Taking the Test

Yesterday, my status on the Ancestry DNA test site switched from “Awaiting Sample Delivery” to “Processing….”  The change was exciting but I still have some residual fear about it.

The DNA test is a genealogical tool that details your ethnicity and connects you to other people on Ancestry.com whose genes you share. It can even tell you how closely related you are to others who have taken the test (first cousin vs. sixth, for instance). I’m hoping to confirm some of my research on my great-grandmothers. Ideal case scenario: the test matches me to some living cousins who can verify my great-grandmothers’ maiden names.

I do not consider myself a paranoid person. I’m sensible in most matters that don’t involve Jack Johnson or those gigantic grocery carts shaped like trains that always block off the wine department in the Jewel/Osco, so it’s very against my nature to be suspicious of what laboratories might do with my genetic material after they’ve sent me the promised information. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that’s why I’ve held off taking the test for 5 years.

My apprehension started with mental images of a future version of me confronting my identical twin in the war-torn streets of Tokyo (don’t know why, but it’s always Tokyo). He greets me like we actually did share a womb. He asks how Mom and Dad are. I am dumbfounded until I memory-montage (my brain is very cinematic) that day back in 2015 when I spat into a little plastic cup and naively sent it off to Utah.  While I’m memory-montaging, Clone Me takes a step forward. I believe it’s to give me a long-lost-twin-brother hug, but it’s actually so he can take a big ol’ bite of my warm brains.

Did I mention Clone Me is a zombie?

Perhaps I’ve seen too many sci-fi movies involving genetic mutations or 2o/2o episodes where smarmy reporters interview assorted medical industry workers who describe warehouses of removed body parts just waiting to be Frankenstein-ed together.  But I recognize the hooey in all of that. Jerry Springer has been testing genetics since the late 80s and nothing more than good television has come from that.

Obviously, since I took the test and am awaiting results, I’ve assuaged my fears. But I wonder if anyone else has felt this way?

For an interesting genealogy story stemming from the results of a similar DNA test, click here.

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19 Replies to “Taking the Test”

    1. That is an intriguing title for a memoir! I saw what I guess is a similar story on Genealogy Roadshow last week. A woman had a genealogist confirm that her mother was passing as white all her life. She didn’t even feel comfortable telling her daughter her true ethnicity.

    1. Yes, but the people taking the tests are the ones researching their family trees so if you get one match you also can collaborate with them. Most people get several matches. We are more closely related than you think. DNA was there from the beginning, so the results come from far back in time. And more and more people are taking the test every day.

  1. I started off feeling quite envious of you being able to track down long lost family, but the potential zombification of my DNA soon cured me of envy. I’ve never bothered with ancestry.com, but my husband has managed to track down all kinds of interesting information about his family!

    1. I get so many ideas for stories from my family tree, Asha. I love to daydream about their lives based on what paperwork I’ve found on them if you’re ever thin on fiction plots, i highly recommend trying it.

      1. I’d love to do something similar, but sadly lack the paper trail. So many births, marriages and deaths had no written record in India. So I’ve had to rely on (unreliable) oral histories that I’ve squeezed out of elderly relatives to establish a very wonky family tree. There are some magnificent stories in there though! And I’m currently working on something that’s loosely based on an episode in my grandfather’s brother’s life. Such curious lives they all led!

      1. His is a little easier. His ancestors are all Australian, English or European of some variety. More written records, as with your family, Nate!

  2. That is very cool! My late father-in-law did a similar test, or that test, and found he had Polynesian roots, which he hadn’t known. I’d love to do the test…does there have to be others related to you on the database for it to work? I’m off to follow your link!

    1. Does your husband know where his Polynesian heritage came from?

      The test can tell you where your relatives from a dozen generations back come from. It would be impossible for you not to be related to people in the database.You’d at least have fourth or fifth cousins in there.

      1. His father had a Chinese grandmother and I believe that the Polynesian part came from her ancestors. I think. He knew, and my husband might, I just don’t recall.

        I know a lot about my ancestry (Irish, French, English, Welsh and a touch of Mohawk, I believe) – I wanted to know where they all came from initially but I guess no test can tell ancient migration patterns…

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