Friday, February 22, 2013

head cold, new (used) car, winter weather, genes and Geneology with a scandalous twist

Randomness - I can own that.

I managed to get downed by a nasty head cold this last weekend. It's been six days and I sound like a truck driver, but am starting to feel at least human now.

When I'm back to 100% I'll try to post a pic of the used car I picked up right before I got sick. I'm nervous, I got it for a lot less than I had expected to have to pay for a used car (have you seen the prices lately???). I'm worried that there's a hidden problem and it's not going to end up being the great deal I think I got. In fact, I'm so certain that there's something I don't know, I'm almost afraid to talk about it. But, I will. I did a good job looking at prices before I went shopping. Saw some awful deals and stayed away from them. Saw some 'maybe' reasonable deals that I wasn't completely happy about... and then, just when we were really close to giving up looking? I found a deal that seemed pretty good.

We also got a good 6" of snow yesterday. And more planned for in the next couple of days. (bleh) I'm tired of winter. At least it's not very windy and the temperature isn't too bad. It could be worse.

I sent in a kit last month for www.23andme.com which tests saliva for genetics. I wanted to know more about what's going on in my symptoms after having found that I'm homozygous for MTHFR and I have a lot of data now but am still working out how to turn that into information. I have several more genetic markers on the methylation panel that I need to understand what that means and what it means for my treatment. I also have a few genetic markers on detoxification... which I know NOTHING about. But, for one little clue about one little gene that might actually be good news. I don't understand it yet. But it's an 'ultra-fast metabolizer' which I'm thinking when it comes to detoxification might be a good thing. When it comes to warfarin (which I could never stabilize on) - it might actually be part of the insight into why that might have happened (maybe... lots of medical reading with three or four dictionaries opened is in my near future).

While they do this, they also give you TONS of other things about your ancestry and even have a place to document your family tree. For the people willing to do so, they even offer an option to find possible distant family members based on shared genetic sequences.

One thing that was verified that has always been a family rumor was that we definitely have a bit of Native American history in our blood. Though, I'm not sure if it's as recent as the rumor held. Supposedly, my Maternal Granmother's father was adopted and was half-Cherokee. But according to the genetics my genetic line is 99.9% European (expected that to be high) and .1% Native American. I would have thought that if four generations back was full-blooded Cherokee, that it would end up with more than that percentage. Of course, it all depends on which genes get passed on, right?  But, I'm wondering if perhaps there is Cherokee blood in the line, if it's not a little further back in the line.

They give you a place to document your family tree and surnames and other details. While I was documenting my Aunts & Uncles on my mother's side I came across one of my Aunt's obiturary which was commented on that someone had done the lineage for my Maternal Grandmother - they traced it back to the mid-1600's. I got ultra-absorbed in pulling that information into my family tree. I shut it down and when I went to search for it again, I found another member of the family had traced another line in their tree to the same people - but they were all the way back to the 1500's. Very fun. Very cool. A lot of information.

Now, my Maternal Grandfather's line has been documented previously by several people working on the geneology - like I have a book (literally, it's like 500 pages) for that family tree.

My Praternal Grandfather - I had done some research previously and found his parents in a census document. So I did some more searching and I was able to trace his family back to when his granfather first immigrated from Germany. I've found a few items with that man's name on it from Germany - Heinrich Heeren... but it's all in German. No idea if it's the same man, different man or what. Heinrich is basically German for "Henry" and Herren is an extremely common surname in Germany - though Heeren isn't as much we believe they went by Herren in Germany (not sure if the renaming occured during immigration or afterwards... I've got some clues that I originally thought meant it had happened during immigration I'll share in a bit,  but the latest information I found last night sheds some doubt on that). So basically, looking for Heinrich Herren in Germany is a little like looking for John Smith in England. It might be a little rough.

