Ancestry – What’s in your DNA?

Recently I spit in a test tube and had my DNA examined. I thought it would be interesting to know a little more about my ancestors. I can’t say I learned anything new. Heck! I didn’t even validate what I thought I already knew.

I was not particularly thrilled with the results. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina so, of course, I was hoping for a smidgen of Cherokee. Nowadays I think most North Americans wish for a little Native American. Why is it we pine for a drop of native blood? I have thought about this a great deal. I wonder if it’s so we can file a disclaimer – declare that we had nothing whatsoever to do with the Trail of Tears nor any one of the many other atrocities perpetrated against those who were here when our ancestors came ashore and started their destruction.

Is the same thing true as to the desire of some southerners to have some African American ancestry? Can I now shrug and declare that I had nothing to do with slavery, lynching, and segregation? I know that the answer to the latter question is a resounding “NO.” The older I get, the louder the negative response. So loud is the answer that politicians fight over it and authors write books about it. Perhaps one day I will get brave enough to write a post about it.

I live in the South. I’m a foreign language teacher. I like diversity. Unfortunately, I have to gain diversity through education and actions because it is definitely lacking in my bloodline.

I recognize that we don’t know how accurate these companies are when they categorize clients via DNA but I chose the one that has done the most samples. I learned that I am 84% Great Britain. (Note: Average for Brits today is only 62%.) I find that an interesting factoid. It is probably because the mountains where I grew up were quite isolated until recent times. Most settlers were from Great Britain. We have been here for centuries. We mountaineers still use words from Elizabethan English. We are “throwbacks,” good or bad.

Other info about my heritage: 99% European, 1-6% Iberian Peninsula. (I’m pleased about this one.)

Is the DNA phenomenon just an American obsession? Have you had yours examined? I would love to hear your comments if you’re interested in this latest fad.

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4 thoughts on “Ancestry – What’s in your DNA?

  1. I had mine done – a post is brewing!! – and the only surprise was that I’m 1% Nigerian. All the rest Boring British (the expected English and Welsh, and Scandinavian from the Viking plunderers) – now that IS interesting.

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  2. Interesting, Pat. I did it because my brother had done his and he wanted to see how similar mine was to his. He’s the family historian. He had been to a genealogical seminar and they said results could be very different for brothers and sisters because of XY factors. Like you, we were both looking for that Native American ancestry because we’ve been told many, many times that our great grandmother (on my father’s side) was Cherokee. Neither of us got that but while similar he had much more Irish-Scottish (no surprise) while I came back more English, Welsh, and Scottish. That did surprise me a little. Had my Irish as well, but at a lesser percentage than he. Maybe something to male/female and who dominates? I’m not a biologist so don’t have a clue on that. It’s interesting to read online why Native American may not show. For instance, we have no idea of knowing if there was an inter-relationship with some of our earlier settlers or not. Think about the Lost Colony.

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  3. I have been thinking of doing this. There so little that I know about my father’s side. I did some research and found out that his great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee. I wonder if my spit would tell the same tale.

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