Monthly Archives: December, 2012

A Very Fun Holiday Gift for Anyone — DNA Testing for Genealogy & Family Origins. Come on, you know you are curious!

I’ve tested my DNA at both and at     Because I am adopted, I used the Family Finder test at familytreedna to verify my paper trail.  I waited until I knew who my biological father was and even until I had talked to his son on the phone.  In fact, I never had to bring up the subject.  His son told me that a DNA test would prove my theory and said that he would be willing to take one.  I ordered the test for him and it proved correctly that we are 1/2 siblings.

But DNA testing can show so much more.  It seems like everyone I talk to believes that they have some Native American blood.  I thought I did also as I have dark hair and eyes.  And my complexion is “olive” or “ruddy”.  I had to look up the definition of ruddy to make sure I was using it correctly & I am. But I found that my ancestry composition is 99.9% European and .1% East Asian & Native American.



(of a person’s face) Having a healthy red color.

At 23andme, it is about finding your relatives, but also about your health & how your genes determine your chances for disease.  Under “My Health”, 23andme has the following categories — disease risk, carrier status and drug response.

One of the most interesting things I discovered is that  3.1%  of my DNA is from Neanderthals.  That puts me in the upper 98% percentile.  Average Northern Europeans on their site have an average of 2.6% Neanderthal.  Being in the upper 2% is like being in an exclusive group like Mensa, only with much more hair.  I always wondered why my toes made my feet look like they belonged to a Hobbit.  23andme also sells t-shirts  that correspond with the correct Neanderthal percentage.

3.1% Neanderthal

3.1% Neanderthal

23andme recently acquired new financing that allows them to permanently lower their test from $290.00 to $99.00. This is an incredible bargain. Their goal is to attract one million new customers this year. That will make matching with relatives so much easier.

I’ve copied the following from 23andme’s Press Release of Dec. 11, 2012.

23andMe Raises More Than $50 Million in New Financing

Company Sets Growth Goal Of One Million Customers, Reduces Price to $99 from $299

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – December 11, 2012 – 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced it has raised more than $50 million in a Series D financing. Participants in the financing include Yuri Milner, a new investor, as well as existing investors Sergey Brin, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and MPM Capital. This investment will help the company achieve its growth goal of one million customers.

The Power of One Million People

Expanding the company’s ability to reach and serve one million individuals supports 23andMe’s goal to revolutionize health and wellness. It also will accelerate 23andMe’s ability to create a powerful platform that enables researchers around the globe to make meaningful discoveries significantly faster than is currently possible. With this expansion, 23andMe, which currently has more than 180,000 customers, will aim to:

  • Enable groundbreaking research by creating an exponentially larger collective of actively engaged, genotyped individuals;
  • Help accelerate development of new treatments;
  • Improve understanding of wellness and disease prevention; and
  • Broaden access for people seeking to manage their health and well-being through direct access and greater understanding of their own genetic data.

“A community of one million actively engaged individuals will be transformational for research. A community of this magnitude will improve researchers’ ability to quickly answer questions about genetic function and the role of environmental factors. In addition, it will enable researchers to understand medication efficacy and side effects, in both medications that exist today and medications are that are in development,” Wojcicki added.

Broadening Access: Lowering Price to $99

The Series D investment, combined with rapidly decreasing costs associated with genetic testing technologies, enables 23andMe to reduce the price of its Personal Genome Service to $99, effective immediately. The company will continue to evaluate optimal pricing strategies.

The investment also enables 23andMe to expand the necessary infrastructure to support growth in its research and operational capabilities, including product development, genetic research, software development, recruitment and marketing.

My New Prison Issue Glasses

I have the cutest, busiest, smartest, little Decker Rat Terrier named Tito.  Did I already mention the busiest?

Tito, the busiest Rat Terrier on the planet

Tito, the busiest Rat Terrier on the planet

Tito has a thing for eye glasses, especially those with designer frames costing over $300.00. My husband is lucky in that he had insurance for his glasses & quickly got them replaced. Me, not so lucky.  You are probably wondering why did we let him grab them more than once?  It is because this is the fastest dog on the planet.  All you have to do is turn your back & your glasses, wallet, keys, cell phone (i.e. anything that smells like you) will be gone.  Some of the glasses in this pile are “cheaters” and didn’t cost much.

Tito grabbed Gil’s wallet one day and shredded his paper money.  Gil took the pieces to the bank and they have to refund your money if you can find enough pieces to scotch tape together.  Luckily we grabbed the pieces before they disappeared.

