Swiss Family History, Cows, and Human Genetics

Both of our families have deep roots in the Swiss countryside.

My maternal grandfather’s family, the Swartzendrubers, trace their story back to this farm:

Apparently there are various theories about where the “Swartz” (meaning “black”) comes from. Did they grow dark colored grapes? Did the water on their farm appear darker than the crystal blues of the streams below because it ran through carbon?

The other side of my maternal lineage spells its name Ewy. We’re pretty sure this spelling evolved from “Aebi,” which we spotted on this contraption around the corner of the Schwarzentrub barn.

My dad’s family, the Weavers, came from a nearby area. We drove through here too, but couldn’t quite find the original weaving shed that gave us the family name. We did see beautiful green hills, farmland, and happy cows.

Say hello to “Vivien.”

I grew up thinking of my family lineage as German, but I’m realizing that this isn’t true. According to the (admittedly limited) records we’re working our way through, both sides of my family are very much Swiss.

It may sound overly sentimental of me to say this, but it makes sense. I’m starting to understand why so many of my relatives feel attached to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (which looks very much like this part of Switzerland), and why I’m always pulled to wide open spaces and mountains. Even the human genome project is beginning to reveal traces of social memory embedded in our genetics. It seems very possible that even things like our aesthetic preferences, traumas, and moral frameworks travel through family genetics.

One thought on “Swiss Family History, Cows, and Human Genetics

  1. I appreciate the work that is revealing memory in our genes and love that you made the connection in this experience! It is so impressive that you (and David) are able to travel and write like this.

    Liked by 1 person

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