Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for Substitute - 2017 A to Z Challenge

My most recent blog posts have been substitutes for “real” posts. The A to Z Challenge has been an opportunity to post to my blog at a time when I really have nothing much to say.

I’ve been in waiting mode – waiting for FHL films to arrive so that I can continue my current project.  I’m not good at waiting.  Most people would use this time to work on getting things organized – and that was my intent. 

But instead, I focused on coming up with a post for each letter.  Some of these substitutes have been better than others, but they keep me occupied while I am waiting.

Still waiting.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for Religious Records - 2017 A to Z Challenge

For certain periods, religious records are almost all we have to trace our ancestry.

In the US, some states did not begin keeping vital records until the early 20th century. Counties or municipalities may have kept vital records before that, but there was no consistency.  There were census records after 1790.  There were tax rolls, court records, land and deed records but they did not necessarily yield the information we search for.

The situation was similar in many European countries. Where my ancestors resided in Prussian Poland, civil records of births, marriages, and deaths began only in 1874. 

But houses of worship often kept very complete records.  There were membership rolls and tithing records.  And there were (and still are) sacramental records that include specific details.  Marriage records, for example, may include not only the names of the bride’s and groom’s parents, but the town in which they lived.  They are a wonderful resource.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for Questions - A to Z Challenge

Questions are both the bane and the joy of genealogy research.

Pursuing a question and finally finding an answer is a joyful experience. New information about our family is precious and wonderful. But…. For every answer, we also find more questions.  They never stop!  Few answers are definitive. And even those that seem definitive will generally lead to more questions. 

Truth is, it’s the questions that fuel our family history ventures and keep us going. Bring on the questions!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for Poland - A to Z Challenge

Poland is my ancestral homeland.  All 4 of my grandparents were born there.

I’ve read multiple histories, historical novels, and studied maps and historical atlases to try to get a comprehensive sense of my ancestors’ lives.  All of this has given me an intense pride in my heritage.

Not that my ancestors were at all instrumental in shaping that history.  They were peasants – the people most affected by oppressive rules.  They survived.

Poland and her people have persisted in their steadfast faith in their nation and their destiny.

Wikipedia has a good overview of Poland and her history.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O is for Organized - A to Z Challenge

I am not.  Organized. 

Actually, I am multi-organized.  I have manila folders from the early days when I had Broderbund’s Family Tree Maker on my computer and everything else on paper.  I have notebooks where I recorded my findings (more or less) – in notes so cryptic that I can barely decipher them.

As technology improved I came up with methods to preserve records.  I have several methods devised at different times but hardly ever retrofitted older methods to the new ones.

I have folders, binders, CDs, flash drives, hard drives…. 

Problem is, synchronizing all this comes under the heading of one of my earlier posts: Grunt Work.

I need a file clerk!

Monday, April 17, 2017

N is for Newspapers - 2017 A to Z Challenge

Old newspapers give us a glimpse into the everyday lives of our ancestors.  Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun to browse through them.

In years past, newspapers printed the same kinds of news that we find in today’s papers. The volume of information was, as today, dependent on the location and size of the paper’s circulation base.  They covered local, national and international politics, business, events, and sports. There were legal notices and accounts of court proceedings.

Social events were described in flowery language.

There were commercial ads and classified ads.

There were human interest articles and stories.

What were the local issues of the day?  What was happening that affected your ancestors?  Were streets being paved?  Street car tracks being laid? Land being annexed to the city?  What kinds of entertainment were available?

History books tell of significant events, but newspapers tell us about everyday life.

Here are some online sources for historic newspapers

This is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for  the Humanities. – Subscription

Genealogy Bank - Subscription

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M is for Microfilm - A to Z Challenge

My genealogy adventure would never have gotten off the ground without microfilm – first through the National Archives, and then through the LDS Family History Library.

Microfilm and its cousin, microfiche, have been used since the late 19th century as a method of preserving documents.  John Benjamin Dancer was one of the first to produce microphotographs in 1839 [1]    By the 1920’s microphotography was coming into wider commercial use to preserve books, documents, cancelled checks, etc.

For decades, microfilm has been a primary document preservation method for libraries and institutions, archives and commercial businesses around the world.  The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm collections include census records, immigration and naturalization records, military records among many others.  This NARA link takes you to more information about their film collections.

