Curiosity is a funny thing, some us are driven by it and others mildly so. Such is the case with the DNA scans to find our ancestry and ease the questions hidden by family stories. Cultures change over the years, as recent as 50 years ago some of the ideas and practices our kin took part in seem quite strange to us now. They hid things, misdeeds by our relatives wete intentionally hidden, some backgrounds never talked about and essentially forgotten as far as family history is concerned. Many of us are raised with these changed or ignored features that constitute who we are, more importantly who our relatives were. Now many people have sent in samples to be analyzed by the numerous genetic testing companies. The center point of these outfits is a lab, staffed with who I assume are qualified technitions at least and Sciencetist on the far end.
This is my experience after sending in not one but two samples, I am scepticle of them both to the point of disbelief. These samples answered none of the questions I was seeking answers to, but I won’t send in another sample because I may end up with three completely different from one another. This is how it begins:
Upon waking this morning I was struck with a postcard-perfect scene. I live in first days and second days, today is a second day. I write a blog every other day, that is my first day. the following day I publish it hence my second day. Scheduling is simple with the blogging platforms I have used, I set it up to post only on the Website (I switched from Blogger to WordPress January 1, 2019), I post on a few others MeWe, Pinterest, and recently Medium. My experience with Facebook is such that I decided to opt out for a lot of reasons.
I write with a Pen Name, actually, Jacques Lebec is my name in French, James Belbeck. I followed my family history until I found my earliest ancestor. His name was Hugh de bolebec, he arrived in Britain on the coattails of William the Conqueror, (aka William the Bastard). Somehow after a few centuries’ someones carrying the name crossed over to the New World, I could not find who it was or when. Old Hugh was given an estate by who at that time was King William I suppose, the estate was in Northhampshire as I recall. The name after arriving in Canada was changed many times Bulbeck, Bolebec, Balbeck, and Lebeck. My Pen Name is not a big stretch from my name.
I could come up with a bunch of imaginary comments to disguise why I use one, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter a great deal. I have a number of relatives in Canada, the ones I have talked to are upstanding citizens, there is this one, however. He shares my name and he was sent to the hoosegow many years ago for basically being in a motorcycle gang where he committed some serious crimes. That would have been OK if it had not of brought about a minor storm in my life related to him. I started getting telephone calls from people thinking I was he, I told one lady “this is the phone call I have been dreading,” No I’m not him, yes I know we’re the same age, without a photo a verbal description would describe either of us. After receiving several calls I decided to use a Pen Name, and I have found I am not alone in that, many people use them.
Two years ago I decided to send in a sample to a DNA outfit as there has always been a question as to my family history. My dad was secretive and rarely shared any information about his family, my mother wasn’t any more open than him. I sent the first sample in October 2016, I waited, then waited some more. March 2017 rolled around and it had been 4-1/2 months so I gave the giant corporation a call. My sample had been lost, they could not find it, but not to worry I would receive another kit in a few days. I read the directions completely understanding them, after going through the steps I mailed the package off, and waited. After waiting another 3 months I decided to call them to make sure it had not been lost.
The sample had just been sent to their lab and was scheduled to begin processing that very week. How long that takes is the question anyone would have asked, so I did. The young man on the other end of the phone told me it would take several months to which I replied: “Oh around Halloween then?” He replied in the negative it would take less time than that, probably a week or two earlier. That sounded fine to me, my intent was to make sure it wasn’t lost, I live in a place called the real world, things take time on my side of the street. Two days later I received the results, two days after he had just told me it would be at least two more months.
According to that sample, I am 1% Asian and 99% Irish, how in the world can anyone be 1% anything? That profile was wrong, as I know Hugh was from Normandy (Viking) My dad’s mom was Irish as was my other Grandmother, and my mom’s dad was from Northern Europe. My dads’ father was Menominee Sioux and French Canadian, I could have been 1/2 Irish at the most and Heinze 57 for the other 1/2. I disregarded that report, I knew it was not correct, the lady at DNA headquarters told me that siblings may have wildly different genetic makeup. Yeh right I thought that’s merely an excuse for the processor not being, shall we say, on top of his game. The adventure did not stop there.
I did not call headquarters back again even though I thought about asking for my money back, I let it slide. One day I got another report from them, this one true to form was wildly different from the last one and also from my siblings. I am now 30% descended from the British Isles, 30% Northern European and 30% Native American, it’s still wrong, so I called. I got the “wildly different” explanation it seems to be their go-to explanation, then I got the second explanation which I found out is common. Most people who’s DNA did not match that of their brothers and sisters most likely had a different father. wait, what? She basically told me I was the milkman’s son, the man that raised me most likely was not my genetic father. I was not and still to this day am not alarmed, I can’t check with anyone because they are all dead and have been for decades, so what to do.
I did research and found a great-aunt Marie Belbeck, was admitted into the Carlyle Indian Schools during the first decade of the 20th century, it was a tragedy as her memory is lost. She was Menominee but had to be fixed up to enable her to live in modern society. Her brother, my dad’s father was the eldest in the family of 6 children and was raised on the reservation, my research revealed. I know that much of my native ancestry, but still, it would have accounted for 1/4 of my genetic makeup at the most.
During those days it wasn’t advisable to admit if you were native American, I understand my mom and dad being reluctant, I kind of understand my grandfather and grandmother on my dads’ side, as well as on my moms’ side. Some of my research revealed another twist, my dad’s mother was born and reared in Nova Scotia, and she was French Canadian not Irish. Is that where the woodshed lies? I don’t know but I am certainly curious about the whole thing, not enough to send in another sample however.
Now what? Nothing, no further action on my part, I don’t believe either of the results and I’m not interested enough to pay to have it done again. I am still French Candian, I am still Jacques Lebec (AKA James Belbeck), and I am still restricted from Facebook because of it, and one more thing I applied to emigrate to Canada three years ago and the Lady in charge told me no,
Why-why-why? Her answer was I am not gainfully employed and being disabled I no longer will be. Even after telling her my Grand Dad and his father would travel between Wisconsin and Canada on a regular basis, she answered “well that was then”, in her heavy Nova Scotia accent.
Yes, and this is now a completely different world, it’s easy with the aid of DNA scans to find out where our ancestors came from but it’s a lot tougher going back to make sense of them. I am guilty of a rule violation, my dad told me “If you don’t want to hear the answer don’t ask the question”, I thought I wanted to hear it, but failed to think it over quite enough. Before you send in that sample ask of yourself that question, be certain you want to hear the answer.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance