I know my roots. I am second generation American. My grandparents were among the hoards of immigrants who came to the US in the early 1900s from Europe. They settled in Little Italy New York at the corner of Mott and Grand streets right next door to the infamous Ferrara’s restaurant and not far from various landmarks where mobsters were “dealt with” in a very bloody way.
I am sure we still have relatives back in Italy both in the Naples area and most likely northern Italy since I have blonde hair and blue eyes. Is it important that I know who might be part of my family tree in other parts of the world? Maybe made through a family tree maker? No, even if I have relatives elsewhere, they are far removed from me, so I will embrace the mystery that is my family. However, it is nice to know that if I did not want to embrace the mystery, Ancestry.com can do a DNA test on me for $99 and give me solid details about those who went before me, and those who I am related to now and don’t know about.
Yes, for small fee, I can send them a sample of spit and they will match it up with other DNA samples so that I can see where my gene pool has flowed throughout the globe. Do a lot of people care about this stuff? I will confess that I was going to DNA test one of my dogs to figure out her breed, but I don’t think people testing is the same thing. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I might be cynical, but I have more than 60 cousins as it is, and while I like them all very much, isn’t that enough? There is such a thing as too many relations. Let me give you examples of how too much is NOT a good thing:
Say I win the Powerball Lottery. I know what you are thinking, “That is a long shot Donna; there is no way.” Well, as the saying goes, “Poo poo on you!” I plan on winning the Powerball, and I plan on sharing it with all my family. So I think that the number of relatives I have now is sufficient. I would assume once word got out about my lottery millions windfall, I might find relatives I didn’t even know I had without using a DNA test, so why stir the chromosome crock pot to find more?
Someone needs a new liver. I know this sounds cold, but what if one of the new DNA people want my liver because I am a match? They can have my kidney as I have a spare, but the liver is a one and done deal and I am not sure if some distant relative who found me on Ancestry.com will wait for my natural demise to get at my liver if they are desperate. Families kill for a lot less than vital organs, so why encourage a potential homicide especially if it’s mine?
Money borrowing. If there is stupid DNA with my family genetic imprint flying around the world, it would probably land at my door. Why? Because the DNA that has brains will make a beeline to the medical professionals, financial planners and CPA branches of the family and leave the writer branch of the family alone. That is one good thing about being in the arts. No one expects you to have any money to spare, and they talk about you with that understanding and pitiful tone, “Aww, so you’re a writer?” which translates to, “Does she have any money at all? Thank God, she found someone to marry her.” Quite frankly, if this is being said (and if you feel really badly for me because I have relatives who say this, you can buy my book and help me put them to shame–good guilt—right?), why do I need new family members to further my humiliation?
Family Guilt. Speaking of guilt…Italians love it, and I am just a guilt vacuum. I suck up guilt faster than an aardvark sucks up ants on a week old watermelon wedge. I struggle with guilt all the time because I don’t make all the family events such as weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. I try to be where I can be, but I can’t always get there, and I feel badly each time I can’t make it. So, if there are more people who share my DNA swarming the planet, that means there is a more potential for guilt.
Do I see any value in the Ancestry.com $99 DNA test? Yes, I do. I think Ancestry.com and eHarmony or Christian Mingle or whatever should join forces. Why? Because you never know who you meet online, and wouldn’t it be advantageous before anything gets too serious to swap spit with a cotton swab instead of each other to either confirm a great match or prevent you from marrying your cousin and breeding lots of little ones with eight webbed toe?