Monday, December 5, 2011

Migration Mapping: Eldred the Terrible

   Genetic genealogy has been very good at identifying distant origins and for making connections along paternal and maternal lines going back a half dozen centuries.  What seems to be missing is how we got from point A to point B.

'Eldridge' clan mapping

   At some distant place in time in every genealogy the surname becomes irrelevant.  The only way to go further back is to use DNA testing.  We have to rely on Clans and Tribes, genetically related groups of individuals, to get an understanding of our history.

   Pride in your historic nationality is wonderful and can tell you much about your family, but we are all descendants of nomads.  As nomads we belong to ancient cultures just as much as we belong to any one nationality.  To know what culture you are you need to know where your tribe was and when.

   When I had my DNA tested I learned that I was part of haplogroup G with origins in the Caucasus Mountains going back about 22,000 years.  I also learned that I had no close matches in the last few centuries.  That left me with very little to work with. So, I put on my analyst hat and developed a technique for plotting the migration path of my tribe at different periods in history.  I needed to answer how my people got from the Caucasus to a little village outside of Naples, Italy.

   I knew I had hit on something after my first mapping exercise.

'Maglio' clan mapping

   The individuals that I plotted lined up along the Rhine River and down the Apennines (with a few stragglers in Wales).  Successive maps, each going back further in time, showed a pattern along the Danube and around the Black Sea back to the Caucasus Mountains.  I now have my migration answers and a plausible correlation to the Etruscan metalworking culture.

   I have been using my technique to help my clients get a deeper understanding of their history and their culture.  For all of you with the surname Eldridge, Eldredge, Aldrich and variation, I have posted a sample report on my website - "The Genetic Genealogy of Eldridge"  

   I'd love to hear about other successes mapping genetic data across time.

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