I’ve recently become more interested in my family health history. There is a distinct likelihood of genetic health traits being perpetuated throughout descendants. I was told many years ago that male baldness was a trait passed down from the mother’s side of the family. My mother wasn’t bald, and so I pretty much ignored this piece of information. Yet, my older brother is definitely losing his hair. I also learned about hemophilia, the genetic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to control blood coagulation, and its presence in the descendants of Queen Victoria’s descendants. Friends have suffered from various types of cancer, only to learn that the specific type is prevalent in their family.
The more I learn about genetic genealogy, the more interest I have grown in tracing my family’s health issues. In fact, as I have grown older, I see clear physical traits in myself that I can relate to specific family members. My blue eyes and my hair coloration come from my mother’s side of the family; the shapes of my fingers are almost identical to my father; I see the texture of my skin as identical to my paternal grandmother; the arthritis developing in my hands parallels that of my maternal grandmother. While these physical traits have become fairly obvious, I am also curious about the diseases from which my ancestors suffered and their causes of death. I therefore began compiling details to produce a picture of my family’s health history.
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