We all want answers today, and science is not going to give them. Science is uncertainty. And the pace of uncertainty reduction in science is way slower than the pace of a pandemic. ~ Brian Nosek (The Washington Post, May 26, 2020)
I’ve been thinking about scientists a lot lately, beacuse of the pandemic, so when I read the above quote in the newspaper about “the pace of uncertainty reduction in science” it caught my attention. I remember my father teaching me that whenever science finds an “answer” it only brings more questions into focus. The more scientists learn, the more they appreciate how much they still don’t know.
Experiment, observe and gather data. Make educated guesses and investigate some more. My father spent his entire research career studying chicken viruses. It’s kind of astonishing that there could be so much to learn about just one kind of virus. Years and years of probing and analysis.
As far as I can tell, the scientists studying the coronavirus pandemic have been very candid about what they still don’t know. Yet, their best guess is that wearing a mask makes sense because it will likely protect other people from you if you happen to have the virus (with no symptoms) and are spreading it without realizing it. Combined with social distancing and frequent hand-washing, this is our best strategy for slowing down the spread of COVID-19 for now. Rest assured scientists are still searching for answers, hoping to reduce the uncertainty as soon as humanly possible!
Eastern Europe & Russia 43% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 28% Germanic Europe 20% Ireland & Scotland 3% Baltics 3% Norway 2% Italy 1%
We recently added more ethnicity populations and communities. Based on this update, you might see changes to your results. ~ Ancestry.com
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 71% Ireland & Scotland 21% Germanic Europe 6% Norway 2%
The last time we examined our DNA results was in 2014, about 5 years ago. (penetrating the past) We both have some interesting changes in our results!
For me, the Italian connection all but disappeared, which seems about right because I could never find one on the paper trail. Norway shows up solidly in about the right amount for my 3rd-great-grandfather, and Ireland as well, for his wife, my 3rd-great-grandmother. My father’s Slavic (Ukrainian) origins gained a larger percentage in my DNA. I’m intrigued with a new category, 3% Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).
Interestingly, Tim also seems to be 2% Norway. But he’s a whopping 92% England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northwestern Europe. And this analysis turns up absolutley no European Jewish ancestry, in spite of having a Jewish maternal grandfather. Still a mystery.
So, on Christmas Eve, we were sitting around our table working on a jigsaw puzzle and listening to holiday music with my sister and brother-in-law. I had made the shuffling playlist for my iPod years ago and had included tunes from many traditions. When the Dreidel Song came on my sister asked Tim if his family had celebrated Hanukkah when he was a child. The answer was no, although his stepgrandmother often brought Jewish foods to the house during the holidays. And then, much to my astonishment, he mentioned that his maternal grandfather had converted to Judaism. What!?!
This definitely would explain the lack of European Jewish ancestry for Tim!
It never ceases to amaze me how memories are stirred up in the oddest ways. And how a non-genealogical question lead to a spontaneous answer containing an important clue, which led to the solving of a genetic conundrum.
It will be fun to see any future changes in our DNA analyses as the scientists fine-tune the estimates as their population samples continue to grow.
Another one of Tim’s grandmother’s lines goes back to Scotland. A perfect excuse to spend a lovely autumn afternoon with Tim’s aunt in New Hampshire, locating the gravestones of their ancestors, while enjoying the gorgeous fall colors en route.
Allegra Estelle Hamilton 1900-1992 Gertrude Mabel “Gertie” Hubbard 1874-1965 Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard 1842-1915 Lydia P. Randolph 1807-1901 Jane Koyl 1779-1870 Ephraim Koyl 1753-1838 Dea. John Kyle c. 1722-1769 Dea. John Kyle c. 1682-1762
Fortunately the Find A Grave website provided some older and much clearer photographs of these tombstones and I was able to identify them by matching up the markings that could be made out. And thankfully, the original epitaphs were recorded there, as well.
HERE LYES THE BODY OF MR. JOHN KYLE HE DIED MAY 12th 1762 AGED 80 YEARS
Here lies the Body of Mrs. Mary Kyle, Wife of Deacon John Kyle Who Died January ye 8th 1778 Aged – 84 years –
The following is from The History of Windham in New Hampshire by Leonard Allison Morrison, (Boston, Massachusetts: Cupples, Upham & Co., 1883), 68, 615, 616
John Kyle, of Scotch race, was a settler here previous to 1740, and lived near J.-L. Cottle’s. He m. Mary —, who d. Jan. 8, 1778, æ. 84 yrs.; he d. May 12, 1762, æ. 80 yrs. Child:—
Dea. John, who succeeded him on the farm; m. Agnes —; made an elder during the pastorate of Rev. William Johnston; date of death not known; was taxed as late as 1780.
