December 2019

A Very Different Christmas

   This Christmas, we had no tree. Few lights. Presents weren't wrapped until late on Christmas Eve, and the only reason we had cookies and stockings was for the benefit of our 2-year-old granddaughter Summer. It's been very dark here, physically as well as emotionally.
    Our beloved daughter-in-law Raechel Breland was diagnosed with brain cancer in mid November, and died on Saturday, December 21. She leaves behind her husband and two children, ages 10 and 12. Raechel's cancer began as breast cancer; her mother died of ovarian cancer, and her father died earlier this year of breast cancer (yes, men can get it, too) - so you can be sure that as the family historian and genetic genealogist I will be recommending genetic monitoring for Raechel's children in the years to come..
     Many medical issues are hereditary. Do you know the cause of death for your parents? Your grandparents and great-grandparents? Do you have their death certificates? If you don't have them, get them now. If you don't know when or where your parents or grandparents died, or how to obtain the certificates, I can help you with that. If you are adopted and don't know your medical history, I can help you with that, too. NOW is the time to obtain those records, if you don't already have them, because state and national agencies are hiking prices, restricting records, or making them inaccessible.
    I have my parents' and brothers' death certificates - in fact, I was the informant for all four of them. I have the death certificates and/or know the cause of death for all of my grandparents, most of my great-grandparents and some of my great-great-grandparents. I am well aware of my family's medical history, and what I should be watching out for.
     You should be, too.


What I've Been Doing
*   Figuring out the father of a baby who was left at an Italian convent in 1888
*  Working on another unknown grandparent case, beginning with three sisters who were adopted in in Michigan in the late 1920s
*  Reading, reading, reading
*  Dealing with a sinus infection and now bronchitis, undoubtedly brought on by stress and grief

What I'm Reading
  I first learned about Genesis on Facebook, when someone posted that Blaine Bettinger's book was mentioned as part of the plot. In this fast-paced medical thriller taking place in New York City, DNA is essential to finding a killer. Also important to the plot is a main character's awareness of her medical history and her genetic disposition for breast cancer.
In the News
Records in the Irish Archives, destroyed in 1922, are being recreated

New class at NGS: Understanding and Using DNA Test Results

Take this survey about a potential app to detect dementia

New York adoption records have been sealed - until now. In January adoptees can obtain their original birth certificates

Create family tree charts with Charting Companion

Artificial intelligence helps to identify photos of Civil War soldiers

Coming soon: Finding Your Scottish Ancestors by Kirsty Wilkinson
Raechel Lavinda (Neschke) Breland
21 Jan. 1977 - 21 Dec. 2019
wife, mother, sister, friend
Upcoming Presentations

Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, 6pm
Finding and Using Historic Newspapers
Dupont Library, Dupont, WA

Thurs. March 5, 2020, 1pm
Discover Your Family History: An introduction to genealogy
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Saturday, March 14, 2020, Time TBA
I've Done the DNA Test: Now What Do I Do?
Parkland-Spanaway Library, Tacoma, WA

Thurs. April 2, 2020, 1pm
I've Done the DNA Test: Now What Do I Do?
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Saturday, April 4, 2020 All Day Seminar
Clallam County Genealogical Society, Port Angeles

Thurs. May 7, 2020, 1pm
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 6pm
Using Social Media for Genealogy
Tacoma Pierce Co. Genealogy Soc.

New lectures for 2020:
The Murder of Rhoda Jones: How DNA Testing Solved an 1883 Mystery

Don't Trust the Transcript: The Perils and Pitfalls of Online Research

Case Studies in DNA: Solving Unknown Parent and Grandparent Puzzles

See the complete list of my lectures on my website here.

My calendar is filling up fast - contact me to book a lecture for your library or genealogy society!
DNA News

The man kidnapped from a Chicago hospital has been found alive and well living in Michigan

Important changes at GedMatch

Can a bone marrow donation or a stem cell transplant change your DNA? Brianne has the answers.

A medical mystery is solved by genetic analysis
Read my past newsletters (July 2016 - November 2019) here
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