Ancestry


We're not just a nation of immigrants; each of us is our own walking family tree. At a time when so much seems to keep us apart, developing cross-cultural understanding through shared connections is an increasingly vital way to bridge our societal gaps. It's almost impossible not to feel empathy when we discover that our worlds are actually intertwined.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the renowned Harvard professor and genealogy expert, met with four people from different backgrounds to discuss how genealogy can connect us with people across cultures."There's a curious and ironic relationship between identifying your ancestral heritage, which you think might divide you from other people, but finding that it only ties you to other people," Gates says. "Each of our ancestors has a story to tell and it's our job to find them and give them a voice."

Gates connected with Crystal Gonzales, a Hispanic educator originally from New Mexico; Darnell Head, an educator and African American Detroit native; Michelle Mardsen, an African American art teacher from Pennsylvania; and Paula Shagin, a social worker from European Jewish descent. While their backgrounds were different, they all had one thing in common – a thirst to discover their family's origins.

Ancestry

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Ancestry
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Ancestry

Huntington's disease is caused by a single mutation in someone's DNA.

A normal protein, huntingtin, becomes warped and toxic. Over time, the toxic protein builds up, killing a person's brain cells and slowly robbing them of cognitive and motor control.

It affects about 30,000 Americans, often shows up later in life, and is fatal. Because it's a genetic disease, it can be passed down through families. It's cruel, unfair, and nobody deserves it.

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Family

How one man’s DNA results influenced his work as a culinary historian and a food writer.

What do food and family heritage have in common? Well, for Michael Twitty, a lot.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Do you think your great-grandmother — or great-great-grandmother — ate the same thing for dinner? Chances are, you probably haven't given much thought to why your meal is what it is — or whether your great-grandparents ever ate the same thing.

All images via Michael Twitty, used with permission.

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AncestryDNA

Traditional gender roles are "natural," goes the common refrain.

Heterosexuality? That's natural too, apparently. Staying one gender your whole life? Definitely natural.

There's only one problem: Nature (and science) beg to disagree.

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