Anything Left-Handed > Blog Posts > Research > Are there lots of left-handers in your family?

Are there lots of left-handers in your family?

We have been asked by our friend   Professor Chris McManus (University College London) to see if we can help find families with a lot of lefthanders for some new research that is being conducted.   This is what he said…

Left- and right-handedness are almost certainly determined by genes in some way or another, as left-handedness undoubtedly runs in families. The genes have however proved elusive to find using standard methods, probably because there are a number of different genes which can be involved.

Dr Clyde Francks, a colleague of mine now working in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, is carrying out a study which takes a rather different approach.   Clyde’s team is interested in families in which there are lots of left-handers, which then should allow the genes responsible to be identified as they pass between family members.

Families with lots of lefthanders?Work such as this does need very large extended families where there are a lot of left-handers. Clyde is really interested in families known to have at least TEN left-handers. These do not need to be immediate relatives such as parents and children, but can also include uncles, aunts, cousins, grandchildren and so on.

Clyde is also interested in families with somewhat smaller numbers of left-handers, as they can also be of importance once genes have been found. He doesn’t commit himself on what is meant by smaller, but if you can quickly think of four or five left-handers in the immediate family, then he is probably also interested.

The Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen has set up a secure website where people can register
(http://www.mpi.nl/handedness )
If you think yours might be one of these unusual and interesting families, then Clyde and his colleagues would be grateful if you could go to the website to register and fill out a questionnaire on your family's handedness.   Needless to say, if you have any questions about the project then Clyde is the person to go to (and his email address is on the website). However his team receives a high number of emails, so if you are interested to participate it is best to simply register and fill in the questionnaire.

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49 comments on “Are there lots of left-handers in your family?
  1. Susan Manderson (Baskin) says:

    Hi – family of five, the oldest born in 1943, the youngest born in 1964, wide spread in ages. Three of them are left handed. The oldest girl, plus the 3rd born, a boy, then the youngest, a boy. The oldest girl was forced to write with her right hand as was the practise at the time. I am the 2nd born, girl, and right handed. My brother, 2nd to youngest, is also right handed. Interesting thing is that we are both blonde, and the other three are dark.

  2. Julie Moore says:

    My husband, myself, my mother, my brother, husband’s dad, my daughter by first husband, my husband (Now) and our daughter and our granddaughter are all left-handed.

  3. shalla says:

    my 3 sons (ages 17, 13 and 7) and my father are left handedoff the top of my head i am not sure who else in my family might be left handedside note, each of my children have a different father with different ethnic backgrounds (native american, italian and french), my father is of german/polish decentall of my kids and my father are from the states, same for their fathers…except my youngest who’s father is from france

  4. Madalyn McLean says:

    My family tree is loaded with lefties. I have five brothers and sisters (three lefties and three righties). My cousins four girls (two on my mom’s and two on my dad’s side have three lefties and one righties. My dad’s sister is a leftie. I have not seen it carried down to the next generation in any of our children. That is strange as well as a little sad.

  5. carol mundie says:

    i am the only person in my immediate family who is left handed. i grew up in a totally right handed household

  6. Pat Shine says:

    Four out of Seven in my family are lefties. Mom, sister, brother and I.

    But in my current family, my wife and all three kids are righty. The only other lefty is my boxer dog Rocky.

  7. Joel says:

    Hi everyone – I come from a family of all left-handers. Mother, Father, Son and 2 Daughters. We’ve always been somewhat interested in this fact but are all rather confused as to how this has come about. I’m the son in the family and, with it being two left handed parents always presumed it was a ‘nurture’ thing,, needless to say perhaps I was wrong, which is fine as we certainly aren’t right! I’ll sign up

  8. Dianna says:

    One of my brothers is left handed, I also have 2 cousins, 1 aunt, 2 nephews and myself that are left handed. The aunt and cousins are on my mothers side of the family. I am sure there are more. When my mom found them, she got me a pair of left handed scissors. I still have them. Left handers have to make a lot of adjustments to use things made for the right handed majority. My husband loves to watch me use things such as hammers, etc. He said he was going to find me left handed hammer (just joking). I love being left handed…none of my grade school teachers tried to change me. My first grade teacher showed me how to turn my paper so my arm so I would not write upside down. But, there are some things I can do right handed, but not many.

  9. Eve P says:

    Only 4 people in my family (immediate and extended) left handed. My maternal grandma, one of my mom’s twin brother, and one of my cousin on my mom’s side,vand myself is left handed. I think it does run in the family.
    I’m born in the 80s so I never really had a problem with teachers or my parents trying to convert me to be right handed. I did not like the desks in school that were mainly right handed especially the ones at my university where most of desks are small like 2’x2′. If I was taking a test it would look like I’m trying to cheat. I wish universities and primary schools would invest more in left-handed desks, not just like 1 in each class, sometimes none.

  10. Alan says:

    Both my younger sister and I are left handed but none of our children are not. However my older sister is righthanded but her chilhdren are lefthanded.

  11. Marie says:

    Hi I am left handed, my dad was left handed and my son is left handed. My grandparents, my mum and brother were right handed.
    My son’s father is right handed as are his three brothers and mum and dad. My mum and dad’s siblings were all right handed too
    So just dad me and my son that are left handed.
    (just to note there was a lot of stigma attached to being left handed when I was young and more so for my parents and grandparents – nuns at the catholic school punished left handers and you were forced to use your right hand, so there may have been more left handers in the family)

    • Alan says:

      Know how that feels because I had a teacher who hit me with a ruler if I used a pen in left hand. She was also so backward in her thinking that according to her I was backward because I was unable to write with my right hand

  12. Nicola Pruce says:

    My Husband and I are right handed. All of our three children are left handed. My brother is left handed.
    My husband’s nephew, his sister’s son is also a leftie!

  13. Jay Friedman says:

    My 2 uncles (on my father’s side) were left-handed.
    My grandmother (on my father’s side) was left handed.
    I am left-handed.
    My 2 brothers are left-handed (My sister is right-handed, as well as my parents).
    Two of my 6 cousins are left-handed (One male and one female).
    I have 6 children, all right-handed.
    I have three grandchildren (The 2 boys are right-handed and the one girl is left-handed).

  14. Dee says:

    My parents were both right right handed and grandparents were also right handed. My oldest two sons are right handed but my youngest is a lefty like me. He is the only one to go to a four year college. My older sons went to a two year community college.

  15. Mark says:

    My parents are right handed. No one in their family’s background was left
    Handed. My 5 brothers and 5 sisters are all right handed. Only my first younger
    Brother’s daughter is left handed. Also I was born a Libra (the scales/balance).
    How fitting. I have a good sence of humor and am quick whitted. Also a
    bit of a perfectionist. Don’t know why I am the first in the family I know
    About that is a lefty.

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