Blind Dates

Many people are very interested in their ancestral connections. I’m interested, but not with the consuming passion that would lead me to list “genealogy” as an interest. But  weird blips in my experience as a writer made me very curious. Who were those people, why was I writing about them, and what do the connections MEAN? I’ve been very interested in the question of ancestral memory since writing Savior.

Last fall I got a good deal on DNA testing through Nope. That’s NOT The information I got from that good deal was pretty useless (“Dude, you’re, like, White and stuff”) except for the revelation that I have nearly 20% native American ancestry. That made me extremely curious. I knew it could only have come from my dad’s side of the family since I had a pretty solid sense of who my maternal ancestors are. That sent me searching.

I learned that occasionally Sami DNA reads as native American DNA — that seemed very possible as my dad’s maternal grandparents came from Sweden — but southern Sweden, not reindeer land. AND there is no trace of them before Minnesota. Carl Berggren is a common Swedish name. Late nineteenth century ships were full of Carl Berggrens.

I looked around on my dad’s father’s side (formerly terra incognita) and discovered that the family we have always thought was Irish isn’t, much.  The mysterious woman — my dad’s grandmother, the woman with my eyes — was not French Canadian of Irish descent. Her father was a Scot and her mother descended from Finns who had landed in Quebec. Aye but ’tis true. The man she married was an Irishman.


Emma Jane (Mackie) Kennedy

With all this random mating among my progenitors (thanks, though, guys) I began to think this ancestry thing is really a joke — especially when I found a very precocious Swiss ancestor who had married and had children AFTER he died at age 12!

But I took another test. This one required me to spit into a tube. That’s supposed to tell me what nationalities comprise the wonder that is me. I will get the results in a month or so.

In my secret heart I’m hoping it will tell me that I’m 20% Reindeer Herder or Elk Chaser or “I will fight nor more, forever” or a Great Builder of Igloos. I’d like a genetic explanation for my love of snow, animals and high country.

14 thoughts on “Blind Dates

  1. Some passions are more aesthetic than genetic, but I’m also trying to figure out a few things. Like where I get a blood type that has nothing to do with my known ancestry … indicating the likelihood of a central Asian somewhere in that DNA pile. Which, considering all my known ancestors are eastern European, makes some sense. Genghis’s gang came and stayed. I’m sure there was plenty of genetic material spread out among the resident population … none of which would ever have been acknowledge.

    But we never know for sure. To misquote Sam Spade, “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”

  2. It is amazing what can be found today by a simple DNA test. I would definitely have a trace of Hugeunot DNA in my blood as my great grandmother maternal side, was the direct descendent from a Huguenot immigrant to London. I trace the complete family back to France where they originated before they fled. I was a genalogist for a few years and still have the complete results. I had them online, but no longer have that computer and have now lost interest. You can find so much and after 1000 ancestors you get to a line where it goes no further. You definitely have a very rich mixture in you background. the mormons are quite into this genealogy stuff. If you havn’t yet looked, try their ancestry site – and it does not cost anything if I remember rightly

    • One of my cousins is a Mormon and he ravaged my mom’s stuff — she was into genealogy before computers. I’m grateful to him because IF Mormon Heaven is the truth, all of his relatives as far back as he has found them are safe. I think I have been at their site a time or two. The only ancestors that interested me were my Swiss ancestors because of the numerous bizarre coincidences. But now I’m hoping to be an Indian. It would explain a lot. 😉 My mom even accused me once of being “An Indian lover” (terrible curse in the wild west) and “More like an Indian than a cowboy.” It would be cool if her accusations (accusations?) were justified by science!

  3. VERY interesting post. It is so interesting to learn about your ancestry. My cousin has researched 3 sides of ancestors. She says it’s addictive to do genealogy. I love to know but I don’t have the time so she tells me what she finds. I am type B+ but my kinds are O+. Have no idea what my husbands blood type was or my parents or my sister.

    • You can really get pulled into it — but I always hit a wall of either boredom or frustration so I think it’s not my thing, really, especially when there are so many mistakes like my 12 year old ancestor having all those kids after he died. 😉

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