Monday, May 18, 2015

Tika & Mary Ethel Leverich Oswald, 1886-1967

Tika wants to teach us today about the value of writing down your family stories. This story is about my hubby's grandmother.  He always remembers the story told to him by his mother, Esther Mary, about the time she was a pre-teen and her grandaunt, Sarah Esther Leverich, came to visit the family on the farm near Spokane. Esther tells how each child recieved a shiny silver dollar from "Aunt Doll" as she was called. Esther carried hers to the outhouse (when nature called) and accidently dropped her prize down the hole. She was mortified and told nobody......... at least at the time. Stories! How wonderful.

Mary Ethel Leverich, born in the middle of a sweltering July day in 1886 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois, was the first child of a prosperous merchant farmer.  When she was 25, in 1901, she did what many well-bred young ladies of the time did: she took a trip out west. She did not go alone (heavens!) but was accomplanied by her maiden aunt, Sarah Esther Leverich, only nine years her senior.

They traveled by train and Mary Ethel kept a diary. The train made a long stop in Gardiner, Montana, where the two ladies boarded a stagecoach for a tour of Yellowstone Park. They went through this large stone arch, planned at the time to be the official gateway to the park.

We have a photo of the ladies standing beside their stagecoach in front of the Yellowstone Park Lodge. Likely there was no other lodging available.

Back on the train, there is an entry in her diary that reads, "Met Mr. Oswald in the dinner line on the train."

John Peter Oswald and Mary Ethel Leverich were married on 21 July 1911 in her hometown, Danville, Illinois, and immediately returned to the west. They first lived a short time in Butte, Montana, and then settled in the northeast suburb of Spokane, Washington, called Hillyard. John Peter worked for the railroad and that's where the plant was that crafted the engines and was also a major railroad hub.

In late 1912 when Mary Ethel was expecting their first child, the family story went that she wanted to raise her children on a farm as she had been raised. As I delved further into the history of Spokane, I learned that the "White Death" (tuberculosis) was rampant in most all American cities and Spokane was no exception. I think Mary Ethel and John Peter chose to move to the far west side of Spokane on a section of land whichw as then far out of the city.

Mary Ethel lived in the home they made for 55 years (or nearby with her daughter) until her death in 1967. (John Peter died in 1946.) Together they raised five children: Esther Mary, Ralph Eugene, Dorothy Rose, Gilbert Leverich, and John Myron "Mike." All lived, grew and thrived and their descendants now number many.

My hubby and I now live about three miles from the old farmstead and we drive by there often. It is still owned by a member of the family. Nice warm-fuzzy memories.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tika & Learning New Things

No matter that she looks bright-eyed and eager to learn, Tika really does not care too much about genealogy or family history. I think that's because all she knows is that she was born in Idaho. Not much to go on, poor dogger.

But I try. As she snuggles beside me in our chair, I talk to her and tell her about some of the new things I'm learning........ and boy, oh boy, are there new things to be learned and new opportunities from Ancestry.

First is Ancestor Discoveries.  Assuming you've taken an Ancestry DNA test, just log into your Ancestry account, go to the DNA tab and check your DNA homepage. If you have a New Ancestor Discovery, it will show up on your results page!  Basically, what's happening is that Ancestry is searching all their databases ("real" data and family trees) and finding matches for you within these databases. But with Ancestry being one of the industry giants in databases, isn't this a good thing?

Second is Ancestry Academy.  "Watch. Learn. Discover. Self-paced courses from the experts." This is a FREE opportunity from Ancestry! Chose from a long list of these courses (usually 45-60 minutes in length) and settle down (with your dogger at your side) for some genealogy learning. I won't list all the course topics here. Just ask Grandma Google (who knows everything) for Ancestry Academy and start learning.

Don't be a "dogger-head" and care not for new opportunities for genealogy learning........ unless of course you've completed (and documented) your entire family tree. "Unlikely," Tika snorts.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tika & Our Family's Very Special Rocks

These "sponge rocks" have, for over 80 years, been important to my family. In the early 1930s, my mother lived with her parents in St.Louis, Missouri. (She always pronounced it St. Lois.) Her father, my grandfather, worked in a print shop and hated it; he hated being indoors all day long. Weekends, he would putter in his urban back yard and he built a fish pond there. He rimmed the edge with these large pieces of "sponge rock."

