Left-Handedness: Genes or Chance?

Comments145

Is anyone left-handed in your family? My older sister is. Growing up, she always had to remind my right-handed parents to buy her special left-handed scissors, can openers, and she was always switching seats at home or in class so not to bump elbows with others at the table.

When she was two years old, it became evident that she preferred using her left hand over her right. My European grandfather announced that her left hand should be tied behind her back so she could learn to use her right hand. But where did this antiquated notion that it’s bad or wrong to be left-handed originate?

Historical Perceptions

Throughout history, left-handed people were considered unlucky or wicked for being different from their right-handed peers. Many European languages, including English, use the word “right” and mean “correct”.

But many studies actually suggest the opposite — that it can even be advantageous to be left-handed. Since left-handed people live in a right hand dominated world, lefties are better at using their non-dominant hand versus most righties. This helps left-handed stroke victims recover faster from strokes and other related afflictions.

Studies show that when it comes to creativity and imagination, left-handed people tend to score higher. They are also reportedly good at complex reasoning, resulting in a high number of Nobel Prize winners, writers, artists, musicians, and mathematicians.

Is Handedness Genetic?

Genetics do play a part in handedness, but only some of the time. Plenty of research has been done to try and understand the complex inheritance pattern of handedness, and two single gene model theories have been proposed to date.

Handedness does not work like eye color, a classic dominant-recessive model where there is a dominant and a recessive gene. If that were the case, and we would say that if the right-hand gene was dominant over the left-hand gene, you’d be right-handed with either one or two copies of the right-hand gene or vice versa.

If that were the case, any time two lefties had a baby, the baby would turn out left-handed. In reality, this isn’t the case. It’s known that if both parents are left-handed, there’s only a 25% to 50% chance their child will be left-handed.

This raises additional questions — why is only about 10% of the population left-handed, twice as many males as females, and how do identical twins often have different handedness?

Current theories suggest that the environment plays a significant role here. Handedness is most likely due to a combination of both genes and environment while some people have a greater chance of being left-handed if their parents are. You are more likely to become left-handed based on the presence of one or more genes, but you may need an environmental trigger for it to happen.

If you do belong to the lucky 10% of the world’s population who are left-handed, know that you are in good company. Some famous lefties include Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Renoir, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Carol Burnett, Jimi Hendrix, Alexander the Great, Dick Van Dyke, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, four of the last five U.S. presidents, and Prince William.

How many lefties are there in your family?

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  • Roger Moffat


    January 13, 2019

    My wife and I are both left-handed. My Mum was predominantly left-handed, but at school in New Zealand in the 1930s she was made to write with her right hand. None of my 3 siblings are left handed. My wife’s mother and my wife’s brother were both left-handed.

    Roger

  • Everett E. Frazee


    January 14, 2019

    Yes I’m a South Paw and so is my one daughter

  • Robert Northway


    January 14, 2019

    2 in my family me and my niece.

  • Anneliese


    January 14, 2019

    My daughter is left-handed and so was her father. One of my brother’s dayghter is also left-handed.

  • Leftie grandma


    January 21, 2019

    My youngest sibling is a leftie. When my son was born he used both and it could have gone either way but my sibling encouraged him to be a leftie. I was working so I’m not sure if I had worked with him if he’d be rightie instead. To this day he uses left for writing but right for other things.

    My grandson is leftie, with him it’s always what he preferred unlike my son. My grandson does do things with his right hand like my son but never held a pencil or crayon that I recall like my son used to. His 1/2 sister looks like she may be a leftie too. I’ll have to ask her father if there are any lefties on his side.

    Neither of my parents are lefties but I suspect there is a gene possibly on both sides. I’ll have to ask my cousin on my mothers side if anyone in Hungary is leftie and will ask my fathers brother in Hungary the same. I’ve more so been focusing on our health problems when I contact relatives. I’ll have to add leftie to it too.

  • Nisa Stringfellow


    February 5, 2019

    There’s 2 (me and my half brother) of us in my family that are left handed. My grandad made 3.

  • Hilary


    February 14, 2019

    Interesting article about handedness, and I’d like to hear more about the influence of “environmental factors”. My father and I are right handed, but my mother and brother were lefties, as was her father. My husband is a rightie like me, while our son is a leftie. Our son’s first wife was a rightie and together they had two right handed children. His second wife is a leftie like him, and together they have a right handed child!

  • Lorna Lindsey


    February 14, 2019

    Like the previous person, I am also left-handed, and I am a New Zealander. I was born in late 1935. I could not start school till I turned six due to too many men teachers going off to war service. In those days
    I lived in Norsewood and started school there, where the teacher forced me to use my right hand.By the time I was seven I was ready to go up to a higher class, but they said :She can do everything, except write.” Luckily for me, we moved to Levin during the war years and I went straight back to my left hand, and never looked back. Of my four children, three are left handed, and one is right handed. I never ever tried to influence them either way.

  • Renée


    February 14, 2019

    My mother was a left handed and so are both of my sons.

  • Nicholas


    February 14, 2019

    I am left handed but none of my parents were and my siblings are all right handed which also included my two daughters and four grandsons.

  • Renée Paine


    February 14, 2019

    My mother was left handed and both of my sons are left handed.

  • William Smith


    February 14, 2019

    I play cricket & golf left handed but write with my right hand

  • Sharon


    February 14, 2019

    My brother and I are both left-handed. Neither of my parents are left-handed although my mother did many things with her left hand.

  • Ray Martin


    February 14, 2019

    I was a teacher for thirty years and it amazed me at the number of left handed boys I had in my classes, I also was amazed by the fact that the majority of them were also red headed.

  • Dave R


    February 14, 2019

    I’m left-handed, and my youngest sister is also. Neither of my sons are; however, oldest son’s wife is, as is their son. I believe one of my left-handed three daughters, and my mother’s brother was. He was born in the early 1900’s where they discouraged it, forcing him to write with his right hand in school. He did his homework with his left hand and as an adult was fully ambidextrous with identical signatures when he signed documents, etc.

