, , , ,

So, who do you think you are? Do you really know where your family’s origins lay? Are you truly 100% of whatever? Have you ever been curious to find out?

I have to admit. I have become engrossed watching the latest surge of reality programs that focus on celebrities finding out about their family roots. The first generation of such a show started on NBC. Then came a version on TLC. PBS has had two versions, one of which acts like a genealogical Antique Roadshow. There have probably been other variations out there on some other cable channel I just haven’t caught on to yet. Let me know. I’d love to catch an episode.

Peoples’ desire to learn where and who they come from is interesting to me. I love it when there is that one family member that acts as the family historian, the keeper of the family papers and heirlooms. It amazes me when families can trace themselves back not just several generations but sometimes for centuries. How cool is that? My family can’t do this. There used to be a cousin that did this for my father’s side of the family, but she has longed passed. I have no idea who she passed her knowledge on to which is a shame. On my own, I can go back about three generations. I need to get digging.

On these shows, I love it when a person sometimes gets a little shocker. Family lore says that they were descended from someone famous or that the family has only French Blood or some other absolute lineage only to be told that’s inaccurate. In the past, the person could decide to remain steadfast to the family belief. However, today with the advent of DNA testing, one can let their saliva do the talking. That’s what I decided to do.

Back at the beginning of May, I gave in and purchased a DNA test from Ancestry.com. I now await my results. Why did I decide to do this?

It’s a no-brainer that there’s got to be Irish in my genetics. With the last name Rooney, I think I can assume without fear of being wrong about that part of my ancestry. But what about the family stories that hinted at being Black Irish? Are they true? My family did immigrate from the West side of Ireland where the Spaniards were said to have landed and took up roost with the natives. One of our family names on my dad’s side is Carlos. Could it be Spanish in origin or did someone mess up the spelling at Ellis Island, or wherever my family first got processed at upon arrival in the U.S.? There is a little bit of mystery in regards to the paternal side of the family DNA code.

When it comes to the maternal side, all of my ancestry and DNA is a mystery. It is a black hole. My mother is adopted. She was raised by a French Canadian couple in Woonsocket, RI. I know she was born in Massachusetts. Her birth certificate was very hard to come by back in the 1980s when she and my father needed to get passports to travel to Ireland. The courthouse that had housed her legal birth papers had burned down. I remember there was much effort to finally get my mother the birth certificate she needed to apply for the passport.

Because she was put up for adoption, her papers were sealed. Presently we don’t know if they even exist somewhere anymore mainly because of how adoptions were done back then in the 1930s. Also, because if a fire didn’t get them, time and decay probably did. There was only one hint on the birth certificate we got back in the 1980s. The last name of my mother’s birth mother seems to have been Italian. This could be true or her family may be from some other area of the Mediterranean. I don’t know. So now I sit waiting to see if the sample of my saliva will help fill in these major missing pieces of the puzzle that is my genetic heritage. Ancestry.com says it can take another six to eight weeks before I know more. Patience…that seems to be the lesson I’m always being made to learn.