Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Herculean Task....Genetic Genealogy

I am about to throw in the proverbial towel with my DNA genealogy search.

Honest to goodness I do believe I am related genetically to every white person on the planet!
Can that be?!? lolz

By the size of my pool of matches overall, it does to me.

First off, I have a rather rare mitochondrial footprint.
This is good in a way as it cuts down on the potential matches.
I am a direct match with only 39 other people who have tested in the entire FamilyTreeDNA database.
My mtDNA haplogroup is J*.
It is only found in 12% of native Europeans.

In the Y-DNA J is associated closely with many of the early seafaring civilization in the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, like the Etruscans, the Minoans, etc.  J is also associated with having Jewish roots on either the Y or Mitochondrial side.
There is significant J mitochondrial DNA among Shephardic Jews of the Iberian Peninsula.
So old Sluggy could be a Spanish Jew if you were to go back far enough on my mother's, mother's, mother's side all the way back to our first female.

Since I have only tested the bare minimum markers so far, they have put me as J* and not one of the subclades of J.
But since half of the J's I've been matched with are J21a1(or further subclades of J21a1b or J21a1c)I pretty much know that having more markers tested will result in me being a J21a1, J21a1b or J21a1c.
My matches if I test more markers will decrease to......

J21a1=8 matches
J21a1b=3 matches
J21a1c=7 matches

That's across the entire FTDNA database.
I really should have more markets tested to get a definitive answer on this question.

Of course the problem in researching my mitochondrial DNA is that I haven't gotten very far on this specific line of my ancestors with a paper trail.  This would be my mother's, mother's mother's, etc. line going back to the first female of that line.
I have only gotten back to my 4th Great Grandmother with actual records.  Her maiden surname is SMITH.
Do you know how hard it is to trace someone in America named SMITH?!
Especially a WOMAN named SMITH!?!?

Until the 1800's in the US, woman didn't appear much in public written records.  Until 1850 only the male head of the household was named in census records(everyone else was listed as a tally mark).  If your female ancestor happened to be a widow until then you might find them by name in a census record but otherwise no name.

Before census records usually the only time your female ancestor appeared in an official record was upon their baptism(if they were baptized), upon their marriage(if they married)and upon their death(if their husband predeceased them and they had an estate to leave to their heirs or others).  Occasionally you might find a female ancestor recorded in the sale of land along side her spouse. 

And if you are very lucky, your female ancestor had brushes with the law and wound up in court.  Yes, having a female ancestor who ran afoul of the law and ended up in court and thus in court papers and transcripts is a goldmine to genealogists.  There might even be surviving newspaper articles of the time mentioning her.

So my mitochondrial line ends with a Clarissa or Claudia Smith.  The records don't even agree on her first name.  She began her life in Charlotte County, Virginia in 1802 and departed this life in 1862.  I haven't even gotten past this family line being in Virginia back from wherever they came from to there.  I am pretty sure it was England or thereabouts but when did they arrive?
Was it like most of the other lines on my mother's side of the family that came in the 1600's or 1700's?  Or did they get off the boat in later times?

While my mtDNA matches are manageable in number the same can not be said for my Y(through my brother's test)and my Autosomal matches!

Our Y-DNA exact matches number 1000 in the FTDNA data base.  That's FORTY pages of matches....
While further testing of more markers will bring that number of exact matches down, I can't justify spending $350 on having an additional 100 markers tested right now.
And then there are the SNP tests you can take to find your terminal Y.
These are each $39 and since R1b has so many subclades and finding just the right one to test for is pretty much a guessing game now, you could go broke before you found your terminal Y.

Likewise my Autosomal(all lines of dna)matches number 921 at the moment and new ones are being added every week as more people take this test.
My brother has 966 matches at the moment so I've got a few more than 921 actually.....being full siblings we'd match ALL the same people, but dna recombines on different parts of the strand for each person, so a few who matched him didn't show the same results for me.

I really need to load up a GEDCOM to FTDNA soon.
That's the thing I hate most when someone emails me that we are genetic cousins......when they don't have any sort of family tree listed on the site and expect me to be able to figure out how we are related specifically.
No, I am not doing the work for you!
I have been a bad, bad genetic cousin not supplying anything other than family surnames on my profile.....

