Thursday, 23 June 2016

What Made My Brown Eyes Blue?


When I was a child, I proudly remember telling a classmate that I had a mad Scottish Judge as an ancestor. I thought it made me more interesting.
Now, I am sure that my parents told me that this was true but I have no way of verifying the fact given that most of the " Gray" clan have died away.
Strange too that my brother's son ( another Jon Gray) is the last in our line of " Grays" .
It's a good job that my cousin Russ Gray also had two strapping sons to carry the name forward.....poofs like me don't usually have children to do the job.
Anyway where are we going with all this?
I've been thinking about " stock" this morning.....specifically about my own "stock".
I know that on my father's side there is Scottish, Liverpudlian and perhaps some European Gypsy lineage which perhaps explains my love of Scotch Eggs and my aversion to caravan holidays.
My mother's side was Liverpudlian too, with a hefty dollop of poor Irish and Bristol Quaker thrown in for good measure.
Like I said in a previous post, I've always liked the movie Friendly Persuasion and can do wonders  in the kitchen with a humble potato!
Anyhow, I do envy people like Crystal Gayle in a Who Do You Think You Are  kind of way. She was awarded The Cherokee Medal of honour in Tahlequah in celebration of her Indian ancestry and her lovely hair.
It must be wonderful to be able to wear your very history in your looks so to speak.

So where are you from?
I'd be interested in knowing.




94 comments:

  1. This has been a big topic of discussion recently. Nick from the co-op asked how I was voting today. He said he was OUT to which I giggled, " You've finally come out Nick ! " and he laughed.
    We talked a bit about our ancestors & I commented that somewhere along the line on my dad's side there was the name Ninis which went back to the ancient Phoenicians which I rather like. Quick as a flash, Nick said " they made blinds didn't they ?" I laughed out load. I always have good banter with Nick.

    I like the name John Grey; it's good & strong.

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  2. London born and bred for the last few decades but ancestors from England (Devon) Ireland and Scotland. All from 'poor stock'. My paternal Nan spent time as a child with her Mum in Bethnal Green Work house. She had a sister that was born and died there. The poverty was on a different scale to how we view poverty in this county today.

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    1. Forgot to say that I wear my history in my looks: fair, short and downtrodden!!! Wish I looked like Crystal Gayle as she did above (or even had her voice!)

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  3. Three quarters English, with a dash of Welsh. But I did have an uncle called 'Terenzio', so maybe there's a drop of Italian in the mix.

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  4. Pure Lincolnshire farm labourer stock as far as I have gone back. My father always insisted that my mother had a lot of gypsy blood in her (my mother strongly denied this and I think he based it on her black hair and dark eyes). Why not have your DNA tested - various friends have done so with amazing results.

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  5. Italian. But my dad looked like Omar Sharif; I could maybe have a little egyptian in me. Is that valid?
    Greetings Maria x

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  6. I spent last Easter weekend taking advantage of free access to the Ancestry website to have a go at looking if I could investigate my family tree.

    On my father's side, I traced his father's line back to a shepherd in Berkshire in the late 1700's and his mother's line back to a family that lived in one parish back to at least the late 1600's.

    On my mother's side, whilst more recent generations were based in Pontypridd, her father's family appear to have spent the late 18th and early 19th century working as chainmakers at the start of the industrial revolution (I have Brummies in my family tree - who'd have thought!)

    On my mum's mum's side, things get interesting. I can find no record of that great grandfather bar the 1901 and 1911 census. He appears to have been born in Bristol in 1881, but trying every permutation of his name and extending the birth range still brings up no records. I suspect he was in the workhouse for at least part of that time, and probably born there. Bristol's records were lost during the war, so that would be the most plausible explanation. (There was a family story of one ancestor being a gypsy foundling, but I guess a foundling would end up in the workhouse too).

    My great grandmothers side gets interesting. All ancestors I have been able to find a birth and death date for lived to a decent age (the men all seemed to suddenly become miners in times of war) except one woman who died in her 30's and her husband emigrated to the US, but came back on one of the first sailings of the Lusitania and remarried.

