Are your DNA results correct?

Before beginning a series of posts about San Diego, I wanted to share a recent revelation about my original DNA test results from Ancestry.  Many of us are surprised at how diverse our ancestors were but I already knew, from census records, how varied my ethnicity was.  My results just didn’t make sense although I am aware the DNA is still a mystery with varying estimates even from siblings.

These are my original results which I featured in a previous post Our Ancestors.

A shameless excuse to show off my new winter boots courtesy of DSW and my torn jeans…

Africa (north) 2%
Middle East 2%
Europe east 1%
Europe west 3%
British Isles 19%
Iberian Peninsula 5%
Italy/Greece 2%
Asia east 1%
Native American 4%
Ireland 60%
Scandinavian 1%

Since then, I have excitedly tried to find out more about my ancestors but could never understand why I had so little Spanish given my maiden name was de Ortega and I can trace my ancestors from California via Mexico back to Spain.  They were conquistadors.  Spaniards rarely have 100 % Iberian DNA which includes Portugal.  So many invaders and immigrants from Italy, Greece and North Africa left their mark.

My British cousins have created family trees on a European website, MyHeritage  and I read that I could download my original DNA results from Ancestry and upload them to MyHeritage.  There is no cost but you do have to subscribe to MyHeritage.  A few days later, I had yet another exciting reveal and the results are below –

Irish/Scottish/Welsh 53.9 %
Scandinavian 9.1%
Iberian 26.8 %
Greek 1.2%
Italian 0.9%
Balkan 1.1 %
Baltic 1 %
Central American 4.4%
North American 0.8 %
Chinese/Vietnamese 0.8%

Now we are talking – 25 % Iberian – yay! Even more exciting, they can now differentiate between North and Central Native American. I am mostly Mestizo native described below courtesy of MyHeritage. The largest population of Central America, spanning from Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela, is of Mestizo descent – a mixture of Spanish, Native American, and African ancestry. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, interestingly, have a greater Caucasian population, representing European migration. In contrast, indigenous Central Americans are Mayans, the descendants of the advanced Mayan civilization of pre-Colombian times. Ancient Central American civilizations produced many important innovations, including pyramid construction, complex mathematical and astronomical observations, early forms of medical surgery, accurate calendar systems, and complex agricultural methods. In contemporary society, many people with Central American ethnicity have settled among the nations in South America, reaching as far south as Uruguay and Argentina.

This now makes more sense because although I can trace my North American native ancestor, Mourning Dawn, it is many generations back. When I was tracing back my family in Mexico, I found an ancestor with the name of Xoptoval Ortega born in 1626 in Celaya, Mexico – a Maya name I suspect? Mestizo is sometimes used as an insult in Latino Spanish, meaning mongrel, but I could not be more proud of my 57 varieties. Now I know I am genuinely of Mexican descent. On a funny side-note I recently got a call from one of my first cousins on my father’s side. We have only spoken once but he fascinates me because he looks most like my Dad and even sounds like him. As we were chatting, he mentioned that he had asked one of our great aunts from the Ortega side if we were Mexican. She had a fit and insisted we were 100% Spanish… I mentioned my recent DNA results to my cousin and he hung up on me!!! He really did and I doubt he will ever speak to me again. Mexicans are feisty…

So what other mysteries were revealed.  I am Viking!  Teddy would love me to look exactly like Lagertha in the Vikings series.  Sadly for him, I just look like the Viking Irish – fair, blue eyes and a distinctive short nose.  Did you know that Scandinavians still call outlanders, “long noses”?  Much of Ireland was invaded by Vikings who settled for generations, trading Irish slaves to the Scandinavian countries.  Yeah, there were plenty of nasty human traffickers before America.  I have only inherited Celtic DNA (Irish/Scottish/Wales) but I know I have English ancestors.  God is good –  I am just kidding, English friends! The little bit of Baltic makes sense being so close to Scandinavia but the Balkan DNA is curious – the Balkans stretch from Turkey to Greece incorporating the former Yugoslavia.

My vintage Calvin Klein coat is back in fashion but no matter what I do, I still look as Irish as a potato!

