A Travellerspoint blog

Ancestral Hunting for Almost 2 Years

Pathfinder Georgie

sunny 84 °F
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Hard to believe it s been almost 2 years of non-stop Ancestor Hunting. I learned quite a lot about myself and my family history. And I have seen political and environmental changes happening everywhere that have given me insights into the real world.

There are still many gaps in this epic journey. I think I should probably go to Basque country in Spain and to certain parts of Africa and maybe Norlarge_20180515_073522.jpgway someday to understand other ancestors better. But travel is hard and very tiring.


609 days spent travelling
19 countries
47,576 miles
The total distance travelled is roughly equivalent to
circling the earth 1.9 times!

+crossed the Atlantic by ship
+Wrote another book
+ Multiple blog entries (Good, creative stuff I think)

Countries visited:
Argentina Bolivia Brazil Bulgaria Chile Colombia France
Germany Ireland Italy Mexico Moldova Peru Portugal Romania
Spain Thailand Ukraine United States

Cities Visited
Lima, Peru MAY 2018
Arequipa, Peru
Colca Canyon, Chivay, Peru
Puno, Peru
Sillustani, Peru
La Paz, Bolivia
Puerta del Sol, Tiwanaku, Bolivia
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Oruro, Bolivia
Lake Titicaca, Peru
Tambomachay, Cusco, Peru
Sacsayhuamán, Cusco, Peru
Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia
Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
San Francisco, USA
Rome, Italy
L'Aquila, Italy
Pescara, Italy
Città Sant'Angelo, Italy
Bari, Italy
Gallipoli, Italy
Taranto, Italy
Villa San Giovanni, Calabria, Italy
Catania, Italy
Palermo, Italy
Trapani, Italy
Fulgatore, Italy
Palermo, Italy
Cagliari, Italy
Sassari, Italy
Treviso Venice
Ponzano, Veneto, Italy
Caviola, Italy
Venice, Italy
Stuttgart, Germany
Blackforest Ferienwohnung, Sankt Georgen im Schwarzwald, Germany
Verona, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Bologna, Italy
Rome, Italy
Sofia, Bulgaria
Bangkok, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand
Trang, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
Dublin, Ireland
59 Bucharest, Romania
Braşov, Romania
Bran Castle
Onești, Romania
Bacău, Romania
Roman, Romania
Lași, Romania
Chișinău, Moldova
Odessa, Ukraine
Lviv, Ukraine
Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Khotyn, Chernivtsi Oblast, Ukraine
Venice, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Marseille, France
Barcelona, Spain
Málaga, Spain
Funchal, Portugal
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Salvador, Brazil
Ilhéus, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Santos, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Curitiba, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rosario, Argentina
Santa Fe, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Santiago, Chile
Lima, Peru DECEMBER 2019

Everyone please have a safe and happy New Year and 2020! The World waits for No one. What a World!

Posted by georgeaguilar 04:02 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

A Full Day in Fair Winds

Immigrante Georgie Reporting

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large_20191212_103205.jpgLanded in Buenos Aires a few days ago and was met with beautiful spring like weather. A few young people helped me find the bus I needed to take to Centro and I made it to my hotel in downtown pretty easily. This is my first time in Argentina and others had told me pretty much nice things about it.


My main job was to check out the Recoleta cemetery, considered one of the 10 most beautiful in the world. Well, how could I not see that?


My first impression upon visiting the Recoleta was that it seemed like walking through a reconstruction of ancient Rome. The narrow streets with column-lined mausoleums evoking Greek and Romanesque architecture felt a little bit like walking through the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Rome. However, you will also see architectural styles spanning many different centuries including Gothic.


My second impression was that the entire cemetery seemed like some grand, Freemason Art Sculpture Garden. Everywhere you look there are Freemason symbols embedded in the exquisitely design facades that showcases builders who were clearly experts in building design. The mish-mash of architectural styles seem like creative efforts to outdo someone else´s mausoleum. ¨Colonel Jauregui´s mausoleum is very beautiful. But wait and see the tomb I´ve designed for President Pellegrini!¨, someone might have said.


It is a dramatically beautiful cemetery filled with what looks like mostly military, political, medical and economic elites from the turn of the 20th Century. Many famous people are buried here including Eva Peron and tourists groups are walking around in droves. Some of the tombs are in disrepair so it´s easier to take a peek and see the remarkable work that was done in the interiors.


I figured it would take me a few days to see as much of the tombs and names as possible to see if there are any relation to us. But within the first 30 minutes, I came across a CARLOS PELLEGRINI whom I had not heard of before. It turns out he was once the President of Argentina and a doctor as well. I endeavored to learn more about him once I got back to the hotel.


After a few hours, I see that most of the names here are not ones I have seen in our genetic matches and I also noticed that there were hardly any surnames from Brazil cemeteries. I did come across a few surnames associated with cousins which included: Garcia, Ferreria, Suarez, Aguirre, Meneses, Estevez, Cornego, Duchini, Jauregui, Uriburu, Iglesias, Navarro, Valdivia, Mejia, Canepa, Zarate and Saavedra,. These are mostly Basque associated surnames and, at least here, they seem to be associated with the military, medical or the arts and architecture. This fits with the ethnicity makeup of distant cousins who list this region as they all had some Basque DNA along with mostly Iberian, some Italian and small traces of Central American and Irish-Scottish. The Irish and Basque DNA % is about the same and at first it seemed odd to see them show up so regularly. But if you look at a map, the distance between Basque-Biscayne Bay and southern Ireland is not far at all. There probably was some kind of regular trade route between the two regions and I´ll need to look into that some other time. Also, BA was founded by Mendoza which is a Basque surname.
¨On February 2, 1536, Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza founded the city he named Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire—Buenos Aires, Argentina. The new town was meant to spearhead the Spanish effort to colonize the interior of South America¨- Wikipedia


The next day i decide to walk a different route to the Recoleta for SOME REASON. I take a path next to the train station which should take me near the Recoleta. However, after about 20 minutes of walking, I soon realize that I have stumbled into some kind of ghetto. Later, I learned it is the notorious Villa 31 ghetto-slum, which was filed under the heading, ¨What Not To Do in Argentina. Fortunately it was late morning and I didn´t feel like I was in any danger but I wasn´t about to whip out my phone and start taking pictures like a clueless tourist. I walked around for almost 2 HOURS looking for an exit and I started feeling a bit like I was back in Sicily riding my bike through the fields until I came upon Costa Nostra trained guard dogs.

