Dude, I have peeps in Scandinavia! I would never have known that without swabbing my cheeks. Growing up, planning international travel based on DNA wasn’t even a possibility. However, now I have the unique opportunity to get in touch with my roots and rediscover culture that has been lost over the generations.
Travel Further to Find Yourself
Have you had your DNA tested recently? I have. And although I can’t say for sure, I think I have the travel gene. Nevertheless, a DNA test has fueled a desire to explore destinations found in my genealogy report. My report indicated ancestry in Togo, Benin, and Scandinavia. Yup – Scandinavia.
Being a Black American I’ve always wanted to explore the African continent to reconnect with my family’s origins. But, Africa is huge and I wasn’t sure where my family came from. After taking a DNA test, I know exactly where I want to start.
Which DNA Test is Right for You?
23andMe, Ancestry DNA, My Heritage DNA, and CRI Genetics
DNA testing, while functional, is not perfect. Each service uses different algorithms and databases to complete DNA analysis. This means you will most likely see differences in the results if you have your DNA analyzed by more than one lab.
It usually boils down to the database the testing service utilizes. Make sure you select an accurate and precise kit with an extensive, quality database. Finding your tribe is comparing your markers and ancestry timelines to locate where and when your ancestors immigrated.
23 And Me test kits analyze autosomal, mitochondrial (maternal), and Y-DNA (paternal) genetic material. The database has more than 5 million customers and 1 billion data points to assist in analysis. And if you are interested in health concerns, 23andMe would probably be the right choice. They offer tests on the genetic probability of contracting a number of diseases. The 23AndMe app and reports are accessible by smartphone or tablet.
If you’d like the ability to create online family trees and access public records, and book heritage travel for a fee, you might select AncestryDNA. With 10 million customers, it has the most extensive database. It comes with a color-coded map (see above) and tracks travel that was spot on as far as I can tell. AncestryDNA uses collected saliva to extract DNA for analysis. I love that I can share results via my cell phone.
MyHeritage DNA uses a cheek swab to test autosomal DNA. The company offers a rich data set of populations that have lived in the same area for a long time; consequently, this helps identify more ethnicities. Plus, this DNA testing site puts a lot of emphasis on finding lost loved ones and connecting with genetic family members. If you are looking to reconnect, this may be your best option.
CRI Genetics tests Autosomal, maternal and paternal chromosomes. All the above services have relatively large databases and offer consistent results (from cheek swabs) in the long run. CRI Genetics compares your DNA against 642,824 genetic markers for a picture of your health and wellness currently available.
Plan Travel Using DNA
Unfortunately, no DNA test alone is enough to guide you through the soup that is your DNA and family history. So you’ll need to follow up on your test with some research.
Several courses teach you how to research your ancestors yourself. In fact, they all start by telling you to create a family tree with the information you can gather from your family. The most valuable documents include marriage, divorce, and birth certificates. With this in mind, look for newspaper clippings, weddings, divorces, decrees, and birth announcements.
Genealogy Self Guided Tours & Genealogy Experts
It’s a lot of research and especially if your ancestors come from historically discriminated against groups, records may be in short supply. That’s when genealogy experts come in. The first genealogy company to embrace this trend also happens to be the world’s largest: Ancestry.com. As a result, experts review and analyze your AncestryDNA results and walk you through your family history. EF GoAhead Tours started with two itineraries to Ireland. They also offer Germany, two options in Italy, and one for Scotland.
Post-covid travel is expected to open new doors for heritage-based travel. Do you know where your ancestors are from? Have plans to travel there? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have Korean heritage and don’t know which destinations to travel to first, Click Here to read about some of the best locations in Korea to visit.