Mom remembers going out to Rock Hollow (they called it) somewhere near but outside of the city. There they could spend a picnic day and gather rocks for the fishpond.

In the 1940s, my grandparents moved from St. Louis to near Kalamazoo, Michigan, to live on very small Pickerel Lake. Oh, did Grandpa enjoy living on that lake! They took the sponge rocks with them and they formed my grandmother's flower bed.

Upon her death in 1987, my Mom hauled the rocks back to Spokane, Washington, and they've been around her favorite lilac bush for these past 28 years. Upon Mom's passing in 2014, the rocks were mine and now they reside in a space near the garage entry where I walk past them several times a day. (The brown insulator was added to show the scale of the rocks.)

To this day I don't know where "Rock Hollow" was, but doing a Google search I did find a Rock Hollow (bicycle) Trail as part of the Meremec River Greenway. I'm sure today it would be a tremendous legal offense to haul rocks from this spot but back in the 1930s it was wilderness and unprotected.

And my grandfather, then my mother, and now me, are committed to protecting these very special rocks.

Tika is duly appreciative; she totally ignores them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tika & Hair Art

As I was combing a (grumpy) Tika the other day, I mused about something I had just read (refer to below). The lesson-booklet stated that "human hair was not the only kind of hair that was utilized. Hides of domestic and wild animals were saved so that their hair could be used for many different utilitarian purposes." Further down in the article was this:  "The hair of rabbits, dogs, goats and woodchurcks was valued (to use)." 

The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) is an organization for female desdendants of the Utah pioneers, those hardy souls who entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1846 (or something close.... I do not qualify so am a bit fuzzy on the details).  The group publishes a reqular lesson (more like a little booklet) and the Lesson for April 2012 was titled "Hair Art." It was most interesting!

"Pioneer women in the 1800s were quick to adopt and enjoy crafts that would beautify their homes. Hair art, which had been popular in Europe from the 1400s through the 1800s, was one of the ways that the women decorated their walls with pictures made from  the hair of members of their families, friends, famous people and sometimes from members of organizations. Hair was also used in memorial jewelry and for personal adornment." 

"During the Utah pioneer era (and I know that this was done all over Victorian America), a lady seldom cut her hair. However, during the time that hair craft was popular, most ladies collected hair from their brushes and stored it in a "hair receiver," a small container that they kept on their dressing tables. When enough hair was saved, the flowers for the wreaths and other projects could be made by securing the hair with fine wire over a rod and then creating a series of loops and forming the shape that was wanted: Leaves, petals, buds or complete flowers."  

Don't think I would have the patience for such art. And with women's hair much shorter these days, seems to me it would be impossible. And Tika's short red hair/fur would most certainly be impossible!  

"Yep, I agree," mused Tika as she cheered up when I put the comb away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tika & DNA (and free book!)

It seems these days that all the buzz in the genealogy world has to do with DNA research..... how to test and how to interpret and use the tests. There are endless articles, webinars, blogs, and books all being made available to help teach us how to use this new tool in our geneaology toolbox.

In the May-June 2015 issue of FamilyTree Magazine, there was an offer that was too good to ignore. On page 3, there was an ad for a "FREE DOWNLOAD" of a booklet of past articles from FT Magazine. Jump Into Genetic Genealogy; Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries is the title of this compilation and it's made available from FamilyTree University.

To download your free copy, your free e-book, copy and paste this impossible link:  

I printed out my copy (shame on me, I know) and with my eveing tea will study it thoroughly.

Tika is excited too.  "Aren't there DNA studies for dogs"  I did some online research and of course there are DNA tests for dogs............ this particular one is available from Walmart for $69.00!

Tika is a clear-cut case of she looks like a dachshund, she digs holes like a dachshund and she gives kisses like a miniature dachshund, so I'm going to assume that she is a dachshund.  No DNA test for Tika, sorry.

Have you DNA tested your dog?  Would love to hear about it, if so!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tika & Foreign Potty Stops

Having been blessed to travel to many parts of the world, I'll have to say that the Chinese and Taiwanese have the most interesting pottys. I was holding Tika on my lap as we looked at this pictures and her only comment was "How about #2 in the squatty??"  I had no answer for her.