    With such a miniscule number of the world’s population exhibiting left-handedness, a math professor in college once told me that in a random group of 365 people, a right handed person could likely find another right handed person who shared the same birthday. He declined to give any figures for a left-handed person finding another with the same birthday and left-handedness.

    I have two friends in the local area, and another across country who share my birthday and are left-handed…..funny thing – they are all female.

    How many left-handers have discovered others who share both birthday and their left-handedness ??

  • Laurie


    February 14, 2019

    My husband is ambidextrous, my mother was left handed and I think either my grandfather or his brother were left handed. Oddly enough there were 5 of us kids in our family and non were lefties. BUT I have a left handed daughter and there are a couple of other cousins that are lefties. Skipped a generation!

  • Laurie Murray


    February 14, 2019

    Three of the eight in my family are lefties , including me. I have one child and he, too, is left-handed. I grew up in the days of dip pens. I enjoyed writing and my imaginative three page efforts ( to my classmates’ one page) were often read out in the other classrooms of my rural New Zealand primary school.I excitedly brought along my shilling (sixpence for the holder, sixpence for the nib). It was the worst day of my life! Because my left hand followed the nib, my words were smudged. My page turned blue and so did my hand and sleeve. So did I. From then, I could only manage a quarter page to my classmates’ one page. Ball point pens have saved left-handers but these, too, are not perfect. They are designed to be dragged and not pushed so still leave annoying little smudges. I have taken to roller-tipped pens but these still smudge on embossed surfaces like birthday cards. Future lefties will never know how much the keyboard has saved them!

  • Dorothy Stokes-Cleary


    February 14, 2019

    Both my husband and I are left handed.

    Of our three (now grown up) children, two are left handed. Both of our mothers were natural left handers who were forced to write with their right hand. And both of us are the only left handers among our siblings.

    Our dog is left-pawed as well :o)

  • diane


    February 15, 2019

    lefty and redheaded..

  • Ben Baxley


    February 15, 2019

    When I was in the second grade we began to learn to write cursive. That was the first time anyone was aware that I was left handed. The teacher demonstrated how to hold the pencil and then told us to “cross your heart” with your arm to begin at the edge of the paper. I did just that and began to attempt to write from the right side of the page moving left. You can imagine what it would look like finishing one letter and then drawing a line over or under that letter to move to the left and next letter. When she finally came round to my desk she let out a shriek and gathered me up and moved me and another boy to a table in the back of the room. We didn’t know what was happening and to this day I remember the feeling of being different. By the way, I became a scenic designer and set painter. I found that I learned best through visuals; if I didn’t see one on a concept I would draw one up. I still do this. I’m sure you have heard that the world is basically unbalanced because lefties are the only ones in their “right” minds.

  • jackie stoddard


    February 15, 2019

    I have been told by Andre Spratt (Lecturer in Scotland) that left handedness is Viking ancestry, most of our family are left handed (and yes we do have viking ancestors)
    My mothers left hand was cruelly tied behind her back by her headmaster fatgher in the late 1930’s until she wrote right handed
    I even asked Andrew Spratt if he was joking , he says not!
    it would be very interesting if My Heritage were to do a project for left handers, and see what ancestral back grounds they do have
    my mother , my son , my grandson , and I am ambidexterous , using my left hand more as I age,also very creative, left brain
    also Depuytren’s deisease was in the hand os the men in out family
    different theories are history of Scottish whisky drinkers ! (don’t most Scots men drink whisky 🙂
    also the Viking s were who passed down Depuytrens, also a hand thing , where the ligaments tighten and the fingers curl over.

  • Francesca Thomas


    February 15, 2019

    Both of my parents were right handed and yet one of my sisters is a lefty. Her son is right handed. I am right handed and I married a lefty. But our son is right handed. It seems to the luck of the draw!!

  • Ken


    February 15, 2019

    My mother is a lefty and I didn’t find out about my dad until after he died (cancer). Both were born in the early 1940’s and forced to convert (public school). I always thought my dad was right-handed. My older brother is ambidextrous, eats with his right and writes with his left. I am right-handed.

  • Linda Norris


    February 15, 2019

    My husband and I had four children, two boys and two girls. My husband and the two girls are lefties. Our two boys and I are righties!

  • Sandy Jacobus Marx


    February 15, 2019

    My parents are both right handed, but three of their four children are left handed. I don’t think any of my siblings children are left handed.

  • Michelle Brown


    February 15, 2019

    I’m left handed. My parents and half-brothers are right handed, but my parents each have a left handed brother. Thank God it’s not an issue.

  • Bee Farfield


    February 15, 2019

    In our family of 8 siblings 3 boys and myself lefthanded and 4 other girls right handed. Both parents and grandparents are all right handed.

  • Maureen Ahmad


    February 15, 2019

    I am left handed and so are my two sisters.All 3 of my children are right handed.Among our eight grandchildren there is only one left handed child.

  • VALERIE AQUILINA


    February 15, 2019

    My brother & myself are both lefthanded,also our mother’s sisters son was lefthanded.Parents & everybody else we know in the family are righthanded.
    We often wonder why, not that it makes any difference as to which hand one uses the most.
    It use to be remarked upon by others years ago,now nobody mentions it, except myself to another lefty & tell them that Prince Wiliam is a lefty & I feel good in saying that.

  • MB


    February 15, 2019

    My uncle, aunt , myself, and my younger sister are all left handed. Both my parents are right handed. The aunt and uncle that are left handed are on my mothers side. There is also a picture from about 1901 showing my mothers ggrandfather holding his pipe in his left hand so we think he may have also been left handed.

  • Carole


    February 15, 2019

    My 3 children all write left handed,I have been married twice with both husbands being right handed as I am,how do you explain this, my Mum was left handed.

