A DNA test can help solve crimes, determine someone’s paternity, or even identify ancient mummies. But I had my DNA tested recently for a simpler reason — to find out my true heritage. Who am I? What am I?
The test, offered by Ancestry.com, usually shows what your parents and grandparents have told you all along — you’re Italian! You’re Irish! You’re a mix! (Or not. In some cases, I’m sure there are some surprises).
We are probably the first few generations to question or seek our lineage. In Italy, you were probably Italian. In Greece, Greek. But America is the true melting pot, and our ancestors, in the last few generations, had to emigrate from somewhere to get here. And some met and married here, merging two regions or even countries to make an American baby. But is what grandma and grandpa told us true? Was their memory correct about that redheaded uncle? And what may they have left out, intentionally or unintentionally?
All I had to do was spit in a tube. Sounds easy, but that’s all of the instructions I got — just fill it to the blue line. Just a quarter teaspoon, it read. Hmmm. Should I brush my teeth? Where is Colgate made, anyway? I had Chinese food the night before. Would that skew the results? Would it show that I had Asian roots?
Honestly, I was looking forward to some surprises. People told me my whole life that I looked Irish. Ha, I’d like to show them and find some exotic roots (like Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, or Mata Hari — did you know she was Dutch, from the Netherlands, and executed by a French firing squad for being a spy during World War I?) Ah, the mystique of it all. I was excited.
A few weeks later, the results were in. I would finally know if what my parents and others had told me all along — that my gift of Blarney was, in fact, inherited.