Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's in my DNA?

The results are in! What a fascinating thing, this DNA. On Ancestry.com, it gives a break down of where I am from using both my paternal and maternal DNA but doesn't tell me who belongs to what. On 23andme.com, I was only able to find out info on my maternal line until my dad takes the DNA test which he will do soon.

Here is a link to the information on my Maternal Haplogroup, a rare group that is 25,000 years old.
Laura's Maternal Haplogroup and Ancestral Map

From Ancestry.com here is the breakdown which is culled from both paternal and maternal DNA:

My thoughts on the breakdown, based on my paper research of my family tree is that the entire percentage of the British Isles and 8% of the Scandinavian is from my dad's DNA with 27% Scandinavian and all of the European percentages belonging to my mother. To say I was a little shocked is an understatement. I grew up believing I was mostly German and Bohemian but that accounts for only 5% of my DNA. I had no idea at all that I was 35% Scandinavian. I knew only of one Dutch ancestor that I discovered last year doing research and one other this year from Sweden, but both were born centuries ago and probably wouldn't account for 35%. I do look Scandinavian and when I was in France once, someone thought I was from Sweden. Makes sense now, but who were these Scandinavian ancestors? It could be assumed that there is some Viking blood seeing how they were such voracious conquerors and that would be a good assumption. But how about some scientific evidence? Turns out in 2006 a genetic link was discovered that linked the Sami people to the Volga-Ural region in Russia, which is where my mother's great grandparents were born.

John and Mary Spahn. My great-great grandparents. Both born in the Volga-Ural region
of Russia. Possible descendants of the Sami people of Southern Sweden or Finland.

My great-great grandparents considered themselves German, although they were both born in Russia, but the truth is that they were most likely of Scandinavian blood, and possibly descended from Sami people from Southern Sweden or Finland. The Sami people fall into the U halpogroup with most being U5, but a small population is in the U4. This hints at just a tiny slice of the mystery waiting to be uncovered but it's a good start!. Pretty darn cool. This will make an already planned trip to Scandinavia in 2014 have a different meaning altogether! Next, I will wait for my Paternal Halpogroup results from my dad and see how much of his DNA is from Scandinavia. If it's more than 8%, I may have to re-think this whole blog post,lol.

Here are some images, music and interesting facts of the Sami people: Saami Blog

Another shocker was the 18% Southern European which encompasses Portugal, Spain and Italy. Huh? What? Wait a minute! I haven't found anyone in my line from any of these countries. Some digging is going to have to be done to find out who these Southern Europeans are, or where they came from and how they got into my DNA. First I'll need my dad's results to determine if it's in his line or my mother's line which is what I suspect.

Not a shocker? 42% British Isles. I've always known I was descended from Irish ancestors (I was born with the last name of CLARE after all), although I'm still trying to find the immigrant Irish ancestor. And I've been drawn to England as a homeland since well, probably birth. :) It's why I trek the land, spend so much time there, have an affinity for it's people, love it's shows and movies and totally get their humor. I belong there, my DNA longs to be there. It's strange but I always felt like I had lived there before in a past life and I believe that even more now. Plus, nearly every line in my paternal family tree leads back to an ancestor from the British Isles.

Always happy to be in Britain! Sitting atop a rock in Northumberland, overlooking Hadrian's Wall.

From 23andme.com, the Maternal results say I am 100% European which encompasses all of the British Isles, Scandinavia, Western and Eastern European. What that means is there is no Native American DNA on my mother's side and very little if any Jewish ancestry. Today, my maternal DNA most closely resembles people from France and Germany. I can't wait until next month when I find out my Paternal Halpogroup from my dad. And one of the best things about having your DNA done is as new genetic research is discovered, they can update your own information! The adventure continues!

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memory of Those Who Served...

This image is in honor of all those who served with a special remembrance to those in my family tree who fought for freedom:
Samuel Gaskill- Revolutionary War
Asbury Gaskill, Great Great Grandfather-Civil War
Webster T. Roth, Great Great Grandfather-Civil War
Adam Spahn, Great Grandfather-World War I
Eugene Duesing, Grandfather-World War II
Anthony Duesing, Gran Uncle-World War II: Missing in Action
Larry Duesing, Uncle-Vietnam

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm a Nutter...

