Who am I?
This is not a question I have ever asked myself. My last name is Schoon & my mom’s maiden name is Gehrig. It is hard to get much more German than that. As a child I knew my grandmother held genealogy as a fairly intense hobby, but I have never felt the need as an adult to sit down with her (mental note: call grandma) and question what I’ve always been told; “a lot of German, a little Dutch, and a splash of Irish.”
When doing some Black Friday shopping this year I saw that a 23andMe kit was on sale for half price. I impulsively hit “Buy Now” and 3 days later I’m still not sure why I did that.
For those that don’t know, 23andMe is a DNA genetic-testing company. One buys the kit, spits (an obnoxious amount) into a tube, sends the tube in and 6-8 weeks later is provided a multitude of reports. 23andMe offers a basic ancestry kit as well as a health + ancestry kit. I bought the health + ancestry kit so I can expect reports on my full ancestry composition as well as genetic health risks, carrier status, traits, and overall wellness. The company will even connect me with any distant relatives who have also used the kit and registered to connect with family (totally optional by the way).
Am I expecting to get surprising results like in this viral video? Not in the least. Is there a small part of me hoping I have Middle Eastern relatives out there that would send literal shock waves through my very conservative (er, white) family? Maybe. Am I terrified that I’m going to find out I carry the gene making me prone to developing Alzheimer’s? Absolutely.
More than likely I will find out I’m exactly what I’ve been told I am and that I have no life-altering health risks.
But what if it’s something, anything else?