Do You Know Who You Are?


I just had a fascinating chat with a young lady named Joanni Davis Thomas (above,left). She told me things I didn’t know about my extended family. No, she wasn’t in Lakeland or anywhere in Florida. She wasn’t in Jamaica. She was in Panama.

That’s right, Panama.

My cousin Scott (Graham) (above right) suggested I “friend” her on Facebook, and when I did so, Joanni and I exchanged the usual pleasantries. Then she asked me what I knew about various family connections. It turns out she was researching her family tree.

Her grandfather moved to Panama from Jamaica in the 1940s, she said, and she was curious about her Jamaican ancestry.

So how did she know Scott? Did they meet in Belize, perhaps?

Scott is my late cousin Tony’s son and they had moved to Belize from Jamaica many years ago. He now lives in England.

But it was nothing like that. Joanni found out she was Scott’s cousin through a DNA match.

They were related through my father’s uncle’s wife, Aunt Florrie.  He was the Rev. W.T. Graham.

Aunt Florrie’s maiden name was Constantine. Yes, we’re related to Mitzie (Eddie Seaga’s ex-wife). And Bustamante. The great Jamaican leader used to visit Aunt Florrie when we lived on Constant Spring Road.

That’s the way it is  in Jamaica. Check back far enough and you’ll find you’re related – by blood or marriage – to just about everybody on the island.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the way it is all over the world. Check back far enough and you’ll be surprised at the things you will find out about yourself.

Go ahead. Get a DNA profile and find out who your relatives are and what mixture flows in your veins.

I suspect that if we all did that, we would rid ourselves of a lot of silly notions. And the world would be a better place.

Click for more on DNA profiling.

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