Mostly people paid me no attention as I somberly stomped through but one wrong turn and you could see there are a few areas where turning around was the best, and only, option. Eventually I exited the same way I came in and it apparently is one of the only ways in and out which is quintessential ghetto stuff. Later, I looked up information about Villa 31 and learned that it originally sprung up as one of many shanty towns that sprung up around BA at the turn of the 20th Century. The flood of European immigrants into the country forced some quick, illegal building to provide shelter to the millions who came from Italy and other countries. The slums grew when the country was hit by economic crisis near the end of the 19th century as well, bringing in some indigenous people from the interior such as Tucuman where the sugar industry collapsed.

Looking back at that adventure, I surmise that perhaps my Italian and Jewish ancestors may have stopped in Villa 31 before heading out for work in the agricultural areas in the west and into the Rio de la Plata region. Argentina, by the way, has the largest Jewish population in all of So. America.


The Arts and Tragedy

I was quite tired after my accidental excursion into the slum but I mustered some energy to take in the part of the Recoleta I hadn´t already seen. The one big revelation, besides the Basque-military pattern, was that I only came across another Pelligrini. After finding the monument to Carlos Pellegrini the day before, I had expected to find many more Pelligrinis or at least another family mausoleum. To my surprise there wasn´t anymore I tried to speculate on how someone so rich and powerful apparently did not leave too many heirs here. Searching the web, I find no direct info about President Carlos Pellegrini´s family other than his father was born near the Alps and his mother was English.
¨Carlos Pellegrini: Carlos Enrique José Pellegrini was born in the City of Buenos Aires on October 11, 1846 , during the Rosista era , he was the son of the English Maria Bevans and the Savoy engineer (of French and Italian descent) Carlos Enrique Pellegrini , a native of Chambery (Savoy , Kingdom of Sardinia ). [ 8 ]¨


The Savoy region was once -Italian and then came under French control (Thanks again Napoleon!). Pellegrini was the only Alpi surname I had come across but I am pretty sure our relationship to him is fairly distant and not direct. Generally speaking, almost all Pellegrini(o), Pelligrinons are related in some way as the name originated in France near the Alps region and eventually moved into different parts of the Alps.

President Pellegrini´s father Charles Henri Pellegrini ( Chambery , July 28, 1800 - Buenos Aires , Argentina , October 12 , 1875 ), was an Argentinean nationalized Savoyan engineer who acquired fame in Argentina as a portraitist and painter . His son, Carlos Pellegrini , was President of the Argentine Nation between 1890 and 1892, the first immigrant son to access this position.
He was the son of the Italian-Swiss Bernardo Bartolomeo Pellegrini born in 1751 in Croglio , [ 1 ] Canton Ticino , Switzerland , and the French Marguerite Berthet. He studied at his hometown school, where he won a first drawing prize, at the University of Turin and the Polytechnic School of Paris¨


Going back farther, I find this, ¨Carlo Pellegrini (1605–1649) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period

He was born in Massa Carrara, Italy and trained in Rome under Bernini. Carlo was active in painting in the Grottoes beneath the Basilica of Basilica of St Peter's; designed the St Bernard mosaic portrait, collaboration with Giovanni Battista Calandra, in the former church; and painted a Conversion of Paul for the church of the Propagande Fide in Rome.[1]¨

It seems cool to think that we might be related to the former President of Argentina and I mused about that as I headed to the subway from the Recoleta. I was super tired but I saw The Museo Bellas Artes nearby and ¨decided¨ I had the energy to go check it out.

I suppose I shouldn´t have been surprised at what I found when I walked inside. Not only did I find paintings of old Venice inside but also a temporary exhibition of Andean Shamanistic art objects! These were items used by shamans of the mountains for various spiritual purposes and I felt moved seeing these up close for the first time. Walking a bit more, I come across the art work of (drum roll please)....Carlos Henri Pellegrini! Was this some kind of sign?? Also, I saw a few Gauguin paintings. Gauguin´s mother was Peruvian and his name does actually show up in a cousin´s genealogy tree.


It was certainly an interesting, full day and I dragged myself to the subway station and got on the metro. As the train speeds, I hear a loud yell then a big thump sound. The train lurches to a stop and by the reaction of the conductor and the people near me, it had struck a person who was on the tracks. It may have been a suicide or something else but we stayed for about an hour while emergency crews came in. A young girl in my car apparently had some kind of nervous breakdown as well and was sobbing uncontrollably. The lights went out and everything became a little bit like a nuclear war scenario. Clearly the event unnerved many people. It bothered me greatly too that someone just died beneath our train and also that I couldn´t understand fully what was going on. Eventually the authorities led us off the train and down the walkway to the next station.


Back in my hotel, I tried to see of any news report online about the incident. Instead I had come across articles about haunted subway tunnels in Buenos Aires including the story about two Italian workers who were killed building the first train tracks here. I imagine many Italians who came here worked on the early train tracks as they had some experience working on the first tracks back in Italy. And of course, President Carlos Pellegrini´s father came to BA originally to work on the first subways but an economic collapse forced him to become an artist!
The most important things to know about President Carlos Pellegrini is that he was a freemason and he was responsible for initiating the mass migration of Italians, in the decades before 1900, mainly from the northern regions of Piedmont, Veneto and Lombardy. ¨Pellegrini fit easily into the upper class. A fervent supporter of European immigration, he made the first of several trips to Europe in 1876.¨


All these things seem strangely interconnected in some way and I am still trying to piece together the meaning from the day´s events. Essentially this Pellegrini is why there are so many Italians in Argentina as well as other Europeans.

