2016 Report Card

It’s the end of the year so that means report card time.

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least a year you’ll know that at the end of the year I post the year’s goals and review how well I did at reaching them and then I set new goals for the new year. Often, even if I don’t reach the goals in the year I made them, I will reach them in a different year. It never ceases to surprise me how the universe seems to work to meet my goals if I put them out there. Most years I put my goals out to the universe and don’t look at them again until the end of the year. It’s always a fun surprise to see how things turn out.

Last years goals:

1. To learn who my 3rd great grandfather Charles SEELY’s parents were. (Research goal)

You can read previous posts about the SEELY’s at these links:

#22882- Charles’ marriage to Sinthia FOSTER.

#25722- the Arkansas copy of the deed for the Georgia property.

#23404- the multi-part story of Press SEELY- grandson to Charles SEELY.

#20760- June 2015, a more in-depth post about Charles Seely.

So I didn’t find out a lot about Charles this year despite going to Lawrence County, Missouri to look for records. If you open your eyes and pay attention though, you’ll find that life is very cyclical and I’m certain that Charles will decide to be found in a future year when I don’t expect him to show up. I did acquire his Homestead file from National Archives. Charles homesteaded land in Lawrence County, Missouri in 1857. The documents are of poor quality and unfortunately did not give the amount of detail I’ve found in other ancestors’ Homestead files. Charles paid $100 for the Northwest quarter of the Southeast quarter of section 31 in Township 27 of Range 28 containing 40 acres at $2.50 per acre. The document was originally filed in the Receiver’s Office in Springfield, Missouri.

Charles’ land was located where the red circle is on this map of Lawrence County, MO.

This year, the person who really wanted to be found (and who kept cropping up all year long) was my 3rd great-grandfather, John BATES. You can read some of his posts at these links if you want:

Post #16413 written in January 2015.

Follow-up post #25406 guest written by my cousin Troy Bates.

My mom and I were able to go to the Benton County, Arkansas courthouse and find a deed record pertaining to John’s widow and then later in the year Bart and I were able to make a trip to Georgia and I found the counterpart to that deed in a courthouse in Georgia. The deed had to be filed in both states since the property was in Georgia but by that time, his widow had remarried and moved to Arkansas.

So as far as Charles SEELY- I found him on a couple of documents but I don’t feel I made any real progress as far as who he was, who his family (parents/siblings) was, or where he came from.

2. To blog at least once per month. Also, to convert some of my blog stories to articles and try to get them published in small local or specialized genealogical or historical publications. (Combined writing and sharing goals)

This was a win and not-a-win all at the same time. On the one hand I blew the blog goal out of the water with more than 54 (!!!) blog posts this year. The publication goal? I did a little research into potential publications to contact but didn’t actually send any material in for possible publication. This year was not at all what I expected it to be. I’m glad for the things that happened- they just didn’t further the genealogy goals.

3. To start over in reviewing and organizing my family history utilizing ideas from Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over Challenge. (Organizing goal- keeping the same goal since I didn’t meet it last year.) You can learn more about the challenge here.

Once again, I didn’t get much done in the way of organization other than cleaning up my digital family tree because that part is necessary before I can consider a blog post publish-worthy. Beyond that- I didn’t do anything worth noting here. However, for Christmas I requested a table that I could set up in my home to utilize as a work area for all my genealogy “stuff” (some of which has been packed away for more than a decade!). My parents were kind enough to get me a table. I’ll be setting it up between Christmas and New Year’s and will begin unpacking all my genealogy, organizing it, digitizing it, and setting up a work area. I’m really excited about this! Thanks Dad and Mom!

4. To attend a conference/workshop/educational event. This year’s choice is Family History Conference of Northwest Arkansas 2016 (same as last year). It’s a free event with some good workshops. If you’re interested you can find more information here. (Self-Improvement Goal)

I went to the conference in 2016 and enjoyed it. This coming year I will be teaching one of the workshops. I’m pretty excited about that and I hope to see some of you there. It’s still free. The 2017 schedule should be up soon. You can register now if you want. The link above is still valid.

