A Thread About Genealogy

What is your opinion on genealogy as a hobby?

Do humanists feel strongly about their heritage? I had virtually no interest in my own until using 23andMe a couple years ago and now I find it endlessly fascinating (My DNA is typical of my Dutch, German and British ancestors). Not simply the basic info, but the science behind it all.

However, other humanist-leaning folks I’ve asked seem unenthused. Understandable because there is some risk of ethno-chauvinism which doesn’t sit with humanist values.

But enough babbling from me….any thoughts?

My ancestors owned slaves, so, nothing to brag about. I’m glad I know. I wish I would have asked my grandmother if she remembered her father in law. No one else in the family seems to have asked either. History doesn’t record the same kind of stories that can be passed on.

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That last sentence is perfect. I agree that discovering negative facts about our past is a good thing.

I have both slave owners and Abolitionists. My sons’ ancestors were slaves, slave owners, and Abolitionists. Unfortunately, none became famous or even of note, but we do have stories. Also, I have Pilgrim ancestors fresh off the boat of one of the ships with the Mayflower. Revolutionary war ancestors (I could be a DAR if I wanted to join), Civil War ancestors (on both sides- Paducah KY and it was quite literally brother against brother), and obviously the history continues in my family tree. BTW, way back there, in Britain, we have an ancestor who was Sheriff of Nottingham and no not that one. We also have Prescotts, who came over prior to the Pilgrims too. I have to look up where they merged, but I have direct ancestors to both.

My brother had his ADN analysed.

From my mother side, we have traditions. 3 of my great-great parents were not born French, 2 of them extra-Europeans (Asia and USA-Georgia). One of my ancestor was from a Parisian family since the beginning of the 19th.

Some were artists, antiquarians (not sure about the word, selling furniture and object from past times?),. My Asian great father was a French high level officer during WWI, and was discriminated as such. Him and his brother have let a mark in history books.

From my father side, we have a full genealogy. exclusively European origins, mostly Lyon and Auvergne. Some of my ancestors were locally famous, giving the family name to streets, hospitals and so. Many were industrialists, magistrates, officiers in the army.

One of my ancestors, at la Réunion, was a famous slave owner. No reason to be proud, but i am not guilty of her sins.

I am neither proud, neither ashamed from my ancestry, but i am happy to know from where i come.

What I know is that we are human beings, with all the same African ancestors, and that gives us rights and duties.

At one time humanity almost became extinct.

[How Human Beings Almost Vanished From Earth In 70,000 B.C. : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR]

I am pure British. Meaning Norman (Norse), Anglo-Saxon, not Jute, Danish, Roman, Briton, Celtic (Welsh, Scots and Irish but NOT Kernow). Mongrel. An’ prard uv i’!

I come from servants, peasants, clerks, serfs. My paternal line great grandfather - 1/8th - was a blacksmith’s assistant of Scots - Cameron; Argyll and Sutherland highlander - descent. In 10 generations you have 1024 ancestors. In 20, just 500 years, a million. A third of the country. It’s all rather meaningless.

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I have an Archbishop of Canterbury somewhere back in my line too. Doesn’t mean much now

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I think it’s cool. It means as much as you want it to mean, IMO.

Blue blood?

While Prescott may have been noble, I don’t think the Pilgrims were very high on the totem pole. The Sheriff of Nottingham wasn’t exactly high up on the totem either.

That said, I do have all of the British Isles in me- English/British, Irish, Welsch, Pics (long ago), Scottish… We’re mutts from the U.K. I also have French-German from the Alsace Lorraine border, on my father’s side. Along with Native American, which is a given since we’ve been here since before the States became a nation.

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Genealogy is fun. Can’t really see how it could be anti-humanist.

I’ve done some DNA testing but I’ve read those results should be taken with a grain of salt. Whatever, it’s all in good fun.

Most of my ancestors came to the US within the last 100 years or so — so not much to discover there. I’m mainly Irish, Italian, German, Ukrainian, with some other European mixed in. I like to joke that I’m Pennsylvanian because there aren’t many other places where all this blood could have mixed.

The plastic paddy in me says Ireland ain’t the British Isles.

Right or wrong, it’s still part of Great Britain, despite your plastic paddy.

BTW, according to this, N. Ireland is part of the U.K. and in this case, the source will suffice. United Kingdom - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Had to Google that. Funny. I had red hair and freckles when I was little, and I loved saying I was Irish. My mother did years of genealogy research, and I went looking for that connection last year. I don’t know why I ever thought I had any Irish blood.

@Lausten Scottish ancestry?

Thanks for mentioning this. The science is sound but discrepancies can show up.

I found 23andMe to be satisfactory. YMMV.

Sorry,but what do you mean by not having more to discover? I would assume more recent ancestors would mean a closer connection to their nations of origin.

I think I did find Scottish. Just one

A skeleton in the closet found a cousin with the help of 23andMe - or one of those DNA shops. There was only one left from the previous generation that knew the story.
My generation found it kind of entertaining.

I hear Mormons keep detailed ancestry records.

Well, I don’t know if that really counts as acting like a plastic paddy – you didn’t know. Plastic Paddy means an American with partial Irish heritage but they do obnoxious things to show off that heritage like getting huge shamrock tattoos or burning British flags in their backyard.

With a red headed, blue-eyed mother, I don’t have to sport anything. My grandfather had a red beard and the list goes on and on.

I used AncestryDNA and it seemed accurate enough. It’s a complicated thing being streamlined for consumers.

I was mainly focused on my ancestors lives in the USA. I know a little bit of some of their European histories. For example my Italian grandmother has some ancestors who were Albanian catholics that escaped to Italy during the Ottoman Empire. Things like that are fun to know.

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My family tree has already been done, so getting 23andMe done or Ancestry DNA would be icing on the cake for me. This is one of the reasons why I know the long history we have in the U.S. and beyond into the U.K. I’m not sure how they many to search many centuries back into the U.K., but the info and tree goes way back. I want to do 23andMe personally, to see how the genealogy, done by a great uncle (my grandfather’s brother) and the other side done by a great aunt (grandmother’s sis), as well as someone doing it on my father’s side, and the test match up. I finished it with my grandparents and my parents, leading to me, but the 23andMe test would be cool. My only issue is, how accurate is their work before the pilgrims and the Prescotts’ arrival. I’m not certain they could be accurate prior to that, but I could be wrong. Still, it’s cool to have a sheriff of Nottingham in our family tree, which is prior to the Pilgrims and Prescotts’ arrival, even if it’s not accurate. It’s on the other side of the pond. How did they get this info? They did a lot of work for it not to be accurate, but I still often wonder about it. Of course, 23andMe or AncestryDNA isn’t an accurate science either. I’m not sure how anyone can get their geneology 100% correct in anyway.

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