Now it all makes sense… #DNA

What a ride! If you read my post about taking a DNA test a couple of months ago, you know I decided to learn a little about my ancestors. I expected, with some luck, to find out something about my grandparents or maybe even my great-grandparents. Maybe shed some light on the Rojas family legend -that we were supposed to be Cerdas by birth-, and figure out if it was true about my British and French heritage, aside from the obvious Spanish. How wrong I was! I learned that and so much more!

Most of my life I have felt the like there was “something else” about me that I still needed to figure out as if I never truly belonged anywhere (until I came to Australia, that is). Many times I got comments like “You don’t look like you were born here” -from where I was actually born, Chile-; or “You could be one of us” in different countries/continents. From a very young age, I felt the world calling and happily took as my own one of my dad’s sayings: I am a citizen of the world. That felt really good – like it represented me well. I started saying that even before I had even traveled much. Now… it all makes so much sense!

While I waited for the results I started to search online and was floored by how much I found. Thanks to my mom’s previous research with relatives, I’ve learned that one of my 4th great grandfathers, Charles Potts, came to Chile from England (still unsure from where but one lead says Manchester or somewhere in Ireland) around 1820 and one of my 3rd great grandfathers, Jules Merlet, came from Bordeaux in France around 1850. Both men probably knew each other as they became successful businessmen in Valparaiso, no wonder their descendants married years later. I found a few other English last names, many many Spanish (such as Balbontin & Toro Mazote) combined with Portuguese that started coming to “the new world” in 1500, 1600 & 1700, as well some Italian for flavor…  even going back to Roman emperors! 

Original records can be tricky… but as I can read all of these languages, I have been able to look up original records and books that mention my ancestors. I always liked history and now it has taken a very personal turn.

I confirmed that my dashing great grandfather on mom’s side -pictured below-, Eulugio Cuevas Potts, was indeed a naval engineer, graduating in 1908 in Talcahuano.

eulogio cuevas potts
Juan de Dios Eulogio Cuevas Potts, born in Valparaiso in 1888, married Amanda Vargas Merlet circa 1917

I already had found all of this by the time I got the results from the test and my findings were pretty much confirmed by the DNA data. Yes, these are estimates, and they give you a range but I’d say that the 12 different ethnicities in my results are pretty spot on, and also showing that my DNA is mostly not from where I was born. The pièce de résistance is that I’m apparently <1% aboriginal Australian! Talking about full circle.

If you are intending to look into your past, go for it! It is a lot of fun and if you ever felt like there was more to you than meets the eye this could really help. DNA tests are widely available from different companies and you can even download the results and upload them to other sited for more matches and cross-referencing to different databases.

Happy research!


PS: Main sources I am using are:

  • Family Search – amazing. Actual birth/marriage/death registrations from all over the world, also some immigration records
  • Ancestry – I took the DNA test here. It seems to have the largest database of results, and the automatic hints are useful
  • My Heritage – you can upload your data here from other companies. Found at least one cousin traceable to a brother of Eulogio Cuevas Potts.
  • Geni – useful. You can find out if you’re related to famous people too.

And lastly, here’s a wonderful post of the different tests and companies out there to help you choose. Thank you Louise! Your thorough comparison has given me an excellent path to move forward.

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