heritage from Ivory Coast/Ghana and 14 percent from Senegal. It also listed 14 percent of European heritage and 2 percent Native American.
“I’ve been to Africa before, but clearly in the wrong region, I was in east Africa,” said Gadsden. “I had no idea, I always said I would go back to where I think I’m from.”
“Now that you see this, do you want to enter in more information?,” asked Bell.
“Of course, of course, what if I find people in Nigeria I’m related to? I think it could happen,” said Gadsden. “I feel like it has a part of my parents in there and I think that’s what’s special -- because they’re not here anymore -- and I think that’s part of them, too. So, it makes me want to know more about where they came from.”
Gadsden then noticed that her genetic communities were largely based in South Carolina--, which she said was right on the money.
“It’s mostly Charleston-centric, that’s exactly where I was from,” she said.
“You know, what’s weird is, I was kind of thinking like this might be like kind of like a psychic, like I don’t know if this is legit or not, but to go to Kentucky and South Carolina?” asked Austin.
“I know. We never even filled out that information,” said Gadsden.
MATT AUSTIN’S RESULTS
Austin was really excited to finally get his results-- and his daughters were, too.
“My kids have been driving me crazy,” said Austin. “They’re like, ‘Tell us what we are!’”
Finally, they know. Austin believed it would say he was Italian, because he has an Italian grandmother.
“My grandmother, named Katie, she was the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen,” said Austin. “Her last name was Meola and her family moved to Ohio.”
It turns out he was correct. The results showed that although Austin’s ethnicity was 55 percent British, he was also 24 percent Italian/Greek with 8 percent also from Ireland. For his genetic communities, it also showed that his family had roots in Virginia, which he suspected, but also other areas like Kentucky and Tennessee -- just like Broughton.
“You’re stuck with me,” Broughton said, jokingly.
“Julie and I are brother and sister,” Austin replied to Broughton, joking. “We’re going to go on vacation together,” Broughton said.
LISA BELL’S RESULTS
Before Bell checked out her results, she revealed something not many people know about her: she was adopted.
“I was adopted when I was about 2 years old, I lived in foster care prior to that,” said Bell. She explained that she did find out some information about her birth parents in her late teens, and believed based on their last names and the history that she was able to find, she would find out she had a lot of Basque and French heritage.
However, when the results were revealed, it turns out her ethnicity had the highest percentage from Ireland at 25 percent, Scandinavia at 21 percent, Great Britain at 17 percent, Italy/Greece at 14 percent, western Europe at 7 percent, Native American at 7 percent and the Middle East at 2 percent.
“Scandinavian, my birth mother does have blue eyes,” said Bell. “You know, you don’t know how exact it’s going to be, is it going to say Basque? Is it going to say French? I don’t see France up there and that’s what I primarily thought I was.”
When she checked her genetic communities, however, it did show she was the descendant of French settlers in Quebec and other areas. While the other anchors were discussing results, Bell was looking further at her results on the smart phone app when she realized there was still another surprise.
“This is interesting because I’m looking at the app now and it says, ‘Close family -- possible range first cousin,’” said Bell. She clicked into the information, and realized that the person’s profile mentioned having a father with the same last name as her birth father.
“So this person might actually be a sibling of mine ... because that’s my biological father,” said Bell.
“I knew he had other kids, but I didn’t know any of them. I will send a message. (that says) ‘I think we are related.’”