Monday, November 20, 2006

Y-DNA Genealogy origin of Shrecongast / PTSD

BY: William Lawrence Schreck, Jr.

Last week we introduced the idea of Genetic Genealogy. This is the realm of DNA – formally, deoxyribonuclecic acid; informally, the building block of life and your personal zip-code among humanity.

We could look at it from a planetary perspective – all living things are composed of DNA, and each evolved into something a bit different through mutations. Genealogy is, in reality, a microscopic snippet in the evolutionary time spans; but it does echo, or reveal, it.

Evolution is either periodic or forced mutation at the DNA level. In the case of mutation, we see an average, but consistent, change which reveals when a given ancestral line separated – when two lines shared a common ancestor, with all lines reverting to a common ancestor.

At each level, we are the product of our pedigree – all those who went before us – and our parents. More specifically, we are the product of every male in our father’s line and every female in our mother’s line.

To be even more specific, every male is the product of every father in his genetic line, and a woman is the product of every mother in her maternal line. In addition – and this upsets those favoring patriarchal constructs – each of us is also the end result of every mother in our father’s mother’s ancestry.

The “sex” genome, the X (mtDNA) or Y (Y-DNA) chromosome is the thing which marks our direct ancestry. To this add the pedigree genes – those odd pieces of DNA that were passed by every other ancestor and managed to be passed again.

Your pedigree depicts your “tribal” association and link to every other person on the planet. You may think you are Irish, but your genes will tell the history of Ireland and the various invaders; as well as the wives who were ancient captives or slaves from other cultures.

When we do our genealogy we have the opportunity to match the paper trail to our internal zip-code, by enlisting genetic DNA testing.
If you are afraid of your own ancestry – or among those who do not believe in evolution – you don’t want to know. Those who have the curiosity, and really want to know where they came from, must know.

One of the nicest things about the process is that it is a major study area. Thus, there are all kinds of educational organizations looking for database information. This means the possibility of free testing.

One free test I learned about, then utilized, is done by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF is online Ph 1-800-344-7643), who will provide a free 12 allele – 12 marker – test to anyone who can provide a pedigree with at least one ancestral line that goes back before 1900.

Anyone who participates in building the SMGF database will receive a significant discount on a more expansive test with a certified result.
I’ll cover terminology, and understanding you genetic zip-code, in separate column; for now, the key is that 12 markers matched to the database yields real distant regional family connections, and roughly how long ago you shared a common ancestor.

The free test protocol does not yield a report – you need to check their online database for your surname (no personal identification); and this is great for Y-DNA. I do not suggest SMGF for women who do not plan to take advantage of the discount offer. (To be continued.)

We ended last week with the free DNA genealogy test offered by SMGF and the statement that it is not suggested for women who do not plan to take advantage of the discount offer.

As text messaging kids would say, “the mtDNA search sux”; it requires a knowledge of at least one marker; and because women are surname changer, there is no reliable cross generational link.

For now, the Y-DNA search has proved to be the most revealing. As you know, I was adopted and my folks kept all the paperwork I would need to track biological origins – even though the methodology had yet to be discovered.

Thank’s to the Internet, the Mormon quest for genealogical salvation, and Yahoo spawned Google, we have a searchable database of family histories – plus related world history, geography and analysis – to draw upon in the quest for understanding our personal origins.

DNA genealogy appears to be an integral part of that quest.

There is a base reality, surnames and paper trails are relatively new to our civilization. Even our language is new – English, as we know it, did not exist five hundred years ago. The same could be said for every language with an evolved literacy standard.

Oral history distorts, and forgets. It is when humanity writes down the thought and fact of an age that we are able to accurately look back and see the pattern of civilization. What better way to examine that pattern than by finding where our line contributed?

In a prior column (14 June), I have mentioned D’Ros et St Clair, and Henry Sinclair who spent a year with the Micmac in 1398. Henry returned to Scotland and, in 1446 his son constructed Rosslyn Chapel – mentioned in Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” as resting place for the Virgin Mary. DNA might show physical evidence of the visit.

Naturally, some Micmac would hate to think their family, who would, several generations later, greet post-Columbus French and English, where themselves European nobility.

What a potentially upsetting thought, to be native American and yet not be – rather to find you are a “white man.” Does it detract from the reality of ones life, this DNA possibility?

“The Da Vinci Code” detractors became upset about a book which argued a documented paper trail and a 2,000 year mtDNA link proved Jesus was a dad. But the best DNA could provide was a clue to the mtDNA of both Biblical Mary’s – mother and companion.

Brown’s book doesn’t even challenge scripture – in Noah, the sons of God mate with daughters of man to create a humanity whose lives can only span 120 years. Clearly only the ignorant would be upset; the faithful might assert that he who said he affirmed scripture had, in this regard, in fact, affirmed it by example.

Obviously DNA genealogy, even when associated with a solid paper trail, the best that can be achieved is an inference; but often, as we shall see, that is both sufficient and, at times, significant.

