DNA Mormons?

From Joanna Benson aka JA Benson.

Maybe, like us, you are a proud descendant of Mormon pioneers, confident in your knowledge of your Western European heritage, a typical DNA Mormon-American. Are you ready for a big surprise? We weren’t!

All my life I knew certain things to be true: the gospel for one, and that my Mormon pioneer ancestors were British, Danish with a little bit of French. The first of my family lines joined the Church in 1832, and all my ancestors were in Utah by the start of the American Civil War. My family stayed in Utah and I am a proud Utah native.

I married a man whose family lines were also Mormon Pioneer. Mike’s people joined the Church in 1831 and were in Utah by 1873. He was British, Swiss, with a little bit of German. We met and married at BYU.

We graduated BYU and immediately moved to the South. Often people would ask us if we were from Louisiana or Jewish, Arabic or Mediterranean. We would say confidently that we weren’t, but instead are proud descendants of Mormon pioneers, who were British, Danish, Swiss and a bit of German and French.

We kept up this mantra until we began to question the ancestral origins of Mike’s coarse, curly hair and dark complexion he inherited from his father. Although it would never occur to us in Utah, decades of living in the South lead us to know something of “passing.”

We decided to get DNA testing. The test would show where our ancestors had been living in the last 500 years. We could compare what was on paper to what was in our DNA. Mike took the test first. The process in a nutshell: fork out a $170.00 dollars, swab the inside of your mouth with a big Q-tip from a DNA kit, and overnight the kit back to the lab. Mike’s results came back in a week via email. We were certain the results would show British, Swiss, a little bit of German, and possibly a little bit of Amerindian and African.

Shock and total disbelief. I did not believe it at first, and Mike still isn’t convinced. I even called the company to complain that they had switched the test with someone else. After all, I argued, the man IS from Idaho. NO they assured me this IS your husband from a scale of 0-30:

Tanjore Kallar (Tamil Nadu, India) 26.6

Oraon (Chotanagpur Plateau, India) 6.4

Iran 3.8

Flemish (Belgium) 3.6

Venda (South Africa) 3.5

Northern Portugal 3.0

Piemonte, Italy 2.7

Brahmin (Bihar, India) 2.6

Bhumihar Brahmin (Bihar, India) 2.5

Sudan 2.2

Guinea-Bissau 2.2

Kurdish (Northern Iraq) 2.1

Uyghur (Xinjaing, Chinese Turkistan) 2.1

Dundee, Scotland 2.1

Pakistan 2.1

Kirgiz (Xinjiang, Chinese Turkistan) 2.1

Piedmont, Italy 2.0

Turkey 2.0

Nigeria 1.9

Calabria, Italy 1.8

Mongolian 0.8

Mestizo (European Amerindian mix) 0.5

Salish 0.4

Perplexed, I took a look at Mike’s Swiss line on Family Search. Non-Swiss names like Kohli, Dubi, Mani, Zagli and Wassem were in abundance. So much for Mike being Swiss. I found out that thousands of East Indians had immigrated to Europe starting in the early 1600’s.

Next it was my turn. My results came back in a week. Again, shock, but this time belief, on a scale 0-20:

Podlasie, Northeast Poland 18.6

El-Mina, Egypt 12.6

Northern Ireland 6.4

Iran 5.7

Sweden 5.5

Eastern Mediterranean Region, Turkey 5.0

Turkey 4.9

Finland 4.3

Lodz, Poland 4.0

Flemish 3.9

Poland 3.8

Afghanistan 3.7

Bavaria, Germany 3.6

Northern Greece 3.3

Toscana, Italy 3.2

Afghanistan 3.2

Austria 3.1

Piemonte, Italy 3.0

Russia 2.9

Finland 2.8

Mestizo (European Amerindian mix) 1.3

South African 0.9

Mongolian .3

West African .2

I concluded I don’t have to be buttoned down anymore as I’m not all that British. I get to be Slavic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Protestant Irish, with a whole lot of Scandinavian. And heck, Mike is barely western European.

