Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Tribute to my Mother on her Birthday

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been seventy-six, if she hadn't died nearly twenty years ago, several months after my first child's birth.

 In commemoration, I'd like to discuss what parents and supportive relatives try to do.

Shakespeare's play Cymbeline is tragedy, and there's lots to be had. Cymbeline's wife dies, one of his sons die, and the mighty Roman empire threatens to take over Cymbeline's kingdom. When Posthumus Leonatus is banished for daring to marry the princess Imogene, then is imprisoned for murder. About to be executed by his enemies, the ghosts of his parents visit him, and begin to rebuke the Roman gods Jupiter and Juno for giving their son such poor treatment in life. Their dialog follows:

Sicilius Leonatus
No more, thou thunder-master, show
Thy spite on mortal flies:
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
That thy adulteries
Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done aught but well,
Whose face I never saw?
I died whilst in the womb he stay'd
Attending nature's law:
Whose father then, as men report
Thou orphans' father art,
Thou shouldst have been, and shielded him
From this earth-vexing smart.
Posthumus' father Sicilius scolds Jupiter, the king of the gods, for neglecting the care of Posthumus from the evils of the world, and not protecting him. Posthumus' mother, who died in childbirth, then rebukes Lucina, or Juno, the queen of the gods, with the following:
Lucina lent not me her aid,
But took me in my throes;
That from me was Posthumus ript,
Came crying 'mongst his foes,
A thing of pity!
Sicilius Leonatus
Great nature, like his ancestry,
Moulded the stuff so fair,
That he deserved the praise o' the world,
As great Sicilius' heir.
Sicilius, as any loving father, praises his son's capacities for greatness, and continues to scold Jupiter.
First Brother
When once he was mature for man,
In Britain where was he
That could stand up his parallel;
Or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best
Could deem his dignity?
Posthumus, previous to this time, had an excellent character, enough to win a princess' heart.
Like Posthumus' parents, ours, generation after generation, plead with God for mercy on their children, as they watch the suffering they experience in life. Isn't this what parents and children, and aunts, uncles, grandparents, and families are for? To root for the coming generations to have a better chance, and to be more happy than the parents' generation?

This reflects thoughts my mother, and her ancestors may have had. I know she definitely pulled for us, her children, working, praying, and trying to help us succeed.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, December 21, 2015

How Much Do We Alter Our Own DNA?

