~ Happy Birthday Mamma ~
There are at least three blogs about admixture readings and results in my contents list. One compares my different admixture results from eight different companies; another notes that DNA testing is more than a pie chart; and others note the disappointments of autosomal testing period. I believe people should first learn a dozen ancestors’ haplogroups and then enjoy the au-DNA aka at-DNA cousins later.
Note I did not say ‘enjoy the admixture.’ Article after book, after blog, after post, talks about admixture this, that, and the other. But there is more to DNA testing and also more to autosomal testing than admixture. This is not an identity story; this is not about any one culture but all my cultures and ancestries.
Besides admixture and cousins, the DNA testing also tells about a person’s medical genetics, and one must remember in America the insurance issues. Your DNA research possibly includes your pre-existing conditions and this was, is, and will be a factor. Some participate in DNA for medical for posterity and others participate hoping for improved health but are there consequences? The wider world might have countries with health-care-for-all but they do decide when not to spend lots of time and money on walking dead people, and these markers could, in an imperfect world, sign the death warrant for ourselves or our descendants and relatives.
The commercial autosomal testing fun really centers around the discovery of cousins. Many companies sold their tests by selling the admixture. But it is understood for most in the field those admixture results are limited – we only get genes, for reading, from random ancestors for a limited number of generations. For those who do read the fine print – one company used to say of the admixture results: ‘…for entertainment purposes only…’. But this test tells us quite accurately our near relatives through 2nd cousins and then will identify some of your 3rd cousins in the same database and back through a few more generations. It can sometimes even identify 5th and 6th cousins (some using multiple testers can see some other relatives, but not that often)
Law enforcement has now discovered the identity of their bad guys (at least the American bad guys – looks like the rest of the world will bail out of the databases – maybe) in online databases and it can be as simple as adding up cMs, (centiMorgans – amounts of shared genes) to spot and find their perpetrator. We may have to now confront the emotions of near trauma as well as far with this added use of the commercial companies’s databases.
I can’t speak to the history of migrations in this short note but every continent has its changes in DNA — the human turnover throughout history or herstory as the case might be.
We know that much of Europe was populated by people with dark skin – and this white question and social problems are not in this story of the early peopling of Europe and the later re-peopling of Europe. Countless myths from all continents seem to add their own story, of some kind of caste system. I don’t know those stories – I am searching for my ancestors – all colors – all regions – all continents – we all have them.
I love Jean Manco’s old data that is a surviving collection of ancient peoples’ haplogroups from their sequenced DNA. At least with many of those results we can possibly see where haplogroups were and when. (See the link to her rescued site below from archive.org)
Before autosomal-DNA we had the y-DNA and the many projects – this was the foundation of DNA for genealogy. We could see from family to family who matched who and begin to build a family history using DNA as an added record. In some ways the autosomal cheapened the beauty of our personal ancestry and today we concentrate on what DNA does not do and what is wrong with it.
I still beg to remember what all three main DNA tests do and what is thrilling about each of them.
When asked about her ancestry, my mother first would answer – “I’m Irish.” “I’m Irish.”
The nuns at the orphanage would not have put the emphasis on Irish ancestry for mother and her siblings. Straight black hair and eyes, and swarthy skin of a brown golden hue. When I looked up at the face of my mother as a baby I did not see the lily white, blue eyed, red-haired whoever of my father’s family. My father’s family thought mother just lying when she said Irish.
Mother does have Irish ancestry also and with most of her autosomal admixture ancestors being too far back to show much Native American anyway – mother’s results were redeeming for her – she is/was Irish.
But mother did want to know who the Native Americans are in her ancestry and she wanted to know the German and the English and who were those Middle Easterners and also who were those people in Quebec? Some French and some Native American. The story was told that friends of the family had decided to perm her hair. It was suggested that having a perm wave would make her look more European. Apparently this did not make her look European but made her look more African and as her hair began to grow out my father cut the permed hair off of her. This picture of her is from this assault. There were more than two dozen views of this showing the cut hair and the bruises.
Her divorce papers do not mention her hair being cut off, but this story came from several sources. And it was said she was not the only one who had this to happen to her. My father cut off my stepmother’s hair and that is in the divorce papers.
I want to remember all my ancestors and family and extended family from Mother back and my father also. This is conflicted of course, but I loved them both. And this means I have to love them all, all the way back – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Today the populations of Asia, Europe and Africa have moved and moved again – all the populations of the earth including North and South America. Just because we can only see a few of our ancestors in these admixture results and they only reach so far in time does not mean we should walk away from what we can learn. We might find a mother or a father who needs remembering – whether recent or in the long forgotten past.