Imagine an ancestral surname, from a time when surnames were only first becoming mandatory. Like many names in the period, the name is descriptive – translated as “to frighten/scare” in conjunction with either “guest” or “cold sweat.” The task: Explain the name.

DNA is history we all carry within us through the millennia, a story embedded, an ancient blood-whisper of life from the dawn of time to the next generation after today .

We look at the paper trail of a human pedigree and declare the proof of our ancestry; but the paper trail conceals what the authors didn’t want recorded.

I was adopted, absent the adoption papers – which my wise father so carefully preserved – generations hence would only have a trial that would lead to Galician Sokolów, or Belarusian Slutsk Mirak. For both the trail would end in some ancient archive, or Holocaust museum.

The paper trail would be solid and yet false, just as it would be if the trail concealed a pre-nuptial, or marital, indiscretion. Genealogy as sided by DNA, gives life to the hidden trail. We are still owners of the paper trail, but it is augmented by the blood-whisper.

Last week I asked you to imagine an ancestral surname taken when such family names were rare, and only first becoming required. The name was given to an infant – there is no known record of his parents – and was recorded Wingeshausen Lutheran Church register in 1639.

There we have the start of the paper trail, a church record, in an area decimated by disease during, but spared the military ravages of, The Thirty Year’s War – a religious war between the newly emerging Protestant and the established Catholic noble hierarchies.

Facts? Checking this region of modern Germany, we find that the only other related, or similar, names are either descendants of the infant, or well established pre-holocaust Judaic lines. A descendant line came to Pennsylvania in 1764; and again, all American lines are connect to the same origin – now numbering one percent of America.

The name we are seeking has many variant spellings, but phonetically the origin seems to be either shrek’n+angst or shrek’n+geste. Shek, or Shrek (of movie fame); a name which was known in WWII as Das Schreck – to “frighten” or “terrorize” – with bombs from the sky.

The second part is either “cold sweat” or “guest” (as in visitor).

Explain the name. Certainly it is not a job, or a place of origin – both normal surname origins. This leaves a personal description: either “frightened into a cold sweat” or “a scary guest”; but which is it?

Historically, it was a time of war, but the mountainous region had not been touched by it. Disease had ravaged the region, as it had all regions in the period. So we turn to the DNA and suddenly the guest is eliminated. The Y-DNA is not consistent with an invading army.

There is a perfect Haplotype (genetic group) match. More important, within the general population, two component markers are relatively rare. The blood is Saxon-German, from a minority population known as Sorb (area of origin for Ashkenazi-Levite Yiddish).

The Sorbian place of origin was a major battleground during the years immediately preceding the infant’s birth. The Thirty Years’ War, the war of Cardinal Richelieu immortalized in “The Three Musketeers”, was the first to utilize artillery as a weapon of terror.

We do not know the parents, but we know the father’s origin, the Sorb battlefields. The parents were from away, “guests” in the region; but we might also have the first solid description of PTSD, shell-shock, “frightened into a cold sweat” Is it an interesting historical footnote?

R1a Haplotype #17: The highest European frequencies for this haplotype falls in Russia and Romania. Russian and Eastern European matches appear to predominate throughout. This haplotype most likely came to Britain with Norse Vikings or the Normans. The Scandinavian element involved was most likely Swedish rather than Norwegian. An alternative origin among Roman troops of Gothic, Herulian or Sarmatian descent is always possible as well.
R1a Haplotype #17: Shreknangst:
DYS19 = 17 17*
DYS389i = 13 12*
DYS389ii = 29 29
DYS390 = .... 24*
DYS391 = 11 11*^
DYS392 = 11 11*
DYS393 = 13 13*
DYS385a = ... 11
DYS385b = ... 14
* Sorb markers
^ mutation from 11 to 10 for Ashkenazi-Levite
The next phase is to determine what Y-DNA lines match the markers identified here which are within the established Shrekangst / Shrecongost family lines , and then also identify any other lines which lack the surname but retain the Y-DAN association,

The point to be made is that we have a family name which appears to establish the first clear identification of PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) as being in 1639 – specifically identified with “Terrified” or “Frightened” Guests to a district located in the area and jurisdiction of Bad Berleburg, Wittgenstein Germany.

These guests are, based on Y-DNA, Sorbian in origin – refugees from the battles associated with the first serious utilization of artillery. Moreover, they are located in the only region where the war was not a factor. Bohemian attacks ravaged the Sorbian area between 1618 and 1623, venturing westward to the Palatinate district south of Wittgenstein; 1625 and 1629 saw the war connect to Denmark, with the major battles in the Sorbian regions; 1630 to 1635 saw the Swedes join the conflict, bringing more destruction to the Sorbian lands; between 1635 and 1648, the French invaded the Western regions below Wittgenstein. Thus we have the forces for refugee movement – for Saxon Sorbian – westward across the historic Saxon territories. What migrations might have headed into the area of Minsk, and settled in Belarusian Slutsk Mirak, is a subject for different Y-DNA researchers.

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