From Whence I Came

When I was in elementary school, our nationalities became a big thing among my friends. Because we lived in the Midwest, the truth of the matter is that most of us were sort of a mixture of all nationalities. In our town, many folks were of Czech or Polish ethnicity. Since our school mascot was the Shamrocks, those with Irish ancestry were particularly proud to say they were Irish.

It didn’t bother me to not be Irish. I was always safe from being pinched on St. Patrick’s Day because our school uniforms were green. Besides, my only living grandparents had come to the United States in the early 1920s from Switzerland. They both spoke Swiss around the house, and to most of their friends who were also of Swiss nationality. I was very happy to be Swiss.

I reckon most of my friends who were a mixture of nationalities chose the one they thought was the coolest, and proclaimed to be German, or Polish, or Irish. As for me, I always proudly professed to be half Swiss and half Polish. It was a logical proclamation because as I said, my paternal grandparents immigrated from Switzerland. My maternal grandparents were of Polish ancestry, but the original immigrants went further back than my grandparents.

Last August, my granddaughter Kaiya decided she wanted to know her nationality. Towards this goal, she asked to have her DNA analyzed by ancestry.com for her birthday. It was then that I learned that unlike I had always believed, the percentages of ethnicity might not be the same for all siblings. In other words, Kaiya might be a larger percentage of Asian than her sister Mylee or her brother Cole.

So that got me thinking: I might not be half Swiss and half Polish as I had always proclaimed; rather, I might have a larger perentage of Polish, while my sister Bec might have a larger percentage of Swiss.

This realization made me very curious about my DNA. So curious, in fact, that I spent hard-earned cash-money to get my very own spit analyzed. The results came back to me last week.

Smart money was on the probability that I would have more Polish than Swiss. The basis for that opinion was the fact that I look very much like my mother…..

So it was to no one’s surprise that my DNA results show that I am a full 71 percent Polish, and only a mere 13 percent Swiss. Sorry Dad. The unaccounted percentages are 9 percent Baltic States and 7 percent Swedish.

I was really kind of hoping that there would be some sort of scandalous nationality showing up in my background. Maybe some link to Queen Elizabeth or a smidge of Native American. Of course, had that been the case, some of that should have turned up in Kaiya’s DNA.

Having had my DNA analyzed leaves me with a couple of thoughts: 1) My blood line is way cleaner than I would have imagined. I don’t know (or care, really) where the Baltic States and the Swedish percentages come from. Perhaps from my Neanderthal ancestors or from a Viking battle. 2) I would love to see the results of my siblings’ DNA analysis, but none have taken the leap.

I would be willing to place money, however, on Jen’s percentages being absolutely the opposite of mine, as she is our Grammie reborn…..

I haven’t been brave enough to do a very thorough analysis of bloodline matches. Maybe I should. Maybe I am fourth cousin thrice removed to Albert Einstein or Frederic Chopin.

I’ll let you know if I learn some sort of deep dark secret.

3 thoughts on “From Whence I Came

  1. I’m betting Jennie, Beckie and Dave are more Swiss. But some of the 71% Polish must have travelled to Sweden or the Baltics.

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