After BA, I will head westward along the trail that carried ancestors towards Northern Argentina and into Bolivia.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I also did find a JOSE DEBENEDETTI, a civil engineer, buried at the Recoleta. Most likely he was from the Veneto, Italy

Posted by georgeaguilar 12:29 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Comparing A Cornucopia of The Collective Unconscious

Georgie Reporting

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In my last post, I wrote how I was feeling a little too fatigued in Joinville to do too much. So I headed back to Curitiba to take it easy and plan my next excursion to Argentina. I had passed through Curitiba a few days before and had a nice feeling about it but did not really get a chance to explore much. Now that I am back, I found my energy level is a bit higher and my general mood is much better as well. Walking around the center of Curitiba, I could not help smile for some reason. I felt very comfortable and enjoyed the European feeling to the city as well as the smiles from locals.
It was also a bit disorienting for some strange reason. It felt a little bit like being in Odessa, Ukraine and Treviso, Italy at the same time! So I sat down in Plaza Osorio and decided to do some research on the town. The city´s migration history surprised me. From Wikipedia: ¨ In the 1850s, waves of European immigrants arrived in Curitiba, mainly Germans, Italians, Poles and Ukrainians, contributing to the city's economic and cultural development.[6]¨ You can imagine the kind of ¨Aha! moment¨ I had.
I was in a city that, most likely, was filled with distant cousins originally from ancestral homes of mine. No wonder I enjoyed being around the crowds, even in the mall, checking out their interesting faces and receiving warm smiles from women on occasion. Those warm smiles almost seemed to say, ¨Oh I know you. Hi.¨
About the same time, I ¨coincidentally¨ stumbled upon a few articles about Carl Yung´s theory on The Collective Unconsciousness and it started me thinking deeply about the meaning. For those of you unfamiliar with Carl Yung, he was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. The collective unconscious, defined by Jung refers to the idea that a segment of the deepest unconscious mind is genetically inherited and is not shaped by personal experience. The articles I read made me realize how much I found Yung´s theories to be true through my experiences documented in this and other travel blogs of mine. Yung is considered the opposite of Sigmund Freud who basically said we are all born with a clean slate and that our problems come from all our living experiences, not from the past. Yung´s work is considered by many as ¨pseudo-science¨because his theory is not easily provable. I won´t go into too much about Yung´s work but I suggest you Google his theories to learn more. But right now, I do believe that his idea that we are motivated by ancient (and not so ancient) experiences of our ancestors is what drives my life and being in Curitiba is a good example. First check out the article:
Understanding the Collective Unconscious By Lisa Fritscher
Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics.
Updated November 04, 2019

For all the traveling I have done, I have only felt truly comfortable in a handful of places which, as it so happens, tended to be ancestral locations filled with people who I probably have some genetic connection to. My past posts include positive experiences in Falcade, Belluno as well as Cochabamba, Bolivia, Treviso and Venice, Italy and a few other places. These experiences felt very unique to me since I grew up in a place that always felt uncomfortable for me. And in most of those cases, I hadn´t yet identified them as key ancestral places until some time later. I just knew I felt like I belonged in those places even though I didn´t look much like the locals or even know the language. And they seemed quite friendly and nice to me during my visits. Over time, I slowly began to see that their was indeed a connection between one´s genetics and to certain places and even to certain populations.
Curitiba cemented that for notion for me. I originally was just passing through Curitiba on my way to locations in southern Brazil that some genetic cousins had listed as places their grandparent were born. None had included Curitiba but it was the first big city I hit after a 6 hour bus ride from Sao Paulo and was just going to spend the night and move on. But the few hours I had, looking for a quick bite to eat, was surreal. I still didn´t think much about it when I left. It was only when I felt like I was really dragging that I just decided to return to see if I felt those positive vibes again. And yes I did!
Now I know Curitiba isn´t an ancestral home to my family. We may have a tiny bit of Guarani but that could be from anywhere in Brazil and I don´t think the population has a lot of Guarani ancestry but they do have some Native American and African %s to go along with the European ones mentioned above. Thus, was I suddenly in a foreign place where I share much of the same Collective Unconscious as the rest of the population? is that why I felt so much better and at ease? Does having the same, shared ancient genetics here somehow contribute to a better mental health and well being?
I have been in Curitiba several days now and I can´t say I have felt anything negative at all. It feels very safe and, for some reason, it doesn´t feel like I am in Brazil but somewhere in Europe. I kind of walk around like I know it very well. Or maybe it´s that I find the logic of how the city is run so easy for me to follow? It is all a little bit hard to describe in writing really. So I started comparing Curitiba to other similar experiences during my travels.
Yung´s Collective Unconscious states that our genetics hold the cultural values, morals and even tragedies that our ancestors experienced. Those are passed on down to us and can manifest into phobias and other things that are difficult for us to understand and deal with in the modern era hence the need for psychoanalysis. i get Yung´s basic premises though I get the feeling that he is coming from a very European perspective on it. What if I contain the Collective unconscious of, not only my ancient European ancestors, but that of my ancient African and Native American ancestors? It shouldn´t even be a question really. I already know that is what is going on with me and others like me. It is pretty easy to research and investigate the roots of ancient European history to better understand its culture and values but that is not as easy for Africa or the Americas. Ancient African history has been hidden and distorted due to historic racial bias and Native American ancient life was simply destroyed outright by the Europeans. It is because of this that I need to just ¨feel¨my way to try and understand what my non-European ancient fore-bearers´values and culture were actually like.
Writing that, I am reminded of the time I visited Cuzco again last year. One moment I am happy, walking around the Plaza Mayor with my girlfriend on a bright beautiful day and the next minute I am doubled over weeping uncontrollably. I remembered that the same thing happened the first time I visited over 20 years earlier almost in the same spot. Cuzco is an ancestral place for us. We have several matches from around here and I am around 40% Andean. My connection to the locals is the same as Treviso, the Veneto, Stuttgart and Cochabamba except that it is filled with overwhelming sadness. It´s as if the collective unconscious there stems from a collective PTSD when the Spanish utterly destroyed their thousands of years way of life with the execution of the last Inca. The horror of an entire civilization´s destruction must have imprinted on the genes of those who saw it happen. Oh, it is always a little tough writing about that. Cochabamba has a little bit of that as well but for a few different reasons.
Conversely, the European collective consciousness for me is not so sad filled. Generally, Europeans can still refer to the same beliefs spanning hundreds of years without total elimination except for perhaps the Jews and other groups. I wrote extensively about that experience in previous posts.
So where am I going with all this? Well, I think the DNA testing phenomenon is great but it should also talk more about the value of understanding the Collective Unconscious of various groups in the world and even its health benefits. I mean, if you feel good somewhere because of the people and the place then perhaps it might be a good idea to stick around their for a while. In most cases that might not be possible. I certainly don´t want to live like the Andeans in some mountain village or in some remote, rural part of Northern Italy. I´m also part Freudian in that I like the modern conveniences and city vibe that I grew up with.
The ultimate revelation for me is that I am greatly affected by the population and the place. I feel healthier somewhere that contains similar tribal members, but that depends too on the collective trauma-level of that population. I also now better understand why I can´t stand certain strangers to be near me. It´s only because they are not part of a tribe my genetics knows and it just shouts that...so don´t take it personally! lol I also know that their will always be a mystery about the collective values and beliefs of my American and African ancient ancestors due to destruction and bias but that I should just try and listen better to those sides and make my own determinations.
Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Xmas and Merry Kwanzaa to all!
I leave you with this song that captures the essence of this blog.

