I'm Danish. I've always been Danish, I'll always be Danish, I look Danish, speak 4 Danish words and part of my general knowledge includes knowing that Viggo Mortensen and 1980's supermodel Helena Christensen are Danish. So. Clearly. Danish. The only problem is, as it turns out ... I'm Irish. IRISH.
In 2016 I got my mother and myself one of those DNA tests for Christmas to find out if we were Jewish. There's a long kept secret in our family and no one knows what it is. Based on a name change, some rather sketchy word of mouth rumours involving a mercantile, a whisper and a generations-ago cosmetic surgery, several of us thought this secret was that we were Jewish.
That's the sort of thing people used to have to keep secret in order to stay alive, so those kinds of secrets are taken quite seriously and they tend to stay secret long past the need for it.
So when I sent in my spit to be analyzed I was fully prepared and excited to embrace my new Jewessness. L'chaim! Most of my high school friends were Jewish so I know the customs, I've been to plenty of Shabbat dinners and have the whole back of throat "Ch" sound in Challah and Chanukah down pat.
Jewish. That's me! And Danish of course, but that's from my father's side and we all know he was 100% Danish, making me 50% Danish as evidenced in my ability to make Klejner, Danish Christmas cookies and my uncanny resemblance to It was the other 50% that we were all unsure about.
The 23andME test results came back and as soon as I checked whether or not I was likely to die from some rare and incurable disease (I'm not) I barely glanced at my ancestry other than to see if we were indeed Jewish. We were not. Booooo. I don't give a care, I'm still going to eat latkes. Then a few weeks ago for some reason I went back in and looked at some of the DNA results more closely.
The things they predicted about me based only on my DNA were impressive. They had no pictures, no history, no nothin', other than my dancing little chromosomes passed down from generation to generation.
For instance, I am more likely, according to my DNA, to be a sprinter rather than a distance runner. Pfttt. No kidding. I'm basically Hussein Bolt. Everybody knows that.
Here I am taking a much deserved break from watching someone else exercise.
Also, according to 23 & me:
I am likely to have blond hair.
I am likely to have blue eyes.
I am likely to have straighter than average hair.
I'm likely to have wet ear wax. ( Um. O.K. )
I am likely to consume more coffee than the average person. (3-4 cups a day?)
And ... I have an average sensitivity to the odour of sweat.
If you're now clamouring to get a 23&Me spit kit I have an affiliate link.
I clicked on my circle of ancestry that tells you what percentage of you is from what country and ... I had to do a double take. According to the percentages ... I was ... I was Irish.
Or British of some sort. London or Manchester England most likely.
UPDATE: I just checked my results again in 2023 and I am still Irish. But now things look like they're leaning more into the England territory. I think.
It's entirely possible I'm not reading this thing right, but it's looking like I'm more British & Irish than anything else. Which is making me feel a bit off kilter.
What with me being Danish and all.
I never knew much about my maternal ancestry. When I was growing up whenever I asked my mother what nationality her side of the family was she'd always answer with "I don't know ... we're just Canadian. Now go play with your potato."
This gave me the slight hope that by "Canadian" she meant that we had a long ancestral history going back to the First Nations. Like maybe we were Micmac. Or Metis or Mohawk.
Which, wouldn't explain my love of Challah but would explain my love of beaded suede.
But according to my mother's side of DNA I wasn't First Nations, I was 29.3% British and Irish. This whole maternal Irish thing has since been confirmed by my Uncles Conor, Seamus and Padraig. You'd think one of them would have mentioned something about our being Irish it at one of our monthly Irish Stew and Soda bread dinners over the years.
Just kidding. Kind of. It has been confirmed through other more "ancestry interested" relatives that my mother's side of the family is indeed Irish. How she never knew that, I have no idea. Maybe she was thrown by the fact that none of us were born with Irish accents.
I wish I understood these DNA results a little more than I do, but from the look of it ... yeah ... Kiss me. I'm Irish? But maybe from London.
