Szeretlek means…

Szeretlek means “I love you” in Hungarian 😉

Paul is German, Hungarian, and…not sure what else until we do his DNA ancestry test (it may be a while, for obvious reasons). Anyway, when we got married, our talented seamstress, Mari, used Hungarian lace in my dress.

It’s also fortunate that I’ve always loved paprika, since it’s used a lot in Hungarian food. Speaking of which, I LOVE Chicken Paprikash and methinks it’s past time to make it again.

But I digress…

I want to take Paul to Europe so he can visit the places where his ancestors came from, including Germany and Hungary. I’ve found records online showing his great grandparents, Janos (John) Krupla and Zsofia(Sophie) Nagy, were in Bremen, Germany, and they immigrated to the US, arriving in New York City.

Paul has very little info on his birth father, but we know his name was Bill Sykes and he was from the Cleveland, OH area. I am hoping a DNA ancestry test will help him fill in some of the gaps like it did for me.

Paul’s birth name was supposed to be Eric Sykes, by the way. Far as I can tell, it’s possible that Sykes can be traced to Yorkshire, England. But as I said, we can’t pin more down in a definitive way until we get his DNA test done — hopefully in the near future.

So, in another world and at another time, I would be Star Ferris and Paul would be Eric Sykes. Those were our intended birth names (my birth mother still calls me Star, not Bev). How weird would it be to know us not as Paul & Bev Sninchak, but Eric & Star Sykes? Wouldn’t that be strange?!

[Ancestry/Heritage] Viking gravestone on the Isle of Barra, Scotland

viking headstone_Isle of Barra

Source/photo credit:

This is a Viking gravestone on Cille Bharra, otherwise known as Scotland’s Isle of Barra. My birth mother’s ancestors (and thus mine as well) were of the MacNeil clan from the Isle of Barra in Scotland.

As noted in an article I posted a link to recently, the MacNeils always claimed descendancy from Niall Noígíallach, otherwise known as Niall of the Nine Hostages, a prominent high king of Ireland. However, after an ancestral DNA project was conducted on clan members from the Isle of Barra, it was discovered there was no trace of DNA to link the clan to Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Instead, much to most everyone’s surprise, there turned out to be Viking DNA (Norwegain/Scandinavian) in the MacNeil clan’s background. This made sense to me, because the vast majority of my DNA is from Northern Europe, with strands of DNA from Norway/Scandinavia represented in there.

For a person like me who was adopted, piecing together one’s heritage is exciting after starting out not knowing *anything* about one’s ancestry. I located my birth mother (and two birth brothers) back in 1999.

From there, I began gathering information and even corresponded with the family genealogist/historian, Norma. As I’ve said before, having my ancestral DNA done through was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am now connected to over 900 of my DNA relatives through their database, including 1 first cousin I’ve never met and 17 second and third cousins, plus more ancestral connections beyond that.

I post about this stuff a lot, but it’s one of the most important discoveries of my entire life. I want my children to know their history and ancestry from my side and their father’s side. You quickly learn we are all connected some how, some way.

If you ever get the chance, you should spend $99 to find out about your ancestral DNA, whether it’s from 23andme,, or another reputable company. Even if you think you know a lot about your family and ancestors, I’ll bet you’ll find out things you never imagined — with a few “Wow!” surprises in there for good measure!

Viking DNA? Yes! More discoveries about my Norse and Scottish ancestry

Not related to writing, but I’m so stoked over this info that I had to share with *somebody*!
DNA tests prove Scots clan are Viking not Irish
HOLY COW! Just ran across this article, and it’s about Clan MacNeil, the clan that’s connected to my birth mother’s side. There is a Thomas MacNeil mentioned in the 9 generations of genealogy info I have from the family genealogist/historian. Because I can prove my ancestry from Clan MacNeil, if I wanted to visit the Isle of Barra, off of Scotland, I could visit there and also the clan castle. I’d love to do that some day!

The article makes total SENSE because I did my DNA ancestry through and it came up with a shit-ton of Northern European, with Norwegian/Scandinavian. THIS is where that Viking/Norwegian link comes from! WOW. And I stumbled across this article by accident. Holy crap!

I was right all along — that part of my DNA is related to this. I don’t care if I’m not related to Irish royalty, because on my birth father’s side, I’m related to two U.S. presidents AND a Russian Tsar.

This is so freaking exciting to me! Okay, now I’m ready to move to Norway or the Isle of Barra, where my Viking & Scottish ancestors lived. wink emoticon

From the article: “The clan was infamous throughout Scotland and beyond for its Viking-style pirating and great seamanship.

MacNeils raided the seas from their base at Kisimul Castle in Birlinn vessels – boats similar to the Viking longships.

Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil, who also lives on Barra, said: ‘The MacNeils were a notoriously pirating clan. It’s no surprise we have Norse DNA.
‘Maybe we are the last vikings.’