Taiwanese according to Google translate?

Using this "squatty potty" is way harder than you might think, especially
for older Caucasian ladies whose knees don't bend that low easily.  

Seat covers, and sometimes TP, you had to fetch before
you entered the stall. 

In the 7-11s, TP was sold (for homes) like this. 

At least in most bigger tourist places, you had a choice!

The hotels had these fancy pottys with warmed seats
and two sprays of cleaning water jets......... to much, eh!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tika Learns About Differences

A fellow member taught us in a meeting a valuable lesson. No, Tika was not there in the public library, but I told her all about it.

His grandparents had lived in Texline, Dallam County, Texas. So he went searching and found a 19-page pamphlet published in 1906 about this bitty place. Bingo!

The lesson is where he found the booklet. Here's where he looked:  --  nope  --  yes, for sale for $25  --  yes, for sale for $30
Google Books  --  referred him to other book selling websites  --  Bingo!

The lesson that Doug taught us that day is this:  Do not look just in one place to seek out information that you hope or know or even suspect might be out there. Keep looking.... there are a good dozen of places to search.

Tika was on my lap when I was searching out images of Texline.  "Nope. Not for me," she sniffed. "I'm from Idaho where there are TREES!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tika & Taiwan Cemeteries

"Handy Man" and I were lucky enough to be able to spend ten days touring Taiwan in March 2015. We missed our Tika but we had a wonderful learning experience.

In an island country the size of Connecticut with a population matching that of Australia, you'd expect to see many cemeteries and we surely did! Weedy-overgrown ones, tidy-tended ones, hillside ones...coming right down to the highway.... Buddhist ones and a few Christian ones.... and one all by itself in a plowed field.

April 5th is the Chinese New Year and on that date families will come to their ancestral graves to clean them up......... as this man is getting a head start on doing.

Loved ones are buried facing west because, I was told, they are "facing the life to come."

Thought you might enjoy these photos I took since all genealogists are interested in cemeteries.

Tika is not a bit interested in cemeteries unless she can wander around (on leash) in one while I take photos.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tika & Hair Styles

When I travel my attention is always grabbed by the wonderful and different hairstyles that I spot on folks.......... and Tika enjoys my telling her about them all when I return. Here are some recent pix:

Very lovely and pretty fun, eh?  Tika did whisper in my ear that "my hair is prettier than those!" For a dachshund, yes, but for a person??  Silly Tika.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tika & Serendipity Friday Genealogy

Tika quite enjoys it when we snuggle into our blue chair and I read to her. Recently I was reading some of the copies and information that I brought home from RootsTech. She smiled when I read this first bit.......... but I really think she was saying, "So what? Come play with me!"

Here are some odd cause of death notes that I found quoted from the New Athens Journal for 19 July 1940, and found in the St. Clair Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1995. These were "real" quotes from "real" records:

  • "nervousness from gunshot"
  • "auto accident, complicated by hookworm"
  • "fractured skull - contributory was mule"
  • "auto wreck started it; pneumonia ended it"
  • "stab wound of chest inflicted by lady friend"
  • "hit over the head with slop jar"
  • "leakage of head"
  • "frightened to death by deputy sheriff"
  • "rubbed to death by chiropractor"

Did you know that you can sign up for a free electronic monthly newsletter from the History & Genealogy Department of the St.Louis County Library? Log on to  (Note: PASTport not PASSport.) Having news and notes about this great mid-western library would be good if you have ancestor hunting to do in Missouri (or environs) and especially if you plan to attend the NGS conference in St.Charles in May and to do some local research while you're there.  When you click to, scroll down to the green box labeled "get library updates to your email." Click the envelope icon and follow the directions. You can access past issues too.


Not living in Texas, or other Southern states, where fire ants are known and feared, I never thought much about these little pests. And they are little. Even their ant hills look rather innocent. But look closely at my foot after ten days and you can still see the itchy red bumps. They are obviously no joke!  Now I understand why my friends in Florida warned me not to go barefoot!


Everybody's talking and touting Google as well they should for it's a wonderful tool. And we keep being told that Google is adding new tools all the time. How to stay updated? One way is to click to Wikipedia and type in "list of Google products." Since Google Search is a web search engine it receives over 3 billion search queries per day. We ought to learn how to best do that searching.

