I grew up in foster care, so I have very few pictures of myself as a child. I’ve always been told I’m German, English, and Irish, with possibly a sprinkle of Swiss and French tossed in. Relatives on my dad’s side swore on a stack of Bibles that my Irish ancestors migrated to America during that famous Irish Potato Famine in the 1800’s. As I glance at my favorite childhood picture, I’m not really feeling the Irish thing, but you never know.
My very considerate husband surprised me with a trip to Ireland this spring. I immediately began obsessing over whether or not I really had Irish blood in me. I knew I had plenty of German in me because my great Aunt Lillian Trittebaugh made sure everyone got a copy of the family tree on my mother’s side. Because my unmarried name was Collins,I felt fairly certain the English portion of my ancestry was a pretty sure thing, too. The English part intrigued me because many of my writing friends profess to be descended from Henry VIII. How cool would it be if that was the case with me! After months of listening to me lament over whether or not I was really Irish, my husband sent away for a DNA kit. Be forewarned when it arrives, you have to spit 1/4 teaspoon of saliva into a tube (it took me 7 tries). We mailed it back in, and I crossed my fingers, eager to discover the Irish side of my ancestry. I’d just finished a series about four sisters with Irish roots. How cool would it be to wrap things up by showing off my Irish heritage!
Those of you familiar with the Bible know there’s a verse in there that says, “Pride goeth before a fall.” So I’m getting all puffed up about finally discovering my Irish ancestors, anticipating revisiting my heritage. I’m envisioning castles here but am pretty much open to the idea of discovering my relatives may have lived in a workhouse during the Potato Famine. How romantic would that be! Meanwhile…back at the ranch, hubby is tracing my family history on ancestry. The workhouse, poverty thing was partially correct, but in my case, I had relatives from England who were poor gypsies and after not being able to make a decent living, ended up in America.
The big day finally arrived and I got the DNA results back. Not a lick of Irish in me. Lots of Western European (this includes Germany and a ton of other countries), quite a bit of Great Britain (this includes England, Scotland, and Wales, (it does NOT include Ireland), and some family who were probably fur traders along the route of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Should be an interesting trip to Blarneyland, but I know when I sit at the pubs sipping Irish whiskey, my second cousin ten times removed won’t be sitting there with me! Maybe they can adopt me-it wouldn’t be the first time someone felt pity for me!