DNA and the Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market, Syracuse, N.Y. Many different foods and many different people.  “The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources--because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”   Lyndon B. Johnson

Farmer’s Market, Syracuse, N.Y. Many different foods and many different people.
“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”
Lyndon B. Johnson

 

We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi. We’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A,’ huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts!

Bill Murray as John Winger in the movie Stripes 1981

 

So this is me. Over all many would say pretty boring. Except when we learn the human story behind these results.

So this is me. Over all many would say pretty boring. Except when we learn the human story behind these results.

I am an American. Therefore, I am a mutt. If you were to look at me, you would say he is a White Anglo Saxon Protestant. Well, to start I am Catholic. Then somewhere in my DNA, you will find some traces of North Africa, Native American, Italy/Greece, and perhaps some Spanish from the Iberian Peninsula. I guess you could say I am a variety of ethnicity. I know I have primarily English roots from Great Britain and Ireland, but even they have not gotten along for hundreds of years. Also, if you were Irish in the United States not that long ago, you were discriminated against and held down to the lowest economic levels. However, it is not the point of this post to show the trouble that certain groups have had or are having now. What I would like to say is just relax a little because it is working. Call it a melting pot or a salad or any of the many descriptions I have heard about our great mixture of people; it is a magical blend that works. Besides it would be very annoying if you went to a farmer’s market and all anyone had to sell were potatoes.

"America, it has been observed, is not really a melting pot. It is actually a huge potluck dinner, in which platters of roasted chicken beckon beside casseroles of pasta, mounds of tortillas, stew pots of gumbo, and skillets filled with pilafs of every imaginable color." Author: Andrea Chesman

“America, it has been observed, is not really a melting pot. It is actually a huge potluck dinner, in which platters of roasted chicken beckon beside casseroles of pasta, mounds of tortillas, stew pots of gumbo, and skillets filled with pilafs of every imaginable color.”
Author: Andrea Chesman

 

I would like to give you three quick examples of the many ways I have seen this mixture work. The first was when I was perhaps ten years old. As a young boy, one of the things we use to do was to play war. We were always on the hunt for the Hun or a sneaky Jap. The shows on television had many war adventure stories, Sergeant Rock was a popular comic book hero, many of our fathers and uncles had served in World War Two or Korea. My father had served in Patton’s 3rd Army and came home with medals and memories both which were never shared and gathered dust. A young couple moved into the small apartment on the side of the house that we lived in. He was in the air force, and she was from Germany. She spoke English very well but still had an accent and at times stumble over words. I was not sure what to think about this as up to then in our play world we shot the Germans and overran their machine guns, always done with great courage. So I asked my Dad what he thought about a German living here. After all, it was only about 15 years since he was fighting them for real. The best I can remember of what he said all those years ago was that he found that they bleed and suffered just like anyone else. Then he told me about the beautiful parks that Germany had. That even in the midst of the war how they kept the parks up, and he found them very beautiful. He said other things, but it is jumbled up in the passing of the years. He did give my young mind much to consider.

The vendor with his back to the camera is from Turkey. The other person is from Greece. Both now live and work in the United States and have for years. They both served in the armed forces of their country. The gentleman from Turkey said that they could have ended up shooting at each other.  But here get to talk and trade jokes.  He said it is much better here where we can all be friends.

The vendor with his back to the camera is from Turkey. The other person is from Greece. Both now live and work in the United States and have for years. They both served in the armed forces of their country. The gentleman from Turkey said that they could have ended up shooting at each other. But here get to talk and trade jokes. He said it is much better here where we can all be friends.

