Who Am I?

gayle-and-mom-and-dadBlog post by Gayle M. Irwin

As a Christmas gift to myself, I ordered a DNA kit from Ancestry. For many years, I’ve been interested in my heritage. I learned as a youngster that my father’s father’s side had Native American roots – Cherokee likely, Choctaw possibly. That’s always fascinated me but no one really talked much about it. Dad (and his family) grew up in Louisiana during a time that wasn’t as accepting of those with different skin color than white – even if that skin tone was, as my mom says, “ruddy,” or “reddish.” Documents I’ve found call my dad’s dad “Negro” or “Black,” and grandpa’s mother “mulatto” (she was the Native in the family, dad said – she was ½ Native American). I’m still trying to track down more information about her and her family. Meanwhile I’ve found some strong French connections on that side of the family, and possibly Irish on Dad’s mother’s side.

I received the DNA kit just before Christmas and will be sending it out this week. I understand it can take up to eight weeks to get the results back, so I still have some time to wait until I know more about my lineage, discovering more about how I am. I’ve created a family tree on Ancestry.com, have discovered some documents related to family members, and made connections back a century or more. So, I’m creating branches to the Mansfield side of the tree. I have more to find, however.

Grandma Mardy_100 dpiMy mom’s side is less complicated, especially her mother’s heritage: German and Swiss. German was spoken frequently as Grandma Mardy grew up, and she often shared stories with Mom and me. What complicates my mother’s side is Grandma was married – and later divorced – before marrying my grandpa, and Grandpa’s mother was also previously married. Finding the “true relatives” is proving a bit challenging. And mom’s dad’s last name – Christensen – was a popular Midwestern name (mom, grandma, and grandpa lived in Iowa), and there were various spellings of that last name. I’m grateful to have a neighbor who is LDS and LOVES genealogy – she and I will spend time together this week travelling all the corridors and crawling through the crevices to discover nuggets of my family’s history. All of these discoveries will help me learn more about who I am and from where I came. As an only child, these discoveries have become very important to me, and I look forward to learning more soon.

One thing I do know: I’m a writer, and yet I haven’t discovered “why.” No one on my family tree seems to be such a creative – but maybe I just haven’t find him/her yet. I hope to learn about such a person during the research I’ll be doing soon. Perhaps the New Year will shed new light on some of the mysteries about my heritage.

How about you? Have you discovered your family tree? Have some of your family mysteries and/or secrets been uncovered?

Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreGayle M. Irwin is an author and freelance writer. She is the author of several inspirational pet books for children and adults, a contributor to six Chicken Soup of the Soul books, and a writer of articles for various magazines and newspapers. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

 

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19 Responses to Who Am I?

  1. Nancy Jardine says:

    I’ve never yet got around to having my DNA search done but I will, someday. I hope you enjoy your results when they come in! Ancestry can be exceptionally time consuming – which is why I’ve largely set it aside for a while till I can conjour up more time in a day. Here’s to happy searching, Gayle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Nancy. I hope to send out the kit tomorrow and then on Wednesday gather with my friend and spend the afternoon on Ancestry — I look forward to linking more branches on the family tree! Hope you enjoyed a lovely Christmas!

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  2. I remember vaguely doing a family tree project with my mother as a child for a Sunday school class, but apart from that, I haven’t taken much of an interest in my heritage. Good luck in your investigation, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      My interest began many years ago, but it’s only recently that I decided to pursue with more vigor. I’m unfolding several mysteries and making new discoveries, and I’m finding all those nuggets of great value and excitement. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Abbie!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Neva Bodin says:

    I want to do the DNA test also, even though my sister did geneology and I know quite a bit about my history. There are still some unanswered questions. There were musicians on both sides of my family, as well as some links to a couple presidents and early politicians and the Disney family. So I think my wanting to be creative may come from some genes. It is fun to know those roots. Good luck! And keep me posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike Staton says:

    Keep us posted on what the DNA results show. I find it interesting that you have Indian and black ancestors. I know Sharon has some Indian blood in her. She even gets a newsletter from her tribe. Back in 2011, she asked her stepdad to be sure to tell the Census worker that she and her mom were part Indian (she knows the two tribes but my mind is blank at the moment). Guess what? He told the woman Sharon and her mom were white. She was so mad when she got home from work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      I’ve done more work on Ancestry.com this past week, and have found some VERY INTRIGUING documents. I’ll likely continue to share some of these results in my next post. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike!

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  5. Very interesting post Gayle. I can’t wait for you to f ind out the information from the DNA test. It’s something I would love to do, even though my family has been traced way back by my aunt. Still, there are always questions, aren’t there? There was one man in my history who was a barber, so being a cosmetologist I felt a kinship. I think tracing your history is so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      I’m still trying to find the writer, or other creative, in my lineage, but I’m sure enjoying the journey! I’ve discovered some new documents this week which I’ll probably share about in an upcoming post. Yes, Linda, tracing my heritage has been eye-opening and fun, and I’m looking forward to receiving the DNA results! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

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  6. Doris says:

    I am constantly researching the history and lives of so many people, especially the women doctors. Some of the resources I read are “Internet Genealogy” and “Your Genealogy Today” that the library has. It has been a source of tips and tricks that have helped me get past those ‘brick walls’.

    I wish you the best as you take this journey, for it is a fascinating one. (I also study my own families histories) Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      I’ve looked at some additional online genealogy sites this week, Doris, and have found some new documents to help me hurdle over a few of the “brick walls” I encountered earlier, so hopefully soon I’ll piece a few more stories together. I imagine much of your research work does take time and patience — but oh, the joy in discovery! Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend.

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  7. Wranglers says:

    I left a comment earlier, but feel asleep before I hit post. Lol. I’ve done 23 & me and Ancestry. I got the same results. The 23 &me has more on health issues, Ancestry has the leaves (connections). I had figured out I had English, Indian, Viking and Scottish from doing My Genology for several hours a day, for about 6 years. Before the Internet, and that was hard. I have over 3000 relatives researched, and one strand back to Biblical times. What surprised me was that I am 48% Irish. I work on mine a few hours a month now. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    • wyoauthor1 says:

      WOW, Cher’ley, you’re an inspiration and motivator! I’ve continued my research this week and have discovered some new documents that are intriguing. I will look at 23&Me — I’ve not heard of that. Thanks for the added information, and thanks for reading and commenting.

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  8. Wranglers says:

    Also, if you are female, you don’t get the male side of your family. Since my dad is dead, and I only had one full brother left (who has had strokes, and other medical problems), I had him do the test. One of the rest he didn’t produce enough DNA, so he had to do it agsin. I’m not sure if it helped me a lot by having his, I haven’t had time to check out the differences. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think that’s such a fun project, Gayle. I’ve always wanted to learn more about both sides of my family. I just found out over Christmas that my mom never met her grandparents – on either side. Her dad left her when she was really young and on her mother’s side, they died before she was born. Her grandfather was killed in a car crash and her grandmother died of pneumonia. I never met my grandmother either (on my mom’s side) because she died of kidney failure before i was born. Keep us posted on the results! Happy New Year, Gayle!

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  10. S. J. Brown says:

    Sounds like you are making progress tracing your heritage. If you keep yourself busy the 8 weeks will go by faster. I have a general idea of my heritage but may one day really check into where I came from.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Discoveries | Writing Wranglers and Warriors

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