I always considered my German heritage dominating my life. My name alone bespeaks German—Fritz von Coelln. Fritz, the nickname for King Fredrick II of Prussia for instance and von Coelln (von Cölln) means from Cöln, a city that was enveloped by Berlin centuries ago. I’ve visited my father’s home town, Hohenkirchen. I spent a summer on the farm where he was born and grew up. I learned German, well some German words. I’ve driven VWs and Mercedes. I’ve worn lederhosen-a pair still in my closet to be donned on a special occasion. I’ve pleasured many a Jever Pils brewed near his home town. I sing the Schnitzel Bank song at Christmas time with lyrics adapted by my father for the season. Yes, I considered myself a German-American by todays PC identity scheme.
Then I had my DNA tested and I found out, of all things that I am half Swedish and only a quarter German!
OOPS, the lederhosen are out and blond pigtails are in. My mom was Swedish and I figured that I would be 50-50 (half German and half Swedish). What happened to that German side? Could be that the Vikings raided northern Germany in the 10thcentury, “rascaling” and pillaging and spreading their genes around. (Reference: the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070). I will practice my Swedish like tack du, God Jul and Gi oss idag värt daglige bröt.
And why does Ancestry.com only provide 98% of my background? What about that 2%? Is there some native in my blood?
(Jordgubbar is strawberries in Swedish–that’s what my Swedish grandmother, Tina Hypse, used to exclaim when she was perplexed.