You know the topic. You've talked about it with other people. We've all speculated as to where we actually came from. You've asked your parents and grandparents and great grand parents if you were lucky enough. You may have even started research on your family tree. But what did you ever really discover? The truth? Or, mere speculation? Don't worry, you're not alone. I'll get back to that in a minute.
In 2011, I started an account on Ancestry.com. Ancestry opened quite a few doors to the past. It was interesting to walk through those doorways, entering rooms filled with birth certificates, census data, immigration data, and death notices. I kept walking through these dark rooms only to find that the castle was much bigger than I anticipated. I found that Ancestry could tell me about my relative's past, but that it didn't necessarily tell me about MY past.
Last November, around Thanksgiving, I walked into my usual hairdresser for a trim. After waiting for a moment in the lobby, a woman calls my name. As we're walking back to the trim throne, the conversation begins.
"Are you related to [Insert name here]?
"No, I don't think so." I replied. "Why?"
"Because my last name is Rose too." Interesting.
"Is that your maiden name?" I asked.
She started talking about other people that shared our last name, but I couldn't connect the dots with any of them.
"Are you on Ancesry.com?" She asked.
"Yes, it's very cool."
"Have you checked out Ancestry DNA?"
"No, not yet, but I want to."
"You should! It's cheap! $99 and you'll know a lot!"
"99 Dollars? That's all??" At this point, I think I completely forgot I was there for a haircut. I'm so doing that!
In the months that followed, I sent away my DNA and the results came back. I was little surprised.
In the above web capture, you can see a breakdown of my ethnicity regions. Blimey! I'm 62% British! Hang on a second. I'm going to pump the brakes for a minute. You have to understand something first. The sample anyone sends off to Ancestry DNA is saliva. It's not blood. This is especially important with me because I've had a bone marrow transplant. And therefore, my blood has been changed from its original form. Altered, if you will. Don't worry, I'm not going to grow into an Indominus Rex and eat your face off. I'm still a boy, after all. But saliva, on the other hand is 99% me. So this data is 99% me. Indominus Jonathon of badassadom.
It also gives you a description and a comparison to a typical person native to the region. I actually show 62% compared to a native's at 60%. Wicked.
Moving on to the next one listed above is the Scandinavian background. This covers Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and parts of Finland.
The last category for me was Europe West. This covers Belgium, France, Germany, and parts of Poland. Seeing this breakdown was a pretty neat experience.
My Mom and I were surprised as to how little Europe West was drizzled in there, considering her parent's parents had immigrated here from Poland.
I'm sure my sister and I share identical data. The interesting aspect of doing this on Ancestry.com is that not only do you find out your own ethnicity regions, it will automatically link you to who ever shares your DNA, who's also done the test. You'll have to review the hints and approve them of course, but they show up pretty regularly. I have several new cousins that I still have yet to review.
It's really funny to me that all my life I've unknowingly most often mimicked a British accent. I just thought it sounded cool, and for some reason, I was always drawn to it. Now I know why!
In the end, I would just say to my readers that if you're interested in doing it, just do it! Ancestry isn't giving me any money to say this, but it's only $99. They send you a kit that's incredibly easy to work through and in a few weeks, you'll know. Don't keep sitting around wondering and speculating. Get the real data. Everything else is just codswallop.