I thought I remembered a solar eclipse

I thought I remembered a solar eclipse from when I was a child. Of course, I thought it was a total eclipse, but there were no total eclipses in Bend, Oregon when I was a child! When I look at a site which shows all the solar eclipses in the twentieth century there were two that might have been the one I remember–in 1959 and 1963. Probably the 1963 one is what I remember. I remember we used a pinhole projection into a box, I think, to see a projection of the eclipse. Bend probably only had 50% of the sun eclipsed that year. So my memory of that past eclipse is not very accurate.

Thanks to the NASA.gov website for providing this map

My husband and I have decided to drive to Kansas City to see the total eclipse. However the forecast is for clouds and there even thunderstorms, but we’ll see what we see! We have two pair of solar eclipse glasses so we are prepared. (Plus there is a genealogy library I’ve wanted to visit in Independence, Missouri so I’ll have a chance to do a little bit of research while we’re there! Just a coincidence, of course!)

Since I didn’t remember too much about the eclipse from my childhood I decided to search for solar eclipse information from my hometown newspaper–The Bend Bulletin. I found a few very funny stories.

For example, there was a partial solar eclipse in Bend in 1923. The newspaper apparently announced that the eclipse would be the day before the actual event so the next day they published an amusing article stating that since it was Sunday and so many people were in church the eclipse was postponed a day!

So many people were engaged in church services and so many others out of town that Monday seemed a better time for the eclipse. Arrangements were made accordingly, although it was not possible to give notice to all, and the eclipse was held this noon with a high degree of success. (The Bend Bulletin, Monday, Sep 10, 1923, page 4)

Another funny article in 1959 talked about a television show on CBS which decided to follow a group of scientists who traveled to the Pacific island Puka Puka to film a solar eclipse. The CBS camera crew filmed the scientists. However, the scientists weren’t very entertaining.

Among the show’s duller pieces of padding, I would include an irrelevant trip to a Honolulu nightclub, a peek at the initiation ceremonies aboard a ship when it crossed the Equator, a group of speeches by natives in Puka Puka and a group of speeches by scientists in semi-scientistese. (The Bend Bulletin, Tuesday, Jan 20, 1959, page 8)

Parts of Oregon are on the total eclipse path for this eclipse and officials in Oregon expect up to a million people to travel to the path of the eclipse! There has already been bumper-to-bumper traffic in parts of Oregon. I’m glad I’m not in Oregon fighting that traffic.

My brother still lives in Oregon and he is in the path of the eclipse so I think I will probably have to depend on him for eclipse stories since the weather in Iowa and Missouri doesn’t look very good.

Ready for the family reunion

I’ve been getting ready for a family reunion for the past week or so. My husband’s BARR family gets together twice a year–in August and at Thanksgiving. We are leaving this afternoon for our eight-hour car trip!

My three kids are coming so I’m excited about that. I don’t get to see my son too often since he lives in New York City. Lots of my husband’s family lives in the Midwest–mostly Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa so lots of people come each year.

Photos from past years:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The August family reunion is in northern Wisconsin where a cousin and her family have a house on a lake. It’s a fun weekend and 50 to 100 relatives show up. There are lots of activities, boat rides, swimming, food, conversations and laughter with family members we don’t see too often.

We usually have a new tee-shirt designed for that year and annual events such as “Swim the Lake.” This is the 25th year for the lake swim. Several boats go with the swimmers and everyone wears life preservers. It’s an event kids and adults look forward to each year! Some years we have themes–last year was a 90th birthday party for our oldest family member and we had dance lessons for the Charleston and other dances–and some years there are games like a watermelon seed spitting contest or relay races.

Families sign up to make a meal, bring supplies or do clean up. Our family is making Sunday morning breakfast–waffles and overnight oatmeal with fresh fruit, syrup and whipped cream among the toppings. I’ve spent time figuring out a waffle recipe for 75 people! I’ve put together double batches of the dry ingredients in ziplock bags so we can make a smaller batch of waffle batter as we need it. My two daughters, son and husband are all helping with the breakfast and bringing supplies, waffle irons and crockpots.

I will post some photos from this year’s reunion next week.

