Get Ready To Meet Your European Cousins with AncestryDNA
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across the pondWe've been counting down the days until AncestryDNA would be available outside the United States and it has finally arrived! The AncestryDNA database has grown to more than 700,000 people, and now that the test is available in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, it will grow even faster with new possibilities for discovery on both sides of the pond. Here are four more reasons to be excited for the new launch of AncestryDNA tests in the UK and Ireland'even if you don't live there.
  1. Meet your European cousins. Imagine getting a new DNA cousin match who is able to tell you more about the little village your 5th great-grandmother was born in because they live near or in that same village today. Now that AncestryDNA is available in the UK and Ireland, you could start seeing matches in your ancestral homelands.
  2. Build a bridge across the pond. Sometimes the paper trail gets lost on the shores of the Atlantic. Maybe you haven't been able to find the records that get you back to the old country, maybe they were destroyed, or maybe they never existed. But the genetic record that has continued in your family both here and there might allow you to pick up that trail again, give you new places to look, or connect you with someone who knows the story of the family that stayed behind.
  3. Tap into peak migration years. Irish immigration peaked in the mid- and late 1800s, and it's estimated that more than 4 million Irish immigrated to America in the hundred years between 1830 and 1930. For most of us, those years fall within the 7-generation range of the recently launched DNA Circles, which means there's a good chance of finding family members who didn't emigrate, now that those families could appear in the AncestryDNA database.
  4. Already have family in the UK or Ireland' Now they can take advantage of all the insights that come from AncestryDNA. If you haven't tested other family members yet because they live in the UK or Ireland, now is the time to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even first cousins get their DNA tested to preserve that family information. Every family member is unique and carries different DNA, so testing as many family members as possible will help you capture those unique segments of your genetic heritage and make more connections.
If any of you are like me, I have a few lines that appear' in the U.S. with few or no leads as to where they came from. In fact, I have three different lines going back to the 5th generation who were born in 1832, 1837, and 1844 in Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana respectively, and that's where I'm stuck.  Census records tell me one of these lines came from England, which means I'm extremely excited for AncestryDNA to be available there now. I'm hoping to match with cousins there who can connect me to my past on these lines. Even if I don't get a close match right away I can look for leads to take me down a new path of research. This opens a whole new pool of opportunity. I'll share any new discoveries I have here, and if you find a cousin who helps you make a new discovery, share with us on Facebook or below in the comments.