It’s funny how you can go through your life thinking you know all about yourself, and then have things turn upside down on you so quickly. When people asked me where my ancestors were from, I had an easy answer. I’m half Italian (mother) and half Irish (father). Plus, there is a little German thrown in there somewhere for good measure.
About this, there was no question. My mother knows very well that her family was from Italy. Our family has a long history of noses, or a history of long noses, to prove it. She looks Italian, she cooks like an Italian. She dotes like an Italian mother does. Then my father. He could certainly tell a story like an Irishman, played pool and drank like one, too.
Along comes a new industry in the form of DNA analysis services like Ancestry.com and 23andme.com. For a nominal fee, they perform a genetic analysis to show you conclusively from where your peeps came. All you do is submit a sample of some type. They run it and tell you where in the world you are rooted from. Sounds like a hoot, right?
To say the least, looking over the results of my family history were a bit hard to swallow and not at all what family lore had led me to believe. For instance, I am supposed to be half-Italian. The results show otherwise. I’m not quite half –closer to 44% Italian. Which, for some reason, when I read it started me to thinking about a Chicken Parmesan sandwich. Maybe half a sandwich would be more appropriate.
Then, things got interesting. I’m half-Irish, correct? The results show that I’m not even close to that. Try four (4%) percent Irish. Four percent! That hardly even qualifies me for an AA meeting. Look at my last name. How can I have a name like “Mc-Nally” and be only four percent Irish? I’m reminded of the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate when Admiral Stockdale asked “Who am I? Why am I here?” Now I understand what he meant. He must’ve just gotten his DNA results.
So, if I am barely an Irishman, then who am I? What am I? According to the report – I’m English. There it was, thirty-five (35%) percent England. The proof was in the figgy pudding. How could I be English? I have no fondness for hot tea. Granted, there are times when I can resemble Winston Churchill, but that usually follows an event like staying up all night with a bad stomach.
Now I’m going to have to start working new words into my vocabulary. The car hood is called the “bonnet.” And when I’m surprised, I’ll have to try using the word “blimey.”
Rounding out the genetics report, and coming in ahead of the Irish, were German (13%) and French (5%). So, no, I’m not the person I thought I was. Well, cheerio old chap. Time for some Earl Grey and crumpets.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County.