A month ago I set out on a quest of a lifetime, for someone as geeky as yours truly. I have always had an interest in history and now it was becoming personal for me. I was beginning the journey of discovering my roots. I was raised to believe that we were English but both my paternal surname (Verge) and maternal surname (Hawco) linguistically are of French Norman origins and tied to the Channel Islands according to historians. Hints lay everywhere that we were Acadians, Huguenots and so forth. My recent ancestry is connected to the Eastern coast of Newfoundland, a cultural unique region of Canada and North America. It is a hodge podge of various European cultures, predominately British, Scottish, Irish, French, and German,
My goal is to find the cultural bedrock that lays hidden in my genes. I am attempting to find out where in the world my ancestors lived the longest and contributed the most to the cultural composition of the region to which they were tied. Of course we all originate from Africa and from a very deep ancestral origins there is no mystery there. I was seeking something more specific then that.
My quest began with me piecing together my family tree. That in itself was a challenge but a year later I am fairly certain that I have been able to put together my paternal line going back to Christchurch, England, 1660s. After that, nothing. Well, nothing to date. There were two brother in the mid 1660s living in Christchurch for whom it appears almost all Verge’s in the United States and Canada are descendants of. Nicholas and Jarman are known certainties but, and this is a big BUT, no genealogical researchers to date have been able to trace who their parents are. There are no records whatsoever in existence to state who were the parents of the two lads. There are variations of the Verge name, or we think they are connected, in France at that time – De La Verge, Verger, Verges, Vergier, etc. Are they connected? Who knows at this point.
Around 60,000 – 100,000 years ago (psst it was a very long time ago as a cultural species goes) our ancestors started to leave Africa in pursuit of greener pastures where survival would not be as difficult as it was at that time in that hotbed of daily struggle. As each migration occurred out of Africa it would give birth to a different haplogroup that would leave their unique genetic DNA identity where ever that group travelled. Part of the mystery is to find out which Haplogroup you belong to.
To get the ball rolling I decided I needed to get my DNA profiled so went in search of a company who had the resources to give me the data I sought. Without diving right now into this separate and just as interesting topic, I went with the company with the largest DNA database and the best reputation for this kind of thing – ftDNA – Family Tree DNA.
The Haplogroup that I belong to is the R group which pertains mostly to Western Europe so without any doubt I am significantly Western European. Case solved. Well, not really. Western Europe is a large area with a diverse range of cultures based in that global region. So I am on pursuit to find out which “country” in the Western European cluster I belong to. To date, it appears that the race is on and that I am associated to either England, France, Scotland, or Ireland, although it is too soon to discredit any locale.
I have had my Y DNA 37 markers tested which is a good start. It gives a persons a starting place but to truly grasp the tiger by the tail you would have to test up to either the 67 markers level or better yet go for the biggie – 111 markers.
Y DNA will only offer one piece of the puzzle as it pertains specifically to paternal bloodlines. To get a more complete picture I will need to test my mt DNA as well which pertains to my maternal line. I have just ordered that so the excitement as to what that will show is building.
The next step for me, depending on the results from the current tests, will be to increase my Y DNA markers count up to 67, do a deep clade test, and so on. The prize is out there and I am getting closer each and every day as I develop a better understanding of all this genetic stuff. Crossing fingers and toes.
- DNA to map history of human migration (timescolonist.com)
- Mitochondrial Eve: a de facto deception? (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Y chromosome and mtDNA study of modern Middle Eastern populations (Badro et al. 2013) (dienekes.blogspot.com)
- Kit Unearths DNA’s Path to Your Past (sci-tech-today.com)
- DDC, One of the World’s Largest Paternity Testing Companies, Reveals Michael Lohan is Father of 17-year-old Ashley Kaufman (prweb.com)
- Haplogroup J-P209 (Y-DNA) (en.wikipedia.org)
- Daughters of Eve (anunnakifiles.com)
- DNA Ancestry with Pinpoint Accuracy (eogn.com)
- Your DNA Secrets Are Not As Secure As You Think (dangerouslee.biz)
- Are you a Neanderthal? Our four guinea pigs find out just how ancient their genes are (standard.co.uk)