Deep Ancestry

I have asked my Mother, Nancy Murphy, to write for me today. She recently took a class that has changed my world perception- for the better. Enjoy her blog today!

At holiday time, our thoughts turn to our families.  We want to be close to the people who look like us, sing our songs, eat our food, and tell our jokes.  These people share our heritage and our memories.  Wanting to be part of our families is primal, I think.  We have a need to know whom we look like, whom we act like.  Where did I get these blue eyes?  This straight hair?  People who are adopted at birth search for their birth parents even if they had wonderful adoptive parents.  We need to know from whom and where we came to be.

Because of this primal need to know, I jumped at the chance to take a Deep Ancestry study group at Bradley University here in Peoria.  As part of the class, we brushed the inside of our cheeks for DNA, then sent it to the National Geographic’s Genographic Project. Then we waited for our results to be posted on the NatGeo web site. The class waited to find out where our ancestors went after they left Africa, around 45,000 years ago. I was so excited about this.  I really wanted to know who my ancient ancestors were.

  About six weeks later, my results were on the website.  The first sheet I printed was a map that showed that my ancestors came out of Africa into Asia. At some point in time, my ancestors split into two groups.  One group turned left and began heading towards Europe. This result I had expected.  But then I saw that the other group of my ancestors
had turned right and then walked across Asia for thousands and thousands of years.  Eventually, they entered Siberia and kept on walking.  They hunted Musk Ox, Mammoths, and Reindeer along the way.  They survived that frigid unforgiving climate for more thousands of years.  Eventually, about 14,000 years ago, they crossed the Bering Land Bridge and stepped into Alaska. 

Once there, they became Native Americans.  I learned that I share the same DNA with individuals among the Ottawa, the Potawatomi, and the Ojibwa tribes.  Imagine that.  These  people were the first to settle in North America.

All this from a tiny bit of DNA.  I know where I began, where my relatives traveled, and who they were.  What a small world, what a huge discovery!

My daughters, Wendy and Kelley, also share my deep ancestry DNA.  It was handed down from their great grandmother through her grandmother and then from me and on to their daughters, Kelley and Zoe.  Amazing! 

For more information on how you can find your own Deep Ancestry, go to National Geographic.com and click on the Genome Project. They are collecting DNA and would welcome yours.

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