A Google tip that I learned at RootsTech:  "Post the physical address of an ancestor's home and when the house goes up for sale, you can take a virtual tour."  What a cool idea. 


Do you think history matters?  I think so and I'll bet you do too. From the Historical Society of Baltimore County I read a post about this very topic. Posted back in October 2014, Justin Albright traveled around Baltimore County asking locals in the community is they think history matters. The purpose of this exercise was to allow the organization (HSBC) the opportunity to gauge public interest. Not surprising that the great majority of answers was positive; yes, history does matter. What would you have answered if these questions had been put to you:  "Do you think history matters? In your opinion, why does history matter? 


Jim Andrews lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and recently shared information about his specialty services:  He repairs old Bibles and other precious books from all over the U.S. and Canada. His website shows examples of some of his work. If you're needing this kind of service, click to  Or email a question to  If you do use his service, please give us some feedback. 


In the Jan-Mar 2015 issue of the NGS Magazine, James Ison, AG, CG,  shared an article on "Using FamilySearch to Solve Genealogical Problems: 15 Tips." You might want to access this publication (which you receive with NGS membership) for yourself but the titles of his tips were: (1) Use Life Event & Relationship Filters;  (2)  Use Residence & Restrict by Records;  (3) Use Wild Cards *;  (4) Use Wild Cards ?;  (5) Search by first name only;  (6) Use parent-only searching;  (7) Finding married names;  (8) Use the source film number;  (9)  Know the online collections that relate specifically to your research;  (10)  Browsing can be a blast; (11) Using partner sites;  (12)  Sign in, no tricks;  (13)  Find, Search, & Source from the Family Tree;  (14)  Give back, be an indexer;  (15)  Give feedback.

FamilySearch has been, is and will continue to be one of the major players in genealogical research. Family Tree, part of FamilySearch, is aiming to connect everybody's family into one big tree. Whether you like that idea or not, the idea of sharing and collaborating will bring answers to our brickwalls. The better we understand FamilySearch the better the results will be for us.


I'll finish today with something fun to perhaps try for your Easter dinner:  Arroz Con Coco, or Rice with Coconut. You can Google all sorts of recipes but cook white rice in coconut milk, add sugar (brown or white) to taste, raisins optional , and top with toasted coconut. We enjoyed this in Puerto Rico and as it's soooooo easy to make, it's become a favorite.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tika & Conference Tags & More

I love collecting all the stick-ons to my official name tag at a conference but what to do with those long tags once home? Not to mention my Bloggers' Beads from dearMyrt and Thomas MacEntee. Solution? A nice piece of 1-by-1, with cuphooks screwed into it every 2-3 inches, and then screwed into the wall. Actually, my office wall is an A-frame so the hanging is easier. But there they are and now both Tika and I can see them and remember.

Tika does love to sit on my lap when I'm catching up on my magazine reading. I was teaching her from this issue of Internet Genealogy when she fell asleep, as dogs will. I always read my magazines cover-to-cover; why else pay the subscription price? 

Internet Genealogy, and its companion, Your Genealogy Today (which used to be Family Chronicle) are great magazines containing articles of timely interest, how-to articles and background case-study articles. Good reads all around. Click to or or call toll free 1-8888-326-2476 for subscription information. 


Tika and I never missed an episode (new, old, rerun, no matter) of Star Trek. We will miss knowing that Leonard Nimoy is no longer walking this earth but is surely out in space somewhere. A favorite quote of Spock's that I jotted down years ago was this:  "The miracle is this...the more we share, the more we have." Rest in peace, Captain Spock. You were a big part of my life. Tika's too.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tika & RootsTech 2015 (She did not attend.)

Serendipity Friday, February 20, 2015

Sharing some bits and pieces brought home from RootsTech 2015 last week:

Going to be in Indiana this summer?  The Indiana Historical Society is holding their annual Midwestern Roots conference on 1-2 August in Indianapolis. Advance notice:  the dates will be 15-16 July in 2016, also in Indianapolis.  Google it to learn the details.

