2017 Reflections

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Family Genealogy

2017 Reflections

2017 Reflections: how could something that seemed at times to drag on end so quickly? Maybe it was like the brevity of the reflection of the Sandias in the Rio Grande near sunset, on a beautiful day spent with friends Tim and Laurie:

2017 reflections
Sunset Reflections on the Rio Grande

New Year’s Eve also brings my mother’s birthday. Today she turned 98 years old. In December I got a little into genealogy after buying a DNA test kit at a low price on Black Friday. Playing a bit with family trees, I found my mother has a third Great-grandmother who was born in 1782 and lived into 1887. My mother is very competitive, and is determined to outdo this relative in terms of longevity!

2017 reflections
My Mom on Her 98th Birthday

DNA is interesting. I’ll spend time in 2018 figuring out how I’m “49% Irish-Scotch-Welsh-British” when I thought for sure I was 75% German. At the moment I have 465 “matches”of fourth cousins or closer (I don’t know who all these people are!). Additionally, two of those are third cousins I feel like I should have known but even my mother had not heard of. DNA does not lie!

Reflections on Roses: In 2017 The ARS Board of Directors, approved Rules and Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography. I have posted a series of PowerPoint Presentations for this at Southwest Desert Gardening. The series is also posted at rose.org That was a nine-year commitment, much of it spent swimming upstream! Was it worth it? I’m still reflecting on that.

Photography in 2017: I exhibited locally this year, at ANMPAS in April, the Corrales Fine Arts Show in October 2017, and Shades of Gray in December 2017.

I did a couple of series as well. “Insects amongst the Flowers: A Microcosm of Life, Work, and Death” was a lot of fun! (Click on the link to see the series.)

As always, Light was a favorite subject. Crepuscular rays continue to fascinate me. Here is a slideshow of crepuscular rays in 2017:

If you would prefer to just look at the images, you may view the gallery here.

The last moon of 2017, not quite full, gives of hint of the beauty to come in 2018!

2017 reflections
Last Moon of 2017

Tomorrow, January 1, 2018 the moon will be a full super moon. Even more exciting is the Super Blood Red Blue Moon that will occur on January 31. Here in Albuquerque, totality will occur in very early morning and in a part of the sky for which I do not have a clear view. I’m going to spend some time figuring out how can get a good view and stay relatively warm. 🙂 )))))))))) (The Blood Red Moon of 2015 was at a convenient time, and I could sit on my back porch eating strawberries and drinking tea while photographing it. Not this next one…)

As 2017 fades away, 2018 promises much to enjoy.

Finally, I would like to thank Oli Robbins for a very kind biographical narrative in the Sandoval Signpost. It was a great end to 2017.

Wishing each of you an enjoyable, calm, peaceful New Year, full of joy. ~ Susan

Epiphany: Corrales, Cranes, Migrations

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Family Genealogy

Epiphany: Corrales, Cranes, Migrations

Sunrise, January 6, 2018

Epiphany has multiple meanings. Today, January 6, is a day some Christians celebrate as the day the Three Kings visited the Baby Jesus. In Spain, Epiphany is known as Dia de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day. Having lived in Spain, the Prices celebrate Reyes with an open house, featuring Spanish Chocolate. Yum…

I got to go out a little early today, the plan being photography of cranes and “pink.” Although we make plans for these times, most often things present themselves in their own way. Today was no different. The afternoon was overcast. It is not cold today, nor is it windy. But, it looks like winter. There would be no pink this evening. Driving into Corrales, I saw the cranes already headed for the river. We got out just as the sun was beginning to set.

Cranes Against a Winter Sky

Although it seems the cranes just arrived, within a month, most will be gone, headed north on their annual migration. While thinking about that, my thoughts turned to that of human migrations, most specifically that of my ancestors, in a sense a kind of epiphany. Although I had given very little thought to that most of my life, I’ve spent the holidays building family trees. Ancestry has a lot of information. FamilySearch has many resources that are free. Eventually I may want to order copies of some documents. Not far from where I live is an LDS center. I can pay for ordered documents there.

