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Thursday, August 24, 2017

MY GRANDPARENTS AND MY DNA

By Judy Ann Davis
MY GRANDPARENTS AND MY DNA

Treasures may be tangible or intangible. They can be held in the hand or simply stored in the mind. My treasure for today is stored in my mind.

Recently, I took the plunge and had my DNA tested. I knew all four of my grandparents emigrated from Poland to the United State shortly before or shortly after the 1900s. I found I was 98% East European/Polish and 2% Finnish. Though surprised by the 2%, I knew from research that the Finnish tribes were the first ones to settle the north Baltic coast of what is today called Poland.

Why my grandparents are a treasure is for their strength, stamina, and bravery to leave their homeland—and everything they owned—to undergo a perilous journey, not in the least comfortable, to a foreign country an ocean away. Then they had to find work, learn English, and become citizens.

Unfortunately, I never really knew three of my grandparents since they died when I was a small child. My paternal grandmother, Victoria, was only sixteen when she boarded a ship in 1906 to come to the U.S. where her sister was already located. Talk about fearless!

Both of my grandfathers worked the mines and owned farms. My Grandfather Lashinski bought a farm in Northeast Pennsylvania which my father and mother later purchased from him and where they raised my sister, brother and me.

It was on this bountiful farm where I scampered over acres of pastures, forests, and fields. A carefree child, I walked on stonewalls build by the Irish in the early 1800s. I splashed in the creek winding through our property, and I caught crayfish and minnows. I daydreamed. I stared at star-filled skies and wondered about the vastness of our universe. I smelled the sweet scent of dried hay, wild roses, and ripe blackberries.

But most of all, I was always safe and never hungry--like many Poles left behind in the “Old Country.” History tell us they had to endure endless domination by other countries as well as the very sorrowful hardships of World War II where 2.7+ million perished.

Without my bold, risk-taking grandparents, I would not be the person I am today. I would never have experienced the wealth of opportunities that living in the United States afforded me. They are a treasure.

So if any of my grandparents are peering down from the heavens above, I’d like to shout out a “Thank you.” And I ask only one small favor: Can any of you tell me which side of the family the 2% Finnish comes from?

Check out Judy Ann’s latest novel:


BLURB:
     When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.
     Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes.
     But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries plaguing them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?

AUTHOR BIO:
Judy Ann Davis holds a degree in Journalism and Communications and has written for industry and education throughout her career. She writes both short stories and contemporary and historical novels. When she’s not behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are few. She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and divides her time between Central Pennsylvania and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Visit her on
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Twitter: @JudyAnnDavis4
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4 comments:

  1. Judy, how interesting. You are so fortunate to have such strong grandparents. My family also took the Ancestry DNA test. I'm glad we did, even though we are more mixed countries of origin than you. I treasure the knowledge of my ancestors, too. Great post!

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  2. Wonderful ancestry. More than any other Europeans, I admire the Polish people. If anyone reads any WWII history, you can't do otherwise. Poland was the only European country that stood up to the Nazis. They had no mechanized army, but from horseback, they fought the German Panzers that invaded Poland. The Warsaw Ghetto is rife with so many stories of bravery and sacrifice you can't count them all. The Nazis hated the Poles almost as much as they hated Jews and because the Poles were basically such hearty people, the Nazis used them in their gruesome experiments. They were done a great disservice after WWII ended when they were stuck with being a province of Russia and were forced to endure Communist domination for so many years. Even now, the Poles are the bravest people on the European continent. My entire family from every side and direction is Irish and Scots-Irish and I'm proud of that, but if I were able to choose the Continental Europeans I would want to be my ancestors, I would choose the Poles.

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  3. We haven't done the ancestry test although I pretty well know the elements that went into both sides of mine. Still, there could always be that surprise like your Finnish. I feel lucky to have known my grandmothers pretty well, very different sorts of ladies, and did see my grandfathers when I was old enough to remember what they looked like and the settings where I was with them. I wonder if grandparents today are remotely as interesting as that generation was.

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  4. Good point. I also wonder how future generations will remember their grandparents now that we are in an electronic age. Will it help or hinder?

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