I Was Not Surprised by Reneé Smith

The national flag of the Philippines.

After participating in the Ancestory.com DNA test, I can honestly say there isn’t much new that I learned over the course of researching and finding where my lineage lies. I suppose I was a bit surprised that I knew a lot more about my family compared to, what seems like, many of the other students in the class. After getting my DNA results back I wasn’t shocked with the results because I have talked to my parents, grandparents, and other family members about where we come from. Although it was still an interesting experience to go through, from the results I got back, I was neither surprised nor presented with information I didn’t already know about myself.

My test results came back in, and my ethnicity estimate was as follows: Asia 37% (Asia east 34% with low confidence with Asia south at 2% and Asia central at 1%), Europe 47% (Great Britain 28%, Scandinavia 11% with low confidence in Italy/Germany at 4%, Europe West at 2%, Ireland at 1% and Iberian Peninsula at less than 1%), Pacific Islander 14% (Polynesia at 14%) and West Asia 2% (low confidence in caucsus at 2%). I wasn’t shocked to see the results that I received because I know that my mother is from the Philippines, and much of the Philippine colonization comes from parts of Asia. My grandmother (father’s mother) is from England and my grandfather is from somewhere in Europe as well, and they came to the United States where my grandfather got into the United States military and from there was deployed in Germany, where my father was eventually born. Seeing the results from the DNA test did not shock me because of the general knowledge I have of my family tree, plus the added knowledge of how different parts of the world came to be (for example how people from central and west Asia eventually colonized what we now know as the Philippines).

From my mother’s side, or the Filipino side, there isn’t much history to be found. We have a long line of home-grown artists and nurses, which is what is to be expected from Filipinos. From my father’s side, the European side, there are ties in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England, for one of my great grandfathers fought closely along side Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the battle. Also on that side of my family, a great aunt of mine was a war spy during World War II. The hidden stories I would say that my family is missing are from the Filipino side. I would’ve loved to know more about that side of my family, but it is hard trying to research and find the information with the fact that most of the family now currently resides in the Philippines, and it is difficult to get into contact with those family members.

Knowing different languages is no strange thing for me. From my father’s side nobody speaks a different language other than English. However, it’s obvious that my mother’s side of the family speaks Tagalog, and they do it quite often. When I was growing up I never really learned how to speak the language, I only learned very little words and phrases from my mother spending time to teach me how to speak, like saying I love you, come here, and how to count to ten. However, I do understand a lot more of the language now. Over the years I have started to pick up more words in a deeper understanding, and I can almost clearly understand conversations in Tagalog, however I am not able to say anything back. I think as a journalist it is good to have a second language under my belt, because it will help me bridge gaps in different communities.

I suppose while learning about my family history the only thing that I found a bit shocking is that I am not Hispanic anywhere in my family tree. I never really asked my parents about being Hispanic but growing up I was always told that I look Hispanic and I think over the years I slowly incorporated that into my idea of who I am. Seeing that none of the regions where my bloodline is wasn’t anywhere even close to South America threw me off a little bit, but I wasn’t too shocked learning anything else.

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