Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DNA Testing- You Only Swipe Once!

This post is all about seeking the advice/suggestions of my readers on how to use a one-time donation towards DNA testing. That whole area causes me confusion, no matter how much I read up on it. It seems that there are so many options for how to go about it. Please offer your ideas on how I should spend. (My budget is between 100 and 130 dollars)

The testing will be for my Yarborough DNA. I have no males left in my immediate Yarborough line (sadly), but a male cousin (who made the donation) has offered to do the test. For this family line, by main goal would be to try to determine our African origin, and just to see what genetic links we have to who, in general. The oldest known male in this line is my great-great grandfather, Calvin (b. 1839), who was enslaved. We have no idea who his parents were (yet), so therefore I'm not sure if he was "pure" Black or the product of the slave owner. There is a Yarborough DNA group, but according to my research, Calvin became a Yarborough slave through the marriage of his female owner, so I really have no reason to believe that we have Yarborough blood. Because of that, I'm thinking that it would be a waste of the money to use my one swipe of my cousin's saliva (lol) in that study.

Please readers, if you will, tell me which DNA test would be best for this situation, and why. Thanks so much!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Contemplating Grandpa

This is a picture of my then nine year old daughter (now 21) when she saw my dad's headstone for the first time. (I'm not sure what that is in her mouth, but I think it might have been gum and she was about to blow a bubble.) My dad used to call her his "cute little skinny girl". If you look at those legs, you can see why! :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Negative Fours

This post is rather random, but I was doing some thinking a couple of days ago about Daniel Webster Hill, my maternal grandfather, who abandoned his wife and two children when my mother was only FOUR years old, never to be seen or heard from again. As I pondered this (as I often do) I realized that both of my parents had "lost" their fathers when they were FOUR, since that was my dad's age when he lost his father (Calvin Yarborough, Sr.). It occurred to me that this similarity may have even been a connector for my parents when they met and began dating (perhaps along with the fact that they were both single parents of sons just a year apart)!

As I continued along this line of contemplation, it occurred to me that perhaps the omen of my own marital experience had been passed down to me by my ancestors. You see, my husband also left our home, abandoning our daughter when she was only FOUR. Suddenly, I began to consciously realize how much my own experience as a single parent seemed to mimic that of so many of my female ancestors, a thought I've had before, but never had I seen/thought/acknowledged the FOUR factor.

From here, I began to think about how many of the women in my family line have ended up parenting and then growing old alone. I've realized this before, and often think of how fortunate some of my cousins are who do not descend from the exact same line as I. Those cousins have grown up in two-parent homes, with stable extended families whose members have lived long, healthy lives. They've not known what it is to lose a parent, grandparent, or sibling in their younger years, as I have, and this vastly differentiates the way they and their families view and experience life from the way I do. I won't expound upon this right now, but will in a future post. But anyway, as my reflections went in this direction, I began to realize that many of the the events that have shaped my life occurred with relation to the number FOUR.

Check this out.
My mother's father left her when she was FOUR.
My father's father died when he was FOUR.
My husband abandoned our family when our daughter was FOUR.
My father died on October FOURTH.
My brother (Arthur Yarborough, Jr.) died in the FOURTH month (April) in 1984.
I moved my oldest daughter away from her father (we were not married) when she was FOUR.
My maternal grandmother was married FOUR times.
There were FOUR children in our family, and just to add a smile - we grew up in a FOUR bedroom house! :)

There were a few more that I thought of that day, but of course I didn't write them down and now they aren't coming to me. But, anyway, such has been the power of "FOUR" in my life! What do you think?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Calvin Yarborough - TEACHER

Ummm... I was just taking a look at my dashboard trying to figure how to do something, and I noticed this post, which was written on October 11th, said, "Draft". I have no idea why I never posted this. (I thought I had.) But anyway, here it is, a month later. Perhaps the ancestors knew I'd need to relive the excitement of the moment I experienced this wonderful find!

Just when I was starting to get the feeling that I wasn't going to find anything new in my research, I decided to do a google search using one of the alternate spellings of my Yarborough surname (Yarboro) and adding the word, "teacher" to see if I could come up with anything about my GG grandfather, Calvin Yarborough, and I did!

You may recall that Calvin is listed the 1870 Census (the first post-slavery census) as a "Farmer and Retired Teacher". This has always intrigued me - knowing that my formerly-enslaved ancestor had been a teacher of some type and was already retired from it just a few years after emancipation. Although several of Calvin's children and grandchildren became teachers, there've been no family stories that indicated that this all began with our patriarch. Indeed, if not for the discovery I made in my research, my family would not know of this today!

Doing the google search led me right away to this link: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/report1869/menu.html This is the 1869-70 Report to the Superintendent of NC Schools. In it there are reports from each NC county, which were completed by a person or persons appointed to a committee. My gg grandfather is mentioned in the report as a teacher of a school two miles outside of Louisburg. So, here I have it - corroborating REAL evidence of my great-grandfather, a former slave, as a SCHOOLTEACHER just after slavery! I'm so excited and proud! You go, Calvin Yarborough, Sr.!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Nomination for Just Thinking!

