DNA Part Five: How Do You Identify?

This morning I’m reviewing my results from 23andMe.  I’m feeling frustrated and exhausted. Starting to wonder if I am an alien baby thrown from a space ship as it was circling the sun.  The results came back on Thanksgiving 2014, but the closest relative located is a third cousin; we have four segments in common and potentially share the same great-great grandparent.  Do I get a C- in DNA testing results?

dna-shared-between-relatives

I found a list of “Famous Adoptees” (see bottom of page).  It is comforting to know I am not the only one looking for family.  My mood is changing regarding this search.  Anticipating drama, I’m thinking it might be better to withdraw.

My haplogroup is U5a1a1, found primarily in modern day Ireland.  They are a pretty quiet group on the post boards. “Hi everyone! I’m also a U5a1a1.  My family’s primarily from Ireland.”—out. To connect and share stories with my third, fourth, fifth cousins requires family names to share and compare.

Good News

A DNA blogger recommended a site call GEDmatch.  A handy benefit of 23andMe is that the results can be downloaded and added to other DNA sites like GEDMatch.  Another close cousin was found using this public site.  He is a genealogy buff living in Brazil of Jewish/Brazilian descent.  He sent me the proof of our cousin-hood in this format:

Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 700 SNPs
Mismatch-bunching Limit = 350 SNPs
Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 7.0 cM

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
9 4564022 13535786 17.0 2509

Largest segment = 17.0 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 17.0 cM
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 4.9

 His findings came with a warm note, “this is wonderful, we felt embraced by you dear cousin!” It is encouraging to connect with him, with anyone, honestly.

Here is how two sets of DNA look using a visual comparison option from GEDMatch.  Each bar is one of my strands atop another participant.  Color means a match, black is no match. Imagine each bar like a hair comb with “teeth”, solid horizontal color equals 100% match for that section, or “tooth”, and so on.  This graph compares our ancestral connections.

DNA M070444_M533447_E9A186

GEDMatch

How Do You Identify?

I’m going to take a leap here and say that the “race” question is irrelevant.  In my home I was raised by second and third generation German/Swedish and Irish/French parents.  However, my test shows no German, Sweden or French in my DNA.  My mother’s mid-western cooking, dinner at the table, and Lutheran ethics influenced me more than anything.  So what am I?  Here is what I believe TFN: Family culture, the style in which children are nurtured, forms our cultural identities.

10-gates-450

Henry Louis Gates Jr is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is also an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder.

I’ve been watching the PBS program “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr.  Many of the African-American guests discover a surprisingly large amount of European ancestry.  Gates himself discovers that he is 50% European!  He shares that he was raised in a typical African-American home.  He doesn’t “feel” Northern European.  So is he?  Only he can answer that.

FAMOUS ADOPTEES

Here is a list I found of well known people who are also adopted:

Kate Adie (journalist)

Edward Albee (playwright)

Maya Angelou (poet and author)

John J. Audubon (naturalist)

Michael Bay (director)

Tallulah Bankhead (actress)

Layne Beachley (surfer)

Lynda Bellingham (actress)

Ingrid Bergman (actress)

Andy Berlin (co-founder of ad agency Berlin Camerson & Partners)

James Best (actor)

Les Brown (motivational speaker)

Surya Bonaly (professional skater)

Richard Burton (actor)

Senator Robert Byrd

Augustus Caesar (emporer of Rome)

Truman Capote (author)

Harry Caray (baseball broadcaster)

Peter Carruthers (professional skater)

Kitty Carruthers (professional skater)

Kristin Chenoweth (actress)

Eric Clapton (singer)

President Bill Clinton

Lynette Cole (Miss USA 2000)

Nat King Cole (singer)

Gary Coleman (actor)

Daunte Culpepper (professional football)

Rachel Crow (X Factor contestant)

Faith Daniels (TV news personality)

Ted Danson (actor, adopted child and adoptive father)

Tommy Davidson (comedian)

Toby Dawson (professional skier)

Eric Dickerson (professional football)

Bo Diddley (musician)

Carl Theodore Dreyer (filmmaker)

Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle)

Clarissa Pinkola Estes (poet)

President Gerald Ford

Jamie Foxx (singer, actor)

Scott Fujita (professional football)

Tim Green (professional football)

Jonathon Gilbert (actor)

Melissa Gilbert (actress)

Newt Gingrich (politician)

Faith Hill (singer)

Scott Hamilton (professional skater)

John Hancock (U.S. Founding Father)

Debbie Harry (singer)

Reese Hoffa (Olympic shot putter)

Jesse Jackson (politician)

Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple)

Eartha Kitt (singer, actress)

Matthew Laborteaux (actor)

Patrick Laborteaux (actor)

John Lennon (singer)

Representative Jim Lightfoot

Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo, jr. (singer, member of Black Eyed Peas)

Art Linkletter (TV personality)

Ray Liotta (actor)

Charlotte Lopez (actress and Miss Teen USA 1993)

Greg Louganis (Olympic Gold Medal Diver)

Malcolm X (human rights activist)

Lee Majors (actor)

Nelson Mandela (human rights activist)

Nimmy March (actress)

James MacArthur (actor)

Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels (musician)

Frances McDormand (actress)

Tim McGraw (singer)

Sarah McLachlan (singer)

James Michener (author)

Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino’s Pizza, owner of Detroit Tigers)

Lucy Maud Montgomery (author)

Marilyn Monroe (actress)

Moses (biblical leader)

Mother Teresa (humanitarian)

Alonzo Mourning (professional basketball)

Dan O’Brien (Olympic gold medalist, decathalon)

Hugh O’Connor (actor)

Michael Oher (professional football, story inspired The Blind Side)

Jim Palmer (professional baseball)

Aaron Parchem (Olympic figure skater)

Lorraine Pascale (model, author and chef)

Dana Plato (actress)

Edgar Allen Poe (author)

Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi (TV personality)

Priscilla Presley (actress)

Michael Reagan (President Reagan’s son)

First Lady Nancy Reagan

Nicole Richie (TV personality)

Wilson Riles (educator)

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Victoria Rowell (actress)

Buffy Sainte-Marie (singer)

Paull Shin (state senator)

Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s, children’s advocate)

Leo Tolstoy (author)

Dr. Ruth Westheimer (media personality, sex therapist)

Mayor Anthony Williams (Washington, D.C. politician)

Jett Williams (singer)

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2 thoughts on “DNA Part Five: How Do You Identify?

  1. Pingback: DNA: Part Six | shannon p. laws | writer

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