  • Ananda Smith


    February 15, 2019

    I have 2 (out of 3) left handed children. My husbands grandmother was left handed. So it skipped 2 generations before it appeared again. His mother, father and himself was right handed. No lefties in my family. It’s very interesting

  • Ian McEwan


    February 15, 2019

    I was born left dominant but “converted” at school! To this day I will often reach out instinctively with my left, particularly if a wine glass is involved.
    My spouse and two sons are right handed but my daughter,the youngest, is a lefty and that was apparent almost from day1

  • Samdra Garlick


    February 15, 2019

    l ama left handed person is that genetic Sandra

  • Martin Filla


    February 15, 2019

    I have a funny family history: My Grandmother was left-handed so was my mother, my sister is, and my daughter.
    I don’t have any documentation about Great-grandparents
    My wife is left handed too but she’s not the mother of my daughter.

  • Christie


    February 15, 2019

    I was taught to be right handed…I have been mixed up ever since! I have five children..4 of them are lefties!

  • Carol E Merrick


    February 15, 2019

    I’m the only left handed in my family out of 9 kids but my son is left handed , he’s the only one out of my 5 children.

  • David A Stumpf, MD


    February 15, 2019

    Familial left handlers can have co-dominant cerebral function. They may be ambidextrous or chose the left or right for writing, kicking, etc. They have less severe deficits after a stroke and recover better. Neurologists learn to ask about forced switching and whether a right handler has a family history of left handedness, the latter perhaps with co-dominance who happen to chose the right. There are anatomical asymmetries in brain anatomy, such as the planum temporali which is involved in speech. But in familial left handlers there is less of a difference between the two sides.

    Now I’ll venture into something where I’m not an expert. Symmetry, or rather asymmetry, is a biological conundrum. Shells of crabs spiral in a specific direction for a given species. As I recall, it’s different in the northern and Southern Hemisphere, just like the spiral of water going down the drain. The polar body that is involved in cell division has a role in asymmetry.

    Symmetry is a fun subject! Can genealogists discover handedness of ancestors. Maybe. Lefties tend to write the eights starting in the upper left and righties in the upper right. If you see the former in their writing, they are likely a lefty.

  • Joyce Peters


    February 15, 2019

    My husband and myself are left-handed and 3 of our 4 children are lefties. Only the oldest is right handed. I have a cousin who also a lefty on my side of the family.

  • Julia K


    February 15, 2019

    I’m a proud lefty, as is my younger sister. We’re the only southpaws in both sides of my family, that I’m aware of.

  • Cynthia Anderson


    February 15, 2019

    I’m right handed. I have five children and my oldest daughter is left handed and so is one my Triplet boys. My daughter was from a previous marriage with no lefties in that Family so i assume It’s coming from my side.

  • Sue


    February 15, 2019

    Yes my mum was left handed but no one else in our family is

  • Christine Jones


    February 15, 2019

    I am left-handed as well as my older brother, but neither of our parents were. My son is left-handed. There are a number of other leftys throughout the family.
    By genetic traits do you mean like I think I inherited ingrown toenails from my father and varicose veins like my mother had.

  • Grant Cary


    February 15, 2019

    I am also a leftie but have used my right hand for mostly sport activities – things that I picked up later in my youth. I feel proud to be among the 10% as I am creative and enjoy working with my hands in art, digital photography and woodworking. None of my relatives are lefties but as a minority I remind people that only we are the only ones in our right minds. One study I heard was that there are fewer octogenarians among lefties based on percentages of population. As I approach that age, I’m reminded of a comment made by the famous creative leftie George Martin, the Beatles producer, who said that the best part of growing old is that everyone is doing it- if you’re lucky!

    Grant

  • Rose Mary Hughes


    February 15, 2019

    Regarding left handedness . . . I am one of the special 10% 🙂 When I was in early primary school, a note was sent home to my parents asking if they wanted me to be “broken.” Just that day, my mother, an immigrant who believed that anything done in an area where an American flag was displayed, whatever was done in that space was highly acceptable. Mom had been in a courtroom for something or other. The court stenographer sat very near a flag and there s/he took the minutes writing with his/her left hand. Mom replied to the note from the school by telling them if someone can write in the presence of the American flag using his/her left hand, then her daughter could use her left hand in a classroom. I was born long before left-handed scissors or other specially-designed accessories. I played field hockey in school . . . having to learn how to use a stick that was only available for right-handed use.

    To this day, I really get perturbed with a punch ladle (designed for right-handed punch imbibers).

    Please stick with me for a few short sentences about left-handed people. The story is that EVERYONE is born left handed. When a person commits his/her first sin, he/she loses left-handed skills and becomes right-handed. 🙂

    87-year-old Left-handed Retired High School Business Teacher

    I had a left-handed cousin and have a left-handed grandson . . . that’s it!

  • Lucie Mower


    February 15, 2019

    I am left handed. My mother was, but at school she had her left hand tied behind her and was made to use her right hand.

  • Maureen Adams


    February 15, 2019

    I’m left handed…my half-brother was left handed, and one of my half sisters is left handed. I was told by my psychology teacher (who happened to be left handed) that left handed people were the only ones in their right mind…LOL.

  • e. michael Belt


    February 15, 2019

    I am a lefty and darn proud of it. Of course I was teased, made fun of. But somehow we survive. I play most sports left but shoot a rifle, bow and arrow right. I shoot a pistol left, but sight with my right eye. My son only bowls left. It’s a great world and room for all. It’s interesting to compare and we find that no two lefties do exactly the same things left or right.

  • Adelina Austin


    February 15, 2019

    My grandfather was left handed
    My eldest son is left handed
    His two daughters are left handed
    My daughters eldest boy is also left handed
    I’m convinced that’s it’s hereditary

  • vivian HOROWITZ


    February 15, 2019

    my husband was a leftie as was his maternal grandmother and several first cousins. Of my two children, my daughter is a strong leftie like her father was. My son is a righties but sometimes uses his left hand.I am right handed.

