Thursday, December 27, 2012

Discovering Stories Through Others

Since I'm on vacation and have some downtime, I decide to start reading some of the books I ordered. The ones I got so far are "Black Shack Alley", "Texaco" and "The Diligent". I decided to start with Texaco seeing as how it's a historical fiction book which I thought would be nice to start out with. Texaco is a very interesting book because of the way it is written. So far I've been having a hard time adjust to this type of writing (I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Russian, so a complete different reading style, format and language). There is very little dialogue between characters and is kind of like reading the narration of a story through the narrator's point of view. Marie-Sophie Laborieux is the protagonist but has yet to appear, the story is being set up for her; I'm guessing seeing as how it's talking about her father Esternome and what we went through before her birth. I'm only a little over 100 pages into the book and I find it enjoyable, a bit hard to read, but enjoyable. Especially since the book provides some sort of narrative to the lives Eglantine and her daughter Julienne Malvina would have had while living in Martinique.

Currently in the book Esternome is living in Saint-Pierre and the slaves have just been freed receiving word from France. What I found most interesting, was a little section regarding the Acte d'individualité:

"My Esternome began to live with a heart heavy for his Ninon. It's not as if he saw clear through these times, but it seemed to him that the Sweetie (and lots like her) mistook life for a bowl of mashed arrowroot. In the early days of the confirmation of freedom he danced with her, drank-this and sang-that. They danced even more when the town council opened fat registers to compile a census of the land slaves and give them civil status. After a century in line, my Esternome and his Ninon parked for two seconds before a three-eyed secretary. With one ink stroke, this personage ejected them out of the savanna life for an official existence under the patronymics of Ninon Cléopâtre and Esternome Laborieux (because the exasperated secretary with the quill had found him laborious in his thinking of a name)." (Chamoiseau, 109)

Here we see how they received last names after waiting in line in their town council. We see that Esternome received the last name Laborieux (related to labor in English) because of the difficult time the register had in finding a name. So it made me think, what made the register Eglantine, Julienne Malvina and Pauline appeared before, give them the last name "Lautin"? We see that with one stroke of the quill they gained civil status and were brought out of the "savanna life".

Hopefully I will learn more about the lives of slaves in Martinique around this time and the difficulties they faced post-abolition. I hope I get used to the style and that I'm able to finish the book quickly seeing as how I have a few others to read (I just ordered another one about women and slavery in the French Antilles!!). I'm excited to finish this book and learn more about my Martinican roots!

Texaco by: Patrick Chamoiseau

As I continue throughout the book I'll add in more pieces of the story which I found interesting, or even relevant to my ancestors. This piece which I'll add next, talks about the introduction of other peoples to Martinique after the emancipation of the slaves:

"Ninon saw them get off the boat year after year. She described them to my Esternome. He'd nod his head with its pipe (he had begun to smoke like most blacks in the silence of the hills). She saw Portuguese arrive from the Madeira Islands. They took small steps under the sun. Of the people gathered in their path, they only looked at the long shadows. Their skin knew the sun. Their bodies disappeared under a pile of dark cloth, tied in all directions like scarecrows. She saw coolies with black skin, and those from Calcutta, of a lighter cocoa-red. They wore a blue line that went down to their nose. These would weep at a birth and explode with joy in the cold hours of a death. Wrapped from top to bottom, they lived gathered up like a clump of pigeons and ate strange things. She saw the congos arrive. Calm, disciplined, they nevertheless looked like blooming maroons. She saw the hour when the chinese arrived under their pointy hats, inscrutable as cliffs and cleverer than their torturers." (Chamoiseau, 139)

In this passage we see the introduction of the Portuguese from the Madeira islands, Indians from Culcutta, the Congos, and the Chinese. I know for sure that the Indians and Chinese were used for labor in Martinique as well as other Caribbean countries but I wonder if the Portuguese and Congos really came over as well to work.

David was able to confirm that yes, the Portuguese from Madeira and the Congo did come over to Martinique.

Here is a paper discussing the Madeiran Portuguese migration to the Caribbean. A French article discussing Congo immigration to Martinique, also here is a French preview for a film about the Congo in Martinique. These links were all provided by David. 

