Every so often one of my readers sends in a donation. (See the link on your right – scroll down)
I don’t push for donations, because I sell books, and I am too busy with tattoo school and work right now to promise a lot of writing. But when I do get donations, I try to use them to develop my work in some way.
Anyone who advocates Tradition, Tribalism or Patriarchy should try to find out who their people — especially their forefathers — were. Your ancestry is only one piece of the puzzle of who you are, and it may or may not determine who you want to identify with, or how you want to identify yourself. Many of us have mixed backgrounds — even more or less pure Europeans are going to be a mix of European nations and tribes. No matter what, researching your background is going to inform your perspective and possibly change the way you see yourself and the world.
As both an artist and a writer, I want to be as authentic as possible. I thought a genetic analysis might help me get a sense of what my pre-Christian cultural heritage might have been, and genealogical records only go back about 2-300 years in my family. I wanted to familiarize myself with symbols and mythologies that were specifically consistent with my background.
Here’s what I can publicly report:
The men in my mother’s family immigrated to Western Pennsylvania in the mid-18th Century from Nuremberg, Germany. There’s a record of one more generation back in Bavaria. My maternal grandmother’s line is also very German.
The men on my father’s side immigrated to Pennsylvania much more recently, around 1871, from England. Before that, they did a number of odd jobs in Lancashire and Sussex. In the mid-18th Century, the men of my line were fishermen in Hastings. After that, there are few more Johns (also my dad’s name) on record with my birth surname, and my last recorded ancestor was born in Sussex around 1689. My paternal grandmother’s line left Germany in the mid-19th Century.
The men in my line (on both sides) have been electricians, mechanics, pharmacists, blacksmiths, whitesmiths, farmers, craftsmen and fishermen. To my knowledge, I can not brag about being descended from anyone famous or noble.
According to 23andme.com:
My paternal haplogroup is R1b1b2a1a2f*
Haplogroup: R1b1b2, a subgroup of R1b1 Age: 17,000 years Region: Europe Populations: Irish, Basques, British, French Highlight: R1b1b2 is the most common haplogroup in western Europe, with distinct branches in specific regions.
My maternal haplogroup is U6a7. They say this goes back to Berbers — about 45,000 years ago. But the next section of information makes that seem fairly irrelevant.
23andme’s computations suggest that my ancestry is 99.9% European.
78.5% Northern European – of that, 5.1% is British and Irish, 1% is French and German, .7% is Scandinavian, and 71.7% “non-specific Northern European.”
.4% Eastern European
<.1% Southern European – probably Sardinian
20.9% Non-Specific European
According to 23andme’s Global Similarity Map tool, I am most genetically similar to people in Germany and France.
(I am also supposedly 2.7% Neanderthal, which is about average for a European.)
From what I can gather, this ancestral breakdown isn’t “exact.”
It did give me a fuzzy picture to work with. My pre-Christian “people” were probably middle European barbarians. Germanic tribes, Gauls, Celts. I still don’t know as much as I’d like to about them, but trying to figure all of this out gave me a sense of how much those cultures influenced each other. While I’m sure that many want genetic research to show us how alike we all are, it made me reflect on how distinct and — despite a long history of tribal squabbles and superficial differences — connected Europeans are.
For me, there’s no pure line to trace from anywhere. No one religion. No single set of gods. But there are many similar, overlapping themes.
If anyone wants to send me more information on my specific haplogroup or anything I’ve discussed in this piece, I’m open to it. I’m an “expert” on the theory of masculinity, not genetics or pre-Christian Europe.
Thanks again to the guys who sent in donations.