Thursday, March 30, 2023

Another beautiful spring day

Golden sunrise and fairly clear skies with a temperature at 7:00 am of minus nine degrees celsius. Not a return to winter even though we did have snow yesterday; just a typical spring day in Canada. Spring is coming it is just a very short season in Canada as we quickly go into summer and heat! The winter does last a long time in Canada with snow coming as early as late October or early November (not a lot just a taste mostly) and then we still have quite a bit of snow on the yards and the piles along the streets edge are melting but they too are still there. This year mid April may see us free of snow or perhaps a little earlier but no promises on that; one never knows if there will be a good snowfall in April. But today it is clear and no snow in the forecast but it may be a cool one since we are only promised zero degrees at the warmest part of the day and a little cloud. Friday mentions snow so March may go out the way it came in - like a lion.  

Yesterday I continued to work on the Ancestry matches and pulled out the Rawlings matches that we (the four of us) share. There are two nice sized ones. One known to me is a half second cousin once removed so I know she is matching me on the maternal side of my paternal grandmother. Since she has tested at several sites I also know where she is matching me. We share 1.1% which isn't bad for a half second cousin once removed. I also have another cousin, not on ancestry, known to me and he too is a half second cousin once removed and I share 1.82% of my DNA with him but significantly different sharing as he descends from one generation earlier so that there is more random selection at play. The two of them do give me a well rounded look at my great grandmother's line (mother to my paternal grandmother). But returning to Ancestry as I would like to learn a little more about this line that does give me quite good-sized matches on occasion. The other match that I have shares 2% of DNA with me and is estimated as a 2nd-3rd cousin by Ancestry. She also matches my known Rawlings cousin at Ancestry so does not give me any information on the father of my paternal grandmother. But the match does let me see that the match is stronger on the Lywood side of the Rawlings family (my paternal grandmother's grandparents were William Rawlins and Elizabeth Lywood). Using these matches I am able to look at the Rawlings matches that do not match these two individuals. That little group is slowly growing but a lot of them are Americans so I can not be sure if they are sharing DNA that is simply hardier coming down from further back - the two strongest share 1% of their DNA with me. I am now up to six individuals that all match each other and share 1% of their DNA (I am looking at half cousin relationships so (half 1C2R, half 2C, half 2C1R, half 3C, half 3C1R and it continues). Going by ages (the children from the three marriages of the possible father were all younger than my grandmother (would be her half siblings)). My father would be a half first cousin to their children and I would be a half second cousin to the children of their children). Some of these people have large trees but spotting the relationship has not yet happened. I shall have a look but probably I will just for the moment continue extracting the information for the two siblings not yet finished to 25cM and then set it aside as I have some work to do on other items. But it is interesting. I do tend to have to set aside projects on occasion but it does give me the opportunity to mull them over a bit before I actually get back to them again. Ancestry, having the largest database, does seem like the right place to look at my paternal grandmother's father. The other side of this, was it correct when both the baptismal record and the civil registration listed Cotteril as the likely surname of the father?

Blake Newsletter all organized and ready to go. I will publish it on Saturday the 1st of April. I have an article that interested me in this one. I was going to continue with James Blake at Knights Enham but I received a submitted article from one of the members of the yDNA Study at FT DNA so gave it the first spot and wrote a shorter article looking at two Latin wills from the 1520s relating to the Andover Blake family. I believe I may have resolved a descendancy issue with these two wills using the Latin Translator and the latin that I have managed to assimilate thus far. Another back-burner project which I hope to work on this summer a little. 

Nice to see King Charles III in Germany (too bad the French side of the trip had to be cancelled). The Royal Family has roots in Germany from the 1700s to the  early 1900s and roots in France from the 1000s to the 1400s. It is good to see that relationship continuing even though Brexit happened. I suspect that it will be the Prince and Princess of Wales who come to Canada one of these days. It is a lot though for them to leave their three children for an extended trip especially now that they are in school all day. I am still very much in favour of having the King as our Head of State (it is neat and tidy and non-political). I tire of the negative attitude of the present Conservative Party - we do need a refresher there and more Progressive Conservatism with an eye on being fiscally sound for all of Canada. The last time the Conservatives were in power they did not properly support Ontario preferring to put all of their support behind the oil industry only. I believe in the oil industry as it is an important commodity for Canada but the other provinces also have important commodities and the support should be equal across the country. 

On to Breakfast and the day. It is a beautiful one thus far - sun is coming up brilliantly in the east. There will be a lot more melting today. The spring flowers are lovely.


