Project Title

Genealogy: Chasing My Own Tale

Submission Date



The concept of family has always had a huge impact on my personal life, especially the decisions I make, which is why chasing my tale was an interesting journey. Unfortunately, being far from home and not having access to most of my family members limited me when it came to obtaining information about my family. Along with this, my family did not keep any records except when it came to my parents’ time, so most of the dates provided were from the best of what they could remember. Prior to starting this project, I had the majority of the information regarding my own parents, but not much beyond them. Though I am in touch with my cousins, they were told as much as I was due to the lack of these records. Continuing further research online to see if I could find even a little bit of information was very difficult as my last name, Patel, is very common. When it comes to the paternal side of my story, information was very limited since both of my grandparents died while my father was young. Meanwhile, my maternal side provided me more insight since I grew up with my mother’s parents. From listening to the stories of how my family came to be, I noticed many overlapping trends between my paternal and maternal side of the family. For instance, both the families had a history of farming, arranged marriages, prioritized education, and wanted to leave India for a better lifestyle that was provided in America.

Another resource that I utilized was a genetic tool called 23andMe. This informed me that my ancestral composition consisted of about three fourths Gujarati Patidar and a fourth North Indian, Central Asian and Northern Indian, and Southern Indian and Sri Lankan. Although I could not be provided with the paternal haplogroup (since I did the ancestry on myself and females do not have Y chromosomes), my maternal haplogroup was provided based on mitochondrial DNA.

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As a family-oriented individual, the concept of family has a huge impact on my life, especially as it continues to govern the decisions I make. Not knowing much beyond the memories I made with my parents, this project enabled me to dig deeper. The most memorable discovery is the value of education from both sides of the family, which is deeply engraved within my family in the present day. I acknowledged the emphasis on education from a very young age, how it opens doors to countless opportunities, but I didn’t notice this was also the case for my father and mother while growing up. Although their circumstances were different than mine, it is fascinating to see the various differences between the two generations, yet still bound together by the same structural backbone: education. This is very prominent when it comes to my cousins too, where they moved to America seeking a better education, and even moving from one state to another to ensure that my niece and nephews are obtaining the best education that can be provided. Seeing this pattern leaves me to wonder about the future: will this continue to be the foundation of every generation that follows hereafter?

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