Kith and Kin

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – I am fascinated with the new recreation of genealogy and DNA. I found out for myself that I am 33% Scottish, which is stupendous because I always pictured myself a Tartan clad heroine of a Diana Gabaldon novel. Descended from Presbyterian Irish people, my DNA tells the story of origins beyond the immigration to Ireland.

A friend I had years ago celebrated his Scottish heritage, went to grad school in Scotland, wore kilts, embraced relations there. However, a quick look into his family tree would make me hazard a guess that he has less Scottish DNA than the Dutch Irish mash up that is my family tree.

So, what does DNA really mean as far as who we are? 

I think that while DNA offers the raw material that was knitted together to make some of my physical attributes, can I really say that I am of Scottish heritage? Isn’t family more about our kin relationships – who we love, who we are closely connected to, parts of our heritage that we know best, that we love?

DNA is delightful though somewhat questionable hobby for people interested in genealogy, but it is our whole lives that define who we are.  After all its not coded in my DNA that I love Elvis or seem to know the words to about 800 Christmas songs; these are the attributes I gathered living this life with the people who I call family with shared DNA or not. 

So that is the answer – my former friend might only be about 12.7% or so Scottish, but that is who he is – his kin relationship, his heritage – because that is where his bagpipe-loving heart belongs.  Find your heart and hearth and embrace who you are, who you call kin and where you belong.

Photo by Gene Taylor on

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