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Spring Fog

 This morning the world around me is shrouded in fog; not so heavy that you can not see but fog none the less. Another good sign of spring as the snow both melts into the ground and saturates the air around it. It is minus 4 degrees celsius at 7:00 am and we are promised 6 degrees celsius later in the day with rain and snow showers. A typical March day it would appear. I do love the Canadian weather but suspect you have to be born into it. I think my grandfather found this to be the worse time of the year as he waited to garden. By now in England one would likely be preparing the ground for summer crops. I just think that because there were flowers there in February and it was so green in April when we were there on two different occasions in that time of the year. He so loved England; he gave me that love as well but I am firmly rooted in Canada - my birth country. And in the end so was he; he loved Canada too. He could have gone back any time after the Second World War but choose to stay here with his grandchildren and son plus his brother and family were still living in Toronto. 

Yesterday cleaning all accomplished. I do that more because that was what I was trained to do; not because I feel the need to be constantly cleaning. It is a routine that makes up my life and always has. This is God's world and we should do the best that we can for it. 

Today continuing with the Ancestry matches although will stop when I reach 25 centimorgans as there are just so many matches and not knowing the actual placement of the matches does limit the possibilities somewhat. With the four of us there are 843 matches shared by at least one of the four and of these 843 there are 476 shared by one or more at 4th cousin or closer looking at my matches (I have perhaps 50 to 75 matches that are not shared by anyone else). I inherited quite differently from my siblings on many of the chromosomes. This chart does bring that home as well as the phasing of my grandparents. If I could be different then I was! Probably a profound statement that they would agree with I suspect. Since I started this chart right at the beginning (we tested over ten years ago now and I did a repeat on mine a couple of years ago and the differences are negligible) I have a lot of very small matches (where the sharing is smaller for particular matches although one of us would have tested at 4th cousin or less) which can no longer be seen. 

I need to finish the Blake newsletter as another member of the study is taking on one of the subgroups of Blake which is most exciting. There are really two subgroups left that do not get managed - Irish Blake that is not Galway and Irish Blake in Northern Ireland. The Blake family in Ireland is quite large and has at least three founders - there are a couple of other lines there that have not yet yielded sufficient testers. Perhaps over time more people will test and there will be a wonderful picture of Blake. 

The budget yesterday was interesting here in Canada. I really like the luxury tax on alcohol and would like to see the GST go back to 7% (that was a mistake to make it 5%). Those with low incomes will benefit from the increase in the rebate. Coming from a family of nine I do know that it is expensive to manage food and clothing for everyone. Funding the military is expensive and we need to do that; our military helps us in so many ways here in Canada plus serves around the world for the United Nations, NATO and NORAD as well as being available for the many co-operative groups to which we belong. NATO and NORAD are the necessary groups created after Russia overran Eastern Europe and created the Iron Curtain which stood for fourty five years and we had no idea of Russian intentions. I believe we now see those intentions at play. So we must protect those countries that obtained their freedom with the fall of the Soviet Union (the Soviet Union went into bankruptcy when they attacked Afghanistan and collapsed). Really Russia did nothing for those countries that they enslaved at the end of the war; basically they had not moved beyond the level of living style that was present at the end of World War II and that really doesn't make any sense. It didn't at the time actually but people have to decide to be free and be ready to fight for it; sad that it has to be that way. Those countries definitely earned the right to be free sovereign nations so that they could take better care of their people and become greater supporters of the world in that they would be able to bring in better means of living for their people which benefits everyone around the globe. Ukraine has been a powerhouse for food production and would like to continue doing that if Russia would just get out of their country and stop destroying it.  

The latest news about water on the moon has been shared by one of the Chinese scientists. Great work and plans are afoot to learn even more about the ice trapped in the polar regions of the Moon. Research is so much more interesting and productive for mankind; a good expenditure of money.

Although we share a huge water border with Russia we do not have nuclear weapons on our soil; having them only in central locations is smart. Although they may serve us well to defend earth; rattling the nuclear war saber is foolish. You do not need to be a genius to understand what Armageddon is but expertise and proper control is needed to handle nuclear weapons. Certainly our military is trained with such devices. Containment is important! Look at North Korea constantly bombing the ocean and killing off the fish stocks and destroying the ecosystem. It does seem rather a waste with people starving in some parts of the world. Plus it destroys the economy of people who depend on the fishery resource for their livelihood in that area. Perhaps the United Nations will deal with that to help protect the countries that border on this area.

On to breakfast and the day awaits although still somewhat foggy but the snowdrops are blooming. Yeah spring! 


