Finding Susanne: The Answer Is in my DNA.

My maternal grandfather, Raoul, sitting on his mother’s lap.

Have you ever wondered about your past? These days, we are bombarded with commercials selling everything, including clues to your ancestry. After all, everything is in your DNA.

Three years ago, I decided to take a DNA test to find out how they work. I also wanted to learn about my ancestry. There are many different tests available; the one I chose was I can’t honestly say why I selected that one … perhaps I saw more ads. Either way, I spit in the tube and sent it off for analysis.

Some family members had done research to explore our family tree. On my father’s side, my cousins managed to trace the first person in New France all the way back to Paris in the 1660s when he came to fight in the French and Indian War as a soldier in Carignon’s Regiment. That relative opted to stay when the regiment disbanded. (Parent 2 below)

On my mother’s side, I had proof that the earliest one to come to Canada had done so in the hopes of getting rich in the fur trade. He too ended up putting down roots and staying. So, while I expected my results would show that I was French, I was curious to see what else might be there. (Parent 1 below)

I’ll be the first to admit I was surprised to see How much of my ethnicity came for England and Northwestern Europe. That 2% Wales was a surprise, but amazingly enough when I looked into Basque, I realized that while I didn’t have the Basque nose, I found some relatives that did.

Every now and then, I go to the ancestry site just to see if anything has changed, and it does change. Have I contacted any of my matches? A couple, but there are so many that I just don’t know where to begin. The more people are tested, the more accurate the results can be. That being said, what’s one thing I learned from all this? I discovered that some of my ancestors on my mother’s side, settle in Acadia and were part of the Great Deportation in the eighteenth century, (Read Longfellow’s Evangeline) ending up in Louisiana. That’s something that never came up at the dinner. I visited Louisburg last summer. Wait until you see how much fun I’ll have with that! The imagination is moving a mile a minute.

Discovering your ancestry can be interesting and informative. But remember, because your parents passed down only half of their DNA to each child, and not necessarily the same half, your brothers and sisters may have ethnicities that you didn’t inherit. And your siblings may have ethnicities you don’t have—or vice versa. Overall, the basic results should be similar, even if the percentages aren’t. But that’s how biology works!

I used what I learned about my past to create a couple of historical romance novels. While the characters are loosely based on my ancestors, the political machinations were real and documented. Check out The Price of Honor and The Price of Courage.

Don’t forget to check the ABB website for great deals on book boxes including

Leaning about yourself is always fun. Next month, I’ll tell you how leaning about me is leading to my newest romance suspense novel. Happy Spring and Happy Easter! .

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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

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