For some reason I’ve had more than one discussion recently involving DNA sequencing and genealogy. You’re probably familiar with the whole thing where you spit in a capsule, send it to these companies and they tell you where your ancestors were from, supposedly. There are a lot of people on Youtube who make videos opening their results and they’re shocked because they didn’t know that they were Greek, Russian, Armenian, Jewish, etc.
I probably won’t get this done. There are a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I simply don’t trust their results. How can I verify their information? True, it’s all based on “science” but everything that claims to be “science” isn’t always that. Remember the phlogiston theory, the piltdown man, Pluto being a planet, luminiferous aether, etc.
What I would like to see is a Youtuber with a large following put these DNA companies to the test because there are several that do it. It costs about $100 to $200 per test so I think that someone who has some extra money lying around ought to go to a dozen or so of these companies and get their DNA tested from each of them. They should all give identical or near identical results. If they don’t and the video goes viral, the game is up and these DNA companies are out of business. Of course, if these companies bought all of their DNA samples from the same third party provider then this test would be useless. However, if the results diverge, this DNA game is over. I know what the vloggers who read this are probably thinking. They’re thinking that there are far better things to spend a couple thousand dollars on. Very true, but think how much money you could save others if you blew the lid off of this racket.
The second reason that I don’t do it is that the results don’t matter. My maternal ancestry is three quarters Ukrainian and one quarter Polish. My paternal ancestry is all German, though they were Germans who lived in the Russian Empire before coming to North America. This is what I would expect. Will I find it? Maybe I’ll find that I’m Swedish, Italian, Turkish or something else. Would this matter? My cultural backgrounds that I know about barely influence me. I was born and live in the Canadian prairies. I’m a native English speaker and although I speak other languages apart from English, they aren’t Polish, Ukrainian, or German. I’m a Catholic and that comes from my moms side which is from Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland; those borders have changed more than a few times. That’s pretty much the only part of my ancestry that I care about. My German last name comes from my paternal ancestry. So two things, my faith and my name.
Basically I won’t do it because it doesn’t matter. I doesn’t matter because being a Christian gives one heavenly citizenship which is worth more than any earthly ancestry. As St. Paul says in his epistle to the Philippians:
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
– Philippians 3:20-21
St. Paul also says to avoid genealogies:
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.
– 1 Timothy 1:3-4
Now, it’s true that genealogy mattered in the Old Testament but the last person it mattered for was Jesus Christ. After Jesus, genealogy or ethnicity doesn’t matter. The New Covenant is to be preached to all nations. Scripture says:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:19-20
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
– Galatians 3:28
Many times on this blog, I’ve condemned nationalism. After all, it led to the so called reformation. Now it is true that cultural customs are only a part of nationalism, but I think they can cause someone to place their nationality over their faith.
Perhaps I’m just a bit angry or jealous because I don’t have a rich cultural heritage that I know of? I know many families that have strong cultural ties to their past. I don’t know what it’s like to have that and I never will. Oh well, at the end of the day I’m Canadian and more importantly a Catholic. Having a rich German, Ukrainian, or Polish cultural traditions won’t change my earthly or heavenly citizenship. Save yourself some money, unless of course you want to do my experiment.