Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

Even though she hasn’t been to our hometown of Binghamton, NY in over a decade, my sister Marcia has contributed mightily to the genealogy talk our cousin Lisa presented recently.

Lisa spoke at the Broome County Area History Conference on April 21 at the Bundy Museum. She came all the way from Washington, DC to introduce two families, one Black and one Jewish, which my wife, daughter and I attended.

As she wrote in the precis, our “second great grandfather, James A. Archer, a free Black man who, along with two other family members, fought in the Civil War. They survived and returned to Binghamton to raise families and start businesses.” In part because of other photos Marcia put online, Lisa was able to ascertain that the post-Civil War photo I’ve posted to this blog included not only James Archer, but the brothers of his wife, Harriet Bell Archer.

“In the late 1800’s the Archer family purchased a house on Maple Street, which became a hub of family activity for several generations to come.” That was the house my grandmother and mother grew up in.”

She also told about her great grandparents, Isaac and Sarah Berman, who were born in Latvia and Lithuania, emigrated, first to Denmark then to the US in 1913 and settled in Binghamton. Isaac “started an egg business that eventually turned into a trucking company that was the first to offer overnight service from the Triple Cities to Boston.

“Both families grew and in 1937, the two came together with the marriage of Ernest Archer Yates and Charlotte Berman, my grandparents, who faced their own challenges as an interracial couple.” Ernie was my grandma’s brother and Charlotte the third child of Isaac and Sarah.

This picture also came from Marcia’s collection, with Ernie and Charlotte together in the back row, my mother’s arm on Ernie’s shoulder. Given the presence of three of their four children, I peg the photo in 1945 or 1946. Someone in the audience knew Charlotte from her time in Binghamton before 1954, when she and the children moved to Queens, NYC after Ernie died unexpectedly.

When Lisa came to Binghamton, she had to take a detour off Front Street onto Gaines Street and pass another Archer property at 5 Gaines Street, where MY nuclear family lived in the 1950s and 1960s.

So Marcia, even though she was far away, was an important part of Lisa’s presentation. Happy birthday, baby sister.

The National Geographic had its Genographic (their word) kits on sale and I bought one, registered it, mailed it back, and in about eight weeks got some results.

My ancestors are from:
Western Africa 52%
Northwestern Europe 21%
Eastern Europe 11%
Northeastern Europe 7%
Italy & Southern Europe 3%
South China Sea 2%
Central Africa 2%

My paternal line, in the main, stayed in Africa longer than my maternal line, it appears.

My first reference population, i.e, the obvious comparable, is African-American.

Western Africa 65%
Central Africa 15%
Northwestern Europe 12%
Southern Africa 8%

My second reference population is Bermudan; i.e., “This population is based on samples collected from mixed populations living in Bermuda. The percentages shown here reflect Bermuda’s vast racial diversity, including Africans brought during the slave-trading era (West and central Africa, as well as Southern Africa) and European and Asian colonists and workers (Great Britain and Ireland, Western and Central Europe, and Southern Asia). In addition, some Native Americans were sent as slaves to Bermuda in the 17th century, accounting for the small Native American ancestry. Bermuda had no indigenous inhabitants when Europeans first arrived in the 16th century.”

Western Africa 54%
Northwestern Europe 17%
Central Africa 11%
Southern Africa 9%
North America & Andes 5%
Southwestern Europe 4%

I’m a surprised by the eastern Europeans in my ancestral journey. I grew up in a primarily Slavic part of Binghamton, NY, but don’t know of any intermarriage there. And northeast Europe, which appears to be Finland and the Baltic states, I totally didn’t see coming.

I’m also 0.9% Neanderthal, compared with 1.3% for the average person they tested. “Everyone living outside of Africa today has a small amount of Neanderthal in them, carried as a living relic of these ancient encounters. A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have approximately 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have none, or very little Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia.”

Here’s the summary.

I was so interested in the results that I’ve now done the Ancestry.com test, which, I’m gathering, will be even more specific. I’ll get the results in six to eight weeks.

At Current Rates Of Use World Could Run Out Of Thoughts And Prayers By As Early As 2019

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What To Do When Racists Try To Hijack Your Religion

‘National Geographic’ Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

‘Stay Strong,’ And Other Useless Drivel We Tell The Grieving

The Encyclopedia of the Missing

When the only way to go free is to plead guilty

3 Far-Flung Cities Offer Clues to Unsnarling Manhattan’s Streets

OVERLOOKED: 15 obits of notable women

Alaska as a Red-to-Blue(ish) Model

‘The story of a weird world I was warned never to tell’

Union College says it found strand of George Washington’s hair

Stop Using the Label ‘Struggling Reader,’ Author Jacqueline Woodson Advises

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

The Unexpected Benefit of Train Travel

Rare Photo of Harriet Tubman Preserved

Digging into my family’s claims of Cherokee ancestry

in praise of soft targets

Stephen Hawking dies at 76 on Einstein’s birthday and Pi day; despite ALS, his mind roamed the cosmos

RIP, David Ogden Stiers

Dalai Lama, Chicago in May 2008:
“The universe is in a constant state of becoming—an ongoing miraculous creation. Every day we awaken to that miracle with gratitude, respect, and compassion for all who share the gift of being.”

Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings)

The Loophole

Smartphones Are Getting Dumber…on Purpose

A Finnish comedian explains the complicated meanings of an English word

Legendary toy demonstrated to have squirrel-repelling properties

Faking It: The Obviously Dubbed Telephone Ring

Aldi’s supermarkets history

A PhD In Batman

A niece at Carnegie Hall

Now I Know: The Florida City Fueled by Soda and Baseball’s Unluckiest Fan and How Bazooka Joe Lost a Baseball Glove

Not me: Couple begins rekindling an eighth-grade romance

MUSIC

Camille Saint-Saens’s Septet for piano, trumpet, and strings, Opus 65!

Hamilton Polka

The Music of Paolo Tosti – Carla Fisk and Michael Clement

Will Jesus Wash The Bloodstains From Your Hands – Hazel Dickens

Everlasting Arms – Luke Winslow-King, Vasti Jackson, Dr. John, and Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi

Norma Tanega (and Dusty Springfield)

There Is A Time – The Darlings (Andy Griffith Show)

Tush – Luna Lee on the gayageum

Cover of Take on Me (a-ha)

Sound of Silence – Todd Hoffman

Taxman – Joe Bonamassa, Live at The Cavern Club

Inside the Life of Brenda Lee, the Pop Heroine Next Door

On February 2, my friend Mark, who I’ve known since 1971, when I met him in at college, wrote: “I was at a concert recently and met a woman named Judy. She has friend-requested me [on Facebook], saying she knows Roger Green. I think you’ve mentioned her over the years.”

And evidently, I mentioned him to Judy, who I’ve only known since 1977, when I met her in that same college town. Judy’s also met other friends of mine, somehow, and realized they both knew me.

That evening, I went to First Friday at my church. The singer, Carla, who sang beautifully, BTW, has known a woman I’ve known through the library foundation for years. My activist friends Lynne and Dan were there, who I’ve known since the early 1980s. So was my activist friend Darby, who I’ve known since the late 1980s.

This is Smalbany, so SURELY they would have met each other by now. They knew other people in common besides me. But no, they had never crossed paths. So I introduced them.

And because it’s been on my mind a LOT lately, we discussed genealogy. Darby, Dan, and I all have misidentified ancestors in our family trees. As I’ve noted, mine involves my father’s biological father.

My second cousin Lisa called me that day. We’re working on a project that I’ll describe soon. She’s been doing genealogy of her family for years, and of course, there is some crossover.

To that end, she’s pretty much ordered me to do one of those DNA tests that Ancestry and others sell. Lisa had done hers and it pretty much disproved a family myth in her lines. But maybe some of the other lines in my past will tell a different story.

I related much of this to my wife just before we went to bed. She said, “You have an interesting life.” I guess I do.

When my sister Leslie and I visited our hometown of Binghamton, NY in October 2017, we went up to Spring Forest Cemetery and visited the graves of my grandma Gertrude Williams, her siblings Edward Jr. and Adenia, and their mother, Lillian (nee Archer) Yates Holland, who had been widowed and remarried. It is very near where they all grew up.

What we had never seen before, maybe a couple dozen meters away, was a headstone for Lillian’s parents, James Archer (1834-1912) and his wife Harriet (1839-1928). It was NOT the separate headstones I’d seen at FindAGrave.com – – James’ shown here from c 2009 – but something more ornamental.

In January 2017, during that cold snap, my second cousin Lisa, whose grandfather was Gertrude’s brother Ernie – though she never met him, as he died in 1954 – was doing some genealogical research.

She discovered James Archer in the 1890 civil war veterans’ census, showing that he volunteered and served from 29 December 1863 to the day he was mustered out on 29 August 1865.

“The 26th U.S. Colored Troops served under the Department of the South (Union Army) in South Carolina and was very active on Johns and James Island, Honey Hill, Beaufort, and a number of other locations.” On this page, you see a picture of the 1000-plus man strong 26th USCT on parade and their regimental banner.

Totally separately, my sister Marcia was going through some old, and unfortunately unmarked, photos that our mother had gotten from her mother. And one of them was this:

Is James Archer one of these men? We have no idea, but we’d like to think so. Cousin Anne, Lisa’s sister, notes: “One clue from the census is he had hazel eyes. Can you tell from the original photo the color of their eyes?” Which guy on has the lightest eyes?

Lisa noted: “74% of all free blacks of military age (18-45) fought for their country, and from all reported casualties, about one-third lost their lives. I’m happy to say, my great-great-grandfather was one of the survivors; he died in 1912, and I’m proud to be able to tell this piece of his story.”

One other detail worth noting: Lillian Yates Holland, James and Harriet’s daughter, wasn’t born until 1866. Had James died in battle, there would have been no Lillian, which meant she and Edward Yates Sr. wouldn’t have had Gertrude and Ernie, which would have meant no Trudy (my mom) and Fran (Lisa’s mom)…

Well, you get the picture.

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