Sadly, I know very little about my Praternal Grandmother. I'll post it here in case someone else has info. I've lost contact with her side of the family (my only other surviving family on that side is through my Uncle and he's not into - well, anything, let alone finding family - we just keep our distance and don't talk - it works).  She was born in 1914 as Luella Virginia Aman somewhere in North Dakota. Moved to Sand Hill, Iowa (near Monticello) along with a sister to marry Albert G Heeren and by the 1940 census had given birth to my father who was 1 year old.

I know the Aman's had a big family and I've met some cousins through that side, but have lost contact since. Would love to find them again.

Anyway.... onto the 'hints/clues' about the renaming.

I sadly couldn't buy the box of books at my Great-Aunt's estate sale and this was pre-cell phone camera's... but during the sale I found a box of school books with "George Herren" and "George Heeren" written in them. Kindergarden through Second grade it was spelled Herren and the books were in German. Third grade it was spelled Heeren and those books were in English. So, I thought that meant that the family had emigrated together to America around the time that George would have been about 8-9 years old (reasonable assumption, right?). George would have been my Praternal Grandfather's father.

Only I found George's father's obituary last night. It was quite detailed as Heinrich was a gentleman of high standing in the community and had in fact chartered the local Lutheran Church and my family helped with construction of all forms of that church, well, except the one that's standing now. They just tore down the one my father helped build in the 40's a couple of years ago. He immigrated to Illinois from Germany in 1854 when he was 20 and married his wife (who was also from Illinois) in 1856. My great-grandfather wasn't born until after that (not sure exactly WHEN after that, but after that). So, that means that he might have been taught German because that was the tongue of his parents until they decided that they needed to improve their English skills and switched to an English set of school books. Nothing to do with immigration, it would appear.

So, is this scandelous? One might assume that adopting an English language and set of school books wouldn't necessitate a change of spelling in one's name. There are PLENTY of American "Herren's" around speaking English. PLENTY.

Well, rumour has it... and I'm dying to find the evidence of it in my family tree (just gotta keep digging).  But, that there were two first cousins who wanted to marry. And they both had the surname of Herren. Supposedly, the girls family changed their names so that there would be less questioning when they went to get their marriage license. That said. I have found the surnames of all of my Great-grandfather's sisters (well, at the time of their father's death, anyway) - and none of them were Herren... there was one baby who died who had kept Heeren (of course). Now, remarriage (esp. after being widowed) isn't impossible - so it's possible that one of the sisters had been the scandelous young girl who wanted to marry her cousin.  It's also possible that this might have been an arranged marriage... and it might have gotten planned while she was quite young. It's also possible that things might have gotten planned and then either of them might have decided to not marry the other.

While I was documenting my maternal Gradmother's line - I did find a Littlefield who married someone with the same surname.  No idea if they were close cousins yet or not... but since I found two separate trees with the same root Littlefield, I'm hoping by digging through and tying those two trees together into one document we can see if we got a little bit of inbreeding going on ... lol!  Of course, it doesn't help that the Littlefields tended to use the same names over and over (and over again). Heck there were at least two families where there were more than TWO children in the same generation with the same name to the same parents. Apparently, if you liked the name enough you stuck it to more than one child in case the other child didn't survive? So, there's a Francis 'the elder' Littlefield and his little brother Francis 'the younger' Littlefield.  Not sure if they went with "Anne" the first and "Anne the second' or what, but I suppose if you really wanted to carry the name on, you found a way to hedge your bets???? Just a little odd, let me just say! And confusing???? I have to redo part of the family tree... because I deleted one of the names (thinking I had just entered it incorrectly) when it tried to show that Patricia (the 2nd) daughter of George & Patricia (the 1st) was married to her father and was her own child (I'm pretty sure that didn't really happen - lol).

But it was late at night. And I think I screwed up that whole side of the family right there and then on that... and it was midnight and it wouldn't paint the family tree anymore. So I closed it down and hope that when I try again this weekend, I can figure out what I broke.



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