Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas is a special time of the year.  At the center is the remembrance of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Christmas has become a commercialized holiday but in our case we try to remember the true meaning of Christmas in spite of the commercialization.

I was reminded of the words of a Christmas hymn last night as our granddaughter, Ali, paid us a little visit - "With wondering eyes the wise men saw" - as she walked around looking (and touching) many of our decorations.  They needed to leave to go home but she wanted to stay and see more.  So sweet!

Thank you for taking the time to visit our little winter wonderland.  May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas this Christmas season.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

DNA Results

Here are my DNA results - overall not much different than expected:

From our genealogy you would expect somewhat more than a quarter German, around 10 to 15 percent Irish and the rest mainly English and Scottish.

Givens - My Y-DNA was a surprise - I am from ancient Southern Irish ancestry.  Ancient meaning that our Givens have been in Ireland from the earliest times. This blows away the theories of our ancestry being French or Scottish.

Ancestry Family Finder Test:
Overall - Europe 98% broken down as:
Europe West 53%
Ireland 37%
Trace regions:  Scandinavia 3%, Great Britian 1%, Italy/Greece, Iberian Peninusla, Europe East and Finland/Northwest Russia all under 1%
West Asia 2%
Trace regions: Caucasus 1%, Middle East under 1%

Same test done at FamilyTreeDNA (with a different group of test takers to compare to)
Overall - European 96%
British Isles 69%
Western and Central European 13%
Eastern Europe 12%
Southern Europe 2%
Central Asian (Afghanistan/Iran area) 3%

Thoughts - My Germans are an amalgum of many groups of who came through Europe and mixed (Huns, Maygars, etc.) and mixed with the native people.  My British Isles ancestors really are mainly of Norman (French) orgin and came over to the British Isles in 1066 with William the Conqueror and thus aren't really of British origins as FamilyTreeDNA.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vacation Day 14 (Denver, CO to Grand Junction, CO)

Monday (August 5) – Trip Day 14  - (Denver, CO to Grand Junction, CO) – We wanted to get an early start today but Barbara got violently ill at breakfast.  I suspect she got food poisoning at breakfast as she was able to get over it rapidly and by 11 AM felt good enough to travel.  Because of that we didn’t do any sightseeing other than the drive on I-70 to Grand Junction.  That is a superb drive over the Rockies.  It has passes over 11,000 feet high, several tunnels (one that must be a couple of miles long), and rock formations that are out of sight.  For those that love scenery, this is a must drive.  The last part of the drive takes you down the valley of the Colorado River – which is already the green color that you see when it is in the Grand Canyon.  We got to Grand Junction about 4:30 PM and just took it easy for the evening.

I had to add a couple of pictures I got today from Rusty Givens.  Here is Barbara and how she spent the day while Rusty and I talked Givens.

 This is Rusty and I at the bar - with some of the computers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vacation Day 13 (Denver and Louisville, CO)

Sunday (August 4) – Trip Day 13 – (Denver and Louisville, CO) – We got up early and attended church in Louisville, CO, which is a suburb of Denver.  I chose that ward to attend as it is in the same town as where my “cousin” Rusty Givens lives. We spent a little over 12 hours at his house as he is a fabulous Givens research and though we are not actually related (as DNA tells us) he has a ton of information on my Givens line.  In fact he had a long table laid out with piles of research on my line and took most of the day to go through all this and indicate what I would like. 

 The bar with all our computers on it.

Rusty then scanned all of this (about a quarter of a gigabyte of data and put it on my flash drive.  I, in turn, taught him how to use for the first time.  I helped him put in his line until the pedigree began to appear, how to correct  and add information, and how to add photos and sources.  It was kind of fun as we spent most of the day sitting at the bar in his basement going over things.  His whole basement is devoted to genealogy.  He has made 12 trips to Ireland and may have found where my Givens line comes from – though we need DNA from someone there to verify it.
Rusty at the scanner.

 The Givens researchers - Bob and Rusty.

 Rusty had many relics from his early ancestors but this was the real treasure.  It is a quilt made about 1780 - one of only 15 or so that still exist.  It has been appraised at $30,000.

Anyway, after a long day we finally stumbled into our hotel room after 10:30 PM.  We were both pleased with this day though – I got tons of new information and Barbara spent most of the day working on her German genealogy.


