Heritage Minute: Lucy Maud Montgomery and What AncestryDNA Says About RedHeads.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Heritage Canada has just released a brand new Heritage Minute featuring Lucy Maud Montgomery. Who is L.M. Montgomery? For every kid that grew up in Canada, she is better known as the author of Anne of Green Gables.
The Disappointment of an AncestryDNA Test:
Personally I just read those books and fumed with jealousy at how red her hair was. But it’s a genetic thing, unfortunately, so I’ll never have red hair. Even with my weird European history, a genetic DNA kit I did revealed that neither me or my kids will ever have red hair like Anne. (Update: for those asking, we added some ancestrydna subscription coupons).
Here’s the video on L.M. Montgomery. It’s a decided step up in production values from the Basketball video of the 90’s for sure:
L.M. Montgomery’s life story is actually quite fascinating and she’s definitely more than just the writer of the Green Gables books. She wrote over 20 other novels, as well as working her way through suitors that’s worthy of a book all by itself.
Anne of Green Gables is a World-Wide Phenomenon:
Most Canadians assume that the novel, which takes place in P.E.I., is a book that only Canadians know about. But there are live productions of the novels all over Europe and Japan. There was even an ‘Avonlea’ theme park in Japan in the 1990’s!
Many tourists from around the world visit Prince Edward Island because they want to see all the locations from the novel. Many real-life locations, such as Balsam Hollow, were inspirations for locations in the novel. As such, there are tourist attractions built all around these areas.
It’s apparently quite common for Japanese tourists to visit P.E.I. and come aways disappointed, because the actual locations don’t match up with the landscapes as imagined in the books.
However, there is an Avonlea Theme Park that is quite popular. It features live actors dressed up like the characters in the novels.
What Can a DNA Test Tell You About Red Hair?
Curious if you have a little Anne of Green Gables in you? Even if you don’t have red hair, you may carry the gene for it. If you do an autosomal DNA test, which you can do with services like 23andme and Ancestry.com, you can see if you have mutations on the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), which is what causes red hair.
Now, red hair is a recessive trait. What does that mean? It means that both your parents need to have these mutations in order for you to have red hair.
Now, in doing research for this article, we’ve discovered some interesting facts about red hair. For one, there are two types of pigments that determine…well, all of a human body’s pigmentation: eumelanin and pheomelanin.
If you have lots of eumelanin and a little pheomelanin, then your hair is dark. BUT if you have little eumelanin and a lot of pheomelanin, then you have reddish hair (blond people have little amounts of both). DNA tests can tell you what kind of traits you have to help you understand how you got the hair color that you have right now.