When I was a kid, it always bothered me that I never really knew what my heritage was. On my mother’s side there were rumors that we were part Native American, French and German. And I had no idea where my father’s family came from. (Though, from their last name, I suspected English heritage).
As I got older, I became even more curious. Especially when I moved to the Detroit area and found that there were so many clearly defined ethnicities. I had friends of Irish heritage who could participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, I had friends who were of Polish descent who would make a special trip to visit the Polish restaurants, and friends from Trinidad, Albania and even Canada who all kept the traditions of their ancestors alive. And I always felt left out because I didn’t know the parts that made me, me.
That’s why I was so excited when my husband gave me an AncestryDNA kit for Christmas. I’d been talking about getting one for so long, and when I opened the box I was completely surprised and really, really excited. So excited that I sent the test in the next day and checked the status of my test online several times a day. (The test says it takes 6 – 8 weeks to process, and my results were available on February 5.)
As I said before, I always had an idea of my ethnicity, based on the information that had been given to me by my grandparents and great-grandparents. By my estimate, this is what I thought my DNA would suggest:
English – 50%
French – 30%
German – 15%
Native American – 5%
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. And I was stunned to find out my true genetic make-up…
To put it mildly, these results were nothing (NOTHING!) like what I had expected. (If you want to see the full results of my ethnicity test, click here.) I had absolutely no idea that I was nearly half-Irish, but that explains my tendency to blush easily. And I really can’t believe that I’m one-quarter Scandinavian. Though that does explain the green eyes (I’ve read that nearly 90% of those living in that region have green eyes like me). And I had NO idea that I was part Italian, but perhaps that’s why I’m so good at making homemade bread and mozzarella cheese?
But I have to say, one of the funnest parts of running my DNA is finding several distant cousins around the world who have tested their DNA through Ancestry.com, too. It really is amazing that one small test can connect you with hundreds of people!