Genealogy

Essays about genealogy, ethnicity, DNA testing, and adoption from Max Sparber, whose name at borth was Baby Boy Monaghan.

INTRODUCTION
Max took a DNA genealogy test and discovered his biological mother; he also discovered how tremendously complex Irish identity and genealogy is.

ETHNICITY, FAMILY, AND DNA
DNA tests reveal something called haplogroups, which tell the story of the movement of humanity across the globe through history, and the development of ethnic and racial groups. It turns out Max is, in part, from a land-bridge between Britain and Europe that fell into the sea, which is a pretty remarkable thing to learn about yourself.

A WORD OF CAUTION
When doing genealogy, especially with the additional of DNA tests, you run the real risk of finding closet after closet filled with skeleton upon skeleton.

MY FAMILY TREES
While building his biological family’s tree, Max discovers that DNA tests tend to make the tree wider and wider, without really finding any ancestors further back. He also realizes he likes this.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND GENEALOGY
Thanks to the explosion of social media, Max is able to build his family tree with great masses of information about living family member, which has him feeling a lot like he’s spying on strangers.

CAVEMAN GENEALOGY
Max’s DNA test reveals him to be almost 3% Neanderthal, which thrills him to no end.

NATURE VS. NURTURE
The more Max finds out about his biological mother, the more astonishing the coincidences seem. But what do they mean?

ANCESTRYDNA AND ETHNICITY
Using DNA to determine ethnicity is a new science. How seriously should we take it, and why does Max’s ethnicity only come up as 5 percent from Great Britain when he’s supposed to be half English?

AN ADOPTION STORY
Why it was a problem that Max was wearing a baseball uniform when he was adopted.

ADOPTION RECORDS
Max learns that his original name was “Baby Boy Monaghan,” which is the best name ever, and explains why getting a few new facts about his biological father has caused him to go into a frenzy of amateur forensic detecting.

MY BIOLOGICAL MOTHER
With the receipt of adoption records, Max official confirms his relationship with his biological mother, the author, scholar, and poet Patricia Monaghan.

A YEAR OF DNA
In between two Christmases, Max got his DNA test results, and a whole lot more.

THE LANGUAGE OF ADOPTION
It can be hard to discuss adoption; even the language of adoption can cause hurt feelings.