    All that side, as far back as I could trace - the 1650's - lived in or around the Forest of Dean. The family name of that branch was Meek. So I am more than like a distant relative of the legendary record producer Joe Meek.

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  7. Mum was from Kent and dad is from Birmingham (though over the years he has lost most of the Brummie accent).
    Never bothered to look further back than that.

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  8. I'm a Celt; Scottish, Irish, French and Cornish. I have Galloway tinkers in my lineage, and Covenanters and possibly Levellers (needs more investigation). Talk of Viking ancestry too. I'm happy with all that :)

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  9. A mongrel mixture. My mother was British, and my father German. I believe that there is French, Spanish and Polish in there too. However my father made an oyster look talkative, and my mother was a stranger to the truth so it is a bit of a mystery.

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    1. '...my father made an oyster look talkative'. LOVE IT!

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  10. my father's line can be traced to a first fleet convict who was transported for a petty theft (he stole food)

    On my mums side, grandma was Norwegian, born in New Zealand. Grandpa was said to come from an Irish line but the genealogist of the family can only trace him to Southampton

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  11. 100% Yorkshire. All great grandparents born and raised in Yorkshire, grandparents born and raised in Yorkshire, parents born and raised in Yorkshire. Surname peculiar to Yorkshire. Yes - I am a very multicultural kind of guy.

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  12. Welsh gran whose great grand father was harbour master at Newport Docks. Grandfather from generations of Kentish farmers. Other side pure Northampton born and bred for many generations. Also lots of "mad" spinster aunts along the way! Being an only child of the only son, the family name died when I married, Much to the annoyance of my dad.

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  13. I have traced my ancestry back about 300 years and apart from one Irish great-grandfather, I am all English with accompanying mousey-brown hair and hazel eyes. So when my daughter turned out to be a blue-eyed, freckle-dusted redhead my mother was thrilled to see her Irish heritage so apparent in her granddaughter.

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  14. my mum's side is czech republic (father) and austria (mother).

    my dad's side is manchester UK (father and mother).

    did you know crystal gayle's sister is loretta lynn, the first lady of country music and the coal miner's daughter?

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  15. Father's side: East End Londoners for generations.
    Mother's side: Durham landed-gentry fallen on hard times.
    I spent the last 8 years thinking that I was Jewish on my father's side (i.e. not Jewish at all), but my sister finally admitted that she more or less made it up, having seen the word 'seal-skinners' from Eastern Europe when doing some very half-hearted genealogy.

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  16. Just a few months ago, a cousin found out we're actually not fully Polish, but partly Russian. Shocked the older members of the family!

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  17. My parents, grandparents and all those previous for many generations were born and raised in Leicestershire, in villages within a very small area, many never venturing more than a few miles in any direction. Even my brother, who during his RAF years, lived in various countries, came back to the village where he was born to settle down and finally died there several years ago.
    Me? Relentlessly nomadic! Lived all over Leicestershire then after my husband died in 1986 moved to Cornwall where I remain happily until this day. No regrets.
    Incidentally - I always assumed 'Yorkshire Pudding' was a female! Quite a revelation.

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    1. Hang on, I'll just check...Yup, definitely male.

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    2. @rambler - I made the same assumption. guess I should have expanded the picture, eh?

      I like a bit o yorkshire pudding now and then.

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    3. Nay, lass........he is a typical Yorkshire man.....a bit brussen at times, don't you think ?

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  18. My father's side of the family was of old New England stock -- English. And also Baltimore Irish -- my Irish Great Grandfather was a cigar manufacturer and was the leader of the State of Connecticut Democratic Party. He was famous for making a speech ranting against Abraham Lincoln. I imagine him providing cigars for the smoke filled rooms of the infamous Tammany Hall. On the other side of my father's family, they were from Selma, Alabama. Another Great Grandfather was the mayor of Selma during the American civil war ... To complete the picture of political incorrectness one of my great great great, etc. grandfathers was the Connecticut State Indian scalper champion! So much for my father's side of the family.