Similarly in Puerto Rico other cultures were introduced during the Cedula de Gracias period in 1815. Many came over from Europe in search of land and new opportunities which were being provided by Spain. Many Corsicans, Italians, French and others joined the Puerto Ricans on their island, in the long run contributing various things to our culture.


I just finished reading Texaco! I'm so happy to have stuck with the book and I really enjoyed the adventure it took me on! It was hard to get used to at first, but after understanding the rhythm of the book I was able to read about 100 pages or so a day until I finished. Texaco definitely shines a light for me to the everyday life of the Martinican people and the struggles between classes. It was nice also seeing similarities between the stories in the book as well as what I know of my ancestors in Puerto Rico. For example, seeing that in Martinique people also drink Mabi was interesting to note. Also, how Texaco and other Quarters were constantly under attack from the government because of their illegitimate state reminded me of a story my grandmother told me. Similarly in Puerto Rico, people built houses in areas that belonged to no one and settled there. The government would send people to knock the houses down if no one was there, and so one day when these people came over, someone ran over to a neighbor's house (who was out at the time) and hung up laundry to make it seem like someone was in the house which spared the home from being destroyed.

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone wanting to read or learn more about Martinique! I wish my French was better because I would love to have read the book in its original French but seeing as how it was hard to follow, I'll just settle with having read it in English for now! I think I'll definitely have to reread it, since parts in the beginning were a bit confusing but now having the whole picture in my head should make it easier to follow.

Hopefully my other books won't be as hard to follow as this one! But I'm definitely going to miss the character Marie-Sophie and the power she give herself to be independent in a world predominately owned by the Béké.   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Past Lives and Genetic Memories

A couple of months ago, I read this very interesting article written in the New York Times by Doreen Carvajal. In the article, she explores the idea of epigenetics, which she states: "is the notion that genes have memory and that the lives of our grandparents -- what they breathed, saw and ate -- can directly affect us decades later" (Carvajal, 2012). She mentions that her ancestors moved to Costa Rica during the Inquisition and hid the fact that they were Spanish Jews (also known as Conversos, Anusim, and/or Marranos). Many of the Spanish Jews hid the fact that they were Jewish to avoid persecution but, as Carvajal notes, would entrust usually a woman in the family to hold the secret, which would get passed down from generation to generation throughout the family -- in Doreen's case, her great-aunt Luz. Throughout the article, she brings up people such as French psychologist Anne Ancelin Schützenberg who studied "Ancestor Syndrome" and Dr. Darold A. Treffert who maintains a registry of savants who attained previously-unknown skills after receiving some sort of head injury or even dementia. There's more to the article, so I'll leave that for you to read -- I don't wanna ruin the whole thing!

It got me thinking, could genetic memory be real? Other animals (including ourselves) exhibit some form of genetic memory usually on a biological level; such as when our immune system learns and remembers pathogens to later ward them off. But could we receive memories connected to our ancestors from the past? Many genealogists throughout their paper-trail searches, find some sort of connection to a specific ancestor (sometimes a couple) who stand out strongly to them for various reasons. Could this just be coincidental or are they learning the true reason for their love of art, food or whatever other unexplainable trait they have --which is something I realized with myself as well.

I specifically remember two things from when I was little-- I wanted to be a microbiologist when I grew up and I wanted to learn French. The former was a career path choice I wanted to take and the latter was just something I always wanted to do. But I couldn't explain why, there was no known root to my random desire to learn French. I didn't grow up around or in a French community, I didn't know anyone who spoke the language, and nothing connected me to the French culture in the least. Yet I wanted to learn French. As I got older I knew that I wanted to visit France, I started saving up money once I started working to visit the country. I decided to take French in high school and my idea of becoming a microbiologist began its slow death. I remember watching TV, seeing the Muzzy commercial (linked here!) and thinking "I want to learn French!". But why not Italian or German which were also offered by BBC? When I first heard about genetic memory, I always thought-- well, no one in family was inclined to learn languages from what I know and no one is French so I couldn't have gained that from anyone. Yet with my recent discovery of Martinican ancestors, I've decided to delve deeper into thinking about epigenetics and genetic memory. 