Family DNA results, part 3

DNA Circles

A DNA Circle will form around an ancestor in your family tree if your tree is public and linked to your DNA test, and if two or more of your DNA matches…

 

–are DNA matches to you and to each other at a 2nd cousin level or further out

–have public family trees attached to their DNA tests; and

–share a common ancestor (according to their trees).

I have six DNA circles–all from my maternal grandmother’s family. I need to study my circles a little more. All the “common ancestors” are in my family tree and I want to look more closely at the other people in the circles and see if I can add to my family tree or at least get some clues.

I need to remember that even though the DNA matches in these circles are related to me, but that doesn’t mean that their family trees are correct especially if they have no source records. I need to research to see if I can add new people.

My brother doesn’t have a family tree on Ancestry so he doesn’t have any DNA Circles. That’s also an important thing to remember–without a family tree and without a common ancestor in the family tree you won’t have a DNA Circle.

Ancestry has various levels of confidence for me in my DNA Circles–from Good confidence to Emerging confidence. I can also see the confidence level Ancestry has for the other people in my circles. I’m not sure why some of the people show higher levels of confidence according to Ancestry.

My takeaway and what I need to do
  • Look at each of my circles and see if I can figure out more ancestors to add to my family tree.
  • Try to contact each of these people and see what more they can tell me about their genealogy.
  • Remember that just because we’re DNA matches their trees might not be correct. (And maybe my tree has some mistakes so admit that if necessary!)

Do you have DNA Circles on your AncestryDNA? Have they helped your genealogy? Have you discovered new ancestors for your family tree from the DNA Circles? Have you found new cousins?

Family DNA results, part 2–Genetic Communities

Genetic Communities™

Genetic Communities show where your family probably lived in the past few hundred years. We create these by identifying groups of AncestryDNA members who are genetically connected to each other.

As science improves and our DNA database grows, the communities you’re connected to might change. (quote from Ancestry.com)

I have a (possible–40% confidence) Genetic Community–“Norwegians in Sørlandet.”  Sørlandet literally means Southland. This is a geographical area on the southern coast of Norway not a governmental region. It roughly corresponds to two present-day counties (formed around 1900) in Norway–Vest-Augder and Aust-Augder.

My brother’s DNA shows two Genetic Communities–“Western Norwegians” (Likely–60% confidence) and “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” (Possible–20% confidence).

The “Western Norwegians” and “Norwegians in Sørlandet” overlap in the map shown on Ancestry. When I look more at these Ancestry Genetic Communities I think that “Norwegians in Sørlandet” are a subregion of
“Western Norwegians.” At this point I’m not sure exactly what that means.

When I read about genetic communities on Ancestry it is clear that they are changing as more and more people test their DNA on Ancestry. Right now there are 300 genetic communities in Asia, Europe, North America and South and Central America.

Within North America, for example, there are three regions and then within those three regions are United States (four regions), Canada (four regions) and Mexico (three regions). Drilling down into the United States shows there are four regions–Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern and Western–which also show more regions! This is all rather confusing though interesting.

My brother shows a possible genetic community within the Midwestern United States–“Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.” Within that genetic community there are 5 more genetic communities! When I look at the map for this genetic community I can hover over circles see “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of West Virginia,” “Setters of the Upper Ohio River Valley,” another circle which shows “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley” further west, and “Settlers of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Southern Iowa.” Within these large circles are lots and lots of little circles, but I don’t see anything which tells me about those little circles.

I think these genetic communities can be valuable and certainly give hints about our genetic genealogy. My brother and I already know we have Norwegian ancestry, but don’t know for sure where they came from so the genetic communities shown give us places to start. We also know that some of our ancestors came from northern Ohio along Lake Erie. This isn’t a genetic community yet. However, I think we probably had various ancestors who came west into Ohio possibly along the Ohio River Valley.

I do like that Ancestry provides a historical perspective about the areas as well as where the people migrated from. It also shows our matches for each of our genetic communities.

  • My “Norwegians in Sørlandet” genetic community shows I have 33 DNA matches.
  • My brother’s “Western Norwegians” shows 15 DNA matches.
  • And my brother’s “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” shows 96 DNA matches.

