Who do you think you are -- I'm not who I think I am

Reivers raid on Gilnockie Tower
Reivers raid on Gilnockie Tower | Source
This family crest hung on my uncle's wall for over 50  years
This family crest hung on my uncle's wall for over 50 years | Source

Genealogy has let me down

I am not who I thought I was; we are not who we thought we were. We had everything but the genes to prove who we were, then we just had to take that step.

It all started with an email from a distant cousin in Tennessee that said a Johnston family researcher was trying to tie together all the Johnstons in America from the Scottish Johnston clan, including those who went to Ireland in the early 1600s. This researcher had concluded that my brother was the last surviving male from our progenitor’s Scots-Irish line, and requested that he submit to a DNA test to place us on the proper branch of the family tree. The researcher’s name was Mr. Fink (his real name), and he offered to pay for the test. My brother agreed to do it, although a couple of male cousins still live.

My brother received the test, took a simple cheek swab, and sent it back promptly. Then we anxiously waited to see who our kinfolk were. There are thousands of Johnston descendants in America, some direct Scottish immigrants and some Scots-Irish like my father's family.

We knew that Johnston(e)s had an intriguing history starting with murder and espionage and ending in a castle and nobility in Scotland.

A History of Clan Johnston describes the Johnstons (Johnstones) of Annandale as being “among the most intrepid reivers* of the Scottish West March of the Borders.” Because of frequent raids by the English, they became skilled in guerrilla warfare and lost interest in farming as they became more adept at raiding and cattle rustling. That is putting it lightly. Sir Walter Scott, a descendant of the Scott Clan, another bunch of border reivers, with tongue-in-cheek immortalized our clan in his “Fair Maid of Perth”:

Devil's Beef Tub

 Where the Johnstones hid their stolen cattle.
Where the Johnstones hid their stolen cattle. | Source

Within the bounds of Annandale,
The gentle Johnstons ride,
They have been there a thousand years,
And a thousand more they’ll bide.”

The clan got its land and titles of nobility from various battles with the English, and it did not hurt that certain members helped put Robert Bruce on the throne of Scotland. There are at least nine titles to which clan nobility may lay claim.Today the current Chief of Clan Johnston, the Earl of Annandale and his wife Countess Susan reside at Raehills on their Annandale estate, which they now run as a commercial enterprise.

Nobility, wow, that sounded great to a little Ozark hillbilly like me! Probably not. I really wondered where my family fit in. They couldn’t have been serfs or they would have never been permitted a land grant in Ireland. So who was our progenitor and why did he immigrate to America in the mid-1700s?

Too much TV

Perhaps I had watched too many episodes of “Who do you think you are?” on TV. I watched enviously as celebrities traced their roots in their old countries. I actually cried tears of joy when Lisa Kudrow traveled to Poland and met modern-day kin and when Emmitt Smith claimed his family in Benin, Africa. I envied Ashley Judd whose family came over on the Mayflower! I waited with bated breath for our results to come back. Who knows, we might be related to the Earl and the Countess.

At last we received the results of my brother’s Y-DNA test. It came in a rather brusque email from Mr. Fink informing us that the 12-marker test indicated that our paternity was not genetically Johnston at all, but Clendinning**. Upon checking the file, sure enough, most of the related genetics were Clendinnings, Clendeninngs, Clendenins, and Glendeninngs (the English-related clan). I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I felt empty for days. When I told a friend how I felt, she said, “You’ve lost your identity.” Yeah, I felt to a small degree like a kid who had been told she was adopted.

I think my brother hid his disappointment well, but when Mr. Fink suggested that he advance to the 67-marker test, he declined . “I don’t see what difference that would make,” he stated with resignation.

How did this happen?

