Clannishness, Clans and Locating Ancestral Origins?

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JayMan in Jayman’s Blog which focuses on Human BioDiversity (HBD) has recently been writing a series about clans, clannishness and where the people in these groups came from.  His focus has really been on differences between groups of people, but it occurs to me that this information can also be used in reverse.  For example, if your ancestors are found in a particular location, you can use these tools to perhaps gain some insight into their origins, or at least where you might want to first look, and why.

Let me also say that exceptions are always possibilities.  For example, my line of Estes family came from Deal in Kent and settled in Virginia.  But one of my Abraham Estes’s cousins did settle in New England.  So take a look and enjoy.

Ranking of the Clannishness of the Founding Fathers

Maps of the American Nations

There’s a Facebook Group for Surname Distribution Mapping as well you might want to follow.

30 thoughts on “Clannishness, Clans and Locating Ancestral Origins?

  1. Sad to see a lot of racism and homophobia in what Jayman writes. Surprised you are sharing this given his support for a very damaging gay germ theory. Otherwise, love all the great blog posts lately Roberta!

    • Hi Byron, Wasn’t aware and haven’t seen his “gay germ” theory. I shared this post because I felt it would be helpful to genealogists. I do want to say, for the record, that I firmly believe in equal opportunity for everyone regardless of color, sex, religion or sexual preference, or anything else anyone can think of. I feel discrimination is wrong, however it is applied, to or by whomever applies it. Roberta

      • JayMan, Thanks for your thought provoking maps. In your blog on Cavaliers, your focus on antebellum slave owners’ decadence takes the wind out of Byron Estes’ charge of racism. However, you also said “Indeed, in the Tidewater, some Blacks even became slave-owning plantation lords themselves. This was never the case in the Deep South, as a strict racial caste system was established…”

        What about William Johnson? He was a wealthy, black slave owner in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, the county adjacent to Jefferson Davis’ childhood home in the Deep South.

        Overlooking this historical inaccuracy, I found your map on the U.K. origins of early Americans agrees with my own research efforts to discover U.K. origins. Most of my ancestors settled in what you call “Virginia and the lowland south.” My Vincent surname research takes me back to Virginia about 1670. My other ancestors are also from there, some as early as 1618.

        The 1841 British Census indicates most of the 400+ men named John Vincent were from the southwestern U.K., the same area you indicate in your map. Thanks for confirming my research.

      • Don’t want to get into a shouting match, but Jayman you let several commenters on your blog say very homophobic things without calling them on the carpet. You yourself start talking about “gay face” and make it quite clear that you think homosexuality is a disease manifestation. You also state several times that you can see no benefit to the individual or society from this manifestation – making clear that gays don’t provide any benefit to human society from a genetics point of view. To your credit, you do ask what impact acceptance of your “germ theory” might have on how gay people are treated, so I respect that. If proven, I suspect that the impact will be pretty horrendous.

      • Ron V., I am not suggesting that Jayman is racist but a couple of his links are to sites that try to use a genetics argument for the expansion of western imperialism across the globe 500 years ago. I don’t question his right to support these arguments, but IMHO most of these approaches end up being racist and provide an explanation or cover story for the conquest of whole continents. They make what happened seem like an inevitability because of “superior” genes. It’s a short leap from this to more onerous beliefs . . . as we’ve seen over and over again. That said, I really do enjoy his mapping and his questing mind – the same reasons I love genetic genealogy.

      • @Byron Estes:

        I don’t want to get into a shouting match either, but since you have clarified your charges, I want to defend my writing.

        “Don’t want to get into a shouting match, but Jayman you let several commenters on your blog say very homophobic things without calling them on the carpet”

        I don’t control what my commenters write, nor do I endorse what they say. If you notice, I often do take them to task when they make faulty claims. But I find that I don’t really have the time and go through and address all the nonsense that comes my way (indeed, I barely have time for this, I have 7-week old 😉 ).

        “You yourself start talking about ‘gay face’ and make it quite clear that you think homosexuality is a disease manifestation.”

        Because there is evidence that this is the case. Either way, this is an empirical claim. It is either true, or it is not true. The world is how it is, how can investigating such and the discoveries that come from this possibly be bigoted?

        “You also state several times that you can see no benefit to the individual or society from this manifestation – making clear that gays don’t provide any benefit to human society from a genetics point of view”

        No benefit to the individual in an evolutionary sense, that is it does not assist the individual carrying such putative genes from leaving more copies of these genes in the gene pool going forward. That is how all life came to be. When we’re trying to understand the evolutionary origin of a trait, this is all that matters. You seriously misunderstand me if you think I’ve said otherwise.

