I resisted taking a DNA test for a long time. When it wasn't popular, I easily resisted. As it became more and more popular, I still (fairly easily) resisted. Why? Well, I've been "doing" my personal genealogy off and on for more than 20 years – oftentimes more off than on, to be truthful – and believed I had a basic handle on where I came from. I don't mean I was one of those who proclaimed to have a "completed tree" or anything silly as that – I've yet to really even "cross the pond" with my (personally documented) research!
I felt I had done enough to get a sense of things, I guess.
Then someone close to me had their DNA tested. His largest chunk was 39% Iberian Peninsula. And it was totally expected. What was unexpected was the mash-up rest. So many different regions (people from) came together to create him. He often says, "I have a Spanish Dad and a Hillbilly Mom." His test results were a complex confirmation of that, and the day those results came in ended with him being on the phone for hours with his siblings.
I'm pretty sure I was jealous. Not long after, my own AncestryDNA kit was ordered. When it arrived, I spit in the tube and had it back in the mail the very next day. It didn't languish on the table – where some of my other mail does – for any length of time. I was officially all in.
Fast forward a month. The results were in…and I bowed my head and said aloud, "I knew it!"
I might even have been a little angry. As silly as I know that sounds. I also owe my ancestors a huge apology, because I even remarked – more than once – that I have boring DNA. And those migrations? What a joke. I could have dictated those to anyone before taking the test.
After my arrogant attitude passed, I started enlarging that map and looking closer at the results.
Great Britain breaks down to England, Scotland, and Wales. Where that largely overlaps with the (11%) Ireland / Scotland / Wales is obvious. But do I know anything about Scottish history or culture? Nope. What about Wales? How is it different from England? Don't know. I have a lot to learn.
Where did that Scandinavian 5% come from? And what about that Finnish/ North Russian 7%? Those appear to overlap largely over Sweden. Knew nothing of that! So I have a lot to learn.
My results show no connection to the Motherland of Africa…or do they? Digging deeper into my 2% Asian South region reveals something else I didn't know (emphasis mine):
The Asia South region includes the modern-day nations of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan and is home to approximately 20% of the world’s population…The first human migration out of Africa is thought to have followed a southern coastal route along the Indian subcontinent into Southeast Asia.
Oh, and might I throw in – I have a trace from the Iberian Peninsula!
Questions Raised, Questions Answered.
- What about the story (seems every family has a rendition, here's mine) that Grandpa's grandma was Native American? (Answer is Nope.)
- I have six generations of Campbells in my family tree – all born in the United States. Will I ever get back to Scotland? (Answer is Probably).
- I have a theory that the Logues came from Ireland. Is that true? (Answer is Maybe.)
One Two More Things
Not long after I received my DNA test results, Ancestry emailed me about a new or recently updated database, U.S. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1946. This is a database I might have never searched prior to testing my DNA. Guess what? Found two Lincicums. Are we related? Who knows. I have a lot to learn.And, yes, I am aware that my DNA reaches back much farther than my personally researched genealogy. But, c'mon, when you "do" genealogy, you can't help but think of your research when looking at those DNA results. :-)
So take that DNA test (if you're the least bit interested in that sort of thing). Even if you know where you came from. Just keep an open mind. And do yourself a favor – check your arrogance before clicking on the results.