Sunday, 2 October 2016
Who do you think you are . . .
This is my Great, Great Grandmother. Ida McNayr Smith. Some people have loads of photos of their ancestors. We have only a few and this is one of them . . . I cherish it.
This is another photograph of her. Her husband's name was John (I know . . . how many John Smiths have there ever been. TONS!) She was the daughter of Arod McNayr and Diadamy Whitman. When I look at her, I can see family traits which have been passed down from generation to generation and still appear on the faces of many people in my family today . . .
This is another old photo we have. I know I have a better one tucked away somewhere, but this is all I could find this morning. That is my grandfather Elmer Woodworth seated on the right, with his sister Melva sitting on the ground in front of him, another sister to his left with his brother Arnold on her lap and two more of the sisters in the back. The names are all escaping me at the moment, but it isn't really important at this point, because that isn't really what I want to talk about this morning.
Who are we? Really.
Most of us have a pretty solid idea of who we think we are based on stories passed down, family trees, photographs, etc. I recently had the opportunity to find out who I really was by having a DNA test done, a most generous Birthday present from a friend . . . and the results came in last week. I have to say I was very surprised. There were a few results that I had expected, but there were also quite a few things which quite literally blew me away.
I am 5% Native North American. I wasn't surprised to find this out, although I was surprised to find out that it was such a small amount. I had expected it to be more. One of my earliest ancestors in Canada arrived from France in the 1600's with his wife. His sons as well . . . I am pretty sure that they married Native girls, especially considering the location in which they lived and the sparse population. One was a Jesuit Priest to the Natives. To all those in the family who have said there was no Native blood, I can say unequivocally now that there definitely is, however small.
Next my DNA is 48 % Western European, which primarily includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, England, Denmark Slovenia, Italy and the Czech Republic. This was not surprising either. My father's ancestors came over from France in the 1600's and my mother has family stretching back to Scotland, England and Germany that we know of . . . I can boast of having Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror, The Plantagenet's, etc. in my family tree with a certainty. John Howard, the first Duke of Norfolk and grandfather to Anne Boleyn, great Grandfather to Elizabeth the first. I could go on and on. Once you hit royalty in your family tree, the information falls like dominos. I have traced one line back to the 800's AD.
This next bit was interesting.
23% Ireland. That is probably where my gift of the gab comes from.
Actually, Ireland takes in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with a bit of an overlap of England and France. The Scottish was not so much of a surprise with an ancestor named McNayr. Now if I could only find out who Boyd McNayr's father was. He keeps eluding me at every turn. Boyd was the first McNayr to come to North America . . . to Halifax, Nova Scotia to be exact. He was only 8 years old when his father, a soldier in the Kings Navy, left him with friends, as he went off to do Soldiering stuff. The father was never seen again. Boyd was only 8 at the time. At the age of 14 he made his way out from Halifax to the Annapolis Valley and set up a Blacksmith shop in a small town called Lawrencetown. He married a girl from Wilmot named Rachel Beals, and then a few years later they walked out to Springfield to start the first settlement there. They had quite a few children. Ida is their granddaughter.
This is Boyd's headstone which is situated in the Springfield Cemetary. He died in 1854 at the age of 76. There are a great many people in North America who can trace their family line back to him and Rachel.
This was another surprise . . . 7% Italy/Greece
I probably get my love of Pizza, Pasta and Parmesan, Feta and tomatoes from these people, not to mention my philosophical and artistic nature.
7% Iberian Peninsula - ie primarily Spain and Portugal. Interesting.
4 % Great Britain -England, Scotland and Wales. So we see a bit of an overlap here with Ireland. I know I have quite a few Brits in my family tree, and Scots too. No surprise but I had thought it would be in a larger percentage.
1 % each of Eastern European (Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia), Finland/NorthWest Russian ( also found in Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Lithuania) and European Jewish (Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Israel).
Each of these was a bit of a surprise . . .
Next came the largest surprise of all . . .
1% Melanesia . . .
Wot the heck? Melanesian? Woah! I did not expect that at all!
Obviously one of my ancestors was quite the adventurer. You couldn't get much farther from Europe than that! Only a small amount, but it is there.
And finally . . . 2% Caucasus
Armenia, Azergaijana, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey . . .
So what did this tell me about who I thought I was?
It taught me that my DNA was a lot more diversified than I thought it was. That I share something in common with a great deal of the world. That as "North American" or as "European" as I might have thought that I was, I am really much more than that, re-enforcing my knowledge and belief that we are all God's children, equal in His eyes and on an equal footing with each other. That no lives matter more than others. There, but for the grace of God go I. That the more different we think we might be . . . the more alike we really are.
We have a commonality which transcends all borders. We are first and foremost and will always be quite simply . . . children of God.
Its an odd feeling in a way . . . and it makes me a bit sad in some ways . . . especially when I think about what happened to the Jews of Europe, about the subjugation of the aboriginal peoples in the world throughout the centuries, and about what has and is going on in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and . . . Syria . . . right now.
These are all my people . . . and I am pretty sure that if you had the opportunity to have your DNA done, you would discover that they are your people also.
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
I, alone, cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters
to create many ripples.
~Saint Mother Teresa
In The English Kitchen today . . . Maraschino Cherry Cake.
Have a wonderful and happy Sunday. Don't forget . . .
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And I do too!