    My mother's family were all immigrants from Ireland, Switzerland and Germany -- coming to the States in the great wave of immigration in the latter part of the 19th century.

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  19. Are you sure you are interested? Mother's side, Huegenot furriers who did well. Father's side, Swiss Italians, English, Scottish, Danish and Jewish from who knows where.

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  20. My ancestry slightly hazy, but it sounds nicely cosmopolitan so I like to firm it up (without embellishments) as though the guessed gaps are factual. Both my father's parents died when he was quite young with the true history consequentially being clouded over time, though what we do know is that my father's father had Portuguese roots (hence my surname, slightly anglicised from the original, which is common in that country). My paternal grandmother was, apparently Danish - surname being Stratten-Jansen - I do recall seeing her birth certificate. How they got together in the first place and married remains one of the mysteries.
    My mother's side seems to be all English - her maiden name was 'French' and her grandmother's maiden name, 'Molyneux' which, I believe may have French-Canadian origins, but I think that may be pushing my wish-list a but far without further evidence to support it.
    Anyway, all my life I've felt myself instinctively European and proud of being so, which may, just MAY, provide a clue as to which way I shall be voting later today.

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  21. Scottish on father's side, German on mother's side, with some kind of hint of Swiss as well. My husband's is more interesting with Welsh and Yugoslavian background. -Jenn

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  22. Mostly German (immigrants to US) and Irish, but apparently a great grandmother claimed to be Scottish, not wanting to be known as Irish. A psychic told me I originated around the area of Crete. Maybe!

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  23. I'm waiting for my DNA testing to come back from Ancestry.UK. I will be over the moon if one of my ancestors went over with Columbus and brought back (with her consent of course) a Native American wife. Sadly, I am expecting nothing more interesting than Cockney WASP.

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  24. Nothing very interesting in my antecedents. Mother from Southend, father from Bath. Totally British all the way back, by Jove.

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  25. My mother's side came from Sommerset, England in 1710 (don't know if that's where they sailed from or they lived there) my Dad's side (Wallace) apparently came from Scotland and Ireland before coming to the States probably in the 1700's. I'm having trouble tracking them down. But so many expressions and words my siblings and I still use today apparently got carried down through the generations but are very English.

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  26. I've been seriously considering having a DNA test done. All I know is my maternal grandmother came from at least three generations in Poland/Russia/Poland. Her husband from Warsaw. My paternal grandparents were from Belarus. That's as far back as we've gone. My mother looks Eurasian and used to get mistaken for Chinese when she was young (into her 20s). Her father was blond, gray-eyed, but with Mongolian features. Would love to find something more varied and exotic in my ancestry than what we already know.

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    1. A DNA test is so worth it. Broke down many brick walls for our family.

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  27. And, serendipitously, I was singing this song (which I haven't thought of in years) just this morning!

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  28. Scots surname from the father's line, although long in England before departing for the colonies early in the 18th century (under cloudy circumstances regarding the unclear ownership of a horse in their possession), but the general tenor of family life came from the German side - good Deutsche merchants (Methodist, but hints that that might have been a recent adaptation from Judaism on their departure from Hamburg). Paternal grandmother terribly proud of a Huguenot strain.

    On the mother's side, various Scots and English forebears, honest farmers all. Vague rumors of a Native American connection that, if verified, would make me 1/164th Leni Lenape, a very respectable tribe indeed.

    In short, a typical American mongrel, and probably the better for it. A great aunt who delved deep into genealogy in the '30s was sure she'd find coronets and direct connections to the Plantagenets, but came away with ten generations that at best brushed the bottom rung of local gentry (and that horse thief, which was a particularly sore point for the poor old dear).

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  29. On my paternal side my family comes from Scrooby in Nottinghamshire, the original home of the Pilgrim Fathers (for all your American fans).

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  30. I had a ancestry outline done once. I was told I was all over the place. Mother's side Austria, Hungary and Sioux Indian, father's side, African American with pits stops in a few other countries. I'm a mutt.