So I gave myself a quick review of world history. It seems that the world is like a giant mix master with wars, slavery and revolutions. This time I could see my people in the mixer. The British Empire moved other nationalities to England until it was a diverse society. I learned about the early Christian Churches in the Middle East and Egypt and those who left to find refuge in Europe. I found that along with our western European American forefathers, Italians and others were in America much, much earlier than Ellis Island. The industrial revolution attracted many peoples (like the Polish) to leave their impoverished countries to work in the giant, grimy industrial centers of England, which also contributed to the genetic puree we are a part of.

Then it hit me. When the Lord said, “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” He really meant it. In all those vast great world events, God put His hand in and plucked our ancestors out of their diverse homelands. Now we have found them hidden in ourselves. I am honored to be part of that promise. I am gratified that the pioneers who crossed the plains and came to Utah were not just western Europeans, but all peoples. It was God who hid our kindred dead from the natural man prejudices of the average 19th century Americans (Mormons included).

The time has come to reveal the great gathering within myself. I gladly step out of the small dark box of Euro-centrism, into the big tent of humanity where the real party is going on. I know that I have been led to find them. I can see their dear faces lightly imprinted not only on my face, but the face of my loved ones. The gift I have been given is one of love and a shared identity with all of God’s children. Now when I meet someone of another nationality I can truly think perhaps you are my cousin. And that, my friends, is a wonderful gift.

Comments

  1. I bet I’m pretty strongly Romanian, with maybe some Hungarian, some Gypsy, some German, some Jewish, and hints of Turkish, Bulgarian and Ukranian in me.

  2. Joanne,
    Thanks for this. A good reminder that we’re all more “human” than we are a specific “race.”

  3. Joanne, great post. Can I point out that, if the old policy had been fully enforced, neither of your families would have been able to hold the priesthood before 1978? From your account, it sounds as if they did, though. This discussion helps remind us of the extent to which it was always a pipe dream to think that the priesthood restriction was based on ancestry, rather than current social concepts of race.

  4. lamonte says:

    Joanne – Thanks so much for this eye-opener. Although my parents always taught me to respect people of all nationalities I have to admit a bit of pride I have taken in the fact that I am a 5th generation American and yet my bloodline is comepletely Welsh. This is because my wife and I are the first members of either side of our family to move away from our small Mormon hometown in Southern Idaho – and NO, there is no evidence of cousins marrying cousins despite the small population. ;-)

    Your post has opened my eyes to many more possibilities. And your closing lines are beautifully stated. Thanks so much.

    J. Nelson-Seawright – I totally agree with your assessment of the now disgarded – thankfully – restriction on the priesthood.

  5. John Taber says:

    My origins would be all over NW Europe: primarily British (English, Scottish, Scots-Irish, Welsh and possibly Irish), but also Swiss, French, Alsatian, German, Dutch, Norwegian, and Greek. (And who knows what else – maybe some Cherokee in there too.)

    I have no idea what Alisa’s would be, and neither would she, as she was adopted in infancy.

  6. On an individual level, there are many cases like this. My wife’s grandmother, for example, had a branch of Arab ancestry by way of Wales. Nonetheless, race really does exist. Take a look on the Amazon site at the cover of The History and Geography of Human Genes by Cavalli-Sforza. Steve Sailer wrote of this, “This is Cavalli-Sforza’s own description of this map that is the capstone of his half century of labor in human genetics: ‘The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids … (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia.’

    “Basically, all his number-crunching has produced a map that looks about like what you’d get if you gave Jesse Helms a paper napkin and a box of crayons and had him draw a racial map of the world. In fact, at the global level, Cavalli-Sforza has largely confirmed the prejudices of the more worldly 19th Century imperialists. Rudyard Kipling and Cecil Rhodes could have hunkered down together and whipped up something rather like this map in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.”

