July 7, 2017
About the author : Earth to Ethereal: Eclectic and Eccentric, Spiritual and Sublime When it comes right down to it, I guess I just really enjoy sharing the human experience, whether through writing stories and poems which, hopefully, resonate with readers or by following the path to a simpler, more earth-friendly lifestyle. Thanks for sharing the experience with me!
I wanted to write this post earlier, but my eye doctor dilated my pupils, so I couldn’t see well for a chunk of the day. (Brief aside: does anyone else get completely disoriented when they have their pupils dilated? I felt like because I couldn’t see, I also couldn’t hear right or think right, and was being generally being bombarded by sunlight and the world at large. Only me? Fine…)
Me, with dilated pupils: I’m lost!
Anyway, what I wanted to write about is ancestry, DNA, and…um, spit. You see, there’s this thing you can do these days, where you submit a little ol’ spittle-laced DNA to unlock the clues to your ethnic ancestry. No doubt you’ve heard of it already. As you probably know, it’s hosted by ancestry.com. (Just to note, I’m not sponsored by them, just a fan.)
My husband and kids bought a DNA test a while ago (caught it on sale) and gave it to me for Christmas. Sure, Christmas happened many months ago, but no, it doesn’t take that long to get the DNA results. (I think the wait can be about six to eight weeks or so, although mine took less time…which is nice, because being patient can be painful.)
Me, trying to be patient, and slowly…falling…apart
Therefore, the long wait for my test results rests not on Ancestry’s shoulders, but squarely on my own. Why? I’ll admit it: I was chicken. I’d been dying to find out more about my lineage and then, when I got the chance? Unh-uh. To be fair, the spit-in-a-tube thing bothered me some…it looked like a pretty long tube…and the thought of someone analyzing it? Ick. Turns out, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Although, I’m not on the receiving end of those vials, so easy for me to say.
All spitting aside, the real thing that held me back was fear. I was afraid of what they might find…rather the lack of what they might find. I wanted my genetic makeup to show a little bit of everything. Native American, African, Asian, Continental European, Easter Islander…you name it. You see, I’ve always known most of my ancestors came from Ireland and Great Britain and I’ve been very content with that fact. However, not knowing who else might have contributed to my lineage meant I could potentially claim a bit of everyone. Maybe I’m just greedy.
Genetic glutton or not, I brushed and flossed, did the spit thing, sent it in, waited and then, lo and behold…Thursday night, my husband, kids, nephew and I gathered around my laptop (literally) so I could do a grand unveiling of my ancestral location results. They were…duh duh duuuuh…63% Ireland and 30% Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales). Womp womp. Yes, I was a little deflated to find I wasn’t a mix of all things. On the other hand, I’ve had my Celtic Mutt status confirmed. Which I really like. I mean, these are my people. They got me here. I’m simultaneously proud and grateful.
That said, there were also some unexpected potential ingredients in the mix of my ancestral blood. They were interesting, if not guaranteed. Listed among my “Low Confidence Regions” were the following: Iberian Pensinsula (Spain/Portugal) 3%, Italy/Greece 1%, Caucasus region of West Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey) 1%, North Africa (Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya) <1%, Finland/Northwest Russia <1%. Granted, these aren’t “sure things” when it comes to my genetic mix, but I like the diversity, so I’ll accept, thank you very much.
There was more info, by the way; Ancestry also shares what they call your “Genetic Communities.” I had two: settlers of the Delaware Valley, (which was no surprise, given that’s where most of my known ancestors settled), and the Connacht Irish. Very cool, if I do say so myself.
Aside from all of this, I was linked to several potential relatives…almost 300, actually, which should make for a pretty decent family reunion. Of them all, one was a second cousin and the rest fell anywhere from third to eighth, which means I’m probably less connected to them than I am to Kevin Bacon. (You know, Six degrees…? Never mind.) The point is, none of us share close blood ties, but still…we are family. Somehow, deep in the threads of our DNA, we seem to be connected.
“Everybody, say ‘Cheese!'”
Some of my genetic curiosity has been satisfied…for now. As expected, I’m mostly a Celtic Mutt, but I’m also potentially linked to people from various regions of the world. I guess I didn’t need a DNA test to tell me I’m part of the big, diverse human family, but it’s kind of nice to see that the connections I feel in my heart and spirit even show up in my…spit.