I’d been seeing those Ancestry.com ads for years regarding getting your DNA tested to learn about your ethnic background. As an adoptee, I’d always been leery of dipping into dangerous waters. Did I really want to know anything about the people who’d given me away to strangers? Did I really want to know what the circumstances were behind this (presumably) enormous decision?

However, a part of me was always deeply curious about my greater family tree. I had questions, and what little I had been told as a child about my ethnicity didn’t match up with what I’d accidentally learned as an adult. So when my husband expressed momentary curiosity about his family tree, namely to learn if he really was part Native American or not, I jumped on it and bought two DNA test kits when they were on sale over the holidays.

Well, we’ve had so much fun that my parents became interested as well. So now I have four different people to research! And yes, my husband really is part Native American. So am I! I had no idea I’d discover that the “Cherokee princess” myth so many families have might possibly be true in my case. If you have deep roots in the American South it’s something to look into…

I had a connection to my British-set novels, too. On the subject of my Grand Russe series with Kensington, I discovered that I actually had ancestors in London in the 1920s. They weren’t working in a grand hotel, though. They were in the garment trade in the east end, and many, if not all of them, immigrated to Canada and the US during this decade. I’ve been humbled by my imaginings of what it must have taken for my great-grandparents to journey from Russia/Poland to the UK, to Canada, and then to the Unites States, all in one generation. Tough, tough people that I’m descended from, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure that my great-grandparents would have had the moxie to battle the Russian baddies in my books.

I’ve also been tickled pink to discover who my royal ancestors were, on some lines at least. Most of us have them. After all, wealthy and well-fed people were more likely to have surviving descendants, but I’d never been able to point my finger to anyone in particular until now. I have presidents too, in my family tree, and people who came over on the Mayflower. I’ve even discovered a possible connection to Elvis Presley!

Yes, genealogy can be a blast for a history lover. It’s a real thrill to connect to distant cousins with the same love of history and see what you can learn about common ancestors. I could go on for pages and pages about all the different approaches to conducting research, but here are some places to start. And don’t forget, if you do take a DNA test on Ancestry.com, make sure to link it to your family tree, so that your distant cousins with the same hobby can get in touch.

Here are some resources:

You can both test your DNA and build a linked family tree on this site: http://www.ancestry.com

http://www.familytreedna.org

http://www.familysearch.org

http://www.myheritage.com

Note:  I subscribe to both the US and UK editions via Kindle. Some Barnes and Nobles carry both of them if you want to see a sample edition:  http://www.familytreemagazine.com/

My Grand Russe series:

If I Had You (Grand Russe #1):  https://www.amazon.com/Had-You-Grand-Russe-Hotel-ebook/dp/B01A4ANY5I

I Wanna Be Loved By You (Grand Russe #2):   https://www.amazon.com/Wanna-Loved-Grand-Russe-Hotel-ebook/dp/B01FPGT24S

Lady Be Good (Grand Russe #3):   https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Good-Grand-Russe-Hotel-ebook/dp/B01N6FRX1X/

 

When exiled royalty and espionage combine, expect a romance as bold as the 1920s . . .

Olga Novikov is a princess without a throne. Her fiancé and her family slain in the revolution, she flees Russia and finds herself working as the head of housekeeping at London’s luxurious Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from the glamour of her former life, but she’s grateful for the job—until a guest forces her to question where her loyalty lies. The charming nobleman challenges her at every turn—and arouses dreams of romance she thought she’d abandoned forever . . .

Douglas “Glass” Childers is living a double life. On the surface, he’s the indolent Viscount Walling, but in truth he’s an intelligence agent searching for a Bolshevik weapons master. The coolly beautiful and headstrong housekeeper is a distraction he doesn’t need—unless she’s the key piece in the puzzle he must solve. Trusting her could be dangerous—but loving her is an undeniable temptation . . .

Praise for Heather Hiestand’s novels

One Taste of Scandal is a delicious, multi-layered Victorian treat.” —Gina Robinson, author of The Last Honest Seamstress and the Agent Ex series

“A fast read with a different view point than many novels in the genre.” —Library Journal on His Wicked Smile

“This is definitely one for the keeper shelf.” —Historical Romance Lover on His Wicked Smile

“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non traditional lovers.” —Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince’s Desire, on His Wicked Smile

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