August 21, 2011

Proof We Never REALLY Die...

Some of you may remember that my Mom had a big birthday in July. There was much handwringing on all of our parts as to what to do for her for the big day. Mom is the ultimate thoughtful gift giver.

For instance, when TGOO turned 70 last year, from that month on, he got a special gift every month to commemorate every month of the year. It could be anything, but each was thoughtful.

So as her birthday approached, there were many phone calls and email between TGOO, my sister, and me, trying to figure out 'What in the hell do we get her?'

We bounced ideas, well I bounced them, and we realized they were not good. No surprise parties, I thought about a helium balloon ride, beach houses, you name it... it wasn't working.

Finally in exasperation I said to TGOO, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!" to which he replied, "And how do YOU think *I* feel?! I've gotten something special for every single month! How do I match THAT?"

So, yeah, he won the sympathy vote. Until... the big day came.

You have to look at what everyone brings to the table when you see what they give. What is their love language? My Mom... it's the little niceties that are full of thought. It comes naturally to her. My Dad, he is just more pragmatic. It isn't any less of a gift, but it is who he is.

He'll get her what she needs, what she wants, and sometimes a little touch of something else. He'll find a beautiful piece of jewelry he knows she'll love and in addition there may be something very practical as well.

And such was the case... TGOO... the genealogist in the family, the true scientist found the most fun and perfect gift.

After she opened a beautiful pendant he bought her, there was another gift in an envelope. She opened it and... it was a Mitochondrial DNA kit. He swabbed the inside of her cheek and mailed it off.

For her 70th birthday, he was having her Mitochondrial DNA tracked.

I know, this may seem weird to all of you, but to me and my sister? He'd trumped everyone. That was the COOLEST gift... the gift of finding one's genetic beginning. He has already done a Y-DNA project on himself and I need to get the details, but it was from that we found that on his side, through the men, we are probably descended from a Danish Viking. (Surprise. I say that only because it just some how fits in my head given certain aspects of certain people's personalities... heh.)

For those not in the know, to simplify, the mtDNA is tracing our genetics back ONLY through the female line. The very root woman that all genetics should trace back to is referred to as Mitochondrial Eve. There may be a few Eves...

All this data gets put in a database and from there you can see the migration patterns, greatest probability from where your people may have originated.

With Mom's haplogroup H1B they were able to tell us that 25,000-30,000 years ago, our Eve (H) came from Southwest Asia/Middle East with most of the descendants (H1B) ending up in Eastern Europe and NW Siberia.

Through TGOO's Y-DNA study, I2B1, we found that 17,000 years ago, they (I) came from SE Europe, with the highest frequencies of our descendants in the Germany/Denmark/Netherlands area. (He has more information, that's the basics.)

I just find this entire thing fascinating, more so as a gentleman in Russia who is EXTREMELY active on the DNA forums sought out my Mom and TGOO yesterday trying to piece together more genetic information, as he and we (Mom and her offspring) share a female ancestor about 2000 years ago, in the Germany/Poland/Prussia area. Genealogy wise, Mom's maternal side is stuck around 1850 in Pennsylvania. Now we seem to have this 1850 year leap back to Prussia. The question is... what is in between?

How did our women-folk offspring get from Prussia to Pennsylvania?

Even cooler though... I kinda sorta know where my people were located well over 15,000 years ago.

Cooler still, there's some dude in Russia... who I'm related to. The world seems so small...

Posted by Boudicca at August 21, 2011 05:57 PM

Very cool! I want to do that with my grandparents!

Now, about the 1850 in Pennsylvania... WE are stuck at about that time, too. We have birth (abt 1818) and death (abt 1889) but cannot figure how- and when- the move was made from New York- and where in NY) to Pennsylvania. Don't suppose you have any Kelleys or Spensers in that line? :)

Oh, another pretty cool thing... Found out that I can officially join the DAR.

