Returning home from my visit to Lindisfarne in January – after spending early mornings and late evenings staring out across the North Sea, imagining ancient seafaring travellers landing on this coastline – I was enticed to purchase a test to confirm my heritage.

When it arrived I was more than excited and quickly read the instructions. An easy swab inside each facial cheek with a cotton bud was a pleasant enough way to collect my DNA, ready for scrutiny and analysis.

Heading to Middle Street Post Office in Consett with my precious envelope, I paid the postage to Houston Texas, exchanging good hearted banter with the nice guy behind the counter about my ancestral aspirations.

The only slight disappointment was the waiting time as the test would take over four weeks to process, however progress could be easily checked online.

Already knowing I had an Irish paternal grandfather called Patrick Coyle and his wife, my grandmother named Mary Donnelly, I had some clues on my patrimony. On the maternal side, my mothers maiden name was Thomas and her father, Charles Haydn Thomas was Welsh. So that was something to go on too.

While I expectantly awaited the results, I researched the abbreviation DNA, finding out it stands for deoxyribonucleic acid – phonetically pronounced (dee-OK-see-ri-bo-new-klee-ik) acid – and is the genetic information inside the cells of our bodies that assembles who we are. DNA is basically instructions on how to make the body, like the design of a house.

Resembling a twisting ladder with four different chemicals pairing up to make the rings of the ladder, these groups make up genes which determine things like eye and hair colour as well as height. All this information is stored in the chromosomes which are present in every cell in our bodies.

Everyone of us inherits two sets of chromosomes – one from each parent.

Now, I was aware of the science, my imagination ran riot, as I examined the map of the world and I wondered from how far away my ancestors had travelled.

I then started looking at old photos of my family as my interest grew, enthusiastically visualising my relations spread all around the globe with contrasting cultures.

At last, DNA day arrived, and my results were available online. Half anticipating an exotic and diverse heritage, I discovered I’m descended from a variety of 6 Celtic nations

And these are the percentages:

89.5% Irish, Scottish and Welsh, 5.9% Scandinavian, 3.1% Greek and South Italian and 1.5% Finnish

I explored a little more and read that Celtic peoples were fearsome warriors, as well as being skilled builders and artisans.They, also in marriage, viewed women and men as equal partners and women had an enormous influence in culture, including social and political matters. It is also worth noting that the Celtic religion had a strong and deep worship of nature spirits, with women being encouraged to be religious leaders!

Enthused with my results, I was also happy to see  – although in a much smaller percentage – some Scandinavian genes in the mix. Now I understand why I purchased that Viking Outfit from Amazon!

And as for the Greek and Italian connection, I’ve always had a thing for feta cheese and olives! 

Finally, I have it on good authority that Finland is the happiest country in the world so I’m absolutely fine with that.

Consequently, with not an English bone in my body, I intend to further explore my relationship with my past heritage, and happily share it with my immediate family!

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