14 October 2013

Baby DNA

     When my twin sister had a baby a few months ago, I could hardly wait to DNA test the cute little guy.  He wasn't exactly thrilled with the process, but he only has a baby's memory, so although he fussed while we swabbed the inside of his cheek, he literally fell asleep two minutes later.

    His DNA results came back the other day, about two weeks early.  Exciting!  So, what did I get out of this?

     Or should I first say, what didn't I get out of this?  By testing my nephew, I'm only getting further away from my ancestors.  His DNA isn't going to help me find genealogical connections through my ancestors.  However, he does open up the DNA door to my brother-in-law's side of the family.  His family is moderately interested in their family history, but in a absent sort of way.

     I also proved that my sister and I are identical twins.  I share 3358.69 cM with my nephew, which is the amount of DNA a parent shares with a child.  By contrast a normal amount of DNA for an aunt/uncle/nephew/niece is shown when comparing my nephew and my brother, who share 938.48 cM of DNA.  The high level of  DNA I share with my nephew proves that my sister and I have just about identical DNA.

     I also get to compare my nephews DNA with my parents' (his grandparents') DNA.  It's pretty neat to view the chromosome chart for their shared DNA:

     It would be really neat to have his paternal grandparents in here as well... but not neat enough for me to pay for.

     It's also neat to compare my nephew's DNA to other relatives.  Below, you can see the DNA he shares with his Great-Great Aunt (left) and the DNA I share with her (right):


     If you remember that my DNA (right) is a stand in for his mom, my identical twin, you can see that it's very similar to mine, but he does share less DNA.

     From testing my nephew, I get more "neat" than useful, but I'm still excited to see it.  I'm going to play with his results over at GedMatch.com and might take a look through his paternal matches (matches that don't match me).  Maybe I can find him some new cousins on that side of his family.

A Sporadic Journal Writer

     Week 6 of the Book of Me, Written by You blog prompt series.

     I'm not always good at finishing projects that I start, and because of that, I'm very proud to have kept this blog going for six years.  It is a sort of journal of my genealogy adventures, shared with the world.  Over the years I've sporadically created a number of other journals, though none have lasted longer than a year.

     I first started journaling my senior year in high school.  That year, as a class project, I created my senior scrapbook, which got me started scrapbooking.  From there, I created many scrapbooks, which are something of a photographic journal.  Some were books about specific topics (the cruise we went on), while others covered a specific length of time.

     Also during my senior year, we were required to carry agenda books.  They included all the school rules, a calendar, and our hall pass.  Many of us turned the covers into a collage of year-long memories.  Mine is covered with stickers and buttons that highlight what was popular in 2001/2002.  Inside, I have a record of homework assignments, school activities, test schedules, and more.  It's like a little time capsule.

     I also kept a journal in 2008.  It turned out to be  a very memorable year, with my first (only) trip to Disney World, the Summer Olympics, Presidential Election and the recession.  I wrote in this journal for exactly a year, before starting a new one.  The new lasted about two weeks and then I fell out of writing.  Like I said, I'm not very good a finishing things.

03 October 2013

Wiley's "Indian War" Service Record

     Back on September 4th, I wrote about my trip to the Atlanta branch of the National Archives.  There, I found the service record index card for my 4x Great Grandfather, Wiley Powell.  Using the information from that card, I submitted a research request via the National Archive's online research request form.  I filled out the form on September 4th and only 15 days later, they shipped my records.

     I was a little disappointed in the records I received; this three page service record:

     The information that I did receive will allow me to further research what exactly my ancestor was doing during his service.  Unfortunately, it's not exactly uplifting.

     Wiley Powell joined the 1st Georgia Militia, Bowman's Company, on 16 May 1838 in New Echota, Georgia.   This date coincides with the May 23rd deadline for Cherokee Indians to voluntarily relocate to Indian Territory and New Echota was the Cherokee's capital.  It's pretty much certain that Wiley was involved in rounding up the Cherokee who did not voluntarily leave on their own.

     You never like to find out upsetting things about your ancestors.  However, facts are facts and there's no point burying the information.  I plan to do more research on the 1st Georgia Militia and Bowman's Company to find out more about Wiley's activities during this tragic time.

01 October 2013

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

Week 5 of the Book of Me, Written by You blog prompt series.

     The house that I consider my childhood home isn't the one we lived in when I was born.  We only lived at that house until I was a few weeks old, so I often forget about it entirely.

     Instead, I consider "The Duplex" on Cruse Road to be my childhood home.  It was right on the corner of Cruse Road, a busy two lane surface street, and... some other road that lead into the subdivision. Being the first house on the entrance of a subdivision, we had a large yard with one of those big brick neighborhood signs.  People pretty often ran into it, and my parents didn't like my siblings and I to play in the yard unaccompanied.

     My favorite memory of this house has got to be the back patio (and by patio I mean the the barely 5x5 concrete slab off the kitchen door).  The back yard couldn't have been deeper than 10 feet before it dropped into a wooded swampy area.  Every spring the backyard would be flooded by tiny little frogs.  I love frogs!  One year, McDonald's was on an environmental kick and was giving out seeds and tiny greenhouses in their happy meals.  I remember catching a frog and keeping it in the tiny plastic greenhouse for a few minutes.  Frogs!

     We moved out of the duplex when I was in third grade, but I do have a number of fond memories of living in that house.  Here are some photos of those times:

Babies on the porch

Our tiny garden

Our first bikes

The Most Memorable Season: Fall

Week 4 of the Book of Me, Written by You blog prompt series.

     Thinking back on childhood memories, I think some of my fondest occurred in the fall. Sure, Summer is fun - but the heat! The sunburns! Spring is nice, but kinda boring actually. And winter is fun with scarves and mittens and the chance to build a snowman about once in five years; but in the end it's too cold. But Fall? It's just about perfect.

     When I was a kid, Fall started off all about Halloween and leaves falling. Because you know the two go together. There were a few years where we got those big orange trash bags with pumpkin faces on them. We'd get together with some of the neighbor kids and get the leaves out of everyone's yard and -viola- giant pumpkin! Add some tissue paper ghosts and paper skeletons to the yard and you're good to go! 

     At school, we always got to do fun little fall themed project.  We made paper pumpkins for Halloween, as well as a variety of Thanksgiving projects such as "pilgrims and indians" and this adorable hand-print turkey from when I was 5 years old.

     Fall also signifies the beginning of the family holidays. My maternal family always got together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  It's not the same now, so I look on back fondly on those memories today.

     And finally, in Georgia, Fall doesn't necessarily equal cool weather. But it usually does equal not hot weather. And regardless of the temperature, the leaves will turn and you'll get the longer shadows all day. Even if it doesn't feel like fall, it will look like it!

     And finally, when the weather does start to turn cold, you get to drink hot chocolate. With marshmallows.


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