A book to give to your genealogist friend or yourself for Christmas

My family’s eyes glazed over when I mentioned enthusiastically at Thanksgiving dinner that I was reading a great book about the history of doing family history. So I did not go on to tell them all the ways The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures by Christine Kenneally discusses how DNA, family history, and culture affect who we are.

I was fascinated by the discussion of the cultural lack of trust even today in some West African countries where selling people off to slavery was a possibility a few hundred years back. Or the silence about the past in Tasmania where almost all the founding population was made up of convicts. Or the genetic research into who the Melungeons really were.

This book wanders over many family history, DNA, and related topics but it does it so very well. She starts with discoveries about her own family and moves out from there.

Like many books that I find enjoyable, I read it far too fast (in three days) so now I am going back through it more slowly.

A great Christmas gift for the genealogist in your family.

Free guide to DNA testing (for a few days only)

Richard Hill is a very fine writer. I could not put down the story of his search for his biological parents, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, which reads like a mystery novel.


He has put together an e-book, Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing, available from Amazon, which is a very simple guide to personal DNA testing. Normally $.99, it is free through 12/16.

It will help you choose which test to take and why. It is only about 30 pages. It is not comprehensive but it does answer your basic questions. It is meant for those totally new to DNA testing not for the experienced. Although if you have tested, but still have many questions, they may be answered by this book.

This may also make a nice gift for relatives who are thinking of doing DNA testing.

Continue reading

My Garden was on Today’s Tour

The Lakeside Historic Society Christmas Home Tour was today, Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm and our home was part of it. You would have seen my garden plus a peek at the house via my sun porch.

View from the Cooper sun porch

View from the sun porch

​Bert and Marie Wilkas designed the house and hired a builder to draw up the plans and start construction in 1957. It was completed in 1958. The original address was Route 1, Box 317. ​It is a one story wood home in the style known as san diego modern in the 50s – extensive use of natural materials, wood, and large glass windows (actually french doors) on the view side.

Marie Wilkas had her real estate office in this house – Eucalyptus Hills Realty. Many of the Eucalyptus Hills properties were sold from that office. We still have her sign.

The rest of this post is a the detailed description of my garden and I am still adding photos. Continue reading

m4s0n501

Cyber Monday Sales for DNA and Genealogy

Cyber Monday used to be the day for online sales but most started last Thursday or Friday however I admit that I was too busy with family to pay much attention.

Ancestry’s sales will finish at midnight EST tomorrow, the end of Cyber Monday and they include 20% off AncestryDNA ($79). 11/28-12/1

Family Tree DNA has sales and mystery gifts until the end of December, see Roberta Estes’ post for more details: http://dna-explained.com/2014/11/25/family-tree-dna-holiday-sale-including-mystery-rewards-starts-now/

and Family Tree Magazine has all kinds of holiday sales, with an additional discount that is ending Cyber Monday: http://www.shopfamilytree.com/cyber-monday-deals