"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

In the genes (part 1)

Well, this has been the longest break so far in my genealogy blogging career, so huge apologies for that. There’s a lot going on at the moment, and unfortunately the genealogy has had to take a bit of a back seat.
That said, I did enjoy this article.  At first I thought it was fascinating piece of news, though it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t so ‘new’ – the links at the bottom of the article date it all the way back to 2010, and my boyfriend said he had a feeling it had been mentioned in an episode of Coast (which I love, but I’m fairly sure I didn’t see that one).
To sum up, in about 1745 two young boys were shipwrecked off the coast of Anglesey. They were rescued by a local smuggler and taken to the local doctor’s house. They didn’t speak any English or Welsh and their origins were a mystery to the locals, who assumed, because of their dark colouring, and the fact that Spanish ships were known to be in the area (taking troops to support the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland), that they were from Spain. This myth endured until a few years ago, when scientists did some genealogical testing on one of their direct descendants and discovered that their genetic background was very similar to that of someone from the Caucasus Mountains in Russia – they are now hoping that they might find a closer match and be able to pinpoint it further, to a more specific area, or even a particular village
Fascinating stuff, and it definitely got me thinking about the concept of genetic genealogy, which must be ever so interesting if you don’t really know what your background is. However, as I’m about as ‘British’ as they come, and pretty Yorkshire-heavy at that, I’d hazard a guess that mine would be almost entirely Norse!  Mind you, you never know...
This story has another interesting facet though. On which, more tomorrow...
L x

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