FamilySearch Apps.... did you realize you can have a whole family of genealogy apps on your phone from FamilySearch? And of course they're free. FamilySearch has partnered with many companies to offer to you their services. Companies like Ancestry,  Billion Graves, FamilyTree DNA,  Find A Grave, Find My Past, Fold 3, Kinpoint, Genealogy Bank, My Heritage, NEHGS, RootsMagic and Legacy and several more. Such a nice deal.  Stay tuned (If only I had a smart phone..... I'm in the dwindling army of those with dumb phones.)

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has a genealogy program. Who would have thought? If you are seeking records between 1906 and 1951, you might want to click 

The BYU Family History Library (http://sites.lib/ offers you direct links to research sources. For instance, under Digital Archives, there are links to all fifty U.S. state archives. Another link is for Libraries & Historical Societies and there is one for Periodicals & Newspapers. How will you know that there is nothing there for you unless you go looking??

Here's a fun one: Text in a Bottle ( Set up a free account on this website and you can send very special messages to friends and family. I say "special" for the message pops from a bottle and unrolls for the recipient to read. And you can post-date these messages to come tomorrow, next month or long into the future. Great to go through your birthday calendar and have birthday messages all done and ready to be sent!!

Anybody but me ever do a book using Ancestry's MyCanvas? And remember how bummed we were to hear that Ancestry was discontinuing this service? Well, as you might have guessed would happen did happen. Now it's MyCanvas by Alexander's and is still reachable from a link at Ancestry or directly  Sigh. All is not lost.

Ancestor Cloud ( is another new opportunity I learned about at RootsTech 2015. Their blurb reads:  "AncestorCloud is a global marketplace of passionate researchers that work together to solve their research problems. Whether you're stuck and need a records lookup, local photograph, translation, research help, or anything else, AncestorCloud is the online community for you." Here's how it works. Click to the website and create a profile. Then type into the box what you are wanting and how much you're willing to pay for the help. When somebody responds, offering to help you, that amount is deposited in their online-money account built into the website and then they can use it to "buy" help they need. Pretty cool idea, really.

Whenever I'm in Salt Lake City, I try to attend the "Music & The Spoken Word,"  the live half hour broadcast on Temple Square. Before RootsTech, I was lucky! Lloyd D. Newell always gives an inspirational and non-denominational message and this time his message centered around Broadway musical star Idina Menzel. She realized that in her performances on stage that she might not hit every note correctly every single time. But that's life and that's okay. Lloyd Newell ended his remarks that Sunday with this:  "We are all far more than the notes we hit....or fail to hit. Perhaps we should define ourselves not by what we are today but by what we can be, by what we aspire to be. Wherever those aspirations are leading us, let us accept that success can happen over time, little by little. With this perspective, our mistakes and shortcomings can teach us instead of condemn us. In reality, this is what it means to do our best."

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tika On Vacation...........

Tika and I will be on vacation for a couple of months. If you miss the regular postings of  Tika's Teachings, please leave a comment and tell us so.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tika & The FamilySearch Wiki

Tika says "it's darn cold outside! Even with the coat that she puts on me (which I hate), it's cold outside. I told Mom to do a post today about doing something indoors to keep warm." Good advice, Tika. 

How about take some of your extra or relaxing time over the holidays to do some personal enrichment or learning. How much do you know about the FamilySearch Wiki?

You reach the Wiki by clicking to Then look for "Search" on one of the tabs across the top. The drop-down menu under "Search" lists the Wiki at the end of the list. 

The Wiki "is not about finding the names of your ancestors.  It is not, in fact, about finding people at all.  The Wiki is about finding records that may have been generated about your ancestors and the places in which the records might be found."     This is a quote from the website, .  The FamilySearch Wiki is a "place-records-tutorial & how-to" place for learning. 

Need to decipher German handwriting? Need to know about cemeteries in Iowa? Need to know about Castle Garden? Need to know about finding records in China? There is a Wiki entry for that!  Go find out for yourself. 

"But," Tika adds, "there is no category for canine research. Bummer."  
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Tika & Dogger Body Lanugage & History

I was reviewing a new book and Tika, snuggled beside me in our chair, looked up and said, "I could have explained that to you.......... you didn't need a book!"  Nonetheless, I did enjoy Justin Silver's new book The Language of Dogs.

This book explained that "Lips turned up" was the sign of a fearful animal and often mistaken for aggression.  "Raised ears" means your dog is listening, eavesdropping on you.  "Shedding" indicates fear or stress. "Squinting eyes,"  generally means your dog in in pain or not feeling well. "Avoiding eye contact,"  may consider you a threat or lack of confidence. The book explains dozens of other behaviors.