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Continuing to work on the Ancestry matches

Along with cleaning the basement yesterday, I continued to work on the Ancestry matches. I have now looked at three of four siblings matches in common and not in common and found only one where I did not agree with placement on the paternal side; rather it is the maternal side. I will look into the  Thrulines though to see why that path was selected as it is a match in common with all four of us. A number of the unassigned have now been assigned and just a few not assigned. It is an interesting process though and thank you to Ancestry for adding it to their repertoire of analyses to look at. 

Another beautiful day in God's world. Every day brings us closer to spring; the snow is slowly melting (minus 4 degrees celsius at 7:00 a.m.) and looking out the window I think the snowdrops are blooming. Must check that out a little later. The larger cleaning day is today and I will soon begin. 

I have my seeds and small greenhouse ready to go and will probably plant towards the end of April. Last year we culled the old raspberry bushes and so the back of the garden should be ready for planting. Must get a large bag of earth this year as I need to redo the front of the lawn as the winter can be hard on that area. We continue to work on regenerative gardening and fresh earth is part of that. 

Other than that it is a cloudy day and we are promised part sun/part cloud. We may get up to 4 degrees celsius which is great news for the Maple Syrup people - hopefully it will be a good crop. 

On to breakfast and cleaning. Thank you God for another beautiful day on Earth and to Mother Nature for the bountiful spring flowers that have broken through the ground still surrounded by snow but gradually melting. Listening to my Psalms this morning; they are beautiful. The Lenten theme published by PWRDF is "Love that Changes us." This week we have concentrated on Ethiopia and their struggles with conflict and now the resolution that has come to them. Justice and accountability are called for in that unnecessary war and so it should be. All wars should end; the hazards to our world are too great. Let us live in peace on God's earth; give all the nuclear weapons to the charge of the United Nations; we may need them one day to protect ourselves. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Snow is melting; the sunrise is golden

The last week of March and the snow is now into its melting cycle. The leaves of the crocuses and snowdrops are through the ground and growing rapidly. The snow still around them but a little bare earth here and there  where the green growth is coming. Spring is coming and with it the hope that Jesus brought to us over two thousand years ago. That we can be a God-loving people; respecting all mankind and wanting to live in peace and charity. The bare branches of the deciduous trees reach high into the sky; their winter sleep is over and the maple sap is running. Truly it is magic and yet we understand it very well but to a child it is magic when spring comes. Soon the buds on the trees and the flowers on the crocus and snowdrop will welcome us each day. The squirrels are already busy and more birds have come home for the summer. 

Yesterday I worked on the Ancestry matches looking at the new process where matches are assigned to Maternal, Paternal or Unassigned. I have looked at the first 100 of my matches and now working on one of my brothers because each of us (the four of us on Ancestry) have different amounts of shared chromosome with others and different matches. I like to work on the Ancestry matches every couple of months just to see what is there. The database is so very large and very few of my family lines are missed going back into time. I can perhaps start to look at my paternal grandmother to see if I can see anything constructive there. I have a lot of Rawlings matches (we all do but me especially). I inherited more from Rawlings than I did from Blake in that cross. My paternal grandmother loved being part of her family but then I would imagine it was partly because her mother was her natural mother but I have known adopted children who are really quite content with their adopted parents and I rather think she was one of those with a great love for her step-father. There are hints way back in my mind about the father of my paternal grandmother - he was a bailiff on a farm my father said. But he loved his maternal step-grandfather and not that interested in who his actual grandfather was - just a matter of fact sort of statement and not much interest. But he did enjoy talking about his maternal step-grandfather who was a gardener and very good at it apparently. He knew him well as he was nine years of age when he and his parents came to Canada. So I will watch for a hint of that person in the matches just to be complete in my researching but keep remembering that this was a family that encircled all of its members with love. The letters tell that story. 

Today is cleaning day once again. Today looks enthusiastic; the sky is bright although still minus 2 degrees celsius it will be above zero today and another day of melting snow. It enriches the earth with moisture all that slowly melting snow. It will soon be Mud Season here in Canada; it is coming quickly as it generally does. Spring is short in my part of the world; it will soon be like summer. 

The Apple CEO is in China and gave a show of support for China as a market and manufacturing base. It is good I think to see the good in countries and congratulate them. We are in the midst of a discussion on Chinese interference in our elections but personally I think we just need to know it; we are capable of deciding at the ballot box what our thoughts are. The two Michaels will be in our minds for a long time yet. It is sad that it always has to be for or against but our friendship with the United States of America is long standing and important to us and we will protect that relationship. 