Children, b. Windham: — Ephraim2, b. July 1, 1753. (See Revolutionary history, p. 68.) William2, b. Aug. 8, 1755. Mary2, insane, and provided for by the town. Janet2, insane, and provided for by the town.
WINDHAM MEN IN THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL
Capt. Elisha Woodbury’s company, Colonel Stark’s regiment CASUALTIES AND LOSSES Ephraim Kyle, 1 gun and bayonet, £2, 2s.
Tim’s 7th-great-grandfather, John Kyle was born about 1682 in the small village of Lochgilphead, Scotland and was an original settler of Windham, New Hampshire.
His grandson, Tim’s 5th-great-grandfather, Ephraim Koyl, son of John and Agnes (—) Kyle, was born 1 July 1753 in Windham (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 25 August 1838 in Kitley, Johnson District, Upper Canada [now Elizabethtown-Kitley Twp. (Leeds) Ontario]. He married in Londonderry (Rockingham) New Hampshire (as his first wife and as her second husband),
Abigail (Reading) Kincaid, who was born 17 February 1753 in Portsmouth (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 11 April 1810 in Kitley, daughter of John and Mary (—) Redding.
Abigail had married (as her first husband) John M. Kincaid, who died in the 16 August 1777 (Revolutionary War) Battle of Bennington while serving with Ephraim. The Americans successfully defended colonial military stores against a British raiding party. After Abigail married Ephraim they moved to Canada about 1792, and had settled on Irish Creek, near a place called Koyl’s Bridge, in Kitley by 1803. After Abigail died, Ephraim married a second, unidentified wife, who died in Kitley, 6 September 1844.
Ephraim & Abigail were the parents of seven children. The firstborn, Jane Koyl, was Tim’s 4th-great-grandmother. She was born 4 April 1779 in Manchester (Bennington) Vermont, and died 19 October 1870 in Albion (Orleans) New York. She married (as her first husband) Abram Randolph, son of Benjamin Randolph & Jane Long, on 15 January 1797, and bore him eleven children. Abram died on 18 November 1824 and she then married (as her second husband) David Coombs, on 25 February 1847.
Private Ephraim fought in the Battle of Bunker’s Hill near the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He was wounded by a musket ball which entered his jaw and lodged in his neck, and was later removed, leaving a scar. As he was being carried off the battlefield his gun and bayonet were taken from him, for which he was later given some monetary compensation. Promoted to sergeant, Ephraim went on to fight in the Battle of Bennington two years later.
Apparently the name Kyle was used in the United States, but changed to Koyl when the family moved to Canada. Ephraim is listed under both spellings in his Revolutionary War pension files. It’s puzzling why Ephraim decided to move to Canada after fighting on the American side of the Revolution.
Exciting day at the Rodgers home! I’ve been trying to trace Tim’s grandmother’s Hamilton ancestors back to Scotland for as long as we’ve been married, almost 44 years. Taking notes from her father’s autobiography and her mother’s research, the line went back only 4 generations.
Allegra Estelle Hamilton 1900-1992 Charles Amos Hamilton 1866-1943 Charles Munson Hamilton 1815-1891 Benjamin Hamilton 1792-1880 William Hamilton 1756-1824
All we knew of Benjamin was that he came from New Jersey and settled in New York, and that his father, William, fought in the Revolutionary War. Charles Amos became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution as a great-grandson of William, on 4 January 1924.
William participated in the battles of the Narrows on the Susquehanna River and at Tioga Point. He was a member of Capt. Morrison’s Co. 1 Battalion.
No one seemed to know the name of William’s father but it was thought that he was born in Scotland. However, it seems he was actually born in New Jersey. As I was browsing Ancestry.com this morning I stumbled across a picture of a page entitled The Hamilton Family, pg. 291. It’s from the book by J. Percy Crayon, Rockaway Records of Morris County, N. J. Families, (Rockaway, N.J., Rockaway Publishing Co., 1902).
But, much to my delight, one of the Benjamins on the page matched up with Tim’s Benjamin Hamilton. And at long last the mystery is solved! William’s second wife, Nellie Hurd, is the name of Benjamin’s previously unidentified mother. And the line now goes back 3 more generations to the Scottish ancestor.
