1000 Years

This posting isn’t just a travelogue; stick with me and there will be a segue to Irish genealogy.

During our week in the Red Rock Country of Arizona, we’ve visited several historic sites including three National Monuments: Montezuma Well, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot. The National Park Service website posts the following information about Tuzigoot:

Crowning a desert hilltop is an ancient pueblo…Tuzigoot is an ancient village or pueblo built by a culture known as the Sinagua. The pueblo consisted of 110 rooms including second and third story structures. The first buildings were built around A.D. 1000. The Sinagua were agriculturalists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles. The people left the area around 1400.

It was fascinating to view the cliff dwellings and imagine the people who’d lived there. What happened to the Sinagua? Could Sinagua descendants trace their origins back to these pueblo locations despite the passage of 600-1000 years? It seems very unlikely.

Here comes the connection to Irish genealogy, albeit a stretch: I recently read an article written by Dr. Tyrone Bowes entitled “Using Your DNA to Pin Point Your Irish Genetic Homeland” (published in Irish Roots magazine, 2012 Number 2). Dr. Bowes is an experienced scientist who has combined his interest in biology, history, and geography to uncover his family history. His supposition is that one can use Irish surnames and Y chromosome DNA testing to identify a ‘Genetic Homeland’, i.e., where your ancestors lived 1000 years ago. Here are a few key points quoted from Bowes’ article:

The Genetic Homeland is the location where one’s ancestors lived for 100’s if not 1000’s of years, it is the area where he first took his surname, where he left his mark in the place names and castles of that area, and in the DNA of its current inhabitants…

It is truly remarkable to think that a simple swab of cheek cells can prove that my Irish ancestors lived in County Laois over 1000 years ago. The process works remarkably well specifically because of our unique Irish heritage; Ireland was the first country in Europe to adopt Surnames…

When I discovered how to pinpoint a Genetic Homeland I realized that the resources that one would need to attempt this process were not available. The Irish Origenes website was therefore created to fill that need. The website contains background information, databases, and a range of novel Irish maps that will help people to understand, interpret, and to put their DNA results in a historical context.

More information (e.g., “Use Your DNA to Rediscover Your Irish Heritage”) can be viewed at www.irishorigenescom. The site links to Scottish Origenes and English Origenes as well as maps and case studies.

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