Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Ancestry - What a surprise!

The results of my DNA testing are in...and to say I was surprised is seriously underplaying my reaction.  Ancestry I have owned my whole life turns out was wrong.  My father is angry, claiming it must be a con game.  However, the testing was done by reputable people and I must honor the findings.

My results are as follows:

37% Irish
30% Western Europe (includes France, Germany, and Northern Italy)
18% British Isles
7% Scandinavian (really?!!)
4% Finland/Northwestern Russia (what?)
4% Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal - huh?)

First of all, we were always told my father's grandmother's family was originally from Sicily.  I have 0% of Italian/Greek as was classified on the test.  I did test positive for the area of western Europe that includes northern Italy, however.  Maybe the Sicilian part was wrong...

It was long thought in my mother's family that her father was Dutch and Native American.  I did not register either one in the DNA analysis.  Of course, his mother died giving birth to him.  His father was a lifelong alcoholic, so no telling what he told my grandfather about his heritage.

As to the Scandinavian bit, I was told by the company that tested my DNA, many people of Irish ancestry, or ancestors in northern England, Scotland, or Wales have varying percentages of Scandinavian ancestors.  After all, the Norse men raided for 500+ years, raping, pillaging, enslaving, and sometimes marrying their captives.  Don't worry, I've already got my Viking helmet on order, complete with flaxen, I still root for the Dallas Cowboys, but I gotta represent the family. (I refuse, however to eat ludafisk or sleep on furs.)

"Lord, protect us from the fury of the north men."

For the Finland/Northwestern Russia DNA findings I am completely at a loss.  Nobody in the family has ever admitted to such ancestors. 

The same for the Iberian peninsula.  Not that I mind that.  I've always loved the music and dance from Spain.  Plus, I'm a big fan of Brazilian music (sung in Portuguese.)

I knew already about the ties to Great Britain.  That side of my family has traced the family tree way back. I've been told I am a direct descendant from Captain Kidd and a relation to James Hargreaves, who invented the spinning jenny and mechanized the woolen mills in England, bringing the industrial age to the country. He was my grandmother's great-uncle.

I always figured I was part Irish, but had no idea it was so much of my ancestry.  That's okay with me.  That is the part of the analysis that I like the best. Now I can legitimately wear green on St. Patrick's Day...(I draw the line at green beer.)

The rest of it, lacking the southern Italy and Native American connection, is a bit of a shock.  But I'm learning to live with it. I can still cook a mean pot of meat sauce for spaghetti and bake a good lasagna.  I still love Native American art and will continue to collect it.

All in all, it has been a most interesting experience despite the results.  A friend asked me what it was like to think you are one thing most of your life and find out you're something else. 

It's a disappointment in some ways, but a revelation in others.  I am still working through it.  And it has made me want to start researching the family tree to see if I can find some of these outliers in my background.

Since I found out about the Scandinavian heritage and the way it came to be, I have been sad, thinking of those women who endured the raids.

In closing I would like to say, no matter where I came from, I am still the person I've always been.  It was a revelation to learn of my hidden ancestors.

This was a good experience, one that I would recommend to anyone.

Take care.

Have a great evening.

The Irish/frenchgermannorthernitalian/british/finn/scandinavian/russianportuguese/spaniard.

Do I look like a viking to you?

Hasta Luego!


  1. Absolutely - I can see the Viking clear as can be (now that you tell me about it!) Years ago, my mom got into the whole genealogy thing - before the era of DNA testing. We already knew we were related to James A Garfield (assassinated US president), Captain John Parker and General John Stark of Revolutionary War fame, but she traced some of that Scots heritage back through Nova Scotia and Ireland and finally to Glasgow. Lots of relatives from England, some here not long after the Pilgrims. Had I ever wished to, I could claim membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, but I was always more interested in my Scottish heritage. My dad brought a bit of German to the mix, too. It might be interesting to take the DNA test and see how it matches up with her research.

  2. This is great, Sharon. Very interesting. My mom's father was born in Spain. So welcome to my Spanish family. LOL The one thing I thought of where your Scilian heritage is concerned is that the start of the family was transplanted there (probably from the Iberian Peninsula comes in.) Just a thought.

  3. This is amazing. Where did you go to get this done?

  4. Thank you everyone for your comments. I had this done at - they are a company from Utah run by the Mormons. They have traditionally had the most complete genealogical records in the country. A few years ago they started the online business called

    Having this done is a little expensive, but for me, it was well worth it. Check out their website.

    So, Dolores, mi hermana!!! (Good thing I remember my high school Spanish - some of it anyway.)

    Buenos Tardes.