Tag Archives: genetics

Cecil Sharp on Appalachian Americans

I may have referred here to Cecil Sharp, the English folklorist who visited Virginia just over a century ago. He, along with his American assistant,  wanted to collect any folk songs of English origin that may still have been extant in that part of the country, and he found a great many old English ballads that were still preserved amongst the people of the Appalachians. Keep in mind that this is the part of the South that is said to have been settled mostly by Celtic  ‘Scots-Irish’ or Irish people, so this would seem an odd place to go looking for English folk songs and lore. Still, Sharp and his assistant were not disappointed in their quest, and Sharp wrote of the similarities between the rural Appalachian folk and their counterparts back in England.

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This blog points out that Sharp’s descriptions stand in stark contrast to the stereotypes of people from that region that are popularly believed today. Here’s another site which is a good source of information about the subject.

As I love traditional music and all sorts of folklore I am fascinated by the story of Cecil Sharp and his mission to collect and help preserve the musical traditions of Appalachia. His work led to a cooperative effort between traditional music scholars and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, in order to keep these traditions alive.

The demographic changes that are being imposed on even the more remote areas of the Southern U.S. will no doubt contribute to a weakening and possible loss of the culture and heritage overall. It is just not true that a culture can be preserved by just anybody; a culture is the product of a specific people, an extended kin-group who are genetically from the same source.  If a culture is a disembodied thing that can be transferred to any random ‘recipient’ then it is a museum piece, no longer a living tradition.

I hate to make this political, but there’s just no way around it. A people must be preserved in order for their culture to survive and continue.

 

 

The ‘English diet’

It’s pretty rare that the British press ever has anything positive to say about anything traditionally English, so this article from 2011 is a rarity. According to this, the ‘English diet could save thousands of Welsh, Scottish and Irish lives.’ Apparently, some think the English diet is healthier than the diet followed by the average Welsh, Scots, or Irish household.

The British media, like the American media, are always scolding and nagging readers about ‘eating healthier’, and if anything, the UK media are worse for their nanny state meddling in people’s diets and health choices. It’s bad enough that the government(s) and their media arm are sticking their noses where they don’t rightfully belong — government is not meant to involve itself in what we eat; at least in the U.S. our government is limited, strictly speaking, to certain functions — at which it is currently derelict (such as enforcing our borders) and it has no business preaching to us about what we eat. But the media does that constantly, and worse, they are behind the times as to the ‘information’ with which they lecture us. Example: their incorrect, and since discredited ideas about the benefits of ‘low-fat’ diets. But they persist in nagging us about eating low-salt diets as well.

Most of us remember that the older generations, our grandparents if not our parents, ate diets that are now condemned by the health establishment as bad and unhealthy — yet those older generations often seemed to live longer, healthier lives than today’s health-obsessed people. My Southern grandparents, of English descent, ate a breakfast that was almost identical to the traditional ‘full English’ breakfast, pictured here. Most people today would be horrified, probably calling it a ‘heart attack waiting to happen’, though my grandmother lived a healthy life, dying at age 94; her brother died at 105. And they ate this kind of diet.

If you read the article I link to above, about the ‘full English breakfast’ you will notice that the writer says, of the obligatory tomato included on the plate,

“Much like the beans, the tomato may seem like an optional garnish; I assure you, it is not. The sweetness and acidity that come from a cooked tomato goes a long way in cutting the fattiness that is inherent in the rest of the plate.”

I was amused by that; the older generations in my family always said that the tomato was there to “cut the grease” in the rest of the meal. Even centuries after our family came to this country, those sayings still persist. But yes, the tomato does seem to ‘cut the grease.’

It is interesting that some of the culinary and dietary habits came to this country, though in this country,  at least in the South, other breakfast items like ‘grits’ were added to the breakfast menu. I don’t think that particular food has British antecedents, especially as corn (Indian corn, or maize to some in the old country) was a New World food.

As to whether the English diet is healthier than that eaten elsewhere in the UK, I can’t speak to that; I found, in Ireland, that the people ate similar diets to that of most English people, with some minor variations — like brown bread with breakfast, although the Irish do like their ‘fry’ for breakfast at times too.

It does seem that on both sides of the Atlantic, the nanny state governments want to dictate or control what we eat, and while they claim to be motivated by concern for our health and well-being, at the same time they are feeding us GMO foods, and in this country, removing ‘place of origin’ labeling on some foods, and importing much of our food and medicines (even prescription medications) from third-world countries with very poor safety standards, and histories of adulterated and toxic products. So how concerned are ‘our’ governments, really, about our health and safety?