      My paternal-side biological relatives have done a lot of excellent research to discover where our family lived in Herefordshire, back into the 1600s. Although the family surname implies the family paternal lines originally came from the Netherlands, and we all seem to be as stubborn as Dutchmen, we have been so far unable to determine when or where. Was the original ancestor a seafaring trader, was he Frisian, Dutch, Scandinavian, or Jewish?
     British history is filled with many waves of immigration from the Netherlands, generation after generation. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_diasporaas for examples. Weavers, tradesmen, sailors, intermarrying royalty, Hugeonots, and refugees from the Netherlands. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War .
     So I tried to discover family connections by taking a forty-six marker yDNA test that Ancestry.com offered, when I worked there. I found that the yDNA test matches that were closest, if not very close, had ancestors that came from Flanders. In my search for an original ancestor, when I have compared the yDNA test results with other test results, I have found one close match who has a Welsh surname, whose first name spelling leads me to believe he's African-American, and has no information about his paternal ancestry, other than the DNA marker. and have established family trees posted. This means the family line from which I am descended, stemming originally from north Holland, or thereabouts, has had no other members, who tested their DNA, that I was able to discover.
     When I discussed this with friends, they told me that they, too, were unable to find any close matches, even though the tests they took were much more specific. Why are we struggling with this? Don't the DNA test results fall well into the different classifications indicated?
Apparently not. The differences arise, because families' DNA mutates and changes. Considering that the people of every branch of any family can and do have very different lives, is it any wonder mutations occur? Duke University posted the following: http://dukemagazine.duke.edu/article/big-question-can-your-environment-change-your-dna .
     So different diets, lifestyles, diseases, and addictions can change the patterns of DNA expressed in different branches of the same families. I know that the descendants of alcoholics, for example, need to supplement more of the amino acid Taurine. And researchers at the Babraham Institute found that changes in environment alters genetic markers in mice, again, you basically are what you eat and experience. See http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8165/20140721/how-the-environment-affects-our-dna.htm .
     Basically, your markers state that what your ancestors did, experienced, and ate changed the DNA they passed on to you. I remember landing at the Heathrow Airport in London as a nineteen-year-old. I had left Eugene, Oregon, where I had lived for the past seven years, and felt like home. I missed it. Then I subsequently left Salt Lake City in the state of Utah where I was born, and where quite a large number of my ancestors had lived, and that seemed like home to me. But Heathrow, sixteen miles outside of London, England?  That just didn't make sense to me, a nineteen-year-old who knew everything.
     Sure enough, twenty-five years later, there were my English ancestors, at least two lines of them, who were born and resided. One family had the Welsh surname Jenkins, which turned up in London, for at least two, probably more generations. I've been back to London since that time, and wasn't particularly impressed, but it feels like home, even now. Here's a surname distribution map for the name Jenkins, in case you're interested: http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Jenkins.
     Trauma definitely transmits from generation to generation, as the descendants of our Jewish Holocaust friends, neighbors, and relatives have found. See http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/study-finds-ptsd-lingers-body-chemistry-next-generation/. So the many, many experiences our ancestors had accumulate in us, and explain why we have so many interesting health and emotional strengths and challenges.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How Dutch Are You?

      Most of us have some Dutch ancestry. I have spoken with and heard of people in Indonesia, Brazil, New York, Aberdeen Scotland, Sweden, South Africa, and Silesia all having forbears from the Netherlands. My own family lines include names from Herefordshire, England, that indicate ancestry from the Low Countries. And the DNA results nearly match other families from Flanders. Why are they so widespread?  What makes Holland the place to be from for so many people?

The DNA may give some clues. 

    Much of it is for the same reasons we move today. People wanted to get away from the instabilities caused by the military conflicts of the 1500s, when the Dutch Revolt took place. The Dutch in the 1600s tired of dealing with a very urban environment. Later, many Hollanders moved in order to get away from the floods that destroyed much of their country.  Utrecht, in 1674, was struck by a tornado, and the St. Martin's Catholic church was destroyed.

    A lot of why has to do with the Dutch people themselves. They are and have been historically very tolerant of their neighbors, see http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/05/13/the-limits-of-live-and-let-live.html. As with any group of Germanic people, they define what they want as a society, and expect people to live within that definition.

     The second reason is that the Dutch are and are considered to be the most stubborn people in the world. Evidence for this is the number of words for stubbornness and stubborn in Dutch.  I'm not sure this is a good measure. There are 30 synonyms for stubborn, and 16 for stubbornness in English. There are 10 synonymous words for stubbornness, and 19 for the word stubborn: See http://www.interglot.com/dictionary/en/nl/translate/stubbornness. This persistent desire for one's own interest has made them very successful in business, evidenced by the rise of the Vanderbilt and Rockefeller empires, and others, see

The Dutch, according to Wikipedia, used to have a fairly normal sense of humor, which, due to religious reasons, became more understated, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_customs_and_etiquette.

If you want to look up your own ancestry from the Netherlands, here are some useful links: You can join a DNA research group here: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/NetherlandsY

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why I Like Family History

When I tried looking up my own family tree 27 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. 

So why do I enjoy searching for my and others' family histories so much?

All families are beautiful, regardless of race, or whether the family individual meet the norms that society considers aesthetically graceful.

A view of anyone's genealogy gives order to the universe. Why people in any family behave like they do is explained in large measure by where they came from, what they believed, and how they reacted to other members of their societies.

I love to hunt. I'm not happy unless I'm running something down, and getting it.