My Family’s Migrations

Do I really have a boat load of Irish ancestors? Surprisingly, yes, I do. On my father’s side a 5th Great grandfather is
Archibald McKaughan Sr.
Birth 1715 • County Antrim, Provence Ulster, Ireland
Death 1793 • Pennsylvania, Somerset, Pennsylvania, United States
and he married my 5th Great grandmother
Rebecca Boyd
Birth 1716 • County Antrim, Glass Island, Ireland
Death 1816 • Jackson, Madison, Tennessee, United States
while they were still in Ireland.
They arrived in Lancaster, PA in 1747.
His line can be traced back to his grandfather, William,
Birth 1638 • Ireland
Death 1692 • Ireland

A 4th Great grandfather on my father’s side is
William Simpson
Birth 1765 • Templepatrick, Antrim, Ulster, Ireland
Death 9 NOV 1834 • Hardeman, Tennessee, United States
In 1789 he married my 4th Great grandmother, Mary Frances Moore, who was born in the US in S Carolina. I have not yet been able to trace her lineage back.

There are more Irish, and I found one person from the Netherlands and one from France. Most, but not all of my German ancestors seem to have come fairly recently (late 1800’s).

I still have a lot more work to do (until I get bored). DNA doesn’t lie. I had no idea I had all these Irish ancestors nor that so many of my ancestors were colonists. Perhaps most of all, I was surprised that my family echoes much of the way parts of this country were built. Growing up, virtually all of my relatives were in San Antonio and the Hill country of Texas. As a result, I guess I thought that when they immigrated here, they just went straight to Texas. 🙂 ))))))))) No. Most formed part of the Great Westward Migration. Especially relevant are these maps of my ancestors through time:

migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1700-1750
migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1750-1800
migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1800-1850
migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1850-1900
migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1900-1950
migration epiphany
Location of Known Ancestors, 1950-2000

I do have German Great grandparents on both sides who did, indeed, go straight to Texas. Both German great grandfathers were born in 1858, and left, so far, no traces of their roots in Germany. My father always said his grandfather changed his name when he came here, and I wonder if the same is true of my other Great grandfather. I’ll still keep looking for records for a bit, but not forever.

Talking with Laurie, I learned for the first time she has relatives who settled in Fredericksburg, TX, and have since spread out to parts of West Texas such as Lubbock and Midland-Odessa. It makes me wonder if we don’t share some distant cousins, perhaps.

This just scratches the surface of what has appeared from a simple DNA test done just for fun when the kit was on sale this past Black Friday. I’ve only done direct lines so far, and not bothered researching the siblings of all these people. I have not purchased copies of original documents, although there are one or two I might. It has also raised some questions I may not ever be able to answer. I’ll keep working on it until I reach the point the process becomes boring. However, I am very happy I have learned this much.

Epiphany 2018 was filled with thought of migrations of birds and people.

DNA Does Not Lie

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Family Genealogy

DNA Does Not Lie

DNA does not lie. Watson and Crick published their Model of the structure of DNA only in the 1950’s. Fascination with the Watson-Crick model was a major reason my mother chose to major in Biology, especially genetics. Once Kary Mullis developed the Polymerase Chain Reaction for amplifying DNA in vitro rather than in vivo, we began to see DNA used everywhere. It has rewritten everything I learned about the history of human migrations as an undergraduate in Anthropology. In my Ob/Gyn practice, I saw it used to document paternity. It is used to follow response to the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI’s) used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia. A variety of forensic tests rely on it. DNA testing has become inexpensive enough that many people can do it just for fun, as I did. Keep in mind, DNA does not lie.

First, a few recent photographs. 🙂

DNA  cranes
Cranes Flying to the River at Sunset in Winter
DNA sunflower seed heads
Sunflower Seed Heads in the Bosque at Corrales

Those were both taken on a cloudy day, January 6. Even in winter, New Mexico produces some spectacular colors. This was sunrise on January 15:

winter sunrise
Winter Sunrise

Back to DNA

You have read my response to “ethnicity by DNA.” I need to back track. The report said “30% Ireland-Scotland-Wales” and “19% Great Britain.” Since I knew I had no ancestors (or very few) from Great Britain, I just collapsed those into “49% Irish-Scots-English.” I guess I temporarily overlooked the fact that DNA does not lie. I’ll come back to that.