And it does seem as though they are aiming to make vegans of us all, eventually, and to habituate us to a ‘third-world’ style diet, emphasizing the exotic ethnic foods that the many immigrants have introduced into our Anglosphere countries. Out with the old, and in with the new, regardless of the dubious health benefits of these new foods.

Could it not be that our bodies are genetically programmed to do well on a certain type of diet, a diet which includes meat and dairy and what the questionable ‘experts’ call unhealthy amounts of fat? Our Northern European ancestors seem to have done pretty well on that diet, and yet we are constantly told we should stop eating it.  I suppose this article about the relative health benefits of the English diet would not be written in 2017. In the years since it appeared, the health ‘experts’ haven’t shown much sign of revising their ‘low fat, low salt’ dogma.

As for me, I prefer to go with what works, and what was good for the older generations is good enough for me, I think.

Place names in the British Isles

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The map shows the pattern of settlements by Celts, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians in the British Isles, as reflected in the place names common to those areas. It’s informative when considering the popular beliefs as to the ethnic makeup of the various regions in Britain and Ireland.

For example, it looks as though the Saxon settlement extended up into the Northeast part of Britain, and those northern regions near Scotland provided a good many of the ‘Ulster plantation’ settlers in Northern Ireland. Obviously (as is already known) those settlers were usually not ‘Celtic’ in origin, as is popularly assumed by many Americans who claim ‘Scots-Irish’ origin.

It also looks as if there was more Danish settlement in Eastern England, which was the place of origin for many New England colonists.

The map is from Isaac Taylor’s ‘Words and Places, or Etymological Illustrations of History, Etymology, and Geography’, London, 1865

‘Mixed’ ethnic makeup of Britain

The above phrase is from an Ancestry.com press release, here.

Needless to say, a grain of salt is necessary here, because from what I’ve observed, Ancestry.com seems to be grinding a multicultural ax, always stressing how ‘weare this or that. I haven’t seen their TV series called ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ but from what people who have seen it tell me, and from this description, it seems the usual PC dogma on ethnicity and race is promoted.

I did find this part of the press release interesting:

“…[T]he average UK resident is 36.94% British (Anglo Saxon), 21.59% Irish (Celtic) and 19.91% Western European (the region covered today by France and Germany).

Following these top three regional ethnicities in the average UK resident are Scandinavia (9.20%), the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) (3.05%), and Italy and Greece (1.98%)”

Actually several family members have had their DNA testing done, and similar results showed up on their reports, as well as mine. We have no recent Scandinavian ancestry, though we know of one Norwegian ancestor who came to New Amsterdam in the 17th century. So the Scandinavian must be via Britain in much earlier times, especially as it shows up on the ”average” UK resident. We also likewise had small percentages of Iberian Peninsula and Italy/Greece, though any such ancestry must have been quite distant. (Most of our family lines are accounted for in recent centuries.)

Still, I’m not sure what the rate of error is in DNA testing as it exists today. What I do know of family history does line up, for the most part, with family records and ‘word-of-mouth’, what older generations passed down to us.

The Germans and the English: closely related?

The common wisdom is that the English (or more broadly speaking, the British) are very closely related, genetically as well as linguistically.  EvolutionistX examines the relationships amongst the various European ethnicities, with some interesting findings. In response to a question he compares German and Polish genetics, specifically, and then compares the various European peoples.

“Obviously German is here referring to one of the Germanic peoples who occupy the modern nation of Germany and speak a Germanic language. But as noted before, just because people speak a common language doesn’t necessarily mean they have a common genetic origin. Germans and English both speak Germanic languages , but Germans could easily share more DNA with their Slavic-language speaking neighbors in Poland than with the English.

According to Wikipedia, the modern Germanic peoples include Afrikaners, Austrians, Danes, Dutch, English, Flemish, Frisians, Germans, Icelanders, Lowland Scots, Norwegians, and Swedes.”

I’m no scholar on the subject of HBD, though I have a curiosity about it and an interest in it. But I admit I was surprised to read the last sentence in that first paragraph above — the statement that Germans might have closer genetic ties with the Polish people than with the English. This is because, just as I said, the popular belief is that the English and the Germans are very close cousins. I suppose we all tend to take that for granted, having heard it so often.

In discussions of history and politics on right-wing blogs, many people bitterly condemn the two world wars involving the English and the Germans, on the grounds that ‘it was cousin against cousin‘ or sometimes ‘brother against brother‘, with the implication that the two peoples should never have fought each other.

However history shows us that oftentimes more closely-related peoples are at odds with each other, rather than allies and good neighbors.

