Americans rarely think of their personal fates tied to ancient history, but DNA reports and access to new databases tracing ancestry far into the past can change perceptions of who Americans are. Fourteen generations before me, one of my oldest known ancestors was Simon Symonson, born in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands in 1510, according to Ancestry.com. He died... Continue Reading →
My DNA analysis suggests Swedes, Vikings, Northern and Southern European, including from the Iberian Peninsula in my ancient past. And about one percent of my DNA comes from sub-Saharan Africa. My oldest recorded Buie ancestor, Archibald Buie, was born on Jura in 1640. But according to Ancestry.com records, he died in Midlothia (Edinburgh, rather far... Continue Reading →
When the Scots immigrated to America, they generally inter-married with other Scottish clans for the first generations in America. In the fourth generation after the crossover to the new world, my grandfather, William Graham Buie, born in 1864, was probably among the first in his family to marry someone who wasn’t primarily of Scottish descent,... Continue Reading →
From Ancestry.com, I learned that my grandfather x six, Jacob Siegristen or Secrest, fled Zermott, Switzerland in the 1700s because he apparently murdered his father's employer, a nobleman. Over in the states, he may have swindled Andrew Jackson's father out of land, causing the Jacksons to move to Tennessee. Somehow, he ended up with the Jackson family land.... Continue Reading →
What surprises me in tracing my ancestry is how easily people moved from England to Scotland to Ireland and the European continent, well before the era of trains, planes and automobiles. One branch of the family, originally DeShaw, can trace itself back to the village of Rivenhall, Essex, England. John DeShaw (1504-1578) was my 10th great... Continue Reading →
A long-running British television series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" follows celebrities and regular people as they discover surprising things about their ancestors. Series home page. Some of the episodes are online. Some are posted on Youtube.com.
Initially in 2004, the news that George W. Bush and John Kerry are ninth cousins seemed remarkable. On the surface, what were the odds that two opposing presidential candidates in America were cousins? And then in 2008, we learned that Barack Obama and John McCain are 22nd cousins, and that Obama was also related to... Continue Reading →