A Writers strange exploration and research into Ancestry

I’m a bit of research junkie. Yes, sometimes I get so bogged down with researching things, I forget to write. I spent time researching Dolphins and Mayan’s for my book Dolphin Dreams, and then hours of time researching oil futures for my upcoming book Polar Bear Dawn.

Researching is fun. Hours on the web, shifting and sorting with a coffee or tea, and sometimes getting lost in the process.

Some time ago, however, I decided on some personal research. I wanted to know about my Ancestry. My brother had run into some Nicholson’s on the web some time ago, and he found out my family originated in Tennessee. I knew my Grandfather had crossed the border into Canada in 1890 or so, and my Dad was born in Canada in 1910.

I joked with my wife that, “The Nicholson’s had left Tennessee because the Fed’s had found their moonshine stills.” The real reason was they were looking for land. They headed north to Canada, as Canada had land, and was offering it cheaply to new settlers. My Grandfather was one of them.

My Ancestors the Nicholson’s had originally come from Scotland, a small island called the Isle of Skye. I was lucky enough to visit there some years ago. Skye is beautiful. It holds a rugged beauty with mountains, streams and a blanket of purple heather that appears and then disappears into the mist and rain.

Skye had about 10,000 residents, and 80,000 sheep. You’ll step in sheep droppings long before you run into anyone as you walk through the moors, and valleys. It’s just the odds.

Did I feel at home there? Absolutely I did. Every time I introduced myself to a local, I heard the familiar refrain, “Ach aye, you be from the clan of Scorry Breac,” and they’d motion or point out a small hill just off of the harbor of Portree.

I finally ventured onto my Clan lands. Fortunately a wealthy Nicholson purchased the ancient lands, and put them into a trust. I walked the lands with my wife and our friends. I loved it, especially for the view, and the added bonus there were no sheep! Walking any pathway in Scotland with no sheep poop is a tremendous bonus.

After this wonderful experience of Clan Nicholson and my homeland I did some further digging. To my surprise I found out we were actually descendants of Vikings. The Isle of Skye, like many other Scottish Islands were overrun by Norwegians in the 9th Century.

My name Nicholson came from Nicolas and son, as was the Norwegian custom. So, there it was, I was part Norwegian. Now I like Norwegians. I’ve been to Norway twice on business. They have a wonderful country, decent beer, and other than their love of strange fish dishes they’re nice people.

I was about to go much deeper into my ancestry. I thought I might research something about the Norwegians, maybe I had a relative in Bergen? That is when I came upon some research on Ancestry from a Dr.Johanson.and his discussion of someone called “Lucy.”

Lucy it seems is our great (to the max) grandmother, well according to the good Doctor who is a Paleoanthropologist, and spent years scouring the desert of Ethiopia, and found her bones there. In a remarkable speech that you can access on YouTube (enter Lucy and Africa) you will get a complete one hour lecture from the good doctor on his findings.

Lucy, or AL2881, called Australopithecus, died 3.2 million years ago. The remarkable thing is, if you check your DNA, you will be traced back to her. Yes, a little lady with a mix between ape and humanoid is our great grandmother. According to Dr. Johanson, we should all take a trip back to our homeland, back to Africa.

Now wouldn’t that be one hell of a homecoming! I’m sure the Ethiopians would be amazed at my wife and I walking into their village, and telling everyone we’re their long lost relatives!

So, what have I done about my Ancestry search now? I think I’ll give it a rest. Going back 3.2 million years is far enough. But then who knows, perhaps someday, in an exploration probe of the Galaxy, or on the planet Mars, we’ll find a match for Lucy’s DNA.

Perhaps she was dropped off here on someone’s’ journey through the Universe. You never know what will they’ll find next. I’m waiting to see who I’m related to on the planet Zargon!

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Lyle Nicholson is the author of four novels, two novellas and a short story, as well as several articles published in Canadian Magazines and Newspapers. His path to his writing was first as a terrible actor in a Johnny Cash movie, called Gospel Road. He played Andrew the Apostle and apologizes to all who see him in the movie.
He was also a disobedient monk for several years and left the monastery to work at several jobs he’d was highly unsuccessful at until he started his own sales agency, where he finally had success. This was to the delight of his wife and his mother.
He retired in 2011 and took up writing full time. He now lives with his lovely wife in Kelowna, where he writes, cooks and indulges in fine wines.