DNA does not lie. 

Curiosity won and I did an Ancestry.comDNA test. After several weeks, I got the results yesterday and I’m trying to make sense of what make no sense to me. 

Some of the results were no big surprise. I knew I had Irish ancestors on my paternal side and Scottish ancestors on on my maternal side. But I had always been told and believed I had significant Native American blood. I have genealogies with names!

Anyway, as I keep reminding myself, DNA does not lie.  Well, it may not lie, but it sure can surprise you and challenge what you thought you knew about yourself. Mercy. 

So, first to the two big surprises. 

Shocked and greatly pleased that I am 5% European Jewish. I have visited a Messianic synagogue over the years. I have studied and celebrated Biblical Feasts many times, such as Passover. I can sing the Shabbat blessing in Jewish and own shofars. I loved all of this, but had absolutely no inkling that it was an actual part of my DNA. 

Yesterday morning before I received my results, I told three of my teens that I wanted to attend Rosh Hashanah this Wednesday night. And then I get these results. I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled with this surprise. The photo below is me at Passover this year. 

The other shocker is a big disappointment. All of my life I have believed that I had significant Native American blood. I have names of Native American ancestors listed firmly in my family genealogy. And yet, zero. The DNA results said ZERO. I am trying to process and understand how this could be. 

My initial and simplified answer is that the Native American DNA is just too far back and too insignificant to register. This makes me sad. I have always taken pride in having both Cherokee and Creek ancestors. Ugh. 

This is a rendering of a Creek Indian princess, Sehoy McGillivray, who is ‘supposed’ to be one of my ancesstresses. She married Lachlan McGillivray from Scotland and the line keeps going directly to my great-grandfather, Lovid Busby Smith, then to my grandmother, my mother, and to me. Or so I thought. 

Among the non-surprises was that my ‘genetic community’ was from the early settlers of Mississippi and Louisiana. I was born in Louisiana and graduated highschool in Mississippi. So, this is perfectly expected. I’ve got cousins all over the Southeastern United States. 

The Scandinavia part was puzzling. This, I had no clue of and it makes up nearly a third of my DNA. Viking? Who me? Couldn’t be!  I honestly know very little of the Scandinavian people. I understand some iconic beauties are from that region. For instance, Ingrid Bergman, Ann-Margret, and Greta Garbo were actresses with such bloodlines. Perhaps I’ll find out more as I take this very interesting DNA journey. 

As I said from the beginning, I wasn’t surprised at all of my Celtic background. Not only was I aware of my strong Scottish and Irish lineage, I am proud of it. The music! The lilt! The dances! The short-tempers too! (I’ve relied on this excuse many times). 

Well, as with most things in life, one answered question leads to dozens of more questions. We live, we learn, we discover, we adjust. That’s my real heritage. I’m a human being, crated in the image of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, being consistently transformed into the best me possible by the Holy Spirit. 

I find it interesting that just this week, I quoted a Danish philosopher and will share with my small group tomorrow morning. I’ll share it with you now. 

7 thoughts on “DNA does not lie. 

  1. How Exciting and interesting for me to
    read this. I know you were so excited to get your results back.
    I recently had my DNA done through ancestry also. I had been told I had Native American in me also yet none came up at all. Confused about that but will research that later. Second I also have European Jewish in me. Needless to say I was beyond excited.
    Just thought I would share this with you. I knew we had a connection somewhere. 😉

    1. Wow! That is so interesting. I surely can see how folks get obsessed with genealogy. It’s like a challenging giant jigsaw puzzle.

  2. Something to consider, there’s been a fair amount published on the very low numbers of Native American/North American Indigenous peoples participating in the DNA testing programs. Their population numbers are very small and the uptake in DNA testing in these communities is low, resulting in a low likelihood of genetic matches showing up in your testing.

    I’ve read that depending on greater participation, there is a possibility that your profile can change if/when there are enough people to create markers for matches. I also did testing earlier this year and despite having two grandmothers who were both 1/2 native my DNA profile showed 0%. Meanwhile, I used to hang out on the reservation with cousins as a kid. So, your known geneaology may be accurate, there may just not be enough to match with.

    1. I’ve been reading similar reports. It’s all so very interesting.

      One thing I read said that DNA can be shuffled out. So, even if there were ancestors of a certain origin, the DNA may not always be passed down equally or at all. Very intriguing.

      I think the bottom line is DNA testing can’t create what isn’t there, but they may not have the whole story.

      1. Indeed–DNA doesn’t get passed down as a direct, proportional split. I also see that with my parents. My mother’s family is very multiracial just 1-2 generations back; we have the documentation in census records, church records and pictures indicating phenotype. Her DNA shows only about 20% European (all combined) My father’s family–we can’t find any white folks, just native Americans–but his DNA shows about 40% UK European and a smattering of other countries. DNA trickles very inconsistently. Mine hovers far closer to his make up, but my sister is more similar to my mom. It is all very interesting.

      2. My children, who are all adopted, have found this very intriguing as well and although some aren’t interested in contact with birth family, they are very interested in origins.

  3. I am wanting to have my DNA tested soon. I have heard a rumor that we may have Italian Jewish heritage on my Father’s side. We were always told that the coloring was from native American ancestors but there is an olive complexion so I am thinking that it may be true. Enjoyed reading your story.

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