But, would people please test? Forget the admixture, test, and let’s see if we are cousins. Did we once share a common ancestor? That would mean that at one time, I was you, and you were me, we were that ancestress – or ancestor. Let’s research and find common ground, somewhere in time, reading our digitized shared history, in shared centiMorgans, and create some love and memory of that shared ancestor and for each other.
I am not sure which of the TV series about the American South and slavery was the one whose scenes I remember so well. They showed a white woman sleeping with a black man – she was likely the mistress of the home and he a slave. She might have been the daughter or daughter-in-law – I don’t remember. But the show made her out to be a drunken slut – as if no lady would sleep with a black man unless they were impaired or bad in some way. Later in the show she has the baby that resulted from the encounter and if I remember rightly the baby was drowned at birth or some such horrible murder or cruelty being given away because of what the baby looked like. I can’t remember – I should check this I guess and name the show, but it was horrible to see then as it is horrible to remember it now.
This is still the reality of mixed peoples in singular societies. But DNA shows us there are few societies that are only one group of peoples. No matter how small, the traces of a person’s other many diversified ancestries can be found clearly for some and vaguely for others but they are there to learn about. I love and honor and cherish all my ancestors – no matter who they are.
My parents quickly divorced and I was ‘taken’ by my father’s family. Mother was around geographically but always thought of as different in that southern American society. The DNA test gave her what she had wanted – proof that she had lots of European ancestry. Not that she need to be European – she needed to be believed – she was hurt being called a liar. DNA redeemed her word and mine.
I must write a note about all the talk about racial purity or the idea of it. Write, only because this topic is going around again. Adding the tool of DNA I wonder if this so-called purity should not be renamed in-bred something. This goes for everybody. But only geneticists like Dr. Wells and Dr. Church and Dr Khan and our up-and-coming leaders can tell us what the introduction of new population’s genes means for any people.
The caste system had to be active in many of the generations we have learned about. There are the damned walls. No am not going there – but of course, archaeologists find the walls and fences.
The beauty of our sameness in our shared human DNA can be compared and loved. Through DNA, racial, social, etc. differences can fall away! Oops – not exactly. Now we have the genes that say we are high risk for heart disease, a line might be prone to cancer, or be a carrier of the Warrior Gene. Today we can test fetuses, we can test our dates before we marry them… Admixture is the least of it…
I think back to how hard my father’s family worked to keep custody of me. I still wonder if I had come out a little bit darker if they would have kept me at all.
My mother would rail against my being so harsh on my father and for that matter so would my stepmother. Both held kindness as a virtue and were forgiving. His life was one broken sad story after another but he kept putting one foot in front of the other. In the later 1970s he finally had the benefits of modern diagnosis. University Medical Center explained to us as a family he was severely dyslexic. He hid this well. Some aspects had always been obvious but laughed off, and not really noticed, the rest was hidden in rage. The shame came in him not taking the lessons offered that would have changed his life. Some family members thought him too old, and that this would be a waste of time and wanted him back at work collecting those union wages. Unfortunately, I had no say in these matters.
Please see the blogs about the wonderful journey of DNA haplogroups of our families – the mt-DNA for all and the y-DNA for men only. Let’s get back to the foundations of DNA for genealogy and leave aside the ‘scandals’ fo autosomal’s admixture .
You can test your, and your families’ y- and mt-DNA and then learn your family haplogroup(s). You do not need to refine them to the maximum possible testing level, the basics are wonderful. The history of the planet’s peoples becomes your history/herstory – everyone’s – all peoples of all the earth
I write often about identifying the relatives and ancestral families using also y-DNA with au-DNA – this explains a bit about how it works.
This is my favorite story about pedigree collapse. This is of course about Europe. The same movement happens worldwide, on all continents, over and over through many ages and so for each of ourselves we must remember to look for ourselves in ‘almost’ every population of the earth.
A wonderful read:
“…The mathematics of descent has fascinated many people. “If we could go back and live again in all of our two hundred and fifty million arithmetical ancestors of the eleventh century,” Henry Adams wrote in 1904 of those with Norman-English blood, “we should find ourselves doing many surprising things, but among the rest we should certainly be ploughing most of the fields of the Contentin and Calvados; going to mass in every parish church in Normand y; rendering military service to every lord, spiritual or temporal, in all this region; and helping to build the Abbey Church at MontSaint- Michel.” And, more recently, the sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson has written, “The gene pool from which one modern Briton has emerged spreads over Europe, to North Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. The individual is an evanescent combination of genes drawn from this pool, one whose hereditary material will soon be dissolved back into it.”…”
DNA testing does have some downsides – but I love my DNA testing – honoring and remembering every one of my people warts and all as they say.
Happy Birthday Mamma:
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I certainly share links to other genetic genealogists who I believe are the best to learn from. And I share links to the best information I know about, sites for records and where to test and why. I am blessed and honored that a few writers have also shared my work and stories.