The Dangers of DNA Testing

All my life I’ve been told I have Cherokee ancestry through my Knighten forebears. There are even a few interesting legends about how John L. Knighten escaped the Removal (a decade before he was born) and of family members visiting from the Cherokee “reservation”. I’ve even comments on them some (here). I’ve even commented on a possible connection to President Obama, who is purported to have descended from the first African slave in America though his mother’s line (here). I’m a natural skeptic, and though I wanted to believe my family stories, I wanted to substantiate the claims. Enter Ancesty.com’s AncestryDNA test. I spit in the cup, mailed it in, and impatiently awaited the results. And today, I received them.

Sadly, based on this DNA test, I can’t substantiate a claim to be anything other than a plain old white guy. I always thought I was a distantly-multiracial mutt, but I’m just a vanilla cracker. Here is what I learned from my results, based on Ancestry.com’s categorizations:

  • Europe West – 53%
  • Scandinavia – 13%
  • Ireland – 12%
  • Great Brittain – 11%
  • Iberian Peninsula – 7%
  • European Jewish –  <1%
  • Finland/ Northwest Russia – <1%
  • Caucasus – 2%

So based on my rank amateur genealogical research, I would have expected the Irish and British results, and I’ve even seen some information that is consistent with the Scandinavian blood. Having a couple of Scottish lines in my family could explain that, and possibly the Iberian markers, given the ancient migration of the Scots (and Irish) from the Iberian Peninsula. But over half of the genetic markers coming from continental Europe? That surprised me more than having trace European Jewish and Rus markers!

So my whole family legendarium is crushed. Not even trace amounts of Native American nor African genetics. I don’t even know how to broach the topic with my family now. I’ll stand as a heretic in their eyes. That Cherokee legend is so ingrained. I’ve had my suspicions over the past couple years, but like Santa Claus, I wanted the stories to be true. Maybe I’ll buy DNA tests for some of my aunts and uncles to see if they get different results. Is this the trap that Ancestry.com hoped to ensnare me in?

Now Hosted on WordPress

After four years of using Google’s Blogger.com service, I have rehosted my site on WordPress. I wasn’t dissatisfied with Blogger.com, but I am leery of having too much dependence on Google. They have a habit of killing off services that I like (Google Reader especially) and I saw some shift of focus over to Google+ that made me think that Blogger might be on the chopping block down the road.

While I have imported all of my previous entries to this new site, I will leave the old blog up until Google determines otherwise: jeremyblevins.blogspot.com.

Are you from Dixie

I’ve been feeling some Southern nostalgia for the past couple weeks, and one of my favorite all-time, any-genre musicians is Jerry Reed. Mind you, I’m  not a diehard Country Music fan, but I go on Jerry Reed binges. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Reed at the Morgan County Fair several years back, to give a date to the performance, he was promoting his role as Coach Red Beaulieu in The Waterboy, which was about to hit the theaters. I have a hard time picking a favorite Jerry Reed song, with Amos Moses being pretty high up there, but today I want to talk about Are you from Dixie (‘Cause I’m from Dixie too).

One thing I didn’t know until I wanted to write this post about is just how old that song is. According to the greatest source of information on Earth, the song was written in 1915 by Jack Yellen and George Cobb. Here is one of the earliest recordings of the song:

I had no idea the song was almost one hundred years old. There have been several artists who’ve recorded a version of it over the years, but in my biased opinion, Jerry Reed’s rendition is still the best.

Cinco de Mayo

Like all good Americans, I co-opt other cultures holidays, especially when it comes to eating. So today I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at my favorite Mexican lunch spot, El Coyote.

There wasn’t a lot of Cinco de Mayo fanfare at El Coyote today, but this is Alabama. I ate at a Mexican restaurant in Milpitas, California on Cinco de Mayo one year and it was an extravaganza. They were giving out swag from all the Mexican beer makers. Not only did the miniature maracas make a nice, incessant noise, but they served well as weapons for my kids to bludgeon each other with.

But I digress… The staff at El Coyote were all sporting jerseys from their favorite futbol teams and the dining area was full of white patrons indulging in their favorite quasi-Mexican holiday. They were playing special songs for the day though. It was a nice, quiet, reserved lunch, as to be expected in a nice, quiet, reserved Southern town.

Granted, the state of Puebla does celebrate El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, but Cinco de Mayo as celebrated by crackers like me was invented by Grupo Modelo because of the success they’d from Hallmark (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day) and Guinness (St. Patrick’s Day). Normally I’d oppose all the consumerist nonsense, but I like the food holidays. I like eating my way around the world, one holiday at a time.

Always dress well

This isn’t a fashion blog, but I do on occasion write on the topics of gentlemanliness, chappism, and such. Quite some time back I commented on an article on A Suitable Wardrobe, and referenced a Mises article titled Dress Like its the Great Depression. I’d like to follow up with a brief commentary on the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes.

I’d never heard of “sapeurs” until a recent bit on NPR, but I am fascinated by them. Aside from the absolute bombast of some of their attire, I am captivated that in the midst of the poverty that surrounds them, they choose to dress to the nines.

Hector Mediavilla/Picturetank
(http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/05/07/181704510/the-surprising-sartorial-culture-of-congolese-sapeurs)

Now, given the examples one can find from an Internet search, some of the younger gents are a little too dandy for my tastes, but the older gentlemen dress quite well.

I understand the rebellion aspect of these Congolese gents, but I think it’s a great example of dressing well, even when the environment one finds himself in is in diametric opposition. Compare that to the United States, where even our poor are rich compared to the rest of the world, and we have people of all social strata walking around like this (I’ll not debase my site by actually posting any of these preposterous images).