Anyway, as I was saying, Grandma Willis claimed that my mom had Mayan ancestry through my mom's father (my grandfather) Debs Webster. Debs' mother, Esther Matus Villatoro (pictured below) was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico on September 18, 1893. She was the wife of my "Traveling Dentist" great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, who was born in Coolville, Athens, Ohio on February 14, 1864.
According to History.com (The History Channel's website),
"…the Maya were centered in one geographical block covering all of the Yucatan Peninsula and modern-day Guatemala; Belize and parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas; and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador."So, while it's true that my great-grandmother was born in Chiapas, and the Maya had lived in parts of Chiapas, and my grandmother claimed that my mom had Mayan ancestry, I still wouldn't have known for sure if part of my ancestry was, in fact, Mayan. Until now.
Family Finder DNA Test Results
Here's the Pie Chart from my Family Finder DNA Test:
See that Native American slice? That's where the Mayan ancestry is listed.
Here we have the breakdown of the results by Continent, Population, Percentage and Margin of Error.
It's kind of hard to read, so here's the transcription:
- Europe (Finnish, French, Orcadian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tuscan) – 79.50% – Margin of Error: ±1.84%
- Middle East (North African) – 12.83% – Margin of Error: ±1.61%
- Native American (Colombian, Maya) – 7.66% – Margin of Error: ±0.67%
And here's a handy map that was provided with the results as well:
So, what about the rest of my DNA test results?
The Europe Result
I'm not surprised by the large European percentage. My father, Jan Albert Iverson, was half Norwegian and half Swedish. His ancestors go back for generations in both Norway and Sweden. And my great-grandfather on my mom's side, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, a.k.a. "The Traveling Dentist," was of English ancestry.
What is intriguing is that Sweden and Norway are not listed in the population list for Europe. Hmm. Orcadian is listed and Orcadians came from the Orkney Islands. According to Wikipedia, "Orkney was invaded and forcibly annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse."
Finland borders both Sweden and Norway. According to another article in Wikipedia, "From the 12th until the start of the 19th century, Finland was a part of Sweden."
Do these facts explain how my Norwegian and Swedish ancestry is listed in this DNA test?
The Middle Eastern Result
I have to say that at first I was quite surprised by the Middle East (North African) test result. But, after doing some research, I'm not quite as surprised. My grandmother, Sarah Vasques Madeira (my mom's mother who passed away when my mom was four years old) was of Portuguese descent.
I have Portuguese ancestors from the Azores and Madeira. It's interesting to note how close those islands are to North Africa, especially the Island of Madeira. It's quite close to Morocco, which is in North Africa.
According to an article about the Portuguese Empire in Wikipedia, sailors from Portugal started to explore the coast of Africa in 1419. And the Portuguese colonized several areas around the world, including parts of Africa. Could this explain my North African DNA result?
So it turns out that my Grandma Willis was correct about our Mayan ancestry. Unfortunately, I can't tell her that she was right because she passed away in 1991. I am left to wonder how she knew this interesting bit of information about our family history. Did she discover this when she and my Grandpa Debs visited relatives in Chiapas, Mexico in 1955?
DNA testing is quite fascinating. But, it's just one piece of the family history puzzle. More traditional research is still needed to find and put together all of the puzzle pieces of our family histories.
By the way, I've emailed Family Tree DNA to see if they can answer my questions about why Norway and Sweden were not listed in my Population List for Europe. And I also asked them about the Middle East test result and if that was representative of my Portuguese ancestry. We'll see what they say.
Thanks for reading!
© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last