Monday, October 13, 2014


As long as I can remember my dad’s side of the family has said we have “Indian blood”. Cherokee to be exact, from East Tennessee. My great-great grandfather was supposedly half-Cherokee. I have an old photo of his son, my great-grandfather, and I suppose he looks sort of Indian-ish. My grandfather and his siblings all tended to be sort of dark, with high cheek bones and a thirst for "fire water". My dad was the same. We tend to “hold our age” pretty well and “heal up fast” from wounds and injuries. So it all made sense. We had Indian blood.

Several years ago I started doing some digging and traced the Clicks back to SW Germany. The actual surname is Gluck and got changed to Click when they got to America. The first one arrived in the late 1700’s and the migration began through the Appalachians and eventually to Texas. Good stuff and I have filled in most of the Click family tree. Never could figure out exactly when the Indian got into “the woodpile”, but it was likely sometime in the early 1800’s.

A few years ago I thought about getting a DNA test just to confirm the Native American ancestry. But I figured, why waste the money? I’m German, Irish, English and Native American on my dad’s side; English, Irish and Scottish on my mother’s. A classic American mutt. But, I kept getting these emails and special deals from about DNA tests. Their persistent marketing along with my curiosity finally drove me to invest in a basic DNA profile test. It’s nothing elaborate. They mail you a tube, you spit in it, shake it up to activate the chemical preservative and mail it back to them. In a couple of weeks they email you a report outlining your most likely ancestral origins. For a lot more money, they can provide further testing and drill down even deeper into your DNA. But I figured the “basic” profile would be enough.

Much to my surprise, there was no Indian in the woodpile or in the cupboard or anywhere else. And, apparently after old Ludwig Heinrich Gluck landed in America and became Lewis Henry Click, there weren’t many more Germans added to the woodpile either. I’m only 10% “Western European”. Turns out that my DNA origins are as follows: 30% Great Britain, 24% Ireland, 20% Scandinavian, 12% Iberian, 10% Western Europe, 3% Western Asia, 1% Eastern Europe.

I had never heard anything about Scandinavian ancestors, but as it turns out the Vikings spread their seed liberally throughout the British Isles, especially in what became Scotland and Ireland. So I’m guessing that is where the big dose of Scandinavian DNA got added to the recipe. The Iberian is most likely Spanish or Portuguese. Those guys explored the world and obviously plugged into the family tree somewhere along the way.

Now I am even more curious about my roots. I also need to come up with a different narrative since I’m not part Indian. You know I think I like the Viking and Conquistador options better. Or maybe my great-great-great-great granddaddy was a pirate. That would be pretty cool. And it explains so much about my family.

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