For most of my life I was pretty comfortable with not really knowing my ancestral origins. I sort of knew my family’s background from knowing my mother’s side of the family tree. I knew there were strong English roots on that side. But the other half of my DNA has always been a mystery. Without getting into too much detail, let’s just suffice it to say I don’t have a relationship with my biological father. I never really did, so it’s not like I can ask him or anyone on that side of the family questions.
Fast forward to my adult life where I married into an Italian family. I love how connected they are with their family’s history, traditions, food, and culture. My husband can easily trace his lineage back to Italy. I love hearing all the family stories, many of which center around a delicious made-from-scratch Italian meal. I also love that they’ve made me an adopted Italian. It’s a fun family to be a part of.
I started thinking about my own heritage and the desire to know more of where I came from became stronger. I thought about all the possibilities – maybe I was actually French or South African or something more “exotic” than my current Heinz 57 American self. I started thinking about all the new cultural experiences I would be able to claim as my own. This led to ordering a DNA kit from Ancestry.com.
The kit arrived in its little clinical package and I thought, here’s the beginning of something that could be really life changing. You basically just spit into a test tube and then mail it back. Quite boring but really easy to do. You can’t mess this up. Once it was in the mailbox I couldn’t wait for the email letting me know who I really am.
A few weeks passed and then the email arrived. I had one of those moments where I hovered over the button as if I was about to input nuclear codes or something. I had come this far and now it was the moment of truth. Did I really want to know?
My ethnicity estimate is 91% from Great Britain and 3% Scandinavian with a spattering of 1% here and there in areas Ancestry refers to as “low confidence regions.”
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little disappointed actually. Not that there’s anything wrong with Great Britain or Scandinavia, but I guess I was hoping to see something different. Something that would defy what I already knew to be true. After some introspective time well-spent, I realized a few things.
3 important lessons I learned from my Ancestry DNA test:
1 – All ancestral origins are unique.
My grandiose thoughts of some kind of exotic or rare ancestry were ridiculous. Embrace who you are and where you come from and be proud of it. So what if it confirms most of what you thought or knew. No matter what your DNA reveals, you’re unique in this world.
2 – Your ancestral origins don’t define you. You’re more than just a collection of percentages.
It’s great knowing where you came from, but it really doesn’t define who you are as a person. I am an American. I am a woman, a wife, a dog mom and a successful entrepreneur. I am part of a family and I love to explore new places and meet new people. I’m going to keep doing me, and you do you, as they say. A percentage breakdown doesn’t change any of that.
3 – Embrace your origins.
One thing I was really surprised by was my little 3% Scandinavian origin. I never saw that coming, and it’s pretty cool because we are about to travel to Scandinavia this summer. It’s only 3% but hey, that’s something. Maybe one of my ancestors was a great viking warrior. Probably not, but it’s given me a little bit of a different outlook for our trip.
One last thing… Dogs don’t care where you come from. You’re their human and they love you no matter what. Right, Bella?
I’d love to know how you feel about your DNA. Do you find it interesting to learn about your ancestry?
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xo – Erin
3 Important Lessons I Learned From My Ancestry DNA Test appeared first on CathedralsandCafes.com.
Please note that I was not endorsed by Ancestry. All opinions are my own.
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