A Peek Into My Ancestry

After much anticipation, my DNA results came back via an AncestryDna.com test me and my wife both took about 5 weeks ago.  My wife turned out to be 83% British or something like that.  She was surprised in that she thought her maiden was name was German – which apparently it was not.

For those of you “ist” and “ism” bigots that don’t know I’m half-Armenian on my mother’s side and a mixture of European on my fathers.  I was actually expecting some sort of Middle Eastern mixed in due to Armenia’s geographic location and it’s history of invaders, conquest, and overall movements of demographics in the last 2000 years there.

What I didn’t expect was some of these other results.

I knew of the English on my dad’s side, but the Irish/Scots/Welsh and the Southern European and Iberian were surprising. Obviously, the European Jewish part surprised me.

Justin Timberlake may be a man of the woods, but I’m a man of antiquity and the high middle ages.  I may just now be a walking poster boy for Diversity.  The Tech industry needs to hire me now, though I can’t promise my worldview will be the same.

Back to a serious note.  It’s enjoyable and instructive to know where your ancestors came from, but who am I really? We have these weird awkward conversations about “racial” and ethnic awareness with the types of people you really don’t want to have those conversations/awareness with if you like your job and need to pay your mortgage.

But even these same people are in a dire boat in the modern digital age of loneliness. Their identities exist in a Western old vacuum that can’t be replicated anywhere else.  Obviously, this is specifically true of the political and sociological identities people have inserted themselves into, often in the most tribal ways – American politics for instance.

What these people don’t have is any real identity not tied to that.  For instance, if some “African American” – a crappy term – goes over to Ghana, how much are they really going to have with Ghanans?  What about Nigeria, Egypt, Chad, or Ethiopia?

They don’t know if they are even from the same tribe, group, or nation – which they likely aren’t.  For all they know, they were some of the slaves that the Ghanans took and sold to the entire world.  They don’t speak the same language – that’s a big deal.

The cultural mannerisms, traits, and norms are entirely different.  They may even call you a slur which means white. If you don’t speak the same language, you’ve lost a lot of what might make you even remotely “similar” to them, and don’t be surprised when they accuse you of “Cultural appropriation”.

You may discover you’re ancestors were slavers, slaves, conquerors, or great empire builders.  It’s a bit of a mixed bag in today’s modern oppression culture where everyone wants more oppression cards to play.

All that said, I get it.  Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Modern life in the digital 21st century has been stripped to its bare parts by globalism and people’s identities, cultures, and traditions have been shattered.   However, people still need an identity.  They need to find a reason, purpose, and motivation to live and build a legacy.

Take me for instance. I’m proud to be half Armenian and the various other mix of ethnicities.  However, how much do I have in common with them? If I went back to Armenia right now, would I be able to say that I have a similar life with similar situations, standard of living, and a shared plight and condition?

I don’t think I could.  I’m not in a country where it’s borders are filled with rocket, mortar, and machine-gun fire over disputed land on a frequent basis.  Armenia could very well be overwhelmed by Azerbaijan if a war broke out and the country could be decimated for generations.

Yes, I am a descendant of Armenian survivors, but I don’t speak the language, know just a few foods, and only rarely have been to the Armenian Church – the center of culture – with the exception of funerals.   My sons won’t have an Armenian identity or that of any other ethnicity.  They will likely be a product of American midwest culture.

Of course, I want them to know where they come from, but where they are going is a foundation that has to be built. So many of the identities that people cling to today are built on shallow ground and foundations that will inevitably shatter.

The past is one source that contributes toward an identity, but it can’t be the only one. Look to the communities and the people that surround you now – that is part of your culture. You can influence how it’s shaped, or you can build identities based off “opposition” to the tribe you don’t like.

Don’t be surprised though when you have nothing to live for once that tribe is shattered.

P.S.  If you are wondering what someone with the above mix looks like here’s n example of what I look like with a beard. It’s not full yet.

5 Replies to “A Peek Into My Ancestry”

  1. Were you calling your readers racists or something with this comment or did I misunderstand? Or was that a joke maybe?

    “For those of you “ist” and “ism” bigots that don’t know I’m half-Armenian on my mother’s side and a mixture of European on my fathers.”

    Have you been researching your ancestry to make a family tree or did you and the wife just do the DNA test?

    I see what you’re saying. Don’t forget the past but continue to build your life.

    Still, I’m torn on the subject.

