354. What are your Christmas Eve traditions?
355. What are your Christmas Day traditions?
356. What is the best gift that you've received this season?
357. What is one thing that you are most thankful for as you reflect on 2014?
358. Do you have any holiday family history stories? Who do they involve?
359. Identify one new ancestral discovery that you've made in 2014. Is it a specific ancestor or something else ((family picture, heirloom, etc)?
360. What was one of the best holidays that you remember of 2014?
This week I've chosen to do 359. Identify one new ancestral discovery made in 2014. I've found several awesome things in 2014 - from grave markers previously unknown to new ancestors. However, I think one of the most helpful (and pretty interesting too) discoveries was what came back after I ran my DNA.
I'd like to frame these results with this information:
My entire life, I grew up hearing that somewhere - waaaayyy back there - we had a Native American ancestor on my maternal grandfather AND grandmother's side of the family. Cool huh? Here are some of the stories:
My great-grandfather's sister, Alice, was often picked on and excluded because she had dark hair and a dark complexion. Why, you might ask (because I did). It was because she LOOKED Native American.
My sister and I were told (repeatedly) that our grandmother did not have gray hair because of her Indian blood (pft).
My grandfather told me a story about his father's grandfather (my great-great-great grandfather). He said that he had fought Indians, had been an Indian Scout for the U.S. Army, and that he had eventually married an Indian woman (a princess to make the story even better). There were some cool parts of the story - my Grandfather said that his dad remembers walking through town with his grandfather. The man was able to tell his grandson, in detail, nearly everything he had seen as he walked through the town.
I'd also heard, through my paternal line, that the family was Jewish - somewhere.
When I got into doing my own ancestry research, I started to question these stories. Mostly because I NEVER found a single person that I even THOUGHT could have been Native American. Not a single one. The Jewish lore was just as difficult to prove. Not a single person I've found has ever been identified as a practicing Jew (or definitively having that ancestry) - they have all come to this country as Presbyterians or members of the Brethren.What could solve the family lore struggle? DNA.
Things I did not find: Native American heritage.
If you will look above you will find things supported by the research I've uncovered: my family is 98% European. I've found a TON of Irish, English, Scottish, and German people. I can't even say that I'm surprised by the Other regions (identified as Italy/Greece, Finland/ Russia, European Jew (there you go, it's in there), Europe East, Caucasus. and North African results).
I've shared these results with my family members - some of which hang on to the Native American lore. But, I'm glad that I ran it and now I know for sure.
I do think that it's interesting how invested people in this country are in finding a Native American great-grandmother. But, when that Native American great-grandmother isn't there, her legend still lives on - despite the facts that prove otherwise.
In 2014 I started running my own family history business. One of the things that I encourage clients and friends to do is run their DNA. It's important not to waste time looking for an ancestor or a history that does not exist (and no matter how badly you want it to, sometimes it just doesn't). Ultimately DNA doesn't lie.
If you are on ancestry.com you can make DNA matches with other ancestry.com members who have run their own DNA (there are often Groupon coupons or holiday deals that ancestry.com runs to make this process less expensive - take advantage of it). You know - through DNA - that you are related. You just have to find the common link. Figuring out the equation is easier because you already have the answer. It's, literally, in your blood.