December 22, 2014

Genealogy News You Can Use

Jamboree logo

Jamboree logo

It’s Jamboree Time!

A quick shout out about two things genealogy related. One is that starting today there will be an exciting genealogy Jamboree hosted by the Southern California Genealogical Society and attended by all sorts of my genealogy friends from far and wide. If you are unable to attend, you can still take part online by watching their Live Streamed Sessions.  Five of the sessions ask for a nominal payment, while 14 of them are free for your family tree climbing enjoyment.

Help Save Fairview Cemetery in Greenwood, South Carolina

Saving Stories Logo (2)

May 31st of this year marked the first day of cleanup at the Fairview Cemetery with 32 volunteers ready to pitch in and uncover the long-forgotten and neglected graves, some of which belong to my friend Robin Foster’s family members. You can read more about their efforts on Robin’s blog Saving Stories.

Flash Sale: Cataloging Digital Family Photographs – Sassy Jane Genealogy

Cataloging Digital Family Photographs – Sassy Jane Genealogy.

Here’s a quick blog post to let you know about this guide on sale at Sassy Jane Genealogy.

23andMe And The 1004 DNA Relatives

When I began doing genealogy decades ago it never really was on my radar that we would be able to find and connect with cousins using our DNA. Now, here we are and our cousins are not only found, but verified by documentation and genetically. We had my husband Jim’s DNA tested through 23andMe some years ago, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many cousins of his paternal and maternal side have also used 23andMe as well and been able to contact us easily.

What We’ve Found

Many things we expected to see were English, Irish and French percentages that would be quite high. What we weren’t sure of was whether or not there was any Native American in Jim’s DNA. Just last year when his profile was updated by 23andMe it showed that there is a 0.1% of Native American blood in Jim’s paternal side of the family. We know now that what we suspected was true, but we’re still on the hunt for the elusive ancestor who brought that DNA into the family.

 What? We Have Jewish Ancestors?

Another surprising bit was that there’s also a 0.6% of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA in the line as well. As it pertains to the Wilkerson line, that was probably a mixing of DNA with some of the family’s northern European lines. As the 23andMe page explains it, “You share DNA history with 23andMe customers that have reported full Ashkenazi ancestry”.


And last, but not least, Jim also has 2.8% of Neanderthal DNA. I find this very interesting, and not because of any humorous aspect, but because, to me, it says the Neanderthals might not have survived to be a recognizable human in present time, but their mixing of DNA with other humanoids says “we adapted”. Who knows what they truly looked like? I mean, after all, “someone” had to be attracted to them, right?

It’s All Relatives

23andMe reports that, as of now, Jim has 1004 DNA relatives; 6 second and third cousins, and 344 fourth cousins. Over time, this number will likely increase. We have made contact with the closest ones with surnames like Boyert, Miller, etc. There are probably many more with whom we could connect, but their DNA profiles are private and not shared.

WHAT WAS GAINED, WHAT WAS TAKEN FROM THE 24 NEW ARMY MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

John W. Whitmore, headstone at Pleasant Grove, IA

An Honorable Way To Fight Back Against Racism

I lived through the 60’s when race riots were in full swing. I truly thought we were making racism more and more of an anathema, but as we have all seen in the news racism has come back with a fury since President Obama was elected. As an American, I am proud to see there is a small righting of wrongs that will be done to honor the service of 24 men who were denied the Medal of Honor because of the color of their skin. As you probably know, no one “wins”  a Medal of Honor, but it is also not just wearing of a medal.  Consider these other benefits:

  • Special Medal of Honor pension of $1,194 per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. The MOH pension is subject to cost-of-living increases.
  • Special entitlements to Space A air transportation.
  • Enlisted recipients are entitled to a supplemental uniform allowance.
  • Commissary and exchange privileges (includes eligible dependents).
  • Admission to the United States military academies for qualified children of recipients — without nomination and quota requirements.
  • 10 percent increase in retired pay.
  • Medal of Honor Flag.
  • Allowed to wear the uniform at anytime as long as the standard restrictions are observed.
  • Many states offer Medal of Honor automobile license plates.
  • Interment at Arlington National Cemetery if not otherwise eligible.

Which brings me to the “What Was Taken” part of the title of this article. Decades have passed since the end of the Vietnam War. The men who are deceased and were awarded posthumously the medal will have the honor attached to their names, but it is their families, and those of the few still living that I think of now with some sorrow for what was taken away from them. First in my mind is the missed educational opportunities the children of these men were denied. What great mind did we fail to enrich? Did any of the families falter financially when the extra money from the award might have meant better health, or a longer life? So many “what if’s” to be sure.

Twenty Four Heroes

One last thought, this award of the Medal of Honor cannot be seen as anything more than honoring the gallantry of individuals who didn’t think of the color of their skin when they fought and gave their lives. We need to focus on the kind of men they are and were: HEROES

Thank you gentlemen.

Medal of Honor: Congress Only APPROVED It Graveyard Rabbit Carnival – The Whittemores of Pleasant Grove Iowa

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