Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Post-Colonial Population Structure

A new study in Nature by Eunjun Han, et al, examines the genomes of three-quarters of a million Americans and notes patterns in identity-by-descent, which is roughly "where your ancestors come from." Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial structure of North America. 

If you have been following along here, the results are not only not surprising, they are pretty much what we would have drawn on the map as a prediction. The genome dots generally track the regional cultures put forward by Colin Woodard in his 2011 American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. Woodward's book is based on David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, and Joel Garreau's Nine Nations of North America. He considers his own work to be a significant improvement on Garreau's. I think that is partly, but not entirely true. You can compare on your own

I have recommended, written about, and referred to Fischer's and Garreau's books often.

I didn't spend much time on the text, mostly only using it to give me more details about the maps. Especially Figure 3.  Some things to note: Woodard's Tidewater culture is not visibly distinct here, and the further distinctions of  Upland South, Midlands, and Greater Appalachia are visible, but not quite the same as any of the three authors have claimed. Still, not bad, to be able to read a genetic map before the DNA was even collected.  That Utah was ultimately settled by people who were Yankees rather than one of the other American coastal nations has been noted before - first by their own extensive genealogies. Joseph Smith was a northeastern Yankee. Make of that what you will.  The additional nationalites not mentioned in the volumes are nonetheless not surprising.  Scandinavians, Acadians, and Jews show up right where we would expect them to, and they were not neglected in the the books, even though they were not much part of the historical discussion until much later.  Enjoy.

For those of you who dig this stuff in more detail, Jayman over at Unz Review is a very talented (because obsessed) amateur. He lives up in Portland and I hope to go up and hoist one with him when I take my minor-league baseball trip this year.


Texan99 said...

The Coastal Bend of Texas, where I live, is the triple tail ends of the Upper South, the Lower South, and Northeast Mexico. There were few Europeans here before about 150 years ago.

Grim said...

This is fascinating stuff to me too. It's been obvious to me my whole life that there's a different Highland Southern and Lowland Southern culture, but now I need to re-examine it for more subtle differences between the Piedmont South and true Appalachia (where my family is from).

jaed said...

This has me wondering about internal staged migrations.

Most of my early American ancestry is in Virginia. Then everyone (both black and white, from different branches) seems to have moved to Ohio during the first half of the 19th century. From there, along the Oregon Trail. It's kind of weird because it shows up in parallel, in various branches who weren't intermarried at that time. I'm wondering how common that sort of thing is. Did half the people in Tidewater Virginia move to the Midwest at some point, or what?

Unknown said...

when in ME, please say hi to the noble sir jayman, from his KS fan(s:) (who(m) are also asst. village id. fans)