DNA Ancestry and Family Tree

For many years I did not really care about my family history and didn’t really know much more except my parents birthdays and some information about my grandparents. This changed back in 2015 when a former colleague mentioned something about his family tree research. For some reason I was immediately interested and started my own research. Within short time my family tree had more than 200 (now over 300) people in it but I ran into many problems finding information regarding my father’s side of the family. Reason for this was very simple: World War II happened and the area where he was born belongs now to Poland. Most records had been burned back in the day so we had very little to work with.

The “close” family in my research

Then I read one blog post from Lani called “Identity, what is it good for?” and there she mentioned about a DNA test her brother had taken. Fast forward to the year 2017 where I decided to take a DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA. At first there were problems with sending it to the United States and then somehow I kind of forgot about the whole thing. This year I read yet another blog post about DNA tests by Katie from Hot & Sour Blog and I got into the whole research again. I checked upon my results from the previous year and even found  distant relatives living in the USA whose ancestor with the same family name as mine “Glander” migrated from Germany back in the 1870s or so. As I was back into the reseach game I contacted researchers for Info about my father’s family and got few interesting information already and I hope more will follow. Anyhow these DNA tests give you also a approximate Ancestry composition and I was fairly interested how “messed up” my ancestry was.

My Ethnic Makeup according to FamilyTreeDNA

The DNA results from FamilyTreeDNA I uploaded in DNA.land and also on the platform where I am doing my family tree research MyHeritage. All three platforms gave me about the same result regarding my Finnish ancestry between 48% to 49% which is really no surprise at all as I am half Finnish thanks to my mother. The other results vary as for example DNA.Land does not go too much into detail and thus there is for example no “Scandinavian” listed. So according to the other two tests I am for around 32% Scandinavian. No this is certainly nothing I got from my mother as Finnish people are not Scandinavian. I believe that the reason for this is very simple as the area where my father’s ancestors come from is Pomerania and that area belonged to the Swedish Empire for a while.

According to MyHeritage



The rest of the of the my DNA is Baltic/ East European.  This I got from a very small percentile from my mother as her ancestors from her mother’s family side are from Ingria an area between Estonia and St. Petersburg. Then the rest of the Baltic Genes are from my father as Pomerania/ Prussia extended to the Baltics. The rest of the tiny Percentages I have in the various tests are <2% Asia Minor according to FamilyTreeDNA, Ashkenazi 3% via DNA.Land and last but not least Melanesian 1% according to MyHeritage.

DNA.Land sadly does not go into too much detail

What do I learn from this? Not really anything new except that I am not Central European at all. To take it further I am genetically not really German at all, at least not central German as the German Empire spread throughout a lot of areas back in the day so it can be said the Prussian’s are not even genetically real Germans to some degree depending on how German people are viewed. For some reason I have the urge to force my wife for a DNA test to see how much she is Han Chinese but I guess I will never be able to convince her to waste money on such a test.

Have you taken a DNA test or are doing some family research?

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30 thoughts on “DNA Ancestry and Family Tree”

  1. I did a DNA test — for one of my dogs! It was really helpful for figuring out certain behaviors, actually, plus what breed-specific health issues might arise.

    I suppose it’s tempting to satisfy my own curiosity via science, but my father’s mom did a huge amount of research on his side and my mother’s family was super proud of their Confederate generals (while doing their best to hide their Cherokee ancestry). I think I have more than enough information and ugly history to handle. Maybe because it’s all documented, I just don’t find the question of where I came from important.

    I’d kind of like to know where my Chinese-American husband got such an amazing natural afro, though. 🙂

    1. This whole research is so interesting for me as there are no documents left due to the war and because no one from the family has done anything like that before. My Finnish ancestors I can trace back to 1790 but my father’s family is a whole other matter. Interesting is also that both my parents were refugees after the war.

      About the DNA test for the dog, some of my friends have done the same after picking up animals from the shelter in order to get to know their traits better

      1. Thankfully I should not find too much bad stuff as my ancestors were simple farmers/ father’s side they owned a mill, bakery and an Inn. Don’t think there would be too much troubling stuff to find for me/ I hope

    1. Yeah indeed I’m very white, doesn’t get much whiter than that, trump would certainly be happy with such heritage 😂
      These tests can be very interesting and in my case it was very surprising that i am 30 percent Scandinavian which makes my dad over 60 percent Scandinavian:o

  2. There is a company doing this in China too, check wegene.com, they are partnered with 23andme but they specialise in Chinese people, or so their adverts say. I want to take the test too, it is only 499 yuan and the results can be fun! I think it also tells you if you have predisposition to have certain illnesses.

  3. These DNA tests can be so interesting. The one you took sounds very comprehensive, but it also sounds like you followed up a lot to get results. The other day I was looking at DNA tests online, and there seem to be so many of them – some just take a strand of your hair, some a swab of the inside of your mouth and then test it to try and trace your DNA, and also maybe test for food allergies along the way if you are interested in that 😀

    1. I had only trouble with my test as the parcel got lost somewhere between Dallas Texas and their office..
      Anyhow I would recommend for you perhaps WeGene.com as they are specialized in people with Chinese heritage. They can even show how much of certain Chinese ethnicities you might have. There they also give you results about what diseases you could get/ might already have according to the DNA sample

      1. Wow, that is great to hear they have very specific kind of genetics test. Thanks for the tip. Finding out about the diseases sound scary but then again, at some point in our lives young or old we will need to deal with them 😛

      2. The platforms i could take did not offer any insights about possible diseases. Guess I should have researched that beforehand and not taking just any DNA test available back then :p

  4. They’re interesting, aren’t they? Well, we thought it was pretty fascinating and it confirmed what my grandma said about being a little bit Russian, too.