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  31. Dad was half Irish, half French Canadian. Mom was 100% Japanese. They met and married in Japan following the Korean war. I married a man of Polish Jewish ancestry, so my son is a very interesting mix.
    Love your Blog!!
    Barbara

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  32. I'm Mancunian English through and through, parents, grandparents and great grandparents all born there. My first husbands dad was born in Dublin so my boys are quarter Irish but one was born in Manchester and one is Barrovian. Of course my Lovely Hubby is Scottish through and through, so between us all we are most definitely from the UK.

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  33. I had the dna thing done, too. Irish, English and Iberian Peninsula. We speculated that might have come from the Spanish Armarda - I wish there was some way of confirming that.

    Helen

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  34. I found out recently, by chance, that I was related to a well known actor/tv presenter. A bit unnerving to see my great grandfather featured on Who Do You Think You Are.

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  35. wales on my mom's side, warsaw on my dad's.

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  36. My great grandmother was born in the UK. Grandmother and mom born in the US. As was I. Genealogy nuts in the family traced us back some few years and I have actually forgotten most of it. I do know there were no felons and no one considered Royal :)

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  37. Ancestors from Cornwall on my mothers side. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, grew up partially in the UK and partially in Canada. A few years ago I found my father's family. They are all in Nottingham and were all about 1/2 hours from where we used to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. Still pissed at my father for denying us his family.

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  38. Most of the excitement comes from my mother's side of the family : somebody on the Mayflower; James Wilson, signer of both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; and also a great-grandfather who met Jesse James at the family farm in Oklahoma.

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  39. Mostly German on my Dad's side and French/Irish/Swiss on Mom's side. Her great-great-great something named A.Dravo came to Pittsburgh in 1775 and in a newspaper article he was called "The Pioneer Florist"!

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  40. Just like Weaver my paternal side were lincolnshire farm labourers.

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  41. My heritage is 95% N. Scottish/Orkadian VIKING with 5% American Indian thrown in for variety. Isn't that so cool. DNA tests are SO worth it!

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  42. Ah where am I from John? well I have gypsy, native american, tea plantation owners and a good dose of Northern English blood flowing through my veins if the tales are to be believed. But my heart is from Wales and my soul is from mother nature.

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    1. Oh but since watching Kirk Douglas be shafted by Tony Curtis in 'The Vikings' I always wanted to be a Norseman.

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  43. Suffolk - going back generations, I reckon we were here when all those foreigners arrived first time round!

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  45. My dad's father was the son of a couple that came over to the USA from Poland in 1905. My dad's mother traced her ancestors back to the seventeenth century on the Isle de Rey, France. So I'm Polish and French on my dad's side.

    No one on my mom's side has ever done any investigation into their ancestors, at least to my knowledge, but her maiden name was Lewis, her mother's maiden name was Poston, and her paternal grandmother's maiden name was Marlowe. So I imagine her side is mostly of English descent

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  46. Dad's side of the family were Vikings. traced to England, came to America in 1600's. From their the gene pool was mixed as the family gradually came west. Cherokee blood and a splash of West African. Pictures of the great grandmothers in full Cherokee regalia posing behind the white husband. Don't you know. Mother's side Norwegian and Fillipino! WTF. I am a citizen of the world.

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  47. Woopsie. Meant there. My bad.

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  49. My daughter did the FT mtdna test as part of a human genetics course. Her's said that she was 100% Orcadian. We had to look that one up. I did the Ancestry DNA test that says that I am 35% Irish, 27% British, 25% Europe West. The 13% remaining is spread between 4 trace regions that are mostly Ukrainian. My maiden name is Calvert and my family ancestral home is Calverley in Yorkshire. Different lines of my family came to the United States as part of the Virginia Company, on the Mayflower, the Northkill Amish Community, the first and second Germania. Most of my ancestors were in the United States prior to the Revolutionary War. So, while I find it intriguing that I have an ancestral home, and would love to actually visit it, I really don't feel attached to it. If you ask me where home is, it's Atlanta, and I am American.

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    1. I also forgot to mention that my family came to the United States to colonize Maryland.