 Its use in genealogical document preservation began in 1938 when the Genealogical Society of Utah, which now does business as FamilySearchInternational the official organization for the genealogy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (LDS) began its microfilm project.[2]   Church members have traveled the world filming civil records as well as religious record books from churches and synagogues.  These films are available to view through any LDS Family History Center.

Reading films was once a tedious process.  The readers were huge devices. Once the film was loaded, it required hand cranking to go through the film frame by frame. Before the age of computers and printers, information had to be transcribed by hand.  Later, there were readers that would send the desired image to a printer.


Today some of us are lucky enough to have access to electronic readers controlled by computers. No more hand cranking.  I can use these at the Indian River County main library here in Vero Beach, Florida.  I simply plug a flash drive into the computer and this reader scans the image to the drive for me.  It's great!

Using microfilm, I’ve found birth, marriage and death records from churches in Poland.  I’ve found family in census records at NARA before the advent of online databases.  I’ve found obituaries in old newspapers. 

Microfilm may not be one of the seven wonders of the world, but it is definitely a wonder in my world.

[3] By User:Grillo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

[4] ScanPro

Friday, April 14, 2017

L is for Law - 2017 A to Z Challenge

One of the challenges to understanding the documents left by our ancestors is understanding the law at that particular time and place.

I was privileged to hear Judy G Russell The Legal Genealogist, speak at an all-day seminar in February of this year. To most of us, law seems like a pretty dry and dull subject but Judy makes it lively as she reminds us how pertinent and valuable it is to our genealogy.

In some places and times, women were not permitted to inherit land.

In some places and times, a widow’s children were given to her husband’s family to raise. 

Why wasn’t the eldest son mentioned in the will?  Perhaps the law of primogeniture guaranteed the he automatically inherited the land; and the will merely distributed other property. Don’t assume that he was dead.

Why wasn’t the wife mentioned in the will?  If the law of dower was in place, it may mean only that he intended to leave her only what the law of dower allowed.  Again, don’t assume that she was deceased or divorced.

Did you know?  I certainly didn’t.  Here are a few resources:

FamilyTreeWebinars – Ms. Russell has done several of these

And check state archives for information on statutes and legislation.

Sometimes we don’t know what it is that we don’t know.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for Kismet - 2017 A to Z Challenge

Kismet: Destiny, Fate  

This is a recurring theme for me with my Family History projects. As I look back at my families over the past 200+ years. I often wonder what if things had been different at any given place and time.

Early on in my research, I was in touch with a man in Germany who has my same last name: Dachtera. He, too was doing research.  We exchanged emails and he sent photos of his mother, and of his father in his WW II German army uniform.  I sent photos to him including one of my father in his US WW II army uniform.  That got me thinking.

With so many immigrants in the US what were the odds on the front lines in WW II that cousins were unknowingly shooting at one another??  Could have happened in Russia, Germany and Italy. That’s the basis of at least a few novels.

History can get the mind spinning with “what if’?”   That’s what makes us keep on reading Harry Turtledove and other alternate history authors.

As curious as I am, it is probably best not to know “what if?”.  I’ll stick with my kismet.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J is for Just - 2017 A to Z Challenge

J is for Just. As in I just  cannot think of anything to write for the letter J.

So even though this post is empty of content, I keep my alphabet string going - sort of.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Ignatz Ganas - 2017 A to Z Challenge

Ignatz Ganas is my maternal Grandfather.  Family lore from my mother makes me especially curious about him.

Here’s what I know for certain:
·         Vitals
o   Born:              29 June, 1870  Chorzalki, Poland
o   Immigration:  17 August,.1893 Baltimore, Maryland, USA
o   Married:          18 October, 1898  St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
o   Died:               12 January, 1940 St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
·         His mother’s family owned an inn (tavern)
·         His father died in 1873
·         His mother remarried in 1876

Based on my mother’s stories, his youth was different from my other ancestors.

At some point he was sent to live in Berlin with his mother’s twin brother who was a tailor.
Was he sent to be an apprentice to his uncle?  Seems a reasonable guess because he did learn tailoring and taught it to my mother.
What was the age at which boys became apprenticed? Perhaps I can learn this and make a guess at his age.

