Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's in my DNA?

The results are in! What a fascinating thing, this DNA. On Ancestry.com, it gives a break down of where I am from using both my paternal and maternal DNA but doesn't tell me who belongs to what. On 23andme.com, I was only able to find out info on my maternal line until my dad takes the DNA test which he will do soon.

Here is a link to the information on my Maternal Haplogroup, a rare group that is 25,000 years old.
Laura's Maternal Haplogroup and Ancestral Map

From Ancestry.com here is the breakdown which is culled from both paternal and maternal DNA:

My thoughts on the breakdown, based on my paper research of my family tree is that the entire percentage of the British Isles and 8% of the Scandinavian is from my dad's DNA with 27% Scandinavian and all of the European percentages belonging to my mother. To say I was a little shocked is an understatement. I grew up believing I was mostly German and Bohemian but that accounts for only 5% of my DNA. I had no idea at all that I was 35% Scandinavian. I knew only of one Dutch ancestor that I discovered last year doing research and one other this year from Sweden, but both were born centuries ago and probably wouldn't account for 35%. I do look Scandinavian and when I was in France once, someone thought I was from Sweden. Makes sense now, but who were these Scandinavian ancestors? It could be assumed that there is some Viking blood seeing how they were such voracious conquerors and that would be a good assumption. But how about some scientific evidence? Turns out in 2006 a genetic link was discovered that linked the Sami people to the Volga-Ural region in Russia, which is where my mother's great grandparents were born.

John and Mary Spahn. My great-great grandparents. Both born in the Volga-Ural region
of Russia. Possible descendants of the Sami people of Southern Sweden or Finland.

My great-great grandparents considered themselves German, although they were both born in Russia, but the truth is that they were most likely of Scandinavian blood, and possibly descended from Sami people from Southern Sweden or Finland. The Sami people fall into the U halpogroup with most being U5, but a small population is in the U4. This hints at just a tiny slice of the mystery waiting to be uncovered but it's a good start!. Pretty darn cool. This will make an already planned trip to Scandinavia in 2014 have a different meaning altogether! Next, I will wait for my Paternal Halpogroup results from my dad and see how much of his DNA is from Scandinavia. If it's more than 8%, I may have to re-think this whole blog post,lol.

Here are some images, music and interesting facts of the Sami people: Saami Blog

Another shocker was the 18% Southern European which encompasses Portugal, Spain and Italy. Huh? What? Wait a minute! I haven't found anyone in my line from any of these countries. Some digging is going to have to be done to find out who these Southern Europeans are, or where they came from and how they got into my DNA. First I'll need my dad's results to determine if it's in his line or my mother's line which is what I suspect.

Not a shocker? 42% British Isles. I've always known I was descended from Irish ancestors (I was born with the last name of CLARE after all), although I'm still trying to find the immigrant Irish ancestor. And I've been drawn to England as a homeland since well, probably birth. :) It's why I trek the land, spend so much time there, have an affinity for it's people, love it's shows and movies and totally get their humor. I belong there, my DNA longs to be there. It's strange but I always felt like I had lived there before in a past life and I believe that even more now. Plus, nearly every line in my paternal family tree leads back to an ancestor from the British Isles.

Always happy to be in Britain! Sitting atop a rock in Northumberland, overlooking Hadrian's Wall.

From 23andme.com, the Maternal results say I am 100% European which encompasses all of the British Isles, Scandinavia, Western and Eastern European. What that means is there is no Native American DNA on my mother's side and very little if any Jewish ancestry. Today, my maternal DNA most closely resembles people from France and Germany. I can't wait until next month when I find out my Paternal Halpogroup from my dad. And one of the best things about having your DNA done is as new genetic research is discovered, they can update your own information! The adventure continues!

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memory of Those Who Served...

This image is in honor of all those who served with a special remembrance to those in my family tree who fought for freedom:
Samuel Gaskill- Revolutionary War
Asbury Gaskill, Great Great Grandfather-Civil War
Webster T. Roth, Great Great Grandfather-Civil War
Adam Spahn, Great Grandfather-World War I
Eugene Duesing, Grandfather-World War II
Anthony Duesing, Gran Uncle-World War II: Missing in Action
Larry Duesing, Uncle-Vietnam

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm a Nutter...