And what does this have to do with genealogy? Our ancestors ate dogs, that's what. Dogs were portable meat-on-the-hoof to many cultures around the world including in the United States. And many cultures today still enjoy eating dog meat.

United States of America

The term "dog" has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845. The belief that sausages contained dog meat was occasionally justified.
In 1846, a group of 87 American pioneers were stranded by snow while traveling in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the starving people from this group, known posthumously as the Donner Party, ate a pet dog for sustenance.
In the late 19th century, a cure for tuberculosis (then colloquially termed "consumption") using an exclusive diet of dog meat was tried. Reports of families eating dog meat out of choice, rather than necessity, were rare and newsworthy. Stories of families in Ohio and Newark, New Jersey who did so made it into editions of The New York Times in 1876 and 1885.
In the early 20th century, dog meat was consumed during times of food shortage.

Native Americans

The traditional culture surrounding the consumption of dog meat varied from tribe to tribe among the original inhabitants of North America, with some tribes relishing it as a delicacy, and others (such as the Comanche) treating it as an abhorrent practice. Native peoples of the Great Plains, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, consumed it, but there was a concurrent religious taboo against the meat of wild canines.
During their 1803–1806 expedition, Meriwether Lewis and the other members of the Corps of Discovery consumed dog meat, either from their own animals or supplied by Native American tribes, including the Paiutes and Wah-clel-lah Indians, a branch of the Watlatas, the Clatsop, the Teton Sioux (Lakota), theNez Perce Indians, and the Hidatsas. Lewis and the members of the expedition ate dog meat, except William Clark, who reportedly could not bring himself to eat dogs.
The Kickapoo people include puppy meat in many of their traditional festivals. This practice has been well documented in the Works Progress Administration"Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma".
One last thought:  Ever wonder why they are called Hot Dogs????

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tika & "The Yellow Brick Road"

This is quite obviously not a "yellow BRICK road," but it is a "yellow Tamarack needle road." Known as Larch in the Eastern U.S., these trees are known as Tamarack in the west. They are beautiful yellow needles standing tall amid the Ponderosa Pines.

The most unusual thing about these trees is that (quite unlike pines) they drop their needles in the fall. The needles turn from green to yellow and then drop......... and carpet the roads under them in gold. 

So what does this have to do with genealogy you are thinking? Well, don't we all want a "yellow brick road" straight to the answers about our ancestors? Most of us will never be so lucky. James Tanner, in his Genealogy's Star blog back on 1 July 2014, posed some basic rules of genealogy. Following the advice stated in his rules will surely keep us on that "yellow brick road."

Rule One:  When the baby was born, the mother was there. The father does not have to be present when the baby is born.

Rule Two:  Absence of an obituary or death records does not mean that the person is still alive.

Rule Three:  Every person who ever lived has a unique birth order and a unique set of biological parents.

Rule Four:  There are always more records (to search).

Rule Five:  You cannot get blood out of a turnip. With this he means just because you think you are related to royalty and list them on your charts does not  make it so.

Rule Six:  Records move.

If you would enjoy reading James Tanner's full comments on the above Six Rules, click to his blog at  and why not while you're there sign up to receive future blog postings of his?

Tika ignored the beauty of Pend Oreille County, Washington, on our last week's drive. She was much more intrigued with the smells of the stopping places. Dogs!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tika & DNA

When I started trying to explain the relationship of DNA research to genealogy research, Tika was skeptical. "Really?" Was her first reaction. And then, "so what?" "

"What do you expect to learn??" she wanted to know. Good question, Tika.

The subject, the relationship of DNA and genealogy, is a vast and quickly-expanding field of information. I have collected a nice fat folder of articles and information on understanding DNA and its applications and implications to the hobby of genealogy.

Mostly, I wanted just to understand. Tika says, "Good luck with that!" Here are the conclusions I've come to.

I do not have to understand the whole subject. I do not need to, nor want to, know how my car works. I just want it to take me places. Ditto with DNA.

There are more books and articles on this subject than I will ever have time to read and thoroughly digest. I will pick one or two sources and that will give me a basic understanding.