When he was 16 years old he left Germany to avoid conscription into the army.
This makes sense because his father, Joseph, was in the military when he died. I’ve not yet been able to find any military records.  An 1873 church record shows Joseph as a “deceased soldier”

If he left Germany at 16 and came to the US at 23, where was he and what did he do for those years?
My mother said that he spoke 6 languages so he probably spent time in several European countries?  Which ones?

How did he manage?
Did he make use of his tailoring skills?
Was he an itinerant laborer? 

My imagination comes up with all kinds to possibilities, some grand, some very ordinary.

Come visit me in my dreams, Grandpa, and tell me all about it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for Heirloom - A to Z Challenge

Joseph & Magdalena Dachtera

My heirlooms are very precious.  But they have no monetary value.

Things that were very ordinary to our ancestors’ lives take on an exceptional charisma as they age and our ancestors’ lives become more distant in time.

I cherish a piece of inexpensive costume jewelry, an apron, a prayer book, a rosary, and, some photographs. 

They are priceless.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G is for Grunt Work - A To Z Challenge

Grunt work is the stuff that needs doing but isn’t fun or interesting to do.  It’s what I’m doing now; and for me it takes much more discipline than I usually have.  I’m more a big picture person than a detail person. I’ll take care of the details, but first…..

I have a couple of genealogy projects on hold waiting for FHL films to arrive. This is the perfect time to fill in the holes in my citations.  And, boy, do I have holes!

Yes, I know that I should include citations immediately when I add new information. I do that when I have just a few new data points. Good. But when I’ve come across a lot of new information, I’m just anxious to get it all in and see how the pieces fit in with the old information. Hence: procrastination.

If you were to look up the definition of “Pay me now, or pay me later” you’d find my picture.

Friday, April 7, 2017

F is for Facts - A to Z Challenge

We all know what a fact is:  Something than can be proven to be true.


In recent months, the phrase “alternative fact” has come into common usage having been coined by someone in Washington, DC.  That is nothing new to genealogists and family historians.

We deal with alternative facts on a regular basis.  How many ways can that surname be spelled or misspelled?  Are Sally and Sarah the same person? Is that person a biological parent or a step parent?  An official document states a birth year as 1885; but then another document, also “official”, pins the birth year as 1887. Just how many nicknames are there for Margaret?

Genealogy software and online genealogy sites have us record facts for each individual in our family trees.  I wish there was a better word. Sometimes a fact is just the best information we have at the time.  Unless we have absolute proof, there’s always the chance that our “fact” will be contradicted or disproved.

As frustrating as that can be, it is also what keeps us digging through old records and keeps us on our toes.

And that’s a fact.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E is for Emigration A to Z Challenge

All four of my grandparents emigrated from Poland in the 1880’s.

How does a family decide to leave their homeland? Extended family has probably lived in the same area for generations. Parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts are close enough to visit easily. Their support system is well established and reliable.

Why abandon this seemingly comfortable way of life to endure the indignities of weeks at sea in steerage, and the unknowns of a new home in a strange land?

The answer seems simple in some cases such as the Irish potato famine. It was a matter of survival.

Why did my Polish ancestors come to the US?  It’s not surprising that the answer has to do with politics and power. Heads of government who sought to expand their realms and control the populace.

In the 19th century, my families were in Prussian Poland where the government was imposing strict Germanification on its provinces that were once Poland.  The Polish language was forbidden.  All civic offices and school classes were conducted in the German language.  It was forbidden to teach the Polish language even as a foreign language. German emigres to former Polish lands were given priority for jobs and land purchases. Poles were relegated to second-class citizens.

Although Poland did not exist on a map in the 19th century, Poles still considered themselves to be Polish and chafed under Prussian rule.

I would love to know the family conversations that led to the decision to emigrate.  It must have been difficult.

I am grateful that they made those decisions.  I was born in 1942 in the USA. I cannot imagine being born in 1942 in Poland. 

A  most heartfelt thank you to my great grandparents who took the risk to come to a new country.  Words cannot express my gratitude.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Dachtera - A to Z Challenge

D is for Dachtera, my maiden name.  Alternate spelling: B-R-I-C-K--W-A-L-L.

That’s an exaggeration. It’s probably more like a wooden blockade– a tall, thick wooden blockade.

Using BaSIA, I am able to see where that surname is concentrated in Poland.  Years ago I spent untold hours scouring FHL films looking for records of my great grandfather, Joseph Dachtera in Parkowo and Oborniki just northeast of Poznan.  I created a detailed spreadsheet listing almost 150 individuals with that surname and worked hard at trying to isolate my great grandfather with no success.  I gave up in frustration and went on to other research.