In summary, while I didn’t meet some of my goals or met them in a way I didn’t intend/anticipate, I still feel it was a pretty successful year. In addition to last year’s genealogy trips, I was able to get trips in this year to Tennessee/North Carolina and Georgia as well as local trips to the courthouses in Benton County, Arkansas and Lawrence County, Missouri.

New Year, New Blog

Now it’s time to set new goals and then to talk about the 2017 blog setup since it’s going to change some.

2017 Goals

1. Learn more about my 3rd great grandmother Hester Ann Eglentine MITCHELL DRAKE – anything about the end of her life or the very beginning (well…really just anything at all!). (Research goal)

2. Continue to blog but with a more regular schedule and begin including some of Bart’s family stories as well. (Writing/Sharing goals)

3. Set up a research area in a spare room and FINALLY get started on those organization goals I’ve had the last couple of years. (Organizing goals)

4. Create a successful class to teach Spring, 2017 at conference. (Self-Improvement Goal)

Blog Changes for 2017

In 2017 my blog will change. I plan to start telling some of my husband Bart’s stories as well as mine. I also plan to have somewhat of a schedule so I don’t necessarily have to announce when each blog post goes live. I will still advertise each blog post on my Facebook but I won’t necessarily be tagging people each time I post. I would like readers to be able to depend on a schedule and know ahead of time what I will be posting so they can go find the information on their own. I would especially like to get away from tagging everyone on Facebook for each individual post.

In order to accomplish these goals I will be making a new blog post every Sunday. On Sunday I will list the specific days of that week that new blog posts will go live. That way you can check back on those days if you’re interested in the topic and find it on your own. For instance, the first week of January I will be posting the week’s schedule on January 1 because it’s a Sunday. It will look something like this:

January 1: Schedule for the week PLUS stories about James M. BULLOCK (my maternal 2nd great grandfather) and Theodor H. MOELLER (Bart’s maternal great grandfather).

January 3: Stories about Laura BULLOCK RITER (my maternal great grandmother)

January 5: Stories about Nancy CHAMBERS HUBBARD (my paternal 3rd great grandmother)

January 6: Stories about Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL (my paternal 4th great grandmother)

So now you know that the first week of January you can expect blog posts on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. You will also know whether I’m talking about mom’s family (maternal) or dad’s family (paternal) or Bart’s mom’s or dad’s families. So if you miss my Facebook link about a particular person that you’re interested in you can just come here and read it. Bookmarking my blog on your computer or subscribing to an RSS feed of my blog will be the easiest/fastest way to access my blog on your own without Facebook links.

I hope this coming year will be a great year for all of us and I hope you will come back to read the blog throughout the year. I’m looking forward to telling our stories for future generations to enjoy. Please feel free to contribute stories if you have some about the people listed on each Sunday’s schedule. I’d love to include your stories here. For now though, I’m going to celebrate the coming new year with some cupcakes. You can find the recipes for the cupcakes here: Gin and Juice Cupcakes from A Soulful Twist blog and Red Velvet Red Win Cupcakes from A Night Owl blog.

Until next time,

~ Lisa at Days of Our Lives

Details of the 99%

So I thought I would give you some further insight to the percentages in yesterday’s post. I will start with my paternal line and then go into my maternal line after that. I will let you know where I think each line came from in order to make up the DNA results I talked about yesterday.

My Paternal Lines- In Alphabetical Order

I will put the surname first and then the country I *think* each family came from before entering the US. If I don’t know, the family won’t be included on the list.

Bear- I suspect this family is Native American but can’t prove it
Bond- England
Caudill- Scotland or England- not certain
Day- Wales
Drake- England
Greer- Scotland
Hubbard- England
Larkin- Possibly Ireland
Littrell- Ireland
Lowe- England
Pilgrim- I suspect Germany but don’t know anything certain
Reed- Ireland
Sargent- England
Watts- England
Wedding- Germany
Weddle- Netherlands

Is it becoming clear why my data states 56% British Isles??