        “To your credit, you do ask what impact acceptance of your “germ theory” might have on how gay people are treated, so I respect that. If proven, I suspect that the impact will be pretty horrendous.”

        Unfortunately, I’m inclined to agree. Although, for the record, odds are that gays aren’t carriers of the pathogen (it is likely a childhood infection, one that is long since gone in adults).

      • @Byron Estes:

        “I am not suggesting that Jayman is racist but a couple of his links are to sites that try to use a genetics argument for the expansion of western imperialism across the globe 500 years ago.”

        Between The 10,000 Year Explosion (by Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending), the work of Gregory Clark (including his latest book The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility) which charts the impact on wealth on the number of surviving descendents, and the work of Richard Lynn examining the roots of national differences in productivity (all of which are linked to in my Fundamentals page), and the research of the tireless blogger hbd* chick, and others, it is clear that history as we know it can be explained in good part by the forces of evolution (itself shaped in part by geography and such – Jared Diamond was on the right track, but didn’t go far enough). So yes, genes are involved in that and all other historical events, and there’s plenty of evidence for such, even if the precise role of evolution is still very much a work in progress.

        “I don’t question his right to support these arguments, but IMHO most of these approaches end up being racist and provide an explanation or cover story for the conquest of whole continents.”

        The facts are what they are. Justifications are a human product. Indeed, if all your moral justifications rest on certain assumptions about the way the world is, they you may be in trouble, because what if your assumptions turn out to be wrong?

        For the record, I too firmly believe in equal opportunity for everyone regardless of color, sex, religion or sexual preference, or anything else anyone can think of. I feel discrimination is wrong, however it is applied, to or by whomever applies it.

        Indeed, that’s a routine challenge I encounter when talking about what I do, as you may see.

        “They make what happened seem like an inevitability because of ‘superior’ genes.”

        Regardless of whether or not this explanation is correct, there is an explanation. I don’t see why we must restrict it to being certain pre-determined things (regardless of whether not those things are true) because we fear consequences.

        In any case, that’s my defense of my work here. I hope I’ve cleared things up for everyone. 🙂

  2. Have you seen anybody writing blogs about Asian DNA aspects? My kids are Korean adoptees and I am wondering about Korean clans and if you can see a pattern in DNA among members of individual Korean clans.

  3. I was also dismayed at the bias in this link. I think it shows a group that is very much devoted to pointing out the differences in our world and using a derogatory and mocking tone towards many ethnic groups. I read some of the links in this person’s blog and was surprised that you recommended it.

    • I haven’t read everything on his blog, but what I did see is that he and his wife are mixed-race, so I’m surprised. Please don’t interpret the reference to these articles, which I do think are useful, as a blanket endorsement for his blog or views otherwise. I did not and still have not reviewed his entire blog. I simply found what I thought would be useful to folks trying to find their ancestors.

  4. In reference to the American Nations Today, my very German grandfather would not agree with Wisconsin being Yankeedom. And my mother-in-law is second generation Swedish from Minnesota. The people I know from Michigan are either Slavic or Native American/Scots mix.

    The census map shows American claimed by the residents in the Tennessee region. Researching my father-in-laws family they are mostly German/Swiss Lutheran who have anglicized their last names. this is in Greene County, Tennessee. For example: Wampfler became Wampler, Kettering became Catron, Fry has it’s origins in Joerg Frey, from Switzerland. They are somewhat mixed with Beals and Salmons of British Isles descent.

    • Michigan is very mixed in terms of origins. It’s also a very large state. In the area where I live, most of the original settlers were from New York and they names the counties and cities after the places they left. In other places, it’s entirely different. The UP, for example, had a very heavy Cornish settlement due to the mines.

  5. I moved to PEI a small Island that has frequent cousin to cousin marriages and struggled to understand the rampant “clannishness” of the community. The biological drive this article suggests fits very well with the picture. Thank you for sharing and interesting perspective. This has also given me some insight into the drives and factors that shaped the lives of the founding fathers that shaped my family tree. I have found cousin to cousin marriages in several of the early lines.

  6. Yes it is very mixed. I know people mostly in Grand Rapids, Holland, Ludington, and on the UP I have some German/Luxembourg family.

  7. I’m glad you liked my post, and I’m glad you found it informative. If anyone has any questions on the topic, feel free to ask. I would definitely recommend reading David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America and Colin Woodard’s American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America for those who are interested in this topic.

