Visiting sachsenhausen concentration camp



Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Sachsenhausen is a concentration camp that was used from 1936 to 1945 located near Berlin in Germany. Around 36 kilometres away in Oranienburg.



This is a hard post to write as this place is a place of evil and the crimes committed here are somewhat unspeakable but we must let people know what happened there so we can educate future generations.

I will talk about my visit here and some of the history.


Image Roger Veringmeier 



Warning this is an extremely sad story and there are descriptions
which may upset you so use caution because some of the horrors committed at this camp can be disturbing to read.



My history

Some of my ancestors were in some of these concentration camps. 

I am not sure which camps I remember my grandmother telling me some of her family were in some of the camps some of them escaped before the war started. 

But other members of the family stayed in Europe I am guessing she meant Russia. 

She told me some of her family were sent to the death camps and were killed by the Nazis. She told me this story when I was young. 

When I was old enough to fully understand what she meant she had passed away so I could never find out any more information from her. 

It Wasn't until recently that I started to try to find my family history looking at documents online.  

I realized I had Jewish DNA heritage after having the My Heritage DNA test. 

I had DNA matches with people that had lost relatives in the camps so there was some link there but I am trying to find more information but it can be hard without paper records.



History of the camp

The camp prisoners included Jews, homosexuals, Roma , Jehovah's Witnesses,soviet civilians,political opponents even Joseph Stalin's oldest son Yakov Dzhugashvili, was held at the camp.

During the war the camp held more or less any person that The Third Reich hated and wanted dead.

In the photo below you can see German political prisoners arriving at the camp.




One of the camp's prisoners was Pastor Martin Niemöller,
many of us will know his poem.

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.




Horrors

At least 100,000 people died at this camp by 1945 there were up to 50,000 prisoners there the camp was originally designed to hold up to 10,000 prisoners.

The camp was used as a testing station by the Nazis drugs were forcibly tested on prisoners experimental drugs were often used to test the effectiveness on humans some were designed to increase stamina and endurance of Luftwaffe pilots in missions but these were tested on prisoners first to see if they had any side effects which often they did. 

The prisoners would be given experimental drugs and then made to run around 40km each day with heavy backpacks to test military shoes designed for the German army.

There were also experiments testing deadly weapons such as mustard gas on the prisoners.




Experiments

The cruel SS doctors would perform dissections on live prisoners, sterilizations, castrations.

Other horrible medical torture methods included infecting prisoners with hepatitis and other deadly diseases and testing the effects of potassium cyanide and other deadly toxins on the prisoners.

Most of the prisoners would die from these horrible experiments; those who did survive would forever suffer from the effects for the rest of their life.

One of the morgue tables


Executions

Photo below shows the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler touring the camp he was an overseer of the Nazi genocidal programs and one of the most evil and powerful men in The Third Reich he was one of the main architects of the holocaust and responsible for the extermination of millions of people.

Himmler The Butcher of Prague


Around 13,000 red army (Russian) prisoners were executed by being shot in the back of the neck they were told they were going to be measured for a uniform. 

The Russian soldiers would be told to stand in a small room with music playing but then they was shot in the back of the neck from an hidden hole in the wall behind them by a cowardly camp guard.

When I was visiting the site a tour guide told me they would shoot the prisoners in the back of the neck
and shown me the brick ruins of part of the wall of the building she said they would execute the prisoners so they could extract the gold from the teeth fillings and the victims teeth were used as well for the Third Reich dental sector .

I hate writing about this because it makes me angry thinking how much monsters the Third Reich was but I feel I have to write this post to get this story more known.


The next step

The evil guards found the method of executing the prisoners one by one by shooting them to be to time consuming so would make prisoners dig a trench there own grave basically then the guards standing above the trench would shoot the prisoners in the trench seen in the (below photo). 
    
Death trench


The trench method was causing disruption in the camp and the guards were worried it may cause the prisoners to revolt so they wanted to hide the killings from the other prisoners. 

Finally in 1943 they moved on to using a newly built gas chamber they would gas the prisoners and would then cremate the body's of the victims in ovens (Photo below)

Remains of ovens

After the cremations there was that much human ash from the cremated bodies that The Third Reich camp sold the cremated ash to local construction companies to create concrete.

Remains of ovens


Around 12,500 bodies were found when excavations took place at the camp many were children,women and elderly people these were the early victims of the camp.

If a prisoner got to ill they were either killed or transported to other camps.

Tortured

Torture was a common occurrence prisoners were locked in Solitary confinement.
Many prisoners were taken to other parts of the camp to be killed and tortured so the other prisoners could not see.

