I have always wanted to find out whether the stories passed down by my elders were true. After all, each telling of a story involves subtle and not-so-subtle changes reflecting the teller’s point of view.
My father’s people were Cherokee, according to the stories I was told by his parents and siblings. He certainly resembled a lot of the images in historical photographs in the North Carolina State Archives. The family photographs would fit nicely in that collection. There are lovely cultural tales and knowledge that I cherish. I don’t think I would value them less if they weren’t “authentic” since, for me, they are authentically mine. My grandparents moved to Tucapaw, South Carolina, to avoid the forced marches to Oklahoma. A few relatives stayed in the blue hills of North Carolina and Tennessee.
My mother’s background was more a blend: Irish (both green and orange), German, and some English in there too. Again I must wonder if all the stories are true. They immigrated to the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Irish famines, I think. My mother was a genealogy buff and even wrote a family history. Those stories and the information they share are treasures, too. I remember the tales of my Catholic great grandmother. Heaven knows, there are plenty of gingers and auburn-haired folks in my mother’s side of my birth family.
I believe I will have a DNA analysis this year. From what my friends have shared, I understand that one gets regional analyses rather than specific countries. That makes sense when you consider that country borders are fluid, human-created fantasies. I believe some companies will sort maternal and paternal lineage.
Some DNA analysis companies will share your information so you can find people who share your profile and might, just maybe, be related. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that. I am not at all certain my “potential” relatives would want to think I was in their family tree, either.
Will I be disappointed if I find that my families did not know their ancestry accurately and passed the misinformation along to me? I doubt it. The stories are stories of real people and there is much evidence to support them. I have talked with many relatives on both sides who have anecdotal supporting information. There are birth and death certificates. Did my grandmother live in a house built into a mountainside with goats running over the tin roof? Most likely. That isn’t affected by her DNA.
As for where my ancestors were from, I will be interested regardless of where they were born.