Tuesday, November 28, 2017


While looking through Scottish ancestries, which I share on both the paternal and maternal sides of my family, I have tried to discover where those ancestors came from, and I'm finding them very mixed. For example, the one documented mercenary I have, no first name given, but his surname was Saunders, presumably hired himself out and left Scotland at or near the time when Mary, Queen of Scots, began her reign, and all the troubles the Scottish people suffered with her. He went to work for the kingdom of Denmark, which was striving to hold on to its northern possessions, now part of Sweden.

Grandpa Saunders learned enough Danish to later serve as a district judge in Buskerud County, Norway, years after he finished his enlistment, and settled down with his Norwegian wife. Many Norwegians with the surname Sanderson continue his legacy. What was his ancestry, was he part Danish?

I've not been able to find anything about his origins, other than what I have listed above. So he probably had some viking ancestry, mingled with the Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and African ancestries of many others. Is it any wonder so much strife exists all throughout Scottish history?

Scotland pursued the somewhat French-favoring Auld Alliance. Mary, Queen of Scots, was half-French, and a descendant of the Guise family, her mother being descended from the Medicis, some who had African ancestors. There is some wonder about the Berber origins of some Scots. That's not so surprising, when you consider some of the Moorish caliphs who ruled what is now Portugal and Spain converted Berber tribesmen in North Africa to Islam, and marched with them to the Iberian penninsula.

The descendants of these Berbers became the police force for the Caliphs, for at least four hundred years, and intermarried with the local people. When the caliphs were pushed out of Spain and Portugal, their posterity would continue to mingle, eventually working for and with royalty, and coming under the power of France.

Mary brought people with her from France, as other Scottish kings would have, due to trade and diplomatic ties, who would be more likely to have African ancestors. The Romans posted African contingents on the northern border between Roman-dominated Britain, and the Picts.

All these differences in ancestries eventually played into Scotland's favor, being able to unite under one king, generation after generation, to fight the English. It was these mixed Scottish and Irish-Americans, who helped the fledgling United States finally defeat the British, the world's biggest superpower of the times of the American Revolution.

If the Scots had gone down in history without the African, Roman, Saxon, French, or descendants of many other nationalities, would they have been as successful? I don't think so. What do you think?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Understanding Your and My Origins

You and I are fairly closely related. But how?

One trait may be intelligence. My own very, very mixed family is fairly bright. Some of my family members have tested IQs of over 140, and that doesn't seem to be the exception, as far as I can tell.

When I worked the phones for Ancestry.com, I met African-Americans of African and Scottish ancestry. It became very obvious to me they were more intelligent than I, and probably many of my own family. This does not make them better and me worse. Did this kind of trait come genetically from their Scottish lines, or their African ancestries? I suggest they received and capitalized on their intelligence and other associated talents from both sides of their family. In other words, they were a credit to their respective families, and to the human race.

Therefore, why so much furor over ethnicity and race? Does race really matter?

When I read blogs like the following, I begin to wonder:  http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/black-germansblack-dutch-african-genes-in-germania/.

In Germany, Hitler historically profiled Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and others as races that should be enslaved and exterminated. The tragedy of this, is that most Germans are a mixture of Celtic, Slavic, African, and Trojan haplogroups. 

Some samples of this mixture are Prince Karl Theodor and Ludwig II of Bavaria, see picture. Notice Karl's hair that is graying, and yet it is curly to the point of looking African. His relative also has very dark, curly hair See the forehead, brows, and countenance.

The Trojan (Haplogroup I) haplogroups, originally from the Middle East, and Eastern Mediterranean, are most closely related to the more Semitic haplogroup J. It's an interesting fact that only thirteen percent of those claiming Jewish descent are descended from ancestors with haplogroup J. Most professed Jews are closely related to those of us with African, Celtic, Slavic, and other ancestries. Add to this five percent of the population also has African roots, and you see the sad truth that Hitler motivated a very mixed-race German people to destroy its neighbors and closest relatives by plundering and slaughtering them with the excuse that they were in some ways inferior.

What's even more interesting is how widespread African Ancestry is in Europe. Eupedia.com's map of people with haplogroup E1b1b shows widespread distributions up into Scandinavia. In Germany, it shows up five to ten percent of the time.

Other than family culture, and how well or not well you, I, and others treat their immediate and extended families, what does it matter? If Central Europeans, Scots, Dutch, many Slavic countries, and anyone and nearly everyone living near the Mediterranean Sea has African roots, why would anyone want to designate one group of people as less than another?

Going into the history of this kind of discrimination, I found the following: https://www.thoughtco.com/racial-profiling-in-the-united-states-721534.