I can think of only three ways in which this genetic bait and switch may have happened: 1. rape, pillage, and plunder, 2. an adoption into the clan, or 3. an affair, in that order. I figure number 1. It was probably a rape during a village raid. That piqued my curiosity. Was some young maiden the mother and the clan accepted her child? Was it a married woman who didn’t know whose child it was? Did a clansman adopt his wife's orphaned brother? I must say I wish I knew despite the fact it would not make any difference with the results.

Mr. Fink forwarded correspondence and test results to the Tennessee cousins who were as shocked as we were. Cousin Virginia tried to console me by saying that it was all right, we were still their cousins, no matter what. I had to deliver some bad news to cousins Virginia and Jim.

The first thing my aunt said when she heard the results was, “Well, it certainly didn’t happen after your great grandfather came to Arkansas (in 1874 after the Civil War).” She was referring to the fact that all his descendents look like peas in a pod. I had met our Tennessee distant cousin Jim before, and I reminded him of something he had said.

"Jim," I said, “Remember the first thing you said to me when we met? You said you could tell that I was a Johnston just by looking at my eyes.” Jim was referring to the resemblance between my eyes and those of the Tennessee Johnston women. I have never met Virginia, but I’ve seen pictures of her, and I told them that the shape of my eyes and Virginia’s eyes are almost identical.

Mr. Fink had no further interest in us after viewing the DNA test and emailed us a rude dismsslal. Virgina wrote a scathing email back to him. Paraphrasing her: We are Johnstons. For hundreds of years we have been Johnstons, we are still Johnstons and no DNA test is going to take that away from us!

Thanks, Virginia, I needed that, but it still hurts. In a way I wish this DNA test had never been done. I would have always had questions, but it may have been better to wonder. The DNA test didn’t answer any questions but just brought on more.

It reminds me of my boss’s favorite expression, "Be careful what you wish for or you may get it."

Back to the TV show

Brook Shields’ genealogy showed that she is a direct descendant of King Louis IV of France. Somebody better advise her not to have a DNA test!

__________________________________________________________

*reivers -- raiders, The term is mainly used for raiders along the Scottish-English border from the late 13th Century to the early 17th Century. Today these clans might be considered outlaws.

**Clendinning -- I did not include any information about them because I haven't fully researched them. At this point the information I found is that they are a very old Welsh clan dating back to the original inhabitants of Britain. I will write more later..

UPDATE May 12, 2014

My cousin on my mother’s side of the family is now considering having her Dad take a DNA test. He is the last brother and the male line is really dwindling. I hope she does, and I’m not being a glutton for punishment, I hope. Our patriarchal line on Mom’s side is a mystery because our progenitor was running away from something in mid-1700s France (Huguenot maybe?) and changed his name. There are many French of that time period who changed their name to this particular surname, too, because it basically meant “I’m thumbing my nose at you.” In other words, they were giving a Razzberry to their mother country. A DNA test might tell us who Mom’s family really was because it is a big mystery.

Update No. 2 -- July 9, 2014

We cousins on my mother's side have gathered almost enough money to have my Uncle's DNA tested, and we're goin' for broke with the expensive test that traces our migration. Now I have another family member disputing that the family is French. He claims they are English, and the name was assumed because it means "for God". Well, ain't that a fine kettle of fish! That may be another shocker since I grew up believing that mom was a hot-blooded French woman, not a staunch English woman. I guess we'll find out soon and that may open an entirely new mystery.

The final, I hope, Update -- 2015

I am happy to report that uncle's Y-DNA test indicated that his best matches today are in the Versailles, France, area just as our family historians had told us. I think this proves the perils of inadequate research. The party who believed that our James was English is guilty of shoddy research. Our ancestor fled to London and then took a ship on to the colonies. It appears that his real name possibly was Jacques Parradeau, but I'm not sure we have any way of verifying that.

