— Relationships —


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I just returned from a sister’s reunion in New York.  Besides the four of us, we invited a dear friend to come along who was tons of fun to be with. We all converged in Albany, New York, where we’d reserved a Suburban to drive the 90 minutes to our sister’s farm. We were delighted when Hertz upgraded us to an Infinity QX80. Green Acres here we come!


When we emerged from the car, it was 30 degrees cooler than in Texas. I heard my sister’s horses, whinnying for our attention, the splashing of the stream behind her barn and the rustling leaves in the tall trees. Flowers and squash bloomed prodigiously, and everything smelled floral and green. It was heavenly. So different than Texas.

After a couple of whirlwind days at the farm, we drove south to Long Island to visit our Dad. Our visit was twofold: a foodie quest for bagels and lox, crumb cake, fresh cannoli, eggplant parmigiana and sausage and peppers… foods none of us can get at home… and to share new information with Dad.

We’d all done our Ancestry DNA, and our results were shocking! 

For one thing our Mom always told us her mother was half-Cherokee, half-Irish. One look at our dark coloring, hooked noses, and high cheekbones, and who would doubt that? However our DNA revealed not one drop of Native American blood in us. Why did Mom believe otherwise? Being Native American wasn’t respected at the turn of the century, so why claim it, if it wasn’t true? We don’t know the answer yet.

The other big surprise was discovering our father is 49% European Jewish. Our consensus was, “Well, THAT explains a lot!”

My sisters reminded me of the time I asked Dad if I could convert to Judaism when I was 15. It was quite an uproar then, but…  Is it possible we can sense our genetics? That our blood and our heart know, and on some level, remembers?

Our Dad was told his father had died in the war. He never knew him. We don’t believe that’s the truth though, and we have this crazy idea he was a bigamist!  Dad, now 90, took it all in stride. His mother’s maiden name was Carolina Basile, and through census records we discovered Dad’s great-grandmother’s name was Scognamiglio (I love it!), and his grandmother’s name was DeNobile, all from Naples, Italy. 

Imagine our surprise when we walked into the lobby of the inn where we were spending the night and found this sign promoting the evening’s entertainment!

XO, Donna


  • 1010ParkPlace September 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Great story, but you can’t stop now!!! Are you related to Basile? xoxox, Brenda

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Great question! We didn’t see the show, but I was plannibg some detective work! I know we’re related to Dysfunction!!!

  • Haralee September 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I gave my husband last year Ancestry testing as a gift. His Mother also said there may be some Native American but his came back not a bit too!

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Isn’t that odd? And I’m really curious as to why this is the case. I’ll let you know, or vice versa, if you find out. Thanks!

  • Leah September 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Zero Native American ancestry here too, despite family stories to the contrary. Mine came back 65% British Isles…nothing strange or exciting except that very little of my french ancestry showed up. And my grandmother was a DeMange with family from New Orleans. It’s fun to learn, isn’t it?

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Very fun!! So much so that I may pay to go to the next level of info… are you going to?
      Ancestry may be the best multi-level marketing company, ever!!!

  • Laurie Stone September 4, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I love ancestry. I did mine and found out I was 1/8 jewish! I never knew. That meant my father was 1/4 jewish, which he never knew either. He’s passed on, but he would’ve been amazed.

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      So, we’re related! I’m glad my Dad was alive to learn this, and open-minded about it, to boot! You’re right, it’s amazing!

  • Joanne Tracey September 4, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    This is a fascinating story. I’ve often wondered about getting mine tested as Mum has a similar story re a small amount of Australian aboriginal on her side, and Romany gypsy on my Dad’s side…way back…

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Do it, but wait for a sale, of course! I’ve found it fascinating, and it’s opened a new avenue of discourse and sharing with my sisters! You’ll enjoy it! (No, I’m not getting paid to say this.)

  • Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski September 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

    It’s fun having your ancestry DNA done. I’m almost all Eastern European. 1/2 Jewish. I even had my dogs done. You never know what you’ll find.

    • Brenda Coffee September 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Rebecca! I’ve thought about having my dogs done, too! So happy to know I’m not the only one. I swear… Lulu has some gorilla in her… Of course I’d fall over in a dead faint if that’s what it said. LOL! xoxox, Brenda

      • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:18 pm

        You may be dead-on about Lulu!! I vote for some Ridgeback. Let us know, please!

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Rebecca, here too – Eastern European, (Croatian) and 26% Jewish. We’re related, too! Our names ate even close!

  • Hope September 5, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Well, this is intriguing. I’ve never done the DNA testing, but I am really tempted now. Especially since there are hints of horse trading/thievery in my family stories. 🙂

    • Donna O'Klock September 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Hope –
      Hahahahaha! I didn’t know we could test for thievery… sounds like the old movie Minority Report!
      Please do, and let me know what you find out – I love mysteries, solved!

  • Pam September 8, 2018 at 10:03 am

    One of my best friend’s great grandparents was a man that the whole family understood was Native American. The whole town called him, “The Indian.” (Back in the days before people used correct terms.) When my friend had her DNA test done, it said zero Native American. She was shocked. I wonder why that happens?! My mother-in-law said one of her great grandmothers was Cherokee. I looked back at some of her ancestry on Ancestry.com, and the vast majority of her father’s ancestors had French names. (They are from a French fur trapping area.) There was one woman, amidst all of the other women named Marie and other French names, who was named Hyacinth. I’m curious to find out more about Hyacinth, thinking maybe she is the Native American my mother in law speaks of! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!

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