"I've got my father's eyes, my mother's nose and a little kink in my hair that I recognise in a picture of my grandmother" But it's not just looks that get passed on: our susceptibility to disease is also inherited.
Since the beginning of human history people have wondered how traits are inherited from one generation to the next. Although children often look more like one parent than another, most offspring seem to be a blend of the characteristics of both parents. However until 1865 there was no scientific way to predict the outcome of a cross between two particular parents.
Just as children can inherit their hair or eye colour from their parents, they can also inherit genetic diseases. Some children only inherit one defective copy and one normal copy of a gene thus becoming a 'carrier'. This is one reason why some diseases disappear in one generation, only to reappear in the next. link to an informative website
It is said that Harry Bird had 'genetic' problems, including only one lung. Also one or two of his children 'suffered' which may have contributed to the death of one of his daughters whilst giving birth. The four main problems which we know of today are Colour Blindness , Rhesus Negative blood, Dyslexia and Cardiovascular Disease which have been passed down to the present generations. We also have Diabetes in the family and Psychological Problems. We have no idea if the Goldsmith or Mazasitisz or Childs families had problems which could have added to some of the conditions that some members of the family suffer from today.
Norman Bird had various 'genetic things' like Harry his father, weaknesses etc and was never able to work hard and hold down a job for very long. He often had 'pains in the head.' It was wondered by his brothers and sisters whether this was 'genetic' as other members of the family had the same trouble.
According to some of the Bird children Gertrude also had 'genetic' problems and symptoms, this is why she had no more children. No one knew anything about these sort of things in those days
We have not been able to confirm these stories.
I looked at the genetics part of your website briefly. One thing struck me - Mum and I are both rhesus negative, so that is a family trait that has survived. I've only just found out that my mother has a small kidney - as does my daughter. I wonder, is this another inherited trait from the Bird or May clans??"
Edwin Bird's granddaughter
I could be cross with him for NOT being my grandfather in any normal way. What do I have of him? Colour Blindness - thanks a bundle Pop Bird! :-)
Colour blindness is not correctable, since it is caused by an inherited defect of the light sensitive pigment in special cells called cone cells in the retina at the back of the eye.
Sometimes there is a reduction in the number of these cone cells as well. The commonest types of hereditary colour vision deficiency are green and red deficiencies.
The condition is much more common in males than females, although women can carry the defect and pass it on to their children without being affected themselves.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is also related to certain inherited genetic risk factors. For example, some genetic diseases cause children to be born with an abnormal or deficient immune system. In addition to developing serious infections due to reduced immune defenses, they have an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma .
When Ian Campbell had his National service medical they found he had Scoliosis ( lateral deviation of the backbone). His father's sister Nancy had it badly.
Dyslexia may appear to be a modern complaint but its biological basis suggests a long history. In addition to Einstein biographers have detected dyslexic traits in Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Mozart. The word is derived from the Greek words for poor use of letters or language, it is also known as 'word blindness' describing people with good intellect who use words in the wrong places and often distort them. Dyslexia often occurs with other disabilities, dyslexia cannot be cured but its effects alleviated. Present day personalities with the disorder include Jamie Oliver, Eddie Izzard, Richard Branson and Anita Roddick.
Looking back I strongly believe my mother was dyslexic and perhaps another of her sisters as well. She never read anything and found great difficulty in writing . She blamed the family for forcing her to use her right hand whilst growing up by tying her left hand behind her back. She said this made her confused and disorientated. Of course we now know it was common practice in those days Janice
It has recently been discovered that younger members of the family suffer from Celiac Disease ( intolerence to Gluten). It is unkown whether any of the older generation had the condition although many of them suffered with various stomach disorders and other symptoms.
Celiac disease is a common disorder. Its prevalence has been estimated at about 1 in 100 people worldwide Celiac disease tends to cluster in families, but the inheritance pattern is unknown.