Sunday, 2 October 2016

Who do you think you are . . .

 photo IdaMcNayrSmithanddaughters.jpg

  This is my Great, Great Grandmother.  Ida McNayr Smith.  Some people have loads of photos of their ancestors.  We have only a few and this is one of them . . . I cherish it.

This is another photograph of her. Her husband's name was John (I know . . . how many John Smiths have there ever been.  TONS!)  She was the daughter of Arod McNayr and Diadamy Whitman.  When I look at her, I can see family traits which have been passed down from generation to generation and still appear on the faces of many people in my family today . . .

 photo WoodworthBoy.jpg

This is another old photo we have.  I know I have a better one tucked away somewhere, but this is all I could find this morning.   That is my grandfather Elmer Woodworth seated on the right, with his sister Melva sitting on the ground in front of him, another sister to his left with his brother Arnold on her lap and two more of the sisters in the back.  The names are all escaping me at the moment, but it isn't really important at this point,  because that isn't really what I want to talk about this morning.

Who are we?   Really.

Most of us have a pretty solid idea of who we think we are based on stories passed down, family trees, photographs, etc.  I recently had the opportunity to find out who I really was by having a DNA test done, a most generous Birthday present from a friend . . .  and the results came in last week.  I have to say I was very surprised.  There were a few results that I had expected, but there were also quite a few things which quite literally blew me away.


I am 5% Native North American.   I wasn't surprised to find this out, although I was surprised to find out that it was such a small amount.  I had expected it to be more.  One of my earliest ancestors in Canada arrived from France in the 1600's with his wife. His sons as well . . .  I am pretty sure that they married Native girls, especially considering the location in which they lived and the sparse population.  One was a Jesuit Priest to the Natives.  To all those in the family who have said there was no Native blood, I can say unequivocally now that there definitely is, however small.

Next my DNA is 48 % Western European, which primarily includes Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, England, Denmark Slovenia, Italy and the Czech Republic.  This was not surprising either.  My father's ancestors came over from France in the 1600's and my mother has family stretching back to Scotland, England and Germany that we know of . . . I can boast of having Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror, The Plantagenet's, etc. in my family tree with a certainty.  John Howard, the first Duke of Norfolk and grandfather to Anne Boleyn, great Grandfather to Elizabeth the first.   I could go on and on.  Once you hit royalty in your family tree, the information falls like dominos.  I have traced one line back to the 800's AD.

This next bit was interesting.

23% Ireland.  That is probably where my gift of the gab comes from.  

Actually, Ireland takes in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with a bit of an overlap of England and France.   The Scottish  was not so much of a surprise with an ancestor named McNayr.  Now if I could only find out who Boyd McNayr's father was.   He keeps eluding me at every turn.   Boyd was the first McNayr to come to North America . . . to Halifax, Nova Scotia to be exact.  He was only 8 years old when his father, a soldier in the Kings Navy, left him with friends, as he went off to do Soldiering stuff.  The father was never seen again.  Boyd was only 8 at the time.  At the age of 14 he made his way out  from Halifax to the Annapolis Valley and set up a Blacksmith shop in a small town called Lawrencetown.  He married a girl from Wilmot named Rachel Beals, and then a few years later they walked out to Springfield to start the first settlement there.  They had quite a few children.  Ida is their granddaughter.


This is Boyd's headstone which is situated in the Springfield Cemetary.  He died in 1854 at the age of  76.  There are a great many people in North America who can trace their family line back to him and Rachel.

This was another surprise . . .  7% Italy/Greece


I probably get my love of Pizza, Pasta and Parmesan, Feta and tomatoes from these people, not to mention my philosophical and artistic nature.

7%  Iberian Peninsula - ie primarily Spain and Portugal.   Interesting.  

4 % Great Britain -England, Scotland and Wales.  So we see a bit of an overlap here with Ireland.  I know I have quite a few Brits in my family tree, and Scots too.  No surprise but I had thought it would be in a larger percentage.


1 % each of Eastern European (Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia), Finland/NorthWest Russian ( also found in Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Lithuania) and European Jewish (Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Israel).

Each of these was a bit of a surprise . . . 

Next came the largest surprise of all . . .

1% Melanesia . . .

Wot the heck?   Melanesian?  Woah!  I did not expect that at all!

Obviously one of my ancestors was quite the adventurer.  You couldn't get much farther from Europe than that!   Only a small amount, but it is there.

And finally . . .  2% Caucasus


Armenia, Azergaijana, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey  . . .

 So what did this tell me about who I thought I was?  

It taught me that my DNA was a lot more diversified than I thought it was.   That I share something in common with a great deal of the world.  That as "North American" or as "European" as I might have thought that I was, I am really much more than that, re-enforcing my knowledge and belief that we are all God's children, equal in His eyes and on an equal footing with each other.  That no lives matter more than others.   There, but for the grace of God go I.  That the more different we think we might be . . .  the more alike we really are.

We have a commonality which transcends all borders.  We are first and foremost and will always be quite simply . . .  children of God.

 Its an odd feeling in a way . . . and it makes me a bit sad in some ways . . .  especially when I think about what happened to the Jews of Europe, about the subjugation of the aboriginal peoples in the world throughout the centuries,  and about what has and is going on in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and . . .  Syria . . .  right now.

These are all my people . . .  and I am pretty sure that if you had the opportunity to have your DNA done, you would discover that they are your people also.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

I, alone, cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters
to create many ripples.
~Saint Mother Teresa

Spiritual Enlightenment 


In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Maraschino Cherry Cake.

 Have a wonderful and happy Sunday.  Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!


  1. It's amazing how they can trace DNA like that. Yours certain had some interesting twists. I agree with you that we all probably have such a mixture. I know for sure my ancestry has at least 7 different nationalities in it. Probably more too.

  2. I was truly amazed at some of the results Pam! Truly. I think we truly "are the world", just like that Michael Jackson song! Happy Sunday! xoxo

  3. I know how curious you were..interesting..

    What a great gift that was to you:)

    I know some..not much..:)
    Have a greats Sunday..It's a small small world after all:)

  4. Thanks Monique, Thrilled and Amazed doesn't even begin to cover it! xoxo

  5. IT really is amazing what can be found from such a little bit of information........IE....spit. ,!LOL.....I have never really given much thought to my ancestors my sister Sarah at one time started to look into my Fathers name and family but it got expensive to delve much further so she gave up but it was fun what little she did find, she managed to make a family tree with photographs starting with my paternal grandparents then on to Dad who was the eldest of 10 four boys then a girl and four boys and a girl.!!....she then got their wives/ husbands and families ( my cousins) then she continued with just our family me my sisters, husbands etc etc right down to the present great great greats....
    I'm pleased that you found so much info about your ancestors....long may you continue to find even more as the years pass.....hope you have had a good weekend.....

  6. Hi Marie!

    What a great gift . . . you are very loved, and I can see why... :0)

    I think it is so interesting to see where we came from. The photos you posted were beautiful, and I can see the resemblance in each one of them, even though I have only seen a few pictures of you and your family. What a treasure!

    My sister had her DNA tested, and I suppose we are the same. If we are not, I will need a long conversation with my mother. I am, 100% Europe, 33% Great Britain, 32% Scandinavian, 16% Ireland (that was a surprise to me, must be where I got my good humor, or lack thereof!), 7% Iberian Peninsula or Spain, 5% Finland/Northwest Russia, 4% Europe West and 3% Italy/Greece. Most all of these findings were a big surprise to me! I most of my family was from Great Britain, Wales and Sweden, but the others were a surprise.

    I am also related to the Howard's in England, my great grandfather and many of his grandfathers were named John. It is my mother's maiden name. I'm sure it's a very common name in Great Britain.

    I agree, we are all important in the Savior's eyes, and we need to treat each other with respect and love.

    Conference was wonderful, looking forward to the afternoon session!

    Hugs and Love,

  7. Sybil, I find family history to be absolutely fascinating! I could spend hours on it, and often get lost in it with the hours just melting away! What a large family your father came from! Imagine the progeny! Love and hugs. xoxo

    Barb, we have a very similar background. How fascinating that we both have Howards in the family tree. Perhaps we are distant counsins! You never know. Conference was absolutely wonderful, but then it always is! We won't watch the afternoon session until tonight. Love and hugs, xoxo

  8. Glad you found all of this out. I love all of the nice old pics you have. I don't have any.

  9. I really wish you did Lura! ((((hugs))))) I love you very much. xoxo


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