    Here’s a review of another book on the topic, The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes. There was also something that came out last year indicating that something like 90 per cent of the ancestry of early 20th Century British had lived on the British Isles several thousands of years. Put another way, there is a basis for the DNA company indentifying the pieces of your and your husband’s ancestry.

    Last month, Milton Friedman’s grandson Patri wrote a funny bit:

    Old definitions:

    Liberals: Favor social freedoms, but not economic freedoms.
    Conservatives: Favor economic freedoms, but not social freedoms.

    New definitions:

    Liberals: Believe in evolution, but not biology.
    Conservatives: Believe in biology, but not evolution.

  7. Great fun. Though you’d want to be able to sample their methodology because the way they define what it means to be eg Indian may have important effects on the outcome. Many of these commercial DNA places are based on profit motive rather than any sense of scientific rigor.

    that said, the amount of racial intermixing is of course huge, and the overall point is valid.

  8. Thanks for this writeup. I know my genealogy-addicted husband would love something like this for a birthday present. However, as the above poster also pointed out, the validity of these tests could be suspect. Before I plunk down my hard earned cash, do you know of any articles examining the science behind these tests? Any genetics experts weigh in on whether or not this is legit?

  9. This just does not seem right to me. A genetic marker for Dundee, Scotland? I wonder if there is one for Aberdeen, Scotland, just up the road?

    That being said, I understand the need to know our history. But perhaps one day there will be considered only one race–the human race–the family of God.

  10. JA Benson says:

    Wow what a nice surprise this AM.

    #7 Sam MB and Elle #8The lab is the University of New Mexico at Las Cruses. The company is http://www.dnatribes.com. I doubted the test as well until I found the East Indian names in Mike’s genealogy on Family Search. I have since found out that there has been an Indian community in Bern, Switzerland for a long time.

    #3 Thanks for noticing that point. The line that I think has the Africans has been in church and with the Priesthood since 1832. Basically they could say that they were in Church before B. Young. The line that I think is Egyptian has been in the Church and with the Priesthood since 1860. We have thousands of related cousins that are LDS. I don’t think that we are an anomaly.

    Thanks,
    Joanna

  11. Mark IV says:

    Well done, JA.

    Brigham Young said something about what a blessing it is to look upon the face of others and see the face of God. Your thoughts here inspire that response in me.

  12. cj douglass says:

    JA,
    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read in the ‘nacle. You’ve taken geneology to another level. Its not just about proxy work – its about realizing our divine heritage as human beings/children of God. Thank you.

  13. JA Benson says:

    Dan #1 you must be a handsome man :)

    #4 lamonte and #5 John Taber I think that most of mixing happened in Britain. My Northern Irish moved to nearby Scotland. The Flemish left in mass in the 1600-1700’s and settled in Wales. The Polish left the oppression in that part of the world and moved to Manchester, England. The Middle Eastern and Mediterranean’s, were most likely Orthodox Christians and were converted by Protestant missionaries in the 1700-1800’s. They immigrated to Preston, England. It is my belief that the Lord gathered his “nations, Kindred Tongues and peoples by other means and placed them in Britain where they could be found by the Mormon Missionaries. So anyway it is quite possible that your ancestors aren’t so NW European either. Thanks for the comments.

  14. How fascinating.

    My ancestors in my father’s direct line came to America in the early 1600’s, from France by way of Germany (I suspect they were Huguenots), but the records end there. I’ve tied some other lines into British royalty. It’d be interesting to see what my test results showed.

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    Fun post. We’re all much more closely related than we usually realize. And of course JNS is right, the old “one drop of Negro blood” thing seems pretty silly now in retrospect.

  16. Kevin Barney, aren’t those celebrating the unity of mankind due to everyone being a thirty-second cousin of everyone else evoking their own one-drop rule? The brotherhood of mankind is a fine concept, but genetics is a weak support for it. We share DNA with bacteria, and viruses have left their mark in our genome.

  17. Someone ought to get some DNA from Brigham Young (do we have some dentures or something lying around?) and see if he had “Hamitic” blood.

    Yeah, Kevin, it’s very silly.

