Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.
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roberjam
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Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by roberjam »

Hi Folks,

Forgive me if this is covered elsewhere. I am trying to find a company to test with that would maximize my chances of finding individual matches with people who were born in and currently reside in Italy. I have heard that DNA testing simply isn't that popular in Europe as it is in the USA where I live. Regardless, I'd still like to test with whatever company tests the most native Italians. Any advice? Thanks.

Best Wishes,
Jim
darkerhorse
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by darkerhorse »

So many Italians have immigrated that I wonder if the DNA of the remaining population of Italy is representative of Italian-Americans in the U.S.
afecad
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by afecad »

I tested with 23andme, FamilyTreeDNA & Ancestry. I then uploaded my data into Gedmatch, I see quite a few European predicted 4th cousins and beyond, that is at least 30-50 cM matches, LivingDNA (more on that towards the end) also shows relatives and country along with cM match as do others. FamilyTreeDNA does as well.

Depending if your are male or female and what side of the family your Italian line is or both, you'll either have the advantage of both Y-DNA & MTDNA or one or the other. In my case, I'm Italian-American through my Mother, so Y-DNA did not help, but with MTDNA I do see connections.

Each DNA company yielded different results on location and % of Italian I am. I read they have local data to extrapolate this with migration, for me 100+ years ago from Italy.

FamilyTreeDNA also has several DNA projects of Italy that you can join and have your data compared.

They showed me around the same % as 23andme but not region specific, only the entire country.
FamilyTreeDNA Italy.PNG
My Mother did 23andme and her results show the entire country of Italy, but notes Calabria as a strong % along with Sardinia and well I show no Sardinia, so that remains a question?

Ancestry showed my regional areas of Northern & Southern Italy only.
Ancestry DNA Italy.PNG
23andme was very accurate on location in terms of strength levels. It did show other parts of Italy as well, but Calabria is where my family came from.
23andme result Italy.PNG
I do know there are some other Testing companies in Europe, just do not know if they have the same databases of the big ones?

LivingDNA is another one, based in the UK. I did not order their kit but they allow you to upload your data for free, which I did and the results for Italy are even different, say's I'm Northern Italian via Tuscany and at a much higher % than the others.

So to answer your question, DNA for location accuracy is a mixed bag in my opinion. I will say of all FamilyTreeDNA appears to be the most powerful but data beyond my understanding, I did the Big Y700 test, which traces back my Y-DNA line and allows you to see how strongly you may relate to someone else, totally useless for my Italian side but it is interesting.
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rexkit
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by rexkit »

Hello,

I am contemplating taking a DNA test to locate relatives to expand onto my genealogy tree. Any idea which of these I should use for my DNA testing? I already know my ethnic breakdown since I am 100% Italian origin; I simply wish to connect with possible relatives. Thanks.


*Ancestry.com DNA

*23andMe DNA

*Family Tree -Family Finder DNA
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MarcuccioV
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by MarcuccioV »

I did both the Ancestry and 23 & me tests. I then uploaded my raw data from both to many sites, including FTDNA, MyHeritage, GEDmatch, MyLivingDNA, Geneanet, etc which all gave me genetic matches with a wide swath of variation (few repeats within the lists).

I'm only Italian on my maternal side. In my case the matches listed tilted far more heavily to my paternal side (which may have some traces of Italian as well, but is predominately NOT Italian), probably by more than 90%. Being 100% yourself, your list may be shorter but at least you'll only have to sort which is maternal or paternal...

Good luck on your journey of discovery. Mine found an unknown close relative (illegitimate 1st cousin on the Italian side) that had been kept a secret for over 6 decades...
Mark

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joetucciarone
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by joetucciarone »

Like Mark's DNA test, my wife's results netted an illegitimate cousin she knew nothing about. Also, I'm 100% Italian by ancestry, yet my Ancestry DNA test shows I have Greek, Balkan and Middle Eastern genes. These tests are more fun than the Sunday comics!
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MarcuccioV
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by MarcuccioV »

Like Joe, my Italian side also contains Sicilian, Greek, Middle Eastern & other Mediterranean ethnicities. It'll be interesting to see what you find..!
Mark

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arturo.c
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by arturo.c »

I am a born and bred Italian, and never went to the US prior to meeting my current wife, who hails from California, about two decades back.

A couple of years ago my daughter (then 15yo) got me a 23andme testing kit for Xmas. I sat on it for a few weeks, much to her irritation, because I was (and somewhat still am) wary about disclosing something very personal to a private company whose real purpose I know very little about.

Eventually, due to my daughter's relentless prodding, I caved in, registered myself on their website and sent my sample over.

Other than my daughter, with whom I naturally shared 50% of my DNA, i found a 2nd cousin (3.17% DNA shared) living in the US with her American husband, and a long list of 4th and 5th cousins (all with less than 1% of shared DNA) living mostly around the East Coast of the US, because the small hamlet in Abruzzo from where my maternal grandmother was from went through a huge wave of emigration in the first decades of the past century.

Today I had the first hit of a 3rd cousin living in Australia, very likely belonging to a lineage descending from my maternal grandfather, as my hometown on the Tyrrhenian coast (halfway between Rome and Naples) had a significant number of people moving to Australia and Canada in the 1950s.

So far no hits in Italy or anywhere in Europe. This because apparently 23andme kits are not marketed in the EU, I assume for reasons pertaining to compliance with the GDPR regulation.

This is somewhat a relief for me because my worst fear was to find a half-brother (or half-sister) I knew nothing about, as my dad enlisted in the Italian army at 16 to escape his "oppressive" father (or that's what he gave as a reason, truth is he was a bit of an unruly kid and got expelled twice from school, the second one being a boarding school for "undisciplined" kids), and rose through the ranks becoming Sergeant-major in an anti-aircraft artillery training camp.

There was a rumour my mother told me about that, while he was deployed in north-eastern Italy in the early 1950s, he might have had a (or some) relationship(s) with someone over there, which is very bound to happen when young recruits are posted in postwar years in a region where, due to the casualties of war, women outnumbered men nearly four to one, and many were war widows still in their fertile years.

Given that, and the fact that birth control was frowned upon at the time (and kind of still is nowadays) the possibility that I could have a very close relative I don't know anything about cannot be excluded totally.

If and when someday DNA testing kits will become available in Italy, that could potentially mean opening a huge can of worms...
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by darkerhorse »

My interest is in the scoring of Italian ancestry - whether the Italian reference population used by the DNA company today is sufficiently large and representative of those with Italian ancestry.

In my case, there are more relatives in the U.S. than left in Italy.

There's been so much emigration from Italy, especially from southern Italy, that you have to wonder how well the DNA of current population of Italy represents the DNA of the past population of Italy.
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Re: Is DNA Testing Very Popular in Italy?

Post by apersico »

I've done my DNA with Ancestry and 23 and me and uploaded to Family Tree DNA and My Heritage. My Heritage is the only one I've noticed that has DNA matches from Europe. I'm fairly certain Ancestry is not available in Italy. Not sure about 23 and me. I only have a few matches from Italy and they are distant enough that I have no idea who they could be. But I've gotten a fair number of matches on my Slovak and Swiss sides. I don't have any idea how popular DNA testing is in Italy, but based on the fact that I have hardly any Italian matches, it doesn't seem like it to me. But My Heritage seems to be the test of choice overseas.
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