How to Take Your DNA for MyHeritage Ethnicity Test without a Blood Sample (Unboxing and Demonstration Videos Included)

In case you’re considering purchasing a DNA kit from MyHeritage and you’re curious to know what happens once the box shows up on your front door, then I’m your guy.

It’s true that one of the things that kept me from taking a DNA test up until now, is that I assumed it would require taking a blood sample. I actually thought there was a chance I would either have to draw my own blood, or go to some kind of medical center and have them do it.

Nope. Not at all.

There is absolutely no blood sample required. I think this is a popular assumed belief among people who have never taken one of these tests. It’s crazy to say it out loud, and sounds ridiculous when you start thinking about a company like MyHeritage requiring customers to be responsible for providing their own blood samples. What a liability!


But I do believe it’s a popular enough assumption among not-yet-consumers of the product, and therefore, “no blood samples required” should be more prominent in their advertisements. There’s a good chance I would have purchased my DNA test much sooner had someone spelled that out for me:

“No blood. Just spit.”

Oh, what if I just created a new marketing catch phrase for MyHeritage?

The MyHeritage DNA kit mainly consists of a 2 swabs and 2 containers. That’s pretty much all that’s needed.


You swab the inside of each cheek for about a minute each, then put each swab in its own container by pressing part of the swab itself. Next, find a stamp or two to place on the front of the envelope and place it in the mailbox. After waiting 4 to 6 weeks, the results will arrive. Currently, I’m on Week 2.

Check out the two videos I made; one is an unboxing video and the other is a demonstration of how to take the test. Neither of them were rehearsed, so you will see me somewhat awkwardly figuring out what to do.

Thanks for visiting Family Friendly Daddy Blog today!

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

I Will Be the 1st Person You Know Who Actually Took a DNA Test to Find Out Their Ethnicity (MyHeritage Results by September 2nd)

Some people could care less about what shows up in their family tree. They will just sort of laugh it off with, “Yeah, I’m pretty much a mutt, I guess… A little English, a little Irish, maybe some German- I even heard there’s some Native American Indian in there too.”

But I am not one of those people.

Instead, I am Nick Shell. Therefore, I have always been fascinated by the mystery of my ethnicity.

I suppose I have somewhat of an advantage in that I know for a fact that all my great-grandparents on my mom’s side were born in another country:

Her grandparents on her father’s side were born in Italy and her grandparents on her mother’s side were born in Mexico. It’s just always been taken for granted that my mother is half Italian and half Mexican.

But I can no longer assume that every ancestor on my mom’s side was either 100% Italian or 100% Mexican. Besides, “Mexican” isn’t actually a race; as I understand that Mexicans are ultimately an ethnic mix of Native Americans and Europeans.

Over the years, my mom has reminded me of what she heard as a young girl, when she was around the Italian half of the family: “Just because we have the Metallo name and we’re Italian, that doesn’t mean that’s all we are. There’s other stuff in there too: A little bit of Greek, a little bit of French, and a little bit of Jewish…”


And before my Mexican grandmother passed away last year, she told me something I never heard her say before; that when she was a little girl, she saw family members “who had black skin and tight, curly hair.” I believe it is possible there is actually a few drops of African blood in me.

As for my dad’s side of the family, no one really knows. A few years ago, my dad received a book containing all the family tree records, but the names all seem to be predictably “WASP”: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

But I won’t be wondering much longer. Because as of Saturday, July 22nd, I mailed off the DNA test I bought from MyHeritageThe results should be back within 4 to 6 weeks from that day; which would be August 19th be at the soonest, and September 2nd at the latest.

As you can imagine, I am looking forward to finding out the results! No matter what the results reveal, I am sure I will be surprised…

Even though I paid $79 (normally $99) plus shipping, I see there are running a special that ends tonight, on July 31st; for just $69.

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

Should I Check “White, Not Hispanic or Latino”?


As I was updating my paperwork for the dentist recently, I had to decide whether or not I felt like technically lying.

It’s always something I hesitate on, more than I probably should.

My grandmother is full Mexican. I’m therefore only a quarter Mexican.

So I’m white; but 25% of my genes, and I suppose to some degree, my heritage and culture, is Mexican.

But if I could honestly describe myself to the Census Bureau, which apparently is the organization that most cares about my cultural and ethnic identity, it would simply be this:

Mostly white.