  18. John, of course there are genetic differences among human populations. Sickle-cell anemia is more common among some groups than others; Tay-Sachs is far more frequent among southeastern Quebecois, Ashkenazi Jews, and southern Louisiana Cajuns than in other populations. But race is a lot more, and a lot less, than genetic difference. Rather, race refers to a complex of cultural assumptions about people with certain identifiable physical traits; this is why it’s possible for the African-American community to have a debate right now about whether Barak Obama should be considered racially black.

    Even the evidence regarding, as you say, thirty-second cousins is enough to make the racialist theories of the past look foolhardy, though. Those theories were based on conceptions of “purity” that were never more than a will-o-the-wisp.

  19. Thanks for the link on the group. Proprietary commercial algorithms with secret patents pending always make me leery. This generally means they have extended or modified tested methods but have not performed rigorous validation on their own. It’s worth bearing in mind that we are still debating what ethnicity means and how to group people genetically, so I would not consider these the final word.

    JM raises a playful but pertinent concern about the metaphysics of DNA homology. Are we excited about being related to mice?

    Finally, Ronan, you know the Sorenson insitutite (i forget its full name), has been collecting DNA genealogical data on Mormons for some time. Though we have to be careful about how we interpret these largely unvalidated techniques, I bet they could provide some fascinating data about possible genealogical curiosities.

  20. JA Benson,

    #13,

    Dan #1 you must be a handsome man :)

    My wife thinks so. :)

  21. I’d also look at these types of services cautiously. For example, I see that both “Piemonte” and “Piedmont” are listed, with differing percentages. But those are one and the same region in Italy (like “Venice” and “Venicia”). How does that work?

  22. Steve Evans says:

    Greg, you naysayer. Where is your FAITH?

  23. J. nelson gets bonus points for using the term racialist

  24. Stirling says:

    Someone ought to get some DNA from Brigham Young (do we have some dentures or something lying around?) and see if he had “Hamitic” blood.

    No need, Ronan, doesn’t the contemporary record show he was ham-handed?

  25. Groan. But could he jump?

  26. Interesting post. My wife’s family is 6 generations in the church, and I’m 5, both of northern European ancestry (England, Scotland, Denmark, with a smattering of French, Dutch, and others), but she has a great grandfather who was Jewish, and my family name, Folkman, is spelled Volkmann in it’s Germanic form, and also is likely Jewish as well (Dr. Judah Folkman, for example, no known relation at this point).

    Who knows what else we might find? Truly, God is no respecter of persons.

    Thanks, JA, for a thought provoking post.

  27. Veritas, “racialism” is often used to social and political movements based on the presumed superiority of one race, in distinction from “racism” which often refers to individual attitudes — although there is of course slippage on this. Ali G doesn’t have a copyright on the term…

  28. JA Benson says:

    I must state that I do not in any shape or form believe in the false doctrine behind the “Curse of Cain” Your answers to do not affect my testimony. Don’t spare my feelings. I want to know.
    ??Question for Everyone:

    In regards to the “Curse of Cain” beliefs and culture of the 19th
    And 20th century Utah Mormons, how would my Egyptian ancestor(s) been regarded? Would they have had to “pass” in order to go to the Temple and receive the Priesthood?

    I have asked several experts in the fields of Church History and Sociology. The answers I have gotten have been mixed. Some experts say that Egyptians are not sub-Saharan Africans and so not part of the “curse of Cain”. Other experts have said it depended on my ancestor’s appearance. Others have said that Egyptians are Hamites/Cannanites and therefore would have been part of the Curse of Cain.

  29. JA Benson says:

    Greg # 21 I really don’t know since I am not a scientist, but I think that means have more than one Italian line from that area.

  30. Mark IV says:

    I must say that I am somewhat surprised at all you skeptics out there.

    It is clear that you do not have a drop of “believing blood” flowing through your veins.

