Monday, March 23, 2015

Call me Dagnaar

So a few weeks ago I ordered a DNA kit to determine my ancestral ethnic heritage. My siblings and I each kicked in $20 to order the $100 test. When asked if all of us siblings had the same parents, my mother was coy, did not directly answer the question, but left an impression that we did in fact have the same parents. I'm fairly sure about that. She has a sense of humor and I think was playing with us. I think. * * * * * * * The kit came and I slobbered a significant blob of saliva into a vial, sealed it up, and mailed it in. The results came in the other day and confirmed a few things I knew, but it also contained a couple of surprises. I knew, for example that the Cassiday surname is Irish and came from one of my great, great, great, great grandfathers, David Cassiday, who came to America in the 1840s with two brothers. Those brothers spread out and there are Cassidays all over the US, from New York to California. I also knew that one of my grandmothers came from Wales. My mother's branch of the family is primarily English.........including a very distant cousin, Lancelot Andrews who was appointed by King James, the King James of the Bible, to be the chief translator for the King James version of the Pentateuch: you know, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. But I digress. * * * * * * * * So what the test shows is I am 42% English, 28% West European (primarily France and Germany), 20% Irish, 5% Scandinavian, 3% Iberian Peninsula, 2% Finnish/Northwest Russian, and a possible trace of Italian/Greek. * * * * * * * The surprises were in the 28% West European, the 5% Scandinavian, the 3% Iberian Peninsula, the 2% Finnish/Northwest Russian, and the trace of Italian/Greek. And if you know me, you must admit I am not swarthy in the least. Italians and Greeks are swarthy. Of all my characteristics, swarth is not among them. I have no swarth whatsoever. I am completely swarthless. So the Italian/Greek part of this test is definitely a trace. The Iberian Peninsula is interesting, though, and the genetic mixing of peoples of Western Europe included what is now Spain and Portugal. So I have a small bit in common with Sergio Garcia and more in common with Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote than tilting at windmills. And the 2% Finnish/Northwest Russian may explain why both my dad and I studied Russian. He used to exclaim "Karandash" at random times just for fun. "Karandash" is the Russian word for pencil. He would utter it like a loud swearword. It does sound pretty cool. And to this day I can still ask Nina where she is going. "Privet Nina, kuda vi idote? Hello Nina, where are you going?" "ya idu na pochtu. I am going to the post office." So that Russian thing must run deep in our veins and/or loins. " * * * * * * * The one I am liking the most right now, though, is the Viking thing. 5% Scandinavian. You know, all that pillaging that went on from the 8th century through the 11th. The name itself though is from an old Norse feminine noun that means creek, inlet, or small bay. I prefer, however, the barbarian warrior romanticized version that we see on the History Channel these days. * * * * * * * So, having said all this, and considering that I may be descended from Sweyn Forkbeard or Cnut the Great, I have chosen a more suitable nickname for myself: Dagnaar the Slayer. And to end this blog, I'll add an old Viking insult: "Skjegget ditt lukter av kvinnelige sau." - "Your beard smells of female sheep." That's just the way we old Vikings talk to each other.


Blogger The said...

I got Finnish/Russian(1%) and Iberian Peninsula and southern European and I am your 3rd or 4th cousin. I thought the Finn/Russian might have come from my Czech side but now maybe not.

It would be interesting to hear from any Cassidays(that spelling) who also got the "Iberian" result, as that would back up the claim of another independent Cassiday family that told me they were told their spelling was "Dark irish" and not related to the O'Cassidy Clan of Northern Ireland.

If any Cassidays descended from David and Rachel get "Melanesian" that would be interesting. I got that as <1%.

5:44 PM  

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