I’m not 100% white, so to proclaim, “white, not Hispanic or Latino” is inaccurate; because I’m absolutely part Hispanic.

The first time I remember having to answer that question was in 1st grade, for a standardized test. I remember how my mom, who is half Mexican and half Italian, told me that she always questioned that herself when she had to answer that question as well.

I think it muddies the waters even more than Italians typically are “more ethnic looking” than most Europeans. I have always thought the same thing about Jews (who are actually considered Middle Eastern) and Greeks (who, like Italians, are Mediterranean).

“White” is a funny term to me, when it references people.

I would love to take one of those ethnic DNA tests where they draw some of your blood and tell you exactly what percentage you are of each people group.

Mainly just because it would be fun to know… exactly. But really, none of that really matters.

What I learned in my HR training course is that ultimately, a person can claim whatever race they most identify with, even if it’s simply cultural.

If you are Chinese but adopted by white parents, you can identify as “white” if you choose to; or Chinese. It’s up to the individual.

As for me, I’m mostly white, based on the last names in my family tree: German (“Shell”), Italian (“Metallo”), Dutch (“Clowers”, derived from “Klaar”), Scottish (“Johnston” and “King”), and English (“Taylor” and “Wiseman”).

And of course I’m also Mexican (“Mendez”). That’s a little confusing as well because ethnically, Mexicans are a mixed race called Mestizos: ultimately, they are around half European (largely including Spanish) and around half Native (or indigenous) Mexican; just like how the United States originally was occupied by Native Americans before the Europeans came over.

The natives in modern Mexico and United States actually derived from Asia, like the Eskimos who settled in Russia and Alaska.

So technically, I’ve got distant traces of Asian blood.

If you really dumb it down, I’m just European and barely Asian.

But there’s not a category for that on the paperwork.

Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It Vs. I’ve Already Got One, Thanks

Fighting the urge to the live by the new American motto: If it ain’t broke, get another one anyway.

Like it? Love it? Gotta have it!

I can almost remember a time when I was a kid, where it was normal to really really want something for a long time and then when I would finally get it, my heart was content.  The newly obtained item gave my heart rest, and I was happy, as any kid should be.  Whether it was a new Nintendo game like Super Mario Bros. 2, or a bicycle, or a rare Ninja Turtle action figure like Splinter, April O’Neil, or Ray Fillet, I got what I had wanted for so long.  And funny enough, I never wanted a replacement after I received my prized possession.

But somewhere along the way, whether or not we can blame it on “typical capitalist American behavior” or the mindset of Generation X (I just barely made the cut- it’s anyone born between 1961 and 1981), it became normal to want a “new one” though the old one still works just fine.  Maybe just an innocent desire to keep things fresh.  Or maybe a potentially dangerous pattern.

My Italian grandfather was one of the most influential people of my lifetime.  Having grown up in an orphanage in Kenosha, Wisconsin (his mother died when he was young, and there were 12 kids in the family), he lived a minimalist lifestyle, only spending his money on his few children and grandchildren.  Hardly ever buying a new (used) car, new clothes, or new furniture.  Never buying anything name brand.

This way of thinking definitely shows up in my everyday life.  My wife jokes that I have more clothes and shoes than she does.  And it’s true.  Because I don’t get rid of them unless they’re literally rotted.  Like my old red running shoes I have delegated to only use for walking and riding my mountain bike on my lunch break.

It’s true that I own over twenty pairs of shoes that still look less than a year old.  But most of them are indeed at least ten years old, in actuality.  Because I have certain shoes I wear only if I know I will be outside or if there’s a chance of  rain that day.  Those are my “outside shoes”.  By wearing them instead of my “inside shoes”, it keeps my newer shoes looking new.

While I’ll never be as frugal as my grandfather (who when my mom was a little girl, reused dried out paper towels multiple times before throwing them away) I subconsciously try to imitate his lifestyle.

I can’t see myself ever buying a brand new car, knowing that it loses thousands of dollars in value as soon as the first owner drives it off the lot.  And I can’t see buying a different car until my current one costs more to repair than it does to actually buy another used one.

Not that buying a new car is any kind of moral issue, or that going on a shopping spree for a new wardrobe is necessarily evil, though it’s probably not a wise decision if it involves a credit card (I’m a Dave Ramsey fanatic).  But for some of us, that strand of “gotta get a new one” serves as toxic acid in our DNA.

