Do you know where you’re going to?


A few weeks ago, I broke down and purchased one of those DNA test kits. You know, the ones where you take a couple of swabs from inside your cheeks and send them in, and they tell you where you came from. I don’t know if it qualifies as part of my journey, but I was curious.

As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” I don’t know if that’s strictly true. It seems to me that one could have a pretty good idea of where they want to go, and even have a detailed roadmap of how to get there without knowing or remembering where you’ve been.

I know, Ms. Angelou was talking about embracing and respecting one’s past, and I can appreciate that.

But it brought to mind another quote, this one from that great sage of years past, Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” In a very literal sense, we don’t know where we’re going yet, but we are always open to new possibilities.

Then, there’s this nugget of existential wisdom from Buckaroo Banzai: “No matter where you go, there you are.”

Anyway, the DNA test. After a few weeks, the test was complete and they sent information about my genetic history. And the results were interesting. The greatest percentage of my origin is from Europe:

Northern European, 26.3%
N.W. European, 22.1%
British Isles, 21%
Iberian, 10.6%
Toscani Italian, 10.5%

Not a huge surprise there. Though I did find the Iberian and Toscani Italian to be interesting, considering the places we’ve focused our retirement haven search on.

But that was followed by small percentages of Asian, AdMixed American, and even a tiny portion from Nigeria. (No info, though, on whether I’m related to that rich Nigerian prince who keeps trying to give away his money.)

One thing did surprise me, though. My maternal great great grandmother, Mary Smith, was full-blooded Cherokee. But there was no mention of Native American.

Mary Smith

Admittedly creepy picture of my great great grandmother, Mary Smith

On the map that accompanied the results, the little place marker for “AdMixed American” was located in the southern half of Mexico. So I looked a little deeper into that category. It contained the following info:

Peruvian, 1.4%
Colombian, 1.2%
Mexican, 0.4%
Puerto Rican, 0.3%

Interesting, but still, no Cherokee in there. So I contacted CRI Genetics, the company that did the test. Turns out the AdMixed American was the clue.

Native American is represented by the category Admixed American. We use this term because it includes various other indigenous tribes of South and North America such as Incas, Inuit, Taino, Mexican and many others which descend from Native Americans.

We use the sub categories of Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Colombian to identify your Native American traits because based on the Paleo-Indian migration, the Native Americans last stop was the tip of South America, about 14,000 years ago. And at that point they start to develop traits which distinguish them from being Asian, which is their origin (specifically Siberia) prior to crossing over the land bridge called “Beringia” around 15,000 years ago.

If you’re looking for a specific tribe/group like Cherokee, Apache, etc., unfortunately, our test cannot pinpoint it yet. We’re still in the process of establishing connection with Native Tribes. If everything works well, then possibly in the future, we can show it on your result and you will definitely be notified about it.

Well that makes sense. The different tribes came from a common genetic ancestor and, likely, developed certain physical traits over time based on their surroundings, their food, etc.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I still haven’t gotten through the wealth of information that came from those slobber swabs. But it’s fascinating.

Now that I have an idea where I’ve been, maybe I can figure out where I’m going!