In one of the solitary confinement cells one was used to hold a British Prisoner who was shot by the SS.




As a former soldier myself I remember seeing the Union flag (British flag) in the cell I stood there thinking sad but also proud knowing my country and the men and women and even some of my family stood up and fought in the war against the evil of the Nazi regime and Hitler.






Sachsenhausen salute

The cruel guards would make prisoners squat and stand with their hands outright for over 8 hours
we would call it a stress position these days but it got the name Sachsenhausen salute in the camp.

Prisoners would often be whipped and beaten with iron truncheons like the drawing shows below this was drawn by an inmate who witnessed prisoners being whipped until bleeding and then salt would be rubbed into the open wounds to cause terrible pain to the prisoner.

When a prisoner would scream stop in terrible pain the guards would laugh and start again.

SS officers torturing prisoner



In the camp

Walking around the camp was strange it is a quiet place no birds or anything it.

What I mean is when you go places you may see birds fly above etc and hear other noise cars and people talking etc but here there was nothing just a strange silence.



It was like the animals (Birds) felt an evil presence here so avoided the area.
There are some places you can go and even if you know no history of the place you get a strange feeling like something bad happened here this is that kind of place.




Barrack 39




I went into one of the cabins known as (Barrack 39) this cabin mainly housed Jewish prisoners in crammed conditions.

It was quite a strange experience. I was the only person there my girlfriend stayed outside she said she felt uncomfortable going in the cabin. 

So I went in on my own as I was walking. 

My footsteps was creaking on the old wooden floor it seemed to echo and it was like other people were walking in there but it was just me was a strange experience.







Slave labor

The camp was used to create fake currency; this was one of The Third Reich's biggest 
currency counterfeiting operations. 

Prisoner's with artistic skills were used to forge fake notes that would be used to try and destroy the British and American economy with fake notes.

The plan was to drop the notes over London by plane to weaken the economy.

Other labour was used in a nearby brick factory to make bricks for Third Reich building projects.

The prisoners would be worked to death if they were too weak then they would be shot.
(Photo below) shows the prisoners return to the camp after a day of labour.




There are also reports that the workers were used to build the Heinkel He 177 bomber plane.

Many of these crashed in the war for unknown reasons so many historians have said maybe the prisoners in a heroic last act of defiance sabotaged the planes to help the war effort. 

Heinkel He 177 bomber 



Conditions

The prisoners were fed rations of food the more the population of the camp increased the harder it would become for the prisoners as food would be more scarce and more infectious diseases spread rapidly throughout the camp as well as lice. 





Many would suffer starvation and other medical problems, an open wound for example in poor hygiene conditions with lack of water and antiseptic would likely turn gangrene.

With no medical care ever being provided prisoners would die and those who were too ill to work or had disabilities were killed.


Escaping

There were a few successful escapes but the security on the camp was high, any prisoners going near the gravel pit also known as the death strip seen below were shot sometime's the guards would tell prisoners to walk on the pit or they would be shot then the guards would shoot them anyway.

It has been said the camp guards who shot prisoners escaping would get extra leave days as a bonus.
So you can imagine they would tell prisoners to go on the strip shoot them then say they tried to escape.
 


The camp had regular patrols with guards and guard dogs and even had an electric fence to prevent escape and an 8 feet high stone wall around the camp as well as 9 guard towers.

One of the guard towers had an MG 08 machine gun which is a deadly weapon that could fire 500 bullets per minute.




You can imagine the prisoners had little energy due to lack of food so escape would be very difficult.

When I visited the camp I thought to myself how could you escape from here it would be near to impossible the area was surrounded with guard towers and open ground so any movement would be spotted.



The human eye and brain are programmed to detect movement that is why when you are looking for something and your eyes immediately notice a squirrel running across a tree.

If a prisoner was caught trying to escape they would be hanged in front of the other prisoners to make an example to other prisoners thinking of trying to escape.


Here is a drawing from a prisoner who witnessed the below happening.
The prisoners would be left hanging from these wooden poles for hours.


The actual poles I saw in the camp were a little strange being up so close to them to be honest knowing people were strung up on them and died if them wooden posts could talk. 

I think they would scream the horrors they had seen.
The prisoners would be tied up on the posts this would cause bone dislocation and a slow painful death.



Liberation


As Soviet forces closed in on the camps position the SS guards were terrified
it is a well known fact during the war the Soviet army would have no mercy on any captured Nazis most would be executed on the spot with no trials.

Many of the Russians had seen their homeland
pillaged by the German army when Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union so many of the Soviet forces would be judge, jury and executioner to a captured Third Reich soldier.

