My DNA data is quite clear: my people came from France and from the UK. Some were on the borders, but that’s pretty much it.

But the data in records is also clear. I have ancestors born in Guadeloupe, in China, in Canada. People died in Cuba and in New South Wales, traveled to Baltimore and Brazil and Kenya. They were simply everywhere.

With the geographic information and no DNA data, I might have concluded that I was a typical American Heinz 57, as one of my students put it.

With that data, I know that my ancestors traveled a lot. They didn’t settle in, get married, and mix in with the local populations. But they sure racked up the miles.

It’s clear that the stories of their lives are the interesting part. Without the DNA results, I might not have looked further into the historical detail.

I still have a lot to learn.