William Hamilton 1756-1824 (Revolutionary War) Stephen Hamilton ?-1759 (died in the Battle of Ticonderoga, French & Indian War) John Hamilton c.1681-1747 Gov. Andrew Hamilton ?-1703 (Governor of colonial New Jersey, Tim’s 7th-great-grandfather)
This afternoon I found the following account of Andrew’s life in Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography (1900) edited by James Grant Wilson & John Fiske. It was all one paragraph but I’m breaking it up to make it easier to read. Enjoy!
HAMILTON, Andrew, governor of New Jersey, b. in Scotland; d. probably in Burlington, N. J., 20 April, 1703. He was engaged in business as a merchant in Edinburgh, and was sent to East Jersey as a special agent for the proprietaries. Having discharged that mission satisfactorily, he was recommended as a man of intelligence and judgment to Lord Neil Campbell, who was sent to that province in 1686 as deputy-governor for two years. He was made a member of the council in consequence, and in March, 1687, became acting governor on the departure of Lord Neil for England, who was called there on business and did not return.
In 1688, East and West Jersey having surrendered their patents, those provinces came under the control of Gov. Edmund Andros, and were annexed to New York and New England. Andros, then residing in Boston, visited New York and the Jerseys, continuing all officers in their places, and making but slight changes in the government. In consequence of the revolution of 1688 in England, Gov. Hamilton visited the mayor of New York as the representative of Andros, that official having been seized by the New-Englanders in April, 1689. He finally sailed for England, in order to consult with the proprietaries, but was captured by the French, and did not reach London until May, 1690. He was still residing there in March, 1692, when he was appointed governor of East Jersey, and also given charge of West Jersey.
Although he administered the affairs of the province to the satisfaction of both the colonists and the proprietaries, he was deposed in 1697, “much against the inclination” of the latter, in obedience to an act of parliament which provided that “no other than a natural-born subject of England could serve in any public post of trust or profit.” Hamilton returned to England in 1698, but so great was the disorder and maladministration under his successor, Jeremiah Basse, that he was reappointed, 19 Aug., 1699. He could not, however, right the wrong that had been already done, or repair the abuses that had crept in. Officers were insulted in the discharge of their duties, and the growth of the province was seriously interfered with.
In 1701 he was appointed by William Penn deputy-governor of Pennsylvania, the latter having been called to England to oppose the machinations of those who were plotting to deprive him of his American possessions. On Penn’s arrival in London everything was done to harass him, factious opposition being made to the confirmation of Gov. Hamilton, who was wrongfully charged with having been engaged in illicit trade. The appointment finally received the royal sanction. In the session of the provincial assembly in Oct., 1702, the representatives of the territories refused to meet those of the province, claiming the privilege of separation under a new charter, and expressing their firm determination to remain apart.
Hamilton strongly urged the advantages of union, and used all his influence to secure this result, but without effect. He also made preparations for the defence of the colony by organizing a military force. He died while on a visit to his family in New Jersey the year following. It was to Andrew Hamilton that the colonies were indebted for the first organization of a postal service, he having obtained a patent from the crown for the purpose in 1694. —
His son, John, acting governor of New Jersey, d. in Perth Amboy, N. J.. in 1746. It is not known whether he was born in East Jersey or in Scotland. He is first heard of in public life as a member of Gov. Hunter’s council in 1713. He retained his seat under Gov. Burnet, Gov. Montgomerie, and Gov. Cosby. In 1735 he was appointed associate judge of the provincial supreme court, but probably did not serve, as he became acting governor on the death of Gov. Cosby, only three weeks after the latter’s accession to office, 31 March, 1736. He continued at the head of affairs until the summer of 1738, when Lewis Morris was appointed governor of New Jersey, “apart from New York.”
Hamilton again became acting governor on the death of the latter in 1746, but he was then quite infirm and died a few months afterward. He is usually credited with having established the first colonial postal service, but the weight of authority seems to favor the belief that it was his father who obtained the patent.
As a scientist I am indeed only an ant, insufficient and anonymous, but I am stronger than I look and part of something that is much bigger than I am. Together we are building something that will fill our grandchildren’s grandchildren with awe, and while building we consult daily the crude instructions provided by our grandfathers’ grandfathers. As a tiny, living part of the scientific collective, I’ve sat alone countless nights in the dark, burning my metal candle and watching a foreign world with an aching heart. Like anyone else who harbors precious secrets wrought from years of searching, I have longed for someone to tell.
~ Hope Jahren
Reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was eye-opening for me. My father was a scientist and, like many children, I didn’t have much of a grasp on what he did all day. I knew he was researching chicken viruses in a lab at the university. Sometimes he would take my sister and me to work and I noticed all sorts of lab equipment, especially a special light he used to examine chicken embryos in their shells. I knew every couple of years he would be stressing about whether he would get funding for another couple of years. (He always did.) Once I tried to read his PhD thesis, but it was like trying to read a foreign language.
