A person’s genetics and genealogy are a great source of identity to the vast majority of people. Most people are proud of their lineage no matter where they come from, and I am no different. My family has always emphasized the greatness of our home country, Palestine, and we take great pride in our roots. This effect is also especially present in families from this specific area, due to the sanctity of the Holy Land, to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. This is extremely important, as it has affected over 5 generations of my ancestors, and has altered the future of all future generations in my family.
The chain of events that led my great-grandparents and all of their offspring to where we are today began long ago, after the Jewish people had undergone persecution in many areas of the world and had decided to establish a Jewish homeland. This homeland was determined to be Palestine, and in 1896, the Jewish migration to the Holy Land began. For the next half century however, my ancestors would continue to live a small village in Palestine called Taytaba, a village that was only a few miles north of the greater subdistrict of Safed, in what is now called Israel. That is, until the 1948 Palestinian Exodus, during which all my ancestors were forced to leave the lives they had built, the land they had worked for, and everything they owned behind. This was the crucial point which altered the outcome of not only my great-grandparents’ lives, but all who followed them. This is also why in this narrative, you will find no traces of any this, except what I received by word of mouth from my grandparents. My family has no records of the past, except that which was forged after coming to America (M. Bleibel, 2020).
This narrative takes a deep dive into the origins of two major families, the Bleibels and the Dahches, from which the ancestors of my mother and father originate. My far ancestry was found to be in line with the reality I know for the most part, as I was found to have 54% Levantine DNA, 12% Egyptian DNA, 21% Iranian DNA, 8% from the broader Arab world, and traces from neighboring countries (Genetic Data – 23andMe, 2020).
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The historical and genealogical research conducted was extremely eye-opening and surprising in multiple ways. I would say, in regard to the historical research side of the project, the most interesting and memorable thing I found was literally just the journey of my grandparents, who had never told me the stories they did for this project, likely due to the trauma it had caused them. I was also able to learn more about where and how my father grew up, which I previously had no clue about. As for the genealogical side of the project, I found the percentages of DNA I had from places like Egypt and the area of Mesopotamia to be extremely intriguing, as I had always believed I was purely from the Levant. Although it was not that big of a shocker, I was still extremely interested to see where this DNA came from, and that leads me to the biggest question I still want to answer, that is, how did my family end up in the Levant? I plan to gain some insight into this by getting my parents/grand-parents genetic tests and digging deeper to see if I can trace the migration patterns of my family.
Bleibel, Mazen, "Ancestry and Genealogy of the Family of Mazen Bleibel" (2020). Genetics and Genealogy Family History Narratives. 13.