Welcome, 2014!

Jake, Meg, Katy and Scott at Alamere Falls

I started my morning similar to many others….I went for a run as the sun came up, gearing myself up for the day. Of course, it’s the start of a new year, so I spent most of my run reflecting on the many happenings of 2013, and looking forward to all that 2014 has to offer.

Granddad Mesle and Mum

It’s definitely been a busy year. I turned 30 (shh!), met Joe Boden, started doing my own consulting; Mum retired from the bench and  is now busy with her many boards; we went to Europe for Thanksgiving with Mum and Terry, where I FINALLY visited my sister’s new apartment in Amsterdam; my Granddad Mesle turned a whopping 99 years young; Aunt Sherry won a seat on the Lamoni City Council; Jane visited Petaluma; Derek and Travis visited for a week over the summer …. the list goes on.

Meg, Travis, Derek & Jake near Jenner, CA

There is much to be thankful for, and much to be proud of. Our family is healthy (puppies included), work is great, we have wonderful friends, and life is generally…well…amazing! Funny how living in California makes you feel about the world, especially when you have a beautiful place like Kansas City to go back to over the holidays.

Meg, Jane and Auntie

I hope you had a wonderful 2013, and that 2014 is merry and bright for you and yours.

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View from the Window

View from the Window

This is the view from the window of my sister and brother-in-law’s condo in Amsterdam. We picked up the tulips for Thanksgiving from a little flower stand down the street on Beethovenstraat. Love waking up here in the morning!

Auntie’s Day

On this beautiful Veteran’s Day, we also have the pleasure of celebrating Carol McCollister’s birthday! We always have a wonderful time together, no matter what we’re doing. Here, Auntie, Mum and I enjoyed a fun girls’ day  in the wine country (with Tio in tow) when Mum was visiting back in April.

Meg, Ann and Carol (Auntie) out in the wine country in April 2013.

Meg, Ann and Carol (Auntie) out in the wine country in April 2013.

Happy Birthday, Auntie. I hope Tio refrains from any surprises!

Congratulations Madam Councilwoman!

V is for VICTORY!

I’m proud to announce that my aunt, Sherry Mesle-Morain, just won a seat on the Lamoni City Council. Congratulations Aunt Sherry! You were an excellent candidate, and you will be an amazing councilwoman.

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Big hugs and lots of love from your Chief “Team Sherry” Officer!

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:)

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