My second example is when we had young children many families in the neighborhood we lived in would bring children from Northern Ireland over for a few weeks in the summer to give them a “break” from the conflict going on in their home country. They would be boys and girls, Protestant, and Catholic. Many children would come over to the same families for many years. I have heard criticism about this program and how it did not accomplish much and may have been harmful in some ways. All I know is that they seemed to have a good time and many smiles and much laughter as they spent the summer here in America. One day I had a conversation with one of the older Irish youths, and he was telling me about his discoveries here in America. In our neighborhood, we had both a Catholic and a Methodist church in proximity to each other. I asked him about his thought on that and if he thought since during the summer he interacted with people from both religions if that would help him when he got home. He looked at me and said “the Protestants here are different than those at home. He would have to fight them when he got back home.” The answer bothered me then and still does to this day. Here we make it work. It must be in our DNA.

It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.  -- Pierre Bayle

It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.
— Pierre Bayle

My third and last example took place at the time of the infamous 9/11 attacks. There is no need to go over these attacks as they are fresh in our memories. With this being the year of the 15th anniversary we all have had a refresher on those dark days. It was a few weeks after the attacks that I found myself at the Syracuse Regional Market or as everyone else calls it the farmer’s market. Every Saturday local farmers and artisans gather in five large warehouse type buildings and an outdoor area to sell their goods. This is a splendid gathering of all kinds of people both selling and buying. It was in the middle of this humanity that I stood to one side and closed my eyes. I could clearly hear laughter and the chorus of voices in many different accents and languages. I could clearly hear a couple from India, the Italian voice selling fish, a Jamaican accent was heard in the distance, and the strangest accent of all made me open my eyes. There he was a man from Boston wearing a Red Sox baseball cap. Apparently a stranger here in central New York. Then as I looked around, I noticed and studied the different styles of dress and facial features and skin color that was surrounding me. Suddenly I felt better than I had since the attacks. As I looked all around me I realized it works, our wonderful way of life works. If you do not think it does go and get a DNA test and look at your results.

Parveen Joy Khan has been a fixture for over 20 years at the market. Her booth is the "International Beads and Gifts."

Parveen Joy Khan has been a fixture for over 20 years at the market. Her booth is the “International Beads and Gifts.”

This vendor was not camera shy at all. Her baked goods are some of the best you will ever buy.

This vendor was not camera shy at all. Her baked goods are some of the best you will ever buy.

Better Brittle Booth at the market. Before I took this picture I listen to him speak in his native language with some customers. Then when I asked permission to take his picture he spoke in perfect English. It made me wish once more that I had learned a second language.

Better Brittle Booth at the market. Before I took this picture I listen to him speak in his native language with some customers. Then when I asked permission to take his picture he spoke in perfect English. It made me wish once more that I had learned a second language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people and religions are represented at the market.

Many people and religions are represented at the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post took on a life of its’ own. I had planned to talk about some of the great discoveries that I have made by having the DNA testing done. I have made contact with cousins and have added to my family tree. I have been able to break through some small barriers and been able to prove out some of my family tree. I will be writing about these stories in the future

My wife's results. The big surprise was the European Jewish. Also the low percentage of Irish and very high percent from Great Britain.

My wife’s results. The big surprise was the European Jewish. Also the low percentage of Irish and very high percent from Great Britain.

 

My advice to everyone is to have your DNA tested. But not only yourself but the oldest members of your family. I wish these tests were available when some of my older relatives were alive. You never know what discoveries you will make down the road. DNA testing is a genealogy tool for us to use. In my opinion not to use it would be like not using the census records.

My granddaughter's results. She is a U.N. all to herself.  We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength. -- Jimmy Carter

My granddaughter’s results. She is a U.N. all to herself.
We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.
— Jimmy Carter

As you can see, I used the testing offered by ancestry.com. However, this is by no means an endorsement saying you should also use them. Just like DNA we are all different and have different needs. Take a look around and study the offerings that are out there. Select the one that you think will best work for you. I also advise not to worry too much about going into great depth in understanding the details on how and why it all works. I could not build a car or a computer. But I understood what I need in both and selected the one I needed based on that. The same with DNA testing. Read up on it study what each company offers and then take the plunge.

