Thursday, August 21, 2014

so I'm a viking

Recently my wife and I did genetic testing with 23andme. At this point, the only information they can give you is ancestral. For all sorts of reasons they, for the time being, can't impart any health/medical related stuff. Eh, I don't care too much about that. I already know way too much about my family's woeful medical problems.

The ancestry stuff, though, that's what I'm interested in. Basically, it turns out, pretty much everything I was taught about my family heritage is completely true: I'm about as Northern European as possible. 95.9 % of my genes are from that part of the world.

My dad's family is English and Dutch. On the English side we're descended from John Robinson from Sturton le Steeple. He was one of the Pilgrim's pastors. He remained in Leiden when they went to the Plymouth Colony but some of his children traveled there later. On the Dutch side, I have no clear information only that one ancestor worked for the Dutch West India Company.

My mom was Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Her dad was Norwegian and Danish but grew up in Sweden, hence the Swedish spelling of my middle name, Anderson. Her mom was Swedish, and specifically a Swede Finn from Narpes

The genetic results show my heritage was pretty much exactly what expected. I am 32.4% Scandinavian, 23.5% British/Irish, 3.6% Finnish, .6% German/French, and 36.4% Broadly Northern European, 1.4% Eastern European, .2% Broadly Southern European, 1.7% Broadly European, and somehow, .1% Native American and <.1% Broadly East Asian.

I always assumed that my maternal grandmother's family had to have a touch of Finnish in it. You can't invade, conquer, and convert a country without a little interpersonal business going on. 

I suspect the Eastern European reflect Finland's proximity the Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland.  Since 23andme claims this info represents your heritage about 500 hundred years back and there was plenty of trade going on, I'm not surprised at any Southern European blood. I have no idea where the Asian/Native American genes come from at all. Maybe some of it comes from those theoretical Russians.

I guess I was hoping for some sort of surprise in my genetic history. Maybe there was some secret no on in the family let on to. Maybe we were secretly descended from a line of Italian merchants. Maybe I had Gypsy blood or Romanian (If you've seen my picture over at facebook you'd know even most Northern Italians are dark compared to me, so Romania's about as south or east as I could dare to hope). Many of us dream about being something other than what we are, have a little mystery that lies there waiting to be uncovered.

Well, this proves there isn't one. I'm a whiter than white white guy whose family probably never ventured south of the Rhine River or very much east of Finland.

It's actually pretty cool. It means the stories told me by my parents and grandparents hold up to the science. The stories and myths that hold the greatest place in my heart, those from the British Isles and the Nordic states, are connected to my actual ancestry, so I got that going for me.


  1. This is totally cool. And I love the photos of the churchyards.

    1. Thanks,it really is. I like old churches and I tried to find places I knew existed when my families lived in those places. Since my mom's dad was pretty irreligious I figured I'd just show the whole town.