James Molloy Writer
The Unicorn and the Irish Hare
Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to come by and read this week’s blog post. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I would suggest going back over some of the other topics written about since the blog began back in July. You might also find those articles enjoyable.
This week I wanted to cover the topic of ancestry and family.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try out the Ancestry DNA kit and see what they would come back with for me. I don’t know why I wanted to try it, but I suppose curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to see if, as a family, we came from some cool and exotic far off places that I might explore as I got a bit older.
The box arrived not long after payment was made and included the test tube and instructions on how to activate your sample on the website, where your results would be published as soon as they were ready. First, the sample goes into the funnel, then you take the funnel off and replace it with the cap filled with blue dye. Once the cap is firmly secure, the blue dye automatically releases into the saliva sample, and you shake for a minimum of five seconds to cause a reaction. Easy peasy.
Well, muggins here tried putting the cap on the wrong way round for the first ten minutes and burnt his fingers trying to tighten the cap so much that he also tore skin. Thank goodness for YouTube, or I’d still be here to this day trying to get the cap on to release the blue dye eventually though I got it sealed off and sent it off in the post.
Ancestry is really good with updates, and they kept me informed of every step along the process, which they said would take anywhere between 6-8 weeks from the receipt of the sample. Soon after, they even gave me an estimated date of when my results would be available on the website of September 13th.
I told a few family members that I had sent away for it at a family event, and some had guessed as to from what part of the world we would come. One thought that we would surely have a few ancestors from southern Europe; others thought more northerly and felt that some of our ancestry had to come from Scandinavian countries. All good guesses, and it led to more excitement for me as the day of the results drew closer.
Then last Sunday, as I watched a football match, I received an email telling me my results were ready. I was delighted that they arrived so quickly and surprised, as I thought the method ancestry had described to me was that obtaining the DNA sequence would take much longer. However, to prolong the suspense, I decided to refrain from opening my results until I finished watching the game.
Every single guess turned out to be wrong, and even I was amazed at how they turned out. I expected to be overwhelmingly Irish, say between 80-90 per cent – as I knew all four grandparents were born in Ireland, but this was not the case. As per the results, it turned out I was just 64% Irish and 36% Scottish. That was it from the 1700s onward; the ancestry that eventually led to me was just Ireland and Scotland for the last 300 years. Safe to say, we didn’t venture too far. Of course, during the Irish Famine, a few relatives did move to the states, to places like New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, where I still have relatives there living to this day, and they then spread out across the States and Canada.
The next few days consisted of asking my parents about people who would come up as close relatives, but the best anyone could do was say, ‘Yes, he/she kind of looks like so and so…’. So I think the next while will be spent trying to find out where all of this Scottish ancestry comes from and why we might have originated there, at least partly.
I would recommend it to anyone curious about their own ancestry to take the test and find out your results. It could be very surprising, just like mine turned out.
If you have already taken the test, is there anything you found strange, did your results surprise you too? Let me know in the comments section below.
In closing, I again want to thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to hear more from me and the blog in the future, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MolloyWrites, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon.
Until next time.