“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” Muslim Origin

“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.”
Muslim Origin

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52 Responses to DNA and the Farmer’s Market

  1. Brooksong says:

    Wonderful post! Very timely.

  2. pastsmith says:

    Great post. Love how you were heading one direction, and it took on a life of its own. Fascinating!

  3. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Very enlightning.

  4. As always, a very thoughtful post!

  5. Enjoyed your post! You got me thinking about who of the generation before me is left that would do a DNA. Thanks for the push!

  6. This is great! I have also loved having my dna done! Have you downloaded your dna or your wife’s to gedmatch.com? It is free, and there are other things there to learn. For one you can compare one to one. My kit there is A710631. I’d love to compare! My email is helenholshouser@gmail.com Will share this on facebook, because the message of tolerance and care for our differences is so needed right now! Thanks Charles! Helen

    • chmjr2 says:

      I will have to look into gedmatch.com, sounds interesting. Also thank you for sharing this post. I always look forward to your comments when I publish a new post.

  7. Pingback: DNA and the Farmer’s Market — Moore Genealogy | Sheaffer Genealogy

  8. Exactly, that is the power of DNA. For over 20 years research into our DNA has been screaming ‘WE ARE ALL KIN’.

  9. Amy says:

    This is a wonderful post and particularly so in these times when some in this country want to close the doors to those who are different. Aside from the native Americans (who also at some point came from somewhere else since we all started in Africa eons ago), everyone in the US is a descendant of immigrants—whether in the 1600s or the 2000s. And sadly, not everyone has accepted that we are a mixed salad that benefits from all those different parts.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I truly believe that the people who do not accept immigrants are a minority. They do gain some numbers when employment is low or when someone uses scare tactics against a certain group. I also know we could (and should) take in more of the refuges fleeing from war, but I am certain we will do better. When I start to think all is going wrong a trip to this farmer’s market sets me right.

  10. Sandi McGinnis says:

    We are thinking about doing DNA testing again based on one of Bob’s first cousins results. And this most enjoyable blog of yours is another nudge in that direction.

  11. Cara Jensen, historical researcher says:

    I love your thoughts on our blended culture! Your post has inspired me to go back and go through my dna results a little more carefully. Thanks!

  12. Brilliant post! Just shows how diverse we can be. My father went to Korea, came back and married his childhood sweetheart. My father-in-law went to Korea and came back with a Japanese bride. I now have two kids – one describes himself as White British on Monitoring forms and the other as British Other (Japanese), though they are both one quarter Japanese. I’d like to see a family historian sort that out in 100 years. 😉

    • chmjr2 says:

      Well I guess you will have to write down this part of your family history so someone is not pulling out their hair in a hundred years or so. Thanks for reading and your comment sharing a small part of your family story.

  13. Jimmy M. Sisson says:

    Great post as always. Our different ethnic backgrounds and cultures coming together have made this the great nation that it is.

  14. Wonderfully put together with pictures. I don’t get out much, so I enjoyed this trip to the market and the meaningful dialogue!

    • chmjr2 says:

      I am glad you liked the trip to the market. This is one of my favorite places to go shopping. Much better than a grocery store or a mall. They even have a flea market here every Sunday with dealers coming from miles around and out of state. The dialogue that you liked just came. As I said in the post I was going to write a completely different piece but these are the thoughts that made their way on paper. Thanks for reading my blog and I really appreciate your comments.

  15. jte17 says:

    Nice line there – “Besides it would be very annoying if you went to a farmer’s market and all anyone had to sell were potatoes.” May I quote that?

  16. andkindred says:

    I guess the developed world will become more cosmopolitan and, although on the face of it communications and gaming technology enable more isolation and lone activity, in reality it seems that people of wide-ranging backgrounds are brought together by common interests that, only a few years ago, could not have been known about, let alone being shared.

    In general, I suggest, humans, as social animals, are indeed predisposed toward cooperation. The buyer-vendor relationship, in which each needs the other, is one that has endured since the dawn of our existence. Conflict generally arises when somebody places their own advancement at another’s expense beyond the point of peaceful agreement. On the whole, though, we rub along pretty well.