It gets tiring hearing of men leaving their wives for another woman.  That’s definitely a familiar theme this year already in the media.  And while some could say, “What does to me if matter if Tiger Woods or Jesse James cheats on his wife?  Why is that national news?”  Because it does matter.

Not because we’re nosey.  But because in some sense, the reflection of the lifestyles of celebrities causes a subconscious call-to-response for the rest of us:  “Hey look, it’s normal, he did it.”

We have to either say, “No way, that’s not for me.  No thanks!”  Or “Well, maybe that’s not so bad…”

It shouldn’t be that hard to be happy with what we’ve already got, even if it’s not perfect.  And really, that’s a mindset that is often difficult to accept and adopt: Near-perfect is as perfect as life can really get.

Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Yes, of course it is.  But the irony is this: You’re already standing on the other side.  Somebody’s else’s “other side”.

You’re already standing on the greener grass.

"I don't care how... I want it NOW!" -Veruca Salt

Hungry Heart

For nine warm and comfortable months we float in a constant pampering. Then, suddenly, we see a bright light and feel cold air and hear loud noise for the first time. Introduction to life outside the womb is a culture-shock we never truly get over. We learn that by crying, our parents will come rushing over to give us whatever we want. As we learn to talk, we learn to lie to get our way. No one teaches us to do this. We already know how to find trouble.

There is something to be said about the fact we are wired to automatically do the wrong thing. Even as we mature into adults, we still engage in a struggle against selfishness; a selfishness which promotes self-destruction. Like being on a conveyor belt on track to a slow physical and spiritual suicide. It’s all around us. From as small an issue as naturally preferring pepperoni pizza and Coke and ice cream over grilled chicken and broccoli and yogurt, to as big as lusting after what our friends (or frenemies) bought with a credit card and allowing ourselves to go into debt because we let them set the new standard of what we need in life.

We want to believe that we are ultimately good. That’s why shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are so popular. It makes us feel good to see people actually doing something selfless. It’s inspiring. And it makes us feel good to be selfless as well. We recognize subconsciously that loving our neighbors as ourselves is better than loving ourselves more than our neighbors. People are drawn to truth. But from Day #1 we are drawn to destruction as well.

A kid will naturally try to play in the street, run with scissors, touch a hot iron, and eat nothing but candy unless a more knowledgeable person steps in to save the child.

There is this romanticized idea that if we simply follow our hearts, then life will be good. Sometimes that is true. I followed my heart when I moved to Nashville, then met my wife a year later, and married her a year and half after that. Good thing I followed my heart.

But my heart also entices me to want to flip off everyone who annoys me on the interstate: I want to curse those who curse me, instead of hope and pray for their improvement which could break the vicious cycle. And I constantly want to make big purchases of things I don’t need, like a motorcycle: I can’t be satisfied no matter what I already have. Looking back at the history of the world, people have followed their hearts and it has led to tragedies as horrific as genocide, slavery, and war.

I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like if a baby was born into this world and never needed discipline. Impossible. It’s in our DNA to naturally fight against what will save us from destruction.

Remorse Prevents Revenge; Humiliation Prevents Bitterness

“I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“I was just playing with ya; you know that, right?”
“I’m sorry, I was wrong when I did that.”

The motive. Somehow it changes everything. From a forgotten detail, to a borderline insult of character, to a practical joke that is taken too far. If the motive wasn’t malicious, it makes a difference.

Or even a simple, sincere apology will quench the fire. Just knowing the crime was an accident or is regrettably acknowledged; it helps. Forgiveness is much easier when it happens sooner rather than later.

But when the damage was indeed intentional, we immediately go into defense mode, or at least struggle to hold back. Our DNA code is imprinted with the phrase “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Revenge is the natural response. Retaliation is easier than healthy communication.

There are many times the offender did mean something by it, they did do it on purpose, and they weren’t just playing around. Then it becomes an issue of both parties trying to prove to each other than the other really is the one who is morally wrong and/or more incompetent.

And that sparks the “who’s better?” contest. A competition that leads to grudges, insults, hurt feelings, arguments, fights, and as the course of history has proven, even war.

Being humble sometimes means being humiliated. That’s why it’s so hard to be wronged.