Page 1 - Sentinel March 2018
P. 1

The Perry Park


                                                                                     MARCH 2018

                                                                  So how does this happen? Simple.  From my mother I
                                  Fact or just a family myth?     inherited her father’s German DNA and my brother in-
                                  Not  sure?    DNA  tests  for   herited our grandmother’s English DNA.  He’s also only
                                  ethnicity  are  all  the  rage   10 percent “Ireland, Scotland and Wales” while I’m 29
                                  these days—but if you think     percent!  And I’m 8 percent Scandinavian while he has
                                  that will settle your dispute   only a trace, too small to measure. I figure the Scandina-
                                  with  Great-uncle  George       vian sneaked into England through the Danes—or maybe
                                  about your national origins,    through the Orkney Isles—Scottish territory, Viking tar-
                                  you’d be wrong... regardless    get for raids.
                                  of what the ads say.
                                                                  DNA results are great fun—but don’t count on the eth-
        DNA can tell the difference between Celtic genetic his-   nic portion to be accurate like the cousin connections are.
        tory and, say, Saxon history or eastern European history.    Those are indeed accurate. DNA will tell you when an un-
        Different  gene  quirks.  But  DNA  cannot  tell  the  differ-  known half-sibling appears in your matches.  It just won’t
        ence between Irish, Welsh and Scottish any more than it   tell you whether you’re Irish or not.
        can tell the difference between someone from Larkspur
        and someone from Castle Rock.  They’re all Celts and      If  DNA  can’t  tell  you  whether  you’re  Irish  or  Welsh,
        all grouped together when you get your results. Ancestry   why worry about it?  If you feel Irish this March 17, go
        used to lump them all under “Ireland.”  Pretty funny in my   on, wear green, drink the green beer, enjoy the day!  St.
        case since I’m a lot Welsh and a little Scottish—and not   Patrick’s Day is, after all, the celebration of an attitude
        Irish at all.  The only ancestors I have who lived in Ire-  toward life—not a genetic makeup.  From time to time we
        land were Presbyterians who got there from Scotland and   all feel Irish, right?
        stayed only one generation before fleeing to the Ameri-
        can colonies. I guess enough of us “other” Irish protested
        because Ancestry has now started using all three country
        names—but still only one group.

        In fact, the ethnic “pie chart” all the ads talk about is pret-
        ty much a joke.  The percentages are meaningless—and
        only estimates.  Consider: my brother and I are two years
        apart, same parents, and we share vast amounts of DNA—
        slightly more than average siblings, in fact.  But.   His pie
        chart says he’s 79 percent “Great Britain” (which we as-
        sume means the Angles and Saxons) while mine says I’m
        only 8 percent “Great Britain.”  What???   My chart says
        I’m 52 percent Western Europe (which means Germany,
        France, etc.) and he’s only three percent western Europe.
        Crazy, right?
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