Happy Halloween!

Our 2013 Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza!

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I just love carving pumpkins. We definitely had some interesting results this year! Thanks to Scott and Katy for indulging in our ritual:)

2013 Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza

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L-T-O!

“El Tio” is another year older today (and, um…wiser? not a chance!). Also known as John Philip Wyek, or LTO for short, tall and strange Mr. Tio is such a joy, and occasionally a pain, to have in our lives:) He is also the famous inventor of the “Tio cake”, a birthday cake made by Tio that more often than not has inedible ingredients and strange combinations of props.

To give you an idea of how we celebrate the good times, here are a few of my favorite snap shots of the birthday boy.

Tio on New Year's Eve 2013

Tio and Auntie on New Year’s Eve 2013

Tio and Jim, NYE 2013

Tio (left) and Jim, NYE 2013

Happy Birthday, Tio!

Love,

MegaBrat:)

Jane visits California

We had so much fun while Jane was in town! I made sure she got to see all the important places, well, at least the ones you can fit into a 48-hour visit.

Meg and Jane at Bodega Headlands

We first walked around downtown Petaluma, went in all the antique shops and furniture stores. After lunch at Petaluma Pie Co., we drove out to my favorite spot at the Bodega Headlands.

Meg, Jane and Auntie in front of the mission at Cline Cellars

The next day we went to Della Fattoria for brunch to gear up for the day. We met Auntie and Tio at Cline, where Jane tasted a broad range of wines, and then we toured the grounds while walking her through our wedding day in 2010. After reenacting the big day, we all ventured over to Sonoma for a birthday BBQ, and then finished off the evening with truffle fries from EDK.

Meg and Jane, having a good time!

It was a pretty fabulous 2 days!

Happy Birthday Jane, I hope you’ll come back and visit us again soon:)

My DNA Revisited: Where Did I Come From

On September 17, 2012, I published a post “My DNA–What? Surely you Jest!!  Just a few days earlier I received notification of my DNA results from Ancestry.com.  My photograph of a torn up circle representing my DNA was prominently included in my post.

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For amateur genealogists everywhere, Ancestry.com’s $99 DNA test was probably their (and my) first chance to actually get a sense, scientifically of “where did I come from”.  I bought a test in the Fall of 2012, took the test, received the results and was totally confused.  Nowhere in my DNA test results did I see any support for my research concerning my Western European roots.  Since my own research indicated strong ties to France and Germany, I tore up my test results in frustration.

IMG_3243What a difference a year makes.  On Oct. 17, 2013, I received an e-mail fromAncestry.com notifying me (and, I am sure, everyone else who has taken their DNA test) that “Our breakthrough update is here, with exciting new details and context…”.  The new results more closely mirror my years of research into my family tree.

In many respects the old and new results are similar.  But in terms of my family history research they are miles apart.  Much of the research I had given up as wrong, is now consistent with the new results.

 

My revised DNA test results:                                         My original test results:

Scandinavian                33 %                                              Scandinavia                 43 %

Ireland                            30 % [1]                                         British Isles                  40 %

Europe West                18 %                                                Middle Eastern          10 %

Italy/Greece                 12 %                                                Southern European    7 %

Trace Regions

Iberian Peninsula       4 % [2]

Finland/N. Russia    < 1 %

Great Britain              < 1 %

Caucasus                       1 % [3]

My research is validated in many significant respects:  My Lewis ancestors presumably moved to the colonies in the 1600’s from Wales rather than England.

My Western European DNA is consistent with the Mesle migration from Western France where they lived in St. Maixent, Alencon and Poitou (just North of the Iberian Peninsula) beginning in about 1000.  By the  1300s, Mesles lived in the Normandy Region of France.  By the the 1500s and 1600s, Mesles lived in Germany before relocating to the New World.

My great-grandfather Franz Mesle, nicknamed “the Swab”, almost certainly lived at least briefly in Austria-Hungary.  Germans who settled in Austria-Hungary, (near the Caucasus area) were called Swabs.  Franz married Katharine Kirsch/ner, daughter of Conrad Kirsch/ner.  A Catharine Kirschner was born in Jabuka, Austria-Hungary in the 1800’s to Conradus Kirschner. By 1881 Franz and Catharine lived in Canada and then the U.S.