There’s a great deal more information in the article about the various European peoples, including some useful genetic maps. Of one of the maps, EvolutionistX says:

“Note, though, that this map has some amusing results; clearly it’s a more Nordic distribution than specifically German, with “Celtic” Ireland just as Nordic as much of England and Germany.”

That last point, about ‘Celtic’ Ireland being just as Nordic as much of England and Germany, is also counter to the popular beliefs, especially those of Americans of Scots or Irish descent, who remain adamant that their ancestors were Celts, not Nordic or Germanic. So much of the inter-group squabbling and grievance-nursing could be eliminated if only ethnic partisans would accept this information as true. Unfortunately people will often believe what they choose to believe and reject any information that challenges their belief system. Politics too often colors people’s openness to new information.

“In 2003 a paper was published by Christian Capelli and colleagues which supported, but modified, the conclusions of Weale and colleagues.[14] This paper, which sampled Great Britain and Ireland on a grid, found a smaller difference between Welsh and English samples, with a gradual decrease in Haplogroup I frequency moving westwards in southern Great Britain. The results suggested to the authors that Norwegian Vikings invaders had heavily influenced the northern area of the British Isles, but that both English and mainland Scottish samples all have German/Danish influence.”

Maybe, as I think I mentioned in an earlier post on this subject, there is a closer kinship amongst the various peoples of the British Isles than between the supposedly close kindred, the English and the Germans. And that seems only common sense, to me.

Is it just my perception, or have intra-European grudges and animosities increased somewhat in the last few decades? In the face of the common threat to all the European peoples, these kinds of rivalries and grievances should diminish. At the same time, though, I don’t think any kind of amalgamation of the various peoples should be the goal; each people is unique; all have their strengths and their weaknesses. Europeans are not all the same. And good fences make good neighbors.

Alliances, yes, but no forced unions, whether EU-style or other such pan-European schemes.

 

 

 

 

Not a matter of blood?

From a thread on an HBD blog:

There have been no genetic Anglo-Saxons for 1000 years. The term is gibberish invoked to express some social and political attitudes.

A useful genetic marker is R1a haplotype on the Y chromosome. This started out south of the Urals and spread east (Uighurs), south to the subcontinent (high fives Razib) and west across Northern Europe and Scandinavia. It entered Albion with the Anglo-Saxon invasion and Scotland and the coasts via Scandinavia. Before those invasions, the population was almost all R1b (original hunter-gatherers plus Celts entering in first millenium BCE). R1a is about 10% of the present population, so even if it was 50% of the Germanic tribes, the gene pool is only 20% “Anglo-Saxon”.

Unfortunately, the content of most of the comments on the thread is similar to the ideas expressed in the above.

It seems terribly important to some people, many people, to deny that Anglo-Saxon or English people exist, even in England or Britain as a whole. Why is that?

The blogger himself denies that Anglo-Saxon identity is a matter of blood.  In support of his belief, he mentions the National Geographic article which I linked to here, and which Patrick Cleburne at VDare linked, and says the information isn’t valid, supposedly being outdated. Supposedly more recent information refutes the content of the article. However there certainly have been other sources which cited that study and added their own information to it. Given the amount of disagreement here, we might get the impression that genetics isn’t a ‘hard science’ at all.

I have seen genetic maps that show that the peoples of the British Isles have more in common with each other than with continental ‘cousins.’ The blogger asserts that Anglo-Saxons and Germans are more closely related than is now believed, though the maps I’ve seen don’t show that to be the case. From a purely subjective point of view, I’ve never thought that English and Germans resemble each other that much. I’ve never mistaken one for the other just by their outward appearance. Having learned something of German and French, I found French easier to learn; the structure and syntax of German are radically different and some German words are not easy to guess as with unfamiliar French words. And yes, I know that is the legacy of the Normans, in part.

The one part of the linked blog piece that I agree with is this:

The number of people who identify as English has crashed since 1980. Why? The winds of cultural change. If you are of German and English heritage, you will usually say you are German American. If Irish and English, again, Irish (not to mention “Americans” who are actually English).”

Yes. I’ve said this as have others, and it’s true. Those who say ‘Germans are the majority White ethnic group in America’ are disingenuous as surely they know that the  ‘pie’ is divided amongst so many White ethnic groups in America that the Germans  will appear to be the most numerous. For that reason, and for the reason that people tend to pick the more recent immigrant group as their ethnicity, if they are a European mix, Germans may appear to be at the top, but if the truth were known it might look very different. Most Americans have not been DNA-tested, and many, like Elizabeth Warren, believe fairy tales about their ancestry because it’s in style to do so.

