thegenealogygirl


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This Sunday – The Best Mother’s Day!

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My missionary son has been gone for almost 9 months!  He emails every week and sends photos and videos.  He is doing great!  He loves people and loves to serve and that pretty much sums up how a missionary spends their time.  In the picture above he is second from the right holding a fire extinguisher.  This group of missionaries is helping restore a home that was badly damaged due to severe weather.

On Sunday, my missionary will get to Facetime with us for Mother’s Day!  Hooray!!  Missionaries call home twice a year, on Christmas and Mother’s Day.  I’m excited to get to talk to my boy.  I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for how quickly the years pass, so here are a few shots of my oldest.  ❤

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That boy of mine had a rough introduction to the world.  He was born 11 weeks early and weighed 2 1/2 lbs.  He spent the first 7 weeks and 2 days of his life in the NICU.  He is 3 days old in this photo.

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Here we are on a fun little family stay-cation exploring historical pioneer sights around Salt Lake City, Utah.  August 2010

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First day of school photos, August 2011.

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Hanging out at the base of Bridal Veil Falls, August 2012.

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Family photo shoot, Spring 2013.

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Same photo shoot.

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Senior pics, spring 2016.

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Last family photo shoot for a few years, August 2016.

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Last photo with all three of my boys for a few years, August 17, 2016.

Happy Mother’s Day!  ❤ ❤ ❤

 


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My DNA Results – How do they compare to my tree? (Updated)

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Yesterday I shared my ethnicity percentages based on my tree.  They look a little something like this:

  • 62.5% – British Isles (English, Mixed British Isles, Scottish, Welsh)
  • 15.6% – Europe West (French Canadian, French)
  • 9.4% – Scandinavian
  • 6.3% – Some mixture of European Jewish & Italy, Greece
  • 6.3% – Iberian Peninsula (Spanish)

As you can see from my screenshot up there, I have some interesting differences between my tree and the DNA I inherited.  Here is a comparison of my tree ethnicities and my DNA ethnicities.

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The first important note is that those trace ethnicities, 2% or lower, are often considered noise.  In my case, those bottom three surprise ethnicities are not backed up by documentation.  The first six however, are documented, even the 1% Iberian Peninsula.

The biggest surprises for me are these:

  • How little of the French and French Canadian DNA I inherited.
  • How much European Jewish DNA I inherited.
  • How much Italy, Greece DNA I inherited.

John Costello and his ancestors make up 12.5% of my tree.  And yet, I inherited 19% of the three regions he could have contributed – Iberian Peninsula, European Jewish, and Italy, Greece.

And here is where I need to beef up my learning, you see something I read recently caused me to misunderstand a very important point – you inherit 50% of your DNA from each parent, beyond that, it is a random mixture of all that came before them.  I had a handful of paragraphs with some interesting questions and insights into some of the nuances of my tree.  But those questions and insights were based on my misunderstanding, so I chopped them out.  😉  Thank you Deborah for some helpful pointers!  (See her comment below).

I have so much to learn about genetic genealogy.  I need to test my siblings and cousins so I can isolate the various pieces of my DNA and do some fancy-science-y-ultra-nerdy-but-oh-so-cool-DNA-genealogy like this.

While I am still learning, and not completely sure of what my next steps are, the thing I keep coming back to is… How can I be 10% European Jewish when I had no idea I had ANY European Jewish ancestry?  10%.  That’s a lot of percent.  Especially when I didn’t see it coming.

This DNA stuff is oh-so-fascinating.  Have you tested?  Did you find any surprises?

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today – DNA or otherwise!


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My Ethnicity Fractions – Based on My Tree

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Years ago my younger brother Derek asked me, “What are we?

He was curious about our ethnic makeup as so many people are.  All those years ago I did a quick calculation based on the research I had done and drew up this little map for him.  Over time I have learned more about my heritage and can now update that set of data to reflect my most current understanding of our tree.

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Based on this new chart, our ethnicity percentages – from our tree – are:

  • 34.4% – English
  • 12.5% – Mixed British Isles
  • 12.5 % – French Canadian
  • 12.5% – Scottish
  • 9.4% – Danish
  • 6.3% – Italian Jewish (I don’t think this is really a thing, but I’m not sure yet what to call this portion of my tree…see here.)
  • 6.3% – Spanish
  • 3.1% – French
  • 3.1% – Welsh

I know that totals 100.1% – I rounded.

Based on how Ancestry DNA lumps things together, these percentages should look like this on my Ancestry DNA ethnicity estimates:

  • 62.5% – Great Britain (English, Mixed British Isles, Scottish, Welsh)
  • 15.6% – Europe West (French Canadian, French)
  • 9.4% – Scandinavian
  • 6.3% – Some mixture of European Jewish & Italy, Greece
  • 6.3% – Iberian Peninsula (Spanish)

But here’s the thing about DNA.  We don’t inherit exactly half of what our parents inherited.  We inherit a unique combination of half of what they inherited.  So while the percentages based on my tree look one way, the actual DNA I inherited is an entirely different matter.  I have four siblings.  Each of us inherited different combinations of our parent’s DNA – half from each parent, but a unique and random half.