Why do you like family history? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Racial Purity

While doing research for a friend who has Scottish ancestry, but shows a Slavic (R1a) haplogroup, I began looking for evidence that there were lineages other than the typical I, or Grecian/Mediterranean haplogroup most common in Scandinavia. Swedish researchers have found that about 12% of the population there is of Slavic descent (http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v14/n8/full/5201651a.html), and a similarly large percentage of the population in Norway.

What does this say for racial purity, as traditionally defined by many Germanic traditions?  Nonexistent. Having Slavic, or African ancestry enriches our heritage, and does not either define or detract from it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Have a Website?

A good friend of mine requested some information about how to make his website work better. I researched website designs, color combinations, and hierarchies, and came to the much needed conclusion I needed to ask myself...why am I blogging? The answers, after a little thought, came loud and clear.

1) I love genealogy, and therefore love communicating about it.

2) I want others to see the joy and fun they can get finding out about their ancestors.

3) There are other benefits as well. When you understand your ancestors, you understand yourselves better, and can make even better choices.

Therefore, I have reformatted the website, and will be making other changes, soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Danish And Other Helps

A friend found me reading the Book of Mormon in Polish, and noted, because I was waiting in line for an insurance medical assessment at work, that I had a Norwegian version. So she took her investigation 1 step further, and asked if I could speak Danish. I said, well, I could sort of, and so we have practiced Danish for 10 to 15 minute stretches several times a week. Needless to say, this has got me reading more Danish, so I have something to say without continually slipping into Norwegian, German, Swedish, or some other language.

While exercising my nominal Danish reading skills, I came upon a blog that sums up more available Danish resources, "Finn din slekt i Danmark." Here is a link, for those who can pick their way through an excellent resource: http://genealogi-dk.blogspot.com/2008/01/kart-over-danmark-leter-du-etter-danske.html .

I have posted some of the links on the right side of the blog.

While looking for the Lundene/Knudsen family on Ancestry.com, I discovered about 7 relatives who have posted verified, correct information.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Free Websites

After a long while, I'm back. The LDS Church has posted new websites with huge amounts of data of many varieties.

http://pilot.familysearch.org contains over 300,000,000 names from many international sources as disparate as German parish records in Archangel, Russia to Argentine, Mexican, and Brazilian sources never before available.

http://wiki.familysearch.org allows you to view genealogical websites by country, with many more countries listed, and allowances made to break down the countries geographically. When I found Afghanistan in the list, it was hard not to gape at the attention to detail.

P.S. The Pilot website has now mainstreamed to http://www.familysearch.org/. You can use the original format now as http://classic.familysearch.org/ .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Grateful Reply to Peggy

Hi Peggy, thanks for the information.

It looks to me that we have a match, as far as I can tell. Here is the information that was extracted from several censuses, and a death certificate for my great great grandmother:
Name: Andrew Knudson
State: WI
County: Dane County
Township: Springdale
Year: 1855
Database: WI 1855 State Census Index

In 1855 Andrew shows up in the Wisconsin State Census, in 1860 we Andrew and Olea, and their daughter Ingeborg, who was the first child born in the U.S.. The brothers are all there as well, so the information matches well. Then we see the family in 1870, still in Wisconsin, but without their father. Then Olea is next door to her daughter and son-in-law in 1880 and 1885.

See the images to the left and down:

It fills in very nicely!

Thank you, Peggy!

On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 9:02 AM, Peggy <noreply-comment@blogger.com> wrote:
Peggy has left a new comment on your post "The Thrill of the Hunt - How Thrilling is it?":

I was doing a search for a Anders Knutson Lundene and ran across your blog so thought i would forward what info i have & see if they might be the same.
I haven't run across a birthdate for him. I do have this ...
that he died in a runaway accident in 1867 when his horses bolted and he was thrown from the load.
He is not buried with the rest of his family in Rock Creek Cemetery in Mitchell County Iowa.
His wife name was Olia Knutsdatter Thoen b. Sept. 10, 1821 d. april 8, 1906
i have not found the isabella/ingbor connection ...

i show a son Knut Anderson Lundene
b. May 19, 1844
a son Christofer b. June 21, 1848
and a son Anton A. b. May 14, 1854.
My info shows that Anders & Olia immigrated to America in 1850.
good luck!

