Sunday, April 15, 2018

"... I'm not from here but neither are you ..." (translated from Spanish on NPR)

This post was inspired by reading this article about the past and present in our local community in the far northwest of the continental United States and having listened to Jorge Drexler and the musicians accompanying him, with hope for the future.

Visit here for English translation of lyrics for "Movimiento."

I continue to be fascinated by DNA testing and genealogy.  According to what science has determined about maternal haplogroups, my mother's mother's line of ancestors lived in Syria thousands of years ago.  What could have prompted them to leave Syria thousands of years ago? Since the 1800s, every generation in my family has left the place of their birth and moved west, eventually arriving at the Pacific Ocean, where I was born.  As a young woman in 1974, I left California and moved north 1000 miles.  I never dreamed that I would not be able to return to live in the beloved landscape of my birth.

My only nephew was born in Seattle.  His grandfather was from the Philippines.  The mother of my nephew's young son has roots in Mexico and the Philippines and Sweden on her mother's side, and her father is Jewish.  My nephew seems to be rooted in Seattle but will someday inherit a home near Pune in India that belongs to my sister who has spiritual roots in India.  I can only wonder what the future will bring to our maternal family line that can be traced to Syria thousands of years ago.  Will we come full circle?


Tara said...

that is quite an impressive list of regions/countries to come from. It is fascinating, isn't it? Did you have any idea that your ancestry was thus?

Of course, if what we know currently is accurate, we all came from Africa long ago. I like that. We are just one big family.

am said...

What I knew from my parents included only Canada, Ireland, Scotland and Germany on my mother's side, with Norway on my father's side.

23andMe indicates British, Eastern European, and Siberian ancestry in addition to what my parents knew. I am not surprised by the Syrian connection because a Turkish friend said that there was something about me made her think I might be Turkish.

On both sides of the family, there are mysterious grandfathers several generations ago. One was clearly from Germany, and the other was said to be from Germany. That was what prompted me to have my DNA tested. My percentages indicate that my inheritance of French and German DNA is surprisingly small, given many many generations of ancestors in the Black Forest and near Eisenach.

Going much farther back, I am sure that all of us are related. A family that is in need of healing and reconciliation.

37paddington said...

i often think if we really traced it all, we'd discover that we all hail from everywhere.

am said...

37paddington, I like your idea that we all hail from everywhere. More will be revealed in time or maybe our origin will remain one of many deep mysteries. Science has its limits.

Elizabeth said...

My mother's father is Syrian -- he came to the country in the early part of the twentieth century when he was a boy. Genealogy is so interesting. I'm looking forward to doing one of those DNA tests -- my parents did theirs --

Sabine said...

We all came from somewhere and thank you for reminding me.

I have been following the Out of Eden Walk ( since 2013 and find every new post exciting and moving. It reminds me every time that we as a species have started out as nomads and that the concept of belonging to or coming from a specific place on this planet is relatively new.

The surprise people feel when they see their DNA test results is really (just) a confirmation of the fact that, truly, we all are migrants. Our ancestors all came from somewhere else, and originated, long ago, in the same spot in Africa.

Bearing that in mind, we gave R a DNA test for a birthday present and were hugely disappointed when it revealed thet he was 98% Celtic Irish and 2% Scottish. He claims, the company ran a cheap version.

am said...

Sabine -- Thank you for the reminder of the Out of Eden Walk. Interesting about R's DNA test. I wonder what his maternal haplogroup would be if he tested with 23andMe. I've had my DNA tested by both and 23andMe. The results were different. And then when I downloaded my DNA results to, I had a third set of results! Clearly not an exact science.

On, I am 44% Scandinavia, 28% Great Britain, 13% Irish. "Low confidence" regions are: Iberian Peninsula 5%, Europe West 4%, Europe East 2%, Caucasus 2%, Europe South 1%.

On 23andMe, I am Scandinavian 25.9%, British & Irish 25.1%, French & German, 8.9%, Eastern European
2.8%, Broadly Northwestern European 33.9%, Broadly European 3.2%, East Asian 0.2%, Siberian 0.1%. My maternal haplogroup, according to 23andMe is H6a1 (roots in Turkey/Syria).

On, I am English 55.9%, North and West European 31.3%, Scandinavian 8.7%, Eastern Europe 4.1%.