I took another DNA test, this one offered by Ancestry.com, after a cousin took the same test. I already knew quite a bit about my genetic genealogy after taking the DNA testing offered by Family Tree DNA, which has a New Mexico Project that includes more than 2,000 participants. The difference is Family Tree DNA tests Y-DNA, showing my paternal lineage, and MT-DNA, showing my maternal lineage. The test offered by Ancestry.com shows ethnic and racial makeup of participants based on both parents.
So, based on what I already knew, my results weren’t surprising. I knew from DNA and from the paper trail of my genealogy that I descend almost exclusively from Spanish and Native American ancestors – at least during the past 400 years, with some Portuguese and French mixed in. But it was still interesting to see the results in black and white. And it took me some time to fully figure it out.
My results broke down my ethnic heritage based on three primary regions: 32 percent Native American; 30 percent Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal); and 16 percent Italy and Greece.
I was a little surprised that Native American was the largest percentage, and that Italy/Greece was significant. But after thinking about it, my paternal Y-DNA tied me to the original Chaves family in New Mexico, which descended from Spain, and going further back several centuries, to the Visigoths, an East German tribe. The Visigoths migrated south through Europe and eventually sacked the Roman Empire which is probably why I have the DNA connection to Italy and Greece. The Visigoths eventually made their way to the Iberian Peninsula.
Further complicating things, or possibly simplifying them, my maternal family also descends from the Chaves family, which is proven through genealogy and DNA. So that explains why nearly half of my DNA is connected to the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Greece. And a third of my DNA is Native American, which is probably typical of most native New Mexicans who trace their heritage to the Spanish colonial period of the 1600s. I know from my mt-DNA (my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, etc.) that I descend from the Chichimecas of North-Central Mexico.
The other benefit of this DNA test is that it accurately predicted I am the 1st cousin to Mike Chavez, the cousin who took the test before me. Since so many people are signed up with Ancestry.com, it’s also not surprising that there are 5 second-cousins who took the test; 45 second-cousins; hundreds of third-cousins and thousands of 4th- and 5th-cousins.
You’d think I might be done with the DNA testing. Far from it. My daughters want to get tested, which would reveal their maternal ancestry. I also want to test my father-in-law, Joe Casaus, to see what the Casaus DNA reveals. And I have cousins who want to get tested, and I’m hoping to get my only DeTevis great-uncle tested to see his ancestry.
And I’m sure DNA testing will continue to evolve. It’s just a matter of being open-minded and adapting to new discoveries.