I Tested My DNA and This Is What I Discovered

My mom is your stereotypical Brooklyn-Italian mother: loud, proud, nosy, and crazy. Because she is first generation, I was raised with European morals and a close relationship with my family in Italy. My dad balances her crazy temperament with his patience and kindness, but that has little to do with his nationality. My dad wasn’t as deeply involved with his Polish heritage, thus explains my lack of knowledge of Polish traditions. He is Polish by blood but a very all-American boy by characterization. I proudly claimed my Italian heritage and dismissed my Polish heritage for lack of relevance in my life. Regardless, I have always found our ancestry so interesting and desperately wanted to test my DNA to see what truths it would reveal.

I ordered my DNA kit from Ancestry. The instructions are straight-forward. You simply spit into a tube and ship it out in the prepackaged box. After six weeks of anxiously waiting, my results came in via their website. Unsurprisingly, my DNA was predominantly rooted in Italy/Greece and Poland/Czech Republic. Seeing this statistical data proving my relations to these regions gave me pride. Even further than this, Ancestry pinpointed my ancestors to a specific area in Sicily called Caltanissetta, which is where my family currently resides. It linked me to my relatives who had done the DNA kit as well and more people of whom I don’t know but share my DNA. I was dumbfounded by how accurate it was. Unexpectedly, I also learned I come from Irish/Scottish, Spanish, French, British, and Armenian descent. While these percentages were much less prevalent than my Italian and Polish relations, it had more of an impact on me as it triggered my interest to know more.

By purchasing the DNA kit, I was also able to make a family tree on Ancestry. As I added on to my family tree, more leaves popped up which are hints to other connections. Suddenly, links to my Polish relatives revealed information none of us ever had before. New information led us to believe my grandfather had an affair, when a Czenszak came forward and claimed her father, Buzz, was his son. My family went on a witch hunt to find out more and crack the case. We went to our oldest living relative, my Great-Aunt Gerri, to get more information. However, hearing our allegations left her dismayed as her brother’s reputation on the line. After crosschecking my DNA results and the family tree we began making, we found two documents that solved our mystery. The leaves attached to my great-grandfather had a census that revealed he had seven other siblings. This meant that my Great-Aunt Geri had seven more aunts/uncles than she had thought. Naturally, this information came as a shock to her but she was thrilled we had taken interest in discovering more of our roots. After much more digging, my grandfather’s honor was restored as Buzz was actually the son of one of those unknown siblings.

Through this journey we discovered much more than this and continue finding out more pieces of who we are as a family. I love knowing more about my dad’s side and am so grateful that Ancestry gave me the opportunity to uncover all these family puzzle pieces. I went in just curious about some statistics and came out with a deeper appreciation for my culture. We are our stories so it is so important not to lose track of our ancestral roots. While I already know a lot about my mother’s ancestry, I was surprised to find that Ancestry had no traces of her side of the family. Maybe that’s just the next mystery I can delve in to. 

 

Photo Source: Ancestry.com