Vacation Day 12 (Colorado Springs to Denver, CO)

Saturday (August 3) – Trip Day 12 – (Colorado Springs, CO to Denver, CO) – My initial plan was for us to come up to Denver and spend the day there touring the city.  As things ended up we spent most of the day in Colorado Springs and then came up to Denver in the late afternoon.  Our first stop was at the Garden of the Gods.  In the background behind the park you get a great view of Pike’s Peak which rises to 14,100 feet.  We didn’t have time to ascend it but did get a good view of it.  Interestingly in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates, a long-time professor at Wellseley College in Massachusetts, was lecturing at the summer session at Colorado Springs.  During her visit she joined an expedition to the summit of Pikes Peak in a prairie wagon.  Electrified by the beauty she saw atop Pikes Peak, she wrote the poem that later became known as “America the Beautiful.”
Pikes Peak in the background - you can drive your car up to the summit, climb it, or take a cog railway.

 The women's restroom entrance at the park has the information about "America the Beautiful."

 Our first stop was to Garden of the God’s, which is an area of red rock formations created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago.  This area had been privately owned until 1909 when the family of the owner, according to the wishes of their father deeded the park to the City of Colorado Springs to be forever a free park.  In 1971 it was designated a National Natural Landmark.. The rock formations are spectacular and you get to walk right at their bases. 

 These are the kissing camels.

 There were several climbers in the park so it was fun to watch them climb.

 Barbara even got into the act.

 This one is my favorite.

 He is trying to get leverage to get up over that rise.

 This is a nice shot from the visitor's center.

We next went to see Cave of the Winds which was just a few miles away.  It was discovered in the 1800’s because of a whistling sound made by the rock formation at the entrance of the cave when the wind was blowing.  We took the “easy” tour (we didn’t have to crawl through passages or carry our own light.)

 This is looking straight down to the original entrance of the cave.

 Like all other caves of this nature it was formed as water dissolved limestone beneath the surface of the earth leaving passage ways and hollowed out “rooms.”  It is filled with stalactites and stalagmites of various sized and patterns.  There were even a couple of columns where stalactites and stalagmites grew together. 
Stalactites from the roof.

 Barbara the spelunker.

 Stalactites and stalagmites of various sized and patterns.

 This is called Bacon - it is a ribbon formation.

 To the left is a stalactite that is 8 feet long.  When it was actively growing it took a thousand years to grow one inch.  

After our tour we started to Denver in a light rain.  The trip took close to two hours as much of the 55 mile trip was through construction zones on I-25.  After getting our room we went out to eat and that was when it really began to rain – literally in sheets.  We heard later that some areas outside of town got 4 inches of rain in 30 minutes.  There weren't any tornadoes but tornado warnings were out for several counties around us.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Vacation Day 11 (Estes Park, CO to Colorado Springs, CO)

Friday (August 2) – Trip Day 11 – (Estes Park, CO to Colorado Springs, CO) – I am so tired of driving.  It is harder here as the freeways are really congested and there is a lot of construction on the I-25 (the main route south from Denver to Colorado Springs.  Denver was like driving in Los Angeles except smaller thankfully.  We only made one stop today (before a storm hit).  We stopped off at the Air Force Academy just north or Colorado Springs.  

 After passing the guard house (with ID and full car check) we went on 3 miles to the visitor’s center and toured that building and watched a 21 movie detailing a the year of a 1st year cadet.

 This is what a typical dorm room looks like for two new recruits.

 We then walked over to the famous Chapel and walked around it – including the 4 different worship areas (general, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist. 

 Main entry into the top chapel - I guess it is a non-denominational chapel.

 Looking down the center isle from the back.

 The architecture is a series of triangles.  These are the stained glass windows on the sides of the chapel.

 This is the alter area.  We weren't supposed to get up that far and got run out.  But it wasn't our fault - someone took down the barriers.

 Downstairs are three other churches - this is the Catholic chapel.

 This is the Buddhist worship area.

 Finally the Jewish synagogue.

 This is the main center of the campus.  Nothing is more than a 10 minute walk.  To the left is a class building.  Then there is a small looking library - it is dwarfed by the other buildings.  The big, long building to the right back is another class area.  The building on the far right is the cafeteria.

 .  As we were getting ready to leave here all the 4th Class (Freshmen) come marching in.  They are in their Basic Cadet Training getting ready for the start of the academic year.

 From the chapel viewing area you can see a dorm building in the foreground.

 We stopped at the football stadium and also at a B-52 that is on display near the gate.

After this we drove on to our motel as the rains began to fall.