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  50. Proud Heinz 57

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  51. My Mom's people were from Lawhitton, Cornwall, Devon area, and County Down in Ireland. Shirritt,Vaughan, Langman, Baskerville, and Ego are a few family names. Research has us back as far as the mid-1600's. My paternal Great-Grandfather, Thomas Sykes,born in Berkshire, immigrated to Canada in 1842. His son, John, married Mary Naylor from Yorkshire. My Dad's mom was a Beauprie, born on the Ontario/Quebec border, and there's whispers of her being part Native which is probably why no one ever spoke of her family. My husbands family were Griffiths' from Wales.

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  52. My Mom's people were from Lawhitton, Cornwall, Devon area, and County Down in Ireland. Shirritt,Vaughan, Langman, Baskerville, and Ego are a few family names. Research has us back as far as the mid-1600's. My paternal Great-Grandfather, Thomas Sykes,born in Berkshire, immigrated to Canada in 1842. His son, John, married Mary Naylor from Yorkshire. My Dad's mom was a Beauprie, born on the Ontario/Quebec border, and there's whispers of her being part Native which is probably why no one ever spoke of her family. My husbands family were Griffiths' from Wales.

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  53. Polish on my Mum's side. French and Lithuanian
    on my Dad's side.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Polish and French on my mix, too! :)

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  54. Thank you all for your " histories"'i think it underlines just how many of us are indeed mongrels !

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  55. I was a Jones girl so guess my ancestors were from Wales. When we visited there we couldn't move without stepping on a Jones!

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  56. I'm a terrible amateur genealogist, but my father's side was from Scotland and my mother's side from England for sure; those have been traced by people who knew what they were doing. I suspected French in our background for awhile but that's the side that turned out Scottish! LOL

    I always loved Crystal Gayle's singing and her hair.

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  57. Dads side: English...in the early 1800's a family came to Canada with 11 children. They went forth and multiplied.
    Mom's side: Scots through and through. Hence my thrifty nature and love of oatmeal.
    Barb from Canada

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    1. I should mention that I also had a great uncle from Wales, he married my grandmothers sister.

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  58. Family so far from Anglesey, Worcestershire, Highlands of Scotland, Cornwall, Sussex and Suffolk. I am hopeful that we have some from Europe in that GGG Grandad was a Barth, which may be Germanic OR shortened from Bartholomew,in which case, Jewish. I love doing the family history.

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  59. My last name is Gray, and I'm pretty sure my Grays are Scottish too! Maybe we are distant, distant cousins. :)

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    1. The spelling of Gray is also an irish name too! Welcme cous x

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  60. since my name is Murphy, I always assumed that most of my Dad's folks were Irish, assumed wrong, they are mostly from Wales, Pugh's. My Mom's Dad was on the Cherokee rolls, but since it is the Y chromosome, the Native American didn't come through on my DNA. Bummer! I've been living a lie for 60+ years!!! All of my people, except the Cherokee came to the US in the 1660 through the early 1700's.

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  61. Am a fifth generation South Dakotan, USA. Ancestors came on Mayflower...DNA: 53% Western European, 41% English, Irish, Scot & Welsh, 6% Native American...am descended from Daniel Boone's oldest sister...most relatives were farmers or craftsmen.

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  62. We may be kin. I would love to have a DNA done to verify my origins. I do have Cherokee, Irish, English and German. My great grandmother was a Cherokee orphan rescued and raised by family as their own. There are secrets in all our lives we will never know.

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    1. Bloody hell...how wonderful.......would love to her more about your great grandmother

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  63. My grandfather on my dad's side was full-blooded Cherokee who married my grandmother whose granddad came over from Portlaois Ireland.

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  64. Combo of English and Welsh on my dad's side, and Scot and Danish on my mom's side.

    I actually have the Welsh family bible, but can't read a bit of it...

    Have no idea what part of Wales, either...

    But I know the country names!

    Julie in San Diego, CA

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  65. On my father's side, his ancestor presided over the court of Boston about 1690. My mother's family came to the US during the potato famine. Her son graduated West Point and worked at the Pentagon. After that, it was pretty unremarkable.