Posted by georgeaguilar 12:29 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

When the Archaic Cries Out

Ancient Georgie Reporting

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I have hit that brick wall.

It happens every year around this time. Suddenly, I am lethargic, lacking enthusiasm and motivation for practically all things. It takes every ounce of energy just to sit here and write this blog post. It is probably the last one of the year, most likely.

I can´t even get excited about visiting the local cemetery and you know how much I enjoy that! I have written in the past about what some call, ¨Seasonal Depression¨and how it hits some people around this time. There are those, like me, who link it to our ancient ancestors having to suffer through tough winters where the weather got cold and the food scarcer. Over time, this becomes ingrained in our genetics even when we live in an era of warmth and comfort and within a few minutes reach to a local grocery store. Having those luxuries is relatively new compared to the thousands of years of battling harsh winter filled with starvation and usually death. Just because modern life makes things more accessible, it doesn´t mean those innate, build-in feelings simply go away. It even feels like I am writing to you through a fog. I´m sure some of you out there know what I mean. There are probably drugs to manage all that but that´s not how I deal with it. I try and accept it rather than fight it though I see that exercise doesn´t help very much and it is easy to over eat these days too. It is no wonder I never found the ¨holidays¨terribly enjoyable. Consumer Xmas holidays are just manufactured anyway, aren´t they?
I started thinking more about archaic genes and how they still manifest themselves when I was sitting in a cafe in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sao Paulo isn´t the most scenic big city I´ve been too. The real scenery is in the diversity of people walking by you. For an hour, I don´t believe I saw two people who looked alike. Even parents with their children look very different from each other on the surface. It´s no surprise as Brazil has one of the most diverse genetic populations on the planet. People whose families have lived here for a long time, typically would have a good % of European, African and Native American genes. The breakdown is even more acute as nearly every European country is represented here as is multiple regions of Africa. The NA gene % is smaller and due mostly to early mixing between Iberian males and Native American women.


Scattered throughout this hodge-podge-of-a-post are various pics from the museums and places I´ve visited over the past week including the large and excellent Afro-Brazilian museum in Sao Paulo. I recommend visiting it when you can. It is here where I learn much about how Africans evolved from being slaves to being prime contributors to a unique mix-culture called Afro-Brazilian. I also learned that some of my paternal ancestors probably passed through this region, mixing old Iberian family lines with Guarani DNA and African before moving on into Bolivian and eventually Peru.


Part of the fun of this museum was seeing images of white and black families in period attire going about their everyday lives. Growing up in America, nearly all period movies and TV shows feature an all-white cast with a few Black people in servant type roles. The pics I saw in Brazil show a more equal family setting in the not too distant past.


I sit an continue to watch Brazilians walk past me and I can see why many consider them to be very handsome people. Height, hair color and style and skin tones are very attractive and very different, reflecting the many generations of intermixing of once-dramatically different ethnicities. It makes it all the more strange to read about Brazilian politicians who decry protesters in stark racial terms. The Brazilian vice president sees nothing wrong in blaming people who possess the ¨indolence of the indigenous and the laziness of Blacks¨. I wonder what he would think if he learned he has NA and African DNA himself as do 99% of the population. Would he still say the same thing? it´s like me going up to a microphone and saying, ¨Balding people with a mole under their right eye are stupid, degenerates!¨ As for the ¨laziness of Blacks¨? Well, I can´t imagine being a slave as something somebody would be ambitious about and strive to be awarded ´Slave of the Month´. Naturally, the European ethnicity is held up as the ideal as if theft, genocide and disease-spreading are all something to be proud of. Anyway, bottom line for me is....Brazil is kind of messed up about race as many places seem to be. Why is that I wonder?


