TLBoehm on Family Tree Circles
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So after flunking my first Ancestry Dot Com DNA test, I got the results of the second one yesterday. Yes, I'm geekin' out about it. What else do I have to do?
And the survey SAID!
British Isles: 69%
What does it mean? YOU tell ME.
Most of you know, I have "daddy issues" as my mom told me when I was 27 or so that the man who raised me was not my dad, and my dad was a High School sweetheart she was divorcing the man I thought was daddy for. The man who raised me passed away in 2009. Both of his parents are gone and of the surviving brothers, the brothers aren't sure if they are full or half brothers - and they live in different states which makes DNA testing difficult. You'd think perhaps a DNA test from Ancestry would calm my little girl brain. But it doesn't. You see, while I know a lot about some of my family - depending on which dad is dad, I know nothing about some of my family so the above test is pretty much "Inconclusive" in proving whether I am truly a Hughes or a Davis. Reason being: On the Davis side - I am missing all information on George's mother. And on my mom's side I am missing all information on my mom's grandfather - who could be Swede but may be Irish/Scot. My dad who raised me was Norwegian/English - but there was a great great great grandparent who was presumably Native American. That didn't show up in this test - but say George's mom was Greek - well - its possible that the test would have proven my Hughes ancestry? See my conundrum?
Anyway. The test is 98% accurate over 700,000 genomes in evidencing genetic ancestry for up to a 1000 years back. So that means my peeps probably originated in the area of Persia/Turkey/The Caucasus - moved up into the Ural Mountains and Finland (did you know Finns are not considered Scandinavians? I did not know that) then over into Scandinavia and down into the British Islands. So far - I see on all sides of my family that the bulk of my peeps came from Norway down to either the British Isles or Normandy then over to the states settling on the east coast or around the Great Lakes area and the Dakotas. I do have a great great Grandpa born in Denmark who was supposedly Finn - but he is a dead end. My Norwegian paternal family dead ends in the 1700's in Norway. The Britons go way back (I'm working in the 1100 to 900's with multiple family lines) but the Persian/Turkish connection....don't see it yet in the paper work.
So my expected 25% Norwegian can be explained by a couple of things. First would be a few point variance in the %s and the second is explained as "Genetic Shuffling" - in other words - just because the Orakers and Axness clans were in Nord Aurdal in the 1700's - doesn't mean that they were true Viking - and just like red hair - a marker for "scandinavian" may have been trumped in the sequencing by some bog jumping, kilted ruffian with bad teeth and a serious brogue.
What I found amazing is - the lack of Southern European DNA.. Apparently the Persian/Turkish/Caucasus didn't migrate across the continent and up into the British Isles - but they hugged the Ural mountains and areas of Russia. Also - any evidence of Roman influence in the British DNA (because you know the Romans were Toads and invaded everyone) is not evident.
It also goes to show that no matter how you slice me - I'm pretty darn paste-y. I'm a veritable glow stick. Except for that Persian part which may go to explain my taste for lentils and that chin hair I deal with (and I thought it was hormones)
None of it really matters in the scheme of things I suppose - unless you're inclined to be interested in human migrations. I find some validation in it. It makes me curious to learn more.
And that's my ramble for the day.
So this little thought has been rolling around my brain pan for about a week now and what better way to expel it than post a rabid blog about it?
Before I spill it - I'm going to remind you of who I am behind the happy virtual canvas. As far as I know I am of white mostly northern European descent (Cornwall, Normandy, Scandinavia) with evidence of ties to the houses of Burgundy,Capet and Plantagenet both via paternal and maternal DNA. It is possible that my great great grandmother was Seneca Native American - but for the rest of the pack of braying donkeys - they're all a bunch of pale devils.