Probably work on Ancestry during my rest periods from cleaning. On to Breakfast and the day.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

They have come home once again

 Yesterday whilst I was working away on my Ancestry matches I could hear a sudden whoosh outside of my window and looked up to see a large flock of birds swooping down towards the bird feeders. They were red winged blackbirds and they have come home for the summer. It is a wondrous sight to see these migrations coming back. The day was full of such large groups of birds taking a break during the winter snow storm to come down to shelter and food before heading further north although some will stay here. What a wonder nature really is and preserving it should be ever upper most in our minds. For if the birds can not live in our world then how can we? It really is just a simple fact of life. They tell us that the air is good, the land is good and the water is good else they would not survive. They deserve our respect and care. 

Prayers for Ukraine as always. Proliferation of nuclear weapons does not bode well for the future of the world given the aggressive militaristic attitude of Russia (likely Russia would blame Belarus for an "accidental" nuclear attack) and North Korea (and perhaps China that remains to be seen though as they too do not like nuclear weapon saber rattling). There can be great goodness in nuclear power but there is an evil side to it as well as it would destroy God's earth - His creation. Watching The 100 a Netflix production and it is fascinating. A world after Nuclear War has destroyed the earth (I believe it would actually break up into asteroids and be flung around the universe). But it is 100 years later and 100 young people have been sent to earth to see if everyone could return because the space stations which had maintained a semblance of the life on earth were running out of survival ability - their date stamp had been reached.

My favourite prayer:

Dear Father hear and bless thy beasts and singing birds 

And guard with tenderness small things that have no words

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


There are other lines I put in to remember my grandparents, parents, siblings and husband who have passed on in this life but the basic prayer has been the same from childhood when I learned it from my grandfather. There is a beauty in those few lines that really tell the story of mankind - dominion over the earth but with control comes responsibility and that responsibility is vast.

Yesterday was a great day for research although  not on Siderfin or the one-name studies. I decided to work on the 37 matches that my three siblings and myself have collected up over the past couple of months on Ancestry. I keep them all in an excel file where the four siblings are all recorded beside each other letting me see the matches readily. Ancestry has a new addition - matching the Paternal, Maternal or Unassigned sides of one's family. Actually it is quite good and on occasion has provided rather new and interesting ground. Not having the actual values of the matches has not proven to be a hindrance in looking at them in some ways - all of us have tested at other companies so have those results and it is possible to look at the Ancestry matches knowing the number of chromosome matches involved and actually apply that in a logical way and realize that these individuals are also matching us in the same area since often enough one of us is a smaller match and hence the match must be in a particular chromosome.  

Another Sunday and Church on You-Tube. We are into Lent 5 now and I have missed having a Bible Study for Lent. Next year I must select a book and do one totally on my own unless I find one on the Internet. Perhaps I did not look hard enough. I did read the one book which was interesting and I did follow through with all of the suggestions on "Mapping the Journey" which I found to be a thought provoking time. 

Chapter two - The Path of the Holy Fool

Day 2 - Chapter 2 (23 pages)

Living the brave truth is the body of this chapter named The Journey to Consciousness. I am humbled by the ability of people to overcome prejudice because I know that as a person who is white I do not suffer from the sorts of prejudice that many of the peoples of the world experience. But my own path of understanding has led me to believe that the real truth is that we must walk together.

Suggested advice was bad advice for me as it turned out  – become more active in the life around you. That did not awaken in me any sense of belonging but rather a feeling that I was rejected when the suggestion was proposed to me. I did not fit in (partly me probably). My own sense of what I was on earth to do came to the rescue and I found again my driving force as I retreated from that life.

Reflection Exercise

Appointed to a volunteer role which I could do and did for a number of years but again it was not something that was actually good for my mental health. Since then I have found my place in the volunteer world in my retirement which is home working on my transcription documents – old parish church records from the 16th and 17th centuries (England).

I do wonder what my life would have been had I married at 16 years of age and gone to Africa. I was going to go into medicine there. Instead I spent an entire lifetime here in Canada married at 20 to another. I am now widowed but in widowhood I have definitely developed even further my interest in my parent’s surnames as one-name studies with the Guild of one-name studies. It would not have happened likely had I gone to Africa and this intense interest although developing when my husband was still alive (he was an avid genealogist) has totally enveloped me now in a way I would not have thought possible (but it was my cousin George DeKay who sent me down that path when he was editor of the Westminster-Delaware History Books in 2003-5 and needed a Profile for my Pincombe family line in that area!).

I was cared for by a psychiatrist after a physical/nervous/mental breakdown in my early 30s. I appreciated all of his insights and have lived the life he suggested when I have been able. I like to be on the periphery of life doing my bit but preserving my quietness.