Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Do I Think I Am?

So, recently I went through with it and ordered my DNA testing kit through It arrived speedily in the mail, and I then spat into a tube, mixed in some blue preserving liquid, capped it off and shook the tube like the Dickens -- and then dropped it off in the mail.

Now, apparently, I wait around 6 weeks to receive my results. What am I expecting to get out of all this? Well, it's mostly to satisfy my curiosity.

My family on both sides of the genetic pool is fairly tight-lipped about our origins. After all, it was only a few years ago when I learned that my mother's mother comes from a (mostly) African-American family. She always passed for Caucasian, and growing up this is what I assumed she was. And to be fair, she is actually mixed straight down the middle with both African and White/European influences in her ancestry. But because she had gray/green eyes, brown-blondish hair, and extremely pale skin, she always passed for white by this country's standards. She then married a white man from North Carolina who came from Scots-Irish ancestry himself, and whose family line dates back many generations in the south to at least the early 1800s.

So, on my mother's side at least, things are fairly mixed between black and white -- with the European side dominating. There's talk on that side that we are also mixed with Native American stock as well . . . but I seriously doubt that. I'm always highly skeptical when Americans talk about having Native blood in their family line. It's almost always complete bullshit. It would be nice if we were the exception, because that would be seriously COOL!!! But I know enough, and have heard enough, to know that this is probably not the case.

My mother's genetic makeup was around 72% European, and 24% African. I know this because her full-blooded sister, my auntie, took the test a few years ago and these were her results. No Native American markers at all! What was left--the remaining 4% of her total dna makeup--was undetermined. My mother passed away when I was nine, so unfortunately this is as close as I will get to knowing what her ethnic breakdown might have been.

And as for my father: Things are complicated on that end as well because I have zero contact with him. What little I do know from that side is that my father and his family emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic sometime in the 50s or 60s. And from what I can recall from hazy early childhood memories of my father's parents -- my grandmother on that side was very dark and had native Caribbean features. So in other words, she looked like what you would imagine the Taino tribespeople of that area might have looked like before the Spanish came and wrecked everything. My father's father--my paternal grandfather--on the other hand, was quite fair complexioned, as far as I can recall. He had European features and reminded me a lot of my mother's side of the family in fact.

With this in mind, I would imagine that the DNA contribution I received from my father's side is going to be fairly mixed as well. I'll probably have even more European influences in my results, but mostly from Southern Europe -- i.e., Spain/Portugal, and perhaps even Italy. Whereas the European mix I'd have received from my mom will be more from Northern Europe. Because of her dad, from Northern England and Scotland . . . as well as trace amounts from Scandinavia (Norway). But because of my father's mother, I will probably have a good portion of indigenous tribal Caribbean DNA as well.

Then of course, because this is the Dominican Republic we're talking about, there's going to be an even bigger African contribution to my DNA results as well. Combined with the large African-American makeup of my maternal grandmother's line, too, I imagine both sides will raise my percentage of African originating DNA well above my aunt's amount. If hers was 24% without even having a Dominican side like I do, I would imagine that my own results for the African side of things will be well into the 30s or 40s.

And as for the European side of things, I'm guessing somewhere in the 50s.

Which leaves around 6 - 12% of my DNA to be indigenous or Native American.

And then what's left of that will be undetermined.

Some people tell me that I look East Asian. I've been hearing that all my life, especially once I started learning Chinese in college. But to the best of my knowledge, I don't have even a little bit of East Asian in my bloodline. Trust me, I wish I did! But I seriously doubt it.

People tend to assume I'm far more mixed, ethnically speaking, than I suspect I actually am. I think the bulk of my heritage consists of West African and Western European influences. Which is a great mixture to be, just those two alone!

But, this is what the test will confirm for me in any event.

Below I'm going to list my firm, though still highly speculative, guesses on what the exact breakdown will be. When I get the actual results, I'll come back and compare these guesses with those numbers.

Fun, RIGHT???

Anyway, here goes:

European:   52%

African:   38%

American:   8%

I could be way off. In another one of my estimates, I predicted a more even breakdown between Europe and Africa; with the split going 48/44 percentage points. But the more I think on the realities of that split, the more I think it's unlikely. So I'm going to stick with these numbers above.

Again, this is just guesswork. The proof will be in the pudding when I eventually get my test results online in a few weeks.

Until then, I'm in the process of putting together a reveal video to go up on Youtube once those results come in. I've never done any serious video editing work before, so it's a bit challenging. I don't want it to be too amateurish, after all. At the same time, however: I'm no Steven Spielberg!

So then, let the waiting begin.

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