My DNA test results arrived today and it goes to show how much I am into full genealogy history mode as I research and blog about my family tree. Somewhat bizarrely as I read the opening introduction stuff I thought about Watson & Crick studying the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule containing our ancestral information for cells. Despite my initial university education in chemistry, neither of these two scientists made it into my top 3 science heroes who have remained at the top for 40+ years of my life. In 3rd place is Dmitry Mendeleev, the Russian scientist who created the periodic table of elements which fascinated me as a school child and propelled me towards an early career. In second place is Michael Faraday, the English scientist born in 1751 who pioneered what we now call “electrochemistry”. This was the field in which I did my doctoral research so a deep understanding of Faraday’s laws and principles was essential. A few years after I completed my PhD I was invited to a Royal Society inauguration presentation by my university tutor, Professor John Ottaway from Strathclyde University. In the latter half of his presentation John acknowledged how his early PhD students had worked so well with him in his areas of research in which Dr C was his second student and I was his third. He developed his presentation a bit like a family tree showing who was his own university mentor (Prof Eddie Bishop at Exeter), then who was Eddie’s mentor and so on going back in time further and further until he came to ……… Isaac Newton! The whole room was stunned into silence at how he had researched and worked all this out ….. without any DNA test results too! Naturally Isaac is my number one science hero, probably the greatest scientist of all time, and I have even read a cut down version of his diaries. One of my blogs about him is here Standing on the Shoulders of Isaac Newton I hope you will read it as it has quite a few surprises about him!
Anyway back to my family tree. It appears to suggest that ethnically I am almost “the full English breakfast” mostly originating from the south west of England which does not surprise me as most of my traceable ancestors so far were from Cornwall.
The second map shows how in the early 1800s my ancestors migrated from South to North, from fields to towns, and this was presumably how I became a native of Cumbria with my mother of Cornish stock marrying my dad whose ancestors were from Devon.
The final map shows larger scale migration with my Cornish ancestors migrating, in the majority of cases, to USA and specifically to Wisconsin and Illinois and then on to California where there are still large communities celebrating their early culture.
The results also show that I have 3880 living 3rd and 4th cousins which I find quite mind boggling, and scary too as an introverted only-child! I have already been contacted by one person and whereas I am more than happy to share ancestry data from my research I’m not exactly on the lookout, at my age, for 3880 long lost cousins. But that’s no reflection on anyone who might contact me, it’s about who I am and what I am.