Posted by Peggy to The Bloodhound at June 22, 2009 8:02 AM

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Looong Time

It's been way too long, and I've been waay too busy. And I need to update the hound dogs. What is new in the Family History world? I've seen some new groupings for the different haplogroups. The one that currently fascinates me is the G group, which includes Amerindians, Scotch-Irish, and some people of Jewish ancestry. What is the correlation?

That depends on how you look at the different groups of people.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Things

If you are trying to access the links to different websites, you may have noticed that some have moved. I've been finding more and more websites that have pointed me to different sites of interest, and have needed to group them, so they don't become confusing.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Strength From the Past

How our dependence on oil has affected our current attitudes about the state of things in the U.S. and worldwide is interesting to me. Newspapers report a broadening pessimism here and elsewhere. If you think about it, though, your ancestors, every one of them, weathered hardships in the Great Depression and other times. So while the oil companies and financial organizations do what they've always done, profiting from the times, we can, too. And we can gain the strength we need to succeed from God, giving to others, and the stories and situations our forbears suffered to raise their families, and to have meaningful lives.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Clues in the Patterns

Watching family traits perpetuate is a very interesting process. I became aware of these patterns as I researched my own family histories, and began to count recurring patterns of faith, depression, alcholism, divorces, reactions to unstable or stable employment, and how family members perceived leadership. These characteristics can assume physical, spiritual, and behavioral aspects. According to the geneticists, we all inherit our mitochondria from our mothers. Since the mitochondria is the powerhouse of nearly every cell in our bodies, we receive much more than our mother's good looks. We are given their capacities for energy and stamina. So if your mother was able to habitually run marathons, you're probably going to be able to work long hours and not get ill, if you live a fairly healthy lifestyle. If she was easily fatigued, you may have inherited those limitations, too. Of course, the father's 23 chromosomes cannot be discounted, and will affect how much stamina and energy the children will have. And overdoing things will wear out anyone.
Emotional and psychological issues are also passed down. On my mother's side of the family, her ancestors suffered some form of abandonment due to one parent leaving, or divorce, a pattern running to some of my siblings' families. And then there are the parallels of the lives of cousins...ever notice how sometimes the first, second, or last born children in extended families live similar lifestyles, and have similar results?
The depression that my Norwegian forbears often experienced was probably due to the fact they settled in the U.S. Midwest, where they could not longer obtain enough iodine from their diet, causing thyroid weakness. My mother took prescribed doses of thyroid, and, after investigating my own lack of energy, I learned to request it, too. Being alert to unique habits, health conditions, and beliefs can be used to strengthen your current family.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Thrill of the Hunt - How Thrilling is it?

I like looking for lost information. This does not, however, extend itself to lost keys, lost children, or lost vehicles in extensive parking lots. There is an emotional attachment when I'm looking for the above people and objects that makes the situation too difficult. I suppose looking for keys, vehicles and children is so obligatory, and such a have-to situation, that I don't take pleasure in it. Fortunately, every one of these have been found, when missing, and I continue to have the joy of associating with my children.

On the other hand, looking for deceased ancestors, missing persons, herbs and rocks, and coins is a lot of fun for me. I am sufficiently detached enough to find the inevitible discouragement stimulating, and so want to look some more, and the thread of my thoughts continues to reach for the missing information, long after I have temporarily given up looking.

One instance was the family of a purported Isabelle Lundene. I was fortunate to purchase and receive her death certificate from a large U.S. state, and then find her in the 1880 U.S. Census in Rudd, Floyd, Iowa, with her husband, under her married name. Curiously enough, her first name is not listed as Isabelle, but the more distinctly Scandinavian Ingbor. How did I know it was Isabelle? Her husband Ole's surname was the clue, since it was rare and distinctive, more rare than his Norwegian patronymic, Knutson.

