Decoding my Family History
As someone who has migrated from India to the United States, I was always interested in examining the story of my family through generations. However, given the complexity of the movements through landscapes across my family history and the relatively poor record-keeping in India, I knew this process was going to be a challenge. I obtained the majority of my information by speaking with family members, and as such, the details of many events are lost, and others are difficult to verify, but this information provides a skeleton for understanding the overall nature of the history of my family. A vital component of this skeleton was the ancestry information provided by the genetic reports. These reports drafted an outline for the overall history of my genes, extending back into the migrations into India. My maternal haplogroup is M5a'd, one that is commonly seen in women from India. My paternal haplogroup, J-L26, shows a connection to the group of people who migrated to India, Europe, and Central Asia. Examination of the overall ancestry reports showed a heritage entirely centered in India, with a 66% link to the greater Indian group, specifically with patterns seen in Gujarat, and a 33% link to the more distinct genetic identity of the Patidar group my mother hails from. However, the remaining 1% told an unexpected tale which I was not able to find information about but will continue to try and gather answers.
While the results were overall not surprising, seeing a linkage to the migrations that shaped India was fascinating and shows the impact history has on the human story and individual ancestries. On a more personal note, upon familiarizing myself with the stories of my ancestors, it became clear that each of them had reinvented their lives through their work, building their fortunes in a constantly changing landscape that was a product of migrations across the world. The combination of their life stories and the deeper history told through the genetic reports heightened my appreciation for the project I had undertaken.
Shah, Parth, "Decoding my Family History" (2023). Genetics and Genealogy Family History Narratives. 28.