    On the one hand, you’re a model recent generation immigrant.
    I’m assuming you’re a third generation immigrant and that at least 1 out of 4 grandparents came to the USA from Armenia. Is that right?

    The reason I’m assuming that is because you don’t mention Armenian being your mother tongue. Usually the first generation that immigrates will pass the language down to the second generation, but the second generation won’t pass it down to the third generation. That’s why I assumed you’re third generation.

    Well in any case my point is that on the one hand you are a model American as a recent generation immigrant. You seem to want stress the importance of being American above being over anything else.

    On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that it’s a mistake not to put so much emphasis on Armenia. Armenia is such a small and fragile nation and ethnicity, they need more people to care about them. If ethnic Armenians themselves don’t put much emphasis on the importance of the Armenian land, culture, history and language then who will?

    It blows my mind how little anybody around the world talks of the Armenian genocide, it’s as if it never happened in the eyes of academia, media and popular culture. I guess those modern day NATO military bases in Turkey give the old Ottoman Empire a pass.

    But then again everything dies at some point. By the looks of your DNA test you’re 25% Armenian. Given that it’s unlikely that your kids will marry somebody with Armenian descent in the Midwestern USA (you mentioned you lived there in this article), when your kids have children that percentage will drop even lower. Your grandkids percentage will probably be only single digit percentage of Armenian.

    I have this to say to you. Perhaps Armenia would mean something to you if you can connect Armenia to something real. If you research your genealogy, can you find stories or pictures? Perhaps hometowns?

    Could you visit those hometowns with your kids or grandkids one day at some point in your lifetime as a way of not only taking a nice family vacation, but to pay homage to those who came before you? You could do that on the British side of your kids family as well? Even something as simple as driving by an old address in which your ancestor listed on a census as having lived in the 1800’s?

    What about the Armenian genocide, if you research your genealogy would you be able to find documents stating that your ancestors took that long trail of death from the Anatolian highlands? Did your Armenian ancestors fight in the first world war?

    Could you have Turkish ancestors who fought against British ancestors in the First World War? You’re ancestors could have been fighting your wife’s ancestors and one millennia later their ancestors (you and your wife) are married with kids. What a life lesson that would be for you and your wife to pass down to your kids.

    Seeing those ethnicity percentages doesn’t exactly make anything come alive. You have to find whatever bits and pieces of information that you can to make it real for you and your family. People, places, names, journals, pictures, locations, those things make your past come alive.

    But like I said, I also understand not putting to much emphasis on the past. You have to move forward in life and you are obviously putting assimilation above the identity politics that can divide Americans. That is commendable.

    I shouldn’t have to say that it’s commendable for a third generation immigrant (if that’s what you are) putting assimilation over identity politics but that is the reality of today’s America. “Press 2 for Spanish” does not encourage assimilation.

    But tell me this – Demographics in America favor the left. By about 2045 if demographic trends and voting patterns stay the same, the left will control the country for the foreseeable future. The left has made it clear, that while they certainly don’t advocate for ethnic nationalism, they are not even advocating for civic nationalism.

    How is a country like America supposed to survive if we do not have civic nationalism? We need something to pull 300+ million people together, right? If the left is successful at breaking down American civic nationalism, what are your kids and grandkids going to identify as as white Americans?

    The left won’t let them be proud to be white (understandable given the history), they won’t let them be proud to be American, so what will be left? Are they are going to have to research their ancestry and be proud to be two handfuls or more of various ethnicities?

    In your case you have what 30% Armenian/Turkish (from the Caucasus), 55% European and 12% Middle Eastern. How the hell are you supposed to identify with all those regions?

    This is going to be a problem for all of us white Americans going into the future. My kids, your kids, we will all have to deal with the question of what is our identity?

    At least Brazil encourages strong civic nationalism to pull that diverse country together. How the hell is America supposed to survive without civic nationalism and world melting pot? We gotta have something to hold on to, right?

    And just saying “my identity is me who I am as an individual” is not enough. As you mentioned in this article, humans have a distinct need to have some kind of identity. It’s hardwired into us.

    One last note, have you thought about getting Armenian citizenship through descent if that is still possible? It never hurts to have more then 1 passport.

    Sorry for my ramble. I enjoyed your post! Thanks for responding to my other comment in your last article as well!

  2. Hey John, good to hear from you!

    The joke is for those of us in the Dissident Right who are used to being called “ists” and isms. Probably should have made it hit a bit better.

