Based on our genetic ancestry test results, we discovered we have over 3,000 DNA  relatives combined. We contacted all our new DNA relatives and invited them to  participate in the Belongingness project, exploring what identity is and how we are all  connected to one another.  

After contacting our relatives, we each booked and had 10 meetings with 10 different  DNA relatives of all ages and from all parts of the world in March 2021. Through these  online meetings and conversations that lasted for roughly an hour each, we looked to  learn more about our connection, why participants took the genetic test, what they were  looking for, and whether they had found what they were after. Together we talked  through the complexity of our interconnections that define part of our identities and  discovered new meanings to old ideas.

We used landmark points to represent the faces. The names of the participants and our DNA relatives are abbreviated for the purpose of anonymity. Everyone involved consented to the publication of these stories, images and  audio recordings.  

Sandra :: N from Mexico, living in USA

N and I share two DNA segments, one in chromosome 6 and another in one the chromosomes X. We have a total of 0.36% shared DNA. Based on this, it can be inferred that we are 4th cousins so we might have a common ancestor approximately 5 generations ago.

N did the ancestry genetic test because she was curious to know where her family comes from. N lived in the United States since she was 3 years old. She didn't have a lot of family in the US and at school, she usually heard other children’s stories about their family, and she felt that she was lacking of a family history. In her family it was not common to talk about family.

N is interested in genetics, is amazed at how genes can contribute to people's physical characteristics such as eye color and height, and is also amazed at how recently some crimes have been solved using genetics.

We reflect on different legal and social implications that genetic ancestry studies have. We talked about the example of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, we both agree that having a genetic proportion of a particular region or population does not make us belong to that population and its culture.
We find many interests in common, we are both very curious people, we enjoy learning from different topics, we have a common interest in nature, human psychology and also in technology.

Belongingness for her means finding out more about where she comes from, who she is related to, knowing more about her relatives and learning more about the cultures that were lost along the way and being part of something bigger than herself.