But that was more than 10 years ago when I was just beginning my genealogy journey. I’ve learned a lot since then about research techniques and 19th century Polish surname conventions, or lack of conventions. 

Great Grandpa Joseph Dachtera is my next project.  Armed with better knowledge and capabilities, maybe I’ll find an open gate in that blockade.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for Collateral – 2017 A to Z Challenge

Until recently, my research on collateral lines has been limited to those living in the US – my great aunts and uncles   The discovery of distant Polish relatives in the US got me busy looking at collateral lines from a 3rd great grandfather born in Poland in 1779.

I should have done this a long time ago!  On the other hand, the information I found may not have been easily available a long time ago.

Using information from The Poznan Project and BaSIA I was able to locate and download records from The State Archive in Poznan. Adding this data to my tree on brought up a forest of shaky leaf hints.

My 3rd great grandfather, Johann Ganas, lived in the small village of Czerlejno which was the estate of a Polish nobleman. Johann’s sons had to look elsewhere for work but they stayed within a 10-mile radius of their birthplace. In the next generation, some families moved farther away but still within 20 miles of Czerlejno.

The Ancestry hints showed me that 3 Ganas families came to the US between 1887 and 1891. Two of them settled in Buffalo, NY; and one in Milwaukee, WI. My grandfather, Ignatz Ganas arrived in 1893 as a single man and settled in St. Paul, MN.  Maximillian Ganas, a Roman Catholic priest, arrived in Detroit, MI in 1911.

WOW!!  What fun!  I have more Polish cousins in the US than I’d ever imagined.  With ongoing research, I hope to be able to find living distant cousins.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B is for Bronie – 2017 A to Z Challenge

Aunt Bro was my mother’s 2nd oldest sister. Her mother called her Bronie.  Before I started doing genealogy, everything I ever saw about her said her name was Bernice.  Bernice = Bro?  Didn’t make sense to me.

It finally made sense when I was able to review the sacramental records at St. Adalberts church in St. Paul, Minnesota.  My mother’s parents gave their children Polish baptismal names.  They used American names thereafter but grandma always referred to Bronislawa as Bronie and she was Bro to everyone else.

One mystery remains:  why was Bro’s husband, Daniel Muccio, referred to as Uncle Jim?  I’m sure I’ll never know.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A is for Ancestors

Starting the A to Z Challenge with an easy one.

Some genealogists are little more than name collectors.  To some, what matters most is how many names are on their family tree.  But each of those names represents a person, a real human being who lived and worked, loved, laughed, cried, and felt all of the same emotions that we feel.

Let’s try to understand our ancestors. That gets more difficult as we go back in time, but if we learn about the times in which they lived, we can begin to understand the legacy they left to their immediate descendants, and to us living in the here and now.

2017 A to Z Writing Challenge

The idea is to write a post every day in April except Sundays, with the subject matter following the alphabet.  I did it last year; lets see if I can do it again. "A" will be a separate post.

A to Z

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Name Game

I spent today (virtually) at the State Archive in Poznan with the Ganas family. My brain got tied up in knots for a while.

In an effort to honor their elders, 18th and 19th centuries families often present us with a puzzle of some magnitude.  Too may Johanns born too close together can be very frustrating.

Be kind to your descendants who may be interested in family history.

If your name is John, and you have an uncle, a grandfather, and cousins named John, think about breaking the chain. There are many honorable names:
Hezekiah, Ezekiel. Mergetroyd, Englebert. 

On behalf of your future family historians, I thank you.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thank You, Volunteers!

Thousands of volunteers all around the world make Genealogical research so much easier than it once was.  They give their time to indexing and transcribing projects that allow the rest of us to locate and see records with just a few mouse clicks.

Hooray for volunteers!!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Dead Ones Are Easy

 It takes much more effort to find living cousins.

Now that I’ve established a connection with the Ganas family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I’ve begun trying to learn about them in hopes of finding living distant cousins.

I wish I’d had this information 30 or 40 years ago when I lived within easy driving distance from Milwaukee. These are relatives on my maternal side but I don’t think that my mother was aware of them.  It is a pretty distant relationship.