If my new and enhanced DNA results are correct that I am 1 % English, my maternal great grandparents, John Fox and Jane Bond Fox, both born in England, must be my only English ancestors.

My search continues.  The biggest change in my results are, to be fair, a shift of DNA results from Northern Europe to Northern and Western Europe.  But this seemingly minor change is significant in connecting my research to my DNA.

I now continue my search.  Who am I? Where do I come from?  What difference does it make?  Maybe none.  But my quest continues.

As for my Lumbee ancestors–I still do not have a trace of Native American DNA

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[1] “Ireland” includes Wales for purposes of the DNA results

[2] The Iberian Peninsula includes extreme SW Europe: parts of France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra & Gibraltar

[3] Caucasus is on border between Turkey & Kazakhstan in W. Asia

Dad Turns 99

Born October 14, 1914, Carl Mesle turns 99 today.  He was born in Sherrill, NY.

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During World War II, dad served in the military. After completing his training as an intelligence officer, he was fortunate to have a position working in the Pentagon.  As thankful as Mom was to have him in a safe location instead of fighting overseas, dad felt it was unfair that he got to stay home in the safety of the Pentagon while his friends had to go into battle. It was that mentality that drove him to serve his community, to take care of the people who needed help.

After leaving military service, dad worked first, as a professional Boy Scout leader, serving under H. Roe Bartle, before accepting a position as a minister in the Community of Christ Church.

His life has been spent in service to his church and to his community.  As he describes it, “I dedicated my life to my church until I turned 65 and then embraced the charitable community.”  (Of course, his faith, and commitment thereto, have never wavered.)

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Until age related frailties limited his ability to actively participate in life outside the Groves, he participated in the activities of Troop 223 of the Boy Scouts; served on the Board of his neighborhood association, and—the list goes on.  He only gave up his prolific writings when his vision failed him.

He has been recognized by many of the numerous civic and charitable organizations he loves and has supported–the Boy Scouts, McCoy Neighborhood Association, the Heartland Foundation, the list goes on.  Perhaps my favorite, is his recognition  received at the Truman Library where he was, I am sure, thrilled to share the stage with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  But he was so gratified by his recent recognition from members of the Independence African-American Community for his commitment to civil rights.

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He has never smoked, consumed alcohol or illegal drugs.  He exercised regularly until his body refused to cooperate.  Even today, he attends daily devotions at the Groves, expressing thanks for the good in his life and the faith that has sustained him.

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Our family is fortunate to experience our mother’s gift of love and dad’s dedication to his faith, his values and his community.  Members of his family and friends who have been a part of his life for up many years shared his birthday with him.

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Meg and her cousins could not have better role models than mom and dad.  Watching their lives so far, I am happy to report that the “apple/s don’t fall far from the trees”.

Happy birthday, dad.  Love ya

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

There are an endless number of beautiful views in Sonoma County. I tend to gravitate toward the ocean and the coastline, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. This shot was taken from the beach along the Central Coast. We were on our way down to Avila, one of our favorite spots in California, and we came across a beach full of elephant seals. It was sunset, my favorite time to be out on the coast, and the weather was fantastic.

Happy 5th Birthday, Cousteau!

On January 4, 2011, this little (okay, BIG) bundle of love and energy came into our lives. It was Lily who decided to take him home from the kennel that evening, and after “fostering” him for a few months, we all agreed he was meant to be part of the family. Cousteau, of course, knew all along that he’d be staying with us forever.

Cousteau in Tomales Bay

We didn’t pick his name, but after getting to know him these last few years, I can’t imagine anything different. He is curious, adventurous, spontaneous, and probably has ADD. He sleeps most of the day, and then suddenly becomes distracted by toy, after toy, after toy. Most importantly, he has been there for me during some tough times, and I always know I can lean on him at the end of the day.

And today, Mr. Cousteau turns 5 years young. Happy Birthday, Cousteau. We’re lucky to have you!