Some months ago I decided I was finally going to order myself one of those DNA kits I have been wanting, just for fun. It was on sale and I researched (by that, I mean one google search😄) to see what is the best company when it comes to privacy and storing of information, and I landed on FamilyTreeDNA. I am no (conspiracy) theorist who thinks they will use my tiny bit of saliva for anything sinister, but still, you never know. Although if they want to clone me or something, that would actually be very practical!
I have always been curious about anthropology, culture and history. I believe people are people no matter where we live or come from, all sharing the same basics in heart and mind, but these relative things like ethnicity and DNA can be quite interesting, too! There is so much to learn, and it’s fun to see the connections across borders.
I think it’s good to preserve culture and language. I am what you could call a “plastic sámi”; someone who is indigenous sámi by blood and flesh, but never learned the language because of the Norwegianazation process. So I often feel not “real” sámi but not “real” Norwegian either, it’s a bit of an identity crisis thing, and kind of an emotional wound that I know a lot of sámis have. Maybe this is a reason I wanted to test. I do feel proud and honoured though to carry on sámi handcraft traditions such as the gákti (kofta) and duodji and telling the stories attached to them and of Sápmi💙💚❤💛
I received my package, filled out the little form and swabbed my cheeks, one on each side. Next day, I shipped it off to overseas and waited for my results (which took some weeks).
Before getting them, I was pretty sure it would say mostly Scandinavian and some Asian (since the sámi peoples origins come from the East way back in the days, before settling in Sápmi (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia). Perhaps some percentage viking too would be cool, like 26% shieldmaiden, lol..🙌 Bad joke.
It showed 69% from Finnoscandia/Uralic (Finno-ugric/Uralic/Sámi/Kven)
23% Scandinavian, 1% unknown and the rest a quite small insignificant 7% East Asian/Siberian. (All results in pictures on the bottom).
The Kven people are a minority group of people who migrated from Finland to the north of Norway, mostly to Finnmark before the borders between the Nordic countries were official. Kvens are considered an official minority in Norway.
I found it interesting how it says ‘Finland’ instead of ‘Finnish’, but after reading a bit about the other indigenous groups and how many there are considered to be Finno-ugric or Uralic (15 in total with subgroups), it makes more sense. Different indigenous peoples coming from roughly same area, but mainly sharing language is the case here. Sámi, kven (Norwegian finns – one of the subgroups) and Finns are for example grouped as Finno-Ugric and have similarities in language, and is as we know nothing like the other Scandinavian languages.
Here are some facts about the kven language:
-In 2005 it was officially considered a minority language in Norway.
-The University in Tromsø now gives classes in kven.
-From the 1930s until the 1980s, the kven language was illegal to speak and use in school, and was considered a “bastard language”. Despite this, it survived.
Another cool thing about doing a test like this, is that you can match up with other relatives if you and they have agreed to be matched. I have found a lot of distant cousins, and have sent message to one of them, surprised to find out that she was adopted away from our family, and I am currently helping her find out who her dad was/is. Quite exciting stuff.
In addition, I learned through my family tree on MyHeritage that our family name Kitti, which is sámi, stopped being used 2 generations ago. I can only assume this was because of the norwegianization process taking place at this time. Our family name now is Nilsen.
Learning all this about my Finnish/Kven ancestry, I instantly felt more inclined to buy more Moomin stuff, which I believe now is my cultural heritage 😅
Another cool thing I found was that two of my relatives, Isak Mikkelsen Tornensis and Berit Mikkelsdatter Tornensis (siblings), in 1898 was part of the reindeer project in Alaska.
Read more about it here and here.