Evil Author Day: Family Trees and How They Branch

Title: Family Trees and How They Branch
Author: Ladyholder
Fandom: Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Nothing Overt
Word Count: 938

A/N: Well, we wanted to know how many branches there were in an ATA carriers family tree. When I went looking to see how that could work? This is what you get.


“One thing we have always been curious about was the large numbers of ATA carriers who are of largely Celtic extraction,” Daniel Jackson reported. The screen behind him showed a number of names, most of them classically Irish or Scottish, the rare name that didn’t fit that was highlighted in red.

“And what have you found, Dr. Jackson?” Jack O’Neill asked carefully. He had been the start of the project and he wanted to know what his lover had come up with.

“As you know, most of the early peoples in and around Europe settled somewhere and stayed put. They lived, married, had children and then died within a very small geographical area. We have evidence of one family having been in the same basic area for over nine thousand years, so families settling in for the long haul is fairly normal.” The archeologist explained, carefully giving the background information for his report. “Over the centuries, many families within an area would have been bound together with ties of blood and marriage, forming the first clans and eventually more.

“The O’Neill’s, to use the General’s well-documented family as an example, had several prominent families within the clan as a whole rise to become royalty in Ireland. They were contemporaries with the Tudors and supported the fight for independence, with various degrees of success. Over the generations, the royal members married into and out of, other prominent Celtic families of the same economic classes. Under that level, the O’Neill’s and their multitude of related clans did the same. Since the Catholic Church and then the Church of England held sway through much of the land, one of the prize tenets was to record everyone at their baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death. We thus have an extremely detailed record to fall back on to aide us in our searches.”

Daniel changed the slide to show a copy of a census from the mid-1800s, the name O’Neill highlighted in yellow. “I know this is all deeply boring, so I will try to keep it short… On the local level, most of the people we would call ATA carriers today look like they have very broad family trees,” another click showed a detailed genealogical chart. “But when we started tracing what we could of where the strongest expressions of the ATA gene showed up, we found that what we thought was a broad tree was, in fact, rather narrow.”

Another click and the tree changed to show only last names. There were a lot that repeated themselves. O’Neill obviously, but also, O’Kelly, O’Keefe, MacShane, Johnsons, an occasional Sheppard, Sweeny, Lamot, and MacNeil were the most common. And most of them had small asterisks beside the names. “As you can tell, there were a lot of marriages within the families listed. Each asterisk is for a confirmed ATA carrier. Most, if not all of those people, had ATA positive children and we know that it takes two copies to have someone be active. These families have multiple people with various levels of strength to their expressions of the ATA genome, but very few members without it at all. The ones who don’t have an active ATA expression can trace their ancestry to recent marriages from outside the traditional Celtic clans. And they all seem to carry the genome as a recessive trait that can be turned on with the gene therapy.”

Daniel clicked his remote again and a new family tree popped up. Instead of showing O’Neill as the patronym, it was titled, Sheppard. Jack leaned back at studied the information on the screen. “Looks like Sheppard and I are related after all. Right, Danny?”

“Yeah, you are,” Daniel nodded and changed the view again. Sheppard’s family tree was tied into the O’Neill one and Jack traced where everything met up. “From the looks of things, the Major’s parents could both claim admittance to the Clan O’Neill and get in purely on the basis of their genealogies. Even though they aren’t from obviously related families, the Major’s mother being an O’Kelly and his father a Sheppard, the ways the families tie together supports the theory that this is why his expression of the ATA genome is so intense. He got it from both sides of the family. In an almost pure form, straight down the lines.”

“Jesus,” Jack muttered before rubbing one hand over his mouth. When Sheppard had wondered how deeply his family tree had forked, the General had laughed, but he wasn’t laughing now. The back hollows of the most rural parts of the planet had nothing on his family for inbreeding. At least they hadn’t gone as far as the Hapsburgs, but they had sure come close! “And me?”

Daniel waved his hand at the family trees on the screen. “Your mother’s maiden name was McShane, right?” Jack nodded once. “She was from a sept of the O’Neill’s who took the name MacShane in honor of an ancestor. They mostly dropped the name in favor of the Anglicized Johnson, but McShane is still a recognized name in Ireland. Your dad was of the Tyrone sept and from him, you are related to the current Clan head. He is a fifth cousin, once or twice removed I think. Anyway, in you, the same thing goes, the families married within each other and well…”
Waving his hand at the mess on the screen before them, the archeologist let the family history stand as an answer.

“So my family tree forks, but it forks in ways that circle back into itself?” Jack asked carefully.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” Daniel agreed.

Well, shit.


  1. Okay. This made me laugh. John’s family didn’t branch out at all and Jack’s family circle in on itself. Gods that hilarious.