The SS evacuated 33,000 prisoners on foot; the ones who were too weak to walk were left behind to die in the camp and any prisoner who had military training was killed. 

The prisoners who still had a little energy were marched on a death march (Photo Below).



This is a sign post near to the camp it is in German but I have used google to translate
I hope I translated the writing correctly.


The sign says;

More than 6,000 inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp were murdered on this march by the SS.

(TODESMARSCH)
DEATH MARCH


(IHR VERMACHTNIS LEBT IN UNSEREN TATEN FORT)
YOUR LEGACY LIVES IN OUR DEEDS



Russians.

Around a week later from the camp evacuation April 22th, 1945 the Russian army liberated the camp but sadly many prisoners still died even when the Russian army provided food and medical treatment.

Russian army talking to prisoners

It is said as the Russian army was closing in on the camps position the camp SS guards dumped 9 tons of human ash in the nearby canal that was left over from cremating prisoners body's. 

Dumping the human ash was an attempt to try and hide the crimes they had committed at the camp so we will never know the full scale of how many people were killed at the camp but we know from records kept that at least
100,000 people were victims of the Third Reich at the camp.

    
Russian soldier statue with POWS




How to get there from Berlin

You can take the S1 train from Berlin station to Oranienburg central station.
it is around 31km and takes about 40 minutes.

Once you arrive at Oranienburg station
you could get a bus from the station to near the camp. 

Myself and my girlfriend walked from the station to the camp. It took us about 25 minutes there were a few sign posts along the way with directions but these days we all have google on our cellphone so it's much easier to find.

Here is the address of the camp:

Sachsenhausen concentration camp address
Str. der Nationen 22, 16515 Oranienburg, Germany


Berlin central train station
Hauptbahnhof, Europaplatz 1, 10557 Berlin, Germany


Oranienburg train station near to camp 
16515 Oranienburg, Germany


Map below showing the camp address.



Here is a simple map showing the direction and distance from Oranienburg train station to the camp google says it is 2.2km and takes around 27 minutes to walk.

Admission to the camp is free but you can pay a fee for an audio guide and a map.

You could book a guide tour group basically they walk you around and show you the parts of the camp and tell you what happened at each part. 

You would need to book the tour yourself as the camp did not offer that when I went I have added a few tour guide links above that offer tours to the camp. 

If you visit the camp it may be worth going on a tour as you will find out more history this way and be shown around. 

I would also take an umbrella as there is no cover above at the camp and some water and snacks may be useful as I am not sure there is anywhere to get any. 

There was a nearby cafe but they only sold drinks but that may of change now have a look at some of the links above for more info.



Images
Big thank you to the below organisations and people for letting me use the images in this blog post.
Frederick John  http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/
@AdrianPHerrera twitter
Trip advisor



Past and future

We must not forget the past of World War II if we forget the horrors of world war II then it could happen again in parts of the world. 

We all know the signs of dictatorship so we need to act again if we see this happening.

Germany is well worth a visit and I found Berlin a great city the food was amazing and there was a lot of places to visit.

The German people were very welcoming while I went about Berlin I had a few conversations
with cafe owners and they would just ask about England and were friendly. 

So as I always say when you go abroad you are a guest so just be careful not to offend the locals with what you say .

I noticed when talking to many of the locals they don't really like to talk of the past they seem to get off the subject when they asked me where I had visited today etc and I told them the Concentration camp.

I understand they want to forget the past and think of the future now I kind of understand that as they may be ashamed of their country's history. 

But again we can not forget history so we have to talk about it. 


Future generations must know what country's stood up to evil and what people perished in the war and most importantly the horrors of the Third Reich and the evilness of Hitler must be known.

The Holocaust should be taught in schools there is still many people who are unaware of the full scale of what happened even when I was in school there was no history on any conflicts.

An estimated 6 million people died in the holocaust
and around 85 million in World war II.

I would recommend the Steven Spielberg ,Movie (Schindler's List)
it is a very sad true film but is a must watch to understand the Holocaust and the life of Oscar Schindler
he saved more then a 1100 Jewish peoples life during the Holocaust.

There is an old quote I quite like and it makes sense.

(The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing)

The world stood up to the monster (Hitler) and he was defeated. 
Good will always prevail over evil.

I am here alive now thanks to my ancestors. If Hitler would have won the war then I would not be here as my ancestors would not be.

This is all that remains of the monster's bunker where he ended his own life blaming the German people for losing the war.

It is now a car park in Berlin. 
You would not know it was there except for the sign post in the photo below.