  8. Hi Roberta, I found the maps very informative with the migrations! As quite a few of my 23&me links are coming from “Western Yankeedom”! I haven’t read through all of the links & posts yet, but I am sure that anyone can find bias in any chart that regionalise’s the different cultures that America has preserved in it’s many pockets. Me being a Yankee in the Deep South and having been married to 2 southerners from different aspects, and how they view others differently than I do. I hope to tie in how my many ancestors came from different places in Europe and ended up intermingling with different nationalities & religions. Puritans with Quakers, Methodists with Catholic, etc. Thank You for sharing this! Cathee

  9. Hi Roberta, I found the maps very informative with the migrations! As quite a few of my 23&me links are coming from “Western Yankeedom”! I haven’t read through all of the links & posts yet, but I am sure that anyone can find bias in any chart that regionalise’s the different cultures that America has preserved in it’s many pockets. Me being a Yankee in the Deep South and having been married to 2 southerners from different aspects, and how they view others differently than I do. I hope to tie in how my many ancestors came from different places in Europe and ended up intermingling with different nationalities & religions. Puritans with Quakers, Methodists with Catholic, etc. Thank You for sharing this! Cathee

  10. On the “Map of American Nations”, I found that corridor from Yankeedom through The Midlands to El Norte interesting. That, my friends, was the route of the Santa Fe Trail, later more or less followed by the AT&SF railway. One of the major migration routes as the original Thirteen turned their gaze westward on the way to becoming “from sea to shining sea.” It was the route taken by my patrilineal line out of Illinois.

  11. http://mki.wisc.edu/Ethnic/ethn-his.html

    Germans in Wisconsin

    Although Germans were the most numerous ethnic group to settle in Wisconsin and have had the greatest impact on the cultural life of the state, they were also the most diverse in their regional, occupational, and religious backgrounds. Some were farmers, while others were skilled craftsmen. Some were Catholic, others Protestant, and still others Jews or “free thinkers.” Nor did they come from a single, unified “Germany” for most of the nineteenth century–rather there was a collection of many German-speaking kingdoms in northern and central Europe.

    German immigration to Wisconsin occurred in three waves. The first, from 1845 to 1860, was primarily made up of settlers from the southwestern German states, such as Bavaria and Wurtenburg, who were compelled to leave Europe by crop failures and agricultural consolidation. For these immigrants, southern Wisconsin provided both available, inexpensive farmland and the growing city of Milwaukee, soon to be dubbed “the German Athens.” Many of these Germans were also liberal intellectuals fleeing the failed revolutions of 1848; Carl and Margarethe Schurz are the best known of these “Forty-eighters.” The second wave of immigration (1865-1875) came from German states in northern Europe such as Hanover and Westphalia. These immigrants were also generally small farm holders caught in the midst of the agricultural depression as cheap American wheat flooded European markets. The final wave of immigration came from the northeastern German states, such as Prussia and Pomerania, from 1875 to 1890. This was the largest and poorest group of immigrants, again made up largely of displaced agricultural labor.

    Germans established communities throughout Wisconsin, but the “core” German area– where the greatest numbers of Germans settled–is really a rectangle of land with Milwaukee, Dane, Brown, and Taylor Counties at the corners. By 1900, there were nearly 270,000 Germans in Wisconsin, and almost a third of all Wisconsin citizens had been born in Germany! Unlike other ethnic groups, however, German ethnic identity was not just transplanted from Europe but rather was a product of Wisconsin: immigrants at first thought of themselves as “Prussians,” “Bavarians,” or “Rhinelanders,” not as “Germans.” A common written language, social institutions, and necessary cultural compromises with American society gradually produced a unified German- American culture and society.

    This German culture has been important in Wisconsin in many aspects. German athletic and social clubs (Turnverein) and singing clubs (Liederkranz) lasted well into the twentieth century and still exist in Milwaukee and other cities. German-style polka music is still popular throughout the state, and Oktoberfest is celebrated annually in many communities. Beer, bratwurst, and sauerkraut are ubiquitous in the state, whether they be found in a Bavarian Beirgarten on a Friday night or in the parking lot of Lambeau Field on a Sunday afternoon.

    For further reading:

    Fred L. Homes, Old World Wisconsin, 2nd ed., 1990.
    Sylvia Hall Holubetz, Farewell to the Homeland: European Immigration to N.E. Wisconsin, 1840-1900, 1984.
    James P. Leary, Wisconsin Folklore, 1998.
    Richard Zeitlin, Germans in Wisconsin, 1977.
    Back to top

  12. Sorry, but I find this guy’s pontifications just so much pseudo-science hogwash. It’s not worth repeating in support of anything. Maybe he’ll offer the genetic origin of Bigfoot.

  13. Byron, I went to the site and came to the same conclusion you did. Not a site I will revisit when there is so much available.

  14. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – General Information Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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