Saturday, 10 February 2018

Mapping it out

I'm a geography geek who loves all kinds of maps, and naturally I've been using maps to visualize both my own family's genealogy and that of others.

My brother and I have the same mother, but different fathers, and I've created ancestor maps for both of us in order to look for similarities and differences. I've only included known ancestors born no earlier than the year 1500, and the maps show only the earliest known point of origin for each ancestral line. Question marks mean that there is a family story of an ancestor coming from that area, but no concrete evidence to back it up.

This is the map of my brother's known ancestry:

This is the map of my own known ancestry:

The differences are fascinating. The ancestry of my brother's father (my stepfather) is very concentrated along the western coast of Norway, especially in the region of Møre. He also has a recent ancestor from Iceland. My stepfather's family has always been closely associated with the sea; at least three of his four great-grandfathers were seafaring men, working as fishermen and sailors. It should come as no surprise that my stepfather has always loved to be near the sea.

The dots on my own map are more spread out across northern and western Europe, and this is due to my paternal grandmother, whose ancestral roots are very mixed and widespread. (Unfortunately, since this is a map of Europe only, my ancestors in Haiti are not shown). I also have a lot of ancestors from Trøndelag, through my paternal grandfather, which my brother doesn't have. However, unlike my brother, I have practically no ancestors at all from western Norway, and no ancestors from Iceland. My father's family has been more oriented towards the cities of Oslo and Trondheim, and, further back, towards surrounding inland areas.

The dots that my brother and I share represent our mother's ancestral background, which, as you can see, is firmly rooted in Eastern Norway and adjacent areas in Sweden. The dots in Finland represent the home villages of our Forest Finn ancestors who emigrated to Sweden and Norway in the 1500s and 1600s.

Notice that both my brother and I have a dot in Florence, Italy. This dot represents my mother's ancestor Frantz Frantzen Florentinus (ca. 1505-1582), who moved from Florence to Norway in the 1500s and became a parish priest in a village not far from Oslo! Frantz is obviously a Danicized name; his original Italian name would have been Francesco. Nothing is known for sure about his family background, except that his parents' names were Francesco and Lucrezia, and that he belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup T1b. I find it extremely cool that we have an ancestral link to Italy, even though it's distant.

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