Just last week I got an email from someone who was matched with my in an autosomal DNA test, wanting to know if I knew how we were related.  We had a surname in common--Chappell--and her Chappell ancestor she knew married a James Gay and their daughter lived in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada (1827-1910).
Since I have no direct ancestors who lived in Canada(as far as I have found)and my Chappell ancestor lived 1723-1797 I told her I suspect the Chappell connection, if that IS our connection, would go a bit further back in time from 1827.  She didn't know any places or dates of your Chappell ancestor other than being the mother of Elizabeth Gay.
I don't understand people who have a scrap of information and then expect me to have this ancestor of theirs on my line, when it's not a direct ancestor of mine.
I come across folks like this all. the. time.

I let her know that my Chappell connections were from Virginia and it might be possible that her Chappells may have been of my VA ones but went to Canada after the revolution(which is what many Loyalists did or had to do after the American Revolution).  She said she did have Virginia as a location somewhere in her tree but since she didn't have any GEDCOM family tree information uploaded to FTDNA I couldn't investigate on her side any further.
I did send her a link to my family tree on Ancestry so once she does some more digging on her Chappell line she can see if any of it lines up with mine. 
That's the best I can do to aid her search for now.

So I have on one side a very narrow focus but not much of a paper trail to help and on the other side so many genetic matches it's just too much to consider.

When it comes to genetic genealogy it's just always something. 



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Oldie But Goodie RANT of Mine

I know I've done this before but here I go again for the benefit of any parent of a first-time college student out there.

You will most probably receive a letter in the mail soon that looks something like this......

Note that they mark on the outside of the envelope "FINAL EXAMS INFORMATION ENCLOSED" just so you are compelled to open it up asap.

Inside you'll see something like this......

A letter wanting you to buy your student a Final Exams CARE Package.

After my heart stops racing when I think this is an IMPORTANT letter from my son's school informing me that he is about to flunk out, I get angry......very angry!

First off, using scare tactics and MISLEADING things like "Final Exams Information Enclosed" on the envelope pisses me off.

No, it has nothing to do with your child's academic progress(or lack thereof), it's a sales pitch to get you to buy some overpriced, pre-boxed set of snack foods, for which you KNOW some entity at their school gets a kickback or a piece of the money collected by this scheme.
You already send thousands of dollars into the pockets of the college your kid goes to, why participate in a scheme between the college and a company that makes premade care packages that the college gives that business assess to YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION in order to get another few dollars out of your wallet?!?

Let me say this again.......the school your child attends is sharing your information with businesses.
If not this care package flim flam, then a company that sells bedding sets, etc.
How is this ok???

And don't get me started on how colleges allow parents to pay thousands of dollars to them for their children's college experience yet these same parents have NO access to see their children's GRADES unless the child allows the access?!?

Let's go through each of these Great Deals you can buy, shall we?

A fine selection of Maxwell House Coffees(it's probably those flavored International coffees)
Swiss Miss hot cocoa packets
Gourmet teas in a thermal mug with a matching burlap bag

You have to buy this pack with one of the other packages........

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats
Popped Corn Chips (wtf?)
Kellogg's Pop-Tarts
Nabisco Wheat Thins
Welch's Fruit Snacks (what 18 yr. old still eats fruit snacks?)
Planter's Salted Peanuts
Ramen Noodles
Hunts' Snack size Pudding Cup
Nutella Hazelnut Spread
Oreo Cookies
Ritz bite sized Sandwich Crackers
Planters Cheese PB Crackers
Dum Dum Lollipops
Quaker Chewy Granola Bar
Strawberry Twizzlers
Laffy Taffy
Golden Graham Cereal on-the-Go
Instant Oatmeal packet
Haribo Gummie Bears
Chiclets Gum

All this can be yours for the low low price of $25.
I love how they tout this as "tasty and wholesome foods" in their description.
Since when is any of this wholesome foods....and some of it isn't even FOOD?! lol

Then the EXAM SURVIVAL KIT includes---
Microwave Popcorn
Mini Chips Ahoy Cookies
Keebler grahams crackers
M&M's peanut
Chex Snack Mix
Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies
Jolly Rancher candy
Nutella Hazelnut Spread
Animal Crackers
Slim Jim
Crunch 'n Munch
Mike & Ike candy
Smarties candy
Dum Dum Lollipops
Kettlecorn microwave Popcorn

All this sugary crap can be yours for the low low price of $20.

