If you missed Part One, click here to read that first because this post continues my story…
Fast forward to April 2017. With another trip to Dublin booked for this coming August and an overhaul of the novel I am writing, I decided to get my DNA analyzed from Ancestry.
I figured, what the hell? Maybe I’d be able to clear up that Galicia/Austria/Russia/Poland confusion, but most of all, I was hoping to learn that I was, indeed Irish.
I ordered my Ancestry kit with a $20 off discount and it arrived on April 29. The kit provides specific instructions about how to spit into the little sample tube they provided.
I know, I thought the same thing: Why do I need instructions?
Well, it turns out that the process of spitting saliva into the tube took longer than I thought. I first had to activate my kit on my computer, and before attempting my saliva collection, I had to wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything.
When those 30 minutes were up, I followed the directions to collect my saliva, but since I couldn’t have any water, it took a long time to collect the right amount (minus bubbles, mind you).
Once I had enough of my saliva in the tube, I clicked the tube together to release the “stabilizing fluid.” I then packed it in the little, prepaid shipping box it came with and mailed it on Monday, May 1. I received an email on May 5 that it was received on Ancestry’s end and that it would take 6 to 8 weeks to receive my results. My sample hit Ancestry’s lab on May 23 with another disclaimer that it could still take 6 to 8 weeks due to high demand.
I was prepared to coast through the rest of the school year and the first part of summer without knowing my heritage, but eleven days later on June 3, I received my results via email. Little did I know the very unexpected and wonderful surprises the universe had waiting for me!
First of all, here’s my heritage:
Great Britain: 57%. I figured this would be a high number, and I was right. Must be why I love teaching British literature and bland food.
Scandinavian: 13%. Shocking! I had no idea I was of Scandinavian descent. When I tell people this, most look at me funny because I have blonde hair and blue eyes. Some have said, “Well, it’s obvious you are Scandinavian,” and aren’t surprised at all. However, if you look at my family as a whole, the only three people with the typical Scandinavian features of light hair and light eyes are me, my Grandpa C., and my 3-year-old nephew, I. My dad and uncle were both blonde when they were young, but their hair changed and their eyes weren’t blue. Again, must be why I love teaching about the Vikings and Beowulf! Let’s go a Viking!
Europe East: 10%. This is the line that extends to Poland, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Galicia, etc., so I expected this region to show up. I was hoping that the test would narrow down the actual country my Grandma C.’s parents actually emigrated from. However, an offshoot of my ancestry report clusters my DNA on a map of this region right where Galicia would have been, so I’m going with Galicia. Kielbasa for all!
Italy/Greece: 9%. WHAT? Seriously? I’m Italian or Greek? Holy cannoli! This shocked the daylights out of me. I would have guessed any other heritage before Italian/Greek. My husband was very pleased to learn that he did, indeed, marry an “Italian Girl.” His father would have been over the moon to learn that I had Italian heritage!
Europe West: 6%. Germany, Belgium, and France fall into this region. My Grandma M.’s grandparents were born in Germany, so this wasn’t a big surprise. Confirmation: German. Dad’s up in heaven screaming “Yah vull!” right now.
Iberian Peninsula: 3%. Spain and Portugal make up the Iberian Peninsula, and this one was a nice surprise. Interesting fact: Portugal is directly across the Atlantic Ocean from where I live. Neat!
Ireland: Less than 1%. I am Irish after all! While I was initially disappointed, at least Ireland showed up. I’ll take it!
Caucasus: Less than 1%. I know what you are thinking…where the hell is Caucasus? It’s a region encompassing Georgia, Irian, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Armenia, and more. Another Easter egg for sure.
On my report, I can click on each region to not only learn more about it, but also to take a closer look at my percentages and compare mine to other people from the same region. It’s pretty cool that I have a solid cluster in both the East Europe region (Galicia-the yellow spot in the map to the left) and also in a community called Early Settlers of New York.
But there’s more, a whole lot more to this story! Please look for Part 3 tomorrow!