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. I agree with much of your views. I just wish more people could come out from their shells and interact with people with whom they think are different from themselves. I believe this would bring about more understanding.

      • andkindred says:

        I could not agree more. My own background is very much white British and that is how my colleagues were when I started work at the local Council in 1982. The odd man out was white Irish! But, gradually, more councillors from Asian communities were elected and the staff began to reflect more closely the demographic mix, including Sikh, Muslim, Caribbean, east European, Roma (Gipsy) and even American. As I climbed the ladder I tried to bring these people into my various expanding networks because they brought new perspectives and innovation, testing traditional ideas and ideals (that thinking outside the box thing that senior managers want you to do because they can’t).

        One of the key things my team needed to do was to consult with local communities on what the Council wanted to do in their area. I quickly found that if you can involve someone who is respected in that community the value of feedback is exponentially multiplied. So, say the issue is: we have some money to improve the local park, what should we do with it? On my own the response would be polite and friendly enough, but there would always be the suspicion that I was only ticking boxes and had no genuine interest in their views, so nothing very useful would emerge. But going with someone who could speak (say) Bangladeshi or Urdu would bring people out of their shells. The answer to my question on one occasion was: actually, the park is just fine, but we have to go round the houses to get there; why not put in a new path? That’s what we did and loads more people used the park, with all the benefits to personal well-being that brings. Oh and increased maintenance costs!

        A bit long, but the wonderful thing about the www is that you never know who is passing by …

  17. Really enjoyed it. Time for me to get my DNA tested. The McBee clans have too many skeletons in their closets! Time to let a few more out!>))

  18. kakingsbury says:

    So true – our differences unite us. Prayers that more people will realize it! Thanks for following my blog!

  19. chattykerry says:

    I had a blood test yesterday and one result was more important if you were African American. My DNA tells me that I am part North African but I decided that I was decidedly more Caucasian. Great blog and so true…

  20. Jon Casbon says:

    I agree – great post! I lived in Syracuse (briefly) when my father got his MBA at the University there. It was when they had the great blackout of 1965. They also had a huge blizzard that year…school was closed for a week!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thanks for reading and your comment. Few people know that Syracuse gets the most snow of any city. Most years beating out even Buffalo, N.Y. Do you recall where in Syracuse you lived?

      • Jon Casbon says:

        I lived on the Corner of Clifton & James Streets. My brother had a paper route. After the blizzard I helped him deliver papers. I walked over a “hill” and then noticed that it was a car when I saw tail lights on the other side!

  21. good post! I have been intimidated to this – but maybe you are right and we should think about it – and maybe it is a holiday time activity for our parents

  22. Jim McKeever says:

    The interaction between the men from Turkey and Greece at the market is especially poignant. The Regional Market is indeed a melting pot, and a symbol of how we can get along if we work at it.

  23. Marc Kuhn says:

    Charles…first of all, thanks for stopping by marc’s blog and deposting a “like” …I appreciate that. Second, I really enjoyed your farmer’s market piece…we have times and experiences in common…I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  24. higginsmj says:

    Very thought provoking. I am Australian and we, too, are a mixed bag of misfits and “mutts”. I am interested in genealogy too but have resisted getting a DNA test – not sure why. After reading this post I think I will do something about it.

  25. higginsmj says:

    OK. Thanks. Will do.

  26. Interesting commentary. If more Americans had this attitude of “over here we can all be friends,” it would lead to more sympathy for refugees and increased immigration. And that would work I think if all the immigrants had that same belied. A country will give someone an opportunity for a new life and if everyone on BOTH sides puts aside their prejudice and see others as potential friends, what a wonderful world that would be!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you for taking the time to look over and read my blog. Summer is coming here and soon I will be at the farmer’s market. We all need places like this, where we can see positive human interaction.

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