By Robert Moore
Having been nearly nine-and-a-half years since I signed-off my “Heritage & Heraldry” column with the Page News & Courier, I’m glad to say I’m back, in this new, online format with the Page Valley News.
Yet, since my days of handling a weekly column are some number of years in the past, I’d like to ease into the new column, as a monthly or bi-monthly that gives us all a chance to get reacquainted, on a regular basis, with the history of our Page County people and their stories.
Ultimately, those stories will center on the people and the families, and how knowing their story makes history come alive for us, today… through, for example, learning about their activities inside and outside the county, the stories of the homes in which they lived, and, when we are lucky, through the stories that they left behind.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve also given considerable time to studying the DNA of some of the different families from Page, which, as we will see, often gives us new angles on the story of our people.
With that in mind, I’ll delve into how to get the most out of your DNA testing… to include autosomal DNA testing with Ancestry, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA… and why that matters in our understanding of the history of Page County.
Perhaps you’re not certain what to make of the ethnicity results, or are confused, after testing with two or more companies, why they vary… even conflict with what the other company(ies) reported.
Additionally, I’ll explore some of the results I’ve found (and am continuing to find) with Y DNA (the DNA passed exclusively from father to son) tests (which, at this point, is limited to testing through Family Tree DNA). Indeed, in some instances, I’ve found that the Y DNA results don’t always validate the story we thought we knew and have been retelling, for years, in family trees. Further, the Y DNA results can also reveal the deep roots of a surname, reaching well beyond our abilities to trace with primary resources.
Lastly, this column will be about reminding us why the history of our people is important, and why not revisiting it, and letting it fade, only serves to diminish the richness of the historic land, houses and iconography that surround us in Page County (and, perhaps, why we need to consider how and why we should interpret, in some capacity, to both visitors and locals).
As I’ve seen, all too often in the past, in my transcription of stories, our history has periodically “vanished below the waves”… having been forgotten so much that new, incorrect narratives have filled the place of the facts; facts which often reveal a very complex story that contemporary, and clearly, more recently generated stories, fail to convey.
Our fight to keep the heritage of Page County afloat resides in our abilities to tell and retell the history of the people and their roles in this place. I hope you’ll join me in the journey and enjoy what it reveals and/or reminds us of the past.
A native of Page County, Robert Moore has been writing, in various print and online outlets, about the history of Page County for nearly 35 years. He is also the author of several books and magazine articles, and has conducted extensive geneological research into the ancestry of many Page County families.