This is not an affiliate post! I paid for my own test with AncestryDNA.com and was not compensated or even asked to leave a review in any way. The opinions on this blog post do not reflect the views of Ancestry.com and are exclusively my own.
Legalities out of the way, my husband and I did our DNA profiles with Ancestry. Yup, despite the fear that now they will keep our DNA and sell it to third party companies that would track us from now on (no research for this, just my usual paranoia), we spit into the little tubes, shook it up and mailed it in.
And the results are in!
I did mine to try to find more info about my family. I was hoping to find matches on my dad’s side of the family. My dad and I don’t have a lot of information there – my grandfather left from Venezuela to Germany sometime around 1966. My grandmother kept her maiden name, and came from Prussia – whether the polish or the German side of it, who knows? Enough world wars have changed the landscape of Eastern Europe.
I have pictures of my grandma as a nurse, and bike riding through Europe as a young woman fresh out of school. I also have pictures of her exploring Venezuela, and some colored photographs of her in Bali. I know she visited a relative in Australia and had a friend in New York City. I know she had brothers because I remember seeing the sepia-colored photographs of young men in uniform. But I don’t really know anything about her!
So I was hoping to find more on Else Karalus or Hans Heimig, and see if there are any second cousins anywhere? Any pictures or connections to a “home land”? And this was probably fueled by the realization that my homeland is destroyed. I will never, ever be able to take my husband and children to Venezuela and show them my grandmother’s grave, or my childhood neighborhood. They’ll never know what it’s like to visit the falls, or the Andes, or the Amazonian basin. And that grieves me.
My mom and I spent some time researching her side of the family and found out that her paternal grandparents were European Jews that came to Venezuela seeking refuge. News to both of us! And I’m thankful I met my great grandmother, and have pictures with her, and she walked me to school, because there isn’t much in the way of documents on an orphan ex-slave. But it’s ok, cuz I knew her. Till her dying day.
Anyhow, it’s a very difficult feeling to explain; you are always an immigrant, but you never have a country to go back to. And you are adapted to the United States, well versed in politics, geography, and history – but it’s never “home”. It always feels like you know this information as an outsider looking in. Somehow I went on the search for a “home country”, one maybe in Eastern Europe I could hope to visit and learn about one day in replacement of the one I lost.
I’m such a mutt I’m a child of the world!!
East Europe – my paternal side, Prussia, explains this perfectly. Native Americans – I’m sure that’s indigenous to Venezuela, like the Yanomami. These two things make up half of the genetic pool that is me.
Then it’s a smorgasbord of ancient history and migration patterns. Vikings that sailed all over the Baltic sea and established themselves in parts of Russia and the Iberian peninsula. Spaniards, conquered by Romans and then Muslims. Celts that fled from the Roman invasion in Britain. African slaves from Senegal and Mali, brought on Spanish ships to Venezuela after Columbus’ ill arrival. Aside from Southern Europe and Ireland, it’s dashes of spice from people that moved and were moved, conquered and were conquered, all somehow ending up in the northernmost part of South America to make me.
And somehow, unexplainably, a pinch of Melanesian (Papa New Guinea/Australian Aboriginal). I’m sure that one made an interesting story some years back…
But this comforted me because it gave me a lot of places to call “home”. A lot more history to learn, genealogies to look up, and hopefully once my kids all graduate – places to visit! I was never meant to belong to any one geographical place here on earth. I’ve always been a traveler passing through, with my citizenship in Heaven. Then I’ll feel like I’m truly home. Until then, I’ll keep searching for family members.
Do you have interesting lineages or family histories? Share below!