Shaking a family tree to see what falls out might be surprising. I’ve heard it said that if a person thinks their family tree is a giant oak, they’d better not shake it too hard or a few nuts are sure to fall out.
My brother and I had the bright idea this Christmas of having a DNA kit from Ancestry.com run on our parents. He paid for one, and I the other. Our mother’s sample has to be redone due to some technical difficulty. Our dad’s is in the works.
As in most of Appalachia, there are suspected connections to European ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, (often referred to as the Scotts-Irish), Germany, and England, with a little Cherokee in the mix. Someone said they weren’t sure that the results are accurate or that there might be family roots they don’t want to know about.
As far as I’m concerned, we are what we are. No one person, and no one race is superior to another. One thing every child has in common is that they have absolutely no say in the parents or ancestors they came from.
I am excited to find out if there is a strong Scottish connection in our DNA, since my heart has been drawn to Scotland for decades. I must stay that I will be disappointed if there isn’t at least a portion of our ancestry that came from the Scottish Highlands. However, I’d rather know the truth than not. Reality is better than make believe.
These tests take about six to eight weeks for results and cost just under $100.00 each. I feel like it was a good investment for our parents and for us as the offspring.
Ironically, I found a television show on KET this evening dedicated to tracing family roots of famous people. Tonight there were three individuals having their roots traced. All three were surprised to find out their mixed ethnicity. The Caucasian gentleman was surprised to find out that one of his great-great-great grandmothers was a former slave who after her freedom traveled to the Oregon Territory in the hopes of a land grant through homesteading. What an incredible journey of a courageous woman who was determined to have her own land.
Homesteading rules were that the person who had applied for the land grant had to live on it and successfully make improvements for five years. At the end of five years, the documents showed that she had indeed been granted over one hundred and sixty acres. Such a woman would be fine addition to any family tree.
The other two guests discovered individually that each of their ancestors had not only been slaves, but had been sired by the white land owners who owned them. This was hard information for the guests to hear, and not at all what they had expected.
The ancestry kits that we purchased for our parents certainly will not give this kind of information. The professional researcher on the show did all of the digging, checking court records, birth and death certificates, census records, and so on to piece together the information.
Every family has stories of origin. Most of these don’t go back more than three or four generations. To have accurate information for five or six generations is pretty good since so many of our ancestors did not see the need to write down family histories. The ones that were recorded have often disappeared over time through family moves, fires, floods, etc.
I know that my family line can clearly be traced back to the Revolutionary War and is documented through the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). That still doesn’t answer the question of where our distant ancestors from Europe originated.
I can hardly wait to see the DNA results from Ancestry.com.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.