During my Ancestral journeys, I´ve thought and written about our archaic connections to Tribalism as well as to ancestral place. Sao Paulo, as well as much of the Americas, is mostly inhabited by people whose ancestors have been here no more than 500 years. Many of a tiny % of NA that will slowly wash out in a generation or two. Understanding how DNA sites determine cousin relationships helped me realize how little we truly have changed in that time period. In broad terms, our bodies are a product of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We still have ancient markers that connect us to ancestors who have lived in one place usually for thousands of years. Our genes only change when they´ve adapted to that one place and would only change again once it´s been someplace else for a thousand years or so. It can also change due to some dramatic event such as nuclear fallout, which would change everyone´s genetic makeup in some way. A thousand years from now, scientists would dig up someone born in the 1960´s and know exactly when they were born because a gene marker changed because of the nuclear testing in the 1950s-1970. Natural disasters too would change your genetics too but for the most part, it takes a very long time for genes to change.
So 500 years is perhaps only a ´halfway´point to the creation of new marker that would define the yet unborn person of the Americas as ethnically American, different from Native Americans.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that European culture evolved over a long period of time but it too had its turbulent era no doubt. France, Spain and even Italy may seem like well-know and set cultures but it certainly was not like that a thousand years. Back then, many groups made up the region and I´m sure had to go through the pains of coming together in what we now call ´The French´or ´The German´or ´The Spanish´etc. Certainly Africa and Asia had thousands of years to develop on those continents as well. I think perhaps The Americas of today can be compared to the turmoil happened inside ancient Asia, Africa and Europe as diverse tribes began to coalesce into villages, the kingdoms, then nation-states and eventually countries. There are other complex reasons too but let´s not get into that now.

For me, it´s hard to even think clearly, much less write, this time of year. So I apologize if this post seems extra incoherent. lol


More Thoughts on the Archaic

I have come to perceive my exploration of my Ancestral roots in the same way somebody looks at pictures from Mars. You´ve no doubt read about somebody spotting a face, pyramid or even a lizard on a NASA photo of Mars. Real scientists tend to shoot down these claims fairly quickly and attribute it to our innate (read: archaic) part of our brain that looks for patterns in everyday objects. For some good evolutionary reason, we need to quickly identify something even if its fuzzy. Maybe it has something to do with development of the imagination? In any event, I often look for patterns in my DNA matches and in the places and people I see when traveling. I then may see a ¨pattern¨and quickly come up with a path with which will lead me to the ultimate truth. This has served me very well in many capacities including being able to write a very creative blog post.
Although I love real science, and the way they go about proving a theory, I like to ascribe to the archaic fuzzy approach as well. In a way, I have been utilizing both. Although I see cousin matches, provided surnames and locations with ancestral links, something in the back of my mind still tells me I need to go and check for myself. Sure enough, I am quite pleased to see actual physical proof of a connection in the form of a cemetery marker or some other clear evidence to support the online data. The most surprising thing to me was finding how differently I felt being in an ancestral place versus one that is not. I´ve written a few posts about that and I am more convinced than ever before, that their is a deep relationship between person and place. There isn´t any ¨proof¨of this other than my own observations and reading my own feelings. Perhaps that´s my Native Andean side which approached science differently than the Old World. As Darth Vader would say, ¨Search your feelings, Luke¨.

I´ve searched mine and I feel like parts of Peru-Bolivia and parts of Northern Italy and Southern Germany, as well as parts of Ireland, are meaningful ancestral homes to me. My DNA profile has always showed this to be the case but I needed to see for myself and I´m glad I had.

As in Star Wars (and in all things) , there is a ´light´and ´dark´side.

The theme of Tribalism is best read while humming the French Marseille. https://youtu.be/BcxRfg96dTQ
One of the great joys about hunting for ancestors is the feeling you belong to a certain tribe. I cannot recall feeling that way growing up in San Mateo, California or after having lived in several other places in America over the years.

I began to get a sense of that when I lived in the Yucatan of Mexico for a few years. I enjoyed the general civility, kindness and comfort the Yucatecans had showed me throughout my stay. I started to compare these feelings to the feelings I had in America which were mostly feelings of anxiety, depression and general discomfort.

After leaving the Yucatan, I traveled to a number of places based on DNA results and I found that some places where I had ancestors, greatly affected my state of mind and sometimes my physical well-being. For instance, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, I felt exceptionally healthy and energetic in mind and body. In Cuzco, Peru I felt as if I was at some large family funeral where all I wanted to do is comfort everyone. In Falcade, Belluno, I sat down for pizza in an empty pizzeria and within 10 minutes, I was surrounded by locals who gave me a sense of belonging and lightheartedness. Although, I clearly was a foreigner, they seemed quite comfortable sitting next to me as I was to them. These are very unique experiences for me as I usually feel quite uncomfortable among ALMOST EVERYONE about 90% of the time.
This sounds redundant but is worth repeating. I think that there might be a correlation between ancestral place, DNA cousins and personally feeling comfortable and healthy. It makes sense to me that one would feel healthier in a land where some of their ancestors had dwelled for hundreds or even thousands of years. One of the remarkable things I learned when traveling around the ancestral homes of Italy and Germany, is that I had no allergic reactions. I love being in the outdoors but I normally carry Claritin pills to combat those times when I get a sneeze attack and my eyes start to water badly and more and my inner nose swells. I dreaded Springtime in California because that was when it would hit me the hardest. After spending over 5 months in Europe, I did not need to take a single capsule. I even reveled riding my old bike through the thick pollen clouds during Spring in Treviso, taking deep breaths and amazed that I was having no ill effects. In Cochabamba, I ate local, fresh food and climbed a big hill everyday at high altitude and felt about as good as I ever had.
In contrast, I felt kind of miserable traveling through Romania, Moldova and The Ukraine. There, I was in a general bad mood nearly everyday and went temporarily blind in one eye at one point.