The low-hanging fruit is the first phase., FamilySearch, and  Find A Grave yield a pretty good picture of the family in the late 19th and early 20th century.  There are death records, some marriage records and some birth records. These are readily verifiable sources.

The next phase requires more effort. There are a few gems to be found on a few public trees on Ancestry.  There are images of newspaper obituaries that provide starting points for more research.  I’m grateful to the others who have put these clues out there for me to find.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Will Graft this Shrub to My Tree!

In my previous post I wondered whether the Ganas family that settled in Milwaukee is related to my Ganas ancestors.  I described using BaSIA to get to archives in Poland.

The question was whether the Mathias Ganas in my tree is the same person as the Matthias Ganas in another tree on I now believe that they are the same person: my 3rd Great Uncle.

My 3rd Great Grandfather, Johann Ganas lived in the village of Czerlejno, Poland which was a small village that supported a Noble’s large estate and farm. Adalbert, Johann’s oldest child was my 2nd Great Grandfather.  He had a brother, Mathias.  I have the sacramental records for the baptisms of Adalbert and his siblings.  Mathias was born on 18 February 1820, and baptized on 20 February 1820

Other records from The Poznan Project show Mathias married twice in the town of Swarzedz. Swarzedz is a larger city (current population about 30,000) just about 6 miles from Czerlejno. In fact, all of Johann’s sons left Czerlejno for larger towns.

Pinpointing year of birth is a common problem in old records. Mathias’ first marriage record indicates his birth in 1824; his second marriage record indicated 1822. And my baptism record says 1820. Four years is a reasonably long span. There could have been two boys baptized as Mathias Ganas in that length of time.

BaSIA showed that there was a record of Mathias’ death in 1883 in the archives in Poznan.  I was able to download that record which showed his age as 64 which will put his birth in 1919.

The clincher was that this record showed that he was born in the tiny village of Czerlejno!  BINGO!

I am not a genealogy purist so I won’t be writing to Poland for certified copies of these documents. I accept them as correct until/unless I find contradicting evidence. I’m just happy to find more of my extended family.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Connecting a Shrub to my Tree?

I’m deep down a rabbit hole these days because gave me hints about one of my lines from another public tree. Can I connect the Ganas family in Milwaukee to my Ganas family in St. Paul??

There are tantalizing similarities.  My 3rd Great Uncle, Mathias Ganas was born in 1821.  I found his baptismal record on a FHL  ( film.  I have not yet uncovered a marriage record for him.

But the other tree in question has a Matthias Ganas born in 1824 – maybe.  It’s a “maybe” because when I go to The Poznan Project searching for his marriages it shows that he was married twice.  His first marriage in 1852 gives his age as 28 which puts his birth year at 1824.  His second marriage (as a widower) in 1868 shows is age as 46, giving a birth year of 1822.  Are either of them correct?  I’ve ordered the appropriate FHL film so maybe I’ll find more information. If I find his birth record on this film, I’ll know that he’s not MY Mathias.

In the meantime, I’ve returned to the search for Ganas records in Poland.  The BaSIA database is another resource created by volunteers transcribing archived records. This database continues to grow as more records are being transcribed. Entering a surname results in a map showing where, in Poland, there are records for that name that have been transcribed.

To the right of the map are the names of the locations with a graphic that roughly indicates the number of records. Clicking on the location results in a list of the records there. 

At the right of each record citation is a link to the archive that hold the records including information to find that record if it has been filmed and digitized. In the case of the Poznan archives, the record images may be downloaded.     

So I’m busy filling up a new flash drive.   Even if I cannot connect the Milwaukee shrub to my tree, I’m learning more about this part of my family.                                      

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fearless Females 1

I’m getting a late start on Lisa Alzo’s tribute to Women’sHistory Month.  She has a list of blogging prompts to help us get started.  Today’s (5 March) prompt is:

How did they meet?

My parents met in 1st grade at St. Adalbert’s school.   St. Adalbert’s was (and is) one of two Polish Catholic parishes in St. Paul, Minnesota.   Teachers were strict Felician nuns. Photo here  My parents remained in contact with some of them even into adulthood.

My mother was trained by the nuns in classical drawing.  This gave her some special privileges when artwork was needed for the school

My father won a prize for his mathematical talents.

They made their First Communions at the same time.

