My Experience with AncestryDNA
November 3, 2020

First of all, full disclosure:

I have been using Ancestry for about a year now. I really like their service and decided to apply for the Ancestry Affiliate Program based on the fact that I genuinely like their products. I’ve been planning this post for months (way before I became an affiliate) but thought I’d finally get around to sharing the post now because their annual holiday sale is on. (This post isn’t sponsored by Ancestry and they didn’t tell me what to say about it.)

By purchasing an AncestryDNA® kit or an Ancestry® Family History Gift Subscription via my special affiliate link, I earn a small commission. You still get the holiday discount all the same—using my link is just a good way to help support The Lazy Historian.

The Test Process

The AncestryDNA kit is a pretty small box. It comes with a little tube, directions and a smaller self-addressed package to ship it back to in. The little box comes with shipping already paid for so when you’re done, you just pop it back into a mailbox and wait for your results.

And yes. You do spit into the tube. It’s a lot less spit than I expected. You can only fill a small part of the tube because the rest is saved for other uses. So it’s really not much saliva at all. That part of the process does feel a bit strange.

You send it off and wait and then you get your results in your email. You can even set it so you get a text message during every step of the process which is quite cool.

My Results

My last name is Hamilton and my mom’s maiden name was Smith. So, when my results came back, I was, well, not surprised.

My Ethnicity Estimate breaks down like so:

  • 37% = England & Northwestern Europe
  • 23% = Scotland
  • 14% = Wales
  • 12% = Ireland
  • 8% = Norway*
  • 4% = France
  • 2% = Germanic Europe

*When my results originally came in several months ago, that 8% Norway portion was 8% Sweden. As Ancestry acquires more DNA data, your results can change.

This Ethnicity Estimate is further broken down by your strongest links called Additional Communities. For me, that included:

  • Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island Settlers:
  • Nova Scotia Settlers
  • Bay of FUndy, Nova Scotia Settlers
  • New England Settlers:
  • Nova Scotia & Massachusetts Coast Settlers
  • Southwestern Quebec, New York & Vermont French Settlers:
  • Montérégie, Quebec & Northern Vermont French Settlers

And a few others, but those were my main communities.

Not surprisingly, both sides of my family are from Nova Scotia.

Clicking on any of these communities shows you a map of where these ancestors settled as well as some DNA matches from other users who share the same ancestors. The website shows a timeline of where these ancestors came from, where they settled. That Abraham Lincoln-lookin’ gentleman pictured there is a fellow from my tree, one of my Irish ancestors who moved to Nova Scotia.

One thing that surprised me about my results was the number of French-Canadian relatives I had and how many ended up hanging out in the Detroit area for several generations. I even had ancestors from my father’s line and from my mother’s line in that area during the very same year.

My coolest discovery so far:

I have a lot more digging to do. Looking at records and matching family members and cross-referencing with other users takes quite a lot of time. I’ve lost hours digging and I have only really gone in-depth in one single direct line! But I did get pretty excited when I found this:

Her name was Marie.

In 1668, Marie de Lamarre of Rouen, France boarded a ship at the age of 18. She was one of the 800 young women sent from France to the French colonies in Canada. The journey on the ship was almost certainly a terrifying prospect and the life they all found in Canada would have been much different from the one they left back in France. Much colder, especially.

Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

The Filles du Roi

These women were called the Filles du Roi (the “King’s Daughters”) and a lot of French Canadians (and a lot of other Canadians too, I have to assume) can trace their heritage back to these women. They were brought over from France in order to populate New France (later called Quebec) with lots of French babies. And for that, lots of young women were needed.

From what I’ve read, these women basically got to pick the man they wanted because there were still way more dudes than women.

Colonel Guillaume Renaud

In November of that year, Marie married Colonel Guillaume Renaud (originally from Normandy, France) and they had a big ol’ French-Canadian Catholic family. They settled in Charlesbourg, Quebec. It looks as though Marie had a side hustle (or, at least she did prior to having her own family) as a midwife.

There is even a cross-street in Charlesbourg that feature their names.


Have you discovered anything interesting about your ancestry with a DNA test? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Jillianne Hamilton is a history enthusiast and the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle (historical fiction), The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street (historical romance), and The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII (non-fiction). Jill launched The Lazy Historian in 2015. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada’s beautiful east coast. Learn more.

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1 Comment

  1. If you are interested in Guillaume Renaud and Marie De La Mare you should consult my research at I’ve done extensive archival research. There is no evidence that Guillaume was a colonel. I also have a post on their marriage contract. I’ve not been able to substantiate Marie as a midwife but I have seen that claim. It’s certainly plausible but I haven’t found anything that verifies that.


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Hi, I'm Jillianne.

I'm a historical fiction writer, a lover of history, and a hoarder of books. I'm the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle, The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII.

The Lazy Historian is a history blog featuring stories from the past with sass. With a focus on Western European and women's history, I delve into anything fascinating. Learn more.