I have often fantasized that a long lost relative would bequeath me an old chest crammed with treasured family documents. Hidden between a stack of love letters and a scrapbook filled with momentos would be the document that would provide the irrefutable proof linking me to my idol, Marie Antoinette.
So when I saw an advertisement from the DNA Ancestry Project promising to trace my genetic history I became crazy excited.
"With a simple swab of your mouth, you can be compared with Marie Antoinette and discover your relation to her. You will be able to trace your heritage back to times of grandeur, to times of kings and queens and royal balls, and possibly even to Marie Antoinette."
Although I am not convinced that reincarnation is anything more than a fantastic theory, I have considered the notion that I might have once lived at the court of Versailles. Perhaps I was one of Marie Antoinette's most treasured confidants. My close friends are convinced that I was the Queen. I am afraid if I admit that I have even wondered if I could have been Marie Antoinette, you will leave my page never to return (Though, I would be remiss if I did not point out a few of the coincidences that exist between us: We share a birthday, hair and eye color, and an affection for little dogs, chocolates, harp music, fine clothes, and a particularly well-endowed tree.)
I clicked over to Genelab's website and read more about the DNA Ancestry Project. An article posted there indicates that recent DNA tests on a lock of Marie Antoinette's hair have provided scientists with data that will help connect the queen to people living today. The big, bold link at the end of the article said FIND OUT IF YOU ARE RELATED TO MARIE ANTOINETTE.
I nearly fell down the stairs in my mad dash to retreive my credit card. A moment later, credit card in hand, I clicked on the link. After filling out my basic information, I came to a series of choices. Did I want the Standard Paternal Ancestry Package or the Advanced Parternal Ancestry Package? The former said it included a Y-DNA 20 marker test whereas the latter promised a Y-DNA 44 marker test. I also had the option to check my maternal DNA with an HVR 1 or 2 test. I was tempted to choose the Advanced Combo Package which promised a high resolution test for tracing my ancestry on my paternal and maternal lines, but that test cost several hundred dollars.
Confused and concerned about the cash commitment, my excitement started to wane. I mean, I could buy 212 of Marie Antoinette's favorite cream puffs from Stohrer Patisserie in Paris for the cost of the Advanced Combo Package.
I decided to do some more research on DNA testing for Genetic Ancestry Reseach and discovered that most of the companies promise more than they can deliver. For instance, it is possible to trace your deep ancestral roots and discover which ethnic, haplogroup you came from, but it is more difficult to trace your shallower roots because the gentic ancestry database is not complete.
In the end, I decided the answer to my burning question (Am I, indeed, related to Marie Antoinette?) would have to wait a few more years until the genetic ancestry database increased.
In the meantime, I will continue to imagine my previous life as Marie Antoinette's most trusted courtier. I will imagine myself wearing a blue silken gown, powdered wig, and pox patch, gliding through the Hall of Mirrors, a bichon frise snapping at my red-soled heels.