 

So, why are my DNA results so different?  Time has passed and DNA analysis has evolved with more information on the databases.  I believe that my previous Western European DNA should really have been Iberian and that some of my Irish DNA should have been Scandinavian because my family came from a Viking area in Ireland.  That said, I might be wrong and who knows which results are correct?  The only way to test it would be to use a third company to take a DNA test and I might yet do that.  If you are curious it is very easy to do what I did.  Just subscribe to Ancestry and MyHeritage, download your raw DNA from settings onto your computer and then upload it to whichever company is the opposite.  You might get a nice surprise like me.  Maya maiden, Celtic warrior, Conquistadora and Viking – Kerry is kicking ass!

PS In case you wonder about the location, my hairdresser took the photos this morning.

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Viking Finger, DNA and a ‘meh’ compliment

Now, this is my kind of Viking! Grrrrr…

I hope the title of this post intrigues you to read to the end.  The story is all over the place but linked by DNA.  Teddy, my husband, and I have always been competitive about our various ailments/oddities.  That is why we are soul-mates…  Recently, Ted had been complaining about a little growth on his pinkie finger.  Long story short, the Italian American surgeon operated and came out to tell me what the prognosis was after the surgery.  Unexpectedly, he told me it was a benign tumor and he had never seen anything like it.  It seemed to be wrapped around the tendon.  Then he told me that he had his DNA test and discovered (to his obvious Braveheart excitement) that he had a significant percentage of Scottish DNA.  This was a red letter day for him – an unusual surgery on his Scottish compatriot.  I had to gently let him know that the Scottish wife was really an Irish Hispanic mix.  Hilariously, to me, he could not have looked more Italian but perhaps in his heart he was wearing blue Woad and tartan.

The growth went to pathology and a week later Teddy met with the Italian/Scots surgeon who excitedly told him that it was Dupruyen’s Contracture, a thickening of tendons in the hand that most commonly occurs in men around age 60 from Northern Europe.  In Teddy’s case the thickening was on the upside of the finger when it is usually the other way around.  When he came home we Googled it to find out that it is sometimes called Viking Finger.  Can you imagine the fun I had with vulgar comments about my Viking’s Finger and where he could put it??  I have to admit that this month he has beat my giant cyst, Pumpkin, and the atrophied hoo-ha.

This led on to thinking what our DNA tests have done to us.  Despite being 60% Irish, I cling defensively to my Conquistador heritage with a dash of Native American.  I am deeply unhappy that Teddy has 4% more Iberian DNA than me.  He is unhappy that he has no Native American ancestry despite having no American relatives.  On many an occasion, a flirtatious Hispanic man has been so disappointed that my maiden name was Ortega. “But you look Scandinavian or Irish!” Our family was convinced that we were secretly Jewish but my DNA indicates otherwise…

So, I am at the airport this weekend and yet another Arabic man flirts with me (or is the other way around)?  I would have guessed that he was a little older than me.  First, he tells me I am beautiful.  That elicited a smile and thank you.  Then he asked me what age I was.  I was surprised at the query but answered honestly that I will be 57 in a month.  He looked me over and said, “I would have taken you for 51, maybe 52.” WTF!!!!  Surely he could have told a little white lie and suggested 45?  I will take any compliment but that was a bit ‘meh’.  Then he asked me where I was from and I told him the usual spiel. You could see the disappointment on his face when I told him I had North African and Middle Eastern ancestry. “But you look Scandinavian”.  I sighed and agreed that I had 1% Scandinavian ancestry.  Now he was happy that he had flirted with one of ABBA’s kin.

I am beginning to come to terms that I am as Irish as a Mullingar heifer no matter how varied my DNA is. I sound Celtic, I look Irish and in America that is way more fascinating than all that Conquistador stuff.  Isn’t it funny how life changes?  At one time being Irish in America was as welcome as a Mexican immigrant.  Well, I have both Irish and Mexican immigrant ancestors so to all the haters out there; I am raising one Viking Finger!

Resolution No. 2 – get more sunshine

sunshine-blogger-awardI was afraid of nominations for blogs before but I am enjoying this fun. Nick, my friend from fiftywordsdaily has nominated me as a Sunshine blogger. I can’t remember how I found his blog but I loved his concept of short, funny, insightful posts. He makes me laugh out loud.

