Author Topic: Genetic Memory?  (Read 3173 times)

Offline River Tyne Lass

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Genetic Memory?
« on: Monday 17 June 19 14:50 BST (UK) »
I responded to a post yesterday on RootsChat and wrote about how as a child one of my favourite games was to pretend I was a gypsy and how I would often go to sleep imagining I was travelling along in a gypsy caravan.  I recall that back then in my imagination, I used to have very vivid images of travelling along country roads, passing rivers, etc.  In my play, I would visualize myself as someone different.  I remember having a great interest in gypsies which lasted actually until my early 20's then this seemed to die off.  At one point, I don't know if  I was late teenage age or early 20s - my aunt (Dad's youngest sister) related  to me that we had come from gypsy stock.  I thought she was perhaps joking at that point perhaps teasing due to my interest.

However, when I started to look at my family history I discovered that on my Dad's side my ancestors were besom makers, basket makers, earthernware dealers, and the people they mixed with had similar occupations or were tinsmiths.  I also learned that apparently these were all typical occupations of gypsies/travelers.  I have seen records of my ancestors that hint at that they were travelers, for instance in one baptism record great x 3 Grandfather is described as a 'travelling besom maker'; I have also read of my ancestors described as 'tinkers' in the press.

Unfortunately, this aunt who told me we were from gypsy stock in now deceased so I can't question her about who must have told her this.  From my research, the gypsy/traveler side of the family all seemed to stop when my Great Grandfather and his brothers all became coal miners firstly in Durham then in Northumberland. 

Now I am wondering if my  interest in gypsies, developed in childhood, was not just play but perhaps a sort of genetic memory.  Is there such a thing? 

What I would like to know is has anyone else experienced anything which they might view as a type of genetic memory?
Conroy, Fitzpatrick, Watson, Miller, Davis/Davies, Brown, Senior, Dodds, Grieveson, Gamesby, Simpson, Rose, Gilboy, Malloy, Dalton, Young, Saint, Anderson, Allen, McKetterick, McCabe, Drummond, Parkinson, Armstrong, McCarroll, Innes, Marshall, Atkinson, Glendinning, Fenwick, Bonner

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Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 17 June 19 15:04 BST (UK) »
Sounds interesting ... perhaps when you were very young you picked up without realising it, on things that adults were talking about, and assuming you were too young to understand?
Threlfall (Southport), Isherwood (lancs & Canada), Newbould + Topliss(Derby), Keating & Cummins (Ireland + lancs), Fisher, Strong& Casson (all Cumberland) & Downie & Bowie, Linlithgow area Scotland . Also interested in Leigh& Burrows,(Lancashire) Griffiths (Shropshire & lancs), Leaver (Lancs/Yorks) & Anderson(Cumberland and very elusive)

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Offline River Tyne Lass

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 17 June 19 15:15 BST (UK) »
That sounds plausible .. but I really don't think so.  I have absolutely no recollection of anyone mentioning anything about gypsies/travelers at that point.  My aunt mentioned this much later on, and as I say I thought she was joking/teasing me.  Aunt only made a brief reference and now I wished I had questioned her more about this.  As a child all I knew was that my family going back to great Grandfather on Dad's side were coal miners. 

You could be right though, perhaps something might have been said which I just can't consciously remember which might have sparked off my interest.  However, I still wonder if there might be such a thing as a genetic memory. 
Conroy, Fitzpatrick, Watson, Miller, Davis/Davies, Brown, Senior, Dodds, Grieveson, Gamesby, Simpson, Rose, Gilboy, Malloy, Dalton, Young, Saint, Anderson, Allen, McKetterick, McCabe, Drummond, Parkinson, Armstrong, McCarroll, Innes, Marshall, Atkinson, Glendinning, Fenwick, Bonner

Offline Erato

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 17 June 19 15:21 BST (UK) »
How do you think "genetic memory" would work, physically speaking?
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr

Offline Mart 'n' Al

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 17 June 19 17:00 BST (UK) »
My thought is that it isn't genetic memory, but a genetic aptitude for a concept.  You perhaps have a romantic, free-thinking gene, which made you ripe for enjoying the lifestyle of which you speak.

I love going on boats, anything from a ferry across the Thames, a city river cruise or a cross-channel ferry.  I have had no encouragement in that direction at any point in my life, but my father chose to do his National Service in the navy, (not that he ever went to sea, as far as I know), my grandfather worked for a ships' architect, and my great grandfather was a fisherman and trawler captain.

I'd never noticed the connection before today!  But then many of my ancestors had nothing to do with the sea, including a Marylebone lamp-lighter, a stone mason and a load of labourers.

Martin
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Watson, (Bedlington, Jarrow & Hartlepool);
Ballard & Glassop (E. London); 
Leggett (Corton, Scarborough, Hartlepool); 
Young, Adamson & Wilson, (Hartlepool). 