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Comments 72 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

But what a mystery you still have open before you?! You could be a regular Angela Lansbury...and you know...there is a resemblance! ^+


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Heck, MizB, I'm adopted and I'll never know....oh well. I think it would be very cool to actually know the lineage.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

MzB......I think your cousin, Virginia said it all quite nicely for your entire "clan!" This is so very interesting to me, MzB.....my eldest son had started doing some tracking and investigating (for his Dad's side) and thus far has come upon some astounding info.

He has lit the fire in me and I intend to get started soon, investigating/researching my own lineage. Thanks to your intriguing hub, I'll be as prepared as I can....and open to accepting a "surprise" or two.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Keep us posted!....UP+++ tweeted & pinned


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub MizB. I can understand your disappointment, but what's the bet when you research deeper into the Clendennings you may find them even more interesting than the Johnstons. My ancestory is Danish and I haven't even tried to trace it. My ancestors probably raped and pillaged as Vikings. Voted up, interesting.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Jackie, you really think I resemble Angela Lansbury. Thank you, I just love her. Thanks for reading.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Well, Bill, I know it's not the same as being adopted, but there's a little taste there, I guess. I hope someday you find out your lineage -- that is if you want to. Thanks for the read and comment.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Oh! I have to pipe in....I agree there's a resemblance to Angela....but I am thinking more like Helen Mirren. Whoever, Mz B...you are beautiful...in & out!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Paula, my sweet friend, get that fire going, but be prepared for some interesting results. So far in my families (there are two sides, you know) I've found a train robber, a bunch of religious nuts, a couple of them were killed by Indians, some Indians, and my favorite, a man who was brought to America and dumped by his father to keep him from being hanged for murder. He killed a man in a duel in Versailles. At least my heritage isn't boring! Thanks for the votes, tweet, and pin.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Jodah, you're right, I'm already finding the Clendinnings to be interesting and a clan to be proud of. Danish, huh? I have an aunt from Iceland whose grandmother was Danish, and she lived with her grandmother for three years. I recommend getting bush and finding about your Viking heritage. I've been to Finland, but not Denmark. Maybe someday. Thanks for your comment.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Ladies, truthfully, I really don't resemble Angela. It's just that photo. When I was young, people said I resembled Elizabeth Taylor, but I was never as beautiful as she. I think it was my "Johnston" eyes and my nearly black hair back then. Today I could use a facelift and some eye work. Thanks for the compliments, though.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

MzB....How totally exciting! I think I'm going to love this adventure. Discovering all this has got to make some profound effect on us....the less boring...the better. After all, we don't choose our relatives. I'd honestly rather find out I'm connected to a long trail of mis-fits/hooligans....than some sour stuffed-shirts!!....

Discovering a few famous REBELS would certainly explain a lot to me!! LOL...........


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Well, I've got both sour stuff-shirts and misfits/hooligans. It really is fun.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

MizB, this is so interesting. I would continue on that you are Johnston(e)s. There are other geneaologists who may go deeper and find proof. Over generations there are so many splits in families that the possibilities are there. In my family history, there were so many denials over the years of certain possible ancestors due to discrimination -- the adamant denials were proved wrong and we made some interesting and important connections in our lineage. You never know. I really enjoyed reading your article. Very well done.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Phyllis, thank you. Well, culturally and historically we can't deny our heritage as Johnston(e)s because we have the genealogical proof all the way back to the county in Ireland that we came from. It is disappointing, however, to know that there was somebody in the woodpile who didn't belong there, or who was unacknowledged. Thank you for your kind comment.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Back to Jodah, I made a typo and my comment doesn't make sense. I think I meant to say "getting busy." Sorry.