Remains of Hitler's bunker



If you found this post interesting then please share on social media etc 
to get the story more known it is the least we can do for all the people that died in the camp and at the hands of the Third Reich.
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Greyfriars Bobby ( True Loyal Dog)

A true story of the love and loyalty of a small little dog named Bobby. 
Who stood by his master's side even in death.

Greyfriars Bobby

In 1850 a man named John Gray 
arrived in Edinburgh,Scotland unable to find any work.

He decided to join the Edinburgh police force
as a night watch policeman. 

After a while John decided he needed a friend on his night patrols to keep him company and someone to talk to on the cold nights patrolling. 

So he took on a partner in the form of a small Skye terrier dog and named him Bobby.














John Gray

John and Bobby would patrol the night streets of Edinburgh in Scotland and would often become a regular sight on the street cobbles patrolling. 

Many of the locals would see John and his little friend toddling along at his side.

After years patrolling the cold dark streets of Edinburgh the job had started to take its toll on John Gray's health.




John caught TB ( Tuberculosis ) and was being treated by a police surgeon but sadly John never fully recovered and died from the disease on 15th February 1858 it has been said Bobby was at his master's side at his last moments.

John was buried in the nearby local Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery.



True Loyalty to the end


Bobby, John's little faithful partner now without his master, soon captured the heart of the local people of Edinburgh when he
appeared the day after the burial of his master lying on the fresh graveside dirt where his master lay.

The little dog refused to leave the grave of John, his fallen master. 

Even in the worst weather conditions snow and rain Bobby would not move from his master's grave.

As dogs were not allowed in the cemetery the gardener of the cemetery would try many times to get the little dog to leave the cemetery but Bobby would not budge from his master's graveside.

In the end the locals built a little roof shelter (Below photo) for the little dog next to his masters grave.




The only time Bobby would temporarily leave his master's grave was for his afternoon meal around 1pm.

He knew when it was dinner time as there was a ceremony gun salute everyday at 1pm on hearing the noise Bobby would go for his afternoon meal.



Bobby would go to a local coffee shop 
(Traill's Temperance Coffee)

That he would often travel to with his master in the past .

The owner of the coffee shop John Trail would feed the little dog everyday as he was a friend of Bobby's deceased master John Gray.

John Trail By Unknown author 


The Coffee shop owner John Trail even tried to take the little dog in but he would always return to his masters grave at the first chance he could. 

The little dog would never lose his devotion and loyalty to his deceased master.


The cruel law


In 1867 a new law was created that required all dogs to be licensed and have a collar in the city or they would be put to sleep. 

A local Lord named Sir William Chambers decided to pay for Bobby's licence and bought him a brass collar. 

The little dog's collar is on display at the Museum of Edinburgh.



RIP Bobby

Sadly on the 14th January 1872  Bobby died
aged 16 years old he was said to have stayed by his master's grave for 14 years.

It was agreed that the little faithful dog should never leave his master's side again and he was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars cemetery not far from his master John Gray's grave so they would be together forever.

A red granite monument was erected close to Bobby's grave to honor the loyal dog.



The monument was inscribed with the words.

(Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all)


People regularly put flowers,sticks and toys at the monument 
to show respect to the little loyal dog 

In 1873 a local baroness Burdett Coutts was so moved by the story of the little dog she paid for a statue to honor the little faithful dog named Bobby.




Booby has touched the hearts of millions and many people visit the statue above and the cemetery every year to show their respect to the little dog. 

There are books and films made directly about Bobby.

Many people touch the nose of the statue so much so that it has often had to be repainted.





Respect shown to Bobby


There is even a small dog that sits by his master's grave in the video games Red Dead Redemption 2  and Grand theft auto you probably think that is a coincidence to Bobby.

But guess where the developers of these video games (Rockstar) have one of their main offices yes Edinburgh in Scotland. Both great video games and would fully recommend.


Red dead redemption 2 (Image Rockstar games)



GTA V (Image Rockstar games)



Visiting Greyfriars Bobby 


If you decide to visit Edinburgh which I must say is a great place with loads of attractions to visit
the city is massive. Just pack an umbrella as the rain can be heavy.




The local museum has an oil painting of Bobby the little faithful dog dated from 1867
As well as a few other of Bobby's items in an exhibit.


Here is the address of the cemetery where Bobby is located

 Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery address. 
 26A Candlemaker Row
 Edinburgh EH1 2QE

The statue of Bobby is just facing Bobby's bar ( local pub)
just outside the graveyard. 

The statue has become famous world wide and many people every year come to see Bobby's resting place and the statue to pay respect to the loyalty and faithfulness of the little dog.


Some useful links that may help




This story just shows how our four legged friends love us and create such a bond and loyalty with us that even in death they will wait by our side to see us once again. 

