When I see that commercial of the person who thought he was of German descent, but found it otherwise, I can certainly relate to this. I was told that I was one fourth of German descent, three sixteenths of English descent, one sixteenth French directly from France, one fourth Irish and one fourth Cajun French. Some of this was right, but some was so far off it should never have been claimed.
The facts are that my maternal grandmother has roots in Germany. But I now know these roots come specifically from Bavaria. Bayern is one location that comes up. My maternal grandfather has some origins in Sussex, England, where his father came from and later returned to. His mother was in an orphanage at a young age, and I cannot get any information from the past her except for her last name and the fact her father was from France. This scant information comes from her marriage license, so she herself did not know her parents first names.
On my father’s side things were completely in error. Searching the name Smith was surprisingly easy, since the line go back to some rather famous people. Originally, it was Smythe, but changed hundreds of years ago. The Smith.Smythe line is well documented, and some of those in it had titles. In fact, the last man to be found as a Smythe was High Sheriff John Smythe, and his son was William Smith, a godfather of William Shakespeare. The Smythe line ends with Lord Michael of Carrington Smythe. The lords and ladies from my ancestry intermarried with others with titles, and I am able to follow branches back to Emperor Louis I of the Western Holy Roman Empire, then to some other impressive names. Many of these ancestors arrived in England from Bavaria and other locations, in particular the spouses of the lords, whose lines can also be traced. Indeed, the line is documented to Charles Martel, Charlemagne and Clovis. If a line of such significance is entered the work of going back g unless gets easier, but not equally so for the branches that come into it via spouses unless they are also of significance.
Finally, my father’s Cajun heritage is not so simple. I can trace ancestors to Nova Scotia, the origin of the Cajuns, and others to Quebec. Others came directly from France, one as the personal physician of Bienville. Then came Spanish names, which were traced to boats that brought people to Louisiana from the Canary Islands off North Africa who are genetically Berbers, which is what North Africans of Egypt, Morocco, and other Mediterranean countries are.