My whole life I have been told I am Irish. “Your skin is so pale, because you’re Irish. Your hair is so thick, because you’re Irish. You have so many freckles, because you are so Irish. You’re hair turn gray at 12. Well, that’s because you’re Irish.” Forever, I have heard the same thing over and over and over again. Not to mention, it wasn’t just my family who told me, but friends, neighbors, even strangers. “It’s the Irish in you.” Well man, were they wrong.
My Parents stated working on their genealogy years back. They traced my Dad’s family all the way back to 1830 in Ireland. Hence, why we assumed we were Irish.
What triggered my sudden interest in my family’s heritage was one day on The L. (The L is what you call the train in Chicago) I took a moment to look out the window. Before doing so, my eyes trailed across the train car and that’s when I saw her. I quickly though to myself, “Kerry?”. For a moment I though I saw my sister who lived three thousand miles away. My head whipped back to the girl. She was wearing a zip up black hoodie and her dark brown hair was in a messy bun. Almost the exact outfit, I was wearing. She lifted her head and our eye met. At that every moment we both knew, we were starring into the eyes of our very own “ Doppelgänger”. Our eye quickly averted, trying not to make contact again. I sat there for three stops stealing quick glances at this girl who could be my twin. Eventually, the train arrived at her stop and she was gone.
My brain was running with all these crazy ideas of who this girl could be. It wasn’t until I was texting my sisters when my sister-in-law reminded me that, maybe she could possibly be a long lost cousin. I never thought of the idea and then it stuck me. My father had half sibling from a family he had only met once. (The Norton Family Scandal) There were people living in my home city that were related to me and whom I had never met. To this day, I don’t even think my half aunts, uncles, and cousins even know I exist. And, that is where it began. I was soon on a mission to find out “who I was.”
Here we are, and it is six weeks later. Over the past six weeks I order and received my My Heritage DNA kit and have been anxiously awaking the results. What I found although anticlimactic was quit shocking. I say anticlimactic, because I had this illusion that it was going to tell me the exact town in Poland my ancestors came from. (Unrealistic expectoration, I know) But, what I found shocking is that all these years, no one had a clue what they were talking about. It was determined that I am only 5.1% Irish. Yep that’s it. Also, I have 49% Northwestern European (France, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands) which, was never uttered in our house. With all my parents research we couldn’t find a single link to any of these places. Our only guess is that we weren’t really Irish to begin with. Our ancestors were most likely just passing through before heading to these here, United States.
I am still working on my family tree, through Myheritage.com. I hope that I might find long lost cousins; maybe if I dig deep enough determine where in Poland my great-great-great-grandmother grew up in. As you have heard it before, America is a melting pot and although you might think you know what ingredients your pot holds, with a little research, you might be surprised.