It is strange really, one little medical fact about my family has been common knowledge to me for many years, but it is only today that I realised just how useful it is to trace my family history.
My family (down my mothers line) are carriers of a relatively rare genetic disease known as variegate porphyria
. This is a disease that is very well recorded in white South African (primarily Afrikaner) bloodlines and a full genealogy going back to the person who brought the disease to South Africa exists. That first carrier, Ariaantje Adriaanse
, arrived in South Africa in 1688.
With my mothers family I have been unable to get further than her great-grandparents as records are difficult to access from abroad, and here, right in front of me for years it seems, is a solution to that problem - at least one half of her lineage has been tracked back to 1688 for me, I just need to access the data!
I am sharing this information here as I think it serves to illustrate the point that sometimes the solution to genealogical problems can a) be staring us in the face and we don't recognise it for what it is and b) can come from the most unlikely of sources.