What are you?|I've been asked what are you throughout my whole entire life. Sometimes, people just really want to know what I am. Perhaps I'm a mystery that needs be solved, and I get that, I'm interested in people too. I decided to find out what I am a little deeper by purchasing my mom a DNA kit, here's our results.
Getting to know Me, Lifestyle

What are you? {Ancestry}

What are you? {Ancestry}

When I’m asked this question occasionally I play along and other times I get snarky (truly, it depends on your tone as to which you’ll get from me). What are you? A woman. What are you? A person. What are you? He who shall not be named’s biggest nightmare. What are you… what are you.. what are you… And sometimes when I finally play along people are not happy with my answer and begin to question me. What are you? American. But like what are you for real? An educated American.. woman. But like what are your parents? People, who are also American. Okay, maybe this is a bit snarky, again tone is everything. (<-Can you tell I say that often in my house?) When you want to know a little bit about a person’s background or ethnicity I think there is a way you can word it better. I’m trying to perfect that, because I too am intrigued by people’s lineage.

What are you?|I've been asked what are you throughout my whole entire life. Sometimes, people just really want to know what I am. Perhaps I'm a mystery that needs be solved, and I get that, I'm interested in people too. I decided to find out what I am a little deeper by purchasing my mom a DNA kit, here's our results.

I was once at a Dairy Queen and a lady stopped me as I walked in with three eager kiddos excited to get their little clammy hands on an ice cream cone. The woman was excited to hear the answer to her question that she just had to ask, “What are they?” I think I must’ve gave her a puzzled look because it’s obvious to me who they are and what they are, my loves. But it hit me, my kids are going to hear the same question I did all my life, and perhaps they too would be met with bewilderment when they answered. The lady must’ve read my face, because allegedly ::side eye:: I talk with my face.  (I also suffer a serious case of RBF. :-/ ) The lady quickly started to compliment my children saying they were beautiful and exotic, and then asked if they were Hawaiian? Ummm… no. But thanks. And there I was in the middle of DQ explaining briefly what they are, because I didn’t have time to go into a history lesson, and the kids didn’t have time for that either. ICE CREAM. πŸ™‚

What are you? Born in the USA| Learning my family history via Ancestry.com|

I’m not sure

Growing up I knew I was American. I knew I loved my country. I knew my dad fought for our American freedom. My first cassette tape (do you remember those?) was Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA! I loved that tape, I played Born In The USA, which is a terribly sad song by the way, over and over in my Walkman (DO YOU REMEMBER THOSE?). When you’re younger you honestly don’t care too much about what you are or who you are. But maybe not. I just was hit with a memory. Cue the fuzzy memory cloud….

It was a scorching Texas day, and I had played all day long in the Texas sun. I was in the tub scrubbing, scrubbing away, I was on the verge of tears trying so hard to clean myself. My mom asked, “What are you doing?” And with tear filled eyes I said, “I’m trying to get it off and it won’t come off.”  I was working so hard to wash away the tan, I didn’t want to be this new dark tan that the sun kissed me with, I wanted to look like her, my beautiful mom. I imagine I put her in some sort of motherly dilemma, because a) her child seems unhappy with her skin color and b) her daughter wanted so badly to look like her. I’m sure my mom reassured me that I was beautiful just the way that I was. She must’ve, because I learned to embrace the tan that the summer sun always kissed me with. I was the “light skinned” kid, the one with freckles, green eyes, and light brown curly hair with golden highlights (Yes, that’s right, my hair was light with golden highlights, but dye ruined that.) Perhaps, it was odd to me when I was younger how I would get strikingly dark because the rest of the year I was kind of pale.

What are you?| My story or half it at least.Me circa 2013


My dad is dark, my mom is light, and I was in the middle.