Glasses that Tito has munched on.

Glasses that Tito has munched on.

So, to make a long & painful story short, I went into The Spectacle Shoppe, Inc. (Kent & Roxie’s)

and found the most fabulous pair of glasses and the frames only cost $60.00!  They are inexpensive because  this is what gets issued to prisoners.

They are made of 100% nylon and don’t have metal in the side pieces that could be made into a shiv.

Definition of a shiv — Slang for a knife or any other small cutting/stabbing weapon, often homemade; think inmates with sharpened toothbrushes or side pieces of eyeglasses.


I went online and found a Prison Forum that addresses these “Prison Issued Glasses” that I personally think are extremely stylish.    The thread is titled “Eyeglasses 4 My Man“.

I’ve copied two of the remarks about the “fugly” glasses —

At some prison they do have some they give them, but they are so ugly, at Will’s unit they are big, black plastic ones that make the guys look so bad. Will says he’s to cute to wear them LOL, I told him well then your cute A$$ can just be blind then. LOL So needless to say he sits at the front of his class LOL

Where Roger is in Illinois, he cant send his script out anymore. He has to use the Buddy Holly type glasses. The IDOC doesnt allow the wordly kind of glasses because they are made of metal and have those little screws.

An Article from the WSJ on DNA Testing

I have used both and also for DNA testing.

copied from the Wall Street Journal online —

Finding a Few Hundred Cousins
Tools that can trace your roots are becoming more advanced—and less expensive

Searching for your roots? Tools that help compare your genetic makeup with others’ are getting more sophisticated and more affordable.

In recent decades, DNA tests were mainly used to prove paternity. But since 2000, a handful of companies have commercialized tests that connect a wider array of relatives, sometimes going back centuries to find common ancestors.

As recently as 2007, such tests cost as much as $1,000. Today, they generally run between $100 and $300 and offer users more information. In May, Inc., a publisher of genealogical records and a site where people can track their family trees, started selling a DNA test that identifies relatives up to and including fifth cousins.

The tests are easy to take: Swab the inside of your cheek or spit into a tube and mail the results to a lab. Two to six weeks later, you can log into an online account for the results. You will generally see your ancestors’ regional ties; the migration paths of your ancient ancestors; and people in the company’s database (usually identified by a user name) who share some of your DNA. At that point, you typically have the option of contacting those individuals who have agreed to share their results.

Three main types of DNA tests are on the market. Until recently, most focused on DNA in the Y chromosome that’s handed down virtually unchanged from father to son. (Because only males have a Y chromosome, women must ask male relatives to take this test for them.)

Kelly Wheaton, 58, recently relied on a so-called Y-DNA test to resolve a genealogical mystery that had frustrated her for years. “I traced my husband’s family’s history back to 1750, but couldn’t get any further,” says the Napa Valley, Calif., resident. While Ms. Wheaton had a hunch her husband, Michael, 65, was descended from a Robert Wheaton who came to Salem, Mass., in 1636, it wasn’t until Michael took a Y-DNA test in 2011 that she obtained proof.

“His Y-DNA matched people with a perfect paper trail back to Robert Wheaton,” she says.
Mystery Solved

CeCe Moore, 43, used another test, of the mitochondrial DNA that mothers transmit virtually unchanged to children, to explore her great-grandmother’s Finnish ancestry. “My great-grandmother never told my grandmother anything about her family,” says Ms. Moore, of San Clemente, Calif., who writes a blog about genetics and genealogy. After the database linked Ms. Moore to cousins in Finland, she learned why her great-grandmother had cut off ties to her country of origin: She was pregnant out-of-wedlock when she came to the U.S.

Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA can connect people whose common ancestors lived recently or hundreds of years ago. But to find out how closely you are related—and to locate relatives besides those on your direct maternal or paternal lines—you will need an autosomal DNA test.

This relatively new test deciphers the amount of DNA shared between those whose common ancestors lived within the last half-dozen or so generations, says Megan Smolenyak, author of “Hey America, Your Roots Are Showing,” which includes information about DNA testing.

In general, the more DNA two people share, the closer their connection.
Test Companies

Among the companies that sell DNA tests for genealogy purposes, FamilyTreeDNA, a division of Gene by Gene Ltd. of Houston, maintains the largest Y-DNA database, populated by 250,000 people. A Mountain View, Calif., company, 23andMe Inc., has the largest autosomal DNA database, with more than 180,000 people. Clients of 23andMe also can get information about their genetic predispositions to more than 200 health conditions. of Provo, Utah—in addition to a push into autosomal DNA testing—offers genealogical records and tools to help long-lost relatives link family trees.