As for England being multicultural for centuries, having taken in immigrants from various European and later, non-European nations, we could make the same argument about many European countries. The Netherlands, for example, took in many French Huguenots, Sephardic Jews (Baruch Spinoza being one), some English Puritans, and Flemish people. In recent times, many ethnic Dutch whose ancestors had lived in the Dutch East Indies were ‘repatriated’ to Holland — bringing many mixed descendants (called ‘Indos’) back with them. The Dutch, unlike the English, were more willing to intermarry with the native people in their colonies. So can we say there is ‘no Dutch bloodline’, or that Dutch people are just a mixed multitude? I would not say that.

In our day politics and social change have damaged the objectivity of many ‘scientists’ and even more so, non-scientists.

Are we Americans two peoples?

Some people on the right say Americans were divided into at least two peoples from the start, and the usual version of this meme is that the Puritans of New England and the Cavalier colonists of Virginia constituted two different peoples.  Is it cultural or genetic, nature or nurture — or both — if it’s true at all?

What is the origin, I wonder, of the idea that somehow the old Puritans of New England passed on their attitudes to the present-day generations? In reading comments online of those who believe that today’s New England people are direct physical descendants of the Puritans, I get the impression that they believe genetics are to blame for the liberal attitudes of White people from New England or other areas like the Northwestern states.

Assuming that the people who now live in New England are mostly descendants of the original colonists of that region then some Southern partisans apparently assume today’s New Englanders must have acquired their political and social attitudes by DNA. I don’t know that such genetic transmissions are possible, though I certainly believe genetics plays a big part in who we are and how we think. Early environment and education plus life-experience as we grow older also play a part, though maybe less than the ‘nurture’ advocates think. We aren’t blank slates.

Nevertheless I think it’s far from proven that we inherit our political proclivities. It could be argued that political labels merely describe certain temperaments, traits which are to some extent innate in us. I believe there is such a thing as a ‘conservative temperament.’ Some people, it seems, are risk-takers and gamblers and thrill seekers while some are averse to courting danger and adopting change for its own sake.

I’ve argued, based on the ethnic makeup of New England today (which is in flux now, more so than ever, with mass immigration) that the Puritans have not left much of a genetic or cultural imprint on that region, with the exception of more rural areas. Even those areas are not immune to ‘diversity’, as the little hamlet in Maine where a good many of my ancestors lived has now got Hindus and Jewish residents fleeing from the urban areas of New England. Somalis have also settled in the town which my Houlton forebears settled.

So, will these people acquire, by osmosis or by ‘magic dirt’, the supposed Puritan ethos that haunts that area?

Some people attribute the multiculturalist/miscegenist attitudes of ‘SJWs’  to the Puritan brand of Protestantism, but this seems implausible. The critics of Christianity say that Christianity is, per se, ‘universalist’, meaning in the Christian context, that all will be ‘saved.’ Puritanism is Calvinistic, and Calvin is reviled by the liberal Christians today for the reason (among others) that Calvinism is exclusivist, preaching predestination, the idea that some are destined to be saved, others, not.

Christianity, contrary to what its critics on the right say, had no problem being ‘discriminatory’ in the past. Southern Americans were traditionally very Christian and yet they were not, until the last couple of decades, ”colorblind”, neither were they Zionist. If the Puritan-descended New England people of the 19th century were radical egalitarians and abolitionists — which some were, but hardly all — it is more likely due to the Jacobin influence that was abroad in Europe; the intelligentsia of New England, were, like virtually all such people, very taken with foreign ideas; there was the popular idea that Europe was much more cultured than the uneducated country cousins here in America.

Emerson and the ‘Transcendentalists’ were in some ways typical intellectual dilettantes, given to fads and to posturing. Another major influence amongst that type was ‘Eastern mysticism’, following various Hindu ‘holy men’ and sages, many of whom traipsed around America and Europe doling out their ‘wisdom’ to status-seeking intellectuals.

But the idea that genetics somehow predisposed certain people (Puritan descendants, for example, or by extension, Northeasterners) to certain radical egalitarian beliefs will continue to be repeated and unthinkingly accepted. Why? Because certain people have an interest in dividing White Americans in every possible way: by sex/’gender’, by religion, by social class and by region. Convincing people that political views are acquired either by being born in a certain place or through their distant ancestors is one way to make people see any differences as determined, and fixed permanently.

And maybe dividing this country into smaller nations is the best possible solution, but doing so on the basis of a false belief about our being ‘different peoples’ is not a good start. As for those who are using our present crisis as an excuse to bash Christianity as the source of all our troubles, it’s intellectually dishonest to refuse to consider the influence of European radical egalitarianism (championed by atheists and agnostics) as well as the considerable influence of ‘Eastern mysticism’ amongst many 19th century American intellectuals.