Monday, March 19, 2018

Ancestry--from whence one came

I’m not really a nut over family trees; to me the significance of my ancestors has rested mostly in the stories told to me by my parents. Faces and names and branches on trees mean little to me without a story.

Some people are obsessed with their ancestry, believing perhaps that by remembering and honoring those who have gone before, they will find a measure of immortality in their descendants’ pursuit of the same passion.

I pursue my immortality by publishing novels.

But curiosity is what it is—as is Holiday advertising. So when my son and his family gifted hubby and myself DNA testing kits for Christmas—after a month of research and contemplation I spit in the vial and mailed it off over the pond to be processed in the Ancestry DNA lab in Ireland.

One doesn’t get a lot of information back with the results. In fact, one gets about ten times as much information and email litter inviting one to cough up one’s membership dues and search out ones relatives and build one’s family tree on their website.

Be that as it is, I found the data I received interesting.

Here are my DNA results for my Ethnicity Estimate:

Great Britain 51%
Ireland/Scotland/Wales 24%
Europe West 11%
Scandinavia 9%
Finland/Northwest Russia 4%
Africa North < 1%

Unlike those in the Ancestry TV ads, the results did not surprise me. They’re a close match to the oral family history passed down.

The only surprise is that smidgen of North African. It is, I’ve come to say, my token attempt at diversity, otherwise I'm kinda like almost pure WASP.

Using my imagination, I filled in a bit more of my history.

It appears my ancestors were not very adventurous. They did not travel far, did not mingle with outsiders—didn’t sow their wild oats around the world so to speak. I've inherited this homebody tendency, staying close to where I was born and traveling afar only for short stints. When my ancestors immigrated to North American, they did so en masse, (according to the Ancestry Immigration maps provided) to New York and then the Eastern US. Family to them, as it is to me, was obviously important.

The tiny bit of North African in my past is interesting. My maiden name is Fairbrother. Perhaps that is because there was dark skin and hair somewhere in my past, with me descending from the fairer of the brothers. Perhaps, too, the North African ancestry explains the kinky (albeit blond) hair that sprouts up once or twice in each generation.

So all in all it’s kind of cool to have had my DNA tested.  My children now wait with great anticipation for my husband’s results to come in. Maybe he will have bigger surprises.

Ancestry--from whence one came has been brought to you by DISPASSIONATE LIES, a tale of conspiracy--and  a powerful woman.
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