Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Ancestry's new Chromosome Painter (Beta Addition)


If you have been on Ancestry lately, you may have noticed this banner.


Ut oh, I thought, I’d better make sure I had captured the last update before it disappeared. Ancestry’s last “refresh” took away my smidgen of Welsh ethnicity, which I will admit, bummed me out. Oddly enough, my brother gained Welsh ancestry on that last refresh.  He always gets all the cool stuff!

In that last update, Ancestry had split my inherited Ethnicities to a specific parent, which they cleverly called, Parent One and Parent Two.  I am a visual person, and Ancestry obligingly gave me a lovely pie chart of this. 

Of course, they couldn’t tell you if Parent 1 was your mother or if Parent 1 was your father, but luckily for me, I know my mother does not have any Eastern European & Russian Ethnicity so,  . . .

We have a winner.  Clearly, Parent 2, is my father since only Parent 2 shows Eastern European and Russian Ethnicity.  My mother, is therefore, Parent 1.

But, it gets better.  On the same page, there is now a tab that says Chromosome Painter Beta.

Because it is in Beta mode, I don’t know if everyone has this tab for their DNA ethnicity results, but if you are interested, check it out.

Below is what mine looks like.

Be still my nerdy DNA loving heart.   Let’s see if Dad is still Parent No. 2.  Below is the same chart but with only the Eastern Europe and Russia Ethnicity showing.  As you can see, Dad is still Parent No. 2. 

Okay, I admit it.  This is pretty cool.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the August 2022 update. However, as cool as this is, I still want my Chromosome Browser.  Are you listening, Ancestry? 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Scrap Wisdom


Scrap Wisdom

You sulk about opportunity lost.

I grieve a shared lifetime.

I didn’t trust her heart with you.

You are people careless.

Good faith meant nothing.

My bones picked clean, no longer of use,

A mere scrap to be flicked away

With subtle and not so subtle cruelties.

You are people careless.

I See You, now,

Stripped of your charming camouflage.

Hiding behind a borrowed dialect.

I have the receipts, your very own words.

You are people careless.

You keep your "truth" hidden, 

From the place of Alder trees

Expecting mine to be an open book.

Yours carefully protected, 

Mine, you shrug, collateral damage. 

You are people careless.

Untorn index cards do not lie.

Warm yourself with your delusions.

Reality having leached away.

An ugly truth dressed in silk ribbons

You are people careless.

Self lies and hypocrisy are your mantle 

I will not forget. We will not forget.

You are people careless.


Acqua davanti e ventu d’arreri.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Miss you, Sissy

I really thought I could do it, this year.  I thought I could write about you and say how special you were to me.  Instead, I am crying and I can't seem to stop.  Coward that I am, I cannot look into my mother's and my father's faces and witness their pain.  Children are not supposed to die before their parents.  

No, three years is not enough time.  

I am so glad the last words we spoke to one another were, "I love you, Sissy."  and you said, "I love you, too."  I can still hear your words, your inflection, echoing in my head, echoing in my heart. 

This is the fourth birthday of yours that I cannot wish you a year of Happiness.  I miss our shared history. I miss knowing you are in this world.  I miss you, Sissy. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022



There is a tradition in Mexico that speaks of the three deaths.


The first death is when you take your last breath.

The second death is when you are returned to the earth.

The third death, that final consignment to oblivion, occurs the last time your name is spoken.


On September 13, 1904, Emma Gleffe Schröder, my great grandmother, gave birth to her second child, a son, in Groß Gansen in the Pommern region of what was then Germany but is now part of Poland. Paul Albert Carl was baptized on September 22 as a member of the church of Budow. This was the same church that his mother Emma, his father Leo, and his older brother Willi, were all baptized. There are records indicating that little Paul’s ancestors had been baptized at the church in Budow from at least, the early part of the 18th century. (Paul’s ancestors were probably both Kashubian and German, as the liturgical services were spoken in both German and Kashubian until 1795.)

Paul’s baptism on that day in September of 1904 listed his sponsors as Albert Bacher, Frau Karoline Gleffe, and Franz Gleffe all residing in Groß Gansen. Paul’s baptism occurred on a Thursday, not the usual Sunday, indicating that the child must have been ill. On October 3, 1904, Paul Schröder died.

In 1906, when Leo and Emma along with their sons Willi and Max arrived in the United States, I can imagine their excitement, and their sadness. Leaving your mother, your father, your siblings, your cousins, and your friends had to be difficult. But I cannot discount, the sadness Emma must have felt leaving behind her son’s grave. As a mother of a deceased child, I know the small comfort of standing at my child’s final resting place. The bittersweet joy of placing flowers to honor that piece of my lost heart. The rough feel of the cold marble as I trace the letters of her name. I feel a kinship with Emma, not just of blood, but of a shared sorrow.

Paul’s parents are both long gone from this earth. His eight siblings, too, have found their final resting place. There are no children or grandchildren to remember, Paul. Today as I type his name - Paul. Albert. Carl. Schröder – I say his name aloud, for Paul, for Emma. One more day Paul’s memory lives. One more day oblivion cannot claim him.

Say his name.



A Thank you.

I have been blessed in my research of my German ancestors, with the kindness and generosity of many. Today, I single out one of them. My German friend, Siegfried Krause. Siegfried reached out to me over a decade ago after he read my blog. He not only helped me with research, but he also sent me pictures and videos of my ancestral towns. Thankfully, he spoke and wrote English very well, as I do not read or write German. (A complication my German friend, Jörg, could attest to.) Siegfried is the one who explained the German custom of having three baptismal sponsors. The Evangelische church allowed for three sponsors, any more than that, and you had to pay an additional fee. It is rare to see any 19th century or early 20th century German church registers listing more than three, but they do exist

I learned several years ago that my friend Siegfried had passed away. I think of him often. I say his name aloud, Siegfried. Krause. I promise you, Siegfried, while my brain still functions and I have a breath, your name will be on my lips. I miss your wisdom and kindness, my friend.



1. Siegfried Krause, numerous email correspondence

2 Evangelische Kirche Budow Taufen, 1904/88

3. Manifest for the Ship, Amerika, first found on Website for Ellis Island in 2003 – now listed as

4. Kashubia, Home of the Baltic Slavs – written originally in Polish by Jaroslaw Ellwart, translated to German by Peter Oliver Loew, and abridged and supplemented English translation by John M. Hingst and Liesel Herchenroether Hingst, 2000. PDF version found online, 20 July 2020.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

For Heather - Another Year Without You

A Matter So Small 

I never saw her, my daughter, my Heather
I felt her prenatal kicks; I patted my belly
Named her Little Harry Eagleclaw
She liked my rocking chair, I think 
Kicking when I would pause to stop
She died, bones crushed by the weight of her own body fluids
A mystery, they said, so sad, they said, you'll have another, they said.
I nodded, the always acquiescent essence of a good girl
Not willing to bother anyone, for a matter so small.

Until one morning, when the sun came up a little slanted
Illuminating the white hot fierceness of loss 
I moaned and wailed and beat my fists upon the walls 
Demanding retribution, demanding an accounting
Demanding God to show himself, to strike me dead 
And when I was done, God being silent 
I lay spent, alive, yet not, pieces of my soul released and gone forever 
Buried with my perfect monster child, my daughter, my baby, my Heather.

Monday, October 4, 2021