And this fall, the nonprofit National Geographic Genographic Project, with more than 500,000 participants, unveiled a technology that maps users’ genetic ties to specific regions.

Ms. Tergesen is a Wall Street Journal staff reporter in New York. She can be reached at

A version of this article appeared December 10, 2012, on page R7 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Finding a Few Hundred Cousins.

Copyright 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

Trying to Help Others with their Family Trees & even though this is sad, Happy Hanukkah

I have tried to help other friends and family search for their relatives.  The hardest search has been trying to find a family tree for my daughter’s grandmother.  Her family came from Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century. They came to the United States in order to find a better life and to escape the horrible treatment of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Jacob and Mamie Gershonowitz Kramer

Jacob and Mamie Gershonowitz Kramer

I have searched and searched, but I can’t find Mamie Gershonowitz’s entrance into the United States through Ellis Island, New York. We know that she was born (approximately) in May of 1888 in Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania and died on 12 August 1931 in Kansas City, Missouri. In the 1920 Federal Census, it states that she arrived in the United States in 1906. Please note that a lot of the earlier census reports had typos.

1920 United States Federal Census about Mayne Kermer
Name: Mayne Kermer
Age: 33
Birth Year: abt 1887
Birthplace: Poland
Home in 1920: Kansas City Ward 11, Jackson, Missouri
Race: White
Gender: Female
Immigration Year: 1906
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Jake Kermer
Father’s Birthplace: Poland
Mother’s Birthplace: Poland
Able to Read: No
Able to Write: No
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Jake Kermer 37
Mayne Kermer 33
Samuel Kermer 9
[9 8/12]
Annie Kermer 7
David Kermer 3

There is a great site to search for Jewish ancestry records — — and this site adds new records daily. Even if you don’t have any Jewish relatives, please look at this site. There is so much history here. There are many volunteers working to translate the records.

When searching for Jewish relatives, there are many road blocks. First, language and translation. Second, the Hebrew calendar and searching for dates. Third, name changes. And finally, World War I and World War II changed the borders of countries and their names changed also.

I have found more information about my daughter’s great grandfather, Jake Kramer. Jake was born in Lithuania. But some of his records say he was born in the Russian Empire on 15 Nov. 1887 in Kiev, Ukraine (Russia). I am not sure what is correct as Eastern Europe was in turmoil. Jake died in Kansas City, MO on 25 Feb. 1965.

His father, Aron Kramer, was born about 1862 in Yanow, Kowno, Russia and died 19 April 1942 in Droga Lubienska, Janowska. Both Aron Kramer and his wife Tema Malka Kramer died during the Holocaust.

Aron Kramer

Aron Kramer

Name: Aron Krämer
Death Date: 29 Apr 1942
Death Place: Droga LubienskaJanowska
Burial Date: 2 May 1942
Burial Plot: A II
Burial Place: Lviv, Lwow, Ukraine
Comments: Lviv Cemetery Records – 1942
Cemetery Burials: 7772
Cemetery Comments: The city of Lviv, Ukraine was formerly Lvov, USSR; Lwow, Poland; and Lemberg, Austrian Empire. Included in this cemetery data are files from 1941 and 1942, written in both the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets. The data for this cemetery is contain

His wife, Tema Malka Kramer was born about 1862 in Lithuania and died about 1941.

Tema Malka Kramer

Tema Malka Kramer

Holocaust: Krakow (Poland) Transport Lists, 1940 about Małka Kremer
Name: Małka Kremer
Birth Date: 1861
Date Transported: 17 Mar 1941
Departure Location: Lublin
Marital Status: Married
Address: Krasińskiego 5
Transport Number: 61
Transportee Number: 88

Old Photographs and some Christmas Party Pics before Facebook

I love looking at old photos even if I don’t know the people in them. The greeting card industry has figured out that a lot of us like to see old photos and they have used them to get people like me to buy a bunch of their cards.

With all of this in mind, I urge everyone to buy a scanner for their photos. Scanners are finally very inexpensive and easy to use. Please go through your family photos and scan them and preserve them for your children’s enjoyment. Plus, if you scan your photos and your house burns down, you will still have all of your treasured family memories. I use a couple of sites to save my digital photos — Picasa and also Shutterfly. With Picasa you can save your photos on your computer and you also have the ability to save them out in cyberspace.

