A few years ago, I designed a family history book for a client. It was a greatly intriguing project that piqued my curiosity to learn more about my own deep ancestral background. I'm only too well-aware of the eccentricities that lie within the living generations of my family (I shan't mention uncle Amos and his unhealthy fixation on Lego people), but what of the past? The rose-tinted hue of legend? Were we kings? Slaves? Or meekly middle class, just as today? My initial exploration has been rather surprising.
As part of my research, I took a DNA test administered by the National Geographic Genographic Project. For roughly $100.00 U.S., you can trace your lineage back thousands of years. My paternal side has always been well-documented. My Englishness has never been questionable: I bleed Earl Grey, can queue like a motherf**ker, and always remain stoic in the face of adversity or malodorous flatulence. The results from the DNA test simply reiterated this. While the "Clague" surname is rarely referenced in historical tomes, you can thank us for indirectly inspiring one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the earth...in 1958, an Eric Clague's vehicular ineptitude resulted in the untimely death of the mother of John Lennon.
My maternal side has always been mysterious; my great-grandparents are French Canadian, but beyond their settlement in Québec decades ago, not much is known in regards to historical migratory patterns. The DNA test concluded that my genes are distinctly (*drumroll*)...middle eastern! Bring on the fried kibbeh!!! This would be the first I heard of it, but upon comparing my olive-y skin tone and my mother's propensity for wearing black eyeliner, I can see where genetics come into play. If one of my distant relatives influenced the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, then you can thank me directly for the phenomenon known simply as "The Beatles".