Thursday, August 1, 2019

Editor's Corner


August 2019

“This morning, the sun endures past dawn.
I realise that it is August:
the summer's last stand.”

-Sara Baume, A Line Made by Walking

August has beckoned since April as some sort of goal to be reached, a promise of some sort. What do you suppose lies in store for all of us? Fall is shortly ahead on the horizon with the hope for an abatement of absolute heat such as July produced across the nation if not the world. Cool breezes, a dream to keep dreaming.

When the authors get their work in for publication in time to relax and enjoy seeing their thoughts, somehow the urgency to get all edited and published evaporates in the heat and what do you suppose happens? The deadline arrives and editing is still being done, slowly but surely and actually with a heavy heart. The loss of friends and relatives of friends has marked July so that perhaps the promise of August is surcease from news of those deceased.

Because of such losses, we are presenting the story authored by Ben Swett, US Air Force Colonel, retired, who passed away July 20. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 3 at Bethany Christian Church, with burial at a future date in Arlington National Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to Bethany Christian Church at 7128 Allentown Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744. For those who loved and knew him from his Spirit Web days and his insightful web page, may wish to tender their thoughts of him to comfort his family so here is the link to do so: Ben-Swett/#!/Obituary

Marilyn Carnell (Sifoddling Along) speaks about the importance of food and how its importance and availability helped sustain the Ozarks, and perhaps has been an influence in what it is yet today. LC Van Savage (Consider This) also had her mind on memories with "Antimacassars and Ottomans" while Judith Kroll (On Trek) focuses on the beauty of life and shows what she means. Melinda Cohenour (Armchair Genealogy) zeroes in on explaining how to get the most out of the reports on your DNA matches from Ancestry which can seem quite overwhelming.

Thomas F. O'Neill (Introspective) writes to us just before his return to China resuming his teaching career there. Mattie Lennon, with tongue firmly in cheek, peppers his recognition of drama personages and happenings with a little humor, and shares a recent photo of himself with John Cassidy. Rod Cohenour's column helps the harried cooks with a meal that is simple, filling, and bound to be a favorite - his own Sloppy Joes.

Bud Lemire has four poems this issue: "You Don't Want Your Picture Taken," "What Do You See?," "The Kitty," and "I Love Music." John I. Blair's trio of poems are "Sitting on The Steps," "SmallWonder," and "Speaking." Bruce Clifford shared "The Wind" and "The Loss." Phillip Hennessy's poems for August are: "We Pause," "I've Been Waiting," and "Speak to Me."

Once more we realize how important Michael Craner, our co-founder and webmaster is to our well being, our equilibrium, our dreams. Thanks again, Mike!

See you in September!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.


Armchair Genealogy


Dna: Back To Basics – Organization Is Key

      As in all genealogical research, organization and methodology is key to transforming Data into Information. This month your author will try to set out a few more tidbits of knowledge gleaned through study, research, and our first toddling steps toward bending DNA facts into Family Tree Knowledge – breaking down those Brick Walls, hopefully! Bear with me, DNA is a complex, scientific study – the very basis of all life and life forms, animal, vegetable or mineral in our galaxy! It is both simple (you match a sufficient number of cMs or centimorgans across “x” number of segments and VOILA! you are related) and complex (the higher number of cMs across a broader range of segments indicates a closer match), and here is where it gets more complex because that RELATIONSHIP can equate to a variety of possible kinships. We shall explore those possibilities this month.

      Periodically, I receive an email that advises I have New DNA Matches. These are always greeted with expectations of new discoveries. My sisters and I and our offspring are very lucky. Our mother, her sister and mother (my maternal grandmother), and my paternal grandmother all had above average interest in our family histories. They collected letters, Bibles containing lists of births and deaths, marriages and sometimes even divorces. They documented conversations in numerous notebooks. They wrote on backs of photographs or notated the space beneath them in photo albums. They visited libraries and other relatives and either hand-copied family information or used the closest copy machines to capture the knowledge. My Grandmother Joslin routinely visited cemeteries and made hand-rubbed copies of headstones, carefully fixing the chalk or graphite pencil to prevent blurring and shared with genealogy groups at home. We inherited photocopied family history books for several of our major lines: Joslin, Bullard, Hopper, and Godwin compiled by a variety of family researchers. And, let us not forget, the age-old oral history method whereby oft-told tales were handed down generation to generation. By these methods, we had a huge advantage over so many others in creating our Family Tree. These formed the basis for our initial efforts at transferring all these arcane items from the cachepot into the very first of our digitized Family Trees.

      Our initial transfer of all this data took the form of mere profile sheets with the barest of vital statistics: birth dates and places, marriage dates and places, children’s names along with dates and places of birth, (in far too many instances also the too early deaths of those children), and of course the dates of death and places of burial. We kept the initial input to direct family lines and the barest of information. We forced ourselves to refrain from getting too far afield reading the “extras” in those documents. We would mark the page and kept to our avowed process of merely marking the page for later review. (Of course, some of these pages were simply too interesting not to dally and read and discuss, you know.) After entering this skeleton of a tree, we then went back through the material to those pages we had marked that contained the real treasures – the STORIES that made these ancestors come to life and become known to us! These stories were then painstakingly entered to capture the history for later generations.

      Later, we discovered the infant Ancestry site. Your author subscribed initially some 30 or so years ago (?) when the available documents were rather scarce, actually. However, the demand for the vast amounts of knowledge to be had pushed Ancestry to send more into the archives of NARA, local libraries, church repositories, county clerk’s offices, and around the world to photocopy or scan documents with dates reaching back into the ages! Ancestry now has millions and millions of documents that can be perused from the comfort of one’s own home – documents that provide intimate details about our ancestors, granting us the opportunity to get to know them, the hardships they faced and overcame, and the tragedies that befell them.

      More recently, scientific research has advanced to the point that the very web of human creation has, largely, been dissected. Scientists first began to isolate strands of DNA and begin the excruciating and decades long study to identify which strands or segments contribute to what formation of the human creature. The work is ongoing, but such incredible advances have been made that DNA is a topic of discussion worldwide, in every form of communication – on air, in print, by word of mouth, by law enforcement and, of course, by those of us hungry to know our own origins. Numerous firms offer testing and a variety of analyses to convey the information thus gained. Ancestry’s DNA testing offers the advantage of tying your DNA tests to a family tree that has been documented and carefully researched to contain names and dates as nearly accurate as possible.

      Early on, after my very first DNA test (my own, in this case) results came back, I was eager to