About Liv Taylor-Harris

Christian. Genealogy enthusiast. Retired book publicist and school librarian. In short, I'm a Lifelong Learner!

My Day at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Even though I wasn’t able to attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC when it first opened to the public August 22, 2011, seeing it on a rainy day years later in the Fall of 2016 was just as exciting and emotional for me as I’m sure it was for everyone in attendance on opening day!

The 30-foot statue of Dr. King rising out of a stone of hope, with arms folded across his chest, is simply breathtaking and captures his likeness perfectly! This monument covers 4 acres and includes 17 quotations from Dr. King’s popular speeches inscribed in granite panels by Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin. The inspiration for the memorial design comes from a line in Dr. King’s “I HAVE A DREAM” speech:

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

If you plan to visit the monument today in celebration of Dr. King’s legacy or have this “Must-See” national treasure on your U.S. travel bucket list, the official address of the monument is 1964 Independence Avenue, S. W., commemorating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is no fee to visit. The memorial is open 24 hours a day because of its outdoor setting. Bookstore, restrooms, and drinking fountains are located across the West Basin Drive near the main entrance.

While you’re in the area, located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin, is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial to the northwest, and the Jefferson Memorial to the southeast that you should visit too!

Happy Memorial Day form BillionGraves.com

A heartfelt Memorial Day message to my family from BillionGraves.com

Happy Memorial Day from BillionGraves.com

Dear Claiming Kin,

Memorial Day is a chance to pause and share our gratitude for the brave servicemen and servicewomen throughout the world. We pause to remember not just those in the United States, but all people who gave their life, or who continue to risk their lives, for the pursuit of freedom, love, and equality for all people.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you and your families for sacrifices you all have made to make the world a better place.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sincerely,
The BillionGraves Team

Happy National DNA Day 2017!

My celebration of National DNA Day and fascination with genetic DNA testing began with my first mitochondrial test (mtDNA) on 30 December 2011. The results of my mitochondrial lineage — Haplogroup L2a1l1b — just confirmed what I already knew about myself and the female ancestors in my family tree — our ancient origins/roots are in Africa!

As more genetic tests became available, my desire to know more about my ancestral roots prompted me to expand my results. So from 2011 to 2016, I completed the mtDNA Plus, Family Finder, mtFull Sequence, and Autosomal tests. With each test, I learned some amazing information about my lineage and ethnicity!

I’m 84% African. No surprises there!

I'm 84% Africa
Cameroon/Congo – 29%; Benin/Togo – 18%; Nigeria 13%; Mali – 12%; Ivory Coast/Ghana 9%

I’m 12% European. It was interesting to learn which areas of Europe are a part of my DNA!

I'm 12% European
Ireland – 6%; Scandinavia – 3%; Western Europe – 2%; Finland/Northwest Russia – 1%; Great Britain – <1%

Guess what?! I’m 2% Asian! Who knew?! – ROFL!!

I'm 2% Asian
Regions: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan; Azerbaijan, Afghanistan

To every family member who told me that my great-great-grandmothers on both sides of my family tree were Native Americans (and I didn’t believe them), this one is for you!

I’m 1% Native American! So I guess those relatives who talked about having high cheekbones, being hairless with straight hair that is not exactly curly, kinky, or spirally may have been on to something here — LOL!

I'm 1% Native American

So, how will you celebrate National DNA Day? Feel free to celebrate with me here by sharing your Haplogroup and/or Ethnicity results in the comment section of this post if you like!

The Poetry of DNA

April 25, 2017, is National DNA Day where students, teachers, and the public worldwide will spend time learning more about genetics and genomics!

Why Celebrate National DNA Day?

Ask a genealogy hobbyist what they think of genetic DNA testing, and some will say they’re fascinated but haven’t quite figured it out just yet. Others will beam and readily talk about how this great scientific discovery of all time – DNA’s Double Helix — has helped them to verify family and discover deep ancestral roots!

I believe Prince Ea says it best in his profound video below that, “This is about ME. This is about YOU. This is about us, and everyone who lives—and lived—in this world.” So true, so true! I hope that you join in on the celebration. And just in case you have not given celebrating DNA Day any thought, check out Prince Ea’s “The Poetry of DNA” video and be inspired to be a part of this celebration!

My 3 Words for 2017

I have chosen 3 words to celebrate my genealogy endeavors for each new year since 2013! I must admit that this activity does work well for me (in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions) because it allows me to organize and plan my genealogy research and training for the year in a more meaningful way.

My 3 Words Over the Years

2013: First. Proof. Publish.
2014: Serendipity. Collaboration. DNA.
2015: Preserve. Stretch. Connection.
2016: Personal. Re-do. Believe.

My 3 Words for 2017

My 3 Words for 2017

Share.

The word share reminds me of the Botswana Proverb that says,

All people share the same ancestry.”

I totally enjoy sharing research facts and information with people whether they’re related to me or not. Sharing with others is the reason why I maintain a public family tree at Ancestry.com filled with informative notes, photos, and primary/secondary documents. It’s my hope this information will help others researching the same ancestors I am — find me! But what made research so cool online for me in 2016 was having a few researchers reach out to me for the first time and send information about my ancestors just because they were checking out the surnames in my family tree. Now that’s the type of sharing I want to experience more of in 2017. So get ready people, I plan to share and talk about genealogy everywhere I go!

Involved.

I’ve been involved with family research since 1989. Attending genealogy conferences and workshops online and offline is something I look forward to and plan for each year. But this year my involvement with genealogy will be more personal than ever before. I’m the newly elected Assistant Secretary for the Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter for the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. I’ve been a member of the H-Town Chapter for two years and have benefitted greatly from this organization. So I felt it was time for me to get involved and give back to a group that has been helpful to me in a major way.

Learner.

As the Swahili Proverb goes —

Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners.

When it comes to genealogy, I am a life-long learner who pursues this field for pleasure and accuracy. Anyone who has spent time shaking down their family tree knows that genealogy involves problem-solving skills that require the use of sources from a variety of fields and disciplines (i.e. business, legal, medicine, religion, governmental, etc.) It is the accuracy that I desire most of all with my research. As a result, I will forever be a learner who will continue to seek out experts for their guidance and help!

Care to join me in this Activity?

Feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year? If yes, what three words would you choose? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section of this post. But more importantly, I wish you Happy Ancestor Hunting throughout this year!