The overview for “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” talks about the Ohio River Valley opening up after the Revolutionary War and that English, German, Scots and Scots-Irish moved to the frontier.

Ancestry’s overview of “Western Norwegians” says they were usually farmers or fishermen. They managed to live through wars, winters and economic depressions, but the cheap land in the United States encouraged many of them to move to the Midwestern United States where they often became farmers. Others became fishermen in the Northeast and Northwest.

My takeaway
  • Genetic Communities™ are going to grow and change as more people test their DNA and as science improves.
  • They give us hints about our DNA and genealogy. I think I can look at the Norwegian genetic communities and the matches my brother and I have and tag those matches as belonging on our paternal grandfather’s line since his parents both came from Norway.
  • The U.S. genetic community my brother shows is a little more difficult to figure out. For one thing Ancestry has only a 20% confidence this is correct for my brother. I can take a look at the matches shown though and maybe say they all come from the maternal side of our DNA since our paternal is all Scandinavian and those ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
  • Genetic Communities™ can also show us an overview of migration patterns for a group of people and history of the areas.

Have you tested your DNA with Ancestry? Do you belong to any Genetic Communities™? What was your takeaway after reading about your community? Have you tested with other DNA companies? Do they have anything like Ancestry Genetic Communities™?

My family DNA results, part 1

My kids bought me a DNA test from Ancestry for my birthday this year. I’ve gotten the results back and it’s all so interesting–though I am still trying to understand it all! I got my brother to do his DNA, too, so I thought I would write a series of articles about what I think I’ve learned. This will help me figure things out in my own mind and I hope if I get things wrong maybe someone will comment and help me.

My ethnicity estimates are:
  • 68% Scandinavian
  • 15% Great Britain
  • 11 % Europe West

With the following low confidence areas:

  • 4% Ireland
  • ≤ 1% Europe East
  • ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula

What I know  about my ethnicity from my genealogy:

  • My VALLEY and JOHNSON families came from Norway and Sweden.
  • The WINTERS and HARMS families came from Germany.
  • My great-grandmother Lillie CHAMBERS thought her family came from Ireland.
  • The story I’ve read is that my MILLER family came from Germany before the Revolutionary War.
  • We think the McCULLOUGH family came from Scotland.
  • There are several family lines which were in the United States in the 1700’s and we don’t know for sure where they came from and in some cases I’m not confident putting them into my family tree since I don’t have evidence they belong there. The PICKERING family probably came from Great Britain.

As anyone can see from the above information I haven’t really taken my genealogy across the pond. Based on what I am quite sure about I’m surprised I didn’t show up with more Irish and Western Europe (German) ethnicity. And I was surprised I show up with 11% Great Britain.

From what I have read these ethnicity estimates are just that: estimates. Also right above the Ethnicity Estimate on Ancestry it says “Thousands of years ago” so that seems to indicate this is not necessarily something that shows up in my genealogy.

My brother’s ethnicity results:
  • 63% Scandinavian
  • 23 % Europe West
  • 10 % Ireland

With the following low confidence areas:

  • 2% Europe East
  • ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula
  • 0% Great Britain

Since my paternal grandparents were 100% Scandinavian and their families were probably in Norway and Sweden for a long time the fact that both my brother and I are so high with our Scandinavian ethnicity makes sense to me. He shows a bit more Europe West than I do (23% as opposed to my 11%) and quite a bit more Ireland than me (10% versus 4%). I’m surprised he shows 0% Great Britain and I show 15% Great Britain.

I do need to remember these are “estimates from thousands of years ago!” And I have read that the Vikings traveled into Germany and, of course, Great Britain and Ireland–and I’m sure they left some DNA behind! They were even into Russia and Eastern Europe. The ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula both my brother and I show is surprising though I don’t think it’s very significant.

Well, I hope I haven’t made a bunch of incorrect assumptions based on my ethnicity estimates. I think the biggest takeaway for me is that the ethnicity estimates might offer a hint, but I shouldn’t use these estimates to say “I have Irish ethnicity” unless I have genealogy to back it up.

To anyone who has more experience with DNA  can you tell me if I’m on the right path with this?

