LESLEY KEATING: DNA is a powerful tool in discovering your ancestry

I've always been intrigued by the idea of sending off DNA samples to discover where your ancestral heritage originated from. Imagine finding out you came from a completely different background to one you suspected!

Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 10:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd October 2017, 3:26 pm
At the next roundabout...follow the traffic jam! (Shutterstock)

I already know much of my own. My mum and her family were all from South Wales, my dad and his were from South London, his mother’s family from the Cotswolds.

I already understand much of my mainly English and Welsh earlier origins – with a smattering of Mediterranean thrown into the long-term mix thanks to Italian sailors who landed on the Welsh coast in the 1700s – yet I’d be intrigued to know more.

But I’ve also wondered if putting your DNA on a database could leave it open to some sort of fraudulent abuse.

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Imagine a security breach with your DNA left at the scene of a crime somehow! I guess it’s the stuff of a potential great thriller movie.

Anyway, I’ve resisted so far, wondering what, if any, the real benefit of DNA analysis actually is.

However yesterday I completely revised my opinion of its worth.

A good friend who was adopted as a baby and didn’t know much of his origins has just gone through this fascinating process, discovering he is, predictably, British and a bit Scandinavian (good old marauding Vikings!) with a touch of Iberian thrown in for good measure, which explains his very dark eyes!

He, interestingly, married a girl who was also adopted so their child became the only blood relative either of them had ever seen.

I had always found that an incredible concept in itself and hard to top. Until the other day when he told me he’d used the free database linked to the DNA testing system...and discovered a brother he never knew he had!

He’s obviously overwhelmed by this new jaw-dropping discovery and I found it exceptionally moving to learn of this unexpected twist. In fact, it actually had me in floods of emotional tears.

They’ve now met up and are like twins by all accounts.

‘I know I’m not alone now,’ he said.

Powerful stuff.


I’m on my regular rant about people who walk dogs and don’t pick up after them.

It’s a necessary fact of life that when you have a dog, you have to ‘pick up’ after them.

OK, it’s not nice and I don’t relish the prospect of having to do it, but I’ve got used to what needs to be done.

Luckily, on our usual walk route, there are several bins dotted around for depositing the bags in.

However, this morning, to quote a popular nursery rhyme, I found three bags full sat on the grass right next to the bin!

How hard is it to just drop them in?

After all, the culprit had already picked up after their dog.

Talk about lazy…!


Are sat navs always such a good idea? When they were in their infancy, the one I had announced I’d reached my destination when I was still between two motorway junctions!

They’ve thankfully improved since then and I now couldn’t manage without one. However, a friend who’s a professional driver drove us one evening and, surprisingly, said he never uses one because he prefers to ‘freestyle’ and drive according to the conditions he’s faced with.

He said that when there’s a traffic problem, sat navs always send everyone down the same alternative route, causing more even issues. He

actually decided to use one on a phone that night when there was an unexpected tailback, but he had a point!