Daddy Ray took about 10,000 slides. I need to take the time to digitally scan what I consider the most relevant slides. Men tend to take photos of sunsets & landscapes.  I will only scan the slides that contain family and friends.

I’ve copied some free sites below where you can look at old photos.  I especially like the old humorous ones.

On Shorpy, check out the quintessential Christmas photos

Please go to this site to see an enlarged version of this spectacular Christmas party photo.  The hair styles are amazing.  And you can imagine who will get a little tipsy later on and who is the most popular woman in the office, etc.  A picture is worth 1,000 words.

G.E. Christmas Party, 1925

G.E. Christmas Party, 1925

Below is a photo of a Christmas party at Daddy Ray’s employer, Brown & Ginzel in Wichita, Kansas. I don’t know the date of this photo, but it looks like the 1960’s. I doubt that their parties that included the wives were that all lively, but Daddy Ray does look like he is choking back a big guffaw. Their company owned a lake house (at Grand Lake, Oklahoma) but that was another story. Hubba, Hubba. I wish I presently owned any of the girly pin-up lamps, photos, mosaics, etc. that decorated that lake house. When we got to use our week of vacation at Grand Lake as a company perk, Mom (Harriett) would make us wait in the car until she went inside and slid all girly “art work” under the beds (like we couldn’t get it out later). It was an amazing 1950’s and 1960’s totally tacky Mid-Western man cave complete with a wooden speed boat and a “yacht club”. And also a completely stocked bar.  In those days the I.R.S. allowed all sorts of deductions for office perks.  Even country club memberships.

Daddy Ray Page's Christmas Party at Brown & Ginzel

Daddy Ray Page’s Christmas Party at Brown & Ginzel

A Post for the Ladies. Feminine Hygiene in the Last Century.

Throughout history, women have used a variety of protective pads during menstruation. Most were created at home by using some sort of fabric. The text below was copied from Wikipedia.

Through the ages women have used different forms of menstrual protection. Menstrual pads have been mentioned as early as the 10th century, in the Suda, where Hypatia, who lived in the 4th century AD, was said to have thrown one of her used menstrual rags at an admirer in an attempt to discourage him. The Museum of Menstruation has articles and photos of some early forms of menstrual protection, including among other things knitted pads and menstrual aprons. Women often used strips of folded old cloth (rags) to catch their menstrual flow, which is why the term “on the rag” is used to refer to menstruation.

Disposable menstrual pads grew from Benjamin Franklin’s invention designed to save soldiers with buckshot wounds, but appear to have been first commercially available from around 1888 with the Southall’s pad. The first commercially available American disposable napkins were Lister’s Towels created by Johnson & Johnson in 1896. Disposable pads had their start with nurses using their wood pulp bandages to catch their menstrual flow, creating a pad that was made from easily obtainable materials and inexpensive enough to throw away after use. Kotex’s first advertisement for products made with this wood pulp (Cellucotton) appeared in 1921. Several of the first disposable pad manufacturers were also manufacturers of bandages, which could give an indication of what these products were like. Until disposable sanitary pads were created, cloth or reusable pads were widely used to collect menstrual blood. Women often used a variety of home-made menstrual pads which they crafted from various fabrics, leftover scraps, grass, or other absorbent materials, to collect menstrual blood. Many probably used nothing at all. Even after disposable pads were commercially available, for several years they were too expensive for many women to afford. When they could be afforded, women were allowed to place money in a box so that they would not have to speak to the clerk and take a box of Kotex pads from the counter themselves. It took several years for disposable menstrual pads to become commonplace. However, they are now used nearly exclusively in most of the industrialized world.



Wood Wool
My mother told me about the Kelley household with three adolescent girls and their method of dealing with the monthly occurrence of menstruation.

Granny Kelley, being the very fastidious woman that she was, always made white flannel pads that could be folded & reused. I am sure she hemmed them beautifully. Granny kept a bucket of bleach water in the basement and the three Kelley girls would put their used pads into this bucket before they were to be laundered. Granny would wash them, bleach them white, refold them and put them back into the closet for future use. Mom (Harriett) went on to tell me about less fortunate girls who didn’t have a mother like Granny or the means to buy nice flannel fabric. Some of these poor girls had a tough time and often did not smell very nice.

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