Strangely, I also did not like the locals in Arequipa and often felt a little psychotic at times even though my father was born in nearby Sabandia. Surely this must be an ancestral place, so why the ill feelings? Perhaps connections to ancestral places can either be bad or good based on genetic memories too?
And what about tribalism? Even in the 21st century, we see people siding with a particular tribe against another tribe. Nationalism, which is just button-pushing tribalism, is being used by politicians around the world because it is the easiest, laziest way to gain power. Promoting fear about those outside the tribe are driving much of politics around the world as they have since the beginning of time.
I can now understand the power of belonging to a tribe and the pull of being angry or against those outside of it. However, you would think that someone with my extraordinarily diverse genetic makeup would feel connected to multiple tribes around the world. But what if I inherited certain genes that denote only a few or even one single tribe? It is easy to imagine, those people who are products of interbreeding, to know a tribe member when they see him or her. Anybody not fitting that profile is an outsider.
When I think of powerful tribalism, I think of Germanic peoples who long have expressed a fervent (sometimes violent) form of tribalism. Their history for such things is long and include Germanic tribes that brought an end to the Roman Empire and gave rise to the Nazis of WWII.

Speaking of Nazis(!!), I am now in Joinville (pronounced Shoinvilly), a Brazilian city founded by Germans and Norwegians about 150 years ago. Strangely enough, people speak Portuguese here with a slight German accent! It also was paid a visit by a Nazi Zepelliin.


Just a few more Nazi references and then we shall move on. First, if you have never seen the movie, The Boys From Brazil, starring Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck, check it out. It´s a unique sci-fi story about genetics and Hitler and even comes with an excellent explanation of how genetics work provided by young cousin Bruno Ganz! Yes, Bruno Ganz the actor is a distant relative of ours as is practically every other Ganz on the planet. Interestingly enough, Bruno went on to play Hitler in the excellent film Downfall many, many years later. Bruno was also in a romantic-comedy film set in Venice called, Bread and Tulips. He´s a very good and versatile actor and I´m not just saying that because he´s a cousin.



Did you know they show Hogan´s Heroes on the TV here in Brazil? Turning on the TV here one night, I saw, to my amazement, some of my favorite TV shows from the 70s including HR PuffnStuff, I Dream of Jeannie and the Bionic Woman, all in Portuguese. Seeing Hogan´s Heroes reminded me of the time I walked through a small cemetery in Rottweil, Baden-Wurttemberg and saw grave markers with the name Klink and Schultz. I then saw a Burkhalter surname and said to myself, ¨If I see a Hochstetter name, I´ll pass out.¨ And then I did! But I didn´t pass out as somebody would have shouted, ¨Vot is dis man doing here?!¨

Speaking of Germany, when I was in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, I felt very comfortable with the people there and enjoyed just hanging out at the park on a Sunday surrounded by several families....something that was really strange for me to feel. I do know my family has ancestral ties to that region and I wondered if I inherited their tribalistic genes. Fortunately, I have my intellect and knowledge of history to keep any negative aspects of tribalism in check. Democracy and Human Rights might allow a lot of idiots to exist but that is far better than Nationalistic wars which destroy everything and everybody, especially the perpetrators.


I think I inherited tribal genes from the Germanic-French ancestors and from the Andean and possibly Mayan ancestors. That doesn´t mean my siblings inherited the same ones. Some of them could have inherited ancient Spanish and African tribal genes or perhaps someone inherited Basque and Greek tribal ones. This theory could go a long way in explaining why I never felt connected to my own family even though I know, for certain, they are my parents and my full siblings.

The big question rolling around my head is? Should I move to places where I feel physically good and comfortable with population? The difficulty is that I would need to learn a new language and obtain citizenship among other challenges. Is that such a high price to pay for physical and mental well-being?

Thank you for riding along with me on this long journey this year. I don´t know if I´ll do something like this again but I have become intrigued with the Spanish Basque region and I´ve never been to Africa. So who knows what the ancestors will do to make that happen or not.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Yours truly,



Posted by georgeaguilar 08:20 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

I´ve arrived in the New World! And Boy, Does it Suck!

Khan Georgie reporting

View DNA Genealogy on georgeaguilar's travel map.

Arriving on the shores of the New World,between the arrival of Columbus and the mid-20th Century, would not have been great for many people crossing the Atlantic.
The early Conquistadors and explorers had to endure much and probably arrived here half-crazed, and it showed in their general brutality towards the original people they came across. Stories of outright theft, rape and murder abound from the early Europeans and their actions still impact the Americas to this day. Later arrivals came hoping for a better life but instead saw a world vastly different than the one they had left in Europe. Of course, Africans had no say in their coming over and probably thought they had died and gone to hell. Even the ancestors, who arrived at the early part of the 20th century, came, saw, and wanted to get the hell back to Europe anyway they could. Brazil, was not the funnest entry point for most people for centuries and the history is generally quite fucked-up, to put it mildly.
Originally, I had thought to title this post, ´Wrath of Khan, Gluttony of Cruising¨ for a number of reasons.
Firstly, you should all know about Khan Noonian Singh, the genetically-engineered superman from the 20th century who is rescued from suspended animation by Capt. Kirk and his crew. After being revived, Khan is very coy about his true identity and endeavors to take over the ship. Spock discovers that Khan was a kind of ¨Napoleon¨ who almost conquered the world because he was the product of the ¨Eugenics Wars¨ during the late 20th Century.
It is a brilliantly written, directed and acted TV episode that probably first introduced me to ideas such as suspended animation and eugenics, though I have only recently learned more about Eugenics during the course of my ancestral hunting.
As my ship travels southward along the lovely Brazilian coast, I immerse myself in each port we stop at take very long walks in order to get a better sense of the people and place. The one thing you immediately notice is that the dark-skinned people are thin while the majority of white tourists are horribly obese. I´m cruising with a ship load of them and I´ve become quite disgusted at seeing them in the cafeteria (usually cutting in front of me) everyday stuffing their fat faces and lounging by the pool in a skimpy bikini. It´s times like these where I wished the blindness, I experienced in Romania, came back.

