Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Matriarchy, Patriarchy, DNA and Family Ties

 My maybe ancestral paper trail.. My Nixon Helmsley Yorkshire line goes back a few generations and then goes 'female', Hannah giving her name to her son Robert. This was often done if the kid wasn't the father's...and Hannah's son marries a woman with unknown father.. 

Well, I had my autosomal DNA done on Ancestry and I constructed a tree, easy to do for the French Canadian side, not so easy for the Northern English side.

Within a month, I had 41 almost-certain matches between DNA and my tree, all French Canadian - and I've only complete 10 lines or so of about 500... if I want to go back to the boat...to the shores of Normandy.

Now, the Drouin records are excellent, so the paper trail is easy, but it also looks like French Canadian girls, these filles de filles de filles de roi, who mostly became farmer's wives, were faithful types.

As for the Yorkshire farmers in my ancestry...

I knew from reading a book called The Edwardians, that in the 18th and 19th centuries a good portion of women were pregnant at marriage, a figure which dropped off to near none in the Edwardian era, where unmarried mothers and illegitimate children were victimized and shunned - to make some kind of point.

Patriarchy appears to be a mere suggestion for these resourceful farming women in the North of England.  They were valued for more than being baby receptacles.

For a farmer to be successful he needed a capable wife. Women had a lot of earning power, apparently, in the pre-industrial economy.

Also, these Northern English people were more superstitious than Southern Britons. They believed tha pregnant women had special powers, so these women were protected from any middle-class-type scorn.

Apparently, if a young woman came home pregnant in Yorkshire, in the good old days, she didn't tell her parents who the father was. The mother merely went out and found a man who would take on the roll.

It all very practical, doesn't it?

For Better, For Worse: British Marriages, 1600 to the Present

By John R. Gillis

But, it screws up genealogy,or makes it irrelevant. (One Yorkshire farmboy or another, who cares?) I'm probably never going to find someone attached to both my DNA and my paper trail family tree...
 Cousin, Cousine.... Faithful French Canadian women...This 'cousin' tie goes back to Abraham Martin, L'Ecossais, who owned the Plains of Abraham. He was the ancestral father of many a French Canadian. My mother knew of this sort of famous ancestor, a cousin had done his genealogy the old fashioned way. Whether Abraham was, indeed, Scottish or not is up for debate.