Thank you so much to whoever nominated Just Thinking for Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs contest! Congrats, also, to all of the other nominees. I hope this contest brings recognition and more visitors to everyone's blogs! The editorial staff of Family Tree Magazine will be selecting winning blogs from the various categories for an article scheduled to be published in the May 2010 issue. Blogs were nominated by readers in September. The voting is now open , and will continue through November 5th, to determine the blogs that will make the cut. Just Thinking can be found in the Personal/Family Category, in which you can vote for up to 12 (twelve!) deserving blogs. Several of my favorites are there also (a few of which I nominated:). Please take the time to visit and vote for the blogs that have inspired you! Thanks!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Childhood Memories - Sundays

My dad, Arthur P. Yarborough posing in front of our second station wagon, probably around 1970 or so.
This post is an effort to combine Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun http://www.geneamusings.comandcom%20the/which asks us to recall a favorite childhood memory, with the Afrigeneas http://www.afrigeneas.com/forum/index.cgi?md=read;id=81412 challenge to either recall memories of Mom in the kitchen, or Sunday memories.

I can only recall a very few occasions in my childhood when my entire family (mom, dad, 3 older brothers, and me) were all together in one place, but for at least a few years (before my two oldest brothers were grown and gone) it did happen. It was on Sunday afternoons that the six of us would pack into our family station wagon, armed with fried chicken, bread, potato chips, and fruit and head off to my very favorite place (Louisburg, NC) to see my very favorite person (my Grandma Yarborough). The drive was about three hours long back then, along a succession of winding country roads. Rolling along through Virginia's peanut country, we sang songs, played car games, ate, and of course did our fair share of fussing and fighting. No matter how many times we took this same trip, passing the same landmarks, cotton and tobacco fields, outhouses, country stores and horse and cow-filled pastures, (complete with weathered and broken-down barns), all of these things were pointed to out to us as if we were seeing them for the first time. To this day, as I travel many of these same roads to visit my aunt and do my research, I still hear the words inside my head, "Look at the horses!" or "Do you see the cows?" (And sometimes, even in the car alone, I actually catch myself saying them!)

As we made our way to my father's birthplace, there were some stressful moments, too. Back then, all of the roads we traveled were two-lane highways, meaning one lane of traffic going each way. There were no medians between these opposite-facing lanes, and for me (the baby of the family) my father's frequent efforts to pass were the source of much distress. Every time my dad would put the pedal to the medal to pass someone, I would SCREAM at the top of my lungs! It was terrifying to me to see the traffic coming at us in the other direction, and I never believed that my father was going to make it around the car, or sometimes CARS in front of us to get back into our lane on time! I would scream and cry, and beg my dad not to pass, but all this resulted in was everyone in the family getting mad and fussing at me. Oh, and you'd better believe that the station wagon was pulled over many times, so that my dad could select just the right switch off of a roadside tree and use it to teach me to stop hollering and crying in his ear while he was driving! (It didn't really work though.)

One other little thing that I remember about these trips is our roadside pit-stops to use the restroom. Well, let me rephrase that.... to relieve ourselves. You see, we never, ever stopped at a place to use restroom facilities. Instead, when we had to "go", my father would simply pull over on the side of the road. The boys would go to the nearest tree and quickly take care of their business, but for me, it was a squat inside of the open car door, and a wipe with a napkin...lol, provided by my watchful mother (who, by the way, I don't EVER remember doing this herself). There was a certain church up on a hill on our last stretch of highway that had a big oak tree in front of it, and we always seemed to stop there for this purpose. I still pass that church when I go down to Louisburg, and I always remember its connection to my childhood trips. It seems odd that we would do this at a church, but for some reason, we did. One little side note about this: I feel pretty sure that, given the times (60's) we didnt' stop at a gas station to use the restroom because of the racial climate. Neither of my parents or older brothers ever said this to me, but as I look back on it now, I'd be willing to bet that this was my father's way of avoiding conflict, and maybe, just maybe my parents felt we were more protected by stopping on the grounds of a church.

Everyone's excitement always grew as we got into North Carolina and began to see the red, clay dirt - first just little patches here and there, just slightly orangish in color, but then increasingly larger pads of it, brillantly and unmistakably RED. We knew that we were getting closer to our destination as the color of the soil deeped its hue. Then, would come that final landmark that would cause my brother Arthur and I to sit straight up and abandon any argument we might have been having. Once we saw the Dairy Queen at the intersection of what I now know is Routes 561 and 39, we knew that we were just about 2 minutes away from our grandma's house! We both loved her so much, but at that moment it was her always-waiting candy cabinet that we had on our minds. Once we got to her house, and all the greetings and hugs were done, my grandma would give us the signal that we could go to that wonderful place where we'd always find a special treat that had been placed there just for us. My grandma never forgot to do this. Never. Oh, how I loved her, and she loved ME!