My DNA–What? Surely you Jest!!

Seriously.  I do a little DNA test and what do I get?   Total confusion.  I mean, seriously, who did I think I was?? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Based on more than 5 years of research relying on Ancestry.com, google, family records, public records, photographs and other research, I expected my DNA results to look something like this:

British Isles: 60%, Western Europe: 35 %, Other: 5 %.

Ancestry.com even includes on its site a clever little circle graph showing the nature of the information that members would receive about their genetic markers.  It seemed so simple.  Once again, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I expected, and found, strong evidence of family roots in the British Isles.  Mom’s family (Harrises, Bayes and Wrights) and my maternal grandmother’s family, (Lewises), all have strong ancestral ties there.  But where I expected my heritage to be dominated by British and Western European ancestors, instead I now understand I have lots of ancestors from Scandinavian countries.  I had not anticipated a single Swede, Dane or Norwegian in my entire family tree.  My Middle Eastern and Southern European roots–seriously, where do they come from. My anticipated heritage is so different from the heritage established by my DNA.  I am intrigued.

The question I raised in my last post about my DNA test indicated I expected to see some data in the “other” column as a result of the somewhat obscure origins of the Lumbee “tribe” of North Carolina.  My ancestor, Morris Teeter, who was born in 1737 and died in 1812, was buried in the Cummings Cemetery near Pembroke, NC.  Apparently, he was a Lumbee or married to a Lumbee.  If that information is correct, then I certainly have no native American DNA indicators.  Perhaps the rumors that the Lumbee are descended from early sailors to the New World (obviously Scandinavian and maybe Persian) is true.  I don’t know.  I don’t want the Lumbee tribe to take my word for it.  But they may want to be DNA tested themselves. Really.

But I digress–kind of!

Where are the Mesle/Kirsch Western European ancestors?  What about the centuries I expected granddad’s family to have lived in Western Europe before moving from Germany to the United States?  Nowhere.  Absolutely nowhere. I have 5 years invested in learning about the migration of the Mesle name from St. Maixent, France, spreading throughout France and into Germany, Belgium.  5 years trying to determine where in the small world of Mesles my own family had its origins before appearing in the record books in Stuttgart, Germany in the early 1800s.  Now, I do not know whether I am, at all, connected by blood to those Mesles.  Maybe they are, as I once read, descended from Vikings. But could they have lived in Western Europe for 800 years without picking up even a hint of German or French DNA markers?  Of course not.

The question, of course, is “Does it matter?”  If my interest is in tracing the religious, ethical and educational history of my family, it may not matter at all.  If my interest is in my blood line, then maybe the most important message is that none of us may be who we think we are.

Now that, is something to chew on!

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5 responses to “My DNA–What? Surely you Jest!!

  1. Well, dear Sis, I’m quite sure you and I are related, and that’s the most important thing to me. But I agree, it is a puzzlement. You can now spend the next five years figuring it out!

  2. Well, I love the puzzle. I am confident that the family members near and dear to my heart are, in fact, my family. That is truly what matters. The past is past. Nonetheless, genealogy is for me a happy way to spend time exploring history. and yes, sis, I am definitely grateful for the fact you are my sister and that Bob is our brother.

    Thanks, Sarah, Terry helped me try to get a photo that evidenced puzzlement rather than shock! It took a number of attempts to reach an acceptable image.

    Love to you both.

  3. Wow, this is interesting. You have discovered that you have roots in parts of the world that you didn’t expect, and not in where you thought. I assume you have researched your branches? Was there any adoptions in your family line? I have some–my great grandmother, for example. I have not done one of these DNA tests yet.

    • I have researched both my mother’s and father’s lines. Obviously there is always far more research to be done. But the DNA test that I did is inconsistent with my father’s paternal line. The records of my family, and the census records, support my belief that both of my grandfather’s parents lived in Germany.

      I am not aware of any adoptions, but, of course, that would explain a lot. It cannot have occurred in recent generations since my grandfather, father and daughter all have very similar features.

      Thanks for your interest. If you have any ideas, let me know. I obviously consider it a fascinating area of research.

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