  5. Thank you so much for the shout out! Although the different sites give slightly different ancestries, it’s still very interesting to see where your ancestors came from. I hope you can convince your wife to do the test as well. Or maybe your kids when they are a little older.

    1. Well your article reminded me to check this whole DNA thing out again 🙂
      My wife does not really think much about these tests so it will be hard, on the other hand they are pretty cheap in China (was it 499RMB at WeGene?)

  6. I just sent my DNA sample off a couple of weeks ago. My sister has already received her results. She’s mostly British including Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Also some Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe.

    Your Melanesian ancestry is fascinating. The people in Vanuatu, where we lived for three years, are Melanesian. It’s a long way from Finland and Germany, and they don’t travel much at all. That you would have even 1% Melanesian ancestry is very strange.

    1. I think the Melanesian is either a mistake or there could be a very very distant thing going on and that is thousands of years. On the description it says that few Melanesian do have blue eyes and blond/ish hair which happens nowhere else in that Asian region.

      Your sister and you certainly have a lot of different regional markers in your DNA! I guess that is very common for people living in the United States and Canada. As my family never migrated anywhere except when being refugees the DNA is very “simple”. My father for example has over 60 % Scandinavian and the rest Baltic DNA. My mother even with 98% Finnish and rest Baltic shows how their ancestors never went anywhere

  7. While your at all this deep research, you are mining your parents of stories….over time. It’s understandable your wife is not interested.
    I don’t have total faith in submitting to mainland Chinese firm: there’s no guarantee they would protect my personal info. privacy at all.

    The reason why I say is that the historic events and law in Canada and U.S. caused some of the men to take on some fake paper son names of their sponsors…because Canada and U.S. govn’t had very tough federal laws to prevent Chinese from entering their countries in early 1900’s. Because they feared countries would be overrun by Chinese and take away jobs from whites.

    1. The thing with my wife is also that she has zero interesting to know more about her own family. She never really met the extended family in China except when she was very young as basically everyone does not like her mother. Even for the funeral of her grandmother she didn’t go and has no interest in visiting the grave.

      1. When her parents are no alive, she may regret for not mining family history stories….for your 2 children. My nieces and nephews do have knowledge of their paternal and maternal grandparents and probably some basic history stories.

        My half -Chinese eldest niece and nephew’s mother is no longer alive (my sister). So we, her siblings, etc. are the only direct family connection to the Chinese side of their identiy.

        I do whatever I can tell them the family stories through my blog …and we made sure at my father’s funeral, that all (7 includes several half Chinese, plus 100% Chinese nieces and nephews), their grandfather was responsible for direct sponsorship of 4 immigrant families to Canada/Toronto.

        That their grandfather as a bachelor immigrated to Canada just 5 years after Chinese-Canadians were granted the right to vote (1947) for lst time in history by Parliament of Canada. Before Canadian-born Chinese could not vote. It was heavy lobbying by the Chinese-Canadian community after Chinese-Canadians volunteered to fight for Canada overseas in WWII and lives were lost. Imagine sacrificing your life for a country who didn’t allow you vote.

        I hope your wife understands that for your children not push away their Chinese side, then they must learn those stories over time that will strengthen appreciation of their maternal family background. It will make them strong in their biracial identity. A lot to learn…

      2. I know that she will regret it at some point in case she does not change her mind towards this topic.

        Now that you write about father and how different the times were back then I wonder how it was in Germany during and before the Nazi regime for Chinese. I know that the gynecologist is partly Chinese. Her Grandfather was Chinese and living in Hamburg (where he married his German wife). In fact there was even a China town back then but it was destroyed shortly after the rising of the Nazi party. In Hamburg is still a Chinese cemetary and the descendants of the first Chinese immigrants are still running it.

        Though I know all of that I still have zero knowledge about their rights and their life back in the day. Could be perhaps an interesting little research topic for me to see how the situation was here compared to North America

      3. Very interesting about Chinese immigrants in early 20th century to Nazi period in Germany. You will truly have something unique….and maybe something in English that would reach a huge audience. This is the problem with the Internet, it is English dominant. Send me link if you do it one day!

  8. You can find information on people with the surname “Glander” from East Prussia. If you type into Google the words “Ortsfamilienbuch” and “Glander” you will come up with links. Once you get a name and are in the site, you can select “English”. The site has links to other areas where you may find other members of the Glander family. Good luck.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I do know about the ortsfamilienbuch however/ sadly none of the people with the surname Glander can be linked to my family. The main problem is that on my fathers side of the family there is no knowledge left about his father and grandfather and with it we have no clue about other family members or their names. All we know is that his father and grandfather had a mill and bakery in a small town called Kolzow and that his grandfather had before that a mill in the neighboring town of Dannenberg. All the research I have conducted myself thus far has brought no results, even when contacting a specialist on Wollin (the island where the family is from)

    1. Hi and thank you for checking out my article. I don’t think my own experience would really help in that Facebook group as I do not have any Chinese DNA. However once I could convince my wife to take a test it would be a whole different matter

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