  31. J. nelson, I am subtracting one of your bonus points for lack of sense of humor.

  32. ed johnson says:

    I think there is reason to be careful and even skeptical in understanding the results of DNA ancestry tests. For an informed view, see these articles by genetic anthropologist John Hawks:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2138059/

    http://www.johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/race/race_testing_penn_state_2005.html

    Quote:

    A deeper problem with admixture testing is its claim to identify the “ancestral components” of different populations. For example, admixture testing considers people from India to be a mixture of “Indo-European” and “East Asian” ancestors. And indeed, Indians have some alleles otherwise common in Europe, and some otherwise common in China. But Indian populations have been on their subcontinent for tens of thousands of years, and they have many alleles that don’t come from anywhere else. Anthropologists studying genetic variation have always found complexity rather than simple one-plus-one racial mixtures. SNP-testing companies don’t seem to have gotten that news.

  33. Jill Johnson says:

    Joanne,

    What an eye opener for all who play the “we” and “us” game!

    Jill

  34. JA Benson says:

    ed johnsen #32,

    For me these tests are true. The example of the East Indian names I already mentioned about Mike’s test was enough proof for me. We also had pictures sent to us and of course Mike’s recent ancestors look very north Indian.

    Joanna

  35. When I was going to school in East Tennessee we had a guest speaker named Brent Kennedy. He was from appalachia, all of his family was from appalachia, etc… He never questioned his heritage, until he was diagnosed with a disease that was considered to be one that exclusively affected people of mediterreanean descent. Before he went and accused his mother or grandmother of philandering, he decided to to do some studying and ending up writing a book. He brought up the concepts of genetic markers, the specifc example he used was the one of a blue dot which is found in the center and top of a person’s rump. That is supposed to be a gentic marker of chinese descent. He had one of those markers, even though he could trace his ancestry back for hundreds of years. The book, I think is called “Melungeon” (it was 6 years ago). Melungeon is a term that describes people of dark descnt in appalachian families. It was very interesting the study of genetics, history and DNA migration.
    Sorry about no paragraphs, when I studied Faulkner in HIgh School, I learned about stream of consciousness and I figured this is the best way of being able to deal with grammar. Now in graduate school, I do have to adapt.

  36. lamonte (#4)
    If your “small Mormon hometown in Southern Idaho” is Malad, we could be related. My great-great-great grandfather immigrated there from Wales in 1868 and my father was born there.

    As far as I know, the main nationalities of my ancestors are Welsh, Swedish, and Swiss, with a little English, Danish, Scottish (clan Stewart) and German thrown in.

  37. Could I toss a threadjack in here? One of the questions I get asked a lot–often by African American members–is what their lineage is. I know two who were declared as “descended from Ham” in their patriarchal blessings. Another was told that lineage is not given to those of African descent. Another was told his lineage was from 10 of the 12 tribes. A BUNCH (the majority) were told they were from Ephraim. My own belief is that the declaration of lineage is an assignment, not a blood analysis. (Couldn’t we get out of missionary work if we showed that drop of Ethiopian blood which proved we were supposed to be doing something else?)
    I fully anticipate finding lots of African blood when I finally get my DNA tested. (Actually, the further back we go, the more African we all get.)

  38. Margaret, that’s true! Until we get back far enough and then we’re all 100% African. =)

  39. Scott Woodward is a microbiologist at BYU who runs the Sorensen Institute that was mentioned above. I sent him the link to this blog and he responded that “this is exactly the type of stuff that we are doing at smgf.org.”

  40. For those in Utah that are interested,smgf.org will give you the results for $95, which is better than the $175 that Joanna paid.

  41. Sterling says:

    I am wondering about the time depth of these results. Can the DNA scientists say with some degree of accuracy how many years ago your ancestors were living in each particular country? Can they tell the order in which your ancestors moved from one country to the next? Are the countries that appear with the largest numbers in the DNA results the places where your ancestors lived the longest (i.e., for the most generations)?

