Friday, November 20, 2015

Family Tree & DNA

The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching. This family-gathering event is a great time to begin a family tree, if you don’t already have one or something that resembles one. I am not talking about drawing a picture of a tree with an assortment of branches that are labeled with a name and date of an ancestor. Though, this could be the start of the project and if there isn’t an artist among your family, just go to the internet where you will find a plethora of family tree charts that fit your needs, then print a few out so if mistakes or some confusion on dates, names, places, etc., should arise, you have a fresh tree to start growing your branches on. If a paper version of a family tree is not for you, you can create an online tree with genealogy computer software making it easier to organize, preserve and share your family history. It is also a direct link to missing information about
your roots. This project gets everyone involved and is especially rewarding for the young ones in the family to come to know and hear some stories about their relatives.

And as your family sits around the table enjoying a gastronomic feast, be it yourself or another family member bring up the subject of discovering your family’s DNA. The process of gathering your DNA is simple and extremely rewarding.  Everyone in the family can do it and it is a very satisfying project to embrace. Your DNA are the roots of your family tree. For some great advice and examples on how to do a DNA test, go to
There you will find everything you need.
I had my DNA done using Ancestry. And was I surprised at the results. Throughout my life I heard so many stories about family members, where they came from, where and why they settled in a particular place, and what they did for a living. On my mothers’ side I am Italian. On my fathers’ side I am Lithuanian. I grew up learning more about being an Italian than I did about being Lithuanian, of which to this day, I have little knowledge about that culture. So I embraced my Italian heritage and ignored the other. Then I had my DNA tested, and lo and behold, I am more Lithuanian than I am Italian. I had never been so surprised to find this out, which I am thrilled to have done, but unfortunately, I cannot share this discovery with my parents because they have both passed away. But now our children have mine and their father’s DNA passed onto them, and we are making sure they will know and appreciate their genetic composition.     
There is another ancestry program called Geno 2.0 Next Generation Genographic Project Participation and DNA Ancestry Kit. By participating you will discover the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed hundreds, even thousands, of years ago, with an unprecedented view of your ancestral journey. My husband participated in this program and was amazed to find the long journeys his maternal family travel. His heritage is half Norwegian, the other half German. Like me, he was brought up more Norwegian than German, but years later, he connected with his German relatives which has extended our family circle.

So when your family comes together, enjoy the bounty of good food and share your legacy. And don’t forget to put the memories of this holiday into your Family Museum. Perhaps the wishbone? Don’t break it this time. Wash and dry it off and keep your wish for a time when you may really need one.

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