My Maternal Lines- In Alphabetical Order

I will put the surname first and then the country I *think* each family came from before entering the US. If I don’t know, the family won’t be included on the list.

Bates- I suspect probably Germany but don’t know really
Chenoweth- England
Dale- England
Dow- England
Ellis- England
Elston/Elton- England
Gibson- Ireland
Reiter/Riter- Germany
Scott- Native American
White- England

So you can see that my mom’s heritage is a big mystery to me, but still helps to account for a good portion of that 56% British Isles result.

I’ve pretty well accounted for the 56% British Isles. I’ve accounted for exactly ZERO of the 25% Scandinavian DNA. I feel like I’ve done a decent job covering the 10% Western and Central Europe (Germany). I’ve accounted for exactly ZERO of the 7% Southern Europe. And that 1% Central/South Asian plus the half percentages of Eastern/Middle East and Ashkenazi Jew?? Still nothing (although I suspect the Reiter family on Mom’s side and possibly the Pilgrim family on Dad’s side)! However, I’ve starting dabbling with the Jewishgen.org website and have found so many of the surnames that I believe to be German (on both mine AND Bart’s families) so maybe I’ll make some headway on the Jewish angle in 2017.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives


I’m slow to get into things but once I do, I’m pretty committed. The DNA craze has been going on for awhile. My SIL Becky got hers done long ago and has been encouraging me to do mine for a long time. I finally decided I was ready and knew which company I wanted to go with, etc. Actually…my great-uncle and great-aunt wanted me to help them do theirs and I decided if they were doing it and I was helping them I might as well do my own. Then I decided if I was doing it my husband was, too! Then I even got my parents to do it. I chose Family Tree DNA for a few reasons, the most important of which are that they don’t share your info with other companies and also they utilize a swab test rather than a spit test. (The kits are still on sale but only for a few more days! Hurry and buy one now!!)

I ordered our kits the second week of November. We held on to them a couple of days and then sent them in. I’m not sure what happened with the mailing process but it took a couple of weeks for Family Tree to acknowledge receipt of our packages. However, my uncle and aunt’s kits were acknowledged right away. My husband and I swabbed and sent in our samples in mid-November. Our results were posted about a week before Christmas. For the record, the results were posted well in advance of the date projected by Family Tree DNA. I COULD NOT WAIT TO READ THE RESULTS!!

I opened them and I was so confused and frustrated! My husband’s, aunt’s, and uncle’s results all read 100% but mine read 99%. I messaged Family Tree and asked why mine were only 99%. I didn’t get a response (to be fair it was Christmas time) so I called them and asked the same question. I was told that it is normal to receive between 99% and 101% on results due to the fact that there are sometimes fractions of percents that cause the total to come in under or over 100%. The company doesn’t report fractions less than 1% total because that amount falls within the margin of error.

So for my family reading this- I know you’re asking yourself when I’m going to get around to talking about that 99% so here you go:

98% European- broken down to include:
56% British Isles (United Kingdom, Ireland, Great Britain area)
25% Scandinavia (Norway and southern Sweden area)
10% Western and Central Europe (Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic area)
7% Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece area)


1% Central/South Asian- specifically:
Central Asia (Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan area)

In case you do better with pictures, here you go:

For the most part I was not surprised with the exception of the 1% Central Asia. I WAS surprised that there was no Native American percentage since I can prove that heritage.

Now back to that 1%. Along the way to discovering all of the above information and subsequently trying to find relatives on the Family Tree DNA website and the Gedmatch.com website, I have discovered that the missing percent includes about half Eastern Middle East (the best I can tell that includes Turkey, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan area) and about half Ashkenazi Jew. I will say that there are a lot of extraneous discussions on the internet about Eastern Middle East DNA and the possibility that Native American DNA is being interpreted as Eastern Middle East. I just don’t know enough about DNA to say what’s going on with that.