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

What a shock! As you say, sometimes you find out more than you expected when you delve back into your personal history.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

What a fascinating read. I was apprehensive when my brother started doing research on Ancestry dot com and found where my great grandfather on my dad's side actually signed his name on the list of persons on the Mayflower, I believe it was that ship. On that site, you can actually see birth certificates and other fascinating items, as well as old photos much to our delight and amazement! One of my cousins on my sweet mother's side did research the old-fashioned hard way and discovered we were related to Patrick Henry on her side of the family. Genealogy is certainly fascinating. I am with fpherj48 ... the less boring the better! Of course, we already knew much about our grandfather on my mother's side although we never met him ... the good, the bad and the ugly. He graduated from Yale and flew in the Royal British Airforce. My mother always had an interesting photo of him in his flight suit of the day and the plane he flew. He crashed twice and lived, but suffered brain damage ... then comes the ugly part ... : (

Up and more and away

Blessings always


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Your history is pretty fascinating, too. My cousin on my mom’s side did a lot of research and discovered that we descended from Queen Eleanor Tudor, not one of the more famous Tudors, I know. I did discover that the Clendinnings fought in the War of the Roses on the Tudor side.

Did you know that it is easier to get into the DAR than the United Daughters of the Confederacy. My DAR papers are nearly complete and I’ll get in because my ancestor has already been DAR certified. However, three of my great grandfathers fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War, and I’m having trouble proving that they actually were enlistees because some of the units in North Arkansas were temporary units and the records were not well-kept. Plus, a lot of the injured were listed as deserters because they couldn't report back to their units and I don't know if they qualify. Here’s the kicker, my great great grandmother was the sister of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Why couldn’t I have descended from him and not his sister? Quirk of fate. Thanks for your wonderful comment. You should do a hub on your Mayflower ancestry.


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

Whoo...what a discovery!! You sometimes find out more than you expect to!!!!


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

Your story is fascinating but I sense your disappointment and sadness. I imagine it's difficult to suddenly discover you are not who you think you are. Then as others suggested, perhaps further delving into genealogy may find some answers. I think I'd be tempted to give it a go. So intriguing. But that's from a distance.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Amen to that, we sure did!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Travmaj, I haven't let it go. I still track the new DNA matches that come in, and I have found some Johnstons. However, if they are a DNA match, they must be Clendinnings, too. I am trying to find out more about the history itself. Thanks for your comment, the follow and the fan mail.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Now you keep mentioning Robert Bruce and he has shown up on my Jenkins line (mother's mother's line) and now you have me wanting to pull all that out and tell you about that. I do have my Father's line of LEWIS and Welsh on hubpages no less. Genealogy is trying at best and it is like finding a needle in a haystack or two or three. I am now wondering if I should take a DNA test too. Hmmmm interesting stuff here. I wish that I could put up my Jenkin's line here but that would take forever as it is hand written. Through that line we are supposedly related to the late Richard Burton (the actor who was married the Elizabeth Taylor.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Lady G. You are welcome to email me if you want to. Richard Burton, how exciting! If you take the DNA test, it will be your mother's line only, but I guess you know that. If you have a living male relative, father, brother, uncle, or cousin, you could follow up on your father's line. I perused through your Lewis line and didn't find any ancestors corresponding to my line, but who knows, because I don't know that much once we get past our progenitors in the USA.

My stuff is photocopied, and I scan it when I want to share. I keep saying that I'm going to put it into a database like Family Tree Maker, but I just can't find the interest to do that.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Oh he isn't in my father's line. He is in my mother's mother's line. I know what you mean. I can only go back as far as when the ship came to the US on my Lewis line.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, wow, I did not know that about the DAR. Very interesting indeed! I hope you are able to prove that your three great grandfathers were enlistees at some point. That is a kicker there about your great great grandmother.

I have been thinking for a while on doing a hub on my grandfather, but you are right, why not go all the way back.

I am sorry for the late reply here. Been trying to catch up a bit.

