More DNA Test Results

Yesterday I received some preliminary results from my latest DNA test. About a month ago I sent a saliva sample to 23andMe and the results are back already. The initial results are easy to understand and, as always, are interesting.

The test results from 23andMe gave me some new information as well as reiterating some of the information I learned from my Family Tree DNA test last year.dna

I already knew that my mitochondrial DNA (DNA from my maternal ancestry) was Haplogroup H. Haplogroup H is ancestry in Europe and the Near East that traces back to eastern Africa about 50,000 years ago. It is the most prevalent haplogroup in Europe today.

23andMe reports that I am distantly related to actress Susan Sarandon on my mother’s side. Very distant, I’m sure. I doubt we are very closely related at all, but that we probably share Haplogroup H. Others in Haplogroup H include Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Prince Philip.

The 23andMe test also showed my Ancestry Composition–the percentage of my DNA from both sides of my family that shows the percentage of my DNA from 31 populations around the world. No surprises here. I am 99.6% European, with 87.4% being Northern European. The break-down is as follows:

36.2% French & German
14.3% British & Irish
4.5% Scandinavian
32.3% Broadly Northern European
.8% Iberian
.4% Sardinian
.2% Balkan
3.6% Broadly Southern European
7.3% Broadly European
.4% Sub-Saharan African/West African
.1% Middle Eastern & North African
.1% Unassigned

Northern Europe extends from Ireland, to Norway, to Finland, and to France. Southern Europe includes the Iberian, Italian, and Balkan Peninsulas, and the island of Sardinia.

I also learned a couple new and interesting things about my DNA from this test.

Listen up Brewster relatives. You will find this very interesting, too.

The story that Mary Ann Martin, wife of Jackson Brewster, was a beautiful Indian princess [well at least a Native American Indian] has been passed down through the family for as long as I can remember. It has been, and still is, a major question and debate among our Brewster line to this day. “Do Mary Ann’s high cheekbones look like those of a Native American Indian?” “Her skin and hair look dark. Was she a Native American?”

It is a great story but I always wondered how an Indian had a surname like Martin.

Now DNA tells the true story.

I have NO Native American Indian DNA. Zero. Zilch. Nein. Nyet. Nada. Nae. Scratch the Native American Indian ancestry story.

Jackson Brewster (1816-1890) & wife Mary Ann (Martin) (1822-1895.

Jackson Brewster (1816-1890) & wife Mary Ann (Martin) (1822-1895)

Another very interesting thing I learned is that my DNA is 2.8% Neanderthal. Cool! Actually this is not surprising since it is theorized that Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago in Europe. And I know that my ancient ancestors were in Europe thousands of years ago.

Neanderthals moved into Europe about 200,000 years ago and lived with the modern humans for thousands of years. Today nearly everyone outside of Africa has between 1-4% Neanderthal DNA in his genes.

I am in the 58th percentile of Neanderthal DNA among 23andME members, so I actually have a little more than average Neanderthal DNA. That could explain a lot…

These are only the preliminary DNA test results from my 23andMe DNA test. There is more information to come and I know it will be interesting.


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    • Sondra Samples on August 3, 2015 at 10:24 am
    • Reply

    Amazing what a little bit of spit can reveal, and I always thought it was gross to watch a man spit on the sidewalk! So now I know that spit has a positive role in our world.

    1. Ha! Yes, who knew.

    • Brian Brewster on August 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply

    With a little spit and DNA you dispelled generations of lore.glad we know for sure now.

    1. Sadly, they are not the answers the Brewsters probably hoped to hear, but each bit of new information can take research into a new and accurate direction. No use looking for answers in the wrong places. Many thanks to you for your help in the Y-DNA portion of the testing.

  1. Hi Karen

    It was so cool to see our match on AncetryDNA. What a surprise that you are from Chatt and know my family! I have trace amounts of Native American and Asian ancestry and even a little Bantu and European Jewish. I confess that I have no ideas about where these traces came from, but it is fun to know that I have some colors in me!

    I have many photos of our Scaers and Schlemmers. I would be happy to share them if you would like

    Beth Stephenson

    1. Yes, I was surprised, too! It is a small world and I even sat with your sister at lunch yesterday. I would love to see some of those photos. I will definitely be in contact.

    • Brooke Fiechter on June 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Karen, well the Brewster mystery may not be solved after all. If you look at the reference populations for what 23andMe consider Native American, there are only five people groups!! And Cherokee is not one of them. As a side note: maybe our Mary Ann Martin was adopted (either officially or unofficially)?

    1. You could be right, but maybe not for that reason. I have since read some articles about DNA tests showing Native American ancestry.

      Basically, from what I have read someone may have Native American ancestry but it may not be enough to show up in DNA tests. People inherit 50% of their DNA from each of their parents and by the time you get back 6 generations you only have about 1.5% DNA from an ancestor in that generation. And it also depends on what DNA you inherit from a given ancestor.

      I am not a DNA expert by any means and I am still learning. Here is a link to one blog post about the subject by Roberta Estes, website: DNA Explained, Genetic Genealogy, Her post explains this much better than I can: “Jessica Biel—A Follow-up: DNA, Native Heritage and Lies”

      I have also read that it is very helpful for as many family members as possible to have their DNA tested since people inherit DNA differently. Some Native American DNA could show up in a cousin’s DNA!

      Thanks for writing and maybe future DNA test results will tell us more.

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