Friday, December 30, 2016

Basque Women, French Canadians and my DNA

Two Isle of Lewis Ladies, by way of Richmond Quebec 1913, my husband's great aunts Edie and Flo.

"Look at this," said my son, tossing some papers onto the dining room table. "I did my DNA and it says I am mostly Spanish, Portuguese and Basque."

I looked at the long list of ethnicities on this print out and, sure enough, those ones were at the top and it was runaway.

"Well, the history of Europe is real mixed up," I said. "Roman Empire and all that." But, Basque? Aren't they some unique, isolated little group of people? That's what I've always heard.

I started entertaining suspicions about my own mother.

Mediterranean ethnicity overwhelmed all others on my son's DNA chart, not that I understood the figures. .59 for Mediterranean with a 10 thousand score, ,47 Western European with a 3 thousand score. Then the Celtic and Norse I would have expected to be more prominent. Then Aegean, Finnic, Polish, Roumanian, North African and... Mesopotamian. How cool! 

My son didn't seem to think so.   He's very good with numbers,you see, and he said this proved, well, ah, that I haven't been 100 percent straight with him.

"Numbers don't lie," he said.

I said, "But look, right after Spanish, Portuguese and Basque, comes Celtic and Norse. There may be a giant blob over the Iberian Pennisula here, but there's a small one over the Hebrides.

That's your Dad's side, your Isle of Lewis side. I have no Isle of Lewis blood. So don't make an Epic of Gilgamesh over this 100 dollar test."

Besides, I added "This test says it details deep ancestry, with deep ancestry underlined!"

My genes, roughly speaking.


It seems it isn't so odd that my son's genes (my genes and/or my husbands genes) are from Iberia. Apparently, it is understood that Welsh and Irish people also share Iberian genes (my husband's father claimed Welsh and Irish ancestry) and in 2007 an Oxford geneticist, Stephen Oppenheimer, said native British, too, were mostly from  Iberia and not derived from the savage Germanic Anglo Saxon. 

 Not everyone agrees with Oppenheimer, but I do, after seeing my son's DNA chart.

 I'm not in the least surprised to have Mediterranean genes on my mother's side.

My son's chart reveals that he shares Mediterrenean genes most with people from the Azores, though.  Weird.

But I've read that the New France was colonized very early on by Basque fishermen. And it seems logical that these intrepid voyageurs stopped at the Azores first on their way to the land of ice and maple syrup and, later, greasy poutine.

And, I do look like these Azorean women...

Lately, I decided to take an test. Apparently, the tests are becoming more reliable with time. The results came in today and, surprise, no Basque.

 Mostly Great Britain 35% (median) then Caucasus 20% (What?) then Italian and Greek, 17% (well, I knew that in my heart) and Scandinavian, then  European Jew. Yes, the history of Europe is really mixed up!

I knew my father's Yorkshire features were Norwegian!

A trace of North American native. (My son's chart suggests it is South American native, Mestizo.)

Maybe a paltry 3% Iberian Pennisula.

My son's DNA did hint at some Polish, Hungarian and Romanian, maybe that's the Caucasus part.
But there's alot of curly hair in my Mom's family. Crépeau means 'curly haired one' apparently.

Jules Crepeau, Director of City Services at Montreal City Hall in the 1920's - the curly haired one, except he should have been nicknamed "Le Chat" for the way he squirmed out of scandals over the years.

So, it's my husband's father, a fourth cousin to General Douglas MacArthur through his mother's Hardy line, who has Basque blood unless my son's 3 year old test was only about very deep ancestry.

Can I get my hubby to spit into a vile?

Ancestry connected me to a slew of fourth to sixth cousins using their site and most seem French - and I assume French Canadian. That seems right, doesn't it?

Does my husband look a bit like General Douglas MacArthur, his 4th cousin. His Dad sure did.