Why? Because it HURTS! Seriously, though even I of the land of spreadsheets and reconciliations cannot be serious all the time. Even I must find respite, recreation and time to allow my brain to cool lest it overheat and become extra crispy.
And so I’ve been dipping the brain pain in that cryogenic brew known as “my genealogy diversion” or as my family dubs it “cataloguing the deceased.” Some people play Sudoku. I plot family groups. At least I’m not out spending my hard earned dollars on Jimmy Choos. I digress.
For those of you who know me and admit it - you also are aware that my aforementioned hobby is just that. A hobby. I have no vendettas, no motives and I am usually motivated to ferret out the dusty leavin’s of a family simply because of the rich history lesson I acquire when I google that deceased person’s name, country or timeline of existence. I have learned that the hours spent carefully sifting through the familial bones will turn up familial treasure of the type I savor.
Case in point. For the past few days I’ve been flipping between the Hudspeth/Watson families in the 1600 to 1300, and the Davis’s and the Hughes lines which are now back to the 800 and earlier. I’ve been on the trail of some ancient Viking types when suddenly my little brain was blown away. There it was – on multiple sites, multiple reputable sources – historical evidence that dovetails with my Ancestry DNA test and my theory about berserker blood. Yup. Odin is my grandpa. Thor is my uncle. Really Really.
Now before you assume that I’ve taken a hard hit to my noggin whilst plummeting from said genealogical tree, I shall pummel you with theory and evidence. Whilst my Nordic, pillagin’ peeps would barrel roll in their earthen burial mounds to consider it, it appears that Odin was actually a real person. Many of the ancient texts, mythologies etc speak of Odin’s people coming from what is now Turkey (the place, not the poultry – I know what you’re thinking.) and that Odin in fact died. It is a common cultural practice to deify a culture’s earliest rulers and this is apparently what happened with Odin. So as I attempted to prove or disprove the theory I found both the “mythological ancestry” of Odin going back to the elemental Alfadur – the substance of life, and the theoretical ancestry based on oral history and genetic evidence that indicates Odin was possibly – wait for it – a Hun. (one moment please. My mind just got blown again)Central Asia Roots of Scandinavia - skim down to around page five if you’re a skimmer. This is just one of the articles I found.
I find this information fascinating for multiple reasons. I’ve always been enthralled by mythologies and specifically Norse mythology since I was a child. Not because I “believed it as a religion” but because I and my ancestors are story tellers. We love fiction. We love to spin a tale. And I have learned over the past decade or so that the best stories are based on a truth. So when studying mythology as it relates to the actual history of a family or a civilization – I start looking for that center point of truth. And the truth is what makes the story fascinating.
For those of you who do not know – I mentioned an Ancestry DNA test which plotted my genetic ethnicity as 69% British Isle, 17% Scandinavian, 7% Finnish/Volga/Ural and 7%, Persian, Turkish, Caucasus. To stumble upon both mythology and history that matches scientific data – oh. There goes my mind again.
I caveat all this of course with the admonition that genealogical study – the farther back you travel in time will become speculative. While I can look at my berserker tendencies, and my pale skin as the culmination of thousands of years of genetic programming – I still have that thing called a frontal lobe. I still have free will. Its not about the acquisition of knowledge that one can then use as an excuse for poor behavior that drives me. Oh. I can’t help losing my temper and throttling my offspring. Its in my DNA to do so. Nope. This kid is no victim. Its all about what you DO with the knowledge. Knowledge is a slave master. Wisdom frees a soul.
So at the end of the day when I come home to brawling kinsmen and all the bjorr is gone, I have a choice. I can summon the residual sludge of my possible Hunnic tribesman and go berserker on my family – or I can exercise my free will given me by a benevolent Creator and thank God that I am not a victim but a victor. Of course, hulking out with a hammer swinging over my head while shouting “I’m Thor!” might go a long way in encouraging said brawling kinsmen to cease and go procure me more bjorr. Tam Odinsdatter – of the Huns. Has a certain ring to it. Perhaps as a pen name?