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Chapter 1

Genetic Origin of the Vogelzangs.

With the discovery of DNA it has become possible to trace the evolutionary migration of human beings. Late in the 1990’s National Geographic Magazine, sponsored by the Watt Family Foundation launched a project whereby the DNA of different races and population groupings were mapped. In particular, special attention was placed on population groupings which over the ages had stayed in one place. In doing this it was found that specific genetic markers existed for different population groupings. As these groupings mixed, these markers remained present in the DNA chain of the offspring. This created the possibility of tracing back the genetic origin of the current population of the earth.

The manner in which this is achieved is that a distinct DNA consisting of a combination of genes is passed on from both one’s mother and father. These genes give us the traits that range from eye color , height, build to athleticism, disease susceptibility etc.

A human cell is made up of 43 chromosome. They perform different functions. Normally the gender of human beings is determined by the presence of the Y or X chromosome. A female would have two X chromosomes (XX). A male on the other hand has one X and one Y chromosome (XY). The unique characteristic of the Y chromosome is that it unaltered is passed over thousands of generations from father to son. Hence it provides a unique history of one’s origin and thus ancestral grouping.

The ancestral groupings are called “haplogroups” The principal ones are assigned an alphabetical designation from A through R. Each alphabetical designation is then further subdivided by a number. Some groupings are much older than others. For instance the haplogroup A found in populations originating in sub Saharan Africa and now also in North America by negroid population originally brought to N. America as slaves date back as far as 150,000 years.

The fact that humanoid beings go back close to two million years ago, and that different haplogroups have different ages, combined with the fact that female DNA have an older history then male DNA raise some interesting speculation about the biblical story of human creation. Scripture states that God took dirt and breathed a human soul into it. Many scholars think that what scripture is really saying that God took an existing substance and breathed a soul into it. Using that line of thought there is no reason that the existing substance could not have been an existing humanoid.

Haplogroups developed over the ages by the mixing of different groups of human beings. Hence though the Y chromosome remained the same, as different human groupings mixed, a modified Y chromosome developed resulting into a different haplogroup. Within these haplogroups further mutations occur as people intermarry and the mixing of different “races” leave their imprint on the Y chromosome in the form of “markers”. The markers are identified by a number to distinguish the different groupings from which they originate.

The markers act as a beacon. It can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down from the man in whom it occurred to his sons, their sons, and every male in his family for thousand of years.

In some instances there may be more than one mutation event that defines a particular branch on the family genetic tree. This means that any of these markers can be used to determine one’s particular haplogroup, since every individual who has one of these markers also has the others.

When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages proves a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.

A haplogroup is defined by a series of markers that are shared by other men who carry the same random mutations. The markers trace the path the Vogelzang ancestors took as they moved out of Africa. It is difficult to know how many men worldwide belong to any particular haplogroup, or even how many haplogroups there are because scientist simply do not have enough data yet and the genetic study is really a work in progress.

Nevertheless certain broad indications of the genetic origin of the Vogelzangs do exist. The Vogelzangs belong to haplogroup K2 and their distinct markers carry numbers. 

M168>M89>M9>M70. The first genetic marker M168 reaches back roughly 50,000 years to the first common markers of all non-African men, the Eurasian Adam, and follows the Vogelzang lineage to its present day, ending with marker M70. The large M9 lineage, knows as the Eurasian Clan, gave rise to many distinct lineages that spent the next 30,000 years gradually populating the planet.

The earliest marker, M168, originates in Africa. At the time the climate in Africa moves from drought to warmer temperatures and moister conditions. It was a time when there was a temporary retreat from an African ice age. The estimated number of Homo sapiens (meaning “wise man”) at that time was about 10,000. They had primitive stone tools. There was the first evidence of art and advance of conceptual skills.

The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. It was around 50,000 years age that the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by the Vogelzang ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands. The Vogelzang ancestors, being nomads, followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. The other point to remember is that at that time Africa was fastened unto Southern Europe by a land bridge, making it easier from them to cross what is now the Mediterranean.

In addition to a favorable change in climate, around the same time there was a great leap forward in humans’ intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human like species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and co operate with one another, and an increase capacity to exploit resources in ways we had not been able to earlier, all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominoids.

M168- The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker of the Vogelzang family probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present day Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living to day. The reason for him venturing out of the familiar African hunting grounds is likely that the fluctuation in climate due to the disappearance of the Ice Age, provided the impetus to start the exodus out of Africa, as he followed his animal hunting prey north.

The next marker – M89- is found in 90 to 95 percent of all non Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in Northern Africa or the Middle East. He was part of tens of thousands of Homo sapiens like individuals. The tools they used were made out of stone, ivory and wood. The area in which he lived was a semi arid grass plain. The first people to leave Africa likely followed a costal route that eventually ended as far as Australia. The Vogelzang ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.

Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert. For the next 20,000 years the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, the Vogelzang ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option. Many of the humans having marker M89 remained in the Middle East. However, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, wooly mammoths, and other game through what is now Iran the vast steppes of Central Asia.