  42. lamonte says:

    Capt. Obsidian #36 – Yes I am from Malad and I should have mentioned that my Welsh background comes not from being from Malad but because Malad was established (or for me it was actually nearby Samaria) by Welsh Mormon immigrants in the 1860’s. It was my great-great grandparents who originally came from Wales. All of my ancestors came from Wales and my wife is about 1/8 German but 7/8 Welsh. At least that’s what we’ve always believed until we read Joanne’s post yesterday! By the way, I’m 53 years old. How does that compare with you or your father?

  43. Joanna —

    Will you explain what the numbers mean? Are they percentages, probabilities?

    This is really a great, great post!

    I am going to highlight it on my next KYN blog — http://www.knowyourneighbor.typepad.com.

    Whitney

  44. woodboy says:

    #41:
    You can’t really get data that specific from analyses like this. It’s just a statistical analysis that compares your markers with known allelic frequencies in different regions around the world. Still very interesting, though.

    Unlike some of the for-profit parties listed above, there is an international consortium working on this stuff. It’s a very nice site, and they make all their data publicly available. Your tax dollars at work.

    Hapmap Project

  45. woodboy says:

    Sorry, can’t figure out how to add links, or edit previous comments.

    http://www.hapmap.org

  46. JA Benson says:

    Whitney #43 and Sterling #41,

    I am not a math person, but I will try to from the information given to us from DNA Tribes.

    All matches can be compared against each other as odds ratios. Population Match results can be interpreted in terms of their likelihood scores and geographical patterns. Each Native Population Match is listed with a Match Likelihood Index score that indicates your odds of belonging to that population relative to your odds of belonging to a generic human population.
    Higher scores indicate your genetic profile is strongly represented in a population, while lower scores indicate marginal representation in a population.
    Anyway clear as mud. What this means to me is that Mike is very Tamil, Nadu Indian and not so much Calabria, Italian. I am very Podlasie, Poland and not so much South African.

    The higher the numbers the closer this individual is to us. The Tamil Indian probably mixed with some Swiss is Mike’s grandmother. The Swiss doesn’t show up because it has not been a stationary population. The Podlasie, Polish is probably my Great (or Great Great) Grandfather. I am basing my identifications on the appearance of current relatives and looking back at the earliest photos I have of our ancestors. I have also looked at related lines and have found the same traits in these family members as well.

  47. woodboy says:

    I think the take away message is that the high numbers are pretty reliable (like the Tamil Indian in your example), but not to put too much stock in those very low numbers. Hard to say for certain without a published metholodogy, but my guess is a statistical test would show very weak significance for most of those values at the bottom of the list.

  48. Space Chick says:

    National Geographic is also selling DNA kits for $100, and I would trust their results.

    https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/participate.html

  49. woodboy says:

    It’s worth noting that that is a different kind of test. They are doing mtDNA and Y chromosomes. Neither of these forms of DNA undergo recombination, so it’s possible to trace them back quite far, unlike the autosomal markers used in the other analyses. mtDNA analysis is primarily how they determine historical migration patterns.

    The downside of course is that you only get info about two of your ancestors (or one if you are female) because Y chromosomes are strictly paternally inherited and mtDNA is overwhelmingly maternally inherited.

  50. This kind of shotgun approach without prior hypothesis is notorious for generating false positive findings. Remember, they have to define what the source population means before they can define your association with it, and if all populations are intermixed, the probabilities will be very skewed. Then remember that at standard statistical testing cutoffs, 5 of every 100 associations will prove to be entirely spurious. So if they are testing you against a thousand populations, there will be 50 false positives (this isn’t exact because of the way the analysis is framed, but it’s close enough to be relevant.)

    It may be something as silly as your husband has one (more likely few) tamil ancestor(s) way back, but from him/them your husband (but perhaps not many of his cousins) still has reasonably identifiable genetic material in the background of standard european traits. Because this is identifiable, it will give a very high odds ratio, but it is does not appear to suggest anything about whether he is predominantly Tamil in extraction. These are not, according to what you’ve posted, relative weights of your percentage ancestry, it’s how identifiable certain individual DNA segments appear to be, and those, depending on the algorithm, could be quite different things.

