Kate Dudding: Where Am I From

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Where Am I From

If you had asked me that a year ago, I would have said, ďIím from southern CT and my ancestors were Christians from Ireland, Scotland and Germany.Ē However, since then, Iíve had my DNA analyzed by the Genographic Project, a project of National Geographic. And now I know a lot more. Here are the highlights.

National Geographic told me: about 150,000 years ago, my people, like most people, started out in East Africa.

150,000 years ago - that was just too big of a number for me to comprehend. So I decided to make it smaller by dividing it into generations, with four to five generations per century.

So, 6,500 generations ago, my people were in East Africa. Thatís still a pretty big number. I wondered how big a piece of paper Iíd need for a family tree with 6,500 generations. If I used only 1Ē per generation, my family tree would be as long as two football fields, and who knows how wide. 150,000 years or 6,500 generations, thatís a really, really long time ago.

My people stayed in East Africa for 4,000 generations Ė more than the first football field of my family tree. So I might be distantly related to Jackie Robinson or Ella Fitzgerald or my friend Fay.

After those 4,000 generations in East Africa, my people immigrated to the Middle East, west Asia, where the countries Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran now are. There they stayed for 1,200 generations. While my people left before Islam was created, some of my ancestorsí decendents undoubtedly stayed and most likely became Muslims. So I might be distantly related to Mohammed the Prophet or Malala (the teen from Pakistan who received the Nobel Peace Prize) or my friend Mussarat.

After those 1,200 generations in the Middle East, my people immigrated to Eastern Europe. National Geographic told me: around half of all Jews from that area trace their lineage back to one of four women. My DNA shows that I am descended from three of those four women. So I might be distantly related to Albert Einstein or George Gershwin or my friend Carl.

After 700 generations in Eastern Europe, around 0 AD, the beginning of the current era, my people immigrated to Western Europe, to the places I knew about Ė Germany, Ireland and Scotland. There they stayed for 400 generations. I know some of these ancestors, at least toward the end of that period, were Catholic and Presbyterian and Lutheran.

Finally, a mere hundred and fifty years ago, my people immigrated to America where weíve been for 6 generations.

Where am I from?

My ancestors came from four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. MY family tree has Christians and Jews and Muslims on it.

I found that absolutely astonishing - My family tree has Christians and Jews and Muslims on it.

It was so astonishing that I initially didnít tell anyone about it Ė not even my husband. I needed time to absorb these revelations. Since I started learning about storytelling 20 years ago, Iíve been drawn to Jewish stories. I have a shelf of books of Jewish folk lore. Iíve rarely told any, since I didnít feel they were my stories to tell. Now Iíve started to reread those books.

Through my experiences at the local Interfaith Story Circle, I have come to meet some wonderful Muslims. It gives me great comfort knowing that millions of people around the world pray five times a day and that we share The Golden Rule.

Iíve continued to think a lot about this, and Iíve come to two conclusions.

My first conclusion is: I donít think my lineage is that unusual. I bet that if you had your DNA analyzed, youíd also discover that your ancestors came from several continents and several religious traditions. After all, YOUR family tree is also two football fields long, filled with 6,500 generations of people.

Second, I have come to believe that: I am the world. You are the world. We are the world.

Copyright 2016 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.

I will be very honored if you want to tell this story. That will help spread the truth about Muslims. But as with all copyrighted materials, there are rules. Please honor them. (These are based on Jane Yolen's rules.

  1. Always mention my name, as the author, before each telling.
  2. If it is appropriate and you have one, display a copy of my CD Learning About Muslims so your audience can learn where to find the story for themselves. And if you have a program you hand out, please show: Author: Kate Dudding www.KateDudding.com
  3. Donít change my ending.
  4. If you want to record your telling of the story in any way (paper, video, audio, Internet, TV, etc.) you must get permission from me and possibly pay a fee.

 


Kate Dudding (518) 383-4620
8 Sandalwood Drive kate@katedudding.com
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2700 USA
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