Genealogist: One who is actively engaged in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories
We’ve made it through another week and on this fifth Sunday, it’s time to wrap up the first month’s focus on my genealogical heritage. See below for a picture of my Ancestry DNA results.
In the last four weeks, I selected the 4 countries where I believe my ancestors hailed from, as well as picked the top stereotypical traits people assumed about the people from those places. A quick summary:
- Irish: 20%
- English: 33%
- German: 33% (Includes the Scandinavian as some of relatives were on the border)
- Scottish: 13%
- Other: 1% (West Asian – I think everyone gets that!)
While the DNA results and the documentation have a 10% disconnect, it’s a very clear picture of who my people were and where I came from.
Why do I study my genealogy? Take a look at this post on my professional website. It will give you some insight into my historical nature and great big quest for the past.
I often wonder why I’m so persistent on it… do I doubt who I am? Do I need more details about where I came from? Is it trying to understand how it all began?
Ultimately, this interest goes back to more than just people… it’s how did the USA begin. What happened to the dinosaurs? What were the original continents like? How did Earth form? What other galaxies are there? It’s more than being curious. It’s more than dedication or obsession. When I’m researching a family member on my laptop, tons of windows open to compare and contrast records, and I stumble upon a find… my eyes light up, I can’t sit still and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind. The discovery is brilliant and I’m ecstatic.
I’m a linear person. I like to start at the beginning. I have to read the first book in a series. I prefer straight lines. I like to create project plans with a starting point and an ending point. I love watching time pass on a clock, counting down to the re-start of the 60 segment process.
I believe it’s the same orderly structure that drives me to research my roots. I like seeing things improve, gain strength, drive forward. Adding more knowledge with each successive chain or generation. I’m sociological, I suppose.
Seeing a family tree, learning how people survived, how they met… what types of jobs and families they had. What made them move? These are all details I enjoy searching for across the internet.
Can you imagine watching from the sidelines as your ancestors moved through their lives? What if we had a time machine and could go back not to change the past, but to watch it unfold on warp speed? Quick enough not to see the tedious things, but slow enough to watch how each generation changed. To see your 4 times grandparents meet on a boat and decide to marry within days. To know your 6 times great-grandmother suffered so many miscarriages due to the poor conditions of medicine and health, but then she finally gave birth to your 5 times great-grandfather. To know how wars impacted your family. To recognize who touched royalty at some point.
It’s not unlike my interest in mystery fiction. Investigation. Detection. Research. As I draft each of these posts, hitting number 35 today, several themes are starting to appear. I’ve always known about them on a smaller scale, but the picture is becoming more clear.
So now I throw it out there… where do I go next?
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.
Scottish: containing roots from Scotland
There are lots of famous Scottish people I admire: Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor (one of my favorite and most versatile actors), Annie Lennox, Sean Connery, Robert Burns… there are tons more, but I only picked the few I easily recalled and that I actually know things about or have seen things they are in. For example, Tony Blair is apparently Scottish, but I only know of him as a former PM for the UK. I couldn’t tell you very much about him, so I didn’t list him. But I guess I just did. Oh well.
As we finish the fourth week of the 365 Daily Challenge, it’s time to cover the last major ethnic and genealogical heritage within my DNA. Irish, German and English were the first few, and now we’re gonna chat about my Scottish roots. Based on my research through Ancestry.com, I’m around 12.5% Scottish, mostly stemming from my mother’s side of the family. There are 4 families from Scotland, out of 32 branches, focusing on the ones who immigrated from Scotland to the U.S. And those names are: (1) Robertson, (2) Wallace, (3) Hector, and (4) McGregor or McSwegan. I am not certain which is the correct last name because there are two marriage certificates when James Robertson married Margaret around the turn of the 19th into the 20th century. Both are New York marriages, both have all the same details for addresses and parental information, except on one certificate it shows her name as McGregor and on another, it shows her name as McSwegan. I can only assume it is the same woman, filled it out twice for some reason, and she was married once before my 2x great-grandfather, but I would likely need to go to Scotland to get more details. Some day!
So let’s talk about Scottish roots and stories. I love the accent. I love Outlander (who doesn’t)! I love Mary Queen of Scots. And I’ve started reading a new cozy mystery series with lots of potential. For those not familiar with my book reviews, check out the links to see another side of me. And when I Love Lucy went to Scotland in her dream, I loved it! There is so much rich culture and history in the country, beautiful landscapes and fantastic substance, I wish I had more Scottish blood in me.
But when I looked up the top ten traits of the Scottish, this time using a cross between Quora, Huffington Post and Answers.com, I had to wonder how much of these things are true: at least when it comes to me. Here we go, lasses and lads:
1 – Pale / Freckled / Ginger
- We covered this one under Irish and English, so I’m not gonna repeat myself. I am. I was tempted to post a picture of an attractive red-head… but too many to chose from, so you get a bottle of soda!
- Score: 1 out of 1.
2 – Violent
- We covered this one under Irish, so again, I’ll skip it. I’m not.
- Score: 1 out of 2.
3 – Sports-Lovers
- We covered this one in the last few. I’m not a big sports guy. Who runs around on a field and chases balls purely to say I caught it in the end?
- Score: 1 out of 3.
4 – Drinkers
- We covered this one under German, Irish and English. The whole world seems to be. And while I drink a bunch, I wouldn’t fit this definition.
- Score: 1 out of 4.
5 – Kilts & Bag-Pipes
- I think kilts are gorgeous. I think they should be worn in the right setting. If you’ve got strong calf muscles, definitely flaunt them. If not, skip it. I’ve never worn one, but I’d like to and I’d ROCK it. But since I haven’t, I can’t claim it.