  • Barbara Sofronas


    February 15, 2019

    I am the only one in my family as far back as I can trace who is left handed. I do a lot of chores like ironing or opening cans with my right hand. My husband was also left handed but our two children and their kids are all righties.

  • Kathy Beale


    February 15, 2019

    5 brothers = 1 leftie (dominant)
    4 sisters = 2 lefties (1 leftie dominant) I am the youngest of 9 (female)and am not left dominant. I have 1 daughter and 2 sons and the youngest son is a leftie, but more ambidextrous. We lefties have to adapt in this right handed world – it’s part of the creativeness using both sides of the brain.

  • Peter Smith


    February 15, 2019

    My mother was left handed, but born in London in 1913 she was forced at school to write with her left hand and treated as if left-handedness revealed some moral decrepitude. The result was that she became ambidextrous which was generally an advantage in life.. Strangely I am generally right-handed and yet in sport I high-jumped and boxed like a left-handed person.

  • Peggy Sutton


    February 15, 2019

    Me and my brother, 2 of my 3 children, and so far 2 out of 5 grandchildren are lefthanded.

  • Estelle


    February 15, 2019

    My Dad was as ambidextrous and I am the only child out of four that is left handed but I have a daughter and a son that is left handed. I write left handed but can use either hand for everything switching when one gets tired, but writing with my right hand is a lot slower!

  • Rose Craighead


    February 16, 2019

    I am left handed with my birthday on the 16th of January. I am the oldest of three daughters. My father, who had three sisters, was left handed with his birthday on the 16th of May. My father’s father was left handed with his birthday on the 16th of November. Additionally, each of my father’s three sisters had three daughters and the youngest sister also had one son.

  • Holly Richardson


    February 16, 2019

    My grandmother was left handed but when she went to school they made her write using her right hand, her first born son is left handed and had at least one child who was left handed and both my sister and I are both left handed.

  • Amy NEWMAN


    February 16, 2019

    My father and his sister are both left handed.
    I am right handed but can use both.
    My son and his son also seem to use both.

  • Diane Fairley


    February 16, 2019

    I’m left handed so is my older sister and younger brother, my other 4 siblings are right handed as was both our parents
    .I have 2 children and 2 grandchildren all are right handed.

  • Jackie Harding


    February 16, 2019

    My father was lefthanded but at a military school in India in the 40s he had his hand tied behind his back to make him use his right hand! My brother is lefthanded too but I’ve noticed that people with lefthandedness their writing is very untidy & childlike (my brother & my 1st boss) or its very neat like my friend

  • Paul


    February 16, 2019

    My wife, our son and one grandson to my daughter are left handed. I am right handed and so is our daughter and one grandson. So quite a mixture

  • Elva Currie


    February 16, 2019

    All my mothers family were right-handed, I don’t know about my fathers’ family, when I was about 16 months old I had an accident, my right eye was damaged and what else was done I don’t know, they did not have the equipment they have now. It was only when I went to school that it was found out that I am left handed, but years later a test said I am right handed, because I did everything right handed, except write and I got the cane a lot in school, as they believed they had to punch it out of me.
    I ended up writing in both hands, backward in my left hand and forward in my right. Now after many years (I am 75) I write properly but in my left hand. My son is total leftie and my daughter is totally right, but my son and I are the artist and sketcher, where my daughter likes to dabble in oils.

  • Mary Samuel


    February 16, 2019

    Only one in the family as far as I know: my grandson

  • Lloyd


    February 16, 2019

    Yes 3 of my brothers and myself are left handed.

  • Bev


    February 16, 2019

    My dad was left handed but was made to use his right hand when he got to school. I am the oldest of 7 children and the 1st, 3rd & 5th child are all left handed. I was taught to play tennis right handed but had a week serve and hit forehand with both hands. Only ever dropped the racket once. Write and throw a ball left handed, use a mouse and scissors right handed, played golf left-handed (because I was using my f-i-l clubs and that’s what they were), kicked the footy with both feet. You could say I use both hands to my advantage.

  • Jean Williams


    February 16, 2019

    As far as I am aware I am the only left handed person in my family.

  • Sue Johnston


    February 16, 2019

    My mom was a lefty. I am a lefty, my son started out as a lefty and then a righty and is now ambidextrous. My daughter has certain preferences when using her right or left hand. My sister, brother and myself are lefties (out of a family of 7 children).

  • Tamra Lee


    February 16, 2019

    I’m a leftie, and my first cousin was also a leftie. My youngest of 3 children started out being left-handed, but her 2 older (right-handed) siblings pushed and prodded her till she began to use her right hand like them. I think there were other lefties in the family, but do not have that information to be sure. My left-handedness (ambi-dextrous in some things) may have had a “trigger” when I hurt my right hand as a baby. I learned to write with my right hand in 3rd grade, because several friends in class broken their arms and found it difficult to do their schoolwork with left hands. So I began to practice with my left hand, “just in case.” It was legible, but that was about it!

  • Sharon Strickland


    February 16, 2019

    I am left handed and so is my only son. Two of my three brothers are left handed. Several of my nieces and nephews are left handed.

  • Philip J. Mastromonico


    February 16, 2019

    On my father’s side, there has been at least one lefty in each of the last 4 generations. So far, I am the most recent lefty at age 58.

  • Karen Manning


    February 16, 2019

    I’m a leftie, my youngest daughter is, and my aunt was on my mother’s side.

  • Linda Carlson


    February 16, 2019

    I am also left handed and my second son was too.

  • Lorelei


    February 16, 2019

    My mother is left handed and my son and one of my grandsons is left handed. I recently broke my right hand but am not having much trouble as I am able to use my left hand to write and print. It may not be as neat but it is legible. I have always been able to switch off when my right hand gets tired in painting, raking using the adding machine etc.

