Regions of my Heart

by Shirley Belk 21 days ago in list

When DNA & Geography Meet

Regions of my Heart
It took just about as many people as these dots to create "you"

My sister gave me a fantastic gift for Christmas the year after our mother died. It was a DNA test kit! Oh, what fun discoveries we've made with it. Secrets and imaginings come vividly to life. Genealogy & Ancestry totally became two of my favorite topics, but I have added a third love to the mix because of them...Geography!

So, what does a nerd like myself do during Covid 19? Can't travel. So, instead, we make an imaginary trip to England in a power point presentation to share with our our siblings. I plan on discovering other regions of our origins this way, too, but I started with our predominant heritage (51% English/Irish.) I was very pleased and surprised by what I thought would be, mostly vanilla findings, but instead I bit into more scrumptious flavors than even Baskin & Robbins have to offer.


Although the United Kingdom is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, & Northern Ireland, our trip will be just to England & Scotland in this story. Otherwise, it would be way too lengthy. England in and of itself has 165 counties! Each place within its borders is rich with history and uniqueness. (I will give you the rest of my story in another read.)

The United Kingdom

My Top Ten Regions in the UK where I match (through shared DNA) with its natives:

1. Greater London

2. West Midlands

3. Glasgow City

4. Greater Manchester

5. Merseyside

6. Lancashire

7. West Yorkshire

8. South Yorkshire

9. Tyne & Wear

10. Norfolk

165 Counties of England

NUMBER ONE... GREATER LONDON: did you know that there is a city of London within the county of London? So much to see here and so much to do. I would plan a good week's visit in just this one county. And these would be the places I'd visit to get the answers to this quiz:

Let's visit the Queen!
"Fundamentally" A Must Go-See!

NUMBER TWO... WEST MIDLANDS: West Midlands lies (almost hidden) in-between Wales & East Midlands. And if you visit this county, you might just discover that this is where the Easter Bunny lives...this is where you will find "Cadbury World" (famous for chocolates)and have afternoon tea!

Afternoon Tea at Cadbury World in West Midlands County

But, I could not leave West Midlands without stopping by a town sharing the name of myself:

My Happy Place

NUMBER THREE...GLASGOW CITY (SCOTLAND): My focus would mainly be on the Glasgow Mural Trail, a nineteen stop delight of art along city walls like this one:

One of the Big Birds

But I couldn't leave Scotland without hearing the bagpipes cry to me, either. "As instruments of war, the bagpipes carry with it a strong sense of pride, bravery and honor. The bagpipe represents strength and freedom, having survived the oppression that the British imposed upon Scotland, Ireland, and their bagpipes." (by unknown author.)

Bagpipes are played at weddings, funerals, and at Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year

Sounds fun!

NUMBER FOUR...GREATER MANCHESTER: It would be great to go see a football game played with a round ball instead of an oblong one for an American. No better place than here:

Manchester Football Spirit

NUMBER FIVE...MERSEYSIDE: Can you say, "The Beatles?" Go directly to the town of Liverpool in this county and say no more...but stop! Don't forget to visit "Eleanor Rigby" while you are there. The story behind the Beatles'song is fantastical, to say the least, a melancholy mix of fact, fiction, and being at the right place at the right time.

St Peter's Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool

NUMBER SIX...LANCASHIRE: My stop in this county would be to Blackpool by the Irish Sea. Besides the beach, there is plenty of shopping to do, places to eat, and a Grand Theater to catch a play.

Blackpool Promenade

NUMBER SEVEN...WEST YORKSHIRE: Perhaps you've heard of the Bronte sisters? This is where to go to see the countryside of their inspiration. Their father was the "rector" (leader) of the church in Thornton.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Brontë)

But did you know that they had a brother who was a painter, named Branwell Bronte?

Painting of His Sisters by Branwell Bronte

NUMBER EIGHT...SOUTH YORKSHIRE: Here, in Doncaster, you will step into the 12th Century World of the inhabitants of CONISBROUGH CASTLE!

Lord Hamelin and Lady Isabel de Warenne.
Conisbrough Castle in Doncaster

NUMBER NINE...TYNE & WEAR: Here, in Gateshead, you will heartfully overwhelmed by the sculpture, The Angel of the North. Wikipedia relates, "According to Antony Gormley, its creator/sculptor, the significance of an angel was three-fold: firstly, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; secondly, to grasp the transition from an industrial to an information age; and thirdly, to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears"

The Angel of the North

But don't leave the county without visiting the Beamish Museum in the town of Stanley. There you will be stepping back into the early 1900's in a coal mining town and experience a glimpse of the live your ancestors lived.

As advertised in a tourist site, "At the 1900s town you can see how traditional sweets and remedies were made at the sweetshop and pharmacy, find out what a visit to the dentist was like more than 100 years ago, order a pint at an Edwardian pub or sip tea at an authentic period tearoom. "

NUMBER TEN...NORFOLK: Here, on the last leg of our journey, we have the Norwich Lanes, with its winding streets and vast arrays of cute shops. The bookstore in this picture beckons us to learn more of all the history sights we've seen on our English-Ancestral tour.

The Book Hive in Elm Hill, Norwich Lanes

So, that concludes my no-cost vacation/journey of ancestral roots to the UK! Hope you've enjoyed the trip, as well and that you are encouraged to find your own "lost" family.

Shirley Belk
Shirley Belk
Read next: Camping > Hotels
Shirley Belk

Mother, Nana, Single-Again, Recently retired RN, Nursing Instructor who loves to write stories to heal herself and reflect on all the silver linings she has been blessed with

See all posts by Shirley Belk