Here are his questions (thank you for making them easier than yours, Nick, and less esoteric). I have a hangover…
1. What is your favourite food?
Easy – avocados. I eat at least half a day with salt and pepper. None of this fancy guacamole nonsense… 🙂 Although I will eat anything with avocados in it. Well, not ice-cream, that’s just weird.
2. What is your favorite time of day?
BED-TIME! My mum said that when I was a baby, she had to wake me up to feed me, and I slept around the clock. Nothing has changed. My husband is driven crazy by my desire to go to bed at 7 pm but has compromised at 8 pm with a couple of hours watching TV. We have turned it into a ritual – we take a glass of wine, water, a savory snack and whatever cat is available and sit enjoying Game of Thrones. Sometimes this works to his advantage… Especially if I have had a couple of glasses of wine.
3. What makes you angry?
I would like to say something worthy like the situation in Syria (and it does) but really it’s other motorists. All my feisty Hispanic, Irish, Middle Eastern and North African DNA boils into a short-tempered, horn-tooting, gesticulating crazy lady. “CAN’T YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YIELD AND MERGE – TAKE YOUR TEST AGAIN, IDIOT”. Most of this is mouthed through my window and since they are texting anyway they don’t notice.
4. What is your favourite book? (you can have three if one is too restrictive)
Pookie the Flying Rabbit. I guess it should be Grapes of Wrath or the like but this was a Christmas present from my mum many years ago and I loved it.
5. If you had to be an animal, what animal would you be?
Come on – it has to be a Cougar! Apart from the obvious sexual connotation, I really love big cats. Did you know that Cougars are the only big cats that purr and they are so beautiful? Purrrrrr.
6. What is your favorite season?
Autumn or fall. I have always loved it, wherever in the world I visited or lived, but I particularly love it down in the south of the States. It’s still hot, usually in the 80s, the trees still change color but not as spectacularly as the north. I can start wearing my beloved boots and tights but it’s not really cold. Best of all, it means hurricane season is coming to an end and Thanksgiving is around the corner.
7. Why do you write? (this is optional because I would hate to answer it)
I write because I always have and it gives me great pleasure. I express myself best in the written word although, if you met me in person, you would think I spoke well also (if a tad forthright…). Writing allows me to stop, think and elucidate.
8. Have you already broken a New Year’s Resolution? If not, why not?
Ha,ha,ha. It is lunchtime and I am in bed, not yet bathed… Mrs. Stripe is sitting suspiciously close to my armpit so I think I have already broken No. 1.
9. What is your favorite (short) joke?
My mum could barely get through this juvenile joke before laughing her head off. A family of polar bears are sitting on an iceberg. Daddy bear says, “I have a tale to tell.” Mummy bear responds, “I, too, have a tale to tell”. Baby bear whines, “My tail is told (cold)”
10. If you didn’t live in your current country of abode, where would you most like to live?
At the moment, Baha, Mexico. I often consider living in places we visit but I liked everything about the little mission town, especially since it was filled with Ortegas (my maiden name). Do you think we should still call it a maiden name? I really wasn’t a maiden…
11. Which languages can you speak?
Perfect English which is sometimes disputed in Texas because of my pristine Scottish accent that enunciates everything exceptionally well! Mi Espanol es malo, un peu de Francais and a smattering of Arabic. I used to be able to give taxi drivers complicated instructions in Arabic and go grocery shopping but from misuse it has been reduced to friendly greetings. Someone once asked me why I didn’t join the CIA?? Unless bananas (mooz) is the code word for Semtex, I wouldn’t have a clue. The name’s Kerry not Carrie. 🙂

Now I have to nominate five blogs so here goes –

All Thoughts Work TM Outdoors

aroused

organic is beautiful

Middle Me

Student in Snowdonia

Please feel free to ignore this invitation but join the fun if you would like to!

My questions are
1. Are you a sunny person?
2. What is your favorite smell?
3. What makes you laugh out loud?
4. Are you a good driver?
5. Spender or saver?
6. New Year’s resolution?
7. How do you have fun?
8. Favorite movie of all time?
9. Most embarrassing moment?
10. What is your porn name (name of first pet followed the name of the first street you lived in).

Unbelievably, my porn name is Snowy Bush. You can’t make this stuff up…