Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy 5th Blogiversary to Me!

I'm pretty sure 5 years of anything on the internet equals about 150 years in real time, so I'm pleased to see how long this whole blogging thing has lasted for me!  Who knew!

Thank you to everyone who reads and comments - I do enjoy having a forum to share research findings and photographs and I value all your comments.

And now, my favorite yearly tradition, the oddest search terms people have used to find my blog:

1. Empty Cat Bed

Aww.  This makes me sad.  :-(

2. Getting Undressed

It's true.  Once I wrote about getting undressed, but only to point out how I manage to trip and fall whilst doing so.

3. Money Maker Flower

?  If i had one of those, I'd be sitting in a much nicer chair right now, that's for sure.

4.  Queen Victoria Funny

For her sake, I hope she was.

5.  Septum Keeper

I don't even want to know.  I wrote about my nose once but this just seems a bit odd.  Would one be keeping something in one's septum or would one be keeping one's septum in something else?  Or does one want to be sure to keep one's septum.  I do know that I like mine right where it is.

6. Thufir Hawat

What?  Don't all of you have posts that would lead this person to your blog by typing this in?  Just keep calm and keep the spice flowing.

7. just like she suddenly became

I'm worried about this person.  I feel like they are concerned about someone but don't know what to do.  She became what?  Agitated?  Angry?  Happy?  Sad?  Indifferent?  I hope they figured it out.

8. my diaper pins

So they are searching for "their" diaper pins?  I didn't realize people still used them - I figured that binder clips would work fine for that because they aren't pointy.  I've solved a lot of problems with binder clips.

9.  grim litany

I see I might need to lighten up a bit in my posts for the coming year.

10. mickey mouse tombstone

This is what I get for blogging both about genealogy and family trips to Walt Disney World.

And now, off to start year 6!!

Time Travel at the Microfilm Machine - Part 2

Back in January I did a post showing some wonderful doodles I found in church records while at the microfilm machine.

It was such a treat to see those little drawings while scanning through pages and pages of Latin church records.  I thought a lot about the man who made those drawings.

Well - the other night I came across my friend again!  Back in January I was looking at church records for baptisms.  This time, for the same town, I was looking at church records for marriages - and when the year turned to 1777, there he was again!  My artist friend!

Handwriting matches and everything.  :-)  For the marriage book it looks to me like he drew a field of some kind of grain?  Also there is a young oak tree in a pot with acorns, and finally what looks to me like a pear tree with one pear hanging.  I'm not sure what he drew under the numbers of the year.

And yes, I know a lot more church Latin now than I did a few months ago.

Also, I thought I had come across populations that liked to use the same names over and over - for instance I have New England ancestors where it's Thomas, son of Thomas, son of Thomas, son of Thomas - I'm not kidding!  And the women are all named Elizabeth or Rebecca.

But these Germans who were living in Romania - holy cow did they use the same names over and over.  When I was looking at the baptism records - it seemed like the witnesses/godparents, whatever they were (I'm not yet an expert on 18th century Catholicism for Germans in Romania - but don't worry I'll get to that) - the child ALWAYS had the name of one of the witnesses, depending on gender.

So what if you were a creative sort and wanted to give your child a name other than Joannes, Henricus, Petrus, Magdalena, Maria or Anna?  Seems like you were out of luck.

Even the unusual names, like Casparius - sure enough, the male witness/godparent had that same given name.

I find it so interesting to look at the original records!  It opens up a million additional questions, but it's totally worth it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Domelle FamilyTreeDNA Results

I received results for the Family Finder DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA - a few years back, my maternal Grandfather William Domelle indulged me by allowing me to send in his DNA and I finally ordered the Family Finder test in December.

The website says that the Family Finder test provides an analysis of ethnic percentages.  Here is what it says about my maternal grandfather, surname Domelle:

So basically, very European!!

This does fit perfectly with the research I've done on the Domelle family.

My Domelle line emigrated to the US from early 20th century Hungary (now modern Romania).  They identified themselves as ethnic Germans who migrated south from the Alsace-Lorraine region (the Donauschwaben).

My grandfather's haplogroup is R-M198 (which is also known as R1a1a apparently).