Could I be the carrier for these specific memories in my family? I started thinking more about my childhood and my random connections to things. Why would I want to learn French when I was younger? It also got me thinking about randomly liking the name Charles -- to only then figure out my 4th great grandfather's middle name was Charles. I could be making all these connections by stretching out these random likes and attaching them to other random connections in my ancestors. But what if it wasn't so random? That somewhere deep down in my DNA there was encoded a knack for French and a remembrance of the name Charles? I don't really lean to believing it or not but I stand in the middle taking in both sides, just pondering what could actually be the case for these "genetic memories".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exploring my Slave Roots in Martinique, Part II

If you haven't read the first part click HERE to read it!

So now I had some new names surrounding Eglantine, Julienne and Pauline. In 1844, there was a Dame Lapierre, née Forget and in 1847, there was a Dame Laroche, née Lapierre. So I turned to David Quénéhervé with this new found information to see what we could figure out. David, who is so awesome, cranked out a bunch of information. He first told me I was really luckily to find these slave records (count my blessings- check! check!). He pointed out that in 1851, when Jean Lautin (Eglantine's son) was born, they were still living on a Monsieur Garnier Laroche's habitation (which I totally forgot about!). With his magic he was able to link me to the Garnier-Laroche family as well as the Lapierre family. At first it was a bit confusing so I created a family tree diagram for them to keep everything organized which I'll post up in a bit. David also found the death certificate for Jean Jacques Catherine Lapierre who passed away in 1845, he was married to Alexandrine Forget. They had a daughter named Rose Hélène Lapierre who married Louis Garnier Laroche. So here we have the two women who appeared in 1844 and 1847. The interesting thing is the death in 1845! This means that when Jean Jacques Catherine Lapierre died he left Eglantine and her daughters to Rose Hélène Lapierre and her husband seeing as how she appears in 1847 to declare the birth of Pauline Lautin. So here is the family tree diagram. I've included other information, such as parents, grandparents, years, etc. to get a better picture of this family:

Updated Famille Garnier-Laroche Lapierre Tree

So here you can see Alexandrine Forget and her daughter Rose Hélène Lapierre who appeared in the birth records of Julienne Malvina and Pauline. The Garnier-Laroche family seems to be well established in Martinique appearing in a book David Quénéhervé forwarded to me titled "209 Anciennes Familles Subsistances de la Martinique". It's in French but hopefully you'll be able to see it and poke around. The line seems to start with Thomas Garnier born circa 1510 in St. Malo (a town found in Brittany, France). Thomas and his wife Jeanne had about 8 children and one of their sons, Thomas Garnier dit Laroche born in 1648 would travel to Martinique, marry there and stay there until his death. The Lapierre side I haven't really looked into too much but hopefully I'll be able to fill in this tree a little more. Even though they aren't my ancestors their family owned Julienne, her sister and mother and so knowing about them would be a way to get a glimpse into their lives. They (at least the Garnier-Laroche) would be considered part of the Béké community in Martinique who were early French settlers in the Antilles.

The chances are high that the Garnier-Laroche Lapierre family were the owners of the Lautin seeing as how before and after the abolishment of slavery, the Lautins were living with them. I'm not sure however if they would be the original and only owners. We don't know when Eglantine was brought over a slave, maybe in her 20s, or maybe younger. So Eglantine could have been sold right away to the Garnier-Laroche family. What's interesting which David pointed out is that there might exist a record like a notary or will explaining his (Jean Jacques Catherine Lapierre's) property and the slaves he had and what went to Rose Hélène Lapierre and anyone else. Finding this would be a gold mine! Not only because it would hopefully list the Lautin but also because it might provide a clue to the father of Julienne and Pauline. Also in Julienne's and Pauline's birth certificate it mentions that Eglantine was registered under number 192, in Registry C. If only that existed!! It would be amazing to find out where in Africa Eglantine originated from and see what age she would have arrived in Martinique and whether by herself or with other family. There's so much to learn and still figure out about the Lautin family. But I'm grateful for what has been figured out already and very excited to unravel more about these ancestors from Martinique.

Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Rivière Salée (BNPM, Bourgade)

Exploring my Slave Roots in Martinique, Part I

Map of Martinique
Part I

So a lot has happened in these last couple of days! Hopefully this post isn't too longwinded but I want to make sure I have everything written down! So it started on Tuesday, when I figured out that the LDS center I go to, to view microfilm records from Puerto Rico, has records available from Fajardo's church. I headed downtown to see those records because I couldn't wait, there could potentially be someone from my Gustave/Lautin line being baptized in Fajardo. So when I got there I asked for two microfilms, one containing an index of baptisms around the late 1800s and another covering baptisms from the years 1860-1884. The indexes didn't yield any Gustave or Lautin children and I was a bit discouraged, but I decided anyways to check to the baptisms from 1860-1884. Luckily most of the years themselves had indexes so I checked without hesitation. The roll was running out and I was becoming discouraged. The last year indexed was 1881 and it was all or nothing. I looked under "C" for Charles just in case-- nothing. Then I looked at "G" for Gustave/Gustavo-- my heart jumped!! There was a Dionisio Gustavo Gustavo being baptized that year. It had to be my family!! I jotted down the number and head backwards to the folio (page), and there he was! Luckily he matched!

"...nombre de Dionicio a un niño que nació el día nueve de Octubre del año pasado hijo legitimo de Carlos Gustavo y Balvina Gustavo. Abuelos Paternos Carlos y Maria Merianga (Morianga) y los abuelos maternos Pedro Gustavo y Eleantina Loque..." [sic]

So here we got to see the parents which matched and got some grandparents and a new surname! So Carlos Gustavo's parents according to this were Carlos Gustavo (which another document mentioned was him as well, there is some consistency there) and his mother was María Merianga or Morianga. I'm betting the name was warped into something Spanish sounding and that isn't the original spelling as we say with Lotten<Lautin. In the Portail I found some people with the surname Mérange, so it could be something along those lines. Then for the maternal grandparents it mentions Pedro (again) except this time with the surname Gustavo and "Eleantina Loque" which looks super similar to Eglantine Lotten (Lautin). This looks like a mixed formed of Eleuteria and Eglantine which was what another document used. So to me, this is stronger evidence that it wasn't just an error! I was pretty happy with that find, bringing up the number of children from Jean Charles Gustave and Julienne Malvina Lautin to 6! Weirdly a couple of the children don't appear on the 1910 census. (Paulina, Tomás, Alberto and Valentina do appear). What happened to Martina Isabel, Dionisio and Alejandrina (she most likely died in Ponce between 1897-1910).

Unofficial "snake flag" of Martinique
Part II

Yesterday, I was looking around the website which I mentioned before called the Portail de la Banque Numérique. There, I found Julienne Malvina's, Pauline's and Eglantine Lautin's actes d'individualités. When you first open the website there is a map of Martinique with a bunch of little dots on different sections of the map. I decided to zoom in on Rivière Salée and see just what these dots meant. Some held pictures of streets, buildings, and other things in the area but the one that caught my attention said "Esclaves Commune" which held records of slaves from 1830-1841. I was excited at first to search for Julienne and Pauline and potentially find their birth certificates seeing as other slaves were being recorded. I was then saddened to see it only covered from 1830-1841 and another section called "Esclavage Greffes" from 1840-1843, I still looked around and read some of the birth certificates. Then it hit me! In the actes d'individualités, it mentions that they were living in Trois Bourgs, section of Rivière Salée. I decided to type Trois Bourgs into the little search engine in the left corner and got hits stating "Commune de Trois-Bourgs (Rivière Salée/ Trois-Ilets)- populations esclave: naissances, mariages, décès. Copie réglementaire du précédent registre¨. I was ecstatic!! The years 1844 and 1847 were there! I crossed my fingers and first searched in 1844, if I found Julienne and not Pauline I could live- Julienne was my direct line and adding another document to her would be exciting (sounds selfish, but at this point I was desperate for something)! I jumped to the back and found an index. Okay, now let's look under J. Jean Baptiste? No. Julie? Maybe? OMG! Julienne dite Malvina!!!! That's her! (That's what ran through my mind when I found her name in the index). I was so happy to have found her record. Here is her record for those francophones, or even non-francophones,who want to check it out:

