December 19, 2014

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.

The Wilkerson Family DNA Project Coming Soon!

Jim 23 Ancestry

 

 


 We’re Testing A Parent’s DNA

Since none of us are getting any younger (Jim just turned 64!) then there is no time like the present to get this project kicked off.

The Wilkerson Group DNA Project

As you may have noticed this blog is now an affiliate of Family Tree DNA . I did that on purpose because it may give us a discount on the test if I click on my own link to go to their site. If not, I did discover (by using the FTDNA search box in the sidebar just to the right of this post) that there is a WILKERSON Group DNA Project and using their site might give us a discount if my own link does not. All that said, it’s isn’t that the DNA test I want to do for Jim’s dad is all that expensive, but some other family members have said they might want to chip in to help us defray the costs.

The main goal of what we are trying to discover is how much Native American blood might be in the lines. A preliminary test of Jim’s DNA showed that he does have some, but I want to take it back another generation to his dad to get a more “direct” route to the possible Indian ancestry.  I don’t think we would even undertake this testing if it wasn’t for the small amount showing in this graphic from another source.

Jim 23 Ancestry

So, for now, all I can say is check back here to see what the results might be. Thanks for reading today!

 

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Before January 1950 Naval Discharge Papers Were NAVPERS 553

NAVPERS and DD214 info

Why Can’t I Find My World War II Ancestor’s DD-214?

I learned something new today about Naval Service Discharge papers and when they were used. We are trying to get my father-in-law’s WWII medals replaced so we can put them in a nice shadow box for him. When he came home from the war his siblings were allowed to play with them and they lost some of them. These things happened and it is possible to get the medals replaced one time for free.

Jim had talked to his dad about taking his DD-214 to have it copied so we could replace the medals but he couldn’t find any document with DD-214 on them. No wonder!

As I found out this morning, before January of 1950 the government issued NAVPERS 553 documents instead. (Not mentioned in the information I found at The Naval Inspector General webpage was that a smaller card of wallet size deemed the NAVPERS 554 was also issued.)

1955 Operation Wigwam Participant : John E. Wilkerson

David and John Wilkerson

David and John Wilkerson

We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get military records for some of our older family members like Jim’s dad Loren, my dad Wm G Yates, and Jim’s uncle John Wilkerson. The fathers were both participants in World War II, and John (as well as his younger brother David Wilkerson) were in the military during the time of the Korean War. Loren, my dad and John were all in the Navy, while uncle David was in the Marines.

Operation Wigwam

My focus in this article is about John E Wilkerson though because we have documentation from his military records that he was on the Navy ship USS McKean during Operation Wigwam in 1955. In May of that year the ship and crew were one of 30 vessels and 6,800 personnel present when the underwater nuclear test took place.  The purpose of the test was to see if it would be effective for use against enemy submarines. No protection was provided for anyone.  In later years Uncle John told Jim the only thing that was done was to wash down the ship afterwards.

After Effects of Radiation Exposure

The USS McKean (DD 784) was in service for many years (In Commission 1945 to 1981) after Operation Wigwam, during which time it was probably brought into shipyards like ours in Bremerton. There, the civil service workers were also exposed to the radiation and most likely somewhat lesser contaminants as they worked on the ship during routine repairs and refurbishment. Ponder that for a moment and digest just how far-reaching the health effects might have been. [As a non-medical person I cannot say whether or not John’s health might have been affected by his exposure to the radiation during Operation Wigwam.] John is still living and his personal information is private.

Sources and Additional Documentation

For more information about Operation Wigwam, please visit this article by Thomas D. Segal The Wigwam That Kept Nobody Safe.

 

 

 

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