Happy Italian Heritage Month! It is the perfect time to celebrate all the accomplishments of the Italian American community, not only today, but in years past; and there are many! From the great traditions of food to the beautiful architecture that surrounds us, we have much to be proud of. Times have changed, and it is important to never forget where we came from. Whether we are Sicilian or Calabrese, we are all Italians and this is our month to shine.
I hope everyone takes the time to head down to the Columbus Day parade on Monday, Oct. 10 in Little Italy. This is a great representation of what we Italians can do when we put our minds to something. The parade kicks off at noon. You won’t want to miss it!
Please enjoy this article printed in October 2015 from our Editor, Jennifer Spitalieri. The science for DNA research has come a long way since then. If you have been considering using DNA research to discover your family history, perhaps now is the time!
As Italian Heritage month kicks off, many start to think about those who came into this world before them. Who are your ancestors? Where did they originate? Where did they migrate to? How many branches are in your family tree? To get the answers, one may believe the only option is manual research online or in archive libraries across the globe. But, modern day technology offers a new option: DNA testing. That’s right. A quick and simple saliva test you can do at home can now tell you your ethnic mix.
AncestryDNA is one company claiming to have revolutionized the way you can discover your family history. Your DNA combined with their online family history resources (the largest in the world) produces a percentage breakdown of your ethnicity and connects you to potential relatives through DNA matches from the over 1 million others who also took the AncestryDNA test.
How does this science work? To simplify it: each of your cells contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. One of these determines your gender. The other 22 pairs are called “autosomes.” Autosomal DNA is inherited from your parents, grandparents and so on. In other words, all of your ancestors have contributed to your autosomal DNA, so your autosomes create your genetic record. A process called “recombination” takes place as autosomes are passed from one person to the next generation. Recombination is, essentially, a random jumbling of the chromosomes – this is why you are different from your siblings, and why some of your ancestors’ DNA could be lost in the “shuffle.”
Testing this autosomal DNA allows you to find close and distant relatives who have also contributed their DNA. Close relatives will share large fragments of DNA from a common ancestor while distant relatives will show smaller fragments of shared DNA; the smaller the fragment, generally the further back that connection is in your family tree. The DNA test also maps ethnicity going back multiple generations providing insight, potentially, into what parts of the world your ancestors are from.
The science isn’t perfect, of course, but, this cutting edge technology can open up many doors in your ancestry research. The potential familial connections and new discoveries of where your ancestors lived could be such a fun topic of conversation!
AncestryDNA offers the test for just $99. If you’ve been looking to begin your ancestry research or dig deeper into research you’ve already done, this could be the next step for you.