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  66. Liverpudlian "Ten pound poms" on my dad's side, as they called the British Emigrants to Oz at one time. On the other, Scots a few more generations back but good strong Aussies since then. We did '23 and Me' out of interest and I am mostly British and Irish, a bit less Scandinavian, with a little Iberian, Subsaharan African and Neanderthal to make it interesting. Would have been cool to turn up something unexpected but sadly it wasn't to be.

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  67. South African combo of 1820 British settlers and good old Dutch / Afrikaans blood.

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  68. You can certainly make a proper feast out of anything!!
    I laughed myself tired at your caravanresemblance!
    For my own part I am, they say; half hungarian, half swedish, 1/8 norwegian and 1/8 vallon. How that can even fit together is not my problem, I failed deeply in math....but I have no mad judges as far as I know and that probably explains my boring personality.
    Norwegians are fun, though...

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  69. I just received my Ancestry.com results, with the test kit a Mother's Day gift from my oldest daughter. My mother died young, on her forty-fifth birthday, but she loved the fact that she had Irish ancestry. Dentists have looked at my fair and freckled skin, my blue eyes and my hair with the (now faded) reddish tint and proclaimed that the reason they have trouble numbing me is because of my Irish ancestry, due to some something in the Irish alleles. The trouble was that we found nothing but English in any searches we did, on all four of my grandparents' extended lines. One family line is predominated by Quakers named Robert Peelle, Robert Peal, Robert Peele, and Robert Peel through the centuries, with a few James and David Peels sprinkled in there for variety. Mom would have been happy with my results, though, showing 21% Irish slipped in there somewhere. The rest were 43% English, 27% Western Europe (a surprise), 4% North African (not really a surprise for a family that's been in the Southern U.S. for several centuries but a result that makes me want to thumb my nose at some of my racist extended family members), and a trace of Scandinavian. There was no Native American, so there went one family story out the window. I'm far from an elitist, but it makes me feel closer to Mom, somehow, that I proved one of her cherished beliefs true.

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  70. Polish on my mother's side. Slovak, Hungarian, and Irish on my father's. Grew up in the Cleveland area, where all those ethnicities are indeed in abundance. Can't tell you the socioeconomic status of any of my ancestors, but I suspect they were all peasants of one sort or another. I'm still a peasant.

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  71. Slovak on my mothers side, came to the states and worked in the Western Pennsylvania coal mines. My fathers mother was Scot Irish, Left Scotland to Donegal, Ireland to Donegal, Pennsylvania and know very little of my namesake.My father's father passed before I was born but some German,and French.

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  73. So, I was born in Asolo, a town in Northern Italy famous for the years that Robert Browning lived there and thus his poem O Asolando. Also, it has the other Venitian Cipriani Hotel. Unfortunately we were too poor to grace those "hollowed halls." With Post war poverty My parents emigrated to Canada in the 60s. My brother did marry a lovely English lady from Leatherhead and my 23 year old son recently married a beauty from China. So from that small Italian town we have become so international.

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  74. I have Cornish/Italian ancestry and I was born in Australia.

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  75. I have Cornish/Italian ancestry and I was born in Australia.

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  76. My Ancestry DNA test came back 25% Western Europe (French, German, Dutch) 21% Finnish/Western Russia, 18% Irish, 12% Scandinavian, 12% British (English, Welsh, Scottish) 10% Iberian Peninsula, and trace amounts of Italy/Greece and Eastern Europe. My maternal grandmother was Norwegian on both sides, but after getting the Finnish/Western Russian results I found out that her line was part of what they call "Forest Finns" in Norway, people who migrated across Sweden from Finland in the 1600's. My mother, myself and my kids all have somewhat Asian eyes and we always suspected there was some distant Sami (used to be called Laplander) influence there. This could explain that.

    The Dutch on both sides of my family were in the U.S. when New York City was still New Amsterdam. I'm told they owned the land where most of Manhattan is today. There have been lawsuits to claim it, but the judge said there were too many descendants to divvy it up, so he threw the case out. Too bad. I would settle for a room at The Plaza. :)

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