Skip to comments.DNA can reveal ancestors' lies and secrets
Posted on 01/18/2009 3:36:53 AM PST by decimon
In a search for their ancestors, more than 140 people with variations of the last name Kincaid have taken DNA tests and shared their results on the Internet.
They have found war heroes, sailors and survivors of the Irish potato famine.
They have also stumbled upon bastards, liars and two-timers.
Much of it is ancient history, long-dead ancestors whose dalliances are part of the intrigue of amateur genealogy. But sometimes the findings strike closer to home.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
And the records were so bad in the Confederacy, particularly towards the end of the war, that somebody might have been marked as “deserted” just because somebody else lost the muster roll, or couldn’t be bothered to complete it . . . . I could see it happening easily, I went through acres of those records when I was writing my thesis, and the standard of bookkeeping just got lower, and lower, and lower (not to mention the quality of the ink and paper).
RIMMER: I'll tell you something. Something I've never told anyone. When I was fifteen, I went to Macedonia on a school trip, to the site of Alexander The Great's palace. And for the first time in my whole life, I felt ... I felt I was home. This place was where I belonged. Years later, I got friendly with a hypnotherapist -- Donald -- and told him about the Alexander the Great thing, and he said that he'd regress me back through my past lives. I was dubious, but I let him put me under. It turned out my instincts were absolutely correct -- I had lived a past life in Macedonia. That palace was my home. Because, believe it or not, Lister, he told me that, in a past incarnation, I was Alexander the Great's chief eunuch.
LISTER: Do you know something? I believe you.
RIMMER: He didn't say that I was Alexander himself, which is obviously what I wanted to hear. But it explained everything: I'd lived a previous life alongside one of the greatest generals in history. No wonder the military's in my blood.
LISTER: No wonder you're such a good singer.
RIMMER: Well, maybe it's rot, I don't know. But it's funny -- to this day, I can't look at a pair of nutcrackers without wincing. And why is it, whenever I'm with a large group of women, I have this overwhelming urge to bathe them in warm olive oil?
LISTER: I have that urge, Rimmer. It's got nothing to do with past lives.
RIMMER: Well, why is it, then?
And of course, my cousins are still interested in the family genealogy despite being no blood kin -- they go to all the family reunions and have a great time talking families. After all, their grandfather was CHOSEN to be part of the family . . . .
Really the whole modern sept thing is a result of the Great Tartan Nonsense (as author Clifford Hanley calls it) that began with George IV's state visit to Edinburgh in the 1820s, and continued under Queen Victoria and her friendship with the goofy Sobieski Stuarts. The canny Scots woolen manufacturers were happy to ride on the wave and find a clan name and tartan for EVERYBODY. Many Lowland and Border families suddenly became "clans" and even more surnames were gathered under clan names as "septs" so that you could buy your very own sett of MacWhoever tartan.
But before the Great Tartan Nonsense, the great Border families would have laughed themselves silly if anybody called them a "clan". Highlanders were considered to be dirty, unlettered savages who spoke a weird unwritten language and stole everybody blind. If you read the 16th c. Scots poets (a quick cheat is to read C.S. Lewis's masterful volume of the Oxford History of English Literature), the Highlander was the butt of the Polack jokes of the time, except he was thieving and murderous as well as ignorant and dirty. As one Lowlander remarked to somebody who asked if his family had a tartan, "No. Thank God my family could always afford to wear trousers!"
Ayrshire is very definitely Lowlands - home of Robert Burns, who never wore tartan in his life probably and certainly never a kilt. They were respectable trousered farmers who spoke broad Scots, not Gaelic. And there is no chief of Clan Douglas, because the title is extinct and was granted to the Hamiltons, who cannot use it because their surname isn't Douglas!
BUT - my advice is, if you like the Douglas crest (it's a pretty one - a salamander in flames, with the motto "Jamais arriere" - "never behind") or the Douglas tartan, and there are several attractive ones to choose from, have at it! It does no harm, everybody has a good time, and there's no real objection to it. Especially since there IS no chief of Clan Douglas, so you're not stealing anybody's crest!
We do it too -- my husband's father's mother has a Scottish surname and her family really is from Scotland, but the tartan is ugly as homemade sin and my husband is a very large man, so although his mother is Irish her surname is listed as a sept of the Gordons, so my husband wears hunting Gordon tartan for day wear and Dress Gordon for evening wear -- which is a douce respectable dark green and blue that is a little less shocking than 6'6" of the hideous orange-and-slime-green Dunbar sett would be.
And I just don't like the MacGregor tartan, too gaudy, so I wear MacKay, which sounds like a family name although we're actually no relation.