You can buy both packs contents AND the drink pack for the mere price of $55.

Now if I go to the store and buy this stuff here is an estimate of what it would cost.......

The Drink package--around $8.

The Support Basket--around $13.

The Exam Survival Kit--around $10.

Again I am sure you only get 1 or small sizes of all these items and not boxes with multiple units in it and my estimates include more than 1 per item.

Even with shipping I'd spend way less than $55 to send all this junk to #2 Son.

Here's some advise from a parent that's been getting these care package letters for 5 years now.......

Save your money and don't buy into this!

Go bake your kid a batch of his/her favorite cookies, buy a bag of their favorite candy/gum/candy bars/chips/etc. and send them that.

Or go to one of the many sites online to see what they recommend for including in a self-built care package.

They'll like it better and you'll save enough money to buy them a bus ticket home for Winter break.


The Booze Run

If you thought buying 10 frozen cocktails in a bag this Summer while I was staying at your house Sonya Ann made me look like an alcoholic, how about what I got in Virginia.......

And the load I bought last week in Delaware........

3 are missing from that last photo too.  10 of these cost me $1 a piece at one store.
The others were $1.50 each.
I got a great deal on all those needless to day.  ;-)

Every time we venture out of PA we make stops at liquor stores.
It's not that we are raging alcoholics as some might be led to believe.
We enjoy a nice drink every now and again.

It's just that PA, or rather the region of PA were we live, has a rather limited selection of adult beverage choices.  There seems to only be 1 beverage distributor for this entire region of PA so all the booze sold around here has to filter through this one source.  This leads to only carrying the major "popular with the masses" brands in outlets around here. 
Except for a couple of grocery stores with liquor licenses who can source more widely, but they charge an awful lot for what they carry.

In PA beer has to be bought as a full case mostly.  The only exceptions being places with liquor licenses....they can sell single bottles or 6/4 packs.....and they charge to much for that convenience.
There is no running to the store around here and picking up a 6-pack for the weekend.

Wines and hard liquors are only sold in state run stores in PA....and you know the state takes a mighty chunk of cash from those sales by taxing the items to death.  Plus they control what can be sold in PA and most importantly what can NOT be sold in PA.

Ah big government at it's finest doing what it does best--screwing with people's day to day lives!

If you like the common every day things the masses drink, like JD, Capt. Morgan, Budweiser, Miller, Sutter Home or Cupcake wines, etc. you can find that in massive quantities.

But if you want more boutique selections or craft beers you are outta luck around here....except for Yuengling because Yuengling is a local beer.
Let's just say the selection sucks because PA is rather draconian in their practices.

So we shop for adult beverages on vacation to try new, different things we haven't had before or to pick up selections we like and can't get around here.

There is a massive liquor store in DE outside of Philly with good prices that we go right by on the way to OC.

You have to love a liquor store that has an entire aisle/section of Mexican beers! lolz

Plus there are 2 large liquor stores in Rehoboth DE when we go through there.

This list was what both Hubs and I bought on this trip to bring home---
*=new to use selections