Since both my parents share common ancestry - I've been studying that ancestry where it intersects and have found what cosmetically would puff up a chick to be uniquely disturbing once the "Titles" are dismissed and the behaviors are revealed. I certainly don't want to detract from the hard work of any family genealogist/historian who's amassed a thousand years of "identity" but I am not one to romanticize constant land disputes, murders, kidnapping, selling and marrying off women for property exchanges and the unbridled use of "the church" for personal gain. And that behavior is exactly what the early feudal Barons that sparkle in my happy tree did. It is fascinating study - but these aren't people to be elevated and admired. Many were absolute monsters displaying evidence of severe depression, rage issues, violence etc. And yet, these are the people who perpetuate our "cultural norms" today. For me - if I know who we were, I understand why we are who we are now and what steps I may need to take to become who I need to be.
I'd probably stop my tangent right there if I weren't in the middle of attempting to develop a Humanities curriculum for a sophomore. It just went off in me while looking at "Historical Time lines" and what is normally presented as "World History" at the High School Level that the focus is incredibly skewed - feeding up into this Greco/Roman then European and finally American advance of civilization. And here is where it gets incendiary: What kind of message is this sending? Doesn't this only serve to promote the bias of "white or European entitlement?" Seriously? If I'm white and I see this do we even need to wonder why some kids bristle when presented with the same information? Hear my heart. I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin - but skin comes in LOTS of colors and western civilization is not the only example of how humanity has grown over time. Yup - you should study the history of the area in which you live as in I took American History because I am an American. But if I am going to teach my child about the whole human world - its not going to be a white-centric lesson. That would do him a disservice.
Its fine to study Greco/Roman and European History but it isn't the only example of culture and perhaps it shouldn't be the hub on the wheel. I know I only got a part of the story when I was in public school. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my own spawn is more rounded than I was.
There is a phrase someone told me that keeps it in perspective. A friend of mine is Fijian. He told us once when discussing missionary efforts in Fiji - "my people used to eat your people" Such a fine line between being served and being "served" - capiche?
Peace. I'm still looking for Ghengis Khan in my tree. I am. At this point it would make me feel better. I encourage those of you who are hundreds of years back in your studies to refrain from just collecting names and dates and really dig into the reality of who your ancestors were, what they did and what life was like for them on a daily level. The information can be amazing, humbling and at times a little brutal.
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?
I hate to quote a Lady Gaga song but, Baby I was born this way.....
YUP. The craggy visage set in stone uplaoded with this blog just may be my 31st great grandfather. Meet Rollo the Viking. Like me, Rollo didn't start off a happy little daisy chuckin' grampa. See Below:
born c. 860 — died c. 932) Scandinavian rover who founded the duchy of Normandy. After raiding Scotland, England, Flanders, and France on pirating expeditions, he took lands along the Seine River as his base (c. 911). He battled Charles II of France, who gave him, in return for Rollo's promise to stop pillaging, the part of Neustria that came to be called Normandy.
His kiddies in succession were Richard(s) I, II and III - Dukes of Normandy. Admittedly, the connection is a bit suspect - Supposedly Helena le Bon is the daughter of Richard II or Richard III but its conjecture - there is no historical written proof that I see. Helena married the oldest Hughes I can trace on my tree: Hubert Huse (1025-1066)
It would go far in explaining certain aspects of my personality - my adoration for anything Viking (starting in my early teens) my pagan overtones, that thing about dragons I have - and even my own boss calling me a Viking - and saying that I have a penchant for "hunt it down, kill it, clean up the mess and make something out of the hide" It would justify my salivation for "Beowulf" and my soft spot for Grendel. And it cracks me up to tell my family who are SURE they're of Welsh descent - that they're in fact pillagin' piratin' Viking stock. UFF DA! It would also validate the appearance in every generation I see of massive, fair to auburn haired, furry cretan males. My first born for example is about 6' 3" - 240 lbs - dark blonde with a read beard - blue eyed and can plough through anything in his path.
I can't help it. I find it humorous. It makes a chick chuckle. And finding a Rollo on my family tree is one of the things that keeps me going when the going gets full of dry census information and pictures of headstones.
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