Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 23rd, 2017 by Joel Watts

who am I? #23andme

For Christmas, my wife gave me the DNA testing kit available from 23 and me.

As far as I know, the results are pretty accurate. I do know that my great-great-great-grandparents (can’t remember which one, either my paternal paternal’s side, or my paternal maternal’s side) stepped off the boat from Germany with the name DeLatte. As you can see… French/German.

There is one interesting tidbit, however.

Do you see it?

.8% West African… .8% Native American.

In looking at DNA relatives, they have the same number. So, my guess is… is that at some point, a greatX-grandparent was a Black Indian. Being who I am, I have invented a backstory.

An escaped female slave, early 1700’s, makes her way into the southern part of Georgia or into northern Spanish Florida. There, she joins herself to a local Tribe – perhaps Chickasaw – where she was married and had at least one daughter. This daughter caught the eye of a white frontier settler and within few generations, here I am.

Speculation, of course, but it is based on what we know of history. We do know that escaped slaves would marry into the local tribes. We also know that it was easier for a white male to marry a non-white woman. Had the offspring been rejected by the white settlers, then they would have returned to the tribe or perhaps been captured and sold into slavery. My money is on a greatX-grandmother being an escaped slave (or perhaps former slave who was maybe sold to the tribe, or even stolen), and her daughter having married a white settler.

The Finnish bit? I honestly have no idea, but it scares me to think that I could be related to a Lutheran.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


3 Responses to “who am I? #23andme”
  1. So that’s where you got your Suomi Sisu from. Welcome to the club.

    • thanks…. Gary?!

      • Most of the Finns from my family worked in the iron mines of Northern Minnesota. Yea – Lutheran. But Sisu is required to work in Northern Minnesota iron mines, and still like life. Of course, the fatherland gave the Russians a run for their money in WW2, too. But this also adds up to probably the highest % of coffee and alcohol use in the world.

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