His mtDNA results put him in haplogroup H.

And now full disclosure:  I have no idea what any of this means!!!  I'm so glad I got my grandfather to take the test, but honestly I know absolutely nothing about what all this really means other than the obvious - that 25% of me is definitely European.  :-)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Visit to Mainz

I had the opportunity to travel to Mainz Germany a couple weeks ago on a trip for work.  I was able to take a few hours and tour through the city and of course do my favorite thing when in a European city: visit its' cathedral!

It was last March that I got to visit Basel in Switzerland and see the Rhine river.  I got to see the Rhine again on this trip as well!  Mainz is about 200 miles north of Basel.  Oh, and as I learned, it's not pronounced like the plural of the state of Maine, but more like "meiynz".  Or maybe if you see how the French spell it "Mayence" that will better explain it.

Anyway, here is the Rhine river, a much further north and much more downriver version that what I saw a year ago in Switzerland.

Just like Basel Switzerland, Mainz is a very old city, first starting as a Roman settlement.  Another reason you should know about it is that it's where Johannes Gutenberg was born and where he, in 1455, printed the Gutenberg Bible.

I didn't get to go to any museums during my tourist day there because they were all closed.  Much to my surprise, I learned that this area of Germany is very Catholic.  I guess it just never occurred to me since we always get taught about Martin Luther and such.  So anyway, when I was there it was immediately prior to Fat Tuesday.  But it wasn't really a celebration of just Fast Tuesday like we have in the US - it was more of a week long carnival/parade celebration, in fact the locals did refer to it being "carnival".  There were parades, parades and more parades, stalls were set up in the main squares for food and games for children and everyone was just generally jolly! 

The big celebration day was what they called "Rose Monday (Rosenmontag)" (the day before Fat Tuesday) when they said 500,000 people descend upon the city for a day of parades and carnival.  I didn't see that day due to work, but I saw lots of other parades over the course of many days!! 

The whole town was done up in red, white, blue, yellow and most disturbingly, clowns, which is the theme of carnival.

Lots of cities in the region have carnivals, for instance Cologne is another big one that celebrates.  Also, apparently each city's carnival has a "battle cry" - so while paraders are parading, they shout out the battle cry and the people on the streets shout it back.  And it's bad form to shout another city's battle cry.   :-)

I know the Mainz battle cry quite well now - it's "Helau!"  The paraders would give a big arm wave and shout it while grinning and the parade watchers would shout it back - when I first heard it I had no idea what it was and I the only thing I could compare it to was the Jerry Seinfeld episode where he and George pretend to be talking like a stomach would say stuff like "HEL-LOOOO".  That kept me laughing for a while while watching the parade.  :-)  Oh - and the parade watchers also dressed up in crazy clothing and costumes as well.

Lots and lots of paraders wore military uniform costumes that reminded me of what we see the British forces as wearing during the American Revolution.  I learned later that the costumes were to mock different military forces that have occupied Mainz, especially during the early 1800s.

So yeah, big learning experience there!

Fortunately, although the carnival had the museums closed, I still go to go to the cathedral in Mainz, which they refer to as the "Dom".  It's another red sandstone cathedral just like the one in Basel was. 

Interestingly, the buildings that had been built up right next to the cathedral have not been demolished like in so many other cities, so it's hard to get a good feel for what the cathedral itself actually looks like at its base.  But then again, I appreciated seeing one like this because really, it's more like what it really was all these centuries.

The entrance to the church is that dark looking wide alley where you see the person standing!  It's hard to find when buildings surround the cathedral!

But you can get a good view of a very old bit - the Gotthard Chapel which was built in the 1100s.  There is a very large wooden cross in there from the same time period, very beautiful.  That's a statue of St. Boniface out front.  As an American, it's hard for sometimes to comprehend age of buildings.  I live in the Northeast and I see colonial houses all the time but they only date usually from the 1700s at most.  And that's it!  There's very very little of buildings from the 1600s to see in the US.  To see a building that's been standing there in that very spot and looking just like it looks now since the 1100s boggles my mind!

Can you imagine trying to retro-fit a thousand year old cathedral for electricity and heat and internet and stuff?  Not easy!!!  But I guess there is always a way!