Julienne dite Malvina- Naissance
I was also able to find Pauline's birth record in 1847! I was happy to see the years were so exact that I was able to find them easily, whereas in Puerto Rico there were many estimated years and dates of births, deaths and marriages-- even for whites. What's interesting is that Julienne is noted as "négresse" which David Quénéhervé (who helped me spark all this) told me that is an indicator for her dad most likely being a black man himself. So this probably means, that a man on the plantation she was born in, was her father. Probably named Pedro seeing as how that's what is being put on records in Puerto Rico. What's interesting that the person who came forward to declare her birth was "...par la Dame Lapierre, née Forget âgée de soixante quatre ans, sans profession, propriétaire de Sucrerie." So we see that the woman was married to a Lapierre and was born with the surname Forget, she was about 64 years old (born circa 1780) and was a owner of a sugar factory. Then in 1847, in Pauline's birth record we see, "...par la dame Laroche née Lapierre, âgée de quarante sept ans, sans profession, propriétaire, domiciliée dans cette commune Rivière Salée...". Hmm, so this woman was BORN a Lapierre circa 1800s  and married a Laroche. Who could these women be? Have I unlocked the family who owned my Lautin ancestors? More in another post...!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Establishing Ashkenazi Connections

In my last post I mentioned that with the new Ancestry Composition you can interactively highlight certain populations in your chromosome by clicking on the group. I provided one with an Ashkenazi separation for myself and a Sub-Sarahan African separation for my grandfather. I want to chat a bit more about the Ashkenazi group and how I've been able to use those chunks of DNA.

When you glance across my DNA, the Ashkenazi chunks only appear three times in "Standard Estimate". The pieces appear on Chromosome 1, Chromosome 4 and Chromosome 9, and with "Speculative Estimate" I receive another piece on Chromosome 7 and a tiny sliver on Chromosome 11. The cool thing about having multiply people tested from my family is that I can rule out who did or didn't give me some of these genes. The two Chromosomes I want to focus on are Chromosome 1 and Chromosome 4. Both of these Ashkenazi genes on those chromosomes I received through my mother and from her father exclusively.
Ashkenazi Connection on Chromosome 1
Here you can see various Chromosome 1 pieces from different people. The first is myself, the second my mother, the third my mother's brother, and the fourth my mother's father. The last entire blue Chromosome 1 is from my Jewish cousin who as you see when compared to myself, my mother and grandfather match us on the same segment. You can also see that I've circled the piece of Ashkenazi gene I received on my Chromosome 1 from my mother and she in turn received it from her father. What's so cool so that this piece of DNA was passed down without really changing, you can see my uncle even received the same piece of DNA on his first Chromosome. Now I want to look at Chromosome 4 where I match a cousin through Ancestry Finder but doesn't have a public account.
Ashkenazi Connection on Chromosome 4 
Here I decided to show it a bit differently by organizing the bars vertically and creating a rectangle horizontally where the Ashkenazi piece is. You can see that my piece of Ashkenazi is a bit longer than my mother's or even grandfather's yet we all inherited that piece on the same spot on Chromosome 4. 

Now, the only thing is trying to figure out how I got that Ashkenazi gene on those Chromosomes. My grandfather's paternal Haplogroup is J1 and my uncle has J1e (for whatever reason, my uncle was placed under J1e) which is found in significant frequencies across the Middle East, being the most frequent in the Arabian peninsula as well as parts of the Caucasus, Sudan and the Horn of Africa. So this Ashkenazi piece could very well be from the male ancestor who passed down the J1 Haplogroup to the Correas. (My maternal male ancestor is Correa but could be something else further back before Spanish surname conventions were adopted. Also I'm not sure whether my family is connected to Antonio de los Reyes Correa from Arecibo, Puerto Rico since my Correa family is located on the South-Eastern part of the island). I have a 4th cousin on 23andme who shares confirmed Correa ancestry with me. When I search her Chromosome 1 or 4 for Ashkenazi ancestry she appears to not have received any on those specific chromosomes, not even on the Speculative level- this could mean two things. It could mean that this piece of Ashkenazi DNA was inherited through the Correa J1 ancestor but wasn't inherited by her. Or it could mean that it came from another family line which she does not connect with. It would take testing other Correa members and people along my maternal paternal family to figure out where these Ashkenazi links come from. 