So favoring one group of immigrants over others, and over native populations has been in effect since the 1700s in the US and Canada, and before. It also has been an integral part of European history, up to the present times. See https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/ethnic-profiling-what-it-and-why-it-must-end.

So why does racial profiling continue in our society? If I fill out a job application, if I apply for state-based health insurance, if I register for anything having to do with the government, why is information requested asking for my racial background? Who is being empowered by this unecessary knowledge?

The final tragedy is that Hitler himself may have had both African and Jewish ancestors.














Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Memories When Young

I have some interesting memories of the place and city where I was born, ones that key me in to my family's situation in life. What do you remember about your family when you were very young? The perspectives were much different then, due to the degree of control and focus you and I possessed.
For example, I remember riding on the handlebars of a friend's bike, and falling off and skinning my right knee. Memories of that knee include a large, thick scab that covered most of it.That taught me to avoid sitting on bicycle handlebars. Other memories include being taken out of church on a Sunday, by my father, who was separated from my mother. I was then taken to a store, which, at the age of three, I knew was wrong, because we normally observed the Sabbath by refraining from purchases, and the toy blue jet that my father purchased for me. He then took me to his parents' home, and tried to get me to take a nap. I believe I found the jet plane much more interesting. I also remember watching my mother pitch a fit, and throw the airplane across the room.
What does that say about my family of origin? They were not unified, and a divorce soon ensued. I was also interested in technology, as I perceived it, from a very early age. How does that affect me today? It set the tone for my family's, and thus my social dynamics, the who-I-am-based-on-my-experiences setting, and the decisions I have made from that time forward. This carried into becoming a stepchild, getting a new first, middle, and last name, and what I have done with those names.
So what are your earliest memories? Have you written them down, or transcribed them in any way to electronic media? This leads to the next point...what do you want to do with your memories, and your past? Recording them is the first step to assessment.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Your Grandparents' Lifestyles, and your DNA

     Researchers, intrigued with advances in DNA analysis, have discovered more and more evidence that what your progenitors did, how they exercised, how they ate, and what their addictions were, affect your health today. Doctor Claudia Aguirre of the Huffington Post, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-claudia-aguirre/how-diet-changes-your-dna_b_7129758.html, has determined that the lack of certain essential foods in your parents' diet can increase the probably that you will get diabetes, be obese, and contract cardiovascular disease. She was also able to discover that there are dietary changes that will increase the number of neurons a child's body will make, thus making children smarter.
     Christopher Wanjek, of Lifescience.com, see http://www.livescience.com/21902-diet-epigenetics-grandchildren.html, seconds what Claudia stated, only he published his findings three years ago. Deficient parental diets cause health problems for their children, including obesity and diabetes. It's quite interesting that two of the largest health epidemics today are diabetes and obesity. And diabetes is the seventh largest cause of death.
     Scientists, of course, don't always agree. The scientists in charge of study about how diet affects human DNA in the U.K., see http://metro.co.uk/2012/09/21/feeding-your-dna-does-your-diet-affect-your-genes-581760/ never came to a conclusion which foods would help parents gift their children healthy bodies, but they did gain an understanding that what the parents consumed changed what physical traits their children inherited.
Dr. Aguirre also has show how parental exercise can affect the brain health of the children of those who exercise. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-claudia-aguirre/your-brain-on-exercise_b_7066856.html .
     Other epigeneticists have discovered how better nutrition can affect the DNA you pass down, most importantly the mother, but also, the father of any and every child. See http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/nutrition/. So your children will get to deal with how well you live, eat, and exercise, and what you hand down to them will very likely largely determine the quality of their lives.

Other Sources:

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

Monday, December 14, 2015

How Genetic is Your Sense of Humor?

     Most of us have a sense of humor. Sometimes, it's hard for others to detect, but that's another issue. Everyone, therefore, has a sense of what is humorous, and what isn't. You don't tease someone who is Italian about her or his family, for example. And you don't tease people from Latin-speaking countries the same way you would someone British, or Scandinavian, or German, who tend to reflect their cultural dispositions to be a little ashamed, and so they find embarrassment funny.

     Do people with similar ethnic groups have similar senses of humor? You bet! This even shows in people's paternal DNA, or yDNA tests. For example, people from Norway, similar to other Scandinavians, have large numbers of ancestors from the Celtic (R1b), the Slavic (R1a), and the Mediterranean groups (I1 or I2, or Trojan). Slovaks, from Central and Eastern Europe, tend to have more of a very similar, closely-related Slavic background. The specific paternal haplogroup is R1a1a1b1a, of which most Slovaks come from a more refined version.