Most of my childhood I thought I was Mexican American, but I later learned that my mom’s side had a lot more story to unfold. We would learn bits and pieces over time. When you’re learning bits and pieces you don’t always have an answer for “what are you” because you’re unsure yourself. Sometimes people don’t want to know what you are, they’ll tell you what you are. I have been a mix kid, because people assumed I was. I have been Italian, Asian, Greek, and Puerto Rican, because people assumed I was or told me I was. Well, the Puerto Rican was because an ex-boyfriend’s family asked me to be Puerto Rican for a day because his grandma hated Mexican women after her son divorced one. πŸ˜€ His family loved me, I played along by not saying much to the Mexican-hating grandma. I played along with Italian too, because I knew the lady showing us the apartment wanted me to be Italian, and I knew we (my husband, my baby girl in the womb, and I) needed an apartment. Turns out I wasn’t playing along with Italian… but we’ll get there. πŸ™‚

Me at three

My mom has always wanted to know more about her family’s lineage.  My dad never seemed as interested in his own, because as he said his family had lived in the same place for years (his family’s house was made of adobe and they kept adding to it). Years ago my husband and I tried looking into our families’ history via Ancestry.com, we found a lot of information on his dad’s side of the family, some on my mom’s side, and not too much on my dad’s or my mother-in-law’s families.  Side note: My maternal grandfather’s name changes in the census throughout the years between his Spanish name into it’s English translation and he’s considered caucasian. I took notes while researching in one of my 300,000 notebooks, but I lost it. My mom never forgot that I took notes and has asked me over the years if I had them, so for her birthday I decided to do something for her quest to know more about… her.

The other half of me.

For my mom’s birthday my husband and I purchased a DNA test from Ancestry.com to further understand what my mom is. πŸ˜€ We set up an account for her and a kit was sent. When setting up her account we did NOT fill out her family tree or answer any questions about her ancestry, so imagine how delighted we were when the results showed up and we found out that the little bit of digging we did was right! We also learned some more fun information about her, the other half of me. Would you like to see? Of course you do, you’ve made it this far πŸ™‚

FIRST… let me tell you what we already knew/heard: Spanish, French, Irish and Mexican.

Here are my mom’s results:

What are you? Has anyone ever asked you that question? I get it often, and for the longest time I wasn't completely sure how to answer. I know half of the answer now.

Ethnicity Report

See I wasn’t playing along with the Italian, I do technically have Italian blood. πŸ™‚ My mom is mainly European, which we kind of figured. Honestly, having a bit of Asian in the mix was a complete surprise, but one we welcome. πŸ™‚ Iberian Peninsula would be where the Spanish comes in but it also touches other countries. My mom is also 3% European Jewish, which is more than the Irish that we heard about, 2%. What I’ve shown here isn’t everything, I’m able to click on the tabs and further trace the regions, this gives me a better breakdown of our family’s history. For example, the 6% African is broken down like this: Africa North 3% Cameroon/Congo <1% Senegal <1% and African Southeastern Bantu <1% Cool, right?

My husband and I want to get kits of our own. I gather my what-are-you-conversations will be longer, because there’s so much more to me now. πŸ™‚ Has your family taken a DNA ancestry test? Would you like to?


© 2016, Dean @Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress. All rights reserved.

43 thoughts on “What are you? {Ancestry}”

  1. This is so cool! I love that your mom has ancestry from so many places. My friend recently did something similar — I think she was curious because she and her dad are not biologically related. I’m actually quite curious about my background, especially since my mom is adopted. I imagine it’s mostly Eastern European, but maybe there’s more there!

    1. Oh my goodness! I think your mom is THE perfect candidate for this. My mother-in-law doesn’t know much about her biological father, my husband and I are so interested in learning more about that. Her mom met my MIL’s father in Germany, and once they came to the states the separated. I’m totally curious to learn more about my ancestry. You’ll have to let me know if you or your mom do it. πŸ™‚

  2. I really want to get a DNA ancestry kit for my husband and I. I think it’s so cool to be able to learn about your ancestry through DNA. I watch all of the Ancestry related shows because it’s always interesting to hear the stories of people’s ancestors. I also watch the youtube videos with people sharing their ancestry DNA results.

    1. I hope you and your husband do it. πŸ™‚ My husband & I plan on it. I bet the YouTube videos are cool, seeing their reaction in. I wish I would’ve seen my mom’s reaction, I heard it though. πŸ™‚

  3. I think it’s so neat to trace back our ancestry. I know that all four of my grandparents have different nationalities and would love to learn more.

    1. I totally recommend Ancestry.com to do research or a DNA kit, and I’m not sponsored for this post. I am really happy with their service. πŸ™‚ My mom sent the results to her siblings and they were so thankful & excited. πŸ™‚

  4. My little brother just started some research on our family and we were astonished to see we were completely different than we thought LOL! We want to continue to find out more!

