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The Genes Tell the Story

All along I thought I was a German.

A while back I decided to take a y-DNA test to see if I could figure out my European ancestry.  I know who my first ancestor in America was, Christian Redelsberger, and that he arrived in Philadelphia in September of 1733.  I also knew that Christian left Rotterdam by ship earlier that summer.  The trail goes cold at the dock.

As for where Christian was before that, I had no clue.  I had a few guesses, but nothing concrete.  That is, until I took the y-DNA test, and the results came back on Monday.  Now I know.  My guess was right.

I got a definitive y-DNA hit to someone living in Europe with whom I share a common male ancestor 12-14 generations ago.  This man contributed his sample a few years ago, and even better, has traced his family back to a Cunradt Rotlisperger, who lived in the Canton of Bern in 1540.

Now, that doesn't tell me when or how Christian's family left Bern, but we do know that a number of the Rotlispergers were Anabaptists and left Switzerland in the early 1600's and settled along the Rhine (in the Alsace), and even perhaps in the Province of Limburg (along the Meuse).  Some of these folk were also Reformed.  Somewhere among them are my ancestors.

So, I'm not a German.   I am Swiss.  The genes prove it!

Reader Comments (11)

Incredible! What company did you use? I would love to have the Y-DNA test done.

My wife's is easy; she's Native American -- actually on the rolls of the Menominee tribe, unlike some in the news recently.

Mine is a little sketchy. I would love to be able to tell my kids where they come from.
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bywaters

Family Tree DNA. Not cheap, but the whole thing fascinates me, and it got to the point that I could never figure out "where" I came from until I went the DNA route. So, I saved my pennies, and got the answer I was hoping for (because it confirmed my research).
June 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
Did you note the <a href="">Jewish DNA</a> option?

Certain parties are going to that that and run with it, I'm sure.
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"lee n. field"

Too cryptic for me . . . I am missing your point.
June 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
So how does this technology relate to the population genomics that threatens the doctrine of the historicity of Adam & Eve (and therefore the Fall, therefore Original (imputed) Sin, therefore substitutionary atonement...) by its findings of a "population bottleneck" of not two, but thousands of humans?

See, for instance Christianity Today:

(Not trying to be snarky, this is an issue I am wrestling with)
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

I'm no scientist and can't speak to the scientific DNA stuff (like Fuz Rana). All I know is that these y-DNA tests (and non-Christian genealogical websites which deal with this new technology from a non-religious and historical perspective) point to a common human ancestor (Adam), a common human language, and the creation of culture wherever these people lived. Nothing in this is problematic to the historicity of Adam. There are many who admit that the dating of these human lines is largely based upon an assumed rate of mutation. The time frame might be much shorter.

As for the m-DNA, this proves there was an "Eve." That is openly admitted. I've also read from several sources that m-DNA has no ties to Neanderthal--which means that humans and Neanderthals could not have mated and produced offspring, another false assumption.

One important issue seems to be the assumption that y-DNA Adam and m-DNA Eve lived many thousands of years apart. But I'm rather certain this won't be the case, and that eventually this assumption too will be falsified.

This DNA technology is very early in its development and seems to point in the direction of confirming the unity of the human race, and many admit that the dating of these early humans is a highly speculative process.
June 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
Thx for replying Dr. Riddlebarger (or should it be Rotlisperger?).

If the genetic evidence was pointing to unique ancestors Adam and Eve, I would be happy as a clam, but from my (little!) bit of reading, I'm seeing the science pointing specifically away from unique Adam & Eve, to a bottleneck genetic pool sized about 10,000 (like in that CT article)

If you can recall any links, I'd be interested to read more.

(P.S. I'm not too worried about mutation rates; I hold a Klinean view of selective biblical genealogies, so I have quite a bit of breathing room in the antiquity of man (and age of the earth/universe) departments)
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

I'm with Collins and Rana on this one. Caution is in order, because we really don't know what to do with this kind of data--its like the climate debate. We have all kinds of new facts, but no conceptional gestalt to interpret them.

Its gonna take a while and there will be all kinds of wild guesses in the meantime.
June 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
>Too cryptic for me . . . I am missing your point.

Sorry, I botched the URL (more accurately, the blogging software couldn't handle the html tag).

Family Tree DNA (which I assume is, has an option for checking Jewish ancestry via DNA. (
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"lee n. field"
Suisse? Alsace? I figure if you look hard enough, you'll find that you're actually of French descent. Probably from Jean-Claude Rotules-Berger (or John Claude Knee Cap Shepherd as he was known in England).
June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Yamada
Well, if you come across a "Johannes Hoffer " (born Feb 1650 in Basel, B, Switzerland) then we are related. At least a little less distant than Adam anyway.
July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman

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