On The Trail

Winter isn’t my favorite season. Bracing against the cold gets more tedious every year. Climbing into our car the other day, I was all bundled up, arms full with purse, packages, etc. My Beloved urged me:  “Close the door, close the door!” He was in a hurry to go. Dismayed, I glared at him and proceeded to pivot my legs and feet into the car before closing the door.

RandyThe image of Randy (from A Christmas Story) came to mind. Having obeyed the first rule of Winter (layers), I was encumbered by so many layers, my arms and legs moved only sluggishly! The garb prevented the gusty winds from penetrating, but if there’d been a fire, I’m not sure I’d have made it out! Continue reading “On The Trail”

Coming to America

In a couple weeks, my cousin and her husband will be hosting an Open House to welcome a German family with whom my family has recently re-established relations! My cousin has already visited this family in Germany and now, they’re coming to her home. This is going to be fun!

It’s an unusual story and the two families might never have met except for my brother’s ability to speak German and his research in Germany. Here’s why. More than 175 years ago, my great-great-grandmother (Catherine Stricker, 1804-1878) married a man named Hermann Eppe (1804-1849). He took her name and four of their five sons adopted the Stricker name. Only the son who stayed in Germany kept the Eppe name. (Conjecture is that Catherine was the heir to Stricker property and her name took precedence.) Continue reading “Coming to America”

DNA: Following the Evidence

When genealogy research migrated from the cumbersome (often deteriorating) media of microfiche, county record ledger books and newspapers into the electronic age, it was welcome forward progress. (In yesterday’s post, I mentioned wrestling with microfiche.)

Accurately inputting hard copy records to digital files took time. For me, testing multiple software packages over a ten to fifteen year odyssey finally ended at the Ancestry Online platform. Why not? I can access my account from almost anywhere, any time.


The innovations of online resources like Ancestry, FamilySearch, Rootsweb, Cyndi’s List and a host of state and local databases continue apace and deliver high value for researchers from around the world.

Today, the emergence of a genomic age portends another forward leap on the horizon. Genetic data services are readily available (for an introductory price of $99) to assist in a variety of applications (among them, health, fertility and even curiosity).

For genealogy researchers, technology promises potential answers for baffling questions. Ancestry.com proffers: One simple DNA test. A world of discoveries. Multiple other vendors are capitalizing on this expanding market and offering similar testing.

Though science has never been my bailiwick, nascent technology captivates my imagination. My inquiring mind wants to delve into the microscopic world of DNA. I think it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise. What mysteries are hidden in the smallest of places? And, thanks most often to DNA, the detectives on these shows were always able to wrap things up in quick order!

A couple years ago, I watched a video that wasn’t just captivating; it was an elegant miniature display of such beauty and grace and order, words fail description. Before I share the video, a couple comments are helpful. This video is part of a series called Unlocking the Mystery of Life produced by Illustra Media. This (and all the videos from Illustra) present a scientific – but unapologetically Christian – point of view.

To me, this particular video reinforces (as few things might) evidence of a Designer. If that’s not your personal persuasion, don’t let my perspective (or the video’s) dissuade you from watching. About 30 seconds into the video, you’ll see an amazing computer animation of what goes on every second of every day within our bodies. Toward the end, Biophysicist Dean H. Kenyon says it’s “mind-boggling!” I totally agree!

Will I spend the $99 to test my DNA? I can’t deny I’ve considered it. More on that in future posts.