Hope your weekend is lovely.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Faith R. right now I'm concentrating on the DAR, then I'll try again to prove my ggfs took part in the Civil War. I hope you do your hub because I like to read about people's family stories. I really enjoy it when people put family anecdotes in their comments. My weekend was, hope yours was, too. Thanks for the read and the comment.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

DreamerMeg, Yes it was a shock. Sorry to be so lat in replying. Thanks for the comment.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

Miz B....I feel your pain. What a damn mess that DNA test has created. I watched every episode of the TV show and hung on every word. But, during the final 3-5 episodes, I became cynical. I resented that all the celebs had this amazing experience and I wondered why they could not do a show on some average folks, like my family. I've been chasing the ghosts of my Irish connection for over 38 years and still have more questions than answers. I want to know where I came from. I want to know why I am "me" and I believe the answer lies in documenting the history of my roots. Your experience has shaken me up. I'd like to have the DNA test done but am not sure I'm quite ready to see the results. I'll have to do some soul searching to see if I'm bold enough to let go of what I think I know. lol Someone told me when I started researching that if I was going to shake the tree, I had to prepare myself for what fell out. Your story is proof of that theory. Keep me posted!

I'm so glad you visited my hub today. It brought me to yours to check to see if you were indeed following me still (and you are) and I found this wonderful hub of yours. I am so glad I followed the trail.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Linda, my sweet friend, thanks for reading. It did and does still hurt, but like you say, you never know what is going to fall out of the tree. I expected, and got, some scoundrels, of which I'm very proud. I am happy to know that all my ancestors weren't religious fanatics. But this, I never expected. I guess what hurts most is to be shunned by the very clan who think they are so pure. Well, I guess I can still claim them by adoption -- if I want to. I have a little more writing I'm going to do on this, but not much because there isn't much more to say. I hope my cousin does pursue the DNA angle on my uncle because in our French ancestry, we don't know who we really are and we would like to find out.

I guess if I don't hear from you often enough, I'll have to go checking again. I'll be watching for your hubs.

Love and light.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

Miz B, your comment has me thinking about quantum physics. Although it is disappointing, I can't help but think about the twists and turns that brought you here. If even one of those had gone in a different direction, you would not be who you are today and, we may not have met. Heck, for that matter, you may not have found Mr. B. As you wrote about being shunned by the Johnston clan, I thought - "If that's how they are, you're better off not belonging to them". lol Personally, I would rather come from a line of survivors, people who struggled with adversity and rose to the occasion. I wonder what mysteries might unfold if you were able to trace your Clendinning roots. There might be something there to be more proud of than being a Johnston. Who knows. Genealogy is mostly about the chase in my opinion. Although my Irish ancestors were known to be fierce and esteemed leaders in the military, I am just as proud to come from a line that fought and survived the Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc.

After studying the Potato famine era of Ireland, I found that I was more proud than ever to have Irish roots, no matter what name my family was known as. Survivors of that time were strong people who made difficult decisions that separated children from parents for a lifetime. I cannot imagine the pain it caused but had my own family not sent a young man to America, I would be someone else today too. lol

I hope you find a real gem in your Clendinning history and can then tell Mr. Fink to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Hugs!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

SCUSE ME! Oh Linda....if you wanted to know why you are who you are....you should have just asked me!

You're you because one of the Keebler Elves tried a new recipe. He mixed all the colors of the rainbow, a huge tub of honey to sweeten....and 3 shakes of sage...for wisdom. POOF!! There you were.

Now, don't you think this scientific formula is more reliable than a silly DNA test? He used the same recipe for Mz B. Get real, ladies!


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 2 years ago from Central Virginia

...no wonder I adore you!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Y’all are so funny, both of you. Paula, you left the Pi** and Vinegar out of my recipe. At least my mama always said I was full of it!

Linda, I doubt that I’ll ever find out the “why” the Clendinnings got into our line – we know the “how” don’t we. However, I have been researching them through some old writings. Whatever I learn probably will be generic, but they are an interesting bunch (clan, tribe, whatever). Good day to ye both!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I can imagine your disappointment, but hey it sounds like you are Welsh! so that's okay, they have some great history too! and of course we English are the best......LOLOLO! I would love to do it, I have some pretty strange history with family, my grandad was brought up with his 'sister' who turned out to be his mother! long story, back then it wasn't the done thing so to speak! and my real great grandfather was Canadian! we found that out, but of course that means he could have originally been Welsh, Scottish, English Irish or even Double Dutch! lol! interesting stuff, nell


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great discovery! Amazing what one can find from their past lives.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Nell, Yes, I have a little English blood, too, so I guess I can't complain. The story of the sister reminds me that I knew a couple of people who had similar stories. One friend of mine actually chose to tell people her grandparents were her parents and her father was her brother after her mother left them. She said that as a child before they moved, too many other kids asked her "what she did to make her mother leave her." When they moved back to Arkansas, her family agreed to go along with her wishes.

@ DDE, I think we really need to know who we are genetically, despite my story. A couple of genealogical surprises explain my allergy to wheat, and another explains my allergy to green foods containing chlorophyll.

Thank you both for reading and commenting.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

Very interesting and well written piece. Who knows, the Welsh ancestors might turn out to be even more interesting. At any rate it makes for good hubbing. Someday I would like to trace my lineage.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Mel, when you do, I hope you hub about it. I'm always interested in other peoples' origins. Sticking my nose in other peoples' business, I guess you could call it. Thanks for the read and the compliment.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

This is so interesting and befuddling at the same time. Just when you think you know your roots, you're told otherwise. How frustrating for you!

One of my aunts started working on our family tree and fell upon a gap somewhere. What we do know is we are related to Stonewall Jackson. My maternal grandmother's maiden name was Jackson. Stonewall would have been her great uncle (my calculation based on his date of birth and my estimation of Grandmama's birth date).

The whole genealogy thing is fascinating. A few years back there was some skuttlebutt going on that stated everyone is related to Kevin Bacon from somewhere along the line. I didn't pay much attention to how or why they claimed to backup the statement. Shoot, that would make all of us related in some way!

I hope you get to the bottom of the mystery, Mizbe!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

So close to fame, and yet so far. Too bad he isn't your great-great grandfather. You could have gotten into the DAR through him because he served as a courier in the Continental Army. His two brothers served in the war, too, so your great grandmother probably descended from one of them. That would be such an honor to get in through the Stonewall Jackson Family. That is, in case you're not in already or are interested in the DAR. I'm getting in on an already certified ancestor and my papers should be complete in the next month or so.

I just found out that Nathan Bedford Forest is my great-great uncle on my mother's side. His sister, Elizabeth Forest Hamilton is my great grandmother. It is too bad that I'm not his direct descendant because I would be a shoo-in for the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Did you know that it is easier to get into the DAR than the UDC? My Confederate ancestors are from North Arkansas and it is very difficult to prove their service. (I'm an avid history buff.)

Anyway thanks for reading and commenting. I doubt that we will ever be able to find out why the Clendinnings got into the Johnston Clan.


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

I love to study family history, others as well as my own. My writing is all based on my family history studies, and, a very long life of experiences. Thanks for sharing some of yours! Hope you get a chance to check out some of my stories... I have two Hub accounts... not sure why, but, seems to work for me! ;-)


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Homeplace, thanks for the comment and the fan mail. I will be checking out your hubs. I'm not through with this story, but just got busy at work and haven't been able to finish it by writing the next one.


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I can imagine your sinking feeling on finding out you were really Clendinning. Let's see how your uncle's test goes and good luck! Voted interesting.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thanks, Suzanne. I got the word today that he has the test and had backed out. I really can't figure out why he would do that. My cousin said she has talked him into it again (I hope). Well, there are at least three male cousins if he does.


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

I'm Peranakan Chinese......a straits born Chinese Singaporean with Malay ancestry. I have still to find out who my great-grandparents were!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

How interesting! Good luck to you in your hunt (or happy hunting as we say). Please let us know when you find out who your great-grandparents are and if you have any surprises. Thank you for reading and commenting.