The MP joked: ‘‘Conquer or die’ is the clan motto. Given the size of the island we ended up on we must have been better at the dying than the conquering.'”

Unearthing New Ancestral DNA Info and Distant Ancestors (!) from My Birth Father’s Paternal Line

Screenshot of my DNA countries of ancestry courtesy of my DNA test. Couldn’t fathom where the Russian DNA came from. Thanks to new info from a few days ago, now I know! It is related to my my birth father’s paternal line and I’m distantly related to Nicholas II of Russia. I don’t know much about him, but today I’ll research!

Countries of Ancestry

Found a huge piece of the missing puzzle! I was adopted, so I had to locate a male relative to get access to my birth father’s haplogroup. Well, I did and now I have additional info from that well!

Here’s a screenshot:

Paternal Haplogroup

It gets better, in modern times, out of people who are living, Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Outliers is distantly related to me along my birth father’s DNA haplogroup. SO freakin’ cool! Guess I’ll have to read all the books of his I haven’t read yet, huh?

I saved the best for last. Nicholas II of Russia is cool, but “Adams” is one of the top surnames of my DNA relatives…and it turns out, along my father’s haplogroup info, I’m distantly related to — are you freakin’ ready?! — John Adams AND John Quincy Adams. WHAT?! Holy shit! Those two blew me away. I mean, from that paternal line, I’m related to not one, but TWO United States Presidents, the 2nd and the 6th, respectively. BLOWN AWAY.

I’m telling’ ya, getting my ancestral DNA results from has been one of the BEST decisions I’ve ever made in my life. As a person who was adopted, it has filled in so many blanks.

Welsh dreams…

Paul is watching “Penny Dreadful.” Timothy Dalton is in the series and I melt every damned time I see him in anything, pretty much. *sigh* Plus, he’s Welsh.

In the copy of the genealogical papers I have from the family historian on my birth mother’s side, my 9th generation ancestors, William Hughes and (Mary) Molly Daten, married in Surrey, England. Molly Daten was born in Wales and lived to be 87. They had six children: Mary Hughes (1748-1810), Susannah Hughes (1767-1834), Rebecca Hughes (1769-Unknown), Elizabeth Hughes (1774-1870), Moses Hughes (1774-1841), and Milburn Hughes (1776-1867).

I have Scottish ancestors as well (Clan Fergusson and Clan MacNeil of Barra), but I haven’t spent as much time investigating my Welsh, Irish, and Northern European ancestry.

After having my DNA test done, there are so many parts that make up the whole. I love this stuff!

Perhaps when I go back to the UK, I can visit Wales and see my friends Gareth Tamplin and Robin James Ganderton.

Untangling my DNA: Surprising Genetic Composition Results!

This is where I had my biggest WTF result. Before receiving my results, I speculated that the majority of my ancestry was from the British Isles (Scotland, Wales, Ireland). NOT SO! Only 16.5% was from there. Instead, a whopping 66.6% of my ancestry comes from Northern Europe (countries that are close to the North and Baltic Seas, such as Norway and Finland; previously I learned that certain sections of my DNA were nearly identical to people who were from Norway).

Next, I have 4.2% French (!) and German ancestry. I figured I’d have some German (my birth mother told me we did), but the French part was a surprise, too.

Nonspecific European accounts for 11.9%, although they did get a hit on Switzerland when they compared my DNA to people from that country.

Then, finally, there’s 0.8% Unassigned info for my DNA.

By and large, it appears that the majority of my ancestral DNA points directly to Northern Europe (especially Norway). That is what blows me away the most! Guess I need to do research now, huh?

It’s embarrassing, but I know VERY little about Norway or Northern Europe…and I guess if my DNA is mostly from that part of the world, I need to familiarize myself more with that region. When I think of Norway, I guess Black Metal is what comes to mind (and I DO like Black Metal, by the way).

All this time I’ve spent most of my energy on the British Isles (the 16.5% slice of the DNA pie). Time for venture into fresh territory, eh?

One cool thing: I’ve always been attracted to the French language and I took three years of it in high school. I was also president of the French Club as well. In addition, for most books written in French, I can translate well enough to read them.

Also, my family lived in Germany for three years in the late 70s and I did learn a bit of German language while in school there. However, French is far and away my *first love* when it comes to languages. 🙂 How very cool to find out that I have a small percentage of French in my ancestry!

I’m incredibly excited to solve this mystery after wanting to find out for YEARS! Thanks to advances in science, I am at last able to answer the questions, “Genetically, who am I and where did I come from?” This brought me to tears. If not for the generosity of a friend, I wouldn’t have been able to receive this gift of knowledge! 🙂

Had a long (but fun!) day with Paul, so now it’s time to rest. Thanks for sharing in this journey with me!