I took a DNA test. And so did my sisters. And both my parents. And several others within our tree. I think we all hoped to find exciting connections to exotic locations, but nothing unexpected so far. There have been changes to the reference populations at the different companies so our results have fluctuated slightly since we took the original tests. Since it appears most of our family has been in America since the 1700s, I am not sure how ‘European’ we can actually be. Hopefully the tests will help with a few brick walls of the closer kin variety. Or help confirm or deny areas still open to question.
Some things we (kind of) know:
- Native American connections? According to my Dad’s research, Granny Ralls always insisted she was Native American. I haven’t found specific paper records to prove or disprove this. We have a newspaper article connecting the Ralls family to Native Americans through marriages, but no specific information with names/locations that we didn’t already know. And the article isn’t about Granny Ralls directly. Rumors abound, of course. But in research, we still need paper to back up the assertions. Especially with the connections being far enough back in the tree for the DNA to be a low percentage. Sister Two has a fractional amount of Native American DNA and my Uncle also has a fractional amount. This allows me to believe that Granny Ralls may have had some Native American, but this could have come from a different section of the tree that I have yet to locate.
- Is the McClure line English, Irish, or Scottish? Again, another item that needs paper proof. I had always heard that we were Scots-Irish which isn’t really Irish. Normally it points more towards Scottish or English. But there is lots of ambiguity within the term Scots/Scotch-Irish and among those who adopted it for use once they arrived in America. But then my Ancestry DNA test showed 28% Irish as did Sister 4. Sisters 2 and 3 tested with 23andme and have roughly 60% of the blend that their website calls British & Irish. Our mother came up 85% English on Ancestry. Our father was 25% British Isles on Family Tree DNA which is what they call their English/Irish blend. So,we are definitely English and Irish and probably Scottish, but I have yet to find ancestors who arrived from a specific location in the British Isles. Dad has a few people in his version of the tree originating from England, but I don’t have paper proof for them. I haven’t left Kentucky with my mom’s tree. Much more work to be done. All made a little more difficult by the fact that the McClures are proving a hard line to trace.
- Sister 3 has a teeny tiny bit of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA. This is a fascinating since I never even considered it as an option within our family tree. Still… need paper proof. Not sure where to look for this and it will be fairly far back within the tree so finding it will involve some luck.
- My Mom and I both share a teeny tiny bit of Finland/Northwest Russian DNA. We all have Dad’s Scandinavian roots. Sister 4 has a small bit of West Asian/Caucasus. Of course everyone receives a different mix of DNA from their ancestors and different sequences appear in different people so as much as I would like to take all this gospel I know that it is only a fraction of the true picture of our DNA heritage.
- French and German roots. Dad and I both have substantial West/Central European connections. Dad never really believed our Rowlett’s were the French Huguenot Rowletts that other researchers connected with but maybe I need to look more into that area of the world for connections.
I have loaded all our results into Gedmatch for comparisons. Depending on the DNA set I choose there I see small differences. For example, I see a teeny tiny amount of Native America DNA in my Dad’s results using a couple of their population comparisons. Which leads me back to the need to find paper to prove connections. Of course, I also need to accept that sometimes illiterate farmers didn’t leave records and that there are some lines I may not be able to progress with once I hit the Civil War.
Also, check out these articles on a new study surmising that traumatic events can be passed down through DNA. I find this idea fascinating. Taking it further, it makes sense to me on other levels. People like certain things immediately or feel connected to places or other people immediately. Maybe it isn’t deja vu but DNA?