I´m not sure why I am so bothered by that. Sometimes I fantasize about throwing their fat bodies off the ship just because it bothers me so much. But then I realized I may be channeling my ancient Portuguese-Spanish ancestors who first crossed the seas several hundred years ago.
Crossing the Atlantic, and seeing and learning the history of the early Iberian ¨explorers¨, made me realize how crazy, desperate and borderline psychotic you had to be to make that trip in the old days. Those ships were basically floating Catholic churches and everybody had to adhere to those policies or overboard you go.
The Catholics were told to avoid The 7 Deadly Sins because it leads to evil. I can´t tell you how hard it is to imagine the Catholic Kingdom living by these rules while simultaneously okaying outright theft, murder, rape and slavery. To this day, there is STILL a Papal doctrine that says, ¨Anybody found in the New World is to be a slave forever. ¨
So basically, those early Iberian ¨explorers¨ (a euphemism for thieves, rapists and murderers) where blessed by God to commit barbaric acts in order to satisfy the greed of the Spanish-Catholic crown.
But what about Gluttony? Gluttony is described as ¨overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for good causes it to be withheld from the needy. Gluttony can be interpreted a selfishness; essentially placing concern with one´s own impulses or interests above the well-being or interests of others.¨-Wikipedia.
That last part describes a great number of people I am currently traveling with.
Thus far, the port stops in Brazil seem to show a great disparity between the haves and the have-nots, the whites and the blacks. I walked around old Salvador which reminded me of San Francisco, California in that you readily see homeless people doing drugs underneath the overpasses and in the parks. The rich, touristy area is essentially high up on a gated hill and the beaches are guarded as are most tourist areas.

I walked past the building that was one of the first slave ports in the New World and then past black people smoking dope next to their shopping carts. Hence my Segway to the ¨Brazil is Kind of Fucked Up¨. Portion of this blog.
Historically, the reason Brazil needed slaves from Africa was that the Portuguese had essentially worked to death the Native population that had existed there for thousands of years. One day, you are living a simple life, where working all day in the searing heat and humidity was not necessary, and the next you are forced to work in the heat all day without food or water. The culture your ancestors held for thousands of years is suddenly replaced by this thing called Catholicism. So if you are caught praying for salvation and mercy, from some God that the Portuguese invaders knew not to be Catholic, then they were only too happy to send you off to see their God.

The Portuguese, seemingly not thinking things through, suddenly ran out of local slaves and thus found a ¨solution¨ by stealing people from another continent and making them do all the work. Naturally, the church saw this as a divine ruling from God.

Continuing my walk, I see the facades of old Portuguese buildings covered in recent art and I imagined how those early Portuguese settlers became wealthy (through theft and slavery) and tried to make Brazil look more like the home they knew back in Iberia. The environment here is very different from there and the buildings show the effects of decades of humidity. In a way, these pics tell me stories about ancestral longings and ancestral destruction.


Things were very bad for the Native population as they were on the bring of extinction. Interestingly enough, our DNA ancestry compositions updated showing a small % of ¨Eastern So. American Native Ancestry¨. I now see some of that in many of our Brazilian matches as well. The reason is probably due to the fact that Portuguese men ¨took¨ Guarani women in the very early years and that genetic marker still shows up in some of us.

As things were very bad for the Native people, it had to be worse for the imported Africans. These were people, stolen from their ancestral homes, shipped across the ocean like cattle, and placed on a totally foreign landscape and ordered to work for the benefit of their Portuguese overlords. This, of course, was blessed by the Church.
I have been ancestor hunting for quite a few months now and I can honestly say that I can feel it when I am in an ancestral place. In those times, I feel physically and mentally good with a strange sense of well-being. Also, the locals feel comfortable with me and I feel comfortable with them as well even though we don´t look alike much anymore.
Is there some kind of genetic relationship between person and place? The story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail includes the theme, ¨The land and the King are one¨, and the health of the kingdom is restored by this command. From a genetic standpoint, our bodies, blood types, disease resistance, food preferences etc., all formed first from ancestors who dwelled someplace for a very, very long time. Once we leave that environment, we are essentially challenging ourselves to adapt to new things. Yes, exploring is an integral part of being human and I am proud of being associated with such ancestors. However, they usually traveled knowing the risks and typically had their deities and families to rely on when times get tough. African slaves had no say in their forced migrations and were stripped of their deities and families in the New World, although some of their culture does now thrive in places like Brazil.


Slavery had only ended about 150 years ago. Brazil, was the most reluctant country to do so and took many decades to fully be eradicated. However, I get the sense that the ¨Slave mindset¨ of the upper class Brazilians continues to this day. Their ancestors became wealthy on slavery, butchery and theft, raising children who probably never knew what a hard days work was really like. Today, they mostly run the country in the most divided fashion. The kind of job you get still depends on superficial things like the color of your skin and what surname you hold.
Enter the Italians

From Wikipedia: Brazilian need of immigrants

In 1850, under British pressure, Brazil finally passed a law that effectively banned transatlantic slave trade. The increased pressure of the abolitionist movement, on the other hand, made it clear that the days of slavery in Brazil were coming to an end. Slave trade was effectively suppressed, but the slave system still endured for almost four decades. Thus, discussion on European immigration to Brazil became a priority for Brazilian landowners,[citation needed] who claimed that such migrants were or would soon become indispensable for Brazilian agriculture. They would soon win the argument, and mass migration would begin in earnest.
An Agriculture Congress in 1878 in Rio de Janeiro discussed the lack of labor and proposed to the government the stimulation of European immigration to Brazil. Immigrants from Italy, Portugal, and Spain were considered the best ones because they were white and mainly Catholic. Therefore, the Brazilian government started to attract more Italian immigrants to the coffee plantations.[citation needed]
Most migrants came to the State of São Paulo, and its main port, the entry gate of Brazil, was Santos. Thus, most migrants from Italy, regardless of their final destination in Brazil, entered through Santos.

