Virtual Travel into History with Your DNA Test Results

Diahan Southard

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Take a virtual travel adventure into your family history, using your DNA test results—not just ethnicity, but your match list—and customize your armchair destinations based on your family’s origins.

When I was in third grade, my grandmother walked me to school in the mornings. On the way, she told me stories. She told me about her father, a Welsh immigrant who was the foreman of a coal mine during the Great Depression. Her voice was thick with emotion as she described his compassion. He would often leave the gate unlocked at night so people could come in and steal coal for their homes. She told me of her maternal grandmother, who only spoke Italian, and with whom she spent most of her waking hours.

My grandmother’s DNA ethnicity results at MyHeritage reflect these origins—lots of Wales and Italy:

Erma Ethnicity.png

But even more specific and personal are the geographic connections we can make with our DNA match lists. Even though I expected it, it was still pretty amazing to see my grandmother’s DNA matches showing up in both Wales and Italy. On MyHeritage DNA you can sort your matches by where they live, as we did for my grandmother:

Ethnicity Italian matches.jpg

Virtual Travel: A DNA Match Connects Me with a Place

Sorting her DNA matches by place connected us with a match who grew up in the same tiny town where my grandmother’s grandmother came from.

Traversella Italy.jpg

Traversella, Italy is now no longer just a place “way up in the Alps” as my grandma used to say. Now I know it is home to my DNA cousins, Alberto and Carla Vigna.

Carla and Alberto in Fondo near Traversella.JPG

We have talked of family with them and exchanged pictures (I share this one with their permission). On our behalf, they have inquired at the courthouse and even talked to their mayor—a friend of theirs—about some of our family history questions. They have been transformed from strangers on my DNA testing website to people who have real lives and real stories to tell, which enhance those stories I heard on those walks when I was 8 years old.

I used to consider DNA ethnicity results as coffee table pieces. You know, pretty to look at but without much meaning. However, our companies have significantly improved their offerings so that now these maps and percentages can sometimes give us real insight into our family places of origin. Our DNA matches can further provide us with sincere connections to real people and places.

If you wish you could be traveling more right now—as so many of us are wishing—why not take a DNA test instead? Let the results guide you into the most customized tour you could ever take: a virtual tour of your ancestral homelands instead!

For a deeper exploration of your own ethnicity results, take a look at our free guide on DNA ethnicity estimates!

Teach me about DNA ethnicity estimates

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<a href="" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret Jane Foreman McCollum

    Thanks for your help. I had quite a surprise with my DNA. I expected my paternal grandfather’s family was from England. I talked with my second cousin and she had the same understanding. It turns out his family may be from Wales. Who knew! I wish he was alive so we could talk about it. He’s the one that got me interested in genealogy and did the work on our farmily’s.


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