Close this search box.



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

Share this Story

Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

17 thoughts on “FAMILY REUNION”

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

    • 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.)

  4. 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. 🙂

    • 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!

  5. 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, 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!

Comments are closed.


Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “50 Ways To Change Your Life”
I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.