Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 12 Alone-My Love to Mother Tara

Today I didn't:
go crazy :)

Today I did:
take the kids trick or treating
have dishes going
have clothes in the wash

Family lore, you have to love it.  There are family stories, who knows who started them, what brought them on, but they become so interwoven that before you know it they are the truth, the history of your family.  In our family that is the Native American Ancestry.  In my father's family this would be no big deal.  He's Mexican and while it is obvious he has European (lovely facial hair and balding head prove that one) there is also a good chance he has some indigenous blood.  I also suspect he might have some Arab or Moorish blood as well, but that is just a hypothetical.  Anyway the Native American story is on my mom's, the whitie, side.  One of her oldest relatives that we have a pictures of is this very serious looking dark haired, dark eyed, exceptionally straight nosed woman.  The family rumor is that she was Native American.  There was no way we would ever know for sure...well that is until today.  I have this totally awesome little sister (Jo) living in Peru right working on mummies and DNA with her professor Haagen D. Klaus.  This is her second time down there and I guess as a little perk for all her hard work he had his lab do a mitochondrial DNA test on her.  Guess what, we are not NATIVE AMERICAN....INSTEAD WE ARE SYRIAN OR TURKISH!!!!  We belong to Haplogroup T.  The hypothesis is that 10,000 years ago this group came out of the fertile crescent, moving out toward Europe and India as agriculturalists and pastoralists.  They call the originator of the group Tara.  Thank you DNA, you are amazing :)  You know it would have been totally cool to find out we were Native American on my mom's side, I would have been ecstatic, but this is pretty cool as well.  My sister says we need to plan a trip to Syria and Turkey, I agree.  The irony on all this information is that while I look Hispanic, Jo totally looks Mediterranean.  Our whole lives I suspected it must have been some crazy throw back gene from my father.  Now we know the truth.  Seriously cool.  I think everyone should buddy up to a biological anthropologist :)


  1. It was good to see you today!!! My offer to come over some day for lunch/playdate still stands. We don't have much going on next week. Ditto to DNA being awesome! My mom did that DNA testing through National Geographic and found out some really cool tidbits which I have admittedly forgotten by now. I'm sure she has it written down somewhere though :).

  2. Wait a minute though, Crys...what if the Native American was on our Grandfather's line, Donald Chatham. I think it could still be true, just not from the mother of our mother of our mother of our mother...etc! Right?

  3. Because I think that is what mitochondrial DNA shows. The Haplogroup T2 is spread throughout Europe, which makes sense. We knew that about Nana's side. I think it is still possible that we have some genes from our Cherokee Ancestor. Ask Jason, because I'm really curious to know whether this actually debunks that.

  4. Yes Jo I guess you are right. If it was on Chatham side it wouldn't show, at least not with that type of test. I still think there is a good chance it is wishful thinking :)

  5. I'd love it if the Smiths did some DNA. I still remember wanting to punch those kids in the face when I was like six because they got all snotty on me telling me they were from the lineage of Nephi while we were Lamanites. Twenty four years later it still bugs ;)

  6. Crys, I think you have misinterpreted the mitochondrial DNA findings. What this says is that there is not an unbroken maternal line with Native American DNA. You could very easily still have a male ancestor on your mother's side descended from Native Americans. As soon as said male married the European stock the mitochondrial trace would be gone in all subsequent generations. You need to look at other preserved DNA markers that are not gender dependent to make the definitive conclusion that you have no Native American ancestry.

    For example, if I were full blooded Native American and I married you with your Indo-European/Fertile Crescent mitochondrial heritage, none of our kids or their kids would have any mitochondrial link to being Native American.

  7. Yes Dr. J that was like my third comment :)

  8. Hey, that's fascinating stuff! My family likes to say we're related to Pocahontas. In reality, we are descended from Niketti, Pocahontas's half sister.



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