Friday, 29 June 2018

A global family

A relatively new feature on MyHeritage shows a frequency map as well as a list of which countries our autosomal matches live in. In other words, it shows us the locations of a portion of our living relatives all over the world.

My mother and I have both had our raw data uploaded to MyHeritage. Here is my map:

And here is my mother's map:

As is clear, the majority of our autosomal matches live in the US and the Nordic countries. The 1800s and early 1900s saw a massive migration from Norway to North America, around one third of the Norwegian population at the time. There is also a number of matches in Ireland, Britain, Denmark, Germany, the Low Countries and Australia - all countries to which I have known ancestral connections (except Ireland), and also to which many Norwegians have migrated throughout history. The matches in Western, Central and Southern Europe might be connected to us in any number of ways; however, three of the four matches in Spain are in fact Norwegians. My mother's single match in Italy might conceivably be connected through our Italian ancestors from Florence.

Our three relatives in Russia may be descended from Nordic migrants, or they might be evidence for our rumoured Russian ancestry. One of them has a Finnish-sounding name and might in reality be a Finnish (or Karelian) connection. The other two have Russian names.

Interestingly, we also have relatives in several South American countries as well as Taiwan, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand and South Sudan. The matches in Asia all seem to be expatriate Europeans, and the matches in Turkey and Thailand are Norwegians specifically.

My mother and I share our Brazilian match, who has a Portuguese name; and my mother's Colombian and Argentinian matches both have Spanish names. It is not obvious how we are connected to them (perhaps through emigrant Norwegians, or perhaps through distant Romani connections via the Iberian peninsula? We also have matches in Spain and Portugal.) My mother's single match on Cyprus might also perhaps be through Romani ancestors. I wonder how the South Sudan connection came about, since it is not a country to which many Scandinavians or even many Europeans have migrated. I am uncertain if we really have a match there, since none show up in the list.

Comparing my map with my mother's, it is clear that my mother has more relatives in Finland than I do, which is as expected, since almost all my Forest Finn connection are on her side. It is also clear that I have more relatives in New Zealand than she does, which means that most of these must be on my father's side.

To me, genealogy represents a search for family ties, and by doing genealogical research - or, indeed, DNA tests for genealogy - we celebrate our togetherness, our unity in diversity. These maps express just that. No matter where we are from, we have relatives all across the globe.

I note that neither my mother nor I have any genetic relatives in South Africa, the country where I currently live. I am sure I must have some (perhaps very distant) relatives here, but the lack of genetic matches on MyHeritage makes me curious as to how distant they might be, and how we connect.

No comments:

Post a Comment