One of the remarkable suggestions in our book Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America (McFarland 2012) was that both the First Families of Virginia and Pilgrim Mothers and Fathers of Massachusetts included many colonists of Jewish ancestry (usually Sephardic). There were, in fact, Jews, ex-Jews and crypto-Jews (and Muslims and crypto-Muslims) hidden in the ship passenger lists and early tax rolls of all thirteen colonies, with Georgia (chapter 9) proposed to be the “most Jewish.”
An article in the European Journal of Human Genetics uses all the tools of a by-now mature genetic genealogy field to disprove that a blood sample and a head tested several years ago belonged respectively to King Louis XVI and his paternal ancestor King Henry IV.
Research by a Valparaiso University geography professor and his students on the creation of Kankakee Sand Islands of Northwest Indiana is lending support to evidence that the first humans to settle the Americas came from Europe, a discovery that overturns decades of classroom lessons that nomadic tribes from Asia crossed a Bering Strait land-ice bridge. Valparaiso is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research.
By Teresa A. Panther-Yates
What if there once really were giants? We are familiar with tales of giants in fairy tales, like those in Jack and the Bean Stalk, or in tall-tales in movies like Big Fish. Giants are also mentioned in the Bible in several places: ” There were giants in those days” (Genesis 6:4). They have become part of our popular culture. But now that we have grown up, we no longer believe in giants. We no longer believe they could have ever existed, just as we no longer believe in the existence of Cinderella or Santa Claus.
By TERESA PANTHER-YATES
This was definitely the year that was in DNA news. Here are, we propose, the top three stories.
First, last June came the U.S. Supreme Court decision that police officers can now legally take DNA from anyone they arrest. Yes, and they then then enter your DNA profile into a database where they can match it with existing samples (Dan Noswolitiz, “It’s Now Legal for the Police to Collect DNA,” Popular Science).
One strand would hold libraries of digital information
The next decade’s version of Facebook, Twitter, or Pandora could be digitally encoded on DNA. How? The next app? A card in one’s wallet? Who knows?
The next time you experience déjà vu think about this. It might be more than a trick of the brain. Scientists have recently confirmed that genes can pass down the memories of our ancestors to us.
We don’t often write editorials in this space. Normally, you will see nothing but news in the DNA Consultants Blog. Some sparse marketing messages may appear whenever we have a new product or study. But the FDA’s “stop and desist” letter last Friday to personal genomics giant 23&me has sent shock waves through the industry. Although we are not in the business of providing medical information to customers, only ancestral background analyses, we feel compelled to weigh in on the FDA’s warning, which we think is overdue.
Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker
Real People’s DNA Stories
Bible Studies, DNA Tests, Mother’s Nursing-Home Confessions Lead to New Life
NOVEMBER 16, 2013 — Until he took an autosomal ancestry test, James T. Shoemaker had little concept of his heritage. He assumed he was just an average white European American like his Appalachian neighbors.
Shocking, Long Overdue Revision to American Indian Genetics
By Donald N. Yates
The ecstatic waters . . .
Through their ancestral patterns dance.
—William Butler Yeats, “News for the Delphic Oracle”