Some of the best things about old age are being real, being true to yourself, being who you really are & being willing to share your life, good and bad, honestly without fear of judgment with your friends and family. Rather than write a book, here is my website.
My life, thoughts & whatever else I feel like writing about, ha!
Where do you start?
Though I try to live a simple life, I am a complex person with a complex history. I’m going to start this website out with a super-abbreviated timeline, my DNA and my basic ethnic/racial ancestry.
I was born in 1956, in a time period when pressures to homogenize and assimilate in the United States were very strong. When I was very young, my mother Mona Lee Rothschild, the most amazing person in all history of humankind, told me with a laugh and love, that I was a mutt. She told me the basic breakdown, that each of my grandparents were Jewish, Indigenous, Dutch and English. My mother was Indigenous and English, my father Jewish and Dutch. I am all four.
Of course, when I was a young child, the history of my living relatives as much as 70 years earlier were an unimaginably ancient time ago. I could not even begin to comprehend it. So, that was that basically, and life moved on as a secular American family in suburban Chicago.
In junior and senior high school, I experienced some antisemitism and began to be more aware of how some of the world related to my Jewishness. In the late 1970’s, as a young adult I moved to the north side of the city of Chicago, where I met many more Jews and increasingly identified with my Jewish ethnicity.
Some time in the 1980s, my mother put together a family tree going back about 5 generations along with what photos she could gather. By the end of the 1980s I strongly identified as Jewish ethnically and religiously, and had an orthodox conversion.
The patriarchy was very strong in my family, i.e. the Rothschild side of my heritage, and it passed very clearly from my grandfather Yehuda (Jay Leo) Rothschild to my father Malcolm Valk Rothschild to me Yehuda (Jay Franklin) Rothschild. I am the oldest (Jewish) male of my generation as well as torchbearer of the name. Jay is Americanized for Yehuda, my Hebrew name.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I believed my mission in life was to be the family patriarch, the most successful of all generations and build an empire that outlasted me. I believed I was special.
Life had different plans for me
Then in the mid-1990’s, I had a mid-life crisis and decided that I was a slave to the aspirations of a group of grass plants, known as my perfect American lawn.
That crisis started a decade of hell and euphoria, downtown living, deep deep depression, and eventually even a short moment of homelessness that landed me in West Rogers Park in 2006, a northernmost neighborhood in Chicago. I had a new trait, humility, and an understanding that not everyone can overcome the adverse things in their lives without help. I began to embrace and joy on the diversity of people and life throughout this post-crisis decade and for then on. I no longer believed I was special or destined to build an empire. I was just one equal value person of the billions on Earth.
By 2012, I was back in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. I began to thirst for more knowledge about my Native side. Referring to my mother’s family tree, I searched online for information about my ancestors and started to actually find some. It was rather amazing to me the things I discovered.
Woe is me for the long in person conversations I did not have with my ancestors, especially my mother and father, now all passed on. These are my greatest regrets without doubt.
In the beginning of 2016, G-d smiled upon me in more than one way. I moved into my current residence, a socialist commune of sorts, or an intentional community of ~200 people in a 10 story high-rise on the lakefront in Uptown Chicago.
In these last 5 years I began deconstructing my spiritual beliefs. I have fully embraced my Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) Indigenous heritage. I feel that each of my 4 major ethnicities (Jewish, Mvskoke, Dutch, and English) are 100% complete layers, not 25% of each. I strongly identify as a Jew and a Native.
And now the DNA!
For Chanukah in 2019, my oldest daughter Torie and family bought me an Ancestry DNA test. It may have been the best present ever. Getting the results back in January 2020 threw gasoline on the fire for my ancestors and history.
Spanning four continents – white, brown and black.
[See header image above]
- European Jewish 30%
- England & Northwestern Europe 27%
- Scotland 12%
- Indigenous Americas-North 8%
- Ireland 6%
- Germanic Europe 4%
- Norway 4%
- Sweden 3%
- Nigeria 2%
- Indigenous Americas-Andean 1%
- Indigenous Americas-Colombia & Venezuela 1%
- Indigenous Americas-Mexico 1%
- Senegal 1%
September 26, 2021 Update: It is important to note that DNA ancestry is not an exact science. It can produce incorrect and/or incomplete results, especially if there is a small sampling and underrepresented ethnicities, as there is with Indigenous people. The Central/South American Indigenous results in this DNA interpretation were nullified in a newer interpretation, and shifted into North American & Yucatan Indigenous results, along with other small changes.
Most importantly DNA ancestry is useless for determining if you are Indigenous. NO legit North American tribes accept DNA results for citizenship because of the above paragraph and DNA results do not even hint at tribal heritage. Citizenship requirements vary for each Tribal Nation, but they always at minimum require a direct descendant connection to a previously enrolled citizen proven by birth and death certificates, as well as other requirements. DNA results by themselves means zero in determining if you are Indigenous, Native, Indian or whatever.
Also note that while there are racial and cultural facets, being Indigenous is primarily a political status, i.e. a citizen of a sovereign nation. There are truly all races and colors represented in North American Indigenous people. It is not as simple as a yes/no genetic answer.
All that said, DNA can be informative combined with other information, and you truly can connect with lost and unknown relatives. I know I found people I had lost touch with and discovered many new relatives. I highly recommend it.
May 18, 2022: The newest DNA update is here.
And that’s it for now, stay tuned for more.
Heritage related posts
May 18, 2022 – The 2022 DNA of my Native and Jewish Heritage
Apr 30, 2022 – I am Native, I am Mvskoke
Sep 26, 2021 – Cultural reflections on whiteness & my new 2021 DNA
Jun 16, 2021 – I have three percent African DNA
Apr 27, 2021 – Why I identify as Native
Dec 18, 2020 – About indigenous DNA and blood quantum
Dec 12, 2020 – Thoughts for Descendants & 2019 DNA