WILL WE EVER CONNECT TO THE MOST ANCIENT ANCESTORS?
jULY 28, 2013
While visiting our daughter, we visited an ancient mummy exhibit touring the country. It was amazing to see that some of the mummies had skin resembling tanned leather stretched over their bones. A few wore clothing and hand-made leather boots. These perfectly preserved mummies were dressed in clothing of that era while others were only skeletons or pieces of skeletal remains. They appeared to be all ages from babies to the elderly.
I was surprised to learn there are mummies older than the Egyptian mummies. The Chinchorro culture mummified remains from the desert area of South America, now northern Chile and southern Peru, are up to two thousand years older than the Egyptian mummies. The earliest Egyptian mummy dates around 3,000 B.C. The oldest Chinchorro mummy dates around 7,020 B.C.
I just received an article from David Taylor discussing the 3,800-year-old “Sleeping Beauty of Loulan” that ties in to this discussion. These are 200 Caucasian/Anglo mummies found along the ancient Silk Road trading route in eastern China buried in a salt lakebed. Some of their clothes look like they could have been made last week with fur lined skirts and plaid woolen pants. This group ranged in ages from young to old. Historians long thought Anglo-Europeans never lived in that region of China. Nevertheless, these mummies are clearly Caucasians and are buried along the trade route. The salt and weather preserved them perfectly.
By using DNA from on one six-foot redheaded mummy, they found he was Celt. The Loulan Beauty had blond hair and definite Anglo features. She had with a feather in her cap.
How will these finds impact genealogists in the future? Will any mummies ever appear on our family trees? Is there a connection? On the other hand, will it affect us at all?
UNDERSTANDING DNA: Several readers have asked me questions about DNA. I cannot explain this subject adequately, nor do I understand every facet of DNA research. There is an expert. Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick of California has spoken to Genealogy Friends several times. She has written many books on forensic genealogy. Her latest book, which includes a CD, probably has the most up-to-date information in print on genealogical DNA research, is called Forensic Genealogy, Revised.
ASK A LIBRARIAN: This online service is offered at most libraries free of charge. A librarian will reply usually within a few hours as time permits. The reply may be immediate, within 24-hours or a couple of days. The type of answer you get depends on the library and the reference librarians’ time. Some are short and factual while others are longer and even ask for further information to be able to give you the answers you desire. Recently Frank Reisch was searching for an obit on his grandfather when he ran across the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Ask A Librarian service. The librarian told him the Harrisburg Patriot-News had a database of old obits. He requested a copy but it had not arrived when I last talked to him. Frank said this feature made searching easier for him. Certainly, the Internet has made a difference in the genealogists’ research. Have you tried this feature?
PARISH COUNCIL KNOCKS DOWN TOMBSTONES: This is undoubtedly the most unusual story regarding cemetery tombstones. Relatives were in tears to find the stones of their loved ones knocked over on the ground in their local cemetery. They were shocked to find out the offender was a member of the Parish Council of Nuthall Parish, Nottinghamshire, England. The council member explained it was necessary to lay the headstones flat because they were at risk of falling and causing an injury. He went on to explain the reason was to prevent further accidents or deaths from occurring; therefore, “it was for health and safety reasons.” He said it needed immediate attention and did not consult the other councilmembers. The man noted that in 2000, a falling tombstone crushed a six-year old boy and a nine-year old boy was crushed in 2003. The Council will not upright the stones. They say the surviving relatives must pay to have them up righted and secured. If there are no living relatives or the survivors cannot afford to have them professionally set the council will “insert tasteful support stakes free of charge” when they upright them. Doesn’t that mean they will upright the stones after all?
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.