I hope John and Bobby will one day get to see each other again if there is a God which I think there is then I am sure he will make it happen.

Bobby's story is not just a one off either; there are quite a few story's worldwide where dogs and other animals have done the same and shown their true love and loyalty to their human friends. 


Image by By Sumit Surai - , CC BY-SA 4.0,


I have often said that the most powerful force in the world is love because when you love something or someone never can stop you and keep you apart even in death love never dies the bond of love is unbreakable.

Bobby's love, devotion and loyalty will last the ages and will be a lesson to all of us what love and devotion our pets have to us.



Gone but not forgotten

We all have it in us to love animals
If you treat a dog or any animal well you will get back love and loyalty forever.

If you have lost a pet in the past, don't think that if I get a new dog etc I will forget about  my friend that passed away. No, not ever will you and what would your passed away dog want? They would want you to be happy and to show love like you did with them. 

I remember all my friends that have passed on no greater love can a human have than to love their animals.

Here is a video a friend of mine made a while back when he lost his friend.



Getting a dog

If you are considering getting a dog or want to help dogs with donations etc have a look at some of the sites below for advice and consider getting a rescue dog.

I adopted a rescue dog and named her (Sam) she was only a puppy. She was left dumped in a ditch by her owners who dumped her because they did not want her. 

She was in ill health when she was found and really thin the vets said she probably would not make it.

But we adopted her and she recovered and I have to say no loyal of an animal you could have found she was so loyal and such a great dog.

She has passed away now she lived to 14 years and passed away with cancer. The PDSA did some operations to give her a few more years and I am forever grateful to them for that.

The memory's will live with me forever. I miss her and all my other pets now who have passed but this is what we are on this earth for to help each other and our animal friends. 


Helping dogs

I will be honest I have no time for people that dump animals or treat their animals bad there is no excuse to do that if my dog was hungry and I was he would get fed before me.

When I have seen homeless people on the streets of Manchester I buy them some food and if they have a dog I buy the dog some tins of food and dog treats. 

It is not hard to help, we are all capable of helping even in small ways like this. 



Here are the links to some dog shelters and charities. If you have any to add to the list let me know and I will add. 

All of the below do amazing work for animals even if you are not considering getting a dog. 

Have a look at the links to see how you can help you could donate food,money blankets etc.

UK

Review of DNA heritage Kit


Piecing together the puzzle


I have often asked myself
  • What is my ancestry DNA?.
  • Where am I from.
  • Who were my ancestors?.
  • Were my ancestors British?


Like many of us I have always wanted to know about my DNA and past where my ancestors came from if I was related to people who were famous in history.

So I decided to pay for the (My Heritage) DNA kit. Apparently it can give you a good estimate of your past heritage and tells you who your relatives are around the world that share DNA. 




I was skeptical and had many doubts about MyHeritage
I knew a little about DNA from TV where you see them match DNA in labs on true crime TV shows like CSI.


My review of (My Heritage) DNA Test

I got the test kit in the post after ordering online. It took about 5 days to arrive. Basically just a small box with a paper card and some other items inside. 

The card has your activation code on it so you use this card to go online to activate the DNA kit in your name.




The box also contains

  • 2 swab sticks wrapped in plastic
  • 1 Ziploc plastic bag with a cotton pad
  • 1 booklet with instructions on how to use the kit to collect your DNA
  • 1 padded envelope





Cotton swabs

The swabs collect the saliva that will be used for your DNA test. 

They look like cotton ear buds if I am honest.

Basically you put them in your mouth and move them about to collect a good saliva (DNA) sample then you place them in the plastic vials 1 in each which are used to extract your DNA.


Here is an introduction video to give you a better demonstration.




Activate your card

I went online activated my card in my name (Keep card you don't send that back)

The vials have your activation number on them so they know your name once you activate online.

I used the cotton sticks around my mouth to collect my DNA sample then I sealed my samples in the bag and plastic viels.

So I sent off my test kit in the post and got an email about 5 days later saying they received my kit and they give you an estimate date of when it will be complete with your results.

My result took around 3 weeks to get back.


My results

I got an email saying your results are ready so you open the email link and this is what you see.



You get a percentage of each ethnicity that make up your DNA heritage here is mine as an example.

The purple circles are parts of the world where I have DNA ancestry to.

So some of my ancestors could have come from these countries in the purple circles.

Overview of my DNA

  • Irish,Scottish,Welsh 60.7%
  • English 18.6%
  • Ashkenazi Jewish 13.5%
  • Iberian 3.4%
  • Central Asian 2.2%
  • Nigerian 1.6

Confused

What I don't like is it sometimes can be confusing and shows a big area of some of  the DNA heritage. 

