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!

Today is My Blogiversary!

Today not only is the first day of 2017, but it is also the 6th Blogiversay of Claiming Kin! This year I’m celebrating this special milestone with a new and improved look for my favorite space in cyberspace. This new design represents how I plan and want to express myself and share my ancestors and family’s history with you this year and beyond!

Claiming Kin Ancestor Collage

Special thanks go to John S. (@kooldesignmaker), who has done lots of graphic work for me through the years, for transforming my old family photos into the awesome  – Claiming Kin Ancestor Collage – you see when you visit my Facebook profile page. This collage is a visual representation of ancestors and family members I celebrate and honor each day since I started this genealogical journey in 1989.

Sending virtual (((((hugs & best wishes)))) to all my family and genealogy friends who visit this blog and interact with me here regularly. THANK YOU so much! I appreciate your friendship, guidance, patience, and support very much. I wish you and yours a —

Happy New Year 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: My Original Texas Driver Education Certificate

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year; It was a very good year for [big city] girls . . . ” – sung by Frank Sinatra in D minor, 1966

When I found my original Texas Driver Education Certificate (Form DL-41A) last year, I smiled from ear to ear. It was so cool to find this document after all these years. Where was it? Tucked away in a box in my parents garage for many, many years. After looking at this document more closely, I found myself humming and singing the two opening stanzas of Frank Sinatra’s song above with a slight change in the lyrics (of course) to show that I was no small town girl. Still, why that song came to mind, I can’t say. But what I will say is 1977 “was a very good year” because it’s the year I learned to drive a car!

1977 Texas Driver Education Certificate

A closer look at this certificate reveals that 39 years ago yesterday, May 4, 1977, I completed 12 hours of simulator instruction, 3 hours of in-car instruction, and 3 hours of in-car observation at University of Houston. I have no memory of Marvin Reichle, the instructor who signed my certificate above. But, he must have been great because I do remember enjoying the simulator and in-car instruction part of the program very much!

When my classmates learned that I was taking drivers ed at the university twice a week, they all asked why didn’t my parents teach me how to drive themselves. I wondered about that too at first. But I soon realized they wanted me to learn best practices with regards to the laws of the road (i. e. how to deal with different driving conditions, how to react in emergencies, etc.). They also knew if I completed a driver and traffic safety education program approved by the Department of Public Safety, I would receive the SO-30 Driver Training Certificate for insurance purposes too.

This certificate automatically gave me a 10% discount on Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection and Collision coverages when my parents added me to their auto insurance. Now that I had a learner’s license guess what make and model car I drove to practice driving? I did all of my practice driving in a 1976 or 1977 Dodge Monaco Brougham, very similar to the one featured below.

Yes, our family car was a BIG one. But despite its size, I LOVED driving that car! It was easy to handle and offered all its passengers a very smooth ride every time.

Do you remember when you learned to drive? What make and model car did you use for practice driving? Let me hear from you; feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post below.

Wedding Wednesday: Taylor-Chapple, 1949

Wedding Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to display and share old wedding photos, wedding invitations, and announcements!

My feature bride and groom today are my parents – John Taylor and Carrie Chapple. If my father was still alive, my parents would have celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary this month/year.

Bridal Party Photo by Willie Crosby

On Sunday the 3rd of April 1949 at 4 PM
John Willie Taylor and Carrie Chapple
Were married!

Their private ceremony was officiated by Rev. Jessie Glover, the Pastor of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church that was located at 2500 Altoona Street at the time. The ceremony and reception occurred in the home of my mom’s sister and brother-in-law — Edward and Ella Louise (Chapple) Marshall who lived at 1708 Chew Street in the Greater Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas community.

Special guests and members of the bridal party in the group photo above were (standing l to r):  Joseph Chapple (Father of the Bride),  the Best man, John Taylor (Groom), Carrie Taylor (Bride), Sue Wesley (Maid of Honor), Faye Short (Soloist), Ethel (Abram) Chapple (Step-Mother of the Bride). Guests not shown were Juanita Boykins (pianist) and Willie Crosby (photographer).

Bridal Dress Photo by Will Crosby

The groom wore a double-breasted black suit, white shirt, black tie and black shoes. The bride’s wedding gown, veil and opera length bridal gloves in white were purchased from Solo Serve, a popular discount retail chain in downtown Houston, for $25.00!!

Wedding Cake Photo by Willie Crosby

Their graduated tier wedding cake with white butter icing topped with a miniature bride and groom was made by her step-mother, Ethel (Abram) Chapple.

If I didn’t know this couple personally, I would have thought their wedding day wasn’t a happy one. Why? No one smiled! There were no smiles on the faces of the bride, the groom, members of the bridal party, or guests in any of these wedding photos! As I got older, I often teased my parents about these pictures. I even asked them, “were you two marrying under duress?! They would simply laugh and shake their heads at me in disbelief, not realizing that I was being serious with them.

Well, despite the solemn looks they had in their wedding photos 67 years ago . . .
they have been all smiles and looking good together ever since!

John & Carrie (Chapple) Taylor