Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Old King Niall (O'Neill) Was A Merry Old Soul...Many Children, Too

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Genetic researchers have discovered that many Irish people have descended from one legendary king. This means they are all royalty, or at least, a royal pain in the ass. Genghis Khan left many kids behinds, too. Then there is Abraham, and look at how his children do quarrel!

From Reuters:
Scientists in Ireland may have found the country's most fertile male, with more than 3 million men worldwide among his offspring.

The scientists, from Trinity College Dublin, have discovered that as many as one in twelve Irish men could be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in ancient Ireland.

His genetic legacy is almost as impressive as Genghis Khan, the Mongol emperor who conquered most of Asia in the 13th century and has nearly 16 million descendants, said Dan Bradley, who supervised the research.
First of all, he must have been one busy hostage. Back then, they set the women guard over hostages. Bet the men wondered about all those redhead tots running around.

Then he became King and the red heads went bezerk, too. The Vikings, 500 years later, were very fond of the redheads and often took them away as slaves and often ended up, even with the male slaves, making close relations because they admired their cleverness and quick minds. As well as other things which extended the genetic field.

My son said, "Well, my ancestor had 12 sons just like the legendary king, too." Speaking of Abraham's son. Actually, old Abraham had only one son and all the people in the Middle East deserts trace their lineage back to either son, so out of two came many bitter rivals from the very beginning, no less.

As genetic studies probe ever deeper, it is amazing how many legends and tales end up being proven true. One funny example was a village in England, they found a bog body and used the genetic markers from it to see if that person had any descendants and lo and behold, within the very same village, 2,500 years later, the school teacher was exactly that person! In other words, his family had lived there since the Ice Ages. Genetic studies of inhabitants of the Alps has the same results. Many of the families still there were nearly always there.

The Basque people of Spain are such a grouping, probably living there since 30,000 BC or earlier. Genetically as well as linguistically seperate from the Plains People who speak the various Indoeuropean languages.
Niall reportedly had 12 sons, many of whom became powerful Irish kings themselves. But because he lived in the 5th century, there have been doubts the king -- who is said to have brought the country's patron saint, Patrick, to Ireland -- even existed.

"Before I would have said that characters like Niall were almost mythological, like King Arthur, but this actually puts flesh on the bones," Bradley said.

When international databases were checked, the chromosome also turned up in roughly 2 percent of all male New Yorkers.
And you can find them all on St. Patty's day, in Manhattan.

Another interesting genetic study: From the Independent:
Spanish scientists are to test the DNA of hundreds of Catalans with the surname Colom to determine whether Christopher Columbus, far from the Italian gentleman he has long been believed to be, was in fact a pirate born in Catalonia.

The experiment, in determining whether any of the participants are related to the pioneering explorer, is designed to clarify the disputed origins of the man who made landfall in America in 1492.

While historians have mostly assumed that Columbus was an Italian born in 1451 in Genoa, a persuasive counter-lobby argues that the mariner who pioneered the Spanish conquista was in reality the Catalan Cristofol Colom, who airbrushed his past to conceal his activities as a pirate and conspirator against the king.

About 120 Catalans are to donate samples of their saliva this week to a team of geneticists headed by José Antonio Lorente Acosta, the head of the laboratory of genetic identification at Granada University.
Well, on the Pettit side of my family, I, too, have pirate blood. Shows up sometimes in odd ways, do love hip high boots and swinging swords. Columbus certainly acted like a pirate, wherever he went, he demanded gold. He kidnapped natives. He was a pretty nasty character.

My ancestor enjoyed the Caribbean, too. All those Spanish gold, too. Didn't do him any good, of course. Did pay for some property in Western Massachussetts, town of Peru.

Ever wonder why a town was named after the processing place where gold was stamped before being carried to the shores of the Caribbean? Heh. Avast, matey.
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