This Is Why I Did a DNA Test

This is Why I Did a DNA Test
Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care

It’s the longing in all of us, the feeling that causes us to stare out at the endless horizon standing at the ocean’s edge. The part of us that draws our gaze to the multi-layered masterpiece of a nearby mountain ridge.

Those of us who are naturally nostalgic have an affinity for the history of things. The way something once made us feel, the memory a familiar song brings up, all moments and feelings that are part of our story. Nostalgia transcends the present and whisks us away, and it always creates a sense of longing to capture that feeling again.

I am one of those people, drawn to familiar things that have framed my life’s surroundings. And yet, I’m continually looking outward to see what else I can capture as part of my journey and make a part of my life. The human connection is an obvious frontrunner in the list of things we crave, and for the most part, these connections become part of who we are.

A curious spirit led me to discover my heritage…

A recent trend in our society has been the appearance of DNA kits, aiding in the ancestry hunt. For years, those with curious spirits have searched their heritages with high hopes of making a connection somewhere out there in this big, old universe. A link to the past, to a story, to a purpose, maybe even a destiny… Perhaps you watched The Parent Trap as a kid and wondered if you have a long-lost brother or sister.

I recently conducted one of these DNA kits (I specifically used a MyHeritage DNA kit) gifted to me by wonderful mother. Just a quick rundown of the process for those who have not completed one yet—you get two cotton swabs and take one to each cheek on the inside, rolling it back and forth across the gummy part. The two tips of the cotton swabs pop off and fit nicely into these very easy-to-seal vials and a package that shows you how to ship them out. It’s super user-friendly, and I found nothing to be concerned about whatsoever.

But, the results were not what I expected.

Now, I grew up boasting about my Scot-Irish heritage that I learned about from the family tree projects I had conducted throughout my early education years. I was pr-r-r-roud to be a strong McIntosh from the mighty Highlands of Scotland. But names are often deceiving, and my story has so much more to it than that.

The human connection is an obvious frontrunner in the list of things we crave, and for the most part, these connections become part of who we are.

When I received my results, I was shocked to learn that my history isn’t just bound to the European continent.

Europe: North & West Europe – 93.1% (English – 66.2%; Irish, Scottish, and Welsh – 25.8%; Scandinavian – 1.1%)

Asia: West & Central Asia – 6.9% (West Asian – 5.7%; Central Asian – 1.2%)

100% Jordan (Leigh) McIntosh Hawkins

Sure, it was neat to find out what I sort of already knew—that my ancestors came from somewhere in the United Kingdom, probably sometime in the 1800-1900s. But something far more compelling about these results was captivating my mind…

Somewhere along the way, my European ancestors found themselves crossing paths with someone in Western Asian and fell in love. Maybe a forbidden love affair between different races took place, bridging the gap and showing raw humanity at its most beautiful—true love. Somewhere, perhaps, a war for a noble cause brought two people together who would have never otherwise met. The infinite wonder I have for this 7% of my DNA has me so curious as to what this story might be.

Something far more compelling about these results was captivating my mind…

Truly, making connections is what this process is all about.

It’s a discovery of something that ties us and binds us to otherwise complete strangers. To a past, a story, and, if we’re really lucky, a future…

So far, I’ve had one connection that is a definite match. A great aunt. I’ve reached out to her and am awaiting her reply and what will hopefully be a new branch of family that I can learn to love and appreciate.

While I await my reply and build my family tree, I’ve reached out to others to see what amazing stories might be waiting in the wings. A friend of a friend immediately replied with one of those Parent Trap, shake-you-to-the-core kind of moments. An adopted firefighter in SWFL was gifted one of these by his fiancée, who had high expectations that her love might find his family. After a few months without much activity, a note came through that stopped life as they knew it in its tracks.

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A family searching for a long-lost brother (tears welling up in me now) came across this man’s profile and reached out to inquire about his date of birth. Overnight, this man came to learn that he had not one, but four siblings he had not known about. (Heart racing!)

Can you imagine the emotions that go into learning something like this—discovering parts of yourself you never knew made sense until you see them reflected in people who are cut from the same cloth that you came from? It fills my soul with wonder and causes me to log on again and keep searching.

The journey is a fun one and, if you’re fortunate, an enlightening one. Get ready for the ride of your “LIFE-time.” Keep searching, my friends—you never know what you might find!

Looking to learn more about yourself? Start here:

Should You Complete a DNA Test? Read This First
How Do I Know What Defines Me?
How to Get Honest About Your Dreams and Thrive!
Unsure of Your Purpose? Discover It With These 5 Steps

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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: How Do I Know What Defines Me? – 078!

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