My kangaroo won't be tied down cranky.
Good grief, you're both as old as I am.
I am an R1b with the same haplogroup as the Mahoneys, Pickerings and Nichols. Scotch-Irish, it seems...
I’m from the same clan. Our new name was Gregg when we got here.
My maternal grandfather was a hobby geneologist in his retirement. He traced my family through the male line back 12 generations in America. Fortunately, they stayed in the same place (Maine) until the mid 1800s. My Texas aunt used it as documentation for DAR purposes.
Luckily my Dad also caught the bug and did his back to the early 1800s when they migrated.
So I know the areas where many of my ancestors came from in England, Ireland and Germany. I think it’s kind of neat, but my kids aren’t curious about it.
OOPs, I was trying to post to #1, sorry.
>>If both parents died, the children usually went with an Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, or very good family friend.
That happened to my mom. Her mom died, then her dad got pneumonia around the same time they buried her mom. He died soon after. She was raised by her maternal uncle and his wife. My mom was around 3 at the time, so that would have been around 1938 or so.
Men once went into such territories with prostitutes following. Those prostitutes are in family trees. Has that turned up in your research?
If I may butt in here: How in heaven's name could one possibly determine if relatives three or four generations ago were prostitutes? I doubt that that sort of information was gathered, e.g., by census takers, or mentioned on Death Certificates, so how could later generations ever determine that? (Unless a woman was a notorious hooker with high-profile arrests.)
Although my surname is English, I am primarily of Scots-Irish descent (McGills, McKinnons, Lindseys, Swearingens, Kinkaids and Johnsons).
I participated in the family surname (Sheffield) DNA project and much to our surprise, our supposedly Anglo-Saxon forbears were actually Viking settlers in Northern England.
Trouble with the law? I thought that might turn up.
My broader point would be that family trees follow surnames that, for any number of reasons, might not translate to genetic inheritance.
Regarding the possibly influence of prostitutes on family trees, I don't think that there would be any such genetic influence.
There are essentially two possible scenarios:
Prostitutes retire from their "profession," sever all ties to their past, marry (bringing no bastard offspring into the marriage,) and have families not noticeably different from "ordinary" families, or
2) Prostitutes continue "the life," and bear occasional progeny from their "customers."
(I'm deliberately omitting various other less-likely possibilities, e.g. prostitutes who marry yet continue in their profession.)
Case #1 wouldn't translate to a weakening of the link between surnames and genetic inheritance; rather, the result would be a family tree indistinguishable from an "ordinary" one.
Case #2 wouldn't result in a family tree, or the family tree couldn't be extended backwards any farther than the generation of the prostitute. Case #2 does not compromise the validity of the family tree and/or the correlation between "surname" and "genetic inheritance." Rather, it merely results in an apparent "dead-end" incapable of being traced further backwards with ordinary means.
(Again, my reasoning is predicated on the assumption that no prostitute or bastard offspring of a prostitute would ever refrain from suppressing the unpleasant facts.)
Cuckoldry, on the other hand, definitely DOES fall into the category of "factors weakening the correlation between 'surnames' and 'genes.'"
So does informal adoption (as already mentioned.)
As a hobby-genealogist, I can understand the involved parties wishing to suppress the true facts in cases of cuckoldry, but I can't help but regret that earlier generations were apparently so loathe to clearly state when a child was adopted (especially when - as was most often the case - children from a previous marriage in which one parent had died were adopted by the new step-parent.)
The brothers need to take into account mixups at hospitals. Which happened frequently years ago when more than one mother gave birth at the same time.
Such things happened only to be discovered when someone in the family starts researching.
Also found that the family flour mill was taken over during the Civil War by the military. They were never paid for it.
They were 'Quakers', some still are.
I’ve discovered the same thing, each search takes us back to the “Gunn” clan, sometimes among others.
A clan that settled in the north along the coast with viking backgrounds.
“Gunnr” means war.
Do you get the sudden urge to pillage and loot when you walk into a store, or smack someone with a broad-sword when they mumble things about their messiah the zero?
“Do you get the sudden urge to pillage and loot when you walk into a store, or smack someone with a broad-sword when they mumble things about their Messiah the Zero?”
This was a great article.
But I do want to remind people: genetics are FUN but they are a “parlor trick” in terms of family.
If a man did a great job of raising you, he was your Dad. If doesn’t matter whose sperm met your Mom’s egg. Any man who steps up to the plate for you is your father. Parenting is a VERB. So is LOVING. They are ACTION words.
Another moral from this article: Ladies, don’t cheat on your husbands until well after menopause!! Yikes, I guess life before TV and the internet got a little boring??
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