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Thread: Why do people still care about (distant) genealogy?

  1. #26
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    Aria tua...

    Decades ago, while driving, I was listening to an interview of Barbara Streisand on the radio. I never forgot a sentence she produced : "Every country has its own mist, its own light." (Can't remember what exactly she was talking about, but that's not the point)

    Also, one of my American History teachers at Chicago's UIC used to start virtually each lecture with this sentence : "Geography is destiny."
    It packs a lot in few words, doesn't it ?

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    I would like to know because it's interesting to know about the town/village my family is from and the relatedness of my kin around. The history around the region and how my DNA has along side the history match (Romans,Celts other people).
    Hmm maybe i got something from them or maybe there was a migration a few generations ago from a different place. It makes me looks around history from the other places around the world and there culture in which my admixture is shown. I also do feel a relation culturally to the region and the admixtures aswell.

    Hey it also add more of a story to me/you aswell, like a prequel i can say

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    Aria tua...

    Decades ago, while driving, I was listening to an interview of Barbara Streisand on the radio. I never forgot a sentence she produced : "Every country has its own mist, its own light." (Can't remember what exactly she was talking about, but that's not the point)

    Also, one of my American History teachers at Chicago's UIC used to start virtually each lecture with this sentence : "Geography is destiny."
    It packs a lot in few words, doesn't it ?
    It certainly does. Great quotes, both of them. Thank you. :)

    @Adeo,
    I know exactly what you mean.


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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa S. View Post
    In this calculation you are assuming that every one of the ancestors is a different person, but in small communities isolated for geographical, linguistic or other factors it is not true, expecially if there is the custom to marry within the same family to not disperse the hineritance. It's why endogamy and inbreeding detected in some villages of Sardinia is so high.
    7 generations really isn't that much. That's only about 150 to 200 years back in time, so in the 19th century for most people now. I know all my ancestors at the 7th generation. All of them came from the countryside within a 30 km radius, and yet none are duplicated in my family tree. The first time I find an ancestor showing up twice is around the 10th generation. Even then, it is a single occurrence of two branches that diverged 200 years earlier. I have checked a lot of genealogies online and my case isn't an exception in Belgium. So unless people in other countries more frequently marry 3rd, 4th or 5th cousins, it's unlikely to affect the above calculation.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I guess that most of us have a family tree, and even if we did not make it ourselves, there is surely a relative in the family that spent considerable time (hundreds, if not thousands of hours) researching in archive rooms to go back as far as possible in time. There is often some kind of pride in some families to be able to claim that one descends from this or that famous ancestor who lived hundreds of years ago. Many will claim royal ancestry, and that typically ends up with the oldest surviving family trees in Europe, like those of the Carolingian and Merovingian dynasties. In fact, in countries where paper trails are particularly good, like in the UK, with a bit of effort almost anyone can find that they descend from Charlemagne and Clovis. Even if they can't, chances are that they do descend from them anyway, like most of us.

    This in itself is not very bothering. Humans have sought to self-congratulate themselves and to seek pride in intangible and meaningless things like one's belief in an invented deity, or some potential descent from a medieval monarch about whom they usually don't know much really.

    I was startled and rather disturbed to find out that the majority of people who order DNA tests do it for genealogical purposes, e.g. to complete their family tree or find distant cousins. I think that it's rather moronic (and I don't remember when is the last time I had to use that word before). I am going to justify myself, because obviously I cannot just say that something (or someone) is moronic without explaining why.

    1) There is no point in claiming descent from ancestors who lived more than two centuries ago, because you may not have inherited any DNA from them

    I suppose that part of the problem is that most people are inherently bad at maths. We inherited approximately 50% of our DNA from each parent, but because of DNA recombination we do not normally get just 25% from each grand-parent. It can be 23.642% or 26.87236% or whatever, but exactly 25% is almost unheard of. Therefor we do inherited more from some grand-parents than from others. This phenomenon amplifies at each additional generation. We may inherited about 18% of DNA from one great-grand-mother, but only 9% from another one. That's a two-to-one ratio, and only after three generations. Forget about text books that ridiculously explain that we inherit a fixed 12.5% from each great-grand-parent. That is misleading at best, especially when we apply the same logic to more distant generations.

    After 7 generations, we do not inevitably inherited a mathematical 0.78125% of each ancestor's genome but that some ancestors contribute to more than 2% and others to 0%. And that's barely after 7 generations. People who pride themselves in descending from Charlemagne do not seem to understand that the man lived over 40 generations from us. In other words, even if his genetic contribution was not eliminated by recombinaisons somewhere along those 40 generations, the amount contributed would be less than 0.0000000001% of the genome.

    All this to say that single ancestors on a family tree do not contribute anything meaningful to one's genome after a few generations. The only ancestor that keeps contributing the same 1% of DNA generation after generation, even after 1000 or 2000 years if the one on the patrilineal line for men. But what does that mean to share a Y chromosome? I have several paternal uncles and cousins sharing my Y chromosome and they couldn't be more different from me in every regard. We literally don't share anything in common.


