I believe I’ve mentioned this briefly in another post, about reading books from or about the countries of my heritage… with that said, I promise this post will tie into books eventually.
For Christmas, I received an Ancestry DNA testing kit. I’d been dying to do this for so long, can we say great advertising!?
I know that my mother was born in Ecuador and has lots of family there. I know my father’s parents are from Peru and that there’s an Italian great-grandfather on that side as well.
My skin is light, but my features dark; my first name originates from Greece, and my last name is Spanish.
I’ve been asked if I was Greek, Israeli, or Egyptian by people from those places. Could there be some influence from these places?
My maternal grandmother is from the Ecuadorian city, Guayaquil, and my grandfather comes from the mountains (Riobamba). My paternal grandfather spoke of the Peruvian jungles and his brother the shaman.
I’ve been told that there is a large German influence in Ecuador, and I’ve read that the late 1800’s brought Chinese (slave?) laborers to the Andes, so I kind of expect to see some low percentage of ancestry derived from these places.
I have been so excited to get these results, and I wanted to do something special with them. Maybe have a map printed with the results highlighted to display in my living room. Maybe get my hands on some cultural art work. Maybe I will do those things… but then I thought, how can I really connect to the results? And then my inner bookworm spoke up: read.
I was inspired by the Around the World in 1000 Pages book club, hosted by Russell on Ink and Paper Blog. I love the idea of experiencing new places and cultures through literature, and while I will watch all of Russell’s videos and browse the Goodreads discussions, I don’t think I will read along with this book club every month.
BUT, I will go on my own journey. I will use my AncestryDNA test to build a list of books that take place in or are written by an author from each country listed in my results.
It felt like forever, but I FINALLY got my DNA report back from Ancestry last week. It took well over the estimated 6 weeks because apparently the whole world got this for Christmas. There wasn’t anything particularly surprising, I pretty much got the results I expected. Seeing Native American on there was really important to me for some reason; even though I know that the indigenous groups of South America differ greatly from the tribes of North America which I am more familiar with.
The above map is an overview of my results including the low confidence regions (percentages listed in the summary screenshot). My maternal grandmother also did the test so it was fun to see the results side by side. She had 5% Nigerian listed on her results where I had 0%… but the current book for the Around the World in 1000 Pages club is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie, and I wanted to read it anyway… so I will read it in honor of my grandmother’s 5% result!
I am going to create a page on which to list my DNA results and compile a reading list. This way I have a place to link everything back to and not lose posts in my blog history.
If you’ve made it to the end of this long post… good job! Let me know if you have done anything like this- ancestryDNA testing, family interviews, a pilgrimage… whatever! I feel like it is so important to realize that we are all a beautiful mix of people and places.
Also let me know if you have any book recommendations for me.
Happy Reading Everyone!