Saturday, October 22, 2011

My other side

I was asked by email if I knew anything about the history on my Italian side. Not from books is my answer. Bodios (and my grandmother on that side, Sylvia Arzeni) came most recently from Ispra on the east shore of Lake Maggiore a few miles south of the Swiss border; a village called Bodio sits on the river that flows into the north end of the lake, in Switzerland. I am always interested in info from the region. There is a sub- Alpine tunnel there, and here is a pic of, well, a car wreck.

My grandparents' generation spoke "real" Italian and often German, but at home a "patois" (their word) that resembled the French that folks of the same age spoke in Provence when I was there in the 90's, including "ng" endings like the Medieval French you see in Villon's poems- all use "pang" rather than panno or pain for bread, "ving" ("buon ving") for wine instead of vino or vin. My contemporary cousins seem to speak Italian and French-- the second is what I have used to communicate with them.

The old ones, some who have been in Massachusetts and Vermont for two generations longer than my own immediate line, were good stone masons and brilliant bird-eating poverty cooks, but unlike the rowdy venturesome Scots on my mother's side they tended to stay in their Alpine valleys, where I suspect they have been since the glaciers receded. If they don't have that odd Mongol gene that some Lombards carry I suspect this is our most famous ancestor.


Anonymous said...

I think we need vino or vin to figure out where our past is...isn't that how we translated "trot trot cov---"!?
Mom now thinks at one time Nana Bodio walked over the border to Germany to Nana McCabe's about lost in translation! [Mom thinks at one time Germany's border was definitley moved...] — K

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot, Bodio is now a transit system in Italy - like the T here is Bodio.

BorderWars said...

Funny you should mention being related to Ötzi. Turns out that I actually am related to Ötzi, at least in the cousin of a cousin of my g-g-g-g-g-g-g-etc-grandfather sort of way.

Ötzi actually has a very rare Y Chromosome haplogroup for Europe (which is now resoundingly R1a and R1b) of G2a. I'm also a G2a but probably a different subset, joining Stalin and Louis XVI as G2a. If you believe that Jesus was a real historical figure and that poor Louis was a direct male descendant, then G2a is the holy spirit haplogroup! (lol).

Steve Bodio said...

I would love to find out more-- how do you research such things? I have had genetic testing but only for one of the CF (CFTR) genes.

BorderWars said...

I had my genome tested through

during one of their sales. I'll be sure to remind you next time they drop their price. This is the same service that used to be $600+, featured on Oprah and all that. The price has been as low as $0+ 1 year of their update service for $9/month. Right now it's $99+that service (which you can cancel after a year).

They are a hybrid of several going concerns in the genome business. (1) Maternal and Paternal haplogroups [deep ancestry] + (2) Cousin Finder [find relatives] + (3) Health testing for known genetic disease markers.

They really focus on (3) but for a starting genome spelunker the other two services are robust enough, although you can spend a lot more money getting your haplogroups tested to more detail if you're so interested. The big question is if more detailed testing will really tell you anything else... not a lot of science has been done on this level and published yet to make it more exact.

For example, you can read all about Ötzi and my Y haplogroup here:

Your 23andMe test might be able to put you into a very small subgroup or maybe not... but you can see that most of the subgroups have no more meat to them and frankly they are subject to change or be declared redundant with more comprehensive cladistics at some point.

23andMe tests a lot of markers but of course you're not getting a full genome workup so their current chip might not have tested a loci that distinguishes G2a3b1 from G2a3b2, or what not.

Many of those distinctions are available as tests from FamilyTreeDNA, which is more expensive and if you want the ultimate resolution you have to pay for additional single loci tests.

I figure it's a safe bet to start with 23andMe and see what you find, and if you really want more resolution, you can customize your further tests at FamilyTreeDNA. I haven't found a need for this yet.

I have also found more than a handful of 3-7th cousins using their family finder, and although I have yet to fully place them in my family tree, the surnames and family info usually comes pretty close to one of my ancestors so it's just pedigree work to find the links.

Testing is simple, they send you a special plastic sample tube and you fill it with spit and mail it back. Results are really fast too.