Tracking Down My Ancestry with DNA Kits

For the longest while, I wanted to take a genealogy test, but the skeptic in me refused to pay $200 to send a vial of saliva to some strange laboratory. "Like what if they take my DNA and clone me or frame me for a crime?" Then I had to reflect on the many times my doctor collected my bodily fluids and sent them out to strange labs. I have no way of knowing what those laboratories do with my DNA either. So I decided to take a leap of faith and purchase the MyHeritage and 23AndMe DNA kits.

My co-worker recently took one and expressed how helpful it was in uncovering her family history. This is very important for me because there are quite a few discrepancies in my family's history. My mom and dad both lost a parent at a young age and were raised by relatives.

In Surinamese culture, familial relations are not determined by biology but rather the social connections between people. It's not unusual for a good friend of a child's mother to be deemed the child's aunt. The same is true if that same implied aunt decides to become a full-time caretaker for that child. Over time as the child gets older, he/she will refer to this "aunt" as "Mom " and there begins the confusion.

I most certainly can appreciate how open my culture is to receiving non-biological members into the family without any footnotes. I do not intend to use these results to rearranged and remove family members. I just want a sense of identity and for my children not to accidentally swipe right on their distant cousin via Tinder.

There's a 3-5 day waiting period to get the kits. So in the meantime, I've been playing detective on MyHeritage. Other members of my family in The Netherlands are also interested in unearthing the family history. My deceased grandmother's nephew has uploaded quite a few photos of my family. One photograph included a rare photo of my grandmother. For the first time in my life, I was able to see my grandmother in color.

Mathilda Vin (My Paternal Grandmother)


Before my search on MyHeritage, I only knew the last names of my great-grandparents. After my search, I had first and last names dating back to the 1800s. These discoveries piqued my interest for more answers.

I would encourage anyone comfortable enough to take a genealogy test to do one. MyHeritage and 23AndMe are both offering sales on their kits. MyHeritage is by far the most affordable of the two.

*Read the privacy policy for any genealogy test before choosing one. Some companies sell your data to third party companies.

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