My English friend Ray has been calling me a nutter for years. Little did we know back then that I actually AM a Nutter! My Great Great grandmother is Mary Nutter, a direct descendant of Christopher Nutter, my 8th Great Grandfather, who sailed from England to Maryland in 1665 when he was just 21. When I began to research this line, I was very excited to find out how far back it would go and to connect it to England (as you all know, it's the land I love most!). The name is Anglo-Saxon and is found in both Yorkshire and Lancashire. It was first recorded in Gloucestershire and variants of this surname have been around since the early middle ages. I was able to take my Nutter line back even further to Christopher's Grandfather, Richard Nutter, who was born in Lancashire in 1579. I still have lots of research to do on my Nutter ancestors but I've discovered quite a bit in a short amount of time.

Last April I was lucky enough to have a friend who was living in Maryland at the time and invited me for a visit. One day we set out by car and drove to the Eastern Shore and down to Nutters Neck. This was land owned by Christopher and given to his sons Matthew and Christopher. This was the birthplace of my 5th Great Grandfather, Matthew Nathan Nutter who was grandson of Matthew and great grandson of Christopher. He was the last in my direct line to have lived at Nutters Neck, having left for Harrison County, Virginia where he and his brother built Nutter Fort. It was so cool to walk around the area. There is just one small dirt road called Nutters Neck Road that leads into some woods and deadends at Manumsco Creek. I could imagine how it looked in 1665 as there weren't any towns or buildings around, save a few farms and there was certainly nothing around or along Nutters Neck. I could imagine the Nutters fishing in the creek and hunting in the woods. I wondered if they ran into any Indians or had to endure any hurricanes or blizzards. Still so much to find out! But for now you all can enjoy these images we took while there. It was so cool to walk where my ancestors once tread and it's always so much more fun to be hunting for clues somewhere other than the internet! :-)

Nutters Neck Area

Nutters Neck Road

As Shadows Fall

 On the Trail of Ancestors

The Woods Surrounding Nutters Neck

Panoramic View of the woods around Nutters Neck. Pic taken by my friend Missy Trent.

 Feeling at Home

Manumsco Creek

Matthew Nathan Nutter was the son of John Huett Nutter (Matthew's first son and Christopher's grandson) and in the next post I'll be sharing the fascinating history on that middle name, another of my direct lines! You won't want to miss this one, as it's historical, tragic and full of political drama! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lucking out on English Research

Wow. Hard to believe it has been nearly a year since I last posted anything on my genealogy blog. Life has a way of getting into the way of research and time has a way of zipping by. I did manage to take a trip to England in April and lucked-out on an extraordinary opportunity. I found myself somewhere that most people will never get to visit...inside the library and office of the official royal historian to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was actually closed due to the fact that the Queen was attending service. However, a series of conversations with the guard at the door-bookshop manager-"man in the red cape at the cloisters"-led me down those long corridors, over burial stones, to the library door. We were buzzed in and told to wait before the Abbey's historian and librarian, Tony, took us up some narrow stairs into a room filled with ancient books and manuscripts. It was amazing! I felt like we were in the restricted section of Hogwarts!  Tony took us into his office which was filled wall-to-wall with the histories of Britain and the world. Books with crumbling spines, yellowing pages and dusty covers. I told Tony I was looking for an etching of my ancestor Sir Henry Spelman (who, himself was an Antiquarian) as well as a photograph of his burial stone (he is buried in a location not accessible to outsiders). Tony carefully lowered a huge book down onto the large table and flipped through a series of original etchings from the 15th century. I watched as faces of kings, queens and knights flew by until I recognized Henry's image. "That's it!" I yelled out with excitement! Tony then took the big book into a smaller room to make a copy for me and returned not only with two copies but also with an image of Henry's stone. We chatted a few more minutes about the upcoming wedding of Prince William (in which he was attending! Lucky guy!) before I headed off, beaming from the thrill of a lifetime! 

Westminster Abbey

Lighting the Way



Me! A descended cousin of Sir Henry Spelman

Sir Henry Spelman, Antiquary
copied from the original etching

Burial spot inside Westminster Abbey

Although most of the time, genealogy research is done nowadays online, there is nothing like getting out into the field and traveling to the places our ancestors roamed. You never know what you may stumble upon! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finding Records of the Past

Although it's been almost a year since I have posted to my Genealogy blog, I have still been doing research. With an upcoming trip to Maryland and Virginia, I have been focusing on my Nutter Ancestors who settled a good part of the Virginias and Maryland. I recently purchased a book called Stepney Parish Records of Somerset County, Maryland. This book contains birth, deaths, marriages and confirmation records for the period of 1709-1889 from the churches of St. Bartholomew's at Green Hill and St. Mary's at Tyaskin.