Since I'm relatively new to this whole Irish thing feel free to make any recommendations on this, my 7th St. Paddy's day as an Irish person. See? I've even learned that it's "St. Paddy's", not St. Patty's.
I'm basically the most Irish person ever born who for some reason has an above average command of cooking Danish Christmas cookies.
omg. this explains so much about my relationship with potatoes.
My mom's maiden name is French, so half my nieces and nephews have a french middle name. Enter 23 and me, 26% Irish (and ZERO french). This answered so many questions! The curly hair! The freckles! The inability to tan! My love of green beer! I ran out immediately and became a redhead, which I loved and everyone else hated. What was more fun than finding out the Irish bit? Learning about why my "french Canadian" Grandpa changed his name from a boring Irish name to a very romantic french name. It's all very sordid, and I won't be bragging about that. My family secret.
At least you KNOW your family secret, lol. ~ karen!
My brother always said we were Irish , I always said we were German. When he retired he had a big full color Irish tattoo put on his upper arm. He did a genealogy check and we found out we were predominately Swedish!!!
I just love you! You always brighten my day!
Serious comment here! My hobby is Genealogy and have a substantial family tree. Raise it to the next level and create a family tree. Get a DNA test on Ancestry and hook it up to your tree. You'll get a lot more fun out of your DNA results if you do. Just looking at your DNA results is just not enough. Please update us with your family tree findings, and it will be one more skill to put under your massive belt!
There are a couple of other amateur genealogists in our family and they've created some substantial trees. And you're right they're much more interesting to go through. Although I did like finding out that I am indeed terrible at long distance running. ~ karen!
One of your very best, and I feel your DNA results pain! I was told from an early age (the 1960s or so) that one of my Dunaway kinfolks had done a genealogy study and determined we were clearly IRISH. So my wife, who was English, and I gave our two sons each a middle name that was clearly Irish. The first son's middle name was Patrick, and our second son's middle name is Flynn. I spoke to my older brother about our ancestry, which we are working on, and that Dunaway was clearly Irish. He said, "No, it is it. We were never told that." My next thought was how stupid could we have been to give our boys Irish names when they were English, and how do I tell them now that they are in their 40s and 50s? With a little more studying, my great-grandmother was a Lowery, and her family could easily be traced to Ireland! Bless you, great-grandmother Victoria Lowery!
Thank you David! And, it looks like it's true, and we do all have a bit of Irish in us. ;) ~ karen!
It's Usain Bolt.
I had my siblings and myself do a dna test. Two from 23 and me and four from MyHeritage. I can’t read nor figure out the results except that we are all 1/4 German, English and European. Um. Aren’t we all. We didn’t follow up with genetic illness etc.results but as we are in our late 60’s and late 70’s I think we will die of old age and not a genetic disorder. Maybe ? Who knows. I’ve been doing genealogy since 2013 and find it fascinating none the less.
'I'm basically Hussein Bolt.’
If you want to be really fast, Karen, be like Usain Bolt. I’m not sure who Hussein Bolt is but I’m pretty sure he’s not as fast as Usain!
Commiserations on the loss of your presumed Danish heritage. At least you didn’t receive a terrible shock from your DNA results. On the other hand, that family secret remains elusive.
The family secret is...
There is no secret! Ha! ;)
All this intelligent cleverness in one little blonde Irish=Jewish=Danish=Canadian(my fav one)!
Thanks for making me laugh out loud first thing in the morning!
Laugh and learn. That's my goal. ~ karen!
Go play with your potato - hee hee
Speaking of family secrets, various police departments have used data from 23andMe to find um, folks who don't play nice, shall we say. So if you've any of those in the family (and extended- cousins and all that), don't do 23andMe or other DNA tests, unless you actually want these people to be found and removed from your life, of course- in that case, spit away!
Funny - my mom also only knew she was “Canadian” when I was a kid. Later we found out she came from mostly English and Scottish stock with a little Norwegian thrown in. (Norwegian???)