    Lorelei

  • CAROL S JONES


    February 16, 2019

    Both my mother and father were left handed. My mother was forced to become a rightie in in the Australian school system. They had 8 children, of them, I have a sister and a brother who are left handed. I also have a grandson who is a leftie and a niece from a sister who is left handed.

  • Revis


    February 17, 2019

    My grandfather, born in the 1890’s, was left-handed. In school the teachers spanked him for using his left hand. He switched to using his right hand and his penmanship was never the same. I was shocked when recently two people, one in their fifties, one in their forties, told me they were spanked with a ruler in school for using their left hand. How archaic and ignorant! I never had a teacher even comment about my being left-handed.

  • mike


    February 17, 2019

    My younger brother and I our both left-handed (he is much more left-handed than I am). Our mother is left-handed, though I believe her parents were right-handed, which our father was right-handed (he referred to us as ‘cack-handed’).

    My brother and I were also both born premature (at least four weeks) bu Caeseraian Section. I also have a nephew (no blood relation) who’s birth as induced, and is also left-handed. He has no other direct left-handed blood relatives that we know of. Can left-handedness also be the result of a traumatic birth — another theory floating around?

  • Mary Zar


    February 17, 2019

    My mother was born in 1907 and began life predominately left handed. At that time it was considered shameful/mental illness to be left handed. She was taught to use her right hand for all normal daily tasks. As an adult, she used her right hand only for things she was specifically taught. For everything else, she used her left hand. None of her children were left handed but I have two of four children who are lefties. My son used whichever hand worked best. He writes left handed but batted right handed and caught left handed! He bowls right handed and CANNOT bowl left handed. My daughter is purely a leftie! Their father and his parents were right handed but his only brother was left handed. Such a strange phenomenon!

  • Michele Joanna Macaskill


    February 17, 2019

    Five out of nine children in two generations of our family were left handed! Including me……

  • David Proud


    February 17, 2019

    I was rapped on the knuckles when in kindergarten for writing on my ‘slate’ aged 5, didn’t stop me being a leftie, but I did decide that the best way to get through school was to not be noticed…

  • Janet Sue love


    February 17, 2019

    Though neither of my parents are left handed, I was born left handed. My siblings are not. In kindergarten I was forced to become right handed, yet through out my life people will seem surprised and ask if I am left handed. I will ask why which they reply I just did that last chore left handedly. Then I tell them the story. I have no idea what I do left or right handedly.
    Now 2 and of my 4 kids are south paws and 1 of my 6 grand kids. Funny thing about that grand kid is his whole make up seems to walk that fine line of percentages: red hair, blue eyed, and left handed.

  • Tom Lewis


    February 17, 2019

    I am left-handed and was. interested in learning more about this when I was younger. There have been studies done in the UK that indicated that left-handedness is due to extreme stress surrounding the birth of the individual. Like mother under stress or stressful birth. I am a breech birth. I did the usual study myself, by talking to friends that are left-handed and found that they indicated very stressful situations regarding their respective births. Don’t tell me all births are stressful, these were situations the families were talking about later in life.
    No one else in my family is left-handed.

  • Alta Ray


    February 17, 2019

    My mother is the only right handed one of four siblings. She was right handed like her father. They both had dark complextions and dark brown eyes. Her mother and 3 siblings were left handed, lighter complexted with green eyes. Personality followed the same lines. My 2 sibling and myself are all right handed, as is my father.

  • keith


    February 17, 2019

    I’m left handed and my wife is right handed. We have 2 sons : both are left handed.

  • Leo


    February 17, 2019

    I’m a leftie. Late brother was a rightie. One child of six is a leftie but a rightie in sports. Larr aunt

  • Renee Johnson


    February 17, 2019

    I come from a family of 14 children. I am the 11th born. All of my brothers and sisters are right-handed. My parents are right-handed. I am left-handed. How/why did this happen?

  • Robert L. Lites


    February 18, 2019

    In my family there were seven children, the last being twin boys born March 5, 1947. One of them wanted to be left handed but my father being from the old school thought it to be some kind if evil thing and with that he set out to teach him to be right handed. It think was difficult for a while but he converted to my father’s way. I didn’t approve but with me at age ten was aloud no say in this matter.

  • Richard John Wechsler


    February 18, 2019

    Not sure about paternal great grandparents but my paternal grandfather was left handed. My father was right handed. I am left handed. My son is right handed. I have one grandson who is left handed and one who is right handed. My sister was right handed. She had 1 daughter who is left handed and a son who was right handed. Not sure about my nieces kids. My maternal grandparents were right handed as was my mother and her siblings. So it appears the left hand gene came from my fathers side.

  • Lyn Borrow


    February 18, 2019

    I am predominantly a left hander – eg writing and painting, crocheting, sewing, playing cards, cutting things like bread and holding a spoon or playing a stringed instrument. However playing games such as tennis or hockey, bowls, cutting with scissors or knitting I use my right hand. I also have the capacity to read and write back to front (mirror image) and in fact my writing is significantly neater than normal as a result. As a child, I was not forced in any way as my Dad was left handed and his generation was forced to change. Throughout his life he had real problems with this and his left hand was always freezing cold regardless of the temperature outside – perhaps a circulatory problem as result? There is no evidence of left handedness on my husband’s side and neither of my children are left handed. However, my daughter was diagnosed dyslexic at nine and we were told she had all the characteristics of being left-handed even though she wrote with her right hand. She was certainly not forced to do so. At that time we looked for a school for her who specialised in dyslexia, but were told that the only ones around were for boys because there were far more dyslexic boys than girls. This would tally with one of the other reader’s comments. My daughter is now 45 and she is an art and 3-D design lecturer and is often ambidextrous when applying different techniques in her work.

