I had lots of questions about my lineage,
I didn’t know who they really were,
How did they make a living?
What were their weddings like?
Where’d they live when they had kids?
How did they pronounce words
Like caramel and syrup and pajamas?
It’s a story only my DNA could tell.

I started with my grandparents’ names
Worked my way backward from there,
And discovered a wonderful world of relatives.
My 10 times great-grandmother was Rasputin’s nanny,
A quintuple grand-cousin was a hod carrier for Hiawatha,
An 8 times distant uncle groomed horses for Kaiser Wilhelm,
I trace back all the way to the prophets, holy and otherwise.
From knowing almost nothing, I now knew much.

I called my aunt, sisters, brothers, cousins,
“Get your DNA kit today!”
They did, and, in our last zoom call,
We revealed our graphs of origin,
Bolivian 11%, Russian 23%, Native American 17%, Irish 49%,
Scotch – we had that in common – we all drank it,
Toasted to our good health, a final tribute,
Each of us aware that we actually had little in common.

But we parted friends,
Thanks to DNA testing.
From now on, when asked Nationality,
I will check the box ‘Other.’
In the space provided, I’ll explain
My 10-times great grandmother was Rasputin’s nanny.

2 thoughts on “My Ancestors by Terry Rainey

  1. Your line about checking the box “other” is spot-on, Terry, the best discovery of anybody’s DNA testing. One world: that’s what it’s all about. Oh—and your characteristic puckishness is intact elsewhere!

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