Old family photo
Growing up, I always identified myself as Filipino American or Asian American.
But when you get older, you start to wonder, why is it that my brother or my sister are lighter (which my mother is)? Why does my grandfather kind of look Indian? Where does my family originate from?
And our last name, “Amith”… It doesn’t seem like it’s a common Filipino last name. In fact, I have met people from South Asia with that as a first name. And to further complicate things, I have met others with the last name Amith, who are not Filipino and are of different ethnicity. Some who had Jewish, Greek, Indian, etc. and discussing with them, they are just as confused about their last name as I was.
I have always been curious about our genealogical lineage but unfortunately, record keeping of birth or marriage records were not as valued or protected as in other countries.
Sometime in 2008, I decided to look into my family’s history. Talking with my living grandparents and my parents to get some idea of our ancestry.
During my tests, I first joined ancestry.com which may be the largest site of its kind. I began my contacting all living relatives and started adding people one by one. Asking them what they know about their family tree.
Because of my grandfather’s military records, I was able to find very good data up to my grandparents. But then I hit a brick wall. I can no longer find anyone but three generations (mine, my parents and my grandparents).
I have to admit that it was a little frustrating because I know of others who have traced their ancestry for hundreds of years and the farthest I got was early 1900’s.
I then discovered FamilySearch.org, which I learned that the Latter Day Saints went into countries, like the Philippines and took photos of records which they then turned to microfilm.
Immediately, I was able to locate my uncle and aunts birth records via microfilm and also was able to find my great grandparents information via microfilm.
During my research, I learned that a lot of records were destroyed in floods and fires. But I found one record of my great grandfather and my great great grandfather thus establishing some record during the late 1800’s.
As I look at records of the Amith family in a certain region, I hit another brick wall, which I’m currently at since then. For some reason, others with similar last name are listed as “Amit”. Did our family go through a name change and add an “H”? Or was their typographical errors in the records, which I have seen a lot (with people writing “A” instead of “S” for other people listed as Amith and meant “Smith”).
Needless to say, I accepted that records of my lineage were probably destroyed in a fire or flood, and possibly maybe even war (Spanish-American War which ended in 1898 and Philippine-American War which ended in 1902). Record keeping the non-metropolitan areas were probably not a major priority at the time and unfortunately, from some of the documents I have seen in microfilm for a few locations in the Philippines during the 1700’s, a lot of them were just in tatters.
So, Ancestry then announced they will be doing DNA testing. I considered it but the cost of DNA testing was a little high at the time.
Until 2015. I have heard that DNA testing has changed a lot now compared to a few years back and with Ancestry.com offering a special deal during the holidays, I had to take advantage of it.
So, I received my vial and provided my saliva inside the vial and sent it back. It was received on December 27th, processed on January 5th and I have received the results as of today.
And here are the results…
I was able to confirm with my DNA results that I had 3% of Asia South which then answers questions of why my grandfather looked Indian. But I was surprised that there was no mention of European, as mother believed that my great-great grandfather had Spanish blood.
I learned from other friends who had DNA results with their siblings and their results came out different. When a person receives a split of their parents DNA, everyone gets a percentage of inherited genes from their ancestors in different amounts. Could it be that my mother and brother’s light skin is derived from their Spanish genes? Only way to tell is via DNA testing.
And while AncestryDNA provides a breakdown of region, there is another step for those curious of their results.
After receiving my ancestry.com DNA results utilizing the Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15, now the next step is to use GEDMatch utilizing the Eurogenes K36 test, which breaks down regions even further. I hope to get the K36 DNA results in the next week. But the cool thing is you can download your AncestryDNA results and then those results are uploaded to GEDMatch in which you will get results (and that part is free).
I look forward in learning more about my DNA results from GEDMatch and to see if it differs from AncestryDNA.
But we’ll see what happens next!