My DNA results are in.  I will share them tomorrow.  They are fascinating.  The portion I am most curious about happens to be the potion that is brand new to me – the Jewish ancestry of John Costello.  What combination of DNA did he pass on to me?  12.5% of me comes from him.  Based on what I know, he could have given me DNA from these three regions – Iberian Peninsula, European Jewish, and Italy, Greece.  Because the Jewish portion is a brand new – weeks old – discovery, I wonder if I inherited any of it?  If so, how much?

Care to take a guess?

Tune in for my DNA reveal tomorrow.

 


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“We’re not Irish… so we just decorate for Easter.”

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A few weeks ago, my darling little 5 year old was playing with a friend.  They were in my piano room and I was in the next room.  I heard my kiddo say, “We’re not Irish.”

It’s true.

But, it’s a weird thing to say.  Especially when it’s completely out of the blue like it was.  I chuckled to myself and thought, “Okay, I guess he’s the son of a genealogist.”

Then he said, “So we just decorate for Easter.”

Oh!

Then I got it.

He was basically explaining to his little pal, who could not have cared less, why we didn’t have any St. Patrick’s Day decorations up, but we did have Easter decorations up.  Not lots, just those little window clings.

It was only the week before that my kiddo was at a different friend’s house where there was lots of St. Patrick’s Day decor.  When we left he said we should decorate for St. Patrick’s Day and out of laziness I replied, “Well, we’re not Irish, so we just decorate for Easter.”

My words came right back to me.

But for a brief moment I thought my little 5 year old cared about his ethnicity estimates.

😂

Maybe one day!

 

Happy Tuesday – I hope you make a great, or at least amusing, genealogy discovery today!

 

ps – Won’t it be funny if my ethnicity estimates show that I am a wee bit Irish?

 


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A Few Personal Updates

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My youngest throwing rocks into the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington.  You can just see the rock he has thrown clear up at the top of the shot.  He got a lot of height, not much distance.  13 April 2017

I am currently in my hometown of Kennewick, Washington hanging out with my Dad and my youngest son.  We’ve had a quiet few days and will be here for several more.  Last week we were able to enjoy a little time in Columbia Park.  They have a wonderful playground there right next to the beautiful Columbia River.  We ended our park visit with time along the river bank throwing rocks and sticks.  It was a beautiful day as you can see.  It was joyful for me to watch my son enjoy the river so much.

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My oldest, missionary son helping with a service project for refugees in the Lexington, SC area.  My son is in the center squatting down with his arm around one of the refugees.

My missionary son is also doing well.  He recently sent me this fuzzy picture and I just keep thinking about it and what a good boy I have.  There he is front and center with his arm around a refugee he met.  They obviously made a connection.  My son mentioned this man and how tearfully grateful he was for the service my son and others provided in one of his weekly emails.  It is wonderful to see the goodness of a grown child.  To see that he is choosing to spread love and light with those he meets.  And that in this instance at least, that love and light was readily received.

There is too much sorrow and pain in this world.  But this week, I am feeling the simple joys of motherhood – of mothering that is bringing goodness to fruition, and of mothering in the moment and seeing beauty in the world with a tiny child.

Hopefully my wonderful middle son is enjoying his one-on-one time with Dad at home.  Lots of man time building a play structure and installing a sink.  🙂

 

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is filled with fabulous genealogy discoveries – or peaceful family time like mine will be.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Polaroid Surprise

PETERSON, Amberly, July 1978

I visited my parents over Christmas.  While I was there, my mom and I looked through a few different things and this stray polaroid was mixed in with some other random items.  That is a picture of me that I had never seen before.  I was instantly taken with this image of my cute little toddler self.  There is something special about seeing a picture of yourself for the first time.  A happy discovery for sure!


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Jerry, the Super-hero Indexer

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In February of 2014 I wrote several posts all about indexing.  I even issued an indexing challenge.

Indexing is a vital part of the amazing increase in accessible genealogical records.  We ALL benefit from indexers.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for indexers and their service.  But that soft spot grew to bursting this past November when I read an article about a man who had made it his goal to index 1 million records before he died.

Yep, you read that correctly, ONE MILLION records.

He didn’t quite make it.

His name was Jerry.  Jerry indexed 952,891 records before his death on 6 November 2016.

952,891 records!!!

 

Jerry’s family members are planning to index the remaining 47,109 records in his memory.

Well.

After reading that, my indexer-loving-genealogy-obsessed heart just couldn’t take the amazingness of Jerry’s service without rededicating itself to more indexing.  I didn’t start out with any particular goal in mind, I just decided to index when it worked.

I am guessing that anyone who was conscious at the time, will remember the American turmoil that was going on the 6th of November 2016 and that still continues.  Because of all of that, I was watching the news A LOT more than usual, and still do.  Do you know what you can easily do while watching the news?  Index.

In November and December I indexed about 3,500 records.

When I looked at my stats recently I decided to set a goal for 2017 to index 6,000 records.  I know it’s a far cry from a million, but it’s SO MANY MORE RECORDS than I usually index.

As a genealogist who relies on indexers, I express my deepest thanks to Jerry.  Thanks for his service and for his example and how it has inspired me.

Thank you Jerry!

 

Do you index?  If you want to join the party you can index for many different organizations.  Find one you like and pitch in.  Every little bit helps.

 

You can read more about Jerry here.

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PS – This post is not meant to make any sort of political statement or imply anything about my own political leanings.  I love people SO much more than politics.  Vote however you feel comfortable, worry about the state of our nation however you choose, I love you for you, not for your voting preferences.  🙂