GenFracing

A good friend of mine growing up once told me, I am not half the man my father is.  I don’t know why nor even what we were discussing but I, I took it to heart.  I spent years working hard, trying to be the better man and one day it donned on me, not better, just half.  I came to this interesting conclusion while delving in my families genealogy, that genetically I am only half, half my father and half my mother.  I came to realize after years of structuring my family tree I was doing it all wrong.  I don’t know why, maybe it’s the mathematics factor or just the way every genealogists are trained but we need to stop counting in comfortable whole numbers but complicated fractions.  I love genealogy, I love trying to trace all those in my line, paternal and maternal but I’ve come to realize they are not wholly related.  I am not related to four million plus people twenty generations out, I am only related to twenty men and some change.  As a man, genetically I have an X and Y chromosome, no more, no less.  I am related to my father, his father, his father by our Y chromosome, five hundred generations, I am related to five hundred men, directly and their brothers of course.

What about the X?  I am half my mother?  No!  I am related to my mother by one quarter, for my X comes from four different directions.  One quarter my fathers maternal and paternal side and one quarter my mothers maternal and paternal side.  I am of course related to my mother by one quarter of all her female ancestral line, in saying that, I am related by marriage but not genetically to a single male member of her maternal or paternal line.  Now here s the kicker, that no one wants to hear, neither is she.  No woman is kin to any man but by woman.  Every woman’s last name in essence is handed down from father and peripherally to husband.  My mother doesn’t carry her fathers Y chromosome, she’s not truly a Blevins but a Casteel and Robinette, but no, she’s not, for their mothers were not.

We’re related by blood, right?  I am directly related to my brother, full blood relations,  a sister if I had one, we would be raised as brother and sister of course.  Even though my fictitious sister and I have the same mother and father, we are not full blooded, we are only half brother and sister, right off the bat for she carries a larger amount of X chromosomes from both our maternal and paternal lines than I do and they may not even be the same and she does not carry a Y.  Genetically, we may only show we have the same mothers.

Here is where those pesky once removed are a generation off.  I am related to my fathers forefathers directly, all of their brothers would be my uncles and their male heirs, (ancestral) my cousins, myself, then first, second, third.  Then, from myself and my brother, our offspring’s first cousins, second, third, (descendants) their cousins.  However, my fictitious sisters children, to my children are actually first cousins once removed, twice removed, third and so on for their male offspring’s lineage, Y chromosomes differ.

The next time you see that your supposedly related to 3 trillion people and knowing full good and well there has never even been that many people on this earth.  You can know you are related to most way back and to many and most from many directions.  However, taking fractions into account each generation you are related only by one half, then one quarter, one eighth, one sixteenth, thirty-second, sixty-fourth and so on, constantly dividing, diluting and replenishing.

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