Next, I looked at how my ancestors migrated west over time. I enjoyed that. I’ve played with making sourdough bread with just water, flour, and salt, plus sourdough starter that has just flour and water. I started the starter on January 1, and the recipe said within 7 days it should be ready to use. Fortunately, a lot of comments said to give it more time. On the 11th, the mixture suddenly blossomed and smelled heavenly. Now I’m having fun with sourdough bread that really does taste good, has a soft interior, and a chewy crust. You know, “getting in touch with your roots.” 🙂 )))))

sourdough bread
Sourdough Bread

Really grasping your DNA is like peeling back an onion. I started looking at “DNA Matches.” A second cousin on my mother’s side is an expert genealogist, and he had already worked out a lot of that tree. It all made sense. Everyone was who they said they were, the records said the same thing, and the DNA matched. You know, the kind of boring, but reassuring, stuff I had expected. My father’s father and his parents had all died before I was born. So I never knew actual people on my father’s father’s side.

Growing up I spent time on trips to Texas with my father’s mother and sister, my great aunt, and, of course, my cousins. I heard bits and pieces of this and that, but most of it didn’t mean anything to me. I think my mother still remembers most of the bits and pieces 😉 Interestingly, my father’s mother’s mother was a midwife. The only person who told me that was the wife of a cousin, because my great grandmother had delivered her mother. I still do not know why none of my direct relatives told me that important little fact about my great grandmother. The relationships in my DNA matches just weren’t right. An “uncle” really wasn’t by DNA. A “first cousin” really wasn’t by DNA. I finally figured out that my grandmother and her sister had to have had different fathers.

My mother said that right after she and my dad got married, she was at my grandmother’s one day when some ladies were visiting – Martindale ladies. My mother was told never to say anything to my great aunt about the Martindale ladies being there.

What the DNA Had to Say

The internet can be great for genealogical research. My grandmother was born in Martindale, TX, a town founded in 1853 by a Nancy Martindale. I started looking for any relationship of Martindales with my great grandmother, Mary McKaughan. These tantalizing hints started appearing, and all ended with “to see this image, you need to go to an LDS Resource Center or Library.” Well, that’s just great, I thought to myself. It seemed like Mary McKaughan had been “scrubbed” from anything easily accessible. Finally I checked to see where the nearest resource center was – less than 5 stop lights from my house!! It is open only for 1.5 hours four days a week. All the resources are free for anyone to use, and an LDS member is there to help with computer questions, searching questions, etc. They want you to find your ancestors, and they were very helpful to me. The first night I found the marriage license and certificate for Mary McKaughan and Benjamin Martindale, December 10, 1882, Guadalupe County, Texas. I actually thought it was quite beautiful. It came as news to all my living relatives, as well as to me.


So, my biologic great grandfather turned out to be Benjamin Franklin Martindale, and my great great great grandmother, none other than Nancy Martindale herself. And that is where all the Great Britain in my DNA Ethnicity Profile comes from. And, with that knowledge, my Ethnicity and DNA matches suddenly made perfect sense.

Things didn’t end particularly well back in Texas. My grandmother was born in mid-September 1886, and in late October 1886 Benjamin Franklin Martindale married another woman and had a daughter with her in July 1887. I don’t think old Ben was a much better husband to that wife than he had been to my great grandmother. But one thing I know has to be true, because DNA does not lie – Ben had to be severely colorblind; that’s where my father and son inherited it. Half the sons of his daughter by the second wife are statistically likely to be severely colorblind.

The town of Martindale today is dead, just not quite dead enough to be considered a real Texas ghost town. I don’t know if, in 2018, the town remains dry.
Martindale, Texas

Martindale, Texas: Dead-but-Not-Quite-Enough-to-be-a-Ghost-Town

I’ve never been there, and have no plans to go there. I relate much more to the old German towns.

I still have questions from my DNA, but I *think* most of the major ones are now somewhat settled. I did the DNA test just for fun. I knew DNA does not lie. I just did not know how many lies would be uncovered. I’m glad I did it. Would I advise other people to do it casually? Only if you are prepared to accept what you find, because DNA does not lie!

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