  • Marcia


    February 18, 2019

    There were 6 kids in our family. In order of birth: myself, brown hair & right handed; my sister, blond hair & left handed; my brother, brown hair & right handed; my sister, blond hair & left handed; my brother brown hair and right handed; my brother, blond hair and left handed. Our parents were both right handed.

  • Robert Lee Fugate


    February 18, 2019

    Good info. I use my left hand to write and my right for most every thing else. This is because ever thing was made for the right handed 90% world.

  • Kim


    February 18, 2019

    My mother is left handed, and my 1/2 sister (her daughter) is left handed, she married a lefty and they had a boy and a girl, both lefties. My mother would sit across from me to teach me skills requiring the hands such as crochet. I just mirrored her then instead of being side by side.

  • sana akhtar


    February 18, 2019

    me is left handed, but found nothing special about it. me is not creative neither i am imaginative…

  • P Anne


    February 18, 2019

    I am adopted. My brother and I share the same father and our mothers were sisters. They were all righties I believe. However he and I are very left handed although he can tend to ambi at times.

    What I notice and wonder if others have this problem…tools are made for right handed folks so they tend to be unnatural for we lefties e.g. turn a screw the wrong way, tools incorrect, pouring instruments with only one sided pourer. This I have been told can be dangerous as we are slower at the task at hand. If it is a safety tool like screwing a safety jacket for boating may challenge being able to look after oneself quickly enough. Anyone have this problem?

  • Tom


    February 18, 2019

    I think MyHeritage and the comments re a genetic basis for left-handedness are going down the wrong path. No apparent correlation. Studies of identical twins have produced the theory that all(not some but all) left handed folks started out(conceived) as the left handed twin of mirror twins. So then, why don’t all left handed people have a mirror twin? Because such a large percentage of twins disappear before birth and are born as singletons. About 95%. Called the disappearing twin syndrome.
    Interesting to think about, especially if you are left handed.

  • Robert Grant


    February 19, 2019

    I am Left Handed but play golf right handed. The only other person in my family was my Grandfather on my mother’s side. I was born in the late 30’s and was made to try to write with my right hand. It caused me to stutter and stammer for many years. I have recovered from this the biggest part of the time. Today they teach the children to turn the page the opposite way and keep their hand below what they are writing. They even have school desk made for left handed people. I changed my way of writing when I was in my late 40’s. It has been a struggle but I found it is possible. I do print most of the time. The best thing about being left handed is how much you can do with your right hand. I can write with my right hand but it is slow. When I see right handed people trying to use their left hand I feel truly blessed.

  • jim


    February 19, 2019

    Yeah, makes you wonder! I’m the youngest of a family of 10 kids,
    yet including both parents I’m the only “leftie”.

  • Jennifer Aveling


    February 19, 2019

    I’m left-handed, the youngest child, with six right-handed older siblings. My paternal Granddad was also left-handed. So I suppose that’s where I get it from.

  • Trevor


    February 19, 2019

    I am a lefty but would need to know moor about “environment” to be convinced this is a factor. When I first had to copy off the blackboard in school my teachers would have to hold the book up to a mirror to read it. I however could read it straight off the page. It took me forever to learn to write, the right way as both the blackboard and my text book writing looked the same. I would like to know a little more about why the two are connected?

  • Daniel L Jones


    February 19, 2019

    My Mother, both my Grandmothers, my son, one grandson, one uncle I know of and several cousins. I am the only one of 8 siblings however.

  • That girl


    February 19, 2019

    In my family, my biological parents were both right handed, and both me and my brother are lefties, I have two half siblings who are twins, their dad was a righty, and one is a lefty and one is right handed. It’s super weird. Our grandparents are all right handed as well.

  • Joanie Bond


    February 19, 2019

    My Mother was left handed and so were her 8 Sister’s and 1 Brother and Parents, also my Brother and his 2 Sons. These are just all I know about.

  • Ron Orion


    February 19, 2019

    I am a left handed identical twin. My twin and my older brother are also left handed but our other two younger brothers are both righties. Incidentally, If I am not mistaken the word left comes from an old English word lyft which meant weak or foolish while Romans used Sinestra which, naturally meant evil or unlucky. The word right carried the dual meaning of the “correct” hand. Since the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, only lefties are in their right mind. So there!

  • .caphilly


    February 20, 2019

    My mother was a leftie, so am I but I was adopted. Only oldest son is leftie. Other three children are righties.

  • Jacques


    February 20, 2019

    I am also left handed when writing and eating but when practicing my sports i am right handed.
    What does this mean

  • Mervyn Moore


    February 20, 2019

    I was born in 1940 in Sydney,I am left handed, and as far as I know the only one in the family. I use a knife to butter bread left, but cut the bread right,eat with fork in left and knife in right,spoon in the left use spanners, and screwdrivers with my left, but use a hand saw in my right, bowl left, bat right, kick footballs left or right. In competitive swinmming during the 50’s and early 60’s I could breathe either left or right side. Sleeping at night I start out on my back, but wake on my right side as the left is very uncomfortable.

  • Mark


    February 20, 2019

    I’m a leftie too and so is my wife our two daughters are both right handed as were both sets of parents and also both sets of siblings. We much have some gene handed down to us from our ancestors. It’s true that we are lucky to be able to do things right hands can’t but a curse when writing with ink pen or ball point pen and how good is it to be in the same league as all those famous people but at different levels.

  • Maggie


    February 20, 2019

    My sister, her husband and 3 children are all left handed.

  • Cindy


    February 20, 2019

    My daughter is ambidextrous. Her parents are right hand, but On her father’s side of family there is 12 leftys.