For example the area of my (Ashkenazi Jewish) heritage is around Ukraine,Poland,Germany,Austria,Romania so you look at this and think right ok which country is my (Ashkenazi Jewish)  DNA heritage from then?.




Now with Ashkenazi DNA it is a tough one as many Jewish settlers lived near to the Rhine river in Germany and northern France in the past and they moved about so it is tough to pinpoint a location.


My past

Some of my ancestors came to England from Russia around 1895 by boat.

I have not been able to find too much information on my ancestors other than they came from Russia. 

From what I have found out they came from Moscow or Saint Petersburg according to some records I have found.

My other ancestors I have managed to track to Scotland around the year 1647.




I managed to use the (My Heritage)  search tool to find some records
of my Russian ancestry and I have a lot of people in Russia and the East who share DNA with me according to the DNA match.

I managed to find a home address,rent record and a few other records of my Russian ancestor when he lived in Manchester but I am a little stuck as it can be hard looking for records from aboard.

Also I must tell you this part of (My Heritage) costs you money you have to sign up for either a free 14 day trial or pay for the whole year membership
To look for records it is not included in the DNA kit.


So is it accurate?

Well my grandmother was Jewish and her relatives were Jewish .

So it got that part of my family heritage correct 
as this clearly shows a link to my grandmother with the Ashkenazi Jewish match.

I know I have a Russian ancestor so maybe the Jewish heritage is from Russia as the purple circle seems to touch the border of Russia,Ukraine and Belarus.




Central Asian 2.2%

Now the other purple circle is around Kazakhstan now apparently some of the other sites I have used claim I am related to Genghis khan , Attila The Hun etc and show Hungarian match's.

One of my parents has 2%Turkish DNA.

From what I read the original Turkish people came from Mongolia so maybe this purple circle is my link to Genghis khan etc.





Nigerian DNA.

I have no clue where the Nigerian DNA is from? None of my parents have Nigerian DNA, my mother has mainly English,Irish,Welsh and Viking Scandinavian DNA etc.


My father has English,Irish,Welsh,Turkish,Ashkenzi,Italian and Iberian DNA heritage.



I can not seem to find any ancestors from anywhere in Africa so I am a little stuck with where this Nigerian DNA heritage comes from. I will try to do some research as I would like to be able to find out.



Iberian DNA

Now I have Iberian DNA also which is modern day Portugal and Spain.
But from what I have read Iberian DNA is linked to the Romans now as I say my father has Italian and Iberian DNA heritage so this could be a Roman link there.



I like the (MyHeritage) DNA test as you find lots of information out about your heritage.
But the DNA test results also creates a lot of questions like I have such as where is the Iberian or Nigerian link from?.


What's free then?


A DNA Kit lets you do the below

  • Message DNA Matches    (Free)
  • Look at DNA Match   (Free)
  • Look at your DNA Heritage  (Free)
  • Emails you with DNA  (Free)
  • Contact DNA Match  (Free)
  • Download your raw DNA data  (Free)
  • Look at your heritage (Free)


To look at records on (MyHeritage) you have to pay (Not Free)

  • Birth certificates     (Not Free)
  • Death certs                (Not free)
  • Marriage Electoral rolls  (Not Free)
  • War records (Not Free)
  • Census,vote lists (Not Free)
  • Create a 2,500 people (Not Free)
  • Family tree
  • Look at old newspapers (Not Free)
  • Look at old immigration records (Not Free)




Email DNA match  (Free)

What I like about (My Heritage) is once you have your DNA done you get regular matches to people
that share DNA with you via email like this below.

If one of your relatives who lives in Australia as an example, who you have never met has the DNA test done.

The (My Heritage) match tool will then match that person to see if you are related and then send you and them an email saying that a person has 0.4% etc DNA shared with you.







DNA search  (Free)

You can also search surnames on the DNA Search bar to see if a person with your surname has a DNA match with you.

You can see below myself searching for the surname (Smith).

I get the result back Jim smith you will notice I share 0.6% DNA with this person so
(My Heritage) estimates this could be my 3rd cousin.





Mike Smith

One example of the search tool accuracy was a man called Mike Smith who lives here in the UK.

He had a DNA match of 0.2% with me so I sent him a message just said hi  do you know the surnames Smith, Johnson or Green?

I said we have a DNA match of 0.2% so we could be distant relatives?

So Mike Smith said his ancestor was from Russia and has the same surname as my granddad.
It turns out his Russian ancestor is my Russian ancestor. 

His great granddad is also mine as well so the DNA match tool does work.