- I find the sound hypnotic. In the funeral scene in my book, “Watching a Glass Shatter,” there’s a passage about bag pipe music that moves a character to tears. Writing it also moved me to tears. It’s a bit lyrical. You should read it here; it’s in the beginning of chapter 1, but read the whole thing. (Oh, how bad was that plug!). But I’ve never played one, nor been in the physical presence of one. So that’s a no for me sadly.
- Score: 1 out of 5.
6 – Cheap
- The word used was miserly, but I don’t agree. When I think of miserly, I think of Shylock from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” No… perhaps a little cheap is what they mean. And there’s a small part of me that is a bit cheap. I do spend money, and sometimes way more than I should, but my initial reaction to something is usually “and how much will that cost me?” I should give myself a few points to account for that…
- Score: 1.25 out of 6.
7 – Haggis-Lovers & Poor Diets
- I have never eaten haggis. Most people aren’t even sure what it is. I looked it up to be certain, as I knew it was the stomach of some animal. It’s sheep. And while we’ve covered my obsession with cookies, you also know my diet is generally healthy. So epic fail here.
- Score: 1.25 out of 7.
8 – Can’t understand them
- The accent is alluring. Charming. Exotic. Sensual. Rich. Many of us get chills when we here it. I’d probably do anything under the right circumstances, if someone spoke to me with an authentic Scottish accent. And yes, it can be a little hard to understand the person. Although not quite the same, people sometimes have a hard time understanding me… claiming I mumble and speak too softly. I suppose they are correct… it’s not that I slur, but since I’m quiet and shy, I tend to not speak too loudly unless in a work situation. So… I’ll give myself a few percentage points for this, but not a lot.
- Score: 1.5 out of 10.
9 – Loch Ness Monster
- While I love the concept of the Loch Ness Monster, and it’s used so often in books and film, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. Though it would be cool if it did! And I am not a monster, so I get nane. (none, in Scottish)
- Score: 1.5 out of 10.
10 – Homophobic
- Hmm… I don’t think I agree with this being a trait of the Scottish. But it showed up in 2 of the 3 places I looked for the “top 10” traits, so I had to include it. I’m just gonna go with… if you’re reading this post, you know me, or you live in the modern world, then no… this is ridiculous. I don’t think Scots are, and I am certainly NOT! Quell hypocrite!
- Score: 1.5 out of 10.
How ironic… 1.5 out of 10 is 15%, which is roughly how much Scottish I have in me. I wonder… did I just work that math out purposely, or are these true and accurate tests for my DNA structure and personality characteristics. The world will never know…
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars to Melinda Mullet‘s Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery, the first book in the new “Whisky Business” cozy mystery series. I stumbled across this book on NetGalley as a pre-release opportunity to read and review. I’m so glad I did! It was a fantastic new cozy with all the Scottish charm you’d come to expect… and now I may need to take up whisky drinking (even more than the Jack Daniels I already enjoy too frequently)!
Abi Logan’s a semi-famous photographer in London, whose parents passed away in a car accident when she was 8 years-old. Her father’s brother, Uncle Ben, raised her in his flat until she joined a newspaper and traveled the world for a story. He retired to a small town in Scotland where he purchased a single malt whisky distillery and made a core group of new friends and family. When he passes away from cancer, she inherits the distillery and heads to Scotland to find a buyer and say goodbye to him. But she quickly learns the old-fashioned whisky team don’t take too kindly to a woman trying to run things. She finds a few friendly souls and begins to find someone to help her run the place until she can sell it; however, she receives several threats to get out quickly, later finding the dead body of the son of her late uncle’s girlfriend drowned in a whisky barrel. More threats and a few additional deaths fall across her path… leading her and best friend Patrick to try to solve the investigation before she ends up a victim herself!
1. The description and coverage of the whisky-making process is delectable. I’ve never been much of a straight-whisky drinker… the occasional glass over ice on a cold night has been known to occur. I have been a long-time imbiber when it comes to a splash of ginger ale and lime wedge. Delicious! But now I’ve learned so much about the process, I want to try good whisky — and on its own! Go into this read lightly, you might become an addict quickly.
2. Patrick and Abi have a great relationship. She’s smart, no nonsense and independent. He’s witty, business-savvy and a good listener. He’s also gay, so no worry about any relationship-type issues. I hope he finds a couple of good paramours… it’d be fun to see how the writer handles it in the small Scottish town. Abi’s already got one suitor based on her interactions and it’s got the potential to steam up the pages. Just think “what’s under that kilt?” and you can leave the rest to your imagination.
3. The story is clever and has several different paths. Lots of characters and suspects without over-doing it. A good amount of red herrings. A fair hustle of danger. I read it almost entirely in one sitting, as each new chapter covered a different angle.
1. One concern is the breadth of future stories… how much can really occur in a whisky distillery after the debut is all about who will end up owning it? One option which the author seems to be considering is that Abi won’t live in the Scottish town as she ends up back in London at the end of the book, undecided about next steps. Perhaps that’s just to carry us to book 2, but I’d like her to stay and see how the story could combine her world travels as a photographer / reporter and as a distillery-owner.
2. Some of the supporting characters were a little too similar. I will remember 1 or 2, but the rest blended together enough that I may forget when I start the next book. I think some time may need to focus on bringing forth a stable of 4 or 5 core supporting characters, each with clear and distinct personalities. It’s minor and easily addressed.
Give this new series a chance. It’s a non-traditional setting (at least for me) in a small Scottish town. It’s got a girl with no family left, so it’ll be interesting to see how she handles life “on her own” and assembles a new family. Patrick will definitely make the series stand out. And the writing is clean and interesting, especially with hints of Scottish brogue thrown about!