1 X 6-pack Day of the Dead Porter
1 x 6-pack Abita Turbodog
1 x 6-pack Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale *
1 x 6-pack Barrel Trolley Nut Brown Ale *
1 x 6-pack Evolution Brewing Lucky 7 Porter *
1 x 6-pack Evolution Brewing Lot#3 IPA *
1 x 4-pack Ass Kisser Smoked Porter *
1 x 750ml Sam Adams Barrel Room 13th Hour Stout *
1 x 750ml Clown Shoes Chocolate Somberro Stout *
1 x 750ml Ipswitch Oatmeal Stout *
1 x 750ml Raftman Unibroue *
1 x 4-pack Belhaven Black Scotish Stout *
1 x 4-pack Murphy's Irish Stout Draught *
1 x 4-pack Crown V Imperial Pumpkin Stout *
1 x bottle Yuengling Porter
1 x Growler fill McKenzie's Pumpkin Hard Cider *
2 x 6-pack McKenzie's Pumpkin Hard Cider *
1 x 6-pack McKenzie's Black Cherry Hard Cider
1 x 750ml Hoshi Plum Wine
1 x 750ml Sandeman Founders Reserve Port *
1 x 750ml Sandeman Amontillado Character Port *
1 x 750ml Dry Sack Sherry *
1 x 750ml Osbourne Tawny Port *
1 x 750ml G&D  Marsala Wine(for cooking) *
1 x 750ml Santero Pineapple Moscato *
2 x 750ml Chaucer's Mead *
1 x bottle Evolution Rise Up Stout *
1 x bottle Dominion Oak Barrel Stout *
1 x bottle Duclaw Sweet Baby Jesus! PB Porter *
1 x bottle Sam Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout *
1 x bottle Yards Gen. Washington's Porter *
1 x bottle Southern Tier 2x Milk Stout *
1 x bottle Evil Genius Brewing Trick or Treat Stout *
1 x bottle Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir
1 x 22oz. Stone Brewing XoCoveza & Suede Stout *
1 x 750ml Jack Daniels Master Distillers Whiskey *
1 x 1.75ml George Dickel #12 Whiskey
10 x Daily's Assorted "Slurpees"
10 x Croctails  Assorted "Slurpees"

Almost $350 of beverages.
The cost would have been double I bet if we had bought them all in PA....IF we could get them in PA......

This should keep us busy until next October when we take our beach vacation again.

This is how I get to enjoy a drink now and again and still be frugal. 
Don't drink at bars or restaurants(mostly), buy it at a lower price somewhere other than in PA and enjoy it at home.

What's your favorite type of adult beverage?  Is there a specific brand you like?



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sluggy's Solo Road Trip Part 7......MO & Back to IL

So I hit the road on Sunday afternoon heading South out of Iowa.

I passed the "Barilla Castle" before I left Iowa.....

Ok it's not really a castle but a big white building Barilla built along the interstate in Iowa.
But Leon calls it a castle, so a castle it is. 8-)

And then I hit the Missouri line.  Sorry the photo is so blurry, my windshield was uber dirty......

After 3 hours of driving I got into Kansas City and checked into my motel for the night.
Then I went out to get some dinner and get some water and check out the beer selection at the Walmart down the road.

Back to the room and I ate and emptied my pockets before changing into my pjs.
Look at what I found in my pocket.......

A piece of candy I picked up along the parade route from Saturday in Polk Iowa.  I forgot I had that. lolz

I called an ex-blogger friend from the area and we arranged to meet up in the morning for a visit before heading to bed.

I had a lovely breakfast the next morning at the hotel(hot food!) and then I made up a plate to take with me on the road for either lunch or dinner that day.....yogurts, banana and makings for a PJB sandwich.  This helped me cut down on one meal's cost on the road.

If any of you remember reading Annie Jones' blog, here she is in all her glory in a selfie she took of us.  My photo didn't come out as my arms are too short to take a multiperson selfie. lolz

We had a nice 3 hour visit in the motel and then I checked out and we traipsed over to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch and more chatting.  Boy, I wish we lived closer as we'd probably hang out together a lot if we did.

I had a scare at the restaurant when I went to take out my camera to snap some photos and I couldn't find it.  I called the motel and found out I had left it in the room.
Good thing we were just around the corner from the motel still so I drove over to get it before leaving town.

So after a nice lunch and saying our goodbyes, Annie and I parted and I hit the road north, back up to Iowa and then east to Illinois.
Another long boring day of driving ensued.

Before leaving Iowa I made a stop around dinner time in Walcott, IA at the Largest Truck Stop in the USA.....Iowa 80.

Then I went across the street to here.......

Grandma's Kitchen.

And I ordered this item to go......

A pork tenderloin sandwich.
You know you can't go to Iowa without eating one of these's practically against the law!

Of course I still had a fair piece of driving to do until I got to my motel for the night so this sat next to me in the car and about drove me WILD with hunger from the smells.

Finally got to the motel about 8:30pm, schlepped up to the room with all my stuff, put the pork sandwich in the microwave and then wolfed it down.

Then a phone call to the ladies I was here to visit with before I hit the bed and we arranged to meet in the am.

I got a call from the lobby around 9:30ish am and these smiling faces were soon in my room.
Say "Hi" to Robin and Pam!

We met on a beanie forum years ago but met in person only last August when we came through their part of IL to go to Hub's sister's wedding.