Patti Elliott Di Loreto 2 years ago

Just read your story. How interesting! I was born an Elliott (of another Border Reiver family), interestingly, in my father's DNA matches are a couple of Glendennings, who I guess were just as surprised to find out they were Elliots! It doesn't surprise us though, as there were Glendennings on the Anglo/Scottish Borders who were Border Reivers based in the Scottish West March, same as the Johnstones and some on the English side of the border in Northumberland, Eng. You could very well have a Johnstone mother with a Glendenning father...there have been many Border descendants that have found themselves to be matched by DNA to other Border families, Rutherfords that turned out to be Moffats, Armstrongs that turned out to be Elliots & vice versa, etc. If he hasn't already, you all ought to submit your brother's dna test results into the Border Reiver DNA Project. If you do a search on Google, it will come up as Elliott (and Border Reivers) DNA project. Maybe some other Johnstone participants have come up as Glendennings, too. Anyway, you may already know all of this, but thought I would throw this out there just in case you didn't!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Patti, thank you for your most informative comment. No, I didn’t know about the Border Reiver Project, and I appreciate your telling me. Your statement, “Maybe some other Johnstone participants have come up as Glendennings, too.”, has already come true. We have a number of Johnston(e) DNA matches with my brother. I haven’t checked them all out yet, but there were five or six Johnston(e)s in the first 10 pages. I wonder how surprised they were.

The Clendennings by blood were originally from Wales and the clan, by some histories, dates back to before the 11th Century. One historian puts them back to coexisting with the legendary King Arthur. The Clendennings stayed above the English border, and those of the clan who went south to England took the name Glendenning (for living in the Glen). They are the same DNA. All the upheavals in England and Scotland and troubles with France seem to have brought all the clans out of the woodwork and created a hodgepodge of DNA. Who knows, maybe we are kin. I love your information and I can’t wait to delve into it.


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MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Patti, I took a minute and looked at the first two pages of his DNA, and we've got a bunch of Elliots, too.


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imtii 2 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

MizBejabbers a very nice hub. I really liked reading it. The whole story was good and you unique and you wrote it more attractively. I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing I am giving it a up vote! :D


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MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thank you for the comment and the vote. I know some people who are refusing to take DNA tests because they are afraid of what they may find.


Patti Elliott Di Loreto 2 years ago

Very interesting info on the Glendennings!

"Patti, I took a minute and looked at the first two pages of his DNA, and we've got a bunch of Elliots, too." - I'm not surprised, ha! Some of the Glendennings seemed to have been closely associated with the Liddesdale families of the Border.

Who knows? Our families just might match up somewhere in history!


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MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

I'm not familiar with the Liddesdale families. Will have to check that out.


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Jay C OBrien 2 years ago from Houston, TX USA

There are two services which provide information on genealogy: National Geographic and Ancestory.com. You can compare one service to another.

Let us not forget, we are a spiritual body and not a material body. We are attached to the material body, but that is not who we are. Our character is not inherited.


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MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Jay, don't forget that both these services have obtained their data through families who have donated the information, and much of it is provided without documentation. Ancestry.com no longer offers DNA testing and has asked those tested through them to transfer their data files to Family Tree DNA. My brother's test was already through Family Tree, so we didn't have to make a transfer. My uncle's DNA test was through National Geographic, which is also provided through Family Tree. Please note if you want to know your family history, then ancestry and other genealogy websites are a gold mine of information (if you want to buy back info that has been donated), but when trying to find out who you really are, DNA trumps. Your last paragraph is 100% correct in my opinion. Thanks for the comment.


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pstraubie48 23 months ago from sunny Florida

It sounds as though the testing opened up doors that maybe you wish were not opened??? Not sure ...not sure how I would feel ...

I hope it works out well for you all..

