For my husband’s birthday, I decided to get us both DNA ancestry kit. When it ar
rived, we spit in a tube and sent it off to the company. Within weeks, we had our genetic ancestry laid out in a pie chart. My results weren’t a surprise. My father’s family was easily traced to southern Italy, around the Naples area. In fact, there is a city in the arch of the boot called Potenza. Forty percent of my DNA was ‘Italian of Greek’. My mother’s family had been in the United
States, probably even before the Revolutionary War, for generations, going into the Carolinas and Georgia, and eventually settling in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I had done the genealogy–even visited graveyards. On that side, there is a mixture of English (6%) and Irish/Scottish and Wales (17%). In the middle between Italy and England, western European (27%).
What was surprising was that my husband also has a sliver of Irish in him. His family has been in eastern New Mexico since the early Spanish conquest. I’m thinking that Irish guy in his family tree would be an interesting connection to track.
One major theme of Hearts of the Missing is belonging and whether genetics play a role in not only where you belong, but who you are. Do genetics determine who belongs in a family? Or does the definition of family transcend the genes you carry? What is the genetic definition of family or clan or even race? It’s an easy question to answer on some levels, but not on others.
I’ve been meaning to have this done. My ancestors were the Bruces (so Scottish) and the Coes (British nobility), but when I asked my mother long ago, she said I was “German, Irish, Welch, French, Scotch, Dutch, and oh, there might be some Native American in there, too.” Upon digging deeper, the “some Native American” was referred to as a woman of the Algonquin dialect who married a French Canadian fur trapper. I’m more than curious if that’s what a DNA test will actually show…or if it’s just an old family legend.
We have that Native American thing in our family, too–Choctow–but must have lost it through the generations. Now, my husband! He is 32% and he didn’t even know it. But I was more surprised by the Irish in his DNA! The one I did has 700,000 single point mutations markers, I think. That’s a lot of markers.