My sister had already formed the framework of our family history of the maternal side over the last 200 years from declassified census returns and very old newspapers. Next she got the historic DNA done. The DNA as matched against the old paperwork threw up some discrepancies which I pointed out, and my remarks were not altogether welcome.
The two great-great grandparents were Irish and Scandinavian, identities confirmed from the marriage certificate. The family of the Scandinavian had been Swedish in the 18th century, had emigrated across the Baltic to Mecklenburg on the German coast, which was a Duchy until the time of Bismarck and so the gr/gr/grandfather was German as from 1848. This was not a popular revelation although I always felt that I had German blood, and a strong bond to the Germans, from somewhere.
Ah! they said, But the gr/gr/grandfather by the birth certificates and the census forms was English. And so the bloodline seemed to be Irish and English, but the documents may lie while the DNA cannot. I kept pointing it out - 25 per cent Scandinavian, and less than 10 percent British blood is insufficient blood for an Irish-English line of descent. There was only one way this can have been achieved. By agreement or deception, the Scandinavian had fathered a child by the Irish gr/gr/gr/gmother, (he married her later) the paternity had been falsely declared to the registrar which was how our English surname was obtained and that was the bloodline from him to ourselves. (My sisters do not have this feeling for the Germans which offers an intriguing possibility that your blood gives you different traces from your common past. One of my sisters looks very Scandinavian.)
During the Great War, my grandfather was called up at age 38. He "did not want to fight" and went into the Medical Corps. The family always whispered that he was a coward but a man who spent part of the Great War as a medic at the Front in France was no coward. He was closer to the distant past than they were and never spoke of his descent. It is my belief that he "did not want to fight against the Germans" but wouldn't explain why.
We had a problem with the historic DNA on technical grounds. I have the Germans in my past, my sisters feel certain there is French Huguenot. 25 per cent of the DNA is "Western European". This is probably from the area either side of the Rhine with much intermarriage and may be German or French or Belgian or Dutch, and so that section of the result can never be satisfactory.
I am pleased to know my historic DNA, for before I just had this "kink" of Germanness "and your rotten Germanic ways" as my mother called them as though I was some kind of family crank and now at least I know the reason.