Mike Smith said to be honest I did not think the DNA tool worked and the fact that we share 0.2% DNA shows it does.


Lady in Russia

There was a lady In Russia that shared 4.3 % DNA with me.

So I did the same as above and sent her a message saying we share DNA. Do you have any relatives that came to England?.

She did not know any information now we are definitely related somehow that is for sure it is just hard to trace the link so as I say it can be hit and miss as the other person may not have any information on their family history.


Not every person will reply to you if you message them one person I messaged took 6 months yes I said 6 months to reply to me and just said to me I don't know how we are related.

Someone messaged me last week and said Hi just had my DNA done how are we related?.

I just said not sure have a look at my family tree and see if you recognized any names etc. 

She asked what were my ancestors' names,  she did not know any of her own information on the past so again it can be very hard to find a link.

Link to MyHeritage


How do I download my Raw DNA data

In order to upload your DNA to other websites you need to download a raw file of your DNA.

This is quite easy to do. Here is a guide on how to do just that on (My Heritage).

Download Raw DNA Data




Where else can I find more Info?



Find my past

This is a good site to look at it is simple to use when looking for records etc.

Quite similar to ( My Heritage) you can search family records. I Noticed this site seems a little better to find British records than (My Heritage) but it was not that good at finding records from aboard.

They also do DNA testing as well but I haven't seen any reviews on this so don't know how good or bad it is.



Link to Find My Past



Free trials


What I did when looking for my ancestors records is to sign up to the free trials on all the big sites

I already had full premium membership of (My Heritage).

But I also signed up for free trials on Ancestry, Findmypast etc. 

The reason I did that was
some information found on one site will not be on the other site as an example.

My Russian ancestor lived in Manchester in the 1900s now the (Myheritage) website had only a little info of this or so I thought.




But on (Ancestry) I found him his name was spelled slightly differently by one letter on some of the old records from the 1900s.


That was the reason (My Heritage) was not finding him. 

I noted all the info down on my notepad, the house address, year,who was he living with etc and the spelling mistake name.

So then I went on (My Heritage) again and I added the year, the address etc to my search and his name spelled different.

Now I was able to find loads of other records now that I knew he lived in that area in the 1900s and knew about the spelling mistake error in his name.




So it's all about taking little bits of a puzzle then adding them all together from each site keeping a note then collecting it all together.

You will find many of the old records on many of the sites have spelling mistakes remember our ancestors were not top tip with spelling etc they didn't have Grammarly.

I check my spelling a few times but still make many mistakes.

My ancestor seemed to spell his surname different on forms so it made it difficult when looking for his records. 

My guess is he could not write good English or the places where he was asked his name spelled it wrong.



Ancestry

I like this site. I found it really useful. It is easy to use
to find records and they also do DNA testing as well.

I found quite a lot of info when looking for old records so well worth joining up on a free trial to see what you find.







My True Ancestry

This site is good if you like old ancient history stuff.

Once you get your DNA test done at
 (My Heritage) or Ancestry etc you have the option to download the raw data basically it's just a file with your DNA.

When you have done this you can upload it to sites like (My True Ancestry) now here is the good part once you upload it here they can match your DNA with records of ancient famous peoples DNA.

 
You can see which civilization you are most related to the Romans,Vikings,Goths etc

They have loads of ancient DNA extracted on record.

Here is a list of some of the civilizations I am related to on the screenshot below. 






So as you can see I have DNA shared with the DNA extracted from the bones of people from the civilizations below.

  • Celts
  • Franks
  • Gauls
  • Thuringi
  • Visgoths




Ancestor from 590 ad

What I like about this site is it has so many options to trace your DNA to people in the past
here for example it shows I have a genetic distance of 7.524 with a Frankish ancestor who's DNA they have on record from 590ad.





Hungarian DNA

You're probably thinking how do they have the DNA of someone from 590 AD from Hungary?.

Well when old bones are found, if the DNA is in good condition and the teeth etc are in good condition, they can extract the DNA and add it to an online academic database in raw format. such as
NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information

So (Mytrueancestry.com) has access to these samples.






Homo sapiens

Here above for example you can see I have 93% link to Cheddar man
Apparently cheddar man was the oldest almost complete skeleton of our species, Homo sapiens, ever found in Britain.

According to this site I also have links to  (The Boy With the Amber Necklace)
He was an ancestor of mine and was found within 1 mile of Stonehenge so maybe he helped build them?.

If you're planning on visiting Stonehenge, consider having a read of my other blog post 
Visiting Stonehenge. I tell you how to get up close to the stones.


There are too many features and options for me to list on this site.
Here is a link to the site FAQ
mytrueancestry.com/en/faq

I fully recommend to sign up to this site on the free trial and see what you think.





