She was a beautiful, young Irish maid, working in a wealthy English household. Her employer’s oldest son fell in love with her. When he announced intentions to marry her, his parents said they would disown him. He married her anyway. Then, bride and groom ran away to live happily ever after. “Her name was Mary Cordial,” my maternal grandmother Marilyn Matilda Dietz told me, that distinct glimmer of pleasure in her eyes—the one she always had when she retold this story. “And you are her legacy.”

This blog is a resource for those who want to--have to--find out more about who they came from.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It Takes A Family Tree

Does DNA give us much more than we originally thought?

Have you ever looked up certain branches of you family tree and noticed a trend or a pattern of behavior present across three or more generations? Epigenetics just might explain all that.

I have often wondered how it came to be that four generations of men in a certain branch of my family tree (possibly more--I still have a brick wall there to break down) have all had a wanderlust that drove them far from home, by land and by sea, even though circumstances separate these men in ways that make the much more simple idea that this was learned behavior highly unlikely.

Epigenetics--the idea that a grandparents' life experiences can shape who you are--may indeed play a role in such trends. The subtitle for the article claims "Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain."

Read the article here, and decide for yourself:
Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes by Dan Hurley, Discover, June 11th, 2013.

Thoughts about this avenue of study? Post 'em if you've got 'em.

Image above courtesy of rajcreationzs /