GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-03 > 1236801418
From: Jonathan Day <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Where do we (all of us) go from here??
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:56:58 -0700 (PDT)
--- On Wed, 3/11/09, John Chandler <> wrote:
> From: John Chandler <>
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Where do we (all of us) go from here??
> Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 12:08 PM
> Jonathan wrote:
> > I am listed in the ultra-Norse category, and there is
> no race on
> > Earth better known for the travel bug than the
> ancient Norse. If this
> > is indeed a genetic trait...
> This is a classic example of the dangers of adopting
> vernacular names
> for technical concepts. The reason for applying the
> "ultra" label to
> that particular category was emphatically *not* any
> perception that
> the members possessed any personal traits associated with
> Instead, it was the strong concentration of the members in
> homeland of the ancient Norse. In other words, you might
> say the name
> was chosen for the *lack* of a tendency to spread out,
> compared with
> other clades.
Of course, what you say is perfectly correct, and you are entirely right to point out both my error and the potential for such errors due to the nomenclature.
Nonetheless, if it does turn out that personality traits have a genetic component and that this is indeed one such trait, this would not be the first time that examining one problem has led to an answer to something wholly different. As such, the inspiration for looking (however misguided or incorrect) is less important than whether the journey turns up interesting and useful results.
So far, I have reason to believe that the trail of interest to me goes from Norway (there do seem to be some suggestively-close matches near Oslo) to Scotland and then from Scotland to England. The Scottish segment in all of this is perhaps the least-understood part of the chain and any speculation on my part there is just that - speculation. The English part is the best-understood part and follows an impressively random walk around the entire country.
The term "ultraNorse" may indeed be wholly inappropriate, but whether it is or not, I have to explain highly abnormal family history traits and saying "well, it's just them" isn't good enough. Since working backwards just leads me to a bunch of dead-ends and censored data, I need to start at the end and work forwards if I am to make any serious headway into understanding the abnormalities, such as determining whether they are real or a product of the type of data I have, and if they are real, how and where they originate.
If (and it is a huge if) the traits can be shown to exist across the board within a recognized genetic family, then the genetic family can usefully be used as an identifier - and, indeed, it becomes a much more useful identifier than trying to reel off a list of traits that otherwise have nothing in common. Any relationship in popular culture between the genetic family name and those traits is a meaningless coincidence, but one that makes categorizing much easier. If the traits have no relationship to any genetic family, then no such shorthand can be used and the entire line of thought becomes completely moot.
The only important question, though, is the relationship between the traits and the genetic groupings themselves, not between the traits and the names of such groupings.