My first foray into genealogy and ancestry research came as a 9 year-old fourth grader at John Enders Elementary School in Garden Grove, California. As a family, we often had our 1960s suburban Orange County version of the mythical campfire centered over dinner around the dining room table. It was at this table, perhaps over pork chops, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and mixed vegetables (the frozen kind with lima beans) that I proudly informed my parents that I was Korean. My dad served overseas during the Korean War, and many years later my son has done two tours there, but apparently that doesn’t count. For a short while, I even served as co-pastor of a Korean church in Berkeley, but, apparently, that doesn’t count, either.
Turns out I was indeed wrong about my Korean lineage, a fact confirmed by DNA testing I had done in 2019. As a Parkinson’s patient, I was offered free DNA testing from 23andMe for research purposes, which I gladly accepted. I later followed up with a second DNA analysis through ancestry.com.
More on the actual testing process and how to interpret the results later.