I did the $99 Ancestry test. This test looks for matches between my atDNA and others who have their trees on Ancestry and who have taken the same test. Is this the end-all-tell-all test? Hardly. But it is a start.... or was for me.

Now I can upload my DNA test results to FamilyTree DNA (and right now for free). Should I? Why not? This will expose my DNA to a much wider ocean of possible matches..... possible cousins... possible ancestors. So why not?

Lisa Louise Cooke offers four laminated guides: Getting Started (with DNA), Autosomal DNA,  Y Chromosome DNA and Mitochondrial DNA. I bought and studied all four of these guides and now I feel like I have at least a teaspoon of understanding of the subject. (Click to Genealogy Gems Publications,, for ordering information.)

Tika woke up enough to show some interest when I showed her that yes, there are DNA tests for dogs! She really did not care; "I come from Idaho and that's good enough," she sniffed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tika & Kinpoint.... A New Genealogy Opportunity

Tika was fast asleep and could have cared less when I tried to tell her about a new research opportunity I've discovered. But then she is a dogger..................

Kinpoint is brand new..... or at least it was to me. Kinpoint "makes it easy to learn about your ancestors and do family history using your FamilySearch data."

Clicking to, this is the opening screen. It shows a pedigree circle with "you" at the center and your direct-line ancestors circling out from you. Gray areas show were you need to find these ancestors!

Kinpoint stands ready to help you do just that by using FamilySearch data. Everybody, these days, can have a FamilySearch account. And everybody should upload a GEDCOM of their info to FamilySearch or just enter their tree manually. Kinpoint will look at that data and with a great visual show you where your "holes" are.

Personally, I do not want to rely on any computer program to make connections for me. Suggestions, yes. But added-on-connections, no. Kinpoint will help you see just where you need to do some more work and will not willy-nilly add names.

Best of all, it is FREE. So why not give it a try??

"Free?" Tika sniffed as she woke up. "As in free cookies?"  Silly dogger.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tika & Hiding In Plain Sight

Does my darling Tika look guilty as charged?  Do you see where she's rubbed the black skin off her nose right down to the "real her" where it was bleeding like heck?

We were both gone for the afternoon and I gave her a treat to chew on. When I returned I was greeting by this bloody-nosed dog. As I walked into the house I quickly spotted where she had used her nose and tried to bury her treat in our chairs (both throw covers had bloody smears), on the guest bed (all over one area on the bedspread and all over some papers Handy Man had put there, and then she'd tried to hide her treat in our bed and there were bloody nose smears all over my pillow, both sheets and the blanket! Whew! Took me three loads of laundry to get every thing cleaned up.
She always and finally will enjoy her treat but she just has to try hiding it first. This time she tried to hide it in four different places, the little rascal.

What does this teach us about genealogy? How about: our ancestors are hiding because somebody buried them? Genealogy is work!!!??? All it takes is one spot of "life" getting in our way to waste a perfectly good day of doing genealogy!

Really not much; but this was such a "good" story that I just had to share it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tika & Google Books

Leaving Tika in Handy Man's good hands, I joined three like-minded genealogy friends to drive across Washington state to attend a seminar with Lisa Louise Cooke as the principle speaker. And she was most definitely worth the effort!  I was telling Tika all about it when I got home.........

Lisa taught us, too, that YouTube is owned by Google (I did not know that). And there are thousands, if not millions, of genealogy-related videos on YouTube.

Google Books is now an all-purpose online digital book store... you can view for free and you can buy among thousands (bordering now on millions) of online digital books. Lisa said that Google Books is really great for those old county histories which are typically un-indexed but Google Books will word-name-search within the text for you with a couple of clicks. (What a time saver, eh?)

If you cannot quite read the text, the left side says:  Researching a topic? Search the latest index of the world's books. Find millions of great books you can preview or read for free.

The right side says:  New! Shop for Books on Google Play.  Browse the world's largest eBookstore and start reading today on the web, tablet, phone, or ereader.

Handy Man's line has a very illusive Stout family. Using Google Books, I did a search for "Stout Family History" and got a great listing of potentially likely source books. They were listed in the Library of Congress catalog but just knowing they exist is a big help. (The "bad news" was that I could not figure how to print out those two pages from the LOC catalog.)

Tika and I agree that it is always a good day when we learn something new!