The technology of personal deep history
The word diaspora can but need not refer to a specific dispersion of a group of people from a specific homeland. It can, but it need not.
All people have dispersed to where they are from elsewhere. Current scientific understanding points to people leaving Africa about 70,000 years ago. That is the first human diaspora. But scientific understanding changes as new information comes forward. What history do you have inside you?
I was curious to find out how my family story fit, or did not fit, with the story suggested by my DNA. It is such a novel, emergent way to compare bits of what we know or have been told about ourselves.
The human genome has finally been mapped. This was a really big deal in 2004. This year, 2022, 8% that was not in the “complete” 2004 portion of the human genome was finally, really, mapped.
What was also a really big deal was that companies that sequence your DNA and compare it to others probably should be paying you for the privilege of using your genetic information in their research, but what has developed is you paying a company to tell you about something that is uniquely and completely yours. But as we all have heard, the map is not the territory.
The sequence of the amino acids that build the bits of our genetic code i(…AGCGAATTC…) Is the structure, the map. But what it does, where it came from, is a bit more, a bit different. If you want to have a refresher course on basic biology this article is not so complicated as to lose the average reader but not so simplistic as to impart mis- or no information.
DEEP PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY
DEEP PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY – GENETICS
But what you receive from genetic testing sources such as 23andMe, AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA are interpretations of what sequences of DNA they have found in your sample that indicate health conditions, or probably indicate a family connection with other people or the people from other places through the relatively recent past.
I wanted to find out what my matrilineal genetics are, and I also wanted to find out if I carried a genetic trait that contributed to the death of one of my brothers. I am also curious about a couple of branches of my tree about which I have very little information. This testing and searching was all to satisfy my own curiosity.
Maternal DNA is a bit of DNA in the organelles, or energy centers, of DNA, that are passed on to offspring from mothers without change, unless there is a mutation. This is how we track much of the human migration around the world from our origin place of Africa. My maternal haplo group is M1a3a a relatively recent group (probably around 6,500 years ago). I love this as my historic maternal ethnicity is Amish. The complex story of women traveling to and through Europe after the last Ice Age prompted a group of people to return to Africa after heading toward Asia. These Amish women of 100-500 years ago apparently carried this relatively recent Ethiopian, and possibly Ethiopian Jewish, matrilineal DNA which arose about 6000 years ago on an intriguing journey though the East or Iberian Penninsula a 1000 to 3000 or so years ago. It piques my curiosity.
Jewish populations in Ethiopia share M1a lineages closely related to other Ethiopians. But other Jewish populations in Iraq or Europe appear to have distinct M1a lineages which branch off from the shared Ethiopian/Middle Eastern genetic type. These Jewish lineages may relate to the dispersal of Jewish populations from the Levant about 2,500 years ago.23andMe report: Haplogroup M1a in Ethiopia retrived online 4 April 2021.
Using both the tools of genetics and genealogy can provide some confirmation of family stories.
DEEP PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY – GENEALOGY
Genealogical records are everywhere these days. Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org are the biggest online collections of family history records around today. Be careful with these records, many trees are totally bogus even though they were not created to be deceptive.
My European ancestry was found to have large Germanic components.
The thing that I find interesting and somewhat confirming that is Bavaria is where my 6 times removed Hessian soldier grandfather hailed from. Grisons is a mountainous region of Switzerland where the Amish originated. The blood disease that my brother had is found almost exclusively in people with Irish ancestry.
I understand that the surprises people can find out from genetic or genealogical research can be upsetting when information that does not fit what they have believed all their lives. Somehow the overlap between my family stories and the stories told by my DNA is comforting.