My English friend Ray has been calling me a nutter for years. Little did we know back then that I actually AM a Nutter! My Great Great grandmother is Mary Nutter, a direct descendant of Christopher Nutter, my 8th Great Grandfather, who sailed from England to Maryland in 1665 when he was just 21. When I began to research this line, I was very excited to find out how far back it would go and to connect it to England (as you all know, it's the land I love most!). The name is Anglo-Saxon and is found in both Yorkshire and Lancashire. It was first recorded in Gloucestershire and variants of this surname have been around since the early middle ages. I was able to take my Nutter line back even further to Christopher's Grandfather, Richard Nutter, who was born in Lancashire in 1579. I still have lots of research to do on my Nutter ancestors but I've discovered quite a bit in a short amount of time.

Last April I was lucky enough to have a friend who was living in Maryland at the time and invited me for a visit. One day we set out by car and drove to the Eastern Shore and down to Nutters Neck. This was land owned by Christopher and given to his sons Matthew and Christopher. This was the birthplace of my 5th Great Grandfather, Matthew Nathan Nutter who was grandson of Matthew and great grandson of Christopher. He was the last in my direct line to have lived at Nutters Neck, having left for Harrison County, Virginia where he and his brother built Nutter Fort. It was so cool to walk around the area. There is just one small dirt road called Nutters Neck Road that leads into some woods and deadends at Manumsco Creek. I could imagine how it looked in 1665 as there weren't any towns or buildings around, save a few farms and there was certainly nothing around or along Nutters Neck. I could imagine the Nutters fishing in the creek and hunting in the woods. I wondered if they ran into any Indians or had to endure any hurricanes or blizzards. Still so much to find out! But for now you all can enjoy these images we took while there. It was so cool to walk where my ancestors once tread and it's always so much more fun to be hunting for clues somewhere other than the internet! :-)

Nutters Neck Area

Nutters Neck Road

As Shadows Fall

 On the Trail of Ancestors

The Woods Surrounding Nutters Neck

Panoramic View of the woods around Nutters Neck. Pic taken by my friend Missy Trent.

 Feeling at Home

Manumsco Creek

Matthew Nathan Nutter was the son of John Huett Nutter (Matthew's first son and Christopher's grandson) and in the next post I'll be sharing the fascinating history on that middle name, another of my direct lines! You won't want to miss this one, as it's historical, tragic and full of political drama! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lucking out on English Research

Wow. Hard to believe it has been nearly a year since I last posted anything on my genealogy blog. Life has a way of getting into the way of research and time has a way of zipping by. I did manage to take a trip to England in April and lucked-out on an extraordinary opportunity. I found myself somewhere that most people will never get to visit...inside the library and office of the official royal historian to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was actually closed due to the fact that the Queen was attending service. However, a series of conversations with the guard at the door-bookshop manager-"man in the red cape at the cloisters"-led me down those long corridors, over burial stones, to the library door. We were buzzed in and told to wait before the Abbey's historian and librarian, Tony, took us up some narrow stairs into a room filled with ancient books and manuscripts. It was amazing! I felt like we were in the restricted section of Hogwarts!  Tony took us into his office which was filled wall-to-wall with the histories of Britain and the world. Books with crumbling spines, yellowing pages and dusty covers. I told Tony I was looking for an etching of my ancestor Sir Henry Spelman (who, himself was an Antiquarian) as well as a photograph of his burial stone (he is buried in a location not accessible to outsiders). Tony carefully lowered a huge book down onto the large table and flipped through a series of original etchings from the 15th century. I watched as faces of kings, queens and knights flew by until I recognized Henry's image. "That's it!" I yelled out with excitement! Tony then took the big book into a smaller room to make a copy for me and returned not only with two copies but also with an image of Henry's stone. We chatted a few more minutes about the upcoming wedding of Prince William (in which he was attending! Lucky guy!) before I headed off, beaming from the thrill of a lifetime! 

Westminster Abbey

Lighting the Way



Me! A descended cousin of Sir Henry Spelman

Sir Henry Spelman, Antiquary
copied from the original etching

Burial spot inside Westminster Abbey

Although most of the time, genealogy research is done nowadays online, there is nothing like getting out into the field and traveling to the places our ancestors roamed. You never know what you may stumble upon!