Inside are records for John Huett Nutter and Ann Nutter, my 6th great grandparents as well as their son Matthew Nathan Nutter, my 5th great grandfather.

As is the case with this record, sometimes it brings up more questions than answers. Ann Nutter was a second wife. Was she a cousin and her maiden name actually was Nutter or did they make an error in the records, forgetting perhaps to list her by her maiden name? Based on the time period, it was not unusual for cousins to marry and my hunch is that Ann's maiden name was Nutter and she was a cousin from another Nutter line. I have added this to my "questions to be answered, proof needed" list. That list is long. Really, really long.

One of the features at Ancestry.com is the "relationship" tree, showing exactly how you are related to someone way down the line. I've got over 1100 people currently in my family tree so it's helpful to have a way to view the relationship easily.

John Huett NUTTER (1705 - 1760)
is your 6th great grandfather
Son of John Huett
Son of Matthew Nathan
Son of William
Daughter of Isaac W
Son of Mary E.
Daughter of Claude Everett
Son of Billie Louise
You are the daughter of Larry

In addition, I found this burial record for a Bridgett Spelman from 1660. 1660! It's so amazing that the paper is still intact and legible! She was buried at St. Mary in Ealing, England. One of these trips to England needs to be strictly an ancestral research trip! I have a Bridgett Spelman in my tree who is my 12th Great Grandmother but she died 100 years earlier.  Could this be a direct descendent of hers? Or could this actually be from 1560 and not 1660? The only way to find out, is to travel and check out the original for myself! Some day!

Bridgett Spelman (1515 - 1560)

is your 12th great grandmother
Son of Bridgett
Daughter of Edward
Son of Barbary
Daughter of Samuel
Daughter of Mary
Son of Hannah
Son of Benjamin
Son of Samuel
Son of Thomas
Son of Timothy Sewell
Son of Asbury S
Daughter of Claude Everett
Son of Billie Louise
You are the daughter of Larry

So, with renewed enthusiasm I continue to search for documentation and records of my ancestors. What information will be uncovered when I get to Maryland and Virginia? The adventure continues...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ancestors in the War of the Rebellion

I never had that much interest in learning about the Civil War. Whatever I did know about it came from watching Gone With the Wind a gazillion times. I was obsessed however, with the histories of WWII. That interest came about from watching The Guns of Navarone in Junior High. And, I had a grandfather that served in WWII so I felt more of a connection to that historical event than I did to the Civil war. I even made a journey with my mother to the beaches of Normandy and to the WWII museum in Caen, France. But, now I'm finding myself engrossed in stories about the Civil War. Now that I have found ancestors that participated I feel I owe it to them to find out just what happened and what they went through.

I have two Great Great Grandfathers that served in the Civil War, or the War of the Rebellion as it was called back then. Both served for the Union. Asbury S. Gaskill, on my paternal grandmother's side and Webster T. Roth, on my paternal grandfather's side. Both served for Iowa, Asbury with the 4th Iowa Calvary and Webster with the 26th Iowa Infantry. Both had very different experiences. Asbury, who lived in Mount Pleasant where the 4th Iowa Calvary was based, enlisted in October of 1861and only served until April 1862 when he was discharged by the camp surgeon and sent home in what was listed as "a dying condition". Measles had swept through the barracks and Asbury had contracted it which led to him having "disease of the chest" or more commonly known as pneumonia. When he entered the service, he was a strong lad of eighteen years, able-bodied and working on the family farm. When he left the service just a few months later, he was "broken-down" and near death with a "depression of the chest of a few inches" which would cause him great pain all throughout the rest of his life. I have no pictures of Asbury, save this single image of his grave marker, located at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas:
I also found this image of a fellow soldier who would have served with my great great grandfather Asbury as he also was in the Iowa 4th Calvary. His name was Hugh Ferguson and he too was from Mount Pleasant. I'm sure they knew each other and I feel like any connection I can find is another success in the Great Ancestral Hunt. :)

For my great great grandfather Webster Tyler Roth, the experience was quite different.  He enlisted in August, 1862 at the age of 19 in Clinton, Iowa.
Webster served the entire three years with the Iowa 26th Infantry, escaping death and disease many times over, participating in some of the biggest battles including Vicksburg, Arkansas Post and Chickasaw Bayou to name a few.  He was a drummer and would have carried a drum just like this:
Webster didn't get away from suffering injuries or getting sick.  He was nearly blinded when, making campfire atop a mountain near Chattanooga, the fire heated up the rock and small pieces began popping off, causing one to fly into Webster's eye causing permanent damage.  In his own handwriting, he tells about it on this History of Disability form:

"was on march to Chattanooga, halted to cook dinner. We built our fire upon rock and by the side of rock, necessarily so far we were in the mountains. The rock became intensely heated and small pieces burnt off one of which struck in my right eye."

