Tuesday, February 28, 2012

23andMe DNA Results

I’ve hesitated writing a post about my 23andMe.com DNA results until I could understand them better, but then I thought why keep what I do know to myself. Who knows when I’ll get this all figured out. I might as well share some of the results. I’ve told various people bits and pieces of the results, but then I forget what I’ve told to whom.

I’ve been wanting to take a DNA test for a long time for genealogy. I was intrigued by 23andMe’s Ancestry Painting that they do by looking at your 22 biparental chromosomes, called autosomes. I ordered a kit this past December. I even got a promotional discount which paid for the shipping. The kit was shipped out quickly and I received it in just a few days. As soon as it arrived, I did the test and mailed it out a day or so later. Instead of cheek scrapings with a swab, you collect saliva in a plastic tube. (Ok, you spit in a tube. A lot. Not the most pleasant thing to do.) They notified me via email that they received my kit on January 5. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for processing. It took less than 7 weeks, but I was starting to get impatient around week 5. I received my results last week.

My results show that my maternal line is Haplogroup R0 which is 35,000 years old. It includes the regions of the Near East, northern Africa, and Western Eurasia. Populations include Saudi Arabs, Yemeni Jews, and Bedouin. I’m subgroup HV0. I’m 100% European, and according to the Global Similarity, I most closely resemble Norwegians. I’m also close to Orcadians who live in the Orkney Islands off of the northern coast of Scotland.

I started getting genome-sharing emails from a few people right away. I’ve accepted all of them. I’m ready to find some cousins and maybe solve some ancestor mysteries! I’ve sent only a few invitations so far to share genomes, but I’ll keep working through the list of 966 relatives until I’ve invited all of them. I’m sure not everyone will respond, and some probably won’t.

One of the people that I sent an invitation to emailed me back to say I am the closest match in autosomal DNA he has had with someone that he didn’t already know! 23andMe says our predicted relationship is 3rd cousin which means we probably share great, great grandparents. We’ve exchanged emails and ancestors. We are intrigued by our close match. I’m going to ask my mother to take a DNA test so I can see on which side this cousin and I are related. (Hi Mom! Will you take a DNA test for me, please? I’ll order the kit.) That will narrow down whether this match is on my maternal or paternal side. 

The 23andMe blog has a few posts that explain several ways to explore your test results. I found these very helpful as I felt lost at first. I’ve learned from some of my newly found cousins, too.

In filing out ones profile, 23andMe asks you to list your surnames. This is helpful, too, in figuring out how you are related to someone. I’ve listed many of my surnames but not all. I even noted the full name of my earliest American Pendleton ancestor plus the full names of a few other ancestors. One of my newly found cousins and I discovered we are related through two different lines on my paternal side. One line goes back to a 6th great grandparent that we both share, and the other does back to a 4th great grandparent that we share. How cool is that?

I’ll keep you posted, especially if this helps solve any family mysteries!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Family Recipe Friday–Cheese Straws

I think every Southern woman, of at least my mom’s generation, has a favorite cheese straw recipe. My mom used to make them for parties and holiday celebrations. I’ve always loved them, and I would eat too many. They’re habit forming like eating potato chips—at least in my humble opinion. I haven’t had any in years. Do people make them anymore? I don’t know if they’ve fallen out of favor or maybe people got tired of them. Food trends change.

Cookbook cover
Several years ago (actually, many, many years ago), my Aunt Catherine (Redles) gave me a cookbook for writing down and collecting favorite recipes. She included several recipes from our Roberts side of the family, and I filled it with even more recipes. I still have this cookbook. Here’s the front cover. I love the 70s look of it.
A couple of the recipes she included were for Cheese Rings and Cheese Straws. No matter what you call them, they are delicious! Oh dear. Writing about this and reading the recipe is making me crave them. I’m a cheese lover and I love Cheese Straws! Below is one of these recipes.

Cheese Rings
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 stick butter
2 cups cake flour (sift before measuring)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper

Cream butter. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and flour. Can use a cookie press or roll the dough out and cut into strips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

It seems that my mom always used a cookie press. I remember watching her in the kitchen squeezing the dough into shapes with it. When she wasn’t looking, I would sneak a few samples after they came out of the oven. I don’t remember ever making these myself. I could always count on eating some at my mom’s.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Miss Emma’s Kindergarten

Kindergarten writing my name Catherine
I began Stevens School kindergarten in Valdosta, Georgia, in 1959 just before I turned five. My teacher was Mrs. Stevens, but we called her Miss Emma.  Miss Emma’s mother “Miss Esther” was helping her out at the time.  The kindergarten was in the back of Miss Emma’s house on Oak Street, across from Valdosta State University. I loved going there.  I learned the usual things back then—the alphabet, how to count, and how to write my name.  I remember writing my name in the paper above and putting the stickers on it.  (I apparently have always had a thing for butterflies. They’ve tended to crop up every now and then as a motif throughout my life.)  I remember writing the “C” backwards and being sent back to the table to correct it. 

We learned songs, had art instruction, and went on field trips.  One field trip that I distinctly remember was to the Sunbeam Bakery in Thomasville, Georgia, because I had to ride all the way back to Valdosta with a pack of cinnamon buns sitting on my lap and try not to eat them.  It was torture.  I knew I would be in big trouble with my mother if I ate them. We were getting back to town just before noon which was when kindergarten was over, and this was lunch time at our house.  I don’t remember when I finally got to eat them.

Miss Emmas Kindergarten Class Catherine
Above is my kindergarten class.  Miss Emma is on the left holding her son Mark, and Miss Esther is on the right.  I’m in the second row from the back, third kid from the right.  I look like I’m talking!  I went all through school with most of these students.

I remember that Miss Emma had some rabbits in a cage on the playground, and she would let us play with them sometimes.  I remember kids being everywhere!  When one of my front baby teeth fell out, I learned how to spit water out of the space that was left like the boys were doing.  What an accomplishment! 

Shirt Catherine at Work
For a paint smock for art, my mom took one of my dad’s shirts, cut most of the length of the sleeves off, and sewed an applique on the back to look like me!  The girl in the applique is even wearing a dress made out of the same fabric of a dress that my mom made for me. As you can see, I still have this shirt. It barely fits me now. My dad was thin way back then. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.

I really enjoyed kindergarten as far as I can remember. I only have good memories of it, and I really liked Miss Emma and Miss Esther. Then it was off to first grade in Miss Dekle’s class at Sallas Mahone Elementary that used to be on Patterson Street but has since been torn down.


P.S. I just discovered a Facebook page called “I Was One of Miss Emma’s Kindergarten Students.” There are only two members at the moment. It will be three if they approve me. If anyone that went to kindergarten there (or even if you didn’t) would like to join the group, click the title above. Here’s a Valdosta Daily Times article from 2011 about Miss Emma. She did more than teach kindergarten.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday—John Taylor Roberts

J T Roberts1

My maternal great grandfather John Taylor Roberts (1850-1920). He and his family lived in the house we call the Big House (the J.T. Roberts House) in Valdosta, Georgia.