“I am pure 100% French of course! I cannot be anything else. My family name, Chaneac, is from Ardeche, a very FRENCH region of FRANCE. Believe me, you cannot get anymore French than my family!”
Yet after receiving the results of his AncestryDNA test, can you guess exactly how much of Seb's DNA is in fact French?
Read on to find out…
We stumbled across Momondo's video a few years ago, where they interviewed a group of people from different ethnicities about what they thought their origins are, and more importantly, which countries they wouldn't want to have in their DNA. So for example, the Kurdish lady didn't want any Turkish in her DNA, and the nationalistic British guy could only see himself as being 100% English, with a specific loathing for Germany. The results surprised them as it showed the Kurdish lady has a great deal of Turkish DNA, and the proud Brit was in fact a mix of many places, including Germany.
We love this video because it not only challenges the idea of what is a “pure race”, but it so cleverly inspires wanderlust to visit all the places that come up in your DNA results. The final question asked to each participant was whether they would now want to travel to all of these places, to which the answer was a resounding “Hell yeah!“.
Absolute genius marketing by Momondo – a flight booking search engine.
Our own DNA journey
We were dubious at first about how genuine these tests actually are and spent a while researching their credibility. It turns out there are several companies offering this service like AncestryDNA and 23andMe. The tests are based on your saliva, which produces just as accurate DNA results as your blood.
We chose the AncestryDNA test, which costs £99 for each DNA kit (£79 plus £20 postage fee). The other one we looked at was 23andMe, which is more expensive but offers a more detailed analysis about your medical traits and health.
Note that in France, DNA paternity testing is banned and only allowed via a court order. So ordering a DNA kit in France is not only illegal by law, it can land you with 1 year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to €15,000!
Stefan's DNA results
Stefan's family are Greek Cypriots. As far as he has always known, all of his relatives and ancestors are from Cyprus. Cyprus is a country which has been divided as a result of the strong hatred between the Greeks and Turks throughout history. There remains a lot of bitterness between the two, which Stefan witnessed after his family were forced to leave their homes in Famagusta when Turkey invaded North Cyprus in 1974. Most of his family fled to South Cyprus, Greece, the UK, North America and Australia. Stefan's came to London, where he grew up. Interestingly, Stefan's best friend growing up is Turkish.
However, to tell one of his Greek Cypriot cousins back in Cyprus that they are in any way Turkish, or associated with Turkey, would be seen as a massive insult. It's a very sensitive issue, and sadly one of the reasons the country remains divided.
Yet Stefan's DNA results show he is just as much Turkish (“Middle East/Caucasus”) as he is Greek:
These results are not that surprising when you consider Cyprus' geographical location in the south-east Mediterranean next to the Middle East. It does show that Stefan's ancestors were mainly based around this part of the world and didn't move around much.
However, if you were to get every single Greek and Turk to do this test, we'd bet it would massively impact the strong opinions each side has against each other. When you take the Greek and the Turk away from this part of the world and place them into, say suburbia North London, they are likely to become very close friends!
Sebastien's DNA results
So did you guess right? How French do you think Seby actually is?
Yup – a big fat lonely looking zero! Seby is more British, Spanish, Greek/Italian, even Finnish, than he is French.
Much like the Greeks and Turks, the French and the British have always had a history of disagreement. We jokingly call them frogs, they lovingly call us roast beef. So it's certainly interesting to see that the UK (“Great Britain”, “Ireland/Scotland/Wales”) makes up the majority of this Frenchman's DNA.
Yet, Seb's results show nothing from the “Europe West” DNA region where “French” DNA is expected to be found! Seb argues that the DNA region of “Iberian Peninsula” includes much of south France. In addition, the DNA region of “Great Britain” encompasses a large chunk of North France.
Nonetheless, it doesn't stop Stefan teasing/reminding our proud Frenchman about his British/Spanish DNA each time this Frenchman professes how almighty France is…
Has this inspired us to travel more?
Definitely: it has not only fuelled us with a great deal of wanderlust to see more of the Middle East and Europe, but AncestryDNA also connects you with long distance cousins around the world who have also taken the test and have matched with your DNA.
What better way to discover more about yourself than to travel to connect with relatives you never knew existed?