Recently, my son, Alexander, took a DNA Ancestry test . There are several of these kits on the market right now, I believe. He paid in the region of £50 for it, and all that was required was for him to send a swab of saliva off to be tested.
The results are truly fascinating and illuminating.
On a map of the UK and Europe, his ancestry was very clearly explained, and the range was interestingly wide and well-defined. It extended from the far north of Scotland from the Orkneys and Shetland and other parts of Scotland and northern England across to Denmark, with a sprinkling of activity in the Channel Islands and various parts of Europe, including Belgium and Switzerland. France and Germany weren’t included.
Two family names stood out: Sandison and Stirling.
And the test linked him to putative third or fourth cousins who share the same family tree/ lineage. Obviously, these individuals have also taken the same test, and are part of a bank of genetic material that links them together.
In a way, Alexander had leap-frogged a generation directly back to his two grandmothers: Monica Sandison ( b. 1918) – his father’s mother, and Marjorie Stirling (b. 1918). My mother.
Both women were of Scottish origin. Monica hailed from the Shetlands; my mother from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Both were lively, hardy,intelligent, very slender, slight women, who lived on until their nineties. Monica died at 96, I believe, and my mother lived on until a few weeks short of her 99th birthday. They were clever. My mother left school at 14, but was in the top three of every class for every subject: Maths English, French, History – and so on while she was at Hill Head High School in Glasgow; Monica was creative and imaginative, and wrote short stories that were published in women’s magazines.