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.

A year ago 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 and a generations-ago nose job, 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.  It was the other 50% that we were all unsure about.

The 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.

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.  ( ???!!! Ew!!!!! )

I am likely to consume more coffee than the average person.

And … I have an average sensitivity to the odour of sweat.

Allllll true.

After a quick look once again at my ancestry to double confirm my Challah obsession is not the result of DNA and I’d go back to browsing Facebook.  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.

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.  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?

Since I’m relatively new to this whole Irish thing feel free to make any recommendations on this, my first 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.


  1. Esther Shir says:

    Hi! I’ve done my tree and my maternal relatives are all Danish–at least back to 1500 or so. My paternal relatives are German and English. So I thought I’d be like 50% Scandinavian, right? Nope! Ancestry DNA has me as 43% Irish, 27% Scandinavian, 18% Gt. Britain and 7% East Europe. No German to speak of (a surprise to all those Hess relatives, eh?) I was so freaked out, I had 23&me also do my DNA. Results were similiar: British and Irish 45.5%, Scandinavian 20.5%, French & German 3.3%. I have not found one single Irish surname on either side of my family!!! BTW, I converted to Judaism many years ago and changed my name after all of my close family members had died. Did my Viking ancestors invade Ireland and bring back Irish wives to Denmark??? Any insights would be helpful! Thanks!!!

  2. Kerrill says:

    Just remember, the British army got around

  3. Stan Nowak says:

    I’d love to do that Ancestry thing someday, but for now, as far as I know I’m mostly Polish with some Ukrainian thrown and a dash (I think) of Middle East and a sprinkle of Asian. My real name is “Stanislaw”, so that’s about as Polish as you can get! So, the closest I get to being Irish is Warsaw – maybe I should get a “Kiss me, I’m Polish” button made up.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, well, I thought I was Danish, lol. I’m still pretty sure I am. I’m also pretty sure I’m not Karenislaw. ~ karen!

      • Stan Nowak says:

        Whew, good thing! Karenslaw sounds like a side dish for a main course at a restaurant in CzechosloHungary for Bertel Stew, but then again, I’ve had a long day and I’m not so sure if there’s a country called CzechosloHungary, but I think there must be a Bertel Stew somewhere. lol

  4. connie says:

    Luck of the Irish to you Karen :)
    As you slide along the bannister of Life may the splinters all face the other way….or something like that!
    ( I’m a non-irish, i think?)

  5. Marti J says:

    No way to buy one of these tests sold on Amazon, for those of us loyal and interested readers?

  6. Bridget says:

    Hey Karen~ What?!? No link to the company you used for the DNA testing? They should offer a discount to your huge reader base as well. Just a thought.;-)

  7. Lynne says:

    Oh my goodness, we must be related ! ;)
    I too just did the DNA thing knowing that I am French Canadian and it turns out that I am 37% Irish & only 18% French! What the?
    (Turns out I am more British percentage wise than I am French & only slightly less Spanish!!!)
    So, my first St. Paddy’s Day as an actual Irish person was spent listening to good music and drinking beer at one of the local pubs.
    Still trying to wrap my brain around all of this but I hope you had a very Happy St. Paddy’s Day Karen, I sure did!

  8. whitequeen96 says:

    Actually, I also hear that many of us have Attila the Hun’s blood in us. Attila supposedly has the most descendants on earth; he was known for conquering an area and then saying, “Bring me the pretty ones.” His people, the Huns, became the Scythians, who traveled throughout Europe, picking up DNA from the areas they passed through. Apparently, quite a few settled in the British Isles. The Germanic people referred to them as the “Scoti” (pronounced Scotee – long o), from which the word Scot comes.

  9. susan says:

    lucky you
    you get another holiday to celebrate!
    weren’t the vikings kind of Danish
    and there was a lot of “…” and pillaging going on back then so who now who took who home to meet mama?

  10. Melony says:

    I bought DNA test for my daughter,(didn’t know her father?) on Ancestory. I could not get through all the people without bumping into my side. I did a test to differeniate and it turns out that I am all English, Britan, Westminster, Downtown Abbey. She has some Norway, Germany, Irish and of course Great Britan,

  11. Liz says:

    You’ve been dissolutioned! weird feeling. I wonder what I am? As I am “sure” I’m 50% dutch. Where did you get it tested?

  12. Kelli says:

    I’m Danish too, but in my fam, we weren’t 100% on that so we always said we were “Scandihoovian.” So I’m Danish (Scandinavian)…and Bohemian (Bohunk)…and German…and IRISH!

    Hey, Erin go braless! Happy super white people from Ireland wearing green day! ☘️ 😜 🍀

  13. Safetydog says:

    This is so cool. Both of my parents always said they were English-Irish-Scottish-French-German. However, I was adopted as an infant, and could be anything! Although, I do look just like my adoptive parents. Anyway, I am very tempted to have my DNA analyzed, in hopes of receiving some exotic and very specific result.

  14. Meredith says:

    I was always told I was half German and half Irish. Turns out most of my ancestors probably came from England and Wales. Where does the DNA info end up? Do you have the only copy or is it stored somewhere? I would love to have it done but am afraid of if it would end up in the Cloud somewhere and could be shared or hacked to use against me in the future…..say for denying healthcare coverage for a pre-existing condition I was unaware of that my damn DNA spells out. Did guess I’m a U.S. citizen by my healthcare paranoia?

    • Safetydog says:

      My husband just asked where the vials of spit end up, and could that info be used to steal an identity somehow. Also paranoid Americans.

  15. Leslie Zuroski says:

    I learned a few things on my vacation in Ireland; 1. They don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day, 2. The proper response to “The top of the morning to you” is “And the rest of the day to yourself!” 3. They love the old John Wayne movie, ‘The Quiet Man’, so much that it is played on tv on holidays and everyone gathers around and watches together. Kind of like it used to be here before VCRs when ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or Ed Sullivan would come on.

  16. Madeleine says:

    If you check it out, though, who did those Danes invade???? Right! Us poor English and Irish. the Vikings hit Dublin. So you can be Danish and English AND Irish. I’d like to get this done. What kit was it?
    I’m of English heritage with the name Judson in our ancestry–so son of a Jute???

  17. Debbie says:

    It’s a bit late to help you out with today, just wear green and DRINK. ;) And get going girl – NOW – it’s past 12pm!

    I’ll give you just one other tip, since there’s no shortage of them here….prepare to have Fairytale of New York become your absolutely favourite Christmas carol. If you haven’t heard it before, it’s pretty terrific, and regularly gets voted #1 Christmas Carol in the UK.


  18. Shannon Turgeon says:

    I’m like you. I thought for sure we were Jewish from Poland. Turns out I’m mostly British and Irish. ha! With a name like Shannon, I should have known!! :)

    Which company did you use? The one I used didnt break down into maternal and paternal sides, which I’d specifically like to know.

  19. Kathy says:

    Funny you don’t look Irish, so how interesting is that hunk of info. Seems people did a lot of fleeing or simply traveling given the means of transportation available. What with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish poems I thought being Irish was just great (both parents) so it was sad to learn of the harsh times in America. Irish Need Not Apply signs were common but usually as a herd we move on to picking on another group. And now people will rub elbows with Irish people again. I don’t have red hair but I like my green eyes. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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