  • Rolane Boersma


    February 20, 2019

    My daughters are mirror image identical twins. One of them is right handed and the other is left handed. When they were about 4 years old and beginning to print letters, I found that they formed the letters correctly only when each one used her dominant hand. When they tried to use the opposite hand they formed the letters backwards. It was an amazing thing to observe, and I often wondered if anyone had studied handedness and what was going on in the brain. While the girls were willing to use either hand, I began to place the pencil in C’s left and and R’s right hand so that they would print correctly.

  • Sharlimar Gamlen


    February 21, 2019

    Since we did “private school at home” then I was able to allow the children to “choose” which one they preferred, and stick with that hand for “writing during school”. Two of the three favor the “left”, but all are able to, and do use either hand for any function (I am also “appendecstrious”, but cannot spell that word correctly). My Aunt used to get her knuckles swatted with a ruler when she would try to use her left hand for writing back in the “one room school” but that stopped when my grandparents “took on” the school district(-back in the 1940’s).

  • Beth hill


    February 21, 2019

    My older sister, Suzanne and I are the only lefties in our family. I was hoping one of my sons would be, but no such luck.

  • Finn


    February 22, 2019

    Both my wife and I are left handed. While she does not know were in her family it came from I do know that my father would have been left handed but he grew up in a time when he was forced to become right handed in school.

    I have always been amused when one of my right handed co-workers tried to use my computer at work. I had the mouse pad on the left and they would invariably pick the mouse up with their right hand. I would always think just use your left hand!

  • Paralee


    February 22, 2019

    My father the youngest of 10 children is left handed. I’m his first child I am left handed my two brother are right handed. Believe you me my mom always commented on me be left handed if she could of changed me she would. I married a lefty his brother is a lefty parents both right. We have 4 children all right handed 10 grandchildren 8 for sure are are right handed. We will see on the last 2. We do have a lefty son in law.

  • Angela Davis


    February 22, 2019

    I believe I inherited my left-handedness from my uncle & Grandfather who was forced to use his right hand at school, as a result he became ambidextrous. None of my 4 children are lefties but one of my sons is cross-dominant which means he is left-eyed. He has just had our first Granddaughter – perhaps she will be a leftie?

  • Deborah


    February 23, 2019

    My Son and his father are left handed, I am right handed, and my other two children are right handed. I have heard over the years that two left handed parents cannot make a left handed off spring (child). I know a couple that are both left handed and they produced two children that are right handed. I don’t know any right handed couples that have produced any left handed children.

  • Eileen Parker


    February 23, 2019

    I have been working on a family tree. I am back to 1566 in my Scottish family and 1810 on the Irish side. What I see is tenacity in the face of unbelievably difficult circumstances. My 4th great grandmother lost her husband who died at age 48. It appears that another Irish family took her and her seven children in and this family had six children of their own. This meant there were 17 people living together in what was probably a tenement. Yet she survived living to 90 years and enduring the loss of several of her children.

  • Lorna Lindsey


    February 23, 2019

    Like Roger Moffat’s parent, I was forced to use my right hand when I started school, but luckily changed school when I was seven and went straight back to my left hand and have never looked back.
    Of my own four children, three are left-handed and one is right-handed. I never ever tried to influence them one way or the other.

  • Faye E Weber


    February 23, 2019

    There are several left handed relatives in my family

  • Roxy


    February 24, 2019

    I’m the only left handed person I know personally.

  • Lorna J.


    February 26, 2019

    I started school in the early 1960’s. It was a one room school and ideas were still old fashioned in many ways. I had a teacher who was progressive and allowed me to use my left hand. Our music teacher traveled around the country side from school to school. She noticed me using my left hand and had the teacher keep me in at recess. She then proceeded to force me to use my right hand to try to write. I was a very nervous child and cried the whole time. I was so distraught I wet my panties. No child should be pushed and bullied to this point just for being different. I remember dear Mrs. Murphy my teacher putting a stop to this behavior from the music teacher. I was allowed to be who I am without further harassment. In my family there are several left handed people. I taught myself to write with both hands and would be considered ambidextrous. I can see how this world is set up for right handed people. I am of Celtic decent. Maybe the viking thing has some merit. PROUD TO BE DIFFERENT!

    PS More than once I have been complimented on how nice my hand writing is.

  • Terri powell


    March 5, 2019

    I am very interested in this subject and your site is very good fairly easy to use thanks a happy user.

  • Shirley Hastings


    March 20, 2019

    Both of my parents were right handed. Myself, brother & sister are all left handed!

  • Fallon


    March 24, 2019

    A sprinkle of lefties, some righties, and many ambidextrous in my family. We have difficulty giving directions. Hubby will ask “Am I really supposed to turn left here or the other left?” lol. I had an aunt who would hold two pens and start her first name from the beginning with her left hand and her last name from the end with her right and meet in the middle. I do wish the article had gone into the environmental factors that influence handedness.

  • Stephen (Steve) E Orlowski


    March 26, 2019

    As it was explained to me in a world without paper products and soap one took care of their personal hygiene with the left hand and social contacts were conducted with the right hand.One night I made the mistake of eating with with my left hand as it is my dominant one. Our host who was of Arab decent while having a traditional dinner, out in the desert, eating with our hands (like was the custom in his home country ) he was embarrassed to explain to an American the error of my ways. Not knowing English well enough and not wanting to sounding vulgar he explained and hinted why i was doing something terribly wrong.
    It was from that moment on that i understood that why we forgot why we forced people to learn to write
    with their right hand and shake with the right hand. No one was being mean they were promoting good hygiene. Like so many social conventions we have forgotten the why.

  • Armonie


    April 27, 2019

    I’m the only left handed person in my family. I am the middle child

  • Gail Meyer


    May 27, 2019

    Hubby and I (and our parents) are all Right handed…
    Both our daughters are Left handed….

  • Arnie Muller


    June 5, 2019

    My parents were both left handed but wrote with their right hands. This was evidently “forced” on them when they were at school (circa 1908-1920).
    Was this common at that time?
    Everything else was predominantly done with the left hand.

