After taking both an AncestryDNA and 23andMe DNA test, I still decided to take a third DNA test, this time from Living DNA. Here’s my Living DNA review and my reasons why I decided to take this one too.
I love family history. It’s so much fun to me to search for long-lost cousins, long since dead. I’m not sure why exactly. I guess I see it as a game in many ways, enjoying the mystery, the cold trails, the dead ends, the frustrations, the victories, the gold mines, the pictures, the information.
It’s strange how dead people can do that to you!
I always knew a good portion of my ancestry thanks to my parents and their parents (and their parents, yadda yadda) keeping fairly good genealogy records. I grew up knowing that I am a descendant of a Mayflower Pilgrim named Richard Warren (Warren is my maiden name). I also grew up knowing I was very British, as my grandmother immigrated from England to America in the 40’s.
So why bother with a DNA test when I knew my paternity?
Well, mostly because I’m just curious to see if the legends are true, so to speak.
Each DNA test I’ve taken has shown slightly different results or resulted in slightly different information, one of which was an Uncle no one knew was part of our family. Another was that I have some “European Jewish” blood in me.
What is Living DNA?
Living DNA is a personal DNA service designed to help people understand more about themselves and where they come from in unparalleled detail. Living DNA’s ancestry test is the world’s most sophisticated on the market.
Living DNA is the first company in the world to offer a DNA ancestry test that allows people to break down their British ancestry to any of 21 regions in the UK and see how their worldwide ancestry has evolved over history. It also breaks down people’s ancestry into 80 worldwide population groups – more than any other company.
Because my Ancestry DNA results reported my ethnicity heritage as 96% Great Britain, I was drawn to Living DNA because of their ability to break down my genes to specific regions in the UK!! This could potentially help me know where to look when I get stumped chasing dead ancestors on Family Search.
Living DNA plus shipping and handling and taxes, but they do occasionally run sales. I waited until a sale, and then I purchased myself a Living DNA test.
Living DNA Review
The test arrived fairly quickly to my house. Inside the Living DNA box I received:
- Test instructions
- Mouth swab
- Specimen bag
- Shipping bag
I had never done this before, but basically, you take the swab out and scrub it back and forth inside your cheek firmly, but gently, so as not to damage your cheek, for 30 seconds.
You then seal the sample and enclose it in your sample bag, and then put that bag inside the shipping envelope and drop it off at a post office to be sent to the company.
Living DNA Results
It takes a very long time to get your results back, 10-12 weeks long. While my results from Ancestry DNA also took a long time, 23andMe didn’t take very long at all.
My Living DNA samples were received March 20, testing started on them April 4, and my results were shared with me on May 21. It was 63 days total, or 9 weeks.
When the requisite time had passed, I was sent an email from Living DNA with my results!
Here are my Living DNA results, showing my ethnicity breakdown with a fun “dot” man, percentages, and maps.
My Living DNA results were VERY similar to my Ancestry DNA test results, showing 95.1% Great Britain and Ireland (versus 96%), 2.9% Europe (North and West) and 2.1% Europe (East).
Here you can see the Living DNA results via a map.
If you go to the map, you can “zoom in” and see a breakdown of the specific regions in the UK your ancestry makeup is from, which is the big thing I was looking for, remember? Excitingly, here is the breakdown:
My Living DNA results for my British heritage are:
- 33.9% Southeast England
- 13.1% South England
- 12% Northumbria
- 8.2% Aberdeenshire
- 7.9% Central England
- 6.5% East Anglia
- 4% North Yorkshire
- 3.8% South Yorkshire
- 2.1% Lincolnshire
- 2% Cornwall
- 1.6% Northwest England
You can also see those regions colored on the map below:
When you click on each specific region in the results, you are then given some ancestral information about each region, where people came from who settled there, what they did in that region, and what makes that region of people different from other regions. It’s really quite interesting reading!
Another interesting feature of your Living DNA ancestry test results is the “Through History” timeline. This lets you scroll through or play your own personal history out through the ages, in reverse. It lets you start and stop as needed to read up on the different Ages and what life was life during those time periods.
Much of this stems from Motherline (and Fatherline if male) Haplogroups. This lets you look way back in time to discover you direct motherline migration route through ancient history. Most of this stuff is way over my head. It was in my 23andMe DNA results as well. But, if you are really into this type of migration pattern thing and start of ancient man, then this might be of interest to you.
One the things that Living DNA doesn’t have (yet – they are in Beta right for it) is connecting your results with others who have also taken Living DNA results, which both Ancestry DNA and 23andMe did, and how I discovered my mother likely has a half-brother from her father that no one knew about… for 70 long years.
I think that connecting with others taking DNA samples is fun, though some people hate this aspect. It’s always optional to let others see your results or if you are potentially cousins or whatever.
You can also download your raw DNA results and choose (or not choose) to enlist to partake in on-going DNA research.
Overall, I think the results were interesting, but maybe not as helpful as I was hoping? I guess I wasn’t really sure what “break down their British ancestry to any of 21 regions in the UK” would mean, maybe because I know so little about the various regions of England as I have never visited Great Britain or studied the geography of that area before.
But, at least now I know more. And knowledge about who I am and where I came from is important to me.
I hope you’ll enjoy checking out your own Living DNA ancestry test results! If you do take it, I’d love to hear your own Living DNA review!
Check out these other these great posts related to Family History:
- 16 Practical Gifts for Modern Family History Lovers
- The Art of Family Storytelling and Why It’s Important
- 14 Amazing Family Traditions that are happening every day
- Questions Worth Asking in a Back-to-School Video Interview
- 35 Family Mottos and How to Create the Perfect One for Your Family
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