12 November 2014

The Results are IN!


Inspired by the PBS program "Finding Your Roots", and trying to resolve an internal debate about some family lore, I simply asked for a DNA kit from Ancestry.com for my birthday this year.  A vile full of spit and a few weeks later, my ancestral-origin profile arrived.


My grandfather, sometimes with seriousness, and other times in jest, claimed that we had Native American blood.  In my genealogical research, I haven't found that native link-but some lines got blurred in Virginia, so I thought it was possible.  When grandpa had us grandkids "on the hook" he'd tell us we were part Blackfoot, to which he'd take off his sock and show us the bottom of his dirty foot.  That should have clued me in.  More believable was his story that he knew that the first to carry our name in the New World arrived with his brothers from Ireland way back.  This didn't add up to what became pretty overwhelming probability that the first of my namesake came from Germany during the Revolution, and dropped the "t" from his name so that it sounded more Anglicized.

Plight of the Spanish Armada
Then there was this little matter of my paternal grandmother, who was a Bryant, and her lineage came up through Kentucky in the 1830s.  Family tradition is that we were "Black Irish".  Never heard that term?  Black Irish is a term used for people with darker complexions and hair from the Emerald Isle, and at least one theory suggests they were descended from survivors of the Spanish Armada that wrecked off the coast of Ireland.  BUT at the first inaugural family reunion in 2012, my aunt, the eldest member of that family unit, brought a photo album of the Bryants and some family members appeared so dark-skinned, that we wondered if the black in Black Irish, might have actually been, well,  Black and Irish.  My aunt quickly closed the photo album.

Destruction of the Armada
So there was a part of me that thought my regions of origin could have looked like a smorgasbord of ethnic groups.  Based on my research though, I thought it would be more likely that about 50% or more would be German, and the remaining but likely minority amount would be English-Irish.  Have I built up the suspense enough?

Yup, about as Anglo as they come.
How about 49% English-Scottish and 34% German-Alsace region.  The remaining amount included only 2% Irish (say what?) which was as much as the percentage of Eastern European Jew.  I don't know that the last surprised me.  I did get a full 6% of Iberian peninsula, which could relate back to the whole Black Irish-minus the Irish evidently.  Well, I'm about as white as they come...a friend said I'd get lost in a snowstorm.  How boring.  I have to rethink the concept that the first of my namesake dropped the "t" and that maybe some aspect of Gramp's story was true-just not Ireland, more like England.  Geesh, England's never really even held any fascination for me.  S'pose I'll have to follow the Royals now.

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