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What Your Thumb Can Tell You

What Your Thumb Can Tell You  Find more genealogy blogs at FamilyTree.comThere are many ways to discover more about your family history. Genealogists utilize online genealogy resources, search through family photos, and even visit places where their ancestors lived. In addition, genealogists and family historians should consider their own thumb. It turns out your thumb can tell you something about your family history.

The thumb can tell you a lot of things. People use the “thumbs up” icon to indicate that they “like” something that they saw on Facebook. It is also possible to physically do a “thumbs up” to tell your co-worker that you approve of his or her idea. In the past, people used a “thumbs up” to indicate that they wanted a passing stranger to stop and give them a ride. As you can see, the thumb has been used to communicate many things.

Research was published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology that showed that each individual person’s thumb gives clues to his or her family history. It can also, potentially, help law enforcement to identify someone.

The researchers analyzed the fingerprints of 243 individuals. The group consisted of 61 African-American women, 61 African-American men, 61 European American women, and 61 European American men. The researchers looked for specific things in the fingerprints of the people who took part in the study.

Specifically, the researchers looked at Level 1 and Level 2 details. They wanted to see if they could spot any differences. Level 1 details include pattern types and ridge counts. Level 2 details include specific variations and ridge splits.

The result was interesting. The researchers did not find any variation between the fingerprints of the men and the fingerprints of the women. In other words, they couldn’t look at a person’s fingerprint and conclude if the person was male or female. Instead, they found that there was a difference between African-American fingerprints and European American fingerprints. The two differ in their ridge splits and in some other specific variations on the thumbprint.

What does this mean for genealogists? It means that your thumbprint could reveal whether you have African-American ancestry or European Ancestry. If your thumbprint tells a different story than your genealogy research has, it could mean there is more for you to learn about your family tree.

It should be noted that the thumbprint research is at a starting point. Additional research needs to be done. The researchers could also choose a larger sample size and evaluate the thumb prints of individuals from more diverse ancestral backgrounds than they did in their first study.

Image by CPOA on Flickr.

Related Articles at

* Finger Paint A Family Tree

* The FBI is Digitizing Records

* What is the Genographic Project?

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