Getting My DNA
In August I sent my saliva tube in the mail to Ancestry for my DNA analysis. And then, I waited.
One morning, in early October, at a childhood friend’s home, while drinking coffee around her pool, and just fooling around on social media, I had the thought to check Ancestry and there it was, answers sitting there like an old friend waiting for me to see who I was.
At first, it was hard to concentrate. So much, in fact I had to call my husband because I couldn’t trust myself to see what I was seeing. My mind seemed scrambled, like a jig-saw puzzle. I wasn’t thinking straight, I was so excited. I guess it was a bit shocking for me to find out I’m 55% German. It actually said Western European, but I know I’m not French due to the fact that Germans made up a large part of the population in South Carolina, Georgia, Northern Alabama and Tennessee where my people are from. I never expected to be German, especially coming from biological parents with surnames of Scott and Stewart.
I was 22% Irish—no surprise there nor with Great Britain genes coming in third place. There was my Scott and Stewart surnames. I have a bit of Iberian Peninsula I never knew, which later I found out is quite common in the South as well, and a dash of Scandinavian and Western African (Senegal to be exact)—both 1%. Not surprising, considering my people landed and lived in the South for hundreds of years, but wow. I researched and found it’s more common for African Americans to have European DNA than for white Southerners to have African DNA. Only 3-4% of white Southerners have African DNA. I wonder what the story was, hopefully the connection was because of love and not because of control. I just don’t know the facts, but it gives me moments of thought how deep my roots go in the South, something I didn’t know until recently in my life, and now through DNA and their maps, I know the truth where my American roots come from. It might not be all good stories. Thanks to one of my half-sisters who did their DNA, I know the German, Irish and African roots come from my father’s side. At least I know something more about him, this enigma, my birth father, Robert Stewart.
It took me a couple of days of processing about my results. I kept staring at the names of my possible second cousins (there were two) that I figured had to be on my paternal side because the names were new and didn’t match any names on my maternal tree. I had a ton of third cousins on both sides, and thousands of cousins on down. It was overwhelming and I felt a little defeated before I even began to contact any of them. How would I ever find my birth father? How can I know for sure this is really my great-grandmother? Where in this family do I even fit in?
Another sucky thing about being adopted is that you are not on anyone’s family tree, except for your own or maybe your in-laws'. Your adopted family doesn’t count you as one of them, and your biological family doesn’t even know about you. Eventually, if you have a kind biological family they’ll add you in, but until that happens, you don’t exist. Maybe that’s why it’s so important for me to do this, to be sure I exist. As adoptees, our brains are wired from birth from that initial tearing apart from our mothers' cord, perhaps seeding in us to sprout when triggered, we don’t exist, so finding our roots is important to prove that we do.
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”
~ Alex Haley, Author of Roots