Do These Genes Look Good On Me?

It turns out I am not the ‘child of the world’ I was hoping for.

As part of my birthday present this year I asked for a DNA test to check out my ancestry and possibly find a rich, old, hermit, lonely, childless fourth cousin I could ingratiate myself with.

I was also hoping to show my own kids just how interconnected the world is.

“Look!” I imagined myself exclaiming as I pointed to a map of the world, “we come from England and Ireland and France and Italy and Egypt and Syria and Uganda and Morocco and Ukraine and Switzerland and Mongolia and Kazakhstan.” I was seriously hoping for Kazakhstan. I’ve even been working on my Borat accent. “No wonder we like all the different food groups, like potato, pasta and rice.”

So when an email popped up today with the title Your AncestryDNA results are in! I quickly gathered all the kids around my screen and opened up the link.

“This is so exciting!” I said – so they all knew I the sort of energy levels I expected.

“Are we going to find we’re related to Uncle Shane?” Miss8 asked me.

“I hope so,” I said.

“And what about Maddy?” Miss6 wanted to know. Maddy is her friend from school. “Am I related to her?”

“Somewhere back down the family tree, I guarantee it,” I said.

“So can she come for Christmas lunch?”

I definitely felt the conversation was slipping away from me at this point.

“The point of this exercise,” I explained to all of them, “is to see just how much of the world we have a connection to. Part of the problem is so many people only care about themselves and their immediate family and people they know. The fact is, we’re all – everyone in the world – part of the one big family. Your great, great, great Grandmother might be from India and your great, great, great, great grandfather might have come from Ethiopia. You just wouldn’t know. But now we have a way to find out just how wide the base of our family tree is with people from all over the world coming together to make each of you.”

I clicked on the Discover Your DNA Story button and a map of the world opened up.

Primarily it was made up of two shades of grey – one for the oceans and one for the land. I say primarily, but I mean almost entirely. Colour was rarer than a nut in a Chinese takeaway bowl of Chicken & Cashews.

“Soooo…..what does that mean?” Miss14 asked.

I was still wallowing in my disappointment, so Master13 answered on my behalf.

“I think,” he said, “it means we’re inbred.”


195 ‘family’ to check out. This is promising, although I’ve noticed some people don’t necessarily use their real names: either that or we’re related to E.T. Oddly, no Devereaux’s that I’ve found so far. I’m sure that’s not a problem. Hey, Dad. Dad? Daddy??!??

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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