     So how often do your family members tell jokes, and in what circumstances? I know from personal experience that people of Norwegian, Danish, English, and Slovak descent tend to be more likely to tell jokes, and laugh at the jokes of other, similarly-skewed people. I also experienced the opposite, as people of Irish, German, Welsh, Swedish, and Scottish descent did not respond as much to, nor share as much humor. American humor is more slapstick and relies on observational techniques. Canadian is similar, but with themes more specifically suited to Canadian history.

     This is all interesting, because the type of Slavic paternal haplogroup Slovaks come from is R1a1a1b1a, which is also the same one that Slavic Norwegians come from. So, if the theories hold, the original Slavic ancestors came from the East, and eventually settled in what became Slovakia, then, probably telling and re-telling jokes the whole way, a group of them broke off, and emigrated to Norway. Maybe the Norway-bound Slavs played one too many practical jokes on the Slovak-settled Slavs. Maybe one group got tired of the other's collective sense of humor, who knew?  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Trying to Find the In-Betweens: What are You Going to Do?

Ever try to find your ancestors' records, only to discover that they lived in a place that changed hands, and was historically part of two or more countries, or two states or provinces? Have you got ancestors that lived in conquered places, and had to adapt to new governments?
What happens to your research then? It interrupts the research while you have to learn the new names for everything, where and when records exist, and how extract the information you need from them.

Being able to speak at least a little of six languages, and read at least twelve, I've got the tools you need to help resolve the questions you have about your Cherokee, German, Danish, Frisian, Dutch, ancestors from Schleswig-Holstein, Jewish, Silesian, and other ancestors that may have settled in a place that was conquered or traded between two or more nations. Free estimate!
"Schleswig-Holstein" by Ulamm 19:02, 5 February 2008 (UTC) - http://www.maps-for-free.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schleswig-Holstein.png#/media/File:Schleswig-Holstein.png


"Silesia (Now)" by Uploader on en.Wikipedia was en:User:Kelisi - en:File:HistoricSilesiamap.png. This map’s source is here (that URL has expired, successor is Planiglobe Beta), with the uploader’s modifications, and the GMT homepage says that the tools are released under the GNU General Public License.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Silesia_(Now).png#/media/File:Silesia_(Now).png

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Who Knute?

Interest is peaking in family history. Surveys of people in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere show about 75-80% of everyone surveyed is interested in their genealogies. This is not particularly surprising in one way, because, of course, most of us are interested in our families and how they live, but the interest in our histories in unprecedented. So genealogy, the study of one's family in the past, is interesting. But is it fun? Why would a normally sane person want to pay money to subscribe to a family history website, or even take the time to sift and pore through hundreds and thousands of records, just to find an ancestor whose name is common, may be misspelled, or simply did not appear much in polite society?

I think part of the fun is summed up in the old network command, and question, “whoami”. Who you or I are is dictated by the choices we make, but also by the reactions we have had to the choices our parents, siblings, and other determining people in our lives have made, positive and negative. Whoami is a network command that tells a computer network user who they are on a network, and what parts of the network they can access. When you begin to look at what and why your grandparents and other family members did, and when, then you understand a bit how they understood themselves, and you begin to understand yourself, and even if you don't understand or sympathize, empathize with them and why they did what they did.

Part of it is that many of us have a hunting instinct, whether we actually enjoy hunting, shopping, or looking for hard-to-find objects, or just like the challenge of finding something that has been lost. The challenges of putting facts together like you would a jigsaw puzzle, organizing data so it makes sense, or just arranging information so it is complete can be very gratifying.

One example of this is when I found a great-grandmother's maiden name on a death certificate. It was Scandinavian in origin, Lundene, but did not make sense when used as a surname, especially in a Norwegian context. There are Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish people with the surname Lund, and some Swedes have the last name of Lundin, or similarly spelled versions of Lundin, but not “Lundene.” Lundene means “The groves.” So there are many people with the name of Lund, but not the Lunds.

By twisting and tweaking my searches, I was able to find family members in the U.S. 1880 Census with that surname living next door to other family members with an even more unusual name, Jeglum, so they were fairly easy to find. All I had to do was look next door. I then compared both families to an 1870 document. The Jeglums were there...but the Lundenes were listed under the surname Lund, with the same first names as the Lundenes in 1880. That was my clue that the family had undergone a number of name changes. When I searched back ten years before, I found the family under the surname Knutson, on par with how they would be named in Norway, using the father's patronymic as Andrew, or Anders, the son of Knut.

This then gave me further clues about where and when the father, and the mother, Olea were from. It even lead to other relatives’ family trees, where a wonderful picture of their beautiful family, all ten family members. It’s fun having lots of relatives, isn’t it?