    2) Third and more distant cousins do not share any meaningful amount of DNA with you

    Through of the laws of genetic recombination, siblings statistically share 50% of their genome, but in practice may share very different percentages, maybe between 40 and 60%. So your sibling's children may inherit about 20 to 30% of your DNA. According to 23andMe (based on observed customer data), first cousins share 7.31% - 13.8%, 2nd cousins 2.85% - 5.04%, and 3rd cousins a paltry 0.2% - 2%. In other words two men who share the same Y-chromosome, but separate by dozens of generations and with no known genealogical ties, may share more DNA through their Y-chromosome alone than two proven third cousins. That's just the way it is. Third cousins are not better than strangers in terms of genetic similarity. Anybody who believes that they are finding "blood relatives" when finding third or fourth cousins through DNA testing companies are badly deluded.

    Even if they were to find first or second cousins that they didn't know about (I wonder how that's possible unless one was adopted), that still wouldn't guarantee that you share anything in common, be it for tastes, sensitivities, interests, way of thinking or whatever else matters in a relationship with another human being. If you are looking for people like you, join interest groups or online forums like this one. Don't waste your time imagining that because you share a few percent of DNA you will be compatible in any way. Just look at the number of siblings who can't stand each others, or at least don't have anything in common.

    Conclusion

    Attaching importance to distant ancestors or distant cousins in one's genealogy is almost as irrational and meaningless as astrology. People purchasing DNA tests for that sole purpose are wasting their money.


    It's very sad because DNA test are so revolutionary and fantastic in so many ways. Everybody should have their genome sequenced, if only to know about their health risk. I absolutely cannot understand why anybody would not want to know who they are, or fear to find about disease risks (the logic is that if you don't know you can't prevent it and therefore you are likely to die from it). Why are people wasting their time with genetic genealogy and finding distant relatives?

    For anybody interested in (pre)history and/or anthropology (e.g. human variations across ethnic groups, but also variations in time, across historical periods), DNA tests are a total boon. We could never hope for such a wonderful tool to solve many of history's secrets. It's ironic that Europeans, who care much more about history than almost anyone else, order less DNA tests than Americans. It's even more ironic that among Europeans the French may be the most obsessed about history, and yet it is the only country in he world where DNA tests are prohibited by law (what terrible secrets may they be hiding?).
    For Albanians is mostly historical reason


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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Your post really speaks to me, hrvslv. That's how I feel about my people too, but I guess I generalize "my people" more than you do. I have a family tree on my father's side which is very extensive, going back to the mid-1500s and beyond in some cases. On my mother's too, although there are some lines which stop short of that date.

    However, because I didn't know them or even much about a lot of them, and because I know I don't share a lot, if any, dna with them, I don't feel any particular connection with the people those names represent. However, because of them I feel a very intense connection with the people of these areas, with their history, which is often a history of great struggles to survive, with their folklore, music, food, with the very landscape.

    The older I get, the stronger it gets. I often say to my relatives that I feel physically so much better there than here. They tell me: "aria tua", or "your air", your place. :)
    Im not envious but you're lucky to have that intense connection. I doubt I would feel any connection whatsoever and if I happen to visit my ancestral areas I'll feel as if I'm visiting a strange planet but I guess a big part of this is being born here in the US.
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

  7. #32
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I don't think it's just being born in a place; it's spending formative years there eating the food, listening to the music, to the stories, just absorbing the essence of a place through your senses. My first memory of any kind, before I even had the words to describe it, is of sitting under my nonno's grape arbor at the height of summer, the dappled sunlight, the almost dry riverbed of the Magra in front of me, the blinding white of the stones, the intense blue of the sky in the distance, the perfume of rosemary bushes and geraniums, the clatter of the cicadas. If I close my eyes I'm instantly transported back.

    On the other hand, there are people who have no genetic connection to a particular place, have never been there, and yet report that upon a first visit, they feel an instant connection to the place and people. I've never had that happen to me, but I've certainly felt very at home in southern France, and Spain, and Greece, although that's probably because they're not so different from where I was born

    I do also think that if people live in a certain place for about a thousand years or more, as mine have done, there may have been a certain amount of adaptive selection going on, and so, yes, that may be why I feel so much healthier there, although the food may have something to do with it as well. For one thing, I have terrible seasonal allergies here, and I never have them at home.
    Last edited by Angela; 02-02-18 at 15:51.

  8. #33
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    How many here are surprised or believe their DNA of distant genealogy!?

    without a registry papertrail , the best one can go back to for a clear ethnic result would be the middle ages. Then you have AuDna , and if one keeps track of this every 6 months you will see a change ..............example mine in 4 years, from Europe plus Anatolia to now Europe plus 1% Central Asian and no Anatolian
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

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  9. #34
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    2 members found this post helpful.
    I hope all people will feel a kinship with the different eras that they had family live in. To find out that at least some of the stories they were told as they grew up were true and to respect what our ancestors (yes ALL of us) survived so that we are here today. It brings a personal understanding and life to history of the human race.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Just for fun. For me it's interesting to know, but nothing would make me proud, regardless of the results. Some people feel that their roots are what makes them " the best ", but these kind of people usually have no job or education.

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