Family legend states my material grandmother was born into a wealthy Mexican household at the beginning of the 20th century. She told fabulous stories of haciendas, servants, nannies, clothes, toys, and sitting on piles of gold coins in the counting house. Then the Pancho Villa and his rebellion came riding through. The rebels held her parents hostage on their knees, while others ransacked their home. The leader of the band asked my great-grandfather for the heirloom Spanish Conquistador guns in his office, he flatly refused. Incensed, the leader leveled the pistol at Great-grandfather’s head. My great-grandmother threw herself at the leader’s feet and begged for mercy. “Take the stupid guns and spare our lives!” This is coming from an aristocratic lady who spent most of her days hosting, reading, singing, playing the guitar on the stage, and speaking Chinese to her sister in words of private. The leader, then, took the guns amongst the other valuables and, as a parting gift, torched their hacienda along with all records. My great-grandparents watch the rebels ride off to the North kicking up dust, as flames rose up scorching their estate around them.
My mother has always desired to know what those records said. How did her grandfather come into his wealth? Who were his parents? Was it true about the French, British, and Scandinavian blood that runs through her veins? Now that my grandmother passed away last November, mother’s desire to uncover her roots have reignited. I have persuaded my father to go ahead and have her DNA tested. He acquiesced and she is DELIGHTED!
My great-great-Grandfather on my mother’s side came from France as a French Solider. Their surname, if not the family, stems from the region of Normandy, France supposedly. History tell us that Normandy was settled by the invaders from the northern Scandinavia, including the Celts and Gauls. Romans, Saxons, and Germanic tribes also made an appearance in the region.
Where my maternal great-grandmother comes from is quite the mystery, other than she was an Mexican with the last name of Val. For most Mexicans, there is some expectation to have “Indio blood,” such as from the Maya, Aztec, and other indigenous cultures. As for what other nationalities are mixed in from her side is unknown.
Enter 23 and Me. The home DNA testing kit. While, other genealogy DNA kits may be a bit cheaper, they only focus on ancestry origins. 23 and Me is unique in that it also determines traits of serious medical issues and physical traits, as well as quirky bits such as susceptibility for unibrows. #VitalInfo! Some people are not interested in the medical portion of the their DNA and that’s their prerogative. However, my mother will be using 23 and Me to rule out her genes in relation to my hearing impairment. My brother and I have severe hearing loss that was diagnosed at ages 6 and 4, respectively. While we both had high fevers as children, we cannot rule out genetics. We all have a sneaking suspicion the deafness comes from my father’s family even though he doesn’t show signs of it. My mother wants a peace of mind to know that our “troubles” weren’t her fault because something was wrong with her genes. So we hope to rule her side out with the results from her DNA test.
We would not be surprised if her genes show up with British, German, French, Italian, Native American (from South America), Scandinavian, or Spanish ancestry, everything else will be a revelation. Lactose intolerance? Sweet-bitter? Marathon or Sprint runner? I will certainly keep you updated, Dear Readers. We are eagerly waiting the results which should take about month to analyze and retreive.