Angels are on the way to you and wishes for a Happy New Year too ps


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MizBejabbers 23 months ago Author

I'm not sure right now how I feel. At first I wished we hadn't had the testing done, but as the months roll on, I'm getting resigned to it. After doing further research, I find that my "real genetics" are more exciting than my family clan. I know we will never find the origin but I had already begun to research the Welsh clans and now I'm more excited about them. Thank you for reading and commenting and also for the angels. I love the happy thoughts. Happy New Year to you!


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B. Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

How about writing an historical novel based on this research? Perhaps a Rashomon type tale?


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MizBejabbers 23 months ago Author

Wow, what a compliment! I can't think of a nicer one. Historical novels are in my interest, but I'm not familiar with Rashomon. I'll have to research him/her and see. I'll consider it for my retirement (which won't be too much longer) I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you and thanks for the follow and fan mail.


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kalinin1158 22 months ago from California

Hmmm...I love that show too, and I watched almost every episode, and I also cried when Lisa Kudrow met with the people who helped her ancestors (her grandparents, I think) avoid capture and certain death!

What a fantastic feeling it must be to be able to finally connect the dots and know where you're coming from, but I agree with your boss, maybe the truth might be a bitter pill to swallow, and you're better off not knowing?

The only thing I can think to add is that however your genetic 'switch' happened, it happened a lot during those times, and if everyone in America did a genetic test like that, they would find out that their origins are much more complicated than what they could imagine, and that unfortunately, there is a lot of violence in our HIStories.


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B. Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

To explain my earlier comment, "Rashomon" was a 1950 movie by Japanese director Kurosawa. In it, a handful of persons describe a homicide, and each version distorts the truth to make the teller look good.


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MizBejabbers 22 months ago Author

Kalinin, you are so right, and Mr. Fink didn't have to be so arrogant about it. He admitted to me that he had some skeletons in his closet, too. I've reconciled myself to that fact now though. Thanks for you great comment.


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MizBejabbers 22 months ago Author

Oh, yes, I know what movie you are talking about now. I just didn't know the title. Thanks.


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aesta1 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I can just imagine how you felt when you got this news. My mother-in-law used to tell us not to dig more as there are secrets you might not want to surface.


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MizBejabbers 22 months ago Author

Aesta, she was so right! Wise woman. I'm still digging, and no tellin' what else I'll find. Thank you for the comment.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 13 months ago from North Texas

Things do get mixed up in labs sometimes. Could your brother's DNA have gotten mixed up with somebody else's. I'm not sure I would trust the findings.

Interesting story.


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kalinin1158 11 months ago from California

I've read the update - congratulations! If I understand correctly, at least your mother's side is, as you believed, French.

I've recently did a DNA test myself - through 23andme. I'm not sure how accurate they are, and I didn't have any of my male relatives' DNA handy so my father's side is still a bit of a blur but I got some interesting results, too. Since my mom is Greek and my father is Russian, I expected the results to be something like: 50% Balkan, 50% Eastern European. Not quite as simple as that! I've got some Italian, Turkish and Finnish (those Vikings were real busy raping and pillaging I guess). Still, I would love to do a more professional DNA test.


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MizBejabbers 11 months ago Author

Au Fait, sorry it's taken so long to see your post, but I've been quite ill. My brother didn't want to pursue it, so we dropped the issue. I wish our cousin would have his DNA tested at another lab. That should settle it. Thanks for commenting.


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MizBejabbers 11 months ago Author

Svetlana, that really is interesting test results. If you have further testing done, please keep us posted. How about doing a hub on it? I still want to have my DNA tested but haven't decided what kind of test? A female cousin through my mom's brother had an autosomal test done, and it linked us to a mystery great grandmother of my uncle's (and my mom's) This was some happy news.


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kalinin1158 11 months ago from California

Good idea! Although I'm not sure I have enough material for it :)


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MizBejabbers 11 months ago Author

A DNA test would definitely give you the material. Trust me, I know!

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