These semi arid grass covered plains formed an ancient “superhighway” stretching from eastern France to Korea. Those migrating north out of Africa into the Middle East traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued to move north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, exchanging grasslands for forests and high country.

M9 came from a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia and marked a new lineage whose descendants spent the next 30,000 years populating most of the earth. His lineage is known as the Eurasian Clan, and gradually dispersed along the vast super highway created by the Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of South Central Asian: the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas. The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the “Pamir Knot” located in present day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, other moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descendents from the man making up the M9 marker, as well as most Europeans and many Indians.

M70 Mediterranean Traders. Not all of the M9g descendents challenged the problem of the “Pamir Knot”. Many migrated to the fertile climes of the Near East, including the Vogelzang ancestors. From them, about 30,000 years ago, a new marker M70 appeared. It also defines the haplogroup K2. During this time the climate was warmer and drier. Hundreds of thousands of people as we know them lived in this region. They had tools and skills of the middle Upper Paleolithic era Ancient members of this haplogroup dispersed across the Mediterranean world. They traveled west along the cost of North Africa and also along the Mediterranean coastline of southern Europe.

These movements suggest and intriguing possibility that the M70 marker may have been carried by the Phoenicians. These seafaring people established a formidable first millennium B.C. trading empire that spread westward across the Mediterranean from its origins on the coast of modern Lebanon. They established port cities throughout the Mediterranean as strongholds of their trade empire, most notably Tyre, in present day Lebanon, Carthage in what is now Libya, or Cadiz in Spain. Their maritime superiority owed much to the famous cedar trees of western Lebanon. The cedars helped Phoenician vessels travel faster than those of Roman, Persian, Greek or Macedonian ships. This competitive advantage allowed the Phoenician trade empire to flourish for some 1500 years.

Alexander the Great’s army conquered the Phoenician capital city of Tyre in 332 B.C. The Romans vanquished most of the remaining empire after they destroyed Carthage to end the Third Punic War. Much of Phoenician history has been lost. Yet their genes may very well live in the Vogelzang gene pool. M70 is found today throughout the Mediterranean, in particular in Lebanon. It endures in its highest frequency (about 15%) in the Middle East and in Northeast Africa. Members of this haplogroup also live in Southern Spain and France.

Since the Vogelzang by all indications are of Frisian stock, and since the Frisians are of Germanic origin, as intriguing as the Phoenician route sounds, as we will see from the archeological record, more likely they migrated, along with the other Germanic people, from the middle east through Southern Russia to Northern Europe and thus Friesland.

Why do people migrate and culture develop? The story of populating the earth is as old as mankind. Whether we look at the biblical record showing how Israel came about from the migration of Abraham from Ur in Babylon or that of any tribe or nation, the reasons are all similar, and the Vogelzangs migration is no different.

Early Homo sapiens was essentially a hunter. Hence he lived and changed territory in line with the movement of animals. That movement was influenced by seasonal fluctuations in weather conditions, such as the annual cycle in rain fall and thus the corresponding growing and dry season.

Over longer periods of time climatic changes occurred, modifying temperature and moisture conditions. Hence the land produces less vegetation and thus less feed for the animals. They therefore move to areas where there is more feed, and thus humanity which lives off the meat the animals provide moves with them.

As home sapiens develops, rather than living off the hunt only, he starts to gather the fruit and edible plants around him to supplement his diet. Over time rather than completely relying on the gathering of these from the wild, he learns to seed and cultivate the edible plants himself, and primitive farming initially compliments and later supplants the gathering of edible plant food. Similarly over time people learn to husband certain animals, such as sheep, goats, fowl, cows etc. to provide the meat and by products they need to live on. As a result they, depending on climatic conditions and thus availability of feed, either settle in certain areas which have plenty of feed, or they herd their animal from one area to the next essentially following the availability of potable water and animal feed.

In areas where feed is plentiful, or where the soil and weather conditions are favourable, larger herds and more intensive farming develops, to the point where the food supply being made available is greater than the need of the individual and his family. As a result time become available for some of the people to devote their talents away from hunting and gathering for food, or from growing and herding for food, to building settlements, eventually cities, and eventually arts and sciences. Thus one sees the development of civilization as we know it. The more surplus in food is available, the higher the level of civilization, the greater the arts, and the richer the pursuit of knowledge.

Unfortunately with all of this comes the human tendency to want to protect the sources that supply food or wealth. Hence struggles occur over the use and eventually the ownership of land. With wealth comes power, and with all of these the desire to increase power or wealth by means other than one’s own hard work. Hence the introduction of strive and wars. Power is often associated with the religious system one has adopted. With the result that anyone who does not follow the same religious insights as one has oneself, is seen as a threat to power or wealth, again resulting in war and struggles.

This phenomenon has not changed. Even today people migrate, or emigrate, from one country to the next to economically better themselves; escape wars; or find ways to feed themselves. The history of the Vogelzang family shows exactly the same patterns.

  • References: The-National-Genographic-Project: www.nationalgenographic.com -Access code FWDQ9F33K3