Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are We Related? DNA Says "Yes"

A couple of years ago I had my DNA tested.  Both MtDNA (DNA from my mom) and Autosomal (the 22 numbered chromosomes as opposed to the sex determining ones).  My brothers and I bought our dad a kit for Father's Day one year and now my brother has been tested.  I still haven't figured it all out.  I may never have a complete handle on it.  But, there are people out there that know what it is all about and my reading list gets longer as I find them.

You've heard me say before that I subscribe to a podcast called Genealogy Gems.  If you are into genealogy you really need to check out this website. There are free podcasts and they also have a Premium Membership, that has a fee involved.  I invested in the premium and it has been well worth the modest cost, for all the information I have gleaned from listening.

Lisa Louis Cooke is the host and she has an expert in DNA that contributes to each podcast.  Her name is Diahan Southard and she is very knowledgeable on all things DNA.  So I continue to listen, in hopes that I will learn exactly what the results mean or at least have a better understanding.

My results were downloaded onto Family Tree DNA and that site searches for matches.  I receive something several times a week that says they have found a match to my dad. This week I had an email inquiring about my Autosomal DNA.  The email said they were trying to find the grandfather of a relative and I had come up as a close match.  In this case, close meant third to fourth generation.  I didn't recognize the surname given but thought I would do a little research.

The family lived in a little town in northwest Kansas.  I had never heard of the town and decided to look it up.  The town was started in the late 1800's and people were there primarily because of cattle. However, the railroad did come through at one time.  I decided to look into the census, in the time frame they gave me, to see what I would find.  It was so interesting.  This little town was a melting pot of people from all over the world.  There were folks listed from France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Austria, Hungary, just to name a few.  They were from many states too.  I found this fascinating!  What took them to this little town way out in Kansas?  It appears that it was fertile land with lots of good grazing for the cattle.

I looked through the entire census of this small town, in hopes I might recognize one of my family surnames, that might help us get a clue as to how we were related.  There was not one.  And as far as I knew, I didn't have any relatives in Kansas.  However, the DNA says otherwise.  So I am just as curious, at this point, to know the connection.

I have had other inquiries, as well.  One woman was trying to find her birth parents and we were somehow related on my mother's side.  I gave her what I could but have no clue if she found out anything concrete.

More and more companies are starting to offer DNA testing.  Have you had yours done?  Did you find out anything surprising or exciting?  Let me know if you did!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hello! It's me again!

Today marks two years ago that I wrote my first blog.  Where have I been, you might be asking?  Why haven't there been any blogs for the last 7 months?  Well, we were off making memories. We were blessed with lots of family and friend time, and great trips.  Our most recent trips were so fabulous that we mentioned several times that we wished we could stay in both places.

The Fab 4 in Liverpool, Englan
RAF Bar behind the Eagle
The Eagle Pub in Cambridge
First, we went on a cruise that circled the British Isles. My recent DNA testing said I was 97% from the British Isles.  A wonderful reason to see that area of the world.  We were blessed to be able to visit many wonderful cities in England, Scotland, and Ireland.  I always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland and it is was great fun to go back to England. We stayed in London two nights before heading to Southhampton to get on the ship. One of the days we were in London, we took a train and went to Cambridge.  It was such a fun town, full of history, educational facilities, churches and restaurants. We had heard of The Eagle Cambridge  Pub from some friends, so we looked  for it and had lunch there. At the back of the pub is another bar where the  pilots used to hang out, back during World War II, called the RAF Bar.  They would write their names on the ceiling and to this day, the names are  still there.  A very nostalgic spot and the food wasn't too bad either.

 As we ventured around the British Isles, we visited Dublin, Glascow,  Liverpool, Edinburg, Belfast and Inverness.  Each having their own  unique  characteristics.  We liked them all but only had a short time in  each port.  I  would like to go back some day and spend more time.  We also visited  Stirling and Blarney Castles.  Stirling most famous for  Robert the Bruce of  Braveheart fame and Blarney for the famous  "Blarney Stone" that you  practically hang upside down to kiss.  There  is not enough antibacterial gel  in this world to get me to do it.  However we did do a photo op!  We had fun on that cruise!
Blarney Castle

We got to spend some time in Hawaii in January,  A really nice time to be there, even though the weather in Texas was pretty good during that time.  We were on the island of Maui and had lots of fantastic beach time and great seafood!

We loved these trips but our time spent with family was by far the best.  We have been from one end of this continent to the next over the last six months, for weddings, graduations, birthdays and more.  From Seattle, to Georgia, to Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, and Houston.

Maui, Hawaii
So as you can see, we have been very busy and, unfortunately, my blog writing time went by the way side.  So did my genealogy research.  But I am back at it and hope to get some more blogs out soon!  In my spare time I have still been trying to find my great, great great grandfather on my maternal grandfather's side, father to John Garrison, Browntown/ Abbott's Creek, Davidson County, North Carolina.  I have searched, what I feel like is every possible place, and still have no proof of who he is.  We all speculate who we think he is, but I want proof positive.  I am going to have to spend some time at our local Family History Place because I have cancelled my account, for now. (too costly)  Fact finding is tedious work but work I enjoy doing!

There are lots of other avenues I want to pursue, so I will be back soon!