Wednesday, March 15, 2006

DNA - Put on a Happy Face

Today on NPR I heard an amazing story. Paul Rothemund, from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena can create a DNA smiley.

DNA is a biochemical memoir. The genetic combinations which make you who and what you are were contributed by your parents, who got theirs from their parents and so on, all the way back to the beginnings of time. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could 'read' that memoir and learn all about our ancestors - back to the very beginning - whether that was a sludge in a pool of primordial water or Father Adam and Mother Eve? Right now that's not possible - so you have to figure out things about your ancestry from other sources.

Some families are fortunate - they've got a lot of clues lying around or hanging on the walls - diaries, letters, portraits of ancestors (assuming they weren't picked up at a estate sale). Perhaps someone in the family has spent years tracing their genealogy (that could be me, someday - I'm quite fascinated).

What do I know about my ancestry? My father left his family at 17, joined the Air Force. Due to geography, as well as issues he had with his father, we weren't close to them at all. I have a lot of cousins - I don't know how many and I couldn't tell you a name or location of any of them. I've seen one aunt recently - she came to my daughter's graduation last June. Last time I saw anyone else was at my grandmother's funeral in the early 90s. My mother was an only child and her family is a bit more known to me because I inherited my maternal great grandmother's family Bible. Gramma wrote some birthdates and death dates and kept some clippings in it. I also have a very brief journal she wrote in 1969 when she was 78.

So when I saw this quiz on a friend's LiveJournal and did it, it set me off on this particular pondering about how Irish am I really? I may never know.

By the way, when I did this quiz to post on LiveJournal it gave me a 75% - then I went back to do it again to post here - answered exactly the same way and got the results below. Yep, very scientific test. *grin*

You're 80% Irish

Congratulations, you're a shining example of an Irish lass (or lad).
There's hardly anyone more Irish than you!

My apologies to anyone on LJ who has subbed to my RSS feed - I know this part is a duplicate post - even if the results are different. (Isn't he a cutie? - could be a cousin of mine!)

Again, I wonder, how Irish am I, really?

My father is Irish on both sides going all the way back, as far as I can tell, from what he's told me of his family. I think they arrived in the US in the mid-1800s. I was never really clear on my mom's geneology, either - both her mother and father had families that supposedly had been early settlers in the US originating in Wales.

Her father was a Shelby and I recall a claim that he was related to the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Isaac was decended from Evan Shelby, Sr. of Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales and emigrated to the US in about 1734 where his son, Isaac, was born (data from Martha's MyTree geneology site).

My maternal great grandfather was named Corwin and was born in the late 1800's. His mother was a Hardenduft. My maternal great grandmother was a Hamilton born in 1891 and her father's entire family was wiped out by a cholera epidemic. My maternal great grandmother's mother was a Van Winkle born approx. 1870 who died shortly after Gramma was born.

Further than that I'm not certain of the history. There was a letter I read long ago, which was sent to my mother from a distant cousin, saying the first Corwin to emigrate to the US was a doctor from Wales who came over in the late 1600's. There was a Corwin in President Fillmore's cabinet (Secty of the Treasury) and Minister to Mexico appointed by Abraham Lincoln, that the family also claims. Oh, Jill, he was a well known Whig politician from Ohio - know anything about him? (just kidding)

While all this is (maybe) interesting to the genealogy buffs in my family, I'm sure it's not riveting for you. Anyway, based on this it appears that I'm a lot Gaelic but only half Irish.

Meanwhile, back to the present day, my new bed won't be delivered until Friday because that's the only day I could work from home for the delivery. I did go buy some really nice new Ralph Lauren sheets at Marshall's tonight - I hope the 'deep pockets' on the fitted bottom sheet are deep enough.

I also have all but one of my St. Patrick's day cards mailed - mostly on Monday, two more today. The one 'straggler' was an address I finally found after diligent searching in all the piles of stuff in my office - I shall be writing my sincere regrets that I didn't the card sent in time for it to be delivered on St. Patrick's day - barring a miracle with postal delivery that gets it across the country in one day.

I'm looking forward to using my special St. Paddy's day AV on AW - it should amuse the folk there. My LJ friends have gotten a sneak peek.

I know that two people have done the Monday Meme, has anyone else? I thought it might be funny so I did it. It won't be hard to figure out what song I chose, (or why I chose it) either:

I close my eyes, only during one moment and the moment which went to.
All my dreams, race in front of my eyes, of curiosity.

A dust in the wind, all which are it, dust in the wind am.

The same old woman song, precisely a drop of the water of a sea without end.
All us, zerbroeckeln (decay of stones into compact fragments) on the ground, although we to reject to see

Wiping him in the wind, all which we are not a dust in the wind.

Are additional now you, nothing lasts for always but the mass and the sky.
Which slip far him and your whole money do not become other minuzioeser (cannot find translation) a purchase.

Wipe in the wind, all which we are a dust in the wind.
Dust in the wind are, all are a dust in the wind.

, , ,


Jill said...

Not thing, Ms. Dawno! But then,as I so often like to point out, not only aren't from Ohio, but I'm also 1/2 second generation Polish. Ohio is a STRANGE creature, to be sure, but I'm still here. Guess I'm strange too?

D.T. Kelly said...

All we are is dust in the Wind. :)

Kira Connally said...

If you ever decide to pick up the genealogy trail, I'd be glad to help. I wrote a book on mine a couple years ago. Fascinating stuff.

Dawno said...

Thanks Kira - it's a deal! Hi Dan - folks, go read his site. Good stuff and to die for title. Jill, my maternal family has many roots in Ohio but I've never lived there - just knowing about my family leads me to agree that the state (at the least) breeds strange people... :-)

Cookie said...

I am so impressed/jealous that you know so much of your family's history. Between a father born on the wrong side of the blanket back when that kind of thing was a huge deal and a maternal line what wasn't sure when they arrived in the US, I'm kind of SOL on the whos and wheres.

Can't wait for that bed to arrive!

Dawno said...

Hi Cookie! It's all relative, isn't it (and that pun wasn't intentional *sigh*) I'm thinking I don't know much at all about my heritage, but I guess I know a lot.

I can't wait for the bed to get here either - they called and said between 5 - 7 pm tonite :-)

Cookie said...

Yes, I think it is. *L*

Harder still when you're talking about countries that have been invaded repeatedly over the years. I think the only one that didn't land in Mexico at some point were the Irish. *L*

Yay for beds!