Publisher's Point: Blimey, my DNA results are bloody cool

By Brian Whitmore

It’s official. I have British and Irish blood coursing through my veins.

I got the 23andMe test kit for Father’s Day. You spit in vial, send it in and they tell you about your ancestry.

I spit in the vial and prepared it for transport. Then I read the instructions and had to open the box up to do it right. After duct taping the box back, I mailed it.

I joked with Larry Franklin that the results were going to come back – REDNECK.

A few weeks later the results were delivered by email. Now I knew I was of English decent, but the results go deeper.

I’m 71.3 percent British and Irish. No doubt about the English part, tested 5 out of 5 for United Kingdom, which explains why I like hot tea. Tested 2 out of 5 for Ireland, which explains why I love all things Celtic.

Turns out I got more DNA from my father, Harvey Whitmore. My paternal DNA is R-L1066.1. That links me to Niall of the Nine Hostages, a king in Northern Ireland. His legend is that he held nine hostages from the regions he ruled over.

The DNA I got from my mother, Nellie Whitmore, is H1r. That connects me with the Tuareg, a semi-nomadic people who inhabit the West-Central Sahara.

23andMe also told me how much Neanderthal I have in me. (You can laugh.) Turns out I have 296 Neanderthal variants – more than 80 percent of 23andMe customers. (Explains a lot). Apparently I got straight hair from Neanderthal ancestors.

If you’ve seen me, you would agree that most of my DNA report is spot on. I have red hair and pale skin.

I’m 8.3 percent French and German and 3.9 percent Scandinavian. I’m 11.8 percent broadly northwest European. All together, I’m 99.5 percent European. That doesn’t leave much doubt.

This test confirms what I knew and offered some new information into my ancestry.

Whitmore is an English name, from the Old English “white” and “moor.” It’s even a village in Staffordshire, England. (Did I mention I love fish and chips, and Dr. Who?)

My mother’s maiden name was Faulkner. She had told me that was German. Turns out that also is an English name, deriving from the profession of Falcon handling. (So that’s why I pull for the Atlanta Falcons — it’s sure not the win-loss record).

Predominately English blood – no surprise. Having Irish blood, a cool confirmation. I enjoy Celtic music. I love bluegrass music and Appalachian music has roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music.

So, where do I go from here? I’d like to keep digging. I’ve traced my Whitmore and Faulkner ancestors back to the Civil War, but hit a wall. Likely will need some help to go further.

My research shows my great-great grandfather RT Whitmore was in the 4th Regiment, South Carolina State Troop Junior Reserves. He was called up as a boy to defend his home and family, as Union General William Tecumseh Sherman was destroying everything in sight. Whitmore never saw action, but was close to some bullets.

I’m proud of that. Don’t think anyone can fault a boy for picking up a gun to defend the family farm.

The more I dig, I’ll find things I don’t like. But the good and the bad make us who we are.

Most of all I’m proud that Harvey Whitmore was my father and Nellie Faulkner is my mother. God created me and placed me in their care. In the grand scheme of things, we are all sisters and brothers.

Brian Whitmore is publisher of The Clinton Chronicle.

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