Also, are they Spanish Inquisition Jewish roots which were passed down to my family or could it be from an actual Eastern European ancestor? These Jewish cousins have ancestry from Germany, Poland, Austria and Lithuania so who knows for sure what the history behind my Ashkenazi pieces are. Hopefully one day I'll be able to look at the Jewish genes and say "You see those pieces of DNA, they came from So-and-so in our family". 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Puerto Rican Look at: Ancestry Composition

This week, after much anticipation and excitement the new version of 23andme's Ancestry Painting was released! This new version, which replaced Ancestry Painting, is now known as Ancestry Composition. Ancestry Painting lacked populations which only used three main populations Asian (from China/Japan), European (which I think were US-European samples), and then African (using Yoruba samples from Africa). The issue with this was that many people for example that got Asian, couldn't differentiate between Native American Asian and East/South Asian. Ancestry Composition on the other hand has 22 populations which includes samples from all around world. Ancestry Composition is still in its infancy, seeing as it how just came out a few days ago, and there will be much to sort out and update. For example, currently Ancestry Composition can only separate West African and North African. This is unfortunate for many African gene-carrying individuals like myself who have no idea where specifically in Africa their genes came from. 23andme did state that the current African cluster will be broken down further but they are running tests to make sure everything will be in order. So without further ado, here is a Puerto Rican look into Ancestry Composition! [Note: results are still changing around, so these numbers and values are only applicable right now. Things may reflect differently later on.]

My Ancestry Composition

So this is who I am; at least as of a few days ago! Percentages have gone up and down compared to the old Ancestry Painting. We see that my European is significantly lower than what it used to be (75%) and my other levels pretty much stayed the same. 16.1% of me is still unassigned which means that as more samples are collected, hopefully this 16% can find a home for itself amongst the colorful bars. As you can see there are a few tabs on top. The first one called "Map View" allows you also to see "Split View" and "Chromosome View" which I'll show in a bit. Split view only works if you have tested either both or one of your parents and Chromosome View is similar in appearance to the old Ancestry Painting. Also you can see a tab called "Global Resolution" which allows you to hone in more on the various populations which are included. Then you see my name, which you can choose to see other people you're sharing with then you see "Standard Estimate". If you click on that tab, you get "Speculative Estimate", "Standard Estimate", and "Conservative Estimate". I'm not too sure on what exactly the defining difference is between them but I'll show you images of Standard and Speculative so you can see how they differ. Now, I'll show you a more in-depth Global Resolution:

My Ancestry Composition- Standard Estimate
Here you can see various populations which can be found in my DNA. There are some interesting and some expected ones. With European you can see that I'm further broken down into Southern and Northern European, and then from there even more. So 20.1% is Iberian which is very expected and 0.5% Italian which is also sorta expected. Then I get 0.2% British and French, which is interesting since in AncestryDNA I get 13% British Isles. Also I want to point out the "Nonspecific Southern European" and "Nonspecific Northern European". These mean that segments of my DNA can be found amongst these groups yet are widely distributed amongst them that they can't pinpoint exactly which subgroup it belongs to. So there could be more British in there somewhere amongst the 19.9% but isn't specific to just the British Isles. Interestingly enough I get Ashkenazi at 0.5%, I've seen cousins in my Ancestry Finder who claim Ashkenazi Jewish roots so I knew somewhere far back I'd have to have some too. It most likely comes from old Spanish Jewish roots or maybe a Eastern European ancestor which is also very possible. Then you can see I have 16.1% Sub-Saharan African which includes all of West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa- my ancestry from there most likely comes from Western Africa due to the slave trade. Next you can see 11.1% East Asian and Native American, with a 8.6% further divided into Native American- definitely real and most likely from my Taino ancestors (there were also Arawaks, Caribs and even Mayan from Mexico present in Puerto Rico (Mayan through labor trades), then a <0.1% East Asian which I'm guessing is just noise and then you can see 2.5% Nonspecific East Asian and Native American. Lastly, you can see 0.1% which arrives from Northern Africa. My Speculative Estimate tells a little bit of a different story!

