I began with a map of the world.
There were people across the major continents about which I was curious, to which I had some connection. When flagging a specific place, I examined its geography and neighbouring cultures. If five generations are traced backwards from today, the earliest ancestors might have lived in 1850. Who were the people in that region of that era? What were the possibilities of cultural cross-pollination: were they trading? Warring? In what forms of locomotion would they engage? How could they traverse the journey between them? By foot, boat, camel, horse?
As the theoretical generations respectively approach modernity, these questions evolve. What would the barriers be between two such unlikely people conceiving a child? Would their meeting be clandestine, taboo, rejoiced, subversive, romantic, forced? Love knows no borders; nor does rape. So much to hide, to edit, to highlight in any given family. Each genetic pairing creates a dynastic offshoot of narrative potential, leading to elaborate warrens of fantasy and conjecture.
As subjective and fabricated as history.