I wish I knew more about their school days and how their friendship blossomed into love

Ambrose Dachtera - Emily Ganas
September 5, 1936

Fearless female?  Anyone had to be pretty fearless to marry and start a new life in the middle of the Great Depression.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gone Fishin’ – Another Adobe Spark Video

I still love Adobe Spark. It’s pretty much idiot-proof. My first two videos were created using Adobe Premier Elements and Audacity.  They came out ok, but were not as simple as Adobe Spark.

Gone Fishin'

The two most difficult tasks are photo selection and narration.  The experts say that 6 minutes is maximum length for videos like this. In my experience, the story dictates length. So far my max is less than 5 minutes. I tend to select the photos first, but sometimes writing the narrative dictates which photos to use for a story. In the end, it’s just fun to do.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

History and DNA

In this time of confusion in the US, the focus is on specific immigrants, but all immigrants and children of immigrants are concerned. My stepdaughter, Julie, posted on Facebook reminding us that we are all immigrants and descendants of immigrants.  In her post she asked people to respond with their own county of ancestry.  This made me reflect on my current reading of The Emergence of Society subtitled European and English History 300 – 1200 by Colin Davies.

Many people are surprised and bewildered when their DNA ethnicity analysis shows results that are at odds with their family lore and known family history.  “But I KNOW that I am British!  This analysis must be wrong.”  “I know that I am Polish!  Why is my analysis showing Scandinavian DNA?”

We identify with the nations from which our ancestors emigrated.  But nations, as we know them today, did not always exist.  Before there were nations, there were countless kingdoms vying for land and resources and power.  Some were individual tribes; while others consisted of several amalgamated tribes.  Over the centuries, these kingdoms advanced and retreated; formed coalitions and split apart.

History has many of the answers.  Here is a map of Europe as it was at about 125 AD.  Do you recognize the designations?  Probably only a few of them. What we see here are many tribes and kingdoms.  Over the centuries these kingdoms conquered or were conquered, were absorbed into other kingdoms or retreated and lost leadership and identity.

Are you baffled by the ethnic mix shown in your DNA test results?
Consider History. For example:

In the 10th and 11th centuries, Norse and Dane incursions plagued the British Isles.  Eventually these raiders brought their families and settled in what is now England and Scotland.  In November, 1016, Cnute. a Dane, became king of England.[1]

Extensive communities of Danes and Norwegians imply that many of today’s Britons may have more Norse and Danish DNA than Anglo-Saxon DNA.

In the year 1626 Sweden invaded Poland. Remnants of Swedish fortifications still exist.  Can there be any doubt about Swedish/Polish personal liaisons that show up today’s DNA tests?

In my own case, my mother’s maiden name was Ganas. Although I’ve found my Ganas ancestors back to the late 1700’s in Poland, this is not a “Polish” name.  Surname searches return mostly Greek origins.  My guess? Apparently in the 12th and 13th centuries, there were many Greek and Turkish merchants in the area that is now Poland.  Until I can find real evidence, my guess is that a Greek merchant named Ganas fell in love with a Polish girl and stayed in Poland.  All four of my grandparents were born in Poland.  But maybe there was a Greek immigrant somewhere in the mix 800 years ago.  I’ll probably never know for sure, but I think I’ve made a reasonable guess.

At best, the ethnic mix results from DNA tests are educated guesses based on what data is currently available. They’ll become more accurate as new data is acquired.

Before you reject your DNA ethnic results, check the history books.  You may find something new and interesting.

[1] Emergence of Western Society by Colin Davies  p128

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Tribes of Europe (Some of them, at least)

In modern times, we are familiar with the sovereign nations of Europe. But it was not always so.  I have begun reading The Emergence of Western Society subtitled European and English History 300 – 1200 by Colin Davies.

The first chapter begins even earlier with a Roman Emperor whose name was new to me:  Alexander Servius who was executed by the Roman army in 235. In this chapter he lists various tribes who were threats to the empire’s borders; and he mentions others as well. The second chapter introduced me to even more.  Some of the names were familiar from other historical accounts but a number were new to me. Maybe serious history buffs would know about these ancient peoples.  Wikipedia to the rescue. Here are some links to both the familiar and the unfamiliar.


Francia expanded from Austrasia, established by the Merovingian dynasty
Burgundians  The Burgundians interest me because they occupied  the area that is now Poland. 

Some of the tribes in Germania during the Roman Empire. Suebi and Irminones are in magenta.

My head is spinning.