I will start with the immortal words of my father when he handed my a lot of my Christmas and Birthday presents – “It was on sale.” It will be my fall back reasoning. I digress already!
I was at the BIFHSGO Family History Conference last week and was deeply immersed through its sessions on the pros and cons of getting your DNA tested for researching your family’s history. It was fascinating. I hadn’t really thought seriously about testing my DNA. I had felt, and still do, to some extent, that my documentary research has been sufficient to my needs. I have been, over the long haul been able to trace back a lot of my family line to a level which is utterly satisfying, and for some lines damn impressive, and I didn’t feel I needed the confirmation of DNA for my results. But the idea of autosomal DNA creating some kind of genetic tracing to other people, and perhaps an interesting evaluation of my ethnic heritage was compelling.
So I saw the kits, they were on sale, and I bought one. There you have it.
The biggest question is of course what do I want to get out this experience? And this is a bit complicated. I know my heritage, I know for at least 5 generations on most lines, and some further than that where my people come from. I know that I am Irish, Scottish and English, and far, far, back the English is mixed happily with French. So it will be interesting to see what the percentages say. There is a lovely family rumour of an Aboriginal ancestor, which would be interesting to find. But here is the catch, I know that the further back you go the harder these traces are to find, and from my calculations the ancestor is at least 5 generations back – at least. I have no documentary evidence of this ancestor, so this would be the only opportunity to prove/disprove the rumour. What will my test reveal?
At the conference there were a lot of warnings made by the speakers about the results. The key message was that if you are not interested in the family’s skeletons, don’t open the closet. A lot of people get very upset about discoveries of non-relationship. Someone wasn’t the son/daughter of the one of their parents, of the people who raised them. Since I cannot test my paternity as my parents have passed, this is not a worry. (Actually having known my parents, not a worry anyway.) But I am prepared for things not being as they seemed. I am ready for surprises. I have already had a few shocks in my family research, and I think I can handle this.
This evening I registered my kit with Ancestry, and took the test. I found spitting into a tube a bit gross. I also think I am dehydrated because it took far too long to fill the damn thing. The instructions say that it is not much, only ¼ tsp, but really, that seemed like a lot when I was spitting. Yuck. Once full, I added the lid and the stabilizer, shook it, sealed it, and not it is ready for mailing on Monday. I am sending it to Ireland – a long trip via Canada Post. And then comes the wait. 6-8 weeks is the standard according to the instructions.
Update September 28th: Ancestry has now received the box that I mailed. So the wait continues, but now a plain old wait as opposed to the loss of the package in transit.