My Ancestry Composition- Speculative Estimate
I tend to lean more to this estimate which to me hopefully fits more of my ancestry. I say this because with my Martiniquan ancestors, there should have been some French estimated into my percentages (of course, if no French ever mingled with my ancestors that could be possible as well, but in those times slaves were mistreated as well as raped). I'll let you glance at it, I don't want to make this post too long. You can see some numbers have gone up while others have gone done. But still, 100% me :) Next I'll show you the Split View option which I can see since I've test at least one parent.

My Ancestry Composition- Split View
So here you can see how I've inherited from my mother's and father's side. My mother's side gave me more unassigned as well as much more Sub-Saharan African yet less European. You can also see that the 0.1% North African I receive earlier in my Map View comes from my mother's side of the family. Interestingly, both sides gave me roughly 5-6% East Asian & Native American. Split view is an awesome option for those who might have tested only one parent or wants to figure out which side of the family gave them what. The next few shots will include different "Chromosome View"snapshots.

My Ancestry Composition- Chromosome View
So I'll begin of course with my Standard Estimate of the Chromosome View. As you can there are a ton of nice colors flowing in and out throughout my chromosomes, this is my gene's artwork. Here you can see two bars for each chromosome, except the X which I received one of from my mother. The DNA has also been phased with smoothes out a lot of the colors allowing it to flow easier instead of looking like this (the old Ancestry Painting image with spliced chunks of colors):

My Ancestry Painting 
Now I want to show you my Speculative Estimate with all the previous populations from the Map View. Here is how they change up my DNA colors:

My Ancestry Composition- Speculative Estimate
Here you can see all the further divided colors and what's cool about the new Ancestry Composition is that it's a bit interactive. Meaning that if I want to see where in your DNA a certain population appears you can click on the population and that color becomes isolated while the others fade a bit away allowing you to see those pieces of your genes. For example, I did it twice with my Ashkenazi genes as well as my French and German genes:

My Ancestry Composition- Ashkenazi Population
My Ancestry Composition- French/German Population
What's very interesting is that practically one of my pairs from Chromosome 19 is practically all French/German. Interestingly none of my other family members receive such a huge chunk. Also, you can see the spread out pieces of Ashkenazi genes, one of them on Chromosome 1. Interestingly enough, I match a German/Polish cousin who has Ashkenazi genes on that same chromosome and most likely on that same spot. (I'll probably dedicate another post to that match). Lastly I want to show you my grandfather's Chromosome View with Sub-Saharan African highlighted. He is who has received genes from his 2nd great grandparents from Martinique. You can see he has received a lot of long African segments due to his relatively close ancestry with slaves.

Abuelo's Ancestry Composition- Sub-Saharan African Population
You can also see he has French/German ancestry (I want to point out this is the Speculative View which I feel is more correct to my family history). I'm no expert on DNA and genes but I'm learning a lot from these results about my family and what I carry and hopefully one day pass to my children. You can see that there are a lot of populations/ areas of the world which contribute to who I am and hopefully one day I'll know more stories of my African ancestry as well as my Native and European ancestry. Hopefully soon enough Sub-Saraharan will be divided further but until then I'm happy so far with these results! I'll keep posting about interesting finds with the new Ancestry Composition!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Early Christmas Miracle!

Two days ago I got a really nice Christmas miracle. Ironically or coincidentally,  every time I help someone out with something genealogical, I get, or rather gave myself, something back in return. I never do anything expecting something back, rather I love genealogy and love providing help whenever I can squeeze myself in. I do believe everything happens for a reason and there is some sort of system of Karma set into place in our world. But enough about that, and onto genealogy!

A couple of days ago I was chatting with my grandmother about her dad's family. My great grandfather is still alive at 90 years old but due to his health he isn't very knowledgeable about genealogical queries. I was looking into one of his dad's sibling's family who relocated to Vega Alta from Vega Baja. [This isn't too important but provides the background]. So I attempted to find some children born in Vega Alta with the last name Calderon and came across something completely different by chance. Another spark!

