Comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner is Scottish through and through, right? Wrong. When the entertainer recently took Forces War Records’ brand new Forces DNA test, which traces your ancestry back six to eight generations (or 120-160 years), he was in for a surprise.
Printed on your genes is hidden information about all of the ancestors whose DNA you have inherited, especially in recent generations. By taking the Forces DNA test you can discover on a global level how much European, Asian, African or Native American DNA you carry and on a more detailed European level how much Northwestern European, Mediterranean, Balto-Slavic, Jewish, Steppe-Turkic, Basque-Iberian and Anatolian-Caucasian ancestry you have.
Rory Bremner’s father, Major Donald Bremner, fought with distinction in WWII within the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, which was heavily involved in the liberation of the Dutch town of 's-Hertogenbosch. Rory, who never really got to know him prior to his death and took part in Series 6 of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ to find out more about his family’s background, was keen to try the simple spit test to explore his distant roots.
His results showed that he has recent ancestry from North-Western Europe, as expected, but also West Eurasia, spanning modern-day Russia, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.
He said, “Nobody could tell from my skin that I’m Mediterranean. I’m quite fair and I do burn easily. I suppose this news means there will be a whole lot more people I will be able to look up and stay with on holiday! This is a reminder that at some level national barriers are artificial. I’ve always felt Scottish, then British, then European. Now I feel global!” He added, “In the run-up to the Scottish Referendum on 18 September, this shows we are all part of a wider family… it’s great to know where you come from!”
Katie Barnes, 24, married to a pilot and one of the geneticists who works on the Forces DNA project, was also curious to discover more about her heritage. She had already looked up her ancestors on Forces War Records, and knew that one of her grandfathers, George Moir, had won several medals fighting in the Yeomanry Regiment during the Boer War, while the other enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1946 and fought in Africa, eventually retiring as an Acting Corporal. Even further back, she’d traced her family tree to Ensign Charles Ewart, who captured the flag at the Battle of Waterloo.
Katie said of her results, “I was really intrigued. It turns out my DNA makeup is 17 per cent Finnish. I know my father’s side of the family originated from the Orkney Islands, which has a strong Nordic influence, so this makes a lot of sense.” Her test also showed relatively large percentages of Ashkenazi Jewish and Basque-Iberian blood, as well as the expected bigger dose of Northwest European.
The Forces DNA test will reveal your recent ancestral mix, showing the percentage of your autosomal DNA that has come from different continents. The spit kit is easy to use, and will preserve your saliva sample so that it reaches the lab in good condition, ensuring that the DNA provided is of the highest possible quality. We present your results in three ways:
§ The Global Connections Plot shows the average geographical origin of all your ancestors in comparison to thousands of samples of known ancestry from around the world.
§ The Population Percentage uses a statistical model of genetic ancestry to infer what proportions (%) of your genome come from 7 different regions of the world.
§ Chromosome Painting shows your autosomal chromosomes painted to demonstrate which continent or sub-continental area different blocks belong to.
Visit our shop now at https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/shop/forces-dna to find out more about the Forces DNA process and how it can unearth the hidden secrets of your roots, or find out what Forces War Records CEO Dominic Hayhoe had to say about the test on BBC Wiltshire Sound this morning here (he was on at around 9.15).