A book for Central Oregon history buffs

crooked-river-countryCrooked River Country: Wranglers, Rogues, and Barons (linked to Amazon)

by David Braly

Published by Washington State University Press, Pullman, Washington, 2007

331 pages, includes a Select Bibliography, Chapter Index of Personages and a separate map in a pocket in the back cover

Synopsis from GoodreadsCrooked River Country is a sweeping account of north central Oregon’s thrilling history, primarily the years between 1800 and 1950. Bordered by intimidating natural barriers, the rough country and harsh winters produced equally hardy inhabitants.

Legends include Billy Chinook, Chief Paulina, Elisha Barnes, James M. Blakely, Newt Williamson, James J. Hill, Johnnie Hudspeth, and Les Schwab. In the early 1800s, only Native Americans, fur trappers, military expeditions, and missionaries roamed the forbidding setting, but after mid-century, pioneer families discovered lush pastures nestled in the expanse between the Cascades and the Blue Mountains.

The homestead boom sparked deadly Paiute raids and conflicts over grazing rights. As land became more precious, Native Americans were forced onto reservations and Vigilante ranchers terrorized settlers. Moonshiners fought back. Dishonest politicians and capitalists exploited land claim laws and stole vast amounts of timberland.

Steamship and railroad lines further opened the region, and the territory gradually became less wild. Big eastern lumber companies arrived and constructed the largest pine mills in the world. The stock market collapsed, and citizens faced severe economic depression intensified by prolonged drought. New Deal programs, good rainfall, and World War II eventually spurred industrial and population growth.

Crooked River Country presents the captivating and thoroughly researched saga of the region’s astonishing transformation.

I bought this book last week on Amazon and so far I’ve only read a couple of chapters and browsed through the book. I looked through the Index of Personages for any of my ancestors who lived in that part of the country and found my great-grandfather Lee MILLER. He’s mentioned in a paragraph about Paulina, Oregon.

Paulina had been founded in 1870, and its post office was established in 1880 with John T. Faulkner serving as postmaster. Livestock baron Bill Brown sometimes listed himself as a Paulina resident. Cornett had a stage station there, but the big businesses in the early 20th century were the Paulina Cash Store, operated by Lee Miller and George Ruba, and the Hotel Paulina, built by Elmer Clark in 1906. The hotel had a lounge, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, and eight bedrooms upstairs. While a few homesteaders filed for land in the vicinity, the Paulina area remained a ranching district. (from Crooked River County by David Braly, p. 187)

It’s always nice to see a name I know in print! The book starts with early history of the area and continues to the early 1950’s with the last chapter talking about the growth and importance of Prineville, Oregon after WWII when the post-war building boom created the need for more lumber. The first chapter explores the area as a whole and defines Central Oregon as a larger area than how it’s defined today.

I grew up in Central Oregon and my parents were born there. My Miller relatives came to Oregon in 1847 on the Oregon Trail so even though I don’t live in Oregon any longer I have deep roots there. And lots of relatives all over Oregon. I think I will learn a lot more about the history of the area I grew up in.

About David Braly

From the back cover: He’s a Prineville resident, a former journalist, is a popular author of numerous articles about the West. He was selected as a 2005 Spur Award finalist for best Western short fiction.

Baptism record: Ole Sevill VALLEY

I’ve found a baptism record from the First Lutheran Church in Stoughton, Dane County, Wisconsin. The baby’s name is Ole Sevill and his parent’s are Fred and Katinka VALLEY. His birth date is 17 October 1886. The baptism date is 7 November 1886. I believe the baby was later called William and that he was my grandfather Peter VALLEY’s younger brother.

Even more exciting is to see the sponsors’ names–Sophie Kleve, Olive Wallesverdh, Hans Kleve and Konrad Wallesverdh. Katinka’s maiden name is Wallisverg so I think at least two of these sponsors are her relatives.

Having the sponsors’ names gives me new names to search for. I found the record on Ancestry. However, if I had just viewed what Ancestry had recorded–the parents’ names, baby’s name, date of birth, date of baptism–and not looked at the original document carefully I wouldn’t have seen the sponsors’ names.

Source info:

Baptism Record, Ole Sevill Valley, born 17 Oct 1886, First Lutheran Church, Stoughton, Wisconsin, U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940.