CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Jennifer McElveen researches DNA. She’s practiced this hobby for the last ten years.
“You don’t know what you are going to uncover,” McElveen said. “But, to me, that’s the fun. The finding the mysteries.”
She started this journey wanting to learn more about her and her husband’s heritage.
“We are all immigrants, you know here in America,” McElveen said. “But to find out how much of an immigrant you are, like mine was German, French, Scandinavian.”
But over the years, she’s helped friends learn more about their family’s history too. Sometimes taking months to dig through online records.
” And you have to research every possibility when you’re trying to find a mystery DNA connection to someone,” said McElveen.
Some people come to McElveen knowing they have some sort of DNA mystery. Others have been surprised to find out information they didn’t think was possible.
“And it might be a good discovery,” McElveen said. “And others are painful.”
Something McEleveen experienced herself while researching a close friend, Amy Wingo’s DNA.
A girl from South Carolina and a girl from Massachusetts. Both living here in the Lowcountry, and through the grapevine are 16th cousins.
“So there was a gentleman on the Mayflower, and he had two children, a son, and a daughter,” Wingo said. “And she is a descendant of the daughter, and I am a direct descendant of the son.”
It’s surprises like these that keep her on her toes.
“I learn so much from it, so, I do it because I love it,” said McElveen.
And wanting to learn more about how we’re traced back to our roots.