Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Conga Line Of DNA In Deep Time

Widowed Housewife, 1968

My family origins are all European, but they do cover the entire continent.  Some French Huguenot, Dutch, Scotch-Irish, Welsh, German, Italian, and whatever else sneaked in.  For Christmas I was given a DNA tester kit so that I can better trace my lineage.  I hauled out the old file on my family tree, I don't work on it because I know, like many other things, I will never finish it, but there are smatterings of information, documents, photos.  The last of my ancestral group to arrive in the U.S. was the Italian side who came over on the S.S. Cincinnati in 1914.  Legend has it that they were too poor to live in Italy, with three of their five children dying in infancy.  So, they stole olives from the plantation they worked at, and in time saved up enough to gain passage in this land of opportunity.  Like most parts of the U.S., we had and have 'Little Italy' communities where the immigrants and their descendants settled, built churches, gathered together for support and familiarity.  For whatever reason my Italian ancestors chose not to live in any of the thriving Italian communities in our region.  Instead they settled in a rural and decidedly German community.  It was odd, and there are few answers and a lot of speculation, but they left the Catholic Church, and subsequent generations all married outside of the Italian ethnicity as well.  This is my mitochondrial DNA line, my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and beyond with these Italian roots.  I'm really curious to see what my DNA reveals, if anything.

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