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Category: Norway

Genetic Ethnicity DNA Results

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%
Scandinavia: 17%
Finnish-Volga/Ural 7%
Turkish/Persian/Caucasus 7%

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.

Valdres Norway History - Strand & Axness Families

During my building of the Strand branch of the family tree, I noticed that several of my relatives resided in specific areas: North Aurdal, Slidre, and Valdres Norway. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a comprehensive book self published in the 1920s by A Veblen that detailed not only Valdres Norway but an entire movement that at least two of my ancestors were active participants. Valdris is equivalent to a county in Southern Norway, occupying approximately 2100 square miles or about 3 percent of the country and is geographically south of the Trondhjem Fjord. Valdris is flanked on the northeast by Gudbrandsdal and South east by Aurdal, also listed as areas occupied by my ancestors. Within this area lies the Strand Fjord (after which I assume certain members of my family took their surname) The region is punctuated by fjords, lakes and the cataracts of the Begna river. The small dairy farming communities nestled amongst the granite faced mountains and alpine valleys are organized around church congregations.

The earliest recorded history of the Valdres region is intertwined with the saga of Harold the Fair haired. As a minor chieftain he became enamored with Gyda, daughter of king Erik of Hordaland who was betrothed to a bonde (farmer) of Valdres. Her refusal of his courtship prompted Harold to conquer most of the petty chieftains of Norway and thus win Gyda several years later. At the time of Harolds unification of Norway, the population was primarily pagan, conversion to Christianity not occurring intil the rule of Olaf the Great in 1023.

It is my assumption that most of my ancestors were converted to Protestantism during the reformation, and may have worshipped in the ancient stavkirkers or stave churches which themselves are unique to Norway. These structures are comprised of upright pillars and girders with hewn plank walls or staves The churches have sharply pitched roofs often decorated with dragons heads. The doors were framed with intricate scrollwork inclusive of the dragon motif.

While it was not mentioned in Oline Strands family history, I found evidence that two of my ancestors were part of the Bygdelag Movement or a societal organization formed by immigrants dedicated to the preservation of ancestral memories and publishing historical and biographical information about regional immigrants. The word Bygdelag itself translates to mean settlement, or neighborhood and society or a society of people from the same neighborhood in Norway. Our ancestors, JK Axness, and TK Axness are recorded in Veblens The Valdris Book as members of the Valdris Samband 143. For any person of Norwegian descent, I recommend this publication as the list of members included is quite comprehensive. The book in its entirety can be found via google search on line.

The Valdres Samband is the oldest bygdelag in America and is still in operation today.

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