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Monday, March 6, 2017

ancestry.com

My husband has always claimed to be 1/16 Native American.  The story was that his maternal great grandmother was given up for adoption on the "orphan train" because she was half Native American.  Because this apparently occurred before proper adoption records were kept, there was never any way to truly verify this story.  His great grandmother has long been passed, but his grandmother is still with us.  Her adult children, including my mother-in-law, had recently begun to wonder what tribe they are from, and feared their mother's failing health might make the answer forever unknown.

They decided to purchase DNA testing from ancestry.com for about $100.  The company claims that they can provide you with a fairly accurate ancestral DNA profile with just a bit of saliva.   My mother-in-law paid the fee and within a few weeks, a saliva collection kit arrived in the mail.  They took the tiny tube to the nursing home, coaxed a few drops from the mouth of their confused mother, and shipped it off to a laboratory.  The results arrived via email today.

I received a brief text from my husband stating to check my personal email account because his entire life story has been a lie.  My husband has a unique sense of humor, so I knew he was joking.  I did check my email and discovered the results of the DNA profile were sitting there in my inbox.  After the initial shock that the very essence of who we are as humans, our deoxyribonucleic acid, could easily be sent via email, I scanned the results quickly, looking for some evidence of Cherokee, Blackfoot, Cree, Choctaw, Mohican, or any other tribe.  Instead, I saw a profile for a woman with 0% Native American DNA.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zero.  The entire family was, naturally, shocked.  Rather than 25% Native American DNA, as had been the story, my husband's grandmother has the following DNA profile:

  • 72% Europe West (includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein)
  • 16% Ireland (includes Ireland, Wales, Scotland)
  • 6% Great Britain (includes England, Scotland, Wales)
  • 3% African 
    • 2% Africa Southeastern Bantu (includes South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda
    • 1% Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers (includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Congo)

I've always been told that my maternal grandfather's mother was half Cherokee.   For $100, a bit of saliva, and a few week's time,  I'll soon discover if my life story has been a "lie" as well.  ancestry.com, here I come!

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