One of the really interesting things that puzzles me with family history is the idea of nature vs nurture. As mentioned previously, I take after my granny. I am clearly cut from the Edgecombe cloth so to speak. I lived for a year with my grandparents in Sydney and even I noticed certain mannerisms and gestures that we shared. My Granny’s best friend was sat behind us once, and later told me that it was only the grey hair that told us apart! I even have my Granny’s hands – right down to the way our pointer fingers curve in, our finger nails were born with a french manicure and we both have droopy eyelids (an Edgecombe trait). When I was a baby, my parents found a baby photo of Granny tucked behind an old frame. They temporarily set it on the mantle piece but then when friends came to visit they all asked how mum managed to get an old photo of me!
So I certainly can’t deny the close familial link to that side of the family. But how does that fit with having grown up many, many kilometres away. I can’t have just picked up mannerisms on my summer holidays with Granny, like I picked up shells on the beach. Therefore a certain part of me must have been born that way.
According to Granny I am like Mum. But Mum says I am like my Granny. I have always found this frustrating if not slightly insulting…..no one wants to take ownership for me!?
But now here is what I find really interesting. With all this in mind, a few in the family have had DNA testing through family DNA. Granny’s results were unsurprisingly almost entirely European but we were a little surprised to find out she has 5% Jewish ancestry (something I am yet to track down!).
Next Mum was tested. Her results were surprising in more ways than I can say and deserve a blog post on their own. Suffice it to say a large part of her heritage came from what I shall call ‘region x’ – 75% to be precise. No one else we’ve had tested had anything like that amount, except my sister but that was no surprise considering she is so similar to Mum.
And then my test. It was a family joke that I would finally get to see just how alike I was to my Granny. But imagine my surprise when I discover that I am actually 73% ‘region x’. Despite all appearances, I clearly inherited most of my DNA from Mum’s side and not nearly as much from my Dad/Granny as we all thought. I am more like Mum than my sister even which as I will show in my next post is a big surprise.
And so my (long winded) point being, is that our physical appearance, our DNA, nature vs nurture – it is only a small part of who we actually are. In my case, I am a little bit of Granny and a little bit more of Mum….perhaps it’s just the Granny bit is a little louder perhaps. In the words of Shakespeare “though she be little, she be fierce” (Taming of the Shrew).