    Me and my wife were both interested in finding out our ancestry breakdown and there was a sale on DNA kits, so we snapped at it.

    I would be a 4th generation Armenian. My great grand-parents were the one’s who came over in the genocide. It was my mom and her sisters who married outside the Armenian community as to why I’m half Armenian.

    Now my grandparents didn’t speak much Armenian in the house. They wanted my mother and her sisters to assimilate. Something that’s stood out to me is that if you don’t speak the same language, you lose much of the commonality of whatever that ancestry may be.

    One interesting example of this is some of the dreamer kids who don’t actually speak any Spanish. That’s huge. Right there is probably the most important link there and they don’t have it. Now they might vote their interest like most identity groups do – just as they do in the rest of the world.

    Now I’m very proud of my Armenian ancestors and their courage. I enjoy the history of the region – I’ve played far too much Europa Universalis which has helped me really get a grasp of the geography, peoples, and culture of the world.

    However, if I wanted to continue with an identity that was Armenian, I would have married one. That said, I fell in love with a girl that turns out to be 80% British. That’s what God had in the cards for me.

    Now I have much European as well in me – a very rich and diverse history. (I suppose the Orthodox similarities in Armenia and parts of Eastern Europe could be a common bonding factor throughout history.)

    My father’s ancestors came over and made a life. They built a legacy – one of which I am trying to expand now. Some came from England, others from Germany. They have a culture too, but suffice to say because I speak just English, I suppose it would be the British that I have the most in “common” with. (Did I mention how much I enjoy the English Premier League, Champions League and soccer/football in general?)

    Now as to finding my Armenian geanology is something I’d like to do, but most of that was stored in the Churches which the Turks destroyed. At least on my dad’s side it’s alot easier.

    As you mentioned, I probably have some Turkic, Persian, etc in that middle east ancestry. My ancestors probably attacked, raped, and mated with each other over the thousands of years and the different Empires that came through and rose and fell.

    Honestly though, what about my fellow Americans around me? I’d love to help the plight of Armenians, but what about the poor Americans around me who actually live near me, speak the same language, drink the same beer, have the same humor, culture, mannerisms, etc?

    Geography influences culture and if you are removed from that geography for several generations, you begin a very new and different culture.

    Now some of that “original” home country culture will influence how your culture develops – as it does today when you look at the Scots/Irish Borderers who settled in the Applachians and the Cavaliers who settled in places like Maryland, Virginia, ect vs the Puritans in New England. The cultures are distinct to this day. (Liberals vs conservatives vs upper elite whites vs “backwards” hillbillies. )

    I think you are right. We need some sort of civic nationalism. We also need “whites” who are not ashamed for the supposed sins of their ancestors compared to everyone elses and aren’t going to manipulated by supposed guilt. Brazil is a great example as you mention.

    So many of the “whites” here aren’t even really European, unless they are 1st or 2nd generation types who still speak one of the languages of those in Europe.

    Something to consider about “whites” becoming a minority: Many groups of people here weren’t considered white in the 1800s and 1900s. They are now. You can bet something similar will happen such as the “white hispanics”. Mixed children – and I’m not just thinking racially -will be thrown into the same categorical. confusion.

    3 of my cousins are half black. If they don’t marry someone who is also black, are they 25% black kids going to think of themselves as “Black”? No.

    Leftists underestimate the infighting that is going to occur as it already is between blacks, latinos and specifically Asians – a whole other diverse category. (Amusing is those “Asians” who claim to speak for “Asians” and pretend that the Han Chinese somehow view themselves in a very similar manner to the Cambodians, Koreans, or Mongolians. )

    That all said we need some kind of identity that isn’t consumerist and materialist in nature on top of not being the result of a negative one based in identity politics.

    One common uniting factor is often religion – the Orthodox faith for example in uniting people across the ethnic lines and giving them similar prayers, morals, and culture. (Or the Sunnis and Shites.)

    Another is close proximity to like minded neighbors with similar goals, dreams, etc. You can already see that in the difference between someone from San Francisco vs Springfield, Missouri.

    Us and our kids are coming into the effects of globalism and the digital age on uprooting identities enmasse without a stable replacement – they’ve already condemned Christianity.

    We need to find something to build foundations with. Think of the Benedict Option, but adapted for different groups. We need platforms, resources, etc with which to do this.

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