My European heritage – where does John come from?

January 16, 2015

It’s the typical conversation we all have over the non-stop eating days of the Christmas season: family. Any news from cousin thingy? Does aunt whatsherface have children now? It’s a convenient filler between two dishes and, most of the time, talking about the family members who did not come to your Christmas party is a safe topic. It brings little arguing and we all have something to say about everyone.I have a rather small family (one sister, a total of four cousins) so we don’t have so many members to discuss, but this year we talked about our ancestry and where we come from.

My great, great grandfather Auguste (1878?-1919)

Most of my family comes from Brittany, in the West of France. From my mother’s mother’s side, we come from the Morbihan region and our relatives have typical names from there, such as Lohoux. Our being tall and fair-haired is presumably because of Viking ancestors who settled in the region centuries ago. My grandmother claims her grandmother was 1,78m, which is exceptionally tall for a woman in France born in the 19th century. So Vikings from Brittany is one branch.

We have another side from Sicily, but this one is also quite obscure and most of the information we gathered was dim and unsure. On my father’s side, I have a great grandfather from there, who worked in a circus (!) and emigrated to France. The Italian genes must have been weak, given how we now look like.

My mom’s dad was born in Slovenia. His parents were called Franz and Aloja Zore, which is pretty exotic and kinda cool. He’s the last of four brothers and survived a world war, coal mining in the north of France and passive smoking from working 50 years behind a counter in his pub. Slavic genes seem to be more resilient.

So that’s my gene pool: Viking, Italian, and Slovenian. Quite a fun mix!

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