genealogy

Ancestors and holiday thoughts

There’s a Black Friday sale here for Ancestry/DNA testing, which is weird. For one, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Australia.*

I suppose clever people in various Marketing Departments have done the research to show these sales boost revenue around this time, even in countries Down Under. But to me it makes about as much sense as, say, a doctor offering buy-one-get-one-free blood tests during the week of Valentine’s Day.

A friend warned me to think about the privacy concerns around DNA testing, which I did consider.

My reluctance to share information is probably better described as pettiness than true cautiousness. For example, since I got a new phone, I have refused to re-download WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram just to have the childish and inconsequential delight in the fact that Facebook (whose track record re: ethics make me cross) will never know 100% what happened to me after the old device started failing.

But I still use a smartphone, and Google, probably eighty times per day, and so the inconsistency would border on hypocrisy if I said it was anything about data protection. Also, the idea of sending a company my own DNA sample doesn’t faze me… much.

No, what really put me off is apparently the tests aren’t super helpful if you’re not of European descent.

One reviewer of his genealogy test gave his experience 1 out of 5 stars. He’s Korean, he said, and his pie chart of his ancestry came back as one single-coloured circle telling him he was 100% Asian. Wow.

⭐️

Sounds like getting an graph that looks like a flag of Japan when you ask for your ancestry is $80 well spent.

And so, I will fall on the good old-fashioned method of just beleaguering my family across the globe with questions.

Dad says that the cousins can only check for the names of Great-Great-Grandpa and Great-Great-Grandma on the Eve of Chinese New Year. I.e. Around February.

I have literally never heard of such a custom. I wondered if there was a cultural significance/superstition, such as only disturbing the ancestors during festival-time, when everyone is thinking about cultivating kinship values, filial piety etc. Or maybe it’s so damn noisy everywhere with people that all the spirits can’t sleep anyway.

Seriously, Dragon Dances are LOUD

But Dad said he didn’t know, so maybe he just didn’t want to keep pestering his cousins, courtesy of his nosy millennial child.


*I still wish everyone a happy weekend with lots of food, contentment and reasons for gratitude!

Images from pexels.com

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8 thoughts on “Ancestors and holiday thoughts

  1. My kit was a surprise present, wouldn’t have thought of it, and it wasn’t Ancestry – the donor had security concerns. One problem with some older relatives is I’m afraid, denial and reinvention. Mine changed their last names, learned pitch perfect new accents even changed their country of birth.
    DNA found no ‘ English’ or European for me. – Mostly Irish/Scottish, the mix includes Middle Eastern / North African and Nigerian. Too late for my intensely anti-racist, Granddad, but maybe he knew .

    In the UK, 20th C, the rejection list for jobs and housing was like this.

    NINA.

    No Blacks.

    and, unless billionaires, no Jews.

    Liked by 1 person

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