  2. *uncrosses eyes and…… *… huh? LOL

  3. Round and round she goes, where she stops LH knows 😀
    Long day at work!

  4. That ain’t a tree pal, it’s a family vine.

  5. I love it when a talented author takes a premise from a basic plot device and takes it further with logic. Happy Evil Author Day!

  6. I love it. You can say Jacks family is like those creeping vines you see on the sides of houses. And Sheppard’s family is that lone vine that just tries to get away from the others for more room but doesn’t succeed much.

  7. (sniff) Makes me heart proud to be a Celt! lol

  8. When you were little did you play with spirograph? Or maybe spend a lot of time with a dark crayon drawing overlapping circle with your eyes closed creating spaces to color into? I’m sure you have a clear picture, but overlapping colored circles it about as close as my brain can get. Maybe if there was more, my brain could catch up? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I’d offer cookies, but the virtual ones are always so flat.

    • To me, the family tree resembles Celtic knotwork. Folding in and over and through itself until you can’t see the beginning and you will never find the end.


      P.S. Thanks for the cookies!

  9. This is pretty fascinating 😀

  10. Loved this. More?

  11. Oh wow. I never thought about how weirdly forking the family trees would have to be in order to a present an active ATA gene after so after so many years.. It makes so much sense, I kind of wonder why no one thought of it before… Well at least that I’ve read about anyway. Can’t wait for the scene where O’Niell call John cousin or nephew or vice versa

    • To keep a trait like that strong enough to being Atlantis online? Yeah. An *insane* family tree.


      • Greywolf the Wanderer

        you could say that the gene has a way of ensuring that it is preserved; it’d fit, since neither recessive nor partially dominant genes would stay so strong otherwise. interesting stuff!
        how did they know which of the ancestors had ATA though? the one is curious, if thee is willing to tell =)

        • It has to have had something in it to keep things moving along…

          And testing. Lots and lots of testing of the kids, and when they can get it, genetic samples. Most of the ones on O’Neill’s chart have well known graves. Only needs a bit to test DNA.


  12. Very Interesting. I love your Celtic knotwork explanation. I suppose one or more of them went to Japan and that is where Miko came from. Those O’Neills do love to travel, first the Orient and now outer space.
    More please.

  13. Well, that was a rather.. circular view…I think? LOL At first I thought you were going for a closer relationship between O’Neil and Sheppard, of course, after all that circling, I’m still not sure you didn’t. LOL!!

    • They are related. Cousins on several levels at least. But in this? This is how insanely looped and intertwined the family tree of any of the ATA carriers has to be for the trait to have lasted 10K years.

      10,000 years. And for it to still be pure enough to make the Ancient equipment work means that something had to have kept it that way. Creative inbreeding is all we have at this point.


  14. This looks interesting! Hope you continue.

  15. Of course, McKay, Beckett and Jackson are also names of Celtic bloodlines. I’m not sure of Lorne and Mitchell but since the joke on show #200 of SG1 Cam could have certainly gotten it that way. LOL!

    • Remember, people changed their names a LOT when they came to the USA. And also, marrying daughters of the lines would still work… If you add these two things together?


  16. i have some celtic blood, i’m related to Jack and John, please yes ? LMAO
    Want more please ! Soon ?
    Question : this is a gen or slash fic and how is the ratings ?

  17. ::giggles:: In my head I’m referring to this one as “Family Trees and how they branch……or Don’t” aka “One Big Happy Family” LOL Think about the conversations that will need to be had when this information is spread to the relevant people.

  18. The Celtic culture can be tracked from an origin in eastern Europe, pushed west into the British Isles by warring tribes and eventually Rome. The Celts then expanded back through Europe to fill the void after Rome fell. Suggesting that some Celtcs got all the way to the Pacific would not be too far of a stretch, IMO.

    • Just one group going walkabout and setting down roots could lead to all *sorts* of interesting children down the line. Marrying within cultures and yes, things stick around.

      And there really is a guy in England who was part of a genetics test of local families because of a set of 9,000 year old remains found in a cave. He was the *only* one who turned up positive for being a descendant.

      Talk about putting down roots!


  19. Intriguing. I always imagined Jack’s family would have been adventurers and traveled the world. So how many ‘cousins’ does Jack have working alongside him? 🙂
    There is certainly a family resemblance between him and John. lol

    • Oh, lots.

      There is an argument that says that most of the Celts (of any stripe) can be related to each other. If you follow the family trees back far enough.

      And yes, he and John are cousins. I just have no idea how close!


  20. This cracked me up as it made me think of my own family tree (which is bizarre at times). On one branch that we’ve managed to trace back several centuries it forks widely from one common ancestor then a couple of centuries later comes back together with two divergent branches meeting again with a marriage. In the interim the families were split between Scotland, England, France and Germany. Genealogy is a lot of fun once you can get really going with it, you never know what you may find.

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