Science and medicine have come a long way since sage smoke was used to help heal and ward off evil spirits. In most cases, advances have been beneficial and productive. Still, there are times when even the most well-intentioned advancements can lead to disappointment.
For example, the advances made through the study of DNA resulted in all sorts of benefits. From helping identify potential health risks to reuniting siblings separated at birth or helping provide justice for the victims of horrible crimes.
DNA analysis also made genealogy a big business. Today, anyone who wishes can spit in a test tube, and one company or another will begin tracing their genetic history. Of course, there are downsides to almost any scientific breakthrough, and those researching their heritage through the scientific method are not always happy with the findings.
Take my family for example. My mother’s side of the family tree was proud and vocal about their Native American heritage. I remember hearing stories of our Cherokee and Choctaw heritage from a young age. One in particular was told regularly.
It was the tale of the young Cherokee cousin who decided to leave Oklahoma and move to Florida. He became a successful entrepreneur in the hotel business and was the family’s pride.
No one could provide any evidence that the story and heritage were true. However, if looks meant anything, they were spot on as far as ancestry was concerned. My grandmother’s features and bearing would have allowed her to play a Native American matriarch in any Hollywood Western.
Thankfully, my mother and grandmother passed before DNA tests became a feature of the modern world. Otherwise, they might have received devastating news when I took two DNA tests to learn more about my lineage.
The reason for my research had nothing to do with my mom’s family history. No, I was checking on my dad’s side of the family. My goal was to identify my father’s lineage. His biological father was known only to his mom, and she never shared the info.
I still receive notifications about potential relatives and ancestors from the services I used. Most of those are worthless or validate what I already knew. However, the original DNA tests answered a question I did not ask.
As expected, I discovered that my dad’s heritage was likely Scottish-Irish, with some Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA thrown in for good measure. I also found there was not one small percentage of Native American DNA in my body. The closest I came to Native American DNA was Asian.
The Asian DNA match makes sense. Most experts agree groups from Asia originally populated the Americas. Still, as much as I’d like to think otherwise, there is little chance I am probably related to Sitting Bull, Geronimo, or any other famous Chief. *
* I know! None of the most well-known chiefs were Cherokee or Choctaw, but one can dream, can’t he?
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