Have you ever thought about who you are? Not your name, or where you were born, but beyond that. Our DNA can tell us so much about ourselves and now it is easy to find out where our ancestors may have come from.
Over the last month, a few of our 7News reporters and anchors have put their own DNA to the test. Not only did they each want to learn more about their family histories, but something deeper was at play. In the news industry, we see the division in the world in our stories, the tragic headlines, the latest crime heard over the scanner. People seem to look for and focus on the things that separate us. But are we all that different? We wanted to prove that deep down we've got a lot more in common than we think.
Britney Glaser, 7News Sunrise anchor, has deep Louisiana roots and is sixth generation to live on a certain piece of Beauregard Parish land. She guesses her DNA will match with German, Irish, and Native American regions.
Reporter Candy Rodriguez says she's Mexican through and through. She is pretty confident in her predictions but does say a rumor has spread among her relatives that her ancestry might have Asian ties.
Brady Renard, Sports Director, is also pretty sure about his family's history. His name renard is the French word for fox, his father sports a thick Cajun accent, and he never goes anywhere without hot sauce in his pocket.
Maranda Whittington knows very little about her family history. The 7News reporter is a military kid and has lived in five different states growing up. She's landed in Louisiana, where she has family in the Columbia area.
We ordered the AncestryDNA kits, follow the directions, and sent off our crew's samples.
"Great Britain was very strong," Britney says as she opens her online DNA results.
"I am obsessed with the Royals, I love anything happening in Great Britain, I love to follow what happens there!"
Britney's results show a 50-percent match to others from Great Britain, and another large portion in the Scandinavia region.
"Scandinavia? That was the 20-percent. That's Sweden, Norway, and Denmark and I've never heard anyone in my family reference having Swedish or Norwegian, anyone in any of those regions," she says.
Also with a 50-percent match to one region is Candy who, you guessed it, got Native American (Western & Central Mexico).
"Well, obviously Mexican," she says, but then something in her results catches her eye, "I knew it! I knew it! Well, it's a little bit, but I knew there was some Asian in me."
Miss Rodriguez returned a 3-percent DNA match to the Asia East region.
"Ireland, Scotland, Wales," Brady reads his strongest-matched region.
A surprising result for the Cajun boy.
"A lot of my family, especially my father's side, was French so I thought that number would have been greater than 13-percent," he says, "Obviously, when you look at this map, it's a strong match in Europe, except for this one! 1-percent Polynesian which is interesting."
"It says I'm from Nigeria! I'm 29-percent Nigerian," Maranda says as she reads her results.
"I think most black people just assume they're from Africa," she says, "But it's just like 29-percent Nigerian, that has a nice ring to it."
While everyone had their suspicions and surprises, the mission was accomplished and each one of our participants saw the shared history with each other.
A reminder during a time of so much division, that we're all connected and all human.
If you are interested in taking a DNA test, there are several services you can use including AncestryDNA.
Curious about your family tree? You can map it with an Ancestry account and use local resources at the SWLA Genealogical & Historical Library.