  • Tanya Wightman


    June 25, 2019

    I don’t know the statistic’s of how common it is in families, but my mother was left handed, I am her daughter I am left handed, my daughter is also left handed, her daughter and her son are both left handed. I must admit I don’t know many people outside the family that are left handed.

  • Mick Ryan


    June 27, 2019

    Out of eleven children five of us are left handed. None of my parents were.
    I am a lefty and play golf and cricket right handed. My brother is right handed and play both games left handed

    Mick

  • Janice Lamb


    June 27, 2019

    My maternal grandmother was left handed, but made to write with her right hand, which led to her terrible hand writing! I’m also left handed and two of my three sons are left handed as well.

  • Jeff


    June 30, 2019

    Well, Esther, I’ll have to add to your lefty list — among the greatest lefties of them all — Paul McCartney!

  • Brandey porterfield


    July 1, 2019

    In my family my kids dad is left handed and both my son and daughter are left handed. I am the righty.

  • Anneliese Horst


    July 22, 2019

    My daughter and my niece (my brother’s daughter) are left handed

  • Sue Nightingale Amos


    July 23, 2019

    I live in Cambridgeshire, England and am the only person in my family that is a leftie. My mother tried to change my hand but eventually gave up – this was back in the late 1940s. I can only use scissors in my right hand though as I never had a left hand pair. I also hold a guitar and a cricket bat right handed but left handed for a tennis racket. I sew with my left hand and would strike with my left hand so my left hand is dominant. However, I think the leftie thing extends to the whole of the left side of the body not just the hands as if I were to kick something, I would use my left leg.

  • Carla


    July 28, 2019

    My parents are both right-handed and my brother and I are both left-handed. What the heck?

  • Kathleen McMorran


    July 30, 2019

    My son is left handed, but no one in my family is. Only after his birth did I discover that my husband was born left handed but forced to use his right hand at a convent nursery school in South Africa. In teacher training in Belfast in the 50s, we were taught to allow children to use their left hands & accommodate them by sitting them where they were free to write without bumping into neighbours, I.e. swopping places.Forcing children to use their right hands often resulted in stammering.

  • Anne


    July 30, 2019

    Not only am I a lefty, I also have red hair and blue eyes so am truly in the minority.
    Although I write left-handed, society has meant I am more ambidexterous as the world is geared towards the right handed. I play sports righthanded, can use tools , eg a hammer or knife in either hand, but wherever possible I naturally choose my left over right.
    My biggest banes are scissors (I prefer right can’t use left ones) and tools eg chainsaws, motor mowers which are geared to the right – starter cords and controls around the wrong way.
    My father was left handed – although he went to school in New Zealand in the 1930’s he was never coerced into writing with his right hand. He was actually what I classify as a true left-hander as he did the vast majority of things lefthanded, even to playing pool, although if he had a difficult shot he would switch to his right hand.
    My mother is right handed, although I think that she may have been forced to switch. I can remember her telling me that one of her brothers was and that he had been forced to change at school.
    My brother is right handed, so we are a truly mixed up family.
    Setting the table for dinner could be an interesting experience, everybody changed the cutlery over to suit themselves. I have been known to upset waiters when I rearrange the spoons (to my left side) while I have the knife on the right – I had one who changed them back as he thought the table was set wrong.

  • Rojo


    July 31, 2019

    I am a dark haired lefthanded female ,one of a pair of fraternal twins whose brrother was L

  • Glori June Dempsey


    July 31, 2019

    My Brother was left handed. His middle child my nephew is also left handed. My husband was left handed. My Mother was right handed but at school was taught to use both the right and left hand. I also have a few cousins who are left handed – so quite a few in our family.

  • Rozena Osterbind


    July 31, 2019

    Both of my children are left-handed and neither my husband or I are left-handed. My husband claims he was left-handed & they changed him in school. I asked his Mom & she said she doesn’t know anything about that. What are my chances of having 2 left-handed children, which I did.

  • Karen Ali


    July 31, 2019

    When I started school in the mid 1950’s, my dad thought that if I remained left handed, it was equal to being retarded, and I was forced to learn to write “rightie”! Never got above a D in handwriting class! Very destructive to one’s self image. I survived all of that, but I know that things that I learned to do before I started school I still do “leftie”. Three years ago, I suffered a slight stroke and my right side was paralyzed for about a week. I had to learn how to write all over again. I did relearn to write as a ‘rightie’. I have managed to earn 2 associate’s degrees, a BA, and an MS! Both my parents and my siblings were “righties”.

  • Helen Lyons


    August 1, 2019

    My sister is a leftie, as is my sister in law. My son is left handed and also a whiz at Maths, also he has the red gene – my daughters used to hate him growing facial hair which he only does during school holidays (Maths teacher) – his hair is a dark dirty blonde, moustache, almost white blonde and beard is red! My Mother in law was strawberry blonde as, apparently one of my fathers brothers (my uncle) & my husband has the occasional red hair among the dirty blonde too.

  • Helen Squires


    August 2, 2019

    I am left handed (only one in a family of 8) my maternal aunt was left handed, my niece is left handed. So that is three generations of extended family with left handedness – all women. I also noticed when I was at university that there was a higher percentage of lefties than in the general population.

  • Lia DH


    August 2, 2019

    My dad is a lefty but his identical twin brother is right handed.

  • Charles F


    August 8, 2019

    Both my brother and myself are left-handed. My mother believes that I am as I am right-dominate. She believes the i mimicked my brother and mirrored her at the dinner table. I sat on the same side of the table as my brother and across from my mother.
    If you were to hand me a baseball, I’ll throw (and catch) it with my right hand.
    In elementary school (many years ago), in a class of about 30 there were two left-handed people in my class. I would slant my writing paper to the right slightly; the other slanted his to the extreme left.
    According to the teachers I had both our handwriting had much to be desired.