I came across someone born with the surname Charles! Seeing as this name isn't too common due to its foreign introduction, I decided to track down the person's birth certificate. On the child's birth certificate, it stated that her father was from England and her mother from Vieques, Puerto Rico. Seeing as how Vieques is where my Charles family most likely passed by, I decided to follow up on Jorge Charles, the father of the registered child. Typing Jorge Charles into the Ancestry search bar gave me something very interesting.

Ever since I discovered my Charles/Gustave(o) family I've searched these surnames throughout the various census records, family trees available and another other possibility where they might pop up. Yet, for whatever reason something new appeared yesterday. A passport registration appeared for a Tomas Charles. My heart jumped!! If this man was somehow related to me, then there would be a picture attached and I could get a glance of a child of Juan Carlos Gustavo and Juliana Lotin.

Looking at the Passport Application so many things jumped out at me: Tomas Charles was born in Vieques, his profession was a carpenter, he was living in Guanica before heading out to La Romana, Dominican Republic before his re-entry into Puerto Rico and lastly his deceased father's name was Gustavo J. Charles. I was beyond sure that he was a 3rd great granduncle. Many things matched and overlapped with the information I previously had, but I needed more solid proof.

Luckily Tomas re-entered Puerto Rico to reside, providing me with his wife's name as well as his childrens'. I headed over to the Yauco and Guanica records to find information to help me prove his relation to me. The main record which I'll talk about is his marriage record to Ramona Cortes which mentions his last names as Charles Lotin! Here we see the surname which appears first in 1885 as Lotten and here in 1918 as Lotin. Interestingly since most of the other children (or rather the writers) by this year were providing very different variations. I'm glad to see that Lotin is SO close to Lautin which to me proves that there was just a small discrepancy between the Spanish and French spellings. Here is a clip of the marriage certificate:

Tomas Charles Lotin, and his parents listed in the marriage certificate
Here we also see that his father appears as Juan Charles, natural from Guadeloupe and his mother Juliana B. Lotin, natural from Martinique. I wonder why Juan appears sometimes from Guadeloupe, did he arrive from Guadeloupe to Martinique and then later they traveled to Puerto Rico? Or was there just some confusion on some of the information? So much to still discover about him!

So he definitely is related to me! Also, Tomas was still living in Puerto Rico in 1910 so he appears in the census and interestingly enough a nephew is listed as Jose Rosado Charles. So turns out there is another sister named Alejandrina who also lived in Ponce and had this child with Pedro Rosado!! Alejandrina most likely died between 1897-1910 seeing as how Jose was living with Tomas in 1910. 

Back to the passport! So now that I had my confirmation I could accept this new branch to my tree. And with it came pictures which literally were a gold mine! I was able to look back five generations to how my ancestor's sibling looked phenotypically and also giving me a small glance into how Maria Paulina Gustavo would have looked like. 

Tomas' description in the passport goes as follows: Age: 48 years; Stature: 5 feet, 8 inches; Forehead: High; Eyes: Black; Nose: Large; Mouth: Large; Chin: Round; Hair: Black-grayish; Face: Round. And finally here is his picture!

Tomas Charles Lotin
I couldn't believe it and as I stare at the picture I still can't. If you look at my profile picture you can see that I'm pretty light, actually very light. I'm able to tan and get some color and it can be noticeable, but it takes me being out under the sun to tan. But nonetheless, a lot of people probably wouldn't believe that this was a relative of mine by blood. Yet if you look at my grandfather and then his father (Manuel Correa- who's picture is here in the blog), you'll notice that each generation further back gets progressively darker and not just 'native' darker but African darker. Also, his wife registered for a passport and his children were photographed as well so it shows another generation closer to me. Here it is: 

[Family Charles Cortes] Ines (left), Hipolito (top), Juan (bottom) and Ramona (right)   
You can also see that Ramona is much lighter than Tomas yet their children are pretty dark, Ines darker than Juan and Hipolito.

I'm to happy to have extended my Charles/Gustavo Lotin family collaterally to include 6 children in total. So far I've only found one death certificate so there's still a lot of searching to be done! I'm hopeful that I'll found some cousins along the way you can add sometime to these families. I'm just waiting for another little miracle to happen ;)