‘Your AncestryDNA results are in!’

The email immediately caught my attention. I wasn’t expecting the results of my DNA test until January as I had been informed it would take 6-8 weeks to process. This delivery was quicker and more efficient than any package I’d received from Yodel!

My initial reaction. Excitement! Although I was acutely aware of the nervous feeling that was doing laps from the back of my mind. Somehow worried for what the results may bring up – not necessarily the ethnicity breakdown – but my reaction.

The reason I decided to get my DNA tested stemmed from almost becoming an egg donor, which I speak about in a previous blog post – Delving deeper into me! Spoiler alert: I was unable to donate my eggs due to not knowing the health history of my father or his parents.

The knockback got me thinking “Where are my ancestors from?” – big leap I know, but I’ve thought about the entire earth’s existence after seeing a Squirrel – true story!

I knew the results wouldn’t provide the answers the fertility clinic required but with the idea firmly lodged in my head, I had to do it. Well, I paused for a moment when the £79 fee swiftly increased by £20 for the delivery, then I did it.

A week later, collection tube in hand, scared I wouldn’t be able to produce enough saliva and my sample would become void, I carefully – very carefully, followed the instructions. After posting back I let all thoughts of my DNA go.

Until yesterday! Until I opened that email.

DNA email

“My mother’s side of the family are from St Kitts, in the West Indies” –  I’ve lost count of the number of times that line has rolled off my tongue.

That is the only part of my DNA that I’ve been able to share with the Genealogy buffs or nosey buggers that have wanted to know more about me. Well more about my history race, not showing any interest in who ‘Emma’ actually is. In what makes me tick.

I have clung on to that piece of knowledge, so when I logged in to view my DNA story I was more than surprised to see the results…..

DNA percentages

The highest percentage, was Ivory Coast/Ghana with nearly half of my ancestors hailing from there. Slightly puzzled, as there was no mention of the Caribbean, I read further.

“Most African Caribbeans can trace their ancestry back to Western Africa from areas in present-day Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, the Republic of Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, and Mali. Over a three-hundred-year period, nearly 5 million people were enslaved and brought to the islands to work on sugar plantations.” (source: AncestryDNA)

And then…………….I cried.

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. I guess all this time, especially as I was brought up with a foster family, I kept history at arms length. Knowing mainly of the slavery in America due to some of the films I did dare to watch.

I read on, reading harsher depictions of the slavery that took place in the Caribbean. I cried some more and then I got angry.

Angry for the past – slavery. Angry at the present – racism.

I really was not expecting my DNA reveal to lead me down this path and into a history lesson. I am now left to decide what I do with this information and these feelings and maybe shall blog about this as a separate post.

Looking back at my DNA results and at the lower percentages, the first that was not from an African region was the 1% of my DNA that is European Jewish. It really is interesting stuff.

DNA low percentages

The results also brought up my DNA matches. I’m currently matched with 92 people on the site ranging from 3rd to 8th cousins. Seeing this, I have to admit, there was a fleeting moment when I wondered what percentage of these people were from my mother’s side of the family. So I’m sure this will be a topic of conversation when I next see my Halliday family.

Where does this leave me?

Well it doesn’t change who I am. I am still Emma, from Leeds, who loves to write and wants to be more vulnerable, has a silly childlike sense of humour, can’t help bursting out into dance, laughs loudly, is a hopeless romantic and a day-dreamer. Oh yes, I’m still all those things and more.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday 

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