Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Swiss-Lebanese Connection

I did a quick late-night search for "Schrag," which is the original form of "Schrock." I found this website which has some early family info, and also the results of a Roald Schrock's DNA test, which I will quote in part (there's a lot of chemistry stuff in between):

"A large number of the families with the
Schrock, Schrack, or Schrag surnames
who currently live in the United States,
have their origins in the mountain highlands
of the Swiss canton of Bern,
among early members of the Mennonite and Amish faiths,
whose name was originally spelled as Schrag.

These Amish or Mennonite Schrag families
all seem to have had their origins in the town of
Wynigen, Switzerland,
and specifically, in the hamlets of
Loumberg and Mistelberg.

These ancestors left their homes
because of persecution,
which the combined forces
of the established churches and the state
unleashed against all non-conformist movements.

Many lived for some time in the Jura Mountains,
in Alsace, and in parts of Germany,
before emigrating to America, where
they started to spell the family name as
Schrock, Shrock, or Schrack.

Others migrated to the East, reaching Russia,
where they lived for some time, before also
coming to America, where they retained
the original Schrag spelling.

My family's branch is descended from "Uli" (Ulrich) Schrag,
who came to America in 1769,
as part of the first wave of Amish immigration,
settling in Somerset County,
in the mountains of western Pennsylvania.
His Schrock descendents were early settlers of
LaGrange County, Indiana,
where my paternal grandparents
(no longer Amish) grew up.
(More details to come!)

"My father, Roald A. Schrack, has been the pioneer,
the first male of a Schrock/Schrack/Schrag lineage
to come forward and have his Y chromosome DNA tested,
so that we can gain a more in-depth picture of our history.
We used the testing company,
Family Tree DNA.

The results of his test are exciting and unexpected.
They show a genetic pattern that's found mainly in people of
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins.

Of course, we are talking about origins, most likely,
many thousands of years ago!
But still -- how would that be possible?

Most of the ancestors of people who
have this genetic type in Northern Europe,
are thought to have migrated North
after the end of the Ice Age,
bringing agriculture during Neolithic times,
from its beginnings in the Fertile Crescent,
into the Mediterranean basin,
and from there to the rest of Europe.

They would have been the first teachers
of farming and animal husbandry
to the hunting and gathering peoples.

Haplotypes similar to my father's
seems to be especially common in
Northern Italy.

So there are a few other possibilities
specific to that region.
One is that people of the early Etruscan civilization
or of the great Roman Empire
traveled northward across the Alps
in their trading, political, or military activities.

Another possibility which fascinates me
has to do with the many "heretical" movements
that arose during the Middle Ages,
such as the Albigensians (Cathars) and the Waldensians,
who were violently persecuted.

These movements were centered in Southern France,
and also grew very strong among the neighboring people
of Northern Italy, especially Lombardy,
and some of their members are known to have
fled from the persecution by
heading north over the Alps.

Amish and Mennonite historical sources
such as the famous Martyrs Mirror
trace the roots of their movement
to that of the Waldensians.

"Will all the Schrock, Schrack and Schrag men
turn out to share this same genetic type?
Did our Schrag ancestors leave
an ancient Mediterreanean homeland
to settle the Alpine valleys?
How will our DNA type compare
with other Amish and Mennonite families,
and other Swiss?

"Roald Schrack also seemed
to nearly match with the Y-DNA
of a fellow named Metni, from Lebanon,
who is also in the Family Tree DNA database."

1 comment:

jeff said...

HaHa. You're Amish, Fred!