I can’t describe the way I felt the first time I visited Ireland. For me, it was like coming home.
I knew that I had some Irish heritage, but until I took a DNA test, I didn’t realize just how much, and it explains the inexplicable draw to Ireland that I had, before finally booking that first trip!
My son got me the 23andMeDNA kit, for a Mothers Day gift. I couldn’t wait to spit into that test tube, but I was also just a little apprehensive – what if I wasn’t who I had been told all of my life? We were told the stories of our mixture of bloodlines, from Cherokee Indian, to Irish, German, and everything in between….what would I find in my results, and would it change everything that I thought I knew about myself?
Well…I finally got that long awaited email, and dunt, da, da, daw…I’m 65% Irish! Not a trace of Cherokee, 12% German/French, 7% Scandinavian, and a smidge North African.
If my father were alive, he would have demanded a re-test! He grew up thinking that his mother, who had died when he was seven years old, was full blooded Cherokee. This had influenced our love of Native American culture, and a sense of pride in that we were kin to the tribe. The whole family loved the Billy Jack movies, because we could identify with the half-breed character, and his battle with “the man”! Conversations would include speculation as to how much we looked the part, with the high cheekbones, and straight hair, but we were all blondes, and redheads in our family, not one with black hair, except for my father, but even he had white hair as a child.
This just proves how rumors can influence, and even warp information, and the behaviors and attitudes associated with that. I’m not sure where my father got the wrong information about his mother, maybe it was a fantasy he had concocted on his own, because he was so young when he lost her. So much of our personality, and behaviors are affected by the stories passed down from one generation to the next. It’s like a child that is raised by wolves, believes it is a wolf.
So, I’m pretty much Irish! And now I have to switch gears, and get up to speed on what this means for me. I’ve been doing some snooping into my family tree, and found that the reason I am so Irish, is that I have the genes from both parents, and surprisingly I have found more information about my father’s family, than I have my mother’s. The reason that I am surprised, is because my father grew up very poor, and so there didn’t seem to be very many records kept; even his mother’s grave is unmarked, because they couldn’t afford a headstone.
I still have a lot of research to do, before I can connect all of the dots that make up the pixels of my heritage picture, but I am so excited to start the journey with another visit to Ireland next summer!
See you on the flip side!