    1. Crazy, right? It’s awesome to find out all that makes us.. us. πŸ™‚
      Best of luck on your research!

  5. Cassettes? Walkman? What are these ancient devices of which you speak? Just kidding, I remember them all too well. As to my heritage, well, I have red hair and my last name is McAlexander. Even if I hadn’t done a geneology search, I think I could have guessed I was mostly Irish!

    1. πŸ˜€ !!! Oh dear you had me feeling so old for a second, thank you for the laugh. πŸ™‚
      My FIL’s family thought they were Scottish, but it turns out from digging around online without any DNA testing, there is Irish and Scottish in their family. I cannot wait to see what my husband’s results are. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Cassidy’s dad did it, which was interesting to me because of my kids sharing that blood! It wasn’t very conclusive, though, for some reason. They didn’t learn much.
    People try to pinpoint me a lot. I’m like.. fourth or fifth generation American. Maybe even more on one side. They say I’m Russian, German and Polish! I say there’s more to the story.

    1. I’d love to find out that story!!
      I really would love for my dad to get the test, but I may have to do it for him. πŸ™‚ I imagine we’ll get a lot of Native American with him.

    1. πŸ™‚ What a lovely combination. *I’m* interested to see what else you are! If you ever do get the ancestry kit, please let me know, I’d love to know. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I think family history is fascinating, but it’s weird when strangers start quizzing you about it. A lot of people guess I’m Italian because of my nose, ha ha. My little brother did the DNA test, and the big surprise for us is that we’re a smidge Middle Eastern πŸ™‚

    1. That’s so interesting! I love it! You’re right learning about yours and others’ family history is fascinating. Sooooo… no Italian? I would have never guessed Italian for us, but it totally makes sense. πŸ™‚

  8. I get that question a lot myself too and today I was actually on Ancestry but because my family are mostly in Europe and the Caribbean there wasn’t much that they could tell me. I think that DNA kit might be something I would love to get. Would be fun to learn about my ancestors.

    1. Yes, I’m telling you the kit is awesome. I cannot wait to do it for myself. I NEED to know the other half to my story. πŸ™‚

  9. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those tests for *months* and every time I see a blog post with results, I get that little tingle in my brain saying “get the test!!!” haha I love your story about trying to answer the question and also ask it without seeming rude πŸ™‚ I usually ask “where are you from?” and if they say “here” then I just leave it alone HAHA at least until I get to know them better. So cool that your mom has so much Native American ancestry, too. And yes I remember getting really frustrated when my cassette tape would get tangled and having to spin the wheels to fix it bwahahaha

    1. I had someone ask me what part of Mexico I was from, I told them Texas. πŸ˜€ I imagine the Native American is also where the Mexican comes in. πŸ™‚
      I remember that, and you had to grab a pencil to help you reel back in the tape.

  10. I totally understand the “what are you?” I’ve also gotten that question most of my life and now that I live in Southern California, it is often assumed I’m something and often times its assumed I’m Mexican. I’m actually caucasian with some Cherokee but somehow I got this darker coloring that tends to confuse people. My mom also did the ancestry test (the same exact one!) and her side is mostly Irish, French, English and German. I would definitely like to take the DNA test too to better gauge my Dad’s side.

    1. It’s thought that my husband’s grandfather was part Cherokee, but we’re unsure of that. His grandfather was a beautiful man with black hair and blue eyes, he tanned nicely in the summer. Perhaps, there’s some truth in that… we shall see.
      I hope you do get the kit, I’d love to know if you do. I’m already quite intrigued by your genetic recipe πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by, Caitlyn!