We do have a Treviso match whose grandfather was born in Sao Paulo to Treviso parents. However, that person grew up in Treviso, suggesting that her family came to Brazil, didn´t like it, turned around and went back to Treviso. Good choice for them but that wasn´t possible for many others.
In essence, Brazil thought it best to replace African and Native slaves with poor, mostly illiterate white Catholic Italians. It´s as if those in power just wanted to exploit another brand of poor immigrants like it was a natural thing for them to d.. To me, that seems fucked up.
Were you wondering where I was going with the Khan-Eugenics thing?
¨At the end of the 19th century, the Brazilian government was influenced by eugenics theories. According to some Brazilian scholars, immigrants from Europe were needed to enhance the Brazilian population.[citation needed]
Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population by excluding (through a variety of morally criticized means) certain genetic groups judged to be inferior, and promoting other genetic groups judged to be superior.[4][5]
The concept of positive eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[11] In Sparta, every Spartan child was inspected by the council of elders, the Gerousia, which determined if the child was fit to live or not. In the early years of ancient Rome, a Roman father was obliged by law to immediately kill his child if they were physically disabled.[12] Among the ancient Germanic tribes, people who were cowardly, unwarlike or "stained with abominable vices" were put to death, usually by being drowned in swamps.
We put down mad dogs; we kill the wild, untamed ox; we use the knife on sick sheep to stop their infecting the flock; we destroy abnormal offspring at birth; children, too, if they are born weak or deformed, we drown. Yet this is not the work of anger, but of reason – to separate the sound from the worthless.[10]
— Seneca the Younger

The idea of Social Darwinism (Eugenics) was widespread among Brazil's leading scientists, educators, social thinkers, as well as many elected officials, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This led to the "Politica de Branqueamento" (Whitening Policies) set in practice in Brazil in the early part of the 20th century. This series of laws intended to enlarge the numbers of the white race in Brazil while reducing the numbers of descendants of African slaves and Asians made the ground fertile for eugenic theories.

The first official organized movement of eugenics in South America was a Eugenics Conference in April 1917, which was followed in January 1918 by the founding of the São Paulo Society of Eugenics. This society worked with health agencies and psychiatric offices to promote their ideas. The year 1931 saw the foundation of the "Comitê Central de Eugenismo" (Central Committee on Eugenics) presided by Renato Kehl. Among its suggestions were an end to the immigration of non-whites to Brazil, and the spread of policies against miscegenation.[80]
The ideas of the Central Committee on Eugenics clashed with the Whitening Policies of the beginning of the 20th century. While the Whitening Policies advocated miscegenation in order to reduce the numbers of pure Africans in Brazil in favor of mulattos, who were expected to then produce white off-spring – a policy very similar to the "uplifting the Native race" in Australia – the Central Committee on Eugenics advocated no miscegenation at all and separation between the whites and non-whites in Brazil. When it became obvious that the future of Brazil was in industrialization (just as it was for other countries around the world), Brazil had to face whether they had a working force capable of being absorbed by an industrial society.

A new ideology was needed to counter such racialist claims. This ideology, known as Lusotropicalism, was associated with Gilberto Freyre, and became popular throughout the Portuguese Empire: specifically, Brazil and Angola. Lusotropicalism claimed that its large population of mixed-race people made Brazil the most capable country in tropical climates to carry out a program of industrialization.[dubious – discuss] Its mixed race population had the cultural and intellectual capabilities provided by the white race,[citation needed] which could not work in tropical climates, combined with the physical ability to work in tropical climates, provided by the African black race. This excluded the fact that white prisoners, working under penal servitude in Puerto Rico, seemed quite capable of working in a tropical environment.[citation needed]
Rockefeller Foundation in Brazil.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, the work of the Rockefeller Foundation was decisive for the implementation of public health initiatives in Brazil, especially in the so-called public health movement. At that time, Brazilian eugenics was the same as public health, as expressed in the maxim "to sanitize is to eugenize".[81]

In the midst of all that, our African-Italian ancestors mixed in Brazil at the turn of the 20th century. It is hard to imagine how all that came about but I can see why leaving Brazil for elsewhere was probably a good idea for a mixed-ethnicity family.
Essentially in Brazil, they kill off the Native population that had existed for thousands of years in paradise and replaced them with stolen Africans. Then, they thought it ¨best¨ to further reduce those populations by mixing them with poor, white folks because they thought Natives and Blacks to be inferior. Today, Brazil still marginalizes people based on skin color because white people are too lazy to do hardwork. To me, that all sounds fucked up.

However, for many people living today, the mixture of African, European and Native (and other groups) DNA has made them more resistant to various diseases and syndromes usually associated with endogamus (inbred) people. Some of the most beautiful and handsome people in the world come from places like Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia owing much to this mixture. Indeed, great music, art, writing etc. also hail from people with a diverse genetic inheritance. Brasil regularly fields superior soccer teams. Is it because of their European ancestors only? Of course not. We are now only learning about how advanced Native American culture was throughout the Americas before Columbus. African-Americans in the USA have made tremendous contributions to that society. Some have also in South America though they face much more hurdles for success than in America due to the ongoing mindset of racial divisions....sort of like on this cruise ship.
Eventually Eugenics went down in history like the Titanic at sea. Which, by the way, was engineered and built by Africans and Native Americas. Some years later, Africans and Native Americans gave us WWI and WWII and the A-bomb…

Angie Wang of the NY Times wrote something interesting:
In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it?¨ Check out the full article here https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/sunday/genetics-race.html

In Star Trek, Khan is described as part of a ¨race of supermen¨ bred by genetic selection. He is eventually defeated by the Jewish William Shatner and Jewish Mr. Spock. It appears the Jews make it into the future, as do a mix of ethnicities. But I wonder if the inbred make it that far into the future. Does that sound fucked up or what??
Thanks for reading.

Posted by georgeaguilar 11:24 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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