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My ancestors are probably turning in their graves, not that I can actually find any of them.

Offline Rattus

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 17 June 19 18:39 BST (UK) »
I have used the phrase "genetic migration" about myself on numerous occasions over the past couple of years. Midlands born and bred, yet from about the age of ten I was convinced that my future lay in London, for no specific reason. Deep roots going back centuries in specific villages or suburbs of Nottingham. Vague awareness that one branch of the family had something to do with Rugby (the place, not the sport).

I moved to the English capital aged eighteen to go to university and never went back. Came to feel somewhat disloyal as the years went by - that my home town had never been 'good enough' - yet I felt entirely at home in my adopted city.

Two years ago, teetering on the edge of my sixth decade, I discovered that there are two 'London' branches of my family: one [paternal] in south-east London (where I lived for 25 years) and another [maternal] in north/north-west London (where I've lived for the past eight). Neither were known about in my living family.

The maternal branch has been particularly startling in the coincidences that I've discovered. Won't go into detail here, except to say that it has felt like my ancestors have been stalking me. I moved further out into the suburbs a couple of years ago, only to discover that the descendants who didn't make their way up to the Midlands also ended up in this particular suburb. I can see the house where they used to live from my lounge window. Over 100 miles from the place where I grew up, this is odd. (And nice.)

And outside of London, or the Midlands, two of my favourite places of the past couple of decades have been Margate and Newcastle, where it turns out the paternal 'London' branch of my family originated from.

So I'm convinced that genetic memory is a thing. Doesn't have to be pseudo-science. Some kind of subconscious tuning-in to magnetic fields, light levels, degree of ions in the atmosphere, hardness in the water, etc. There are plenty of potential markers that the human body could pick up on, if we allow for a greater level of sensory awareness than we can currently explain. How the 'memory' gets passed down, I have no idea. But I wouldn't discount the possibility of some kind of mechanism.
BARTRAM - Nottingham, Derby, originally Beds (Stagsden)
PERFETT - St Pancras & Marylebone, Rugby, Nottingham
RADFORD - Nottinghamshire, also back & forth to Bury
RUDD - Durham, Margate, Bermondsey, Newcastle, Nottingham

Offline Erato

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 17 June 19 18:55 BST (UK) »
"Some kind of subconscious tuning-in to magnetic fields, light levels, degree of ions in the atmosphere, hardness in the water, etc. There are plenty of potential markers that the human body could pick up on"

The question is, though, how do such environmental cues experienced by an ancestor get encoded into the DNA of the germ cells such that they can be passed on his or her descendants.  An exposure to gypsy music somehow producing a change in sperm and egg cells such that the descendants mysteriously find themselves snapping their fingers at the sound of gypsy fiddles?  I seriously doubt it.
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 17 June 19 19:28 BST (UK) »
"Some kind of subconscious tuning-in to magnetic fields, light levels, degree of ions in the atmosphere, hardness in the water, etc. There are plenty of potential markers that the human body could pick up on"

The question is, though, how do such environmental cues experienced by an ancestor get encoded into the DNA of the germ cells such that they can be passed on his or her descendants.  An exposure to gypsy music somehow producing a change in sperm and egg cells such that the descendants mysteriously find themselves snapping their fingers at the sound of gypsy fiddles?  I seriously doubt it.

There have been experiments with mice trained to fear a specific smell, this fear was passed on to their offspring who had never encountered the smell.
http://www.rootschat.com/links/01nxr/

That being the case I suggest it could work in reverse where good memories imprint an attraction, though possibly not as strong.

Cheers
Guy
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Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Genetic Memory?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 17 June 19 19:28 BST (UK) »
Ever since I was a tiny child, I have had a recurring dream.  In that dream I am in a high, dark building with windows high up which let in little light and no fresh air.  The stench is dreadful and I am surrounded by wounded soldiers lying on rough mattresses on the floor.  I am trying to help them - I go to the chest where the bandages are kept and open the lid carefully, giving a sigh of relief that on this occasion the inside of the chest isn't swarming with tiny golden ants.  So I take the clean bandage and start tending the wounds of one of the soldiers.  But half-way through bandaging, the bandage suddenly becomes alive with the little golden ants which swarm over my hands, over the patient, over my clothes, and I scream and wake up shaking.  I suppose my first memory of this dream was when I was about three years old, and it had no connection whatsoever to my life as it was then.

It was only about thirty years later, when reading about nursing in the Crimea, did I find out that the hospitals were infested with pharaoh ants, which used to get into the wounds and bandages of the patients.

No idea where this dream came from, whether it is an inherited memory, or if it is a matter of a past life.  It is inexplicable and whilst some might like to mock these things, the fact is that this dream has been my companion for over 70 years now and shows no sign of going away.
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
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