  11. I thought I made the “what are you”question complicated and I am 100% Asian Indian and 100% American since I was born here. The hubby’s side is more complicated, he’s Mexican but know his family name came from Italy and I think there is Spanish in him too. Our kids get the “what are you” question a lot, particularly the oldest. I’m dark, my husband is light and the kids are in the middle πŸ™‚

    1. First off, your family is gorgeous!! I love the recipe you and your husband created. πŸ™‚ Your husband may find some other hidden ingredients in his makeup. The Spanish, they were some travelers. πŸ˜‰ (<-That's me being PC) I'm in the middle, my husband is light-ish, and the kids are all over the place. πŸ™‚ XOXO

    1. Me too! I’m glad there is such an awesome service out there that can provide that. πŸ™‚
      I’m totally not sponsored to say that, I promise. This was all me. πŸ™‚

  12. This is such an interesting test! I’m always a little weirded out by the “what are you?” question. My mom is Norwegian, and my dad was Cuban – and even when I was little the people questioning would look shocked by my answer and say things like, “woah what a mix! How did that happen?”. I love that you got to find out more about your heritage πŸ™‚

    1. Amber commented above that she’s Norwegian and Mexican, I know that’s not Cuban and Norwegian, but I thought that was cool that the two of you have a similar mixture of goodness. πŸ™‚
      I gather most people mean no disrespect when they ask that question, but I don’t know, I feel it could be presented differently, right? I totally understand the intrigue, obviously, but still it should never be a conversation starter (IMHO).
      Thanks for stopping by, Steph!

  13. This is so cool! I love that your mom has ancestry from so many places. I don’t know much about mine my mom tells me one thing and grandma told me another.

    1. I gather this happens often, you hear one thing from one family member and then another is like no we’re this not that. The same has happened for my husband and my mom. But now we know more of what my mom IS, which is awesome. πŸ™‚ I totally recommend the DNA test to learn more about your roots. πŸ™‚ And no I’m not sponsored for this post or these comments. I look forward to getting the kit for myself now. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca.

  14. This is so cool! It’s so fascinating to find out your family’s history. I’ve been thinking about looking further into my ancestry. I know what my parents told me, but who knows what I may find out!

    1. Exactly!!! You should totally look further into your family history. We found records from my great grandfather coming to Ellis Island from Spain.
      Wishing you all the best on your quest!

    1. It would be totally interesting!! You’ll have to let me know if your family does the DNA kit, please. πŸ™‚

  15. My children are biracial and always getting asked what they are. I think it really great that you would look into your ancestry. My mom has been wanting to do this for a while. Great read, thanks for sharing! #MMBH

    1. I hope you or your mom give the kit a try. πŸ™‚ I sincerely cannot tell you how cool it was to finally find out what my mom is. πŸ˜€

  16. This is something I’m dying to do. I actually listed it as one of my new year’s goals. My theme word for the year is Identity. I need to bite the bullet and just do it.

    When my younger daughters get a bit older, I’d like to do it for them, too. We adopted them from China, but it will be interesting to see what turns up in their history, as well, and it may give them some biological connections.

    I’m curious, do you know how the Ancestry.com kit/results differ from the 23 and Me ones?

    1. I hope you do it!! It’s so awesome to find out what you truly are, I look forward to doing it for myself.
      I think your daughters would enjoy getting to know more about their history. Ancestry.com links you up to other members with similar results. πŸ™‚
      I’m not too sure about 23 or Me, I’m sorry.
      Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a lovely week.

  17. I have really wanted to do this but was on the fence! Mostly because supposedly I am relatively easy to figure out. I was wondering did it link you up with others in your ancestry who had also taken the test? I see that on the commercial and think that would be quite interesting as well. I htink this might be my birthday present to myself this year! #MMBH

    1. Yes! My mom was given a list of people who had similar results ANNND guess what… FAMILY. πŸ™‚ I thought that was pretty cool. πŸ™‚
      I hope you will give it a try, I cannot wait to do my own test, so I can learn the other half of my story.
      Wishing you a lovely week!

  18. Great share just joined your link party following you gals on variety of social media found some great stuff!!! I am Dominican myself but my skin tone can be confused for West Indian, Armenian even been told I look Indian. I have heard so many comments I just try to be mindful of my responses and aware of why someone may be saying what they say. I am all about diversity πŸ™‚

  19. What a cool post! Wish I’d learned about your blog earlier. Sorry for the late comment but I can’t resist.

    As your mom’s results show, most of us are a hodge-podge of mixed ancestry. My dad was an immigrant who came here on a boat from Germany in 1950. My mom was a mutt outta Brooklyn with many unknown heritages. I agree with you that it’s inexcusably rude to ask strangers this question. If curious, people can engage in conversation and be more polite about their inquiry.

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