Two years ago I was lucky enough to win a DNA test from a family history website. The test was done by Family Tree DNA and was a Y-chromosome study for direct-line male descendants of families with my surname. My daddy had passed 6 years prior so I called my uncle and asked if he would be willing to take the test. Of course he agreed, he was just as anxious to find out our heritage as I was.
My grandma was interested in our family heritage back in the 1980’s but with limited resources, so much of her information was word of mouth. I’m thankful to have the family stories but we never really knew what we were or where we came from. I remember asking my grandparents and my parents about our heritage. “Oh, we’re a little bit of German, Irish, & Dutch.” is all I ever got. I know now that it is because they had no idea where we came from. Luckily, DNA testing has become available to the general population and I could find out our roots. Where did the blue eyes come from? What about our curly/ kinky hair? Is this temper in our genes?
After a very long 4-6 weeks the results were emailed to us. I was excited to find answers but I was also hoping for something interesting. Boy, did we get it!
First of all, I had to learn some St. Patrick’s day history.
In the approximate year of 405 at the age of 16, Maewyn Succat, (Patrick) was captured by an Irish High King by the name of “Niall of the Nine Hostages” during a raid in Wales and he was made a slave at Gaelic Ireland.
During his six years in captivity, he became a Christian. He believed that God led him away from him captures and onto freedom. He later went on to become a priest and converted thousands to Christianity. In fact, he went back to Ireland to witness to his captures and ended up converting Nialls son, Lóegaire to Christianity. It is no wonder that he would become Ireland’s Patron Saint, St. Patrick.
So the results of my DNA-Y test proved that along with 3 million others, we are descendents of the Irish High King Niall of the Nine Hostages. History says that he was a prolific warrior who battled the English, the Scots, the French and the Romans, instilling fear into the hearts of his enemy. His dynasty which lasted centuries, ended during the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland at the end of the 16th century.
An interesting fact: It was rumored that St. Patrick rid Ireland of snakes. The truth is, Ireland never had snakes. The water surrounding the island is too cold for them to migrate. Anyone else want to move to Ireland?
So I guess that explains the curly hair, blue eyes, and the Irish temper!
Have you had an unexpected ancestor? Please share!