Next door is the Lundene Family, by name and age. So this is where Isabelle/Ingbor is from...so why couldn't I find them in 1870 and before? Ingbor, born in Wisconsin, has had 3 children already, and is only 28 years old. What is the next step? Look in another state or federal census.

When I look for Ingbor in 1870, I find her under a different spelling of her first name,Ingebor, age 19, and under the surname Lund. A better clue was her mother's christian name of Olea. Her surname is Lund, similar to Lundene. Why did they change the surname? I don't think Olea spoke very good English at the time. And, Lundene means "The Lunds" in Norewegian. I can visualize some Census enumerator asking questions, and getting the answer "Vi er Lundene" (We are the Lunds). Olea probably had little time to learn English, since she had her hands full with the support of 7 children, and no husband.

On Isabelle's/Ingebor's death certificate, I find her father's name listed as Andrew. Nobody in Norway had that first name, so I surmise it must of been Anders or perhaps the more German Andreas. So who was Olea's husband? Going back to the U.S. 1860 Census, I find nothing under the surname Lund or Lundene. So I pick up the track under Olea's unusual first name, age, marriage to someone with the first name of Andrew, or something like it, and a first born son with the first name of Christoffel. There they are in Wisconsin, with some small discrepancies about the children's names and ages, Ingebor showing up as being 10 years old. And, most surprising, is the Danish-sounding surname of Knudson.

Where do I look next? This one search took me 20 years to accomplish. I need to look for Andrew/Anders and Olea in U.S. or Canadian immigration records, and for Andrew in Norwegian parish records, as possibly the son of Knud or Knut.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Response to Tristi

Tristi wrote the following: "Bloodhound, I have to admit that a lot of this goes over my head. I'm glad you're here as a resource.

Can you walk me through the steps I need to take to find an ancestor's parents? My line just stops with this one man and I don't know his parents' names. How do I take the line back farther?"

Tristi, good questions. You will need to gather the accumulated information you already have about this particular ancestor. Then you will want to pose the following questions to yourself about this ancestor:
When and where was she or he born? Who were the family members? Who were the parents? Were they wealthy, poor, or in between?

Then you will want to look at possible sources. If you know, for example, that your ancestor was born Elizabeth Williams in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales, in the year 1849, you then need to pinpoint her records. What kinds of birth records would be available for her? Where can you find those records?
If she was not born in a family that belonged to a religious denomination that resisted the efforts of the British government and the Church of England to register the family births, marriages, and deaths, you may well find her in the UK BMD or St. Catherine's Register. Here are some websites you can search: Ancestry.co.uk - http://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=8912; StCaths.com - http://www.ukfamilyhistory.co.uk/; and The U.K. BMD - http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/.

There are ways and means of searching these resources, feel free to ask for further tips if an ancestor seems unfindable...no database is perfect, and all indexes have problems.

Then look for he in the U.K. Censuses. Since she was born in 1849, she should be listed with her family of origin in the 1851 and 1861 censuses, if she was not orphaned. If she was, she may be listed with near relatives, or show up in an orphanage or workhouse.

If she moved to the U.S., Canada, or Australia, then she will probably show up in their immigration, vital, and census records. You will want to see if you can find her with her husband and/or children.

If you can find her with her family or origin, or find some mention of the father and/or mother, then you can get some idea of where and how to look back farther. The average father begat his first child at the age of 26; the average mother at the age of 19. So you can "guesstimate" backward. Knowing the ages of siblings will give you more accurate information, since Elizabeth's father probably wasn't 26 years old at Elizabeth's birth if she was the 8th of 9 children!

Then you can look up her parents in the congregational or parish, or commercial records that are available in the area, in order to begin to get some idea of who they were. Repeat the process for them that you did for Elizabeth.