By Janet Curley
A few weeks ago I decided that I would get my DNA analysis from ancestry.com. I received the kit in the mail. It wasn’t the swab test that I had expected. I was instructed to provide a small amount of saliva in a vial. The package and website warn you that your results may be surprising and reveal origins that one may not have found in family history research. I began to think about the possibilities of finding something new. I had heard fellow genealogists state that they preferred other companies to do this analysis. They complained that Ancestry sent results which uniformly had a great percentage of one’s DNA from Scandinavia. But, I had already sent my spit in, so I was committed.
In truth, I was curious to see if the Vikings showed up in my results. It would make sense given that my family is from Ireland. In addition, my mother said that her family, the Mocklers, had origins in France and came over in 1066 to Ireland during the Norman invasion. I imagined that my results would have a bit of Europe, Scandinavia and mostly Ireland colored in. Truth be told, I was hoping for a surprising result – something exotic or scandalous. With much anticipation, I packaged the whole thing up and put it in the mail.
Yesterday I received the much anticipated email – my results were in! I clicked the “View my Results” button, my excitement building… Who would show up on the map??? Up they came…I received a pie chart, a map and a description of my ancestral origins… 97% British Isles, 3% “uncertain”. The map had a lonely blue blob surrounding Great Britain and Ireland and the description talked about Stonehenge, the Myth of King Arthur and the Famine. No Europe, no Vikings, no French. Apparently my ancestors sprang up out of the shamrocks and begat where they stood. Or perhaps I am directly descended from the Tuatha de Danaan. That may explain the 3% “uncertain” factor. One cannot identify a goddess in a mere saliva sample… Next to the results were a list of other Ancestry researchers with similar results, “potential 4th – 6th cousins”. One gal had 99% British Isles results, another inbred bunny… I looked up her tree. A couple of Irish names in there but nothing that would lead me to contact her and organize a family reunion.
Now, Reader, you may glean from my writing that I was disappointed by the results. You would be correct! I really was hoping for a bit of diversity. My monochrome pie chart tells me little that I didn’t know before. As I grew up, many of my friends talked about their multinational lineage. My parents always told me that everyone was Irish in my family, except for the possible Norman conquerer. So, with my young friends, I would boast that I was 100% Irish. And they would respond with some incredulity, “Really? Cool!” I have always been proud if that, don’t get me wrong, but I figured my DNA would go back a wee bit further and show some deeper, older ancestors. Well, now I can say that I am 97% Irish and back it up with a pie chart. I think I will stick with Danu as my 3% uncertain factor… Not everyone can claim a goddess as a gazillionth great grandmother….