Posted by: Jody at August 21, 2011 08:25 PM

Jody, No Kellys or Spencers. Dammit. That would be too cool. We only have her maiden name...and from there we have nothing. It was before the 1850 census, so we'd have to go searching for documents, land deeds and what not at this point.

Let me know if you need help finding a good chapter! I may be able to find someone that lives in your state through mutual acquaintances! The DAR does an awful lot with the Veterans.

Posted by: Bou at August 21, 2011 08:29 PM

He did trump everyone. That is so neat. I'm going to have to do that. A cousin's wife tracked my mom's side of the family back to the civil war, but it gets lost before that.

Posted by: Tina at August 21, 2011 08:47 PM

Tina, It gets tough. It's so much easier going through the male lineage, the women get lost, the whole changing our name thing. The hard part of tracing the men back is courthouses burning, etc. It gets dicey. My Dad did an excellent job on both sides. He worked on my Mom's side too.

What I find fascinating is the migratory DNA patterns. How did one get from... there to... here? In 17000 years? In 1850 years? Actually, I can follow my women from Pennsylvania to West Palm Beach. But... how did she get there?

I just think it's so cool that we can do this.

Posted by: Bou at August 21, 2011 08:57 PM

I figure my lineage traces to drunks and horse thieves. Maybe warthogs.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at August 21, 2011 10:07 PM

Jimbo... I think there are lineage societies for those. There is one for witches. Mmm... one for tavern owners. I think one for pirates. (Not kidding about any of these.) I'm thinking Horse Thieves prolly fits in there somewhere...

Personally? I wanted to join one for witches, but you kinda have to have your ancestors come from that witchy state. (Mass) Alas... I do not. Dammit.

Posted by: Bou at August 21, 2011 10:11 PM

I love it! What a great idea and what an excellent gift. Way to go TGOO!!!

Of course this all reminds me too much of the opening to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (book 1) and Mr. Prosser. Of course if you haven't read it I will not ruin it. I'll just sit here quietly giggling to myself.

Posted by: Teresa at August 21, 2011 10:11 PM

Love the gift! What a great idea!

Posted by: vwbug at August 22, 2011 05:17 AM

This is probably the awesomest (is that a word?...well, it is now!!) gift to give someone. I'm the genealogist in my family, so this whole thing just rings my chimes. I'm off to look at those kits!!!

Posted by: Peggy K at August 22, 2011 05:59 AM

A look into life's rear view mirror garners appreciation for those who made our world possible. Your thoughts will overflow with questions and curiosity. Our ancestors' challenges seemed insurmountable, but they like us, awoke to a new day. A call from the past is a gift to carry and treasure. Never will Mother's Day mean more to me than now thanks to TGOO!!

Posted by: mom at August 22, 2011 09:27 AM

That's a truly thoughtful gift; he did very well!!

I bought the kit for myself, two steps of it. Probably because I'm adopted. Though I never 'found' anyone I'm biologically related to, it did give me some sense of a family... sounds odd, but my family is who I've chosen. There are people out there I'm actually related to... it's quite a feeling.

I'm haplogroup H. My peeps seem to be mainly from Wales, Germany, Ireland and some nordic country I can never remember. Haven't looked at it in some time but I recall thinking "Vikings!" LOL!

Posted by: pam at August 22, 2011 11:25 AM

What part of PA? I am doing quite a bit of research in the central PA area. I just got back from there yesterday. I believe I just found an ancestor on my mom's side that was in the Revolutionary War. I already have on one my Dad's side. My Grandfather's family came over from the (Austria-Hungry)-Slovak-Russan-Poland (Carpathian Mountain) region in the 1870's. My mom's cousin went over there in the 1970's and met some of the relatives of the siblings that stayed there.

I've always wanted to do the DNA profile. That is way too cool.

Posted by: sticks at August 22, 2011 04:01 PM

... wow, a DNA kit??.... I had no idea that you could even buy things like that!..... very, very cool...

Posted by: Eric at August 24, 2011 08:17 AM