In this book Jahren, who studies plants, introduced me to the concept of curiosity-driven research. The scientist sets up and runs experiments to investigate whatever she happens to be wondering about. Any “real-world” applications of the results are not immediately apparent or sought. Collecting data is pure joy for her. She adds to the volume of scientific knowledge and leaves information for future scientists to make use of in their own research.
Now I get what my father was doing all those years! He may not have made any dazzling discoveries but he was an important ‘part of something that is much bigger than he was.’ Hope Jahren gives a very enlightening look into the everyday world of scientists, in words all of us will understand.
My cousin sent me a little puzzle I enjoyed solving. He is also going through boxes from the grandparents! Along with the front and back of this postcard he sent a question, “My middle name is Weekes and I saw this post card from Weekes to Swift… may be of interest to you and also I don’t know who the kid is on the photograph, might you?” It took me a couple of hours, going over my data stored away at Ancestry, to find someone who fit.
So finally I could write back:
My best guess for the identity of the little fellow in the picture would be Albert E. Weekes (1907-1991). He is our 2nd cousin, 3 times removed. The postcard was sent in July 1911, when he was 3 years 9 months old, and the message says the picture was taken when he was 2 years 9 months old, which Albert was in July of 1910. He was 10 years younger than his next older sibling, his sister Bertha.
The post card is from his parents, Mr. & Mrs. G. A. Weekes, George Albert Weekes (1849-1917) & Mary J. (Hilliard) Weekes (1867-1952).
The post card was sent to George’s first cousin, Mrs. Edward E. Swift, Susan Flora (Freeman) Swift (1864-1963). She is our 3rd-great-aunt, Aunt Flora, of Woods Hole.
Our ancestors in common are my 4th-great-grandparents, Isaac Weekes (1780-1841) & Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes, profiled here. The cousins, Mr. Weekes and Mrs. Swift, were their grandchildren. They have many descendants and I haven’t found all of them yet, I’m sure!
Spirituality is life itself. Being life. Being this moment. Not as a practice or an attainment or something an imaginary person does in order to get somewhere else, but just because it’s What Is. It’s the natural state, the ever-present, ever-changing thusness of Here / Now. The part that falls away (if we’re lucky) is the search, the endless search to “get it,” to become “okay” at last… the belief in (and identity as) the psychological self and its problems and the endless attempts to cure them.
As I see it, there is no end to awakening, no end to spiritual exploration and discovery, no end to devotion and celebration and wonder… but what can end (and only now) is the search to fix “me,” to unstick “me,” to enlighten “me,” to finally get control (by understanding how the universe works, by getting The Answer, by finally vanquishing all “my” neurotic quirks and tendencies and solving “my” problems). When all of that ends, there is simply this moment, as it is. Boundless and free.
How can twins with identical genetics and environment become so different and tolerate these differences so well? J. David Smith suggests that conjoined twins demonstrate an important aspect of human differentiation: intentionality. He notes that the role of self-determination has been lost in the “nature-nurture” debate about whether heredity or environment rules our lives. These two perspectives may appear to be complete opposites, but they share a common deterministic outlook. Even a compromise position still ignores how self-direction shapes our destinies. When we ignore the role of free will and active participation in our own lives, we damage and discourage ourselves.
~ David Schnarch
(Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships)
It was perhaps fifteen years ago when I read an excellent book, Passionate Marriage, quoted above, back when I was very interested in the balance between autonomy and intimacy in marriage and other relationships. And the gist of the above paragraph was etched into my mind as I embraced the idea of self-determination playing as much of a role in the course of our lives as heredity or environment.
Ever since I started this blog I have wanted to find the quote to add to my collection here. But memory is a funny thing. About the same period of time I had read another excellent book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon. I was certain I had read that paragraph in this book! Self-determination can definitely apply to will in the fight against depression, a very cruel disease. Who knows how many times I thumbed through The Noonday Demon, looking in vain for the desired paragraph? Eventually I abandoned the search.
A couple of weeks ago I happened to be rearranging my daughter’s bookshelves when I came across my old copy of Passionate Marriage. I started leafing through it, looking to see what ideas I had underlined all those years ago, before passing the book on to her. Voila! There it was. I was dumbfounded.
Tim and I often joke about our ever-changing memories. I’ve taken to saying that the more certain I am of something I remember, the more likely it is that I am totally mistaken! This was certainly a case in point. 🙂
But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called – called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.
~ Jack London
(The Call of the Wild)