Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Heritage

For ages now I've wanted to know where in the world my roots are. Not in a "finding myself" kind of way, I just have a massive interest in human genealogy. It's perhaps not the most usual of interests, but I just like imagining where people's families came from. Being told from a very young age that it is incredibly rude to judge people on what they look like has pretty much had exactly the opposite effect on me. Why is it rude to be interested in a person's features? I might be alone on this one, but I seriously do think it's possible to tell where someone is from by looking at them. It seems incredibly un-PC to say that sort of thing these days, but I can't understand why at all. Surely a person's cultural background is something to be embraced? If we all really looked the same, the world would be a very very boring place. It's my Andy's slightly Scandinavian face that made me look at him in the first place (even though he appears to have no recent Nordic family ties....Viking blood perhaps? How exciting!), and I don't feel that my all-round tan has much to do with being British. It's all so incredibly interesting. Where are we all from? Who has the most ancient DNA? Are British people really made up of either Anglo-Saxon or Briton genes? How come it's wrong to think of things like this? I get reprimanded for being RACIST would you believe?....A genuine interest in the genetic makeup of humans does not amount to interracial hatred I shouldn't have thought. If more people got interested in where they came from, I'm sure there would be a lot more cultural embracing-type scenarios going on.

When I look in the mirror, I see a very small nose, dark Olive skin, and almond-shaped eyes that honestly change colour every few years or so. There's a story in my family that we might have Indian connections, but it's all very hush hush (it would mean an illicit affair - how exciting! - crossing over the Empire's boundaries - see, pretty interesting - and family deceit. It's practically a Victorian classic) so I want to find out for myself just out of curiosity. I'm too far removed from the actual event (if it happened) to be outraged or upset. I'm just intrigued. Where did my face shape come from? Is my colouring Romany, French, Greek, Byzantium? See, it is interesting.

I'm asking for a DNA test for my birthday. Unfortunately, Jeremy Kyle has made it sound like I want proof that my family are who they say they are. I don't doubt them at all, I'm just curious to know whether my maternal line has been around for thousands of years, whether my ancestors were nomadic tribespeople, whether I really do come from Cronshaw Viking stock. The website I found to do this for me was www.cambridgedna.com/genealogy-dna-maternal-ancestry-test-mtdna
Hopefully my 21st can be spent looking at a map and going "ooooh, How interesting".
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