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Counting the Rings on the Old Family Tree

A couple months ago, I decided to take the plunge and get my DNA analyzed to see exactly where on this dirtball my ancestors came from.

From family lore, I’m supposed to be:

  • 25% Norwegian
  • 25% German (although that family branch came from Deutschland via the Volga River Valley)
  • 25% Irish
  • 25% …. Umm, yeah, about that.

So, 75% known, 25% unknown, although there’s a good chance that there’s a bit more Irish in that quarter of my genome.

So, anyway, I’m what you’d call a mutt, the alloy that the great American melting pot creates after a few generations.

So, anyway, I bought a kit, expectorated into a test tube, and mailed it off.  The results came in the other day.  According to the good folks who did the lab work, here’s where my ancestors hailed from:

  • 41% Ireland – Higher than I thought, but not surprising.
  • 31% Scandinavia – Again, not surprising, but I guess this means there’s a Viking or seven who settled down in Ireland somewhere in the woodpile, because my known Norwegian ancestor only contributed 25%.
  • 13% Great Britain – Well, that was unexpected, but honestly not surprising.
  • 8% Western Europe – I guess this is my German ancestor, although I thought this would be higher.  Maybe the Great Britain and and Western Europe are from a British guy who liked the Continent after defeating Napoleon.
  • 2% Italy / Greece – So now JayG and I have something to talk about.
  • Less than 1%  Iberian Peninsula – Hi, my armada just got burned to the waterline by the British.  Can I work on your Irish potato farm and marry your daughter?
  • Less than 1% European Jewish – Possibly from the German branch.   Maybe I can use this as leverage when I try to get spousal permission to buy a Galil?
  • Less than 1% Caucasus Mountains – Not surprising, considering that my grandmother’s family spent several generations one country over.
  • Less than 1% Middle East – I’m sure there’s a good yarn about how that happened.
  • Less than 1% South Asia (India or Bangladesh) – Huh?

So, there you have it.  Pretty white bread, with a few traces of things I didn’t expect.

And what does this all mean?  Well, in the words of my distant Jewish relative – Bupkis.

It’s interesting to try to figure out where my (formerly) reddish-brown hair comes from, or why three out of the five kids my mother birthed have blue eyes, but it’s not that important.  Where our ancestors come from, with only a rare exception when it comes to health issues, makes no difference at all.  What matters is who we are now.

I am a citizen of the United States, as were my parents and grandparents.  I am a father, a husband, and a friend.  Nothing else matters.

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  1. Amen to that, but it DOES give validity to the Minivandians… 😀


  2. JohnD

     /  March 26, 2016

    ‘ I am a father, a husband, and a friend.’. These days, those are proud titles. Wear them well and a Happy Easter to you and yours.


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