    Still the basic point that 100% racial purity is a cultural myth is absolutely valid.

  51. JA Benson says:

    Smb,

    Quoting from DNA Tribes lab is University of New Mexico:
    “These results are your Top 20 matches in a database of 445 native populations that have experienced minimal movement and admixture in modern history (roughly, the last 500 years). Individual matches do not necessary indicate recent social or cultural affiliation with a particular ethnicity. Instead, the geographical distribution of your Native Population Match results indicates your most likely deep ancestral origins.”

    It is not “silly” that my husband has a lot of East Indian ancestors. 1) Photos of ancestors that are obviously not all that Western European. 2) I found in Family search names like Wassem, Zagli, Dubi, Kohli, and Mani. 3) There is a community of east Indians in Bern, Switzerland who have been there a long time. 4) Current family members have the hair, skin tone and facial features of non-western Europeans.

    All you have to do is watch The History Channel to see the vast migrations of people through out the world. My point is that God directed his people to “gather every nation, Kindred, Tongue and people.” God used world events to gather those people to Western Europe especially Great Britain so that people in far flung places like Iran or India would be found by LDS missionaries.

  52. John Taber says:

    JA Benson #13:

    Yes, I’ve found that a good bit, English ancestors having French, Welsh, Scottish, Portugese or Greek ancestors; Dutch ancestors having German or Norwegian. One great-grandfather’s parents and grandparents came to Utah from Switzerland, and while all the ancestors I’ve found have German given names, some of the surnames look more Italian or French.

    I don’t know how to classify a bunch of ancestors who were born near the present French-German border. Some of them were in France but had German names, some were in what is now Germany but used both French and German forms of their names.

  53. Switzerland has four linguistic traditions: German, Italian, French and Romanxh. Each of these traditions can, to some extent, reflect ethnic divisions. It must be remembered that Switzerland, although it may appear homogenous, has been a crossroads of cultures and nations for thousands of years.

  54. JA Benson says:

    I need to thank you all for a wonderful experience. When I submitted this post of Ronan I honestly thought that I would be passed over. You all have made a fun week for me. We experienced lots of ups and downs in the last week. First our old dog died probably from the dog food poisoning we have all heard about. My oldest boy got his mission papers in and we received the news that we will be traveling to China in May to pick up our youngest child. The china cabinet fell. We lost valuable items and sentimental things as well. The good news is that no one was injured. So I apologize for not answering you all in a timely fashion.

    #2 Ronan thanks so much for giving me the opportunity.

    J Nelson-Seawright #3, Lamonte #4 and Kevin Barney #15- I have always been big fans and appreciate your kind comments.

    John Mansfield #6- Thanks for your wonderful data and knowledge. You have given me areas to study.

    Mark IV #11 and CJ Douglass #12, Kevinf #26, and Whitney Johnson #43- I have made copies of your comments and have taped them to my bathroom mirror. Now when I have a bad hair day; your comments will make my day.

    Jill Johnson #33 what little us vs. them that there once was in my mind, I think it is gone now. Thanks dear friend.

    Margaret #37- You have such a “big tent of humanity soul” I am sure that you have lots of other soul as well.

    Thanks Woodboy #41 for your much needed scientific knowledge

    John Taber #52- I am glad that you looked at your lines. I think that this was the purpose of my post. We need to be open-minded when we come to our genealogy. I do not know what to say about your German- French family. My Polish family lived on the very edge of Poland near Russia. The ancestor(s) who left here were probably under Russian rule at the time. I have learned that to be Polish is a people. Whether they were ruled by Germans or Russians, they always were Polish. Perhaps the Germans and the French felt the same way. Or maybe that were proud to be either. Your comments show just how diverse Europeans can be.

    Thanks CBiden #53. I think like you that Switzerland was probably a very tolerant place. Mike’s Indians did not have to change their names to fit in and also it tells me that there was a big East Indian community there too.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,450 other followers