I discovered a memoir written by Webster's fellow soldier who served with him in the 26th Infantry. Both of their companies fought side by side during most of the war. William Royal Oake's account of his time with the Iowa 26th gives me a unique insight to the day by day life of my great great grandfather during the Civil war. An insight to what he went through during his march through the South, what he endured and witnessed during the battles.

 It is quite exciting to be able recreate a life lived over 140 years ago. To shed new light and above all else, to remember.
My great great Grandfather, Webster Tyler Roth (middle row, second from the right) in a reunion photo with other band members of the 26th Iowa Infantry, probably taken 20-25 years after the end of the Civil War.

So today, I pay tribute to these two brave men and all those that have served and protected our country in the years following from the Great War to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We will never forget your service.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Czeching Out Our Bohemian Ancestors

My Dolechek Line

Josephine Margaret Dolechek (great grandmother)
b. 1901, Barton County, Kansas
Ferdinand William Vetus Dolechek (2nd great grandfather)
b. 1873, Mt. Ayr, Iowa
Leopold Dolechek (3rd great grandfather)
b. 1837, Klášterec nad Ohří, Czechslovakia

My Dolechek family came over from Klášterec nad Ohří, Czechslovakia ( Klösterle), Bohemia in 1866 and settled in Ringgold County, Iowa. This group included my third great grandfather, Leopold, his wife and two children (they would have 6 more after moving to Ringgold and then three more after moving to Kansas), his two brothers Vetus and Peter, their families and their widowed mother, Frantiska, my fourth great grandmother who died in Ringgold in 1875. Her husband, my fourth great grandfather must have died then prior to their arrival into Iowa in 1866. I have not yet discovered his name. A trip to Klösterle will be required in order to find additional records so that I can continue down the line. Many immigrants from Bohemia settled in Ringgold, including some of the Pacha family, the Bohemian ancestors of my husband, Charlie. Other Bohemian families that settled in Ringgold include Toman, Krechky and Sedlicek just to mention a few.

The Krechky home in Ringgold was the largest log house in the neighborhood and served as a place for most of those early social gatherings. The first Bohemian church was also a log cabin and it remained for many years until the settlers built a new church on the edge of the cemetery on part of my third great uncle Peter Dolecheck's farm. Peter performed the lay minister services for the church for 25 years.
His obituary reads:
"In the year of 1866 Peter DOLECHECK Sr. and his brothers, Vet and Leopold and families and several related families of theirs, started on a long journey to America where they arrived the same year. At that time it took six weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They all settled in Washington Township about nine miles northwest of Mt. Ayr. Peter DOLECHECK's Sr. made their permanent home in Washington Township and after their arrival in America. Peter DOLECHECK Sr. conducted the services in the Bohemian Church for about twnety-five years. The services in the beginning and for many years after, were held in a log cabin but later on when the settlers were better situated financially, they build a new church on the cemetery grounds. It was located on a part of the Peter DOLECHECK farm."

The Bohemian Cemetery in Ringgold Iowa where many of the Dolecheck and Pacha ancestors are buried:

Many immigrants who came to the new world changed their surnames. Some added or subtracted letters from their surnames while others shortened or lengthened the names.In Czech, Dolecek has hácek mark over the letter c that is pronounced like "CH" in the word church which is how it got its americanized spelling of Dolechek, with the extra "h" added.
Sometime after 1880 my third great grandfather, Leopold and his brother Vetus moved their families from Ringgold, Iowa to Barton County, Kansas where they both built farms and worked in agriculture.  
My second great grandfather, Ferdinand who was Leopold's third son married and moved to Kinsley, Kansas where he built a farm and raised his family including my great grandmother Josephine. Here is a photograph of Ferdinand and his wife Margaret and her sister Sophie:

and a photo of my great grandmother Josephine Dolechek on her wedding day to my great grandfather Adam Spahn:

I'm very keen on finding out more about the life of my Bohemian ancestors in Iowa and Kansas as well as what life was like in Klosterle.  I'm curious to see if any of my Bohemian ancestors were descended from either the Habsburg Monarchy or any of the other Bohemian Dynasties.  Although most of the Bohemian settlers that came to America were hard working farmers, you never know what you will find when you take a climb further up the family tree!