We sat and gabbed and tried to come up with a plan for our day together as there was no plan yet.
This booklet of things to do in this part of IL was in the room and between browsing through that and going online to Roadside America(which has a state by state list of weird and quirky sights to see), we hatched a plan.

The first stop was that covered bridge in the booklet.

It's called the Red Covered Bridge(duh)and was built in 1863.
I took my life in my hands posing for this photo since the bridge is still active and open to traffic.

The Big Bureau Creek that runs below the bridge.

Cool design inside the bridge.

 I attempt a selfie with the bridge(and Pam's back)in the background.  Note to self--remember to keep eyes OPEN when snapping a selfie.....lolz

Five Dollar Fine Sign over bridge entrance.
Don't even think about taking more than 12 animals or going faster than a "walk" across the bridge!

On the other side of the bridge was a nature park by the creek and we caught this flock of turkeys looking for lunch there.

A momma and baby turkeys.

Next it was over to the Owen Lovejoy Homestead.

Mr. Lovejoy was an early settler to these parts.
It is said his home was a stop on the Underground Railroad to Canada.
But the Homestead is only open on weekends so we didn't get to tour it.

The motel where I was staying had an Owen Lovejoy Suite down the hall from me.  Now I know why.....

Mr. Lovejoy was a big supporter of Abraham Lincoln but we won't hold that against him.

Also on the property was this one room brick schoolhouse.

This school, built in 1850 was in use until 1972.

It was locked up tight as well.

And even further behind these 2 buildings was a replica log cabin commemorating the 1st
"White Settlers" in the area, the Henry Thomas Family (1800-1848).
Also parents on the first "White Child" born in this county.
Yes the plaque said "white" but without the parentheses.


Then we drove to the downtown section of Princeton, IL.
But we stopped for a photo of this elaborate monument along the way.
No dates on it but plaques listing men who had fought in some war.
I am guessing it's War Between the States.
A quick look online tells me it's the Soldiers and Sailors War Between the States Monument and was dedicated in 1913.
Pam took this shot.....

Looking at monuments makes me hungry so it was off to find something to eat.

We parked downtown and walked by this salon with a replica of a renaissance sculpture out font.

I wonder what is behind that grape leaf?

Oooo! He's nekkid under there!

Then we got to a building that smelled heavenly.....

 Myrtle's Pie Shop!  It's owned by a fellow who's grandmother was named Myrtle.  I guess she baked really awesome pies in her day.

Myrtle's photo on the door.....stupid glare......

Though it was lunch time we were just there for the pie.
And there were soooo many choices.
Obviously Pam is working hard studying the menu.
But she ended up getting the same pie she always gets. lolz

Here's my selection--a banana and chocolate concoction that tasted divine.

On the way out of town after waddling back to the car, I saw this signpost.
Ronnie was from Dixon IL.  We had too much to do and too much mayhem to reek so there was no time to wander the Reagan Trail.

We drove past the giant coffee pot sign in Peru.....

Then we went off in search of the giant carved Vulcan Hand also in Peru.....

It says "Live Long & Proper" on the arm part.....

That's Pam giving her version of the Vulcan salute next to the statue.

All I could think about was someone taking a chainsaw to 3 of those fingers on the carving and you'd have a very different "salute". hehehe

And if you didn't know where you were, here's a reminder......

While hunting for the Giant Vulcan hand we also came across this strange sight in that town......

Blues Brothers full sized statues on the balcony of someone's home.

You just never know what you will see when you poke around a small town.

We took this road trying to get out of town and it led us here......

Did they actually need to put a stop sign up at the end of this dead end road?? lolz

It was getting pretty hot by now so we swung into a convenience store for some drinks.

What a find!
Frozen bait AND Live bait!!

A truly one stop shop.....get your gas, cigarettes, munchies, drinks and night crawlers.

Well it does make sense as we were very close to this......

I'll stop this here and pick up next time on the rest of our day out since there are tons of photos left.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Just to Be Mean

Lookie at my massive Morning Glory vines in the corner of my back garden......

I don't even plant these anymore.
They just grow back from seeds dropped on the ground from the plants the previous Fall.

If you want to know why this is a mean, "rub it in your face" post, just see Sonya Ann's post today.