24 hour free trial

The good thing about this site you sign up and get a free 24 hour free trial.

All you need is an email to sign up so once you upload your Raw data DNA you use your Email to log in and you can see who you're related to and by what percentage for 24 hours.

Once the 24 hours expires you would have to sign up for a full version or use a new email and upload DNA raw data again.

The free trial doesn't give you a full list of all who you're related to or full access to all the features etc  but it gives you a good amount of people you're related to.

But as I say they don't ask for any card details for the free trial just an email address.

I hate sites that say sign up but give us your card details etc I just don't use them sites unless I know them if there a popular brand.

But an email address and a free 24 hour trial what do you have to lose.

(My True Ancestry) Link



Gedmatch (Free to use)

Gedmatch is a good site that is free to use as well but I found it very difficult to use at first.

It took me a few weeks to learn the basics and even now I find it quite difficult to use.

I think this is for the more pros to use but still a tool that can help .

You can match DNA to people and message them easily.

There are loads of tools you can use to look deep into your DNA.
I am still learning this site myself so I don't know how accurate Gedmacth is as I am still trying to understand it fully.





Many people dislike Gedmatch I will tell you why because there is a option on it that you can allow the law enforcement to view your DNA so they can match your DNA to suspects etc

I saw a story online they used it to catch someone in the USA.
They used it to identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case in California and they caught him.

It is your choice you never know you could be a dissident of  jack the ripper dna.
Many people don't like this idea now there is the option to turn this off so law enforcement can't see your DNA.



You will see the little yellow symbol with the word police below with the red line through it mine is switched off.


I have nothing to hide as my DNA is already on record by British Government having served in the British Army and other jobs I have had to supply my DNA to.

I have my switch turned off so it don't share my DNA with law enforcement in the USA.
It sounds daft but I am not going to have my DNA accessed by people or company's for no reason.

Many people like their DNA privacy hidden so it is your choice if you trust Gedmatch with your DNA.


Gedmacth Tools

There is a lot of tools to use on Gedmacth this one below for example shows my DNA in a little more detail.



On this tool (Below) it seems to show 

I have links to Hungry,Russia and a number of other country's in my DNA. 




The numbers on the left side seem to indicate ancient samples of DNA that have a match to your DNA
for example (RISE601) is a sample of DNA from Russia that has links to my DNA.

I just found this site below and when you type in RISE601 as an example it shows you where the sample was found and gives you a little bit of information.
naturesamples



Conclusion

Whatever you get as a result of your DNA heritage, be proud as that part of each DNA segment makes you who you are and because of your ancestors you are here today so be proud.

My advice on how to find out more information on your past ancestors is to sign up to all the free trials on the sites above.

You will struggle to find all your past ancestors records information on just one site so you need to use a few and also a DNA test can be a big help as you can find current relatives you may not know you have who can help in your search of the past.


Now it would be too expensive to sign up to all the sites on full membership so my advice to you is if you're looking for your ancestors have a notepad near by as I said above to keep a note of all the information you find online.





If you find some info on (My Heritage) write it down then if you find some info on (Findmypast) same again write it down.


This way you can use the notepad as your reference guide rather than having to go back and forwards. (My Heritage) and Ancestry have a good feature where you can add records you have found on their site to a person on your family tree once you have created a family tree and it saves the record to that person this tool is very helpful.




Most of the ancestry DNA sites have good tools and features but again most are part of the paid memberships.


If you use the free trials on all the sites you will see what sites suits you best just remember to write down the end date of your free trial or you may be charged for the start of a membership if you forget to cancel.


If you phone (My Heritage) up to get premium membership to search for records don't ever settle on the price online always phone up to barter that is what I did I got a £30 Discount card which you can use on DNA Test or the new DNA medical test.

I got money off a year's membership so it is always worth a little bartering.


If you get stuck looking for records check out the Nationalarchives website that can be quite useful to find information.


Finding old graves (Free to use)


Another few sites I used when looking for ancestors in the past.

You can find old info using these two sites. 

They can be useful to search for old grave locations, some even have photos of the grave you're looking for.

I had trouble trying to find a grave of one of my ancestors so I went on the site and requested a photo someone kindly volunteered to find the grave and uploaded the photo and location for me.


Searchable GPS cemetery data links
Find a grave
Billion graves

All the links for easy access

Findmypast

Free my heritage kit

You may be able to get a free DNA kit if you have a large following on social media.

My Heritage will send you a DNA kit free you then have to make a video showing your heritage rusults. here is the link to find more information

https://influencers.myheritage.com/


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