About the Ashkenazi Jew…I used to tease my son about having a “Jew nose” and I would affectionately call him my “Jew boy” sometimes. (He’s no longer with us but as soon as I learned about the Ashkenazi heritage, I texted my daughter to let her know she really was my “Jew girl”.) I used to tell my son there’s Jewish in there somewhere! Then about a year ago I found some information in my research that indicated the possibility of Ashkenazi Jew and I mentioned it to my mom but then I just put it on the back burner and forgot about it because what are the chances this Oklahoma country girl is really Jewish?! Seriously. And there was ZERO family oral history about being Jewish. Well, wouldn’t you know…I am!! And now I know where that Jew nose came from! And it totally explains my maternal grandparents’ tight grip on money! I *think* my Ashkenazi DNA may come from my maternal 2nd great grandfather, Nicholas REITER. Those of you who follow my blog may know that I’m kind of stuck on Nicholas REITER’s family history. I just can’t get anywhere with him even after nearly three decades of research. As soon as the Ashkenazi Jew heritage was confirmed with DNA I started looking around online and found Jewishgen.org. I found a few REITER researchers on this website and I have contacted all of them hoping to get a positive response and finally make a breakthrough on this family line. Something really cool about being Jewish- if I’m understanding correctly- is I can obtain dual citizenship in Israel based on my mother’s Jewish heritage because of Israel’s Law of Return. Very cool!!

I’ve uploaded my results to the Gedmatch.com website hoping to get more results but honestly- I feel so dumb when it comes to this DNA stuff. There is so much to learn! And it isn’t an exact science. Each company I test with could come back with slightly different results due to differences in testing. And your DNA can NOT tell you everything. For instance, I know I’m Native American even though my DNA results don’t indicate that. On top of that, my brothers’ DNA results may be slightly different than mine because people don’t inherit equal amounts of DNA from each ancestor. So while my results may show Ashkenazi Jew, my brother’s might not show that at all. And while my DNA may shows no Native American heritage, that Native American may show up on my brother’s results.

I encourage each of you to get tested. The more people that test, the easier it will be to continue researching the family’s history. You have options including Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, 23andMe, and the newest one- MyHeritage. Please let me know if you decide to test. If you can get older family members to test, please do so. With each generation, we lose a little piece of DNA. I’m so looking forward to this DNA journey I’ve started on. If I make any incredible breakthroughs I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Medical Monday: An Apple a Day, A Test a Year- Whatever it Takes

This is a late post but an important one. Periodically I have to begin a round of tests to ensure that I do not have cancer. This has been going on for about 10 years now. Occasionally, after what I think will be a routine exam, the doctor will say, “There’s something that I’m not sure about. Let’s do some tests.” So I go do the tests and then it’s wait wait wait wait wait…then, “Ok well it seems like everything is fine so we’ll just watch and wait.” And then I’m put on an every six-month schedule to see the doctor for at least a year and a half until they’re comfortable with the way everything is going. Last year I was referred out to a breast cancer doctor in Tulsa so she could take a look and give her input. It was a little stressful to be bumped up from OB-GYN care to a breast cancer doctor. Let’s be honest…it was nerve-racking. She was great though and even got me a genetic cancer screening paid for by insurance and it said everything was fine. So I felt confident that I was healthy and I went on about my business. But really- who knows the future? I just had another visit to the breast cancer doctor today for an exam. Regular exams are so important. Guys (men!)- don’t think you’re immune to breast cancer because it hits guys, too. For that matter, don’t ignore any signs or symptoms of any type of cancer. If something isn’t right- go to the doctor! Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. In this day and age, cancer is survivable- especially if you seek treatment right away.

Just to emphasize what I’m saying (for those of you who share some of my genetic history), I’m going to post photos of causes of death on ONLY THREE of my direct line paternal ancestors. There’s plenty on mom’s side too, so don’t think y’all are off the hook just because I’m talking about my paternal family. Please- get regular exams no matter how uncomfortable they may be!

I know that these are ancestors who died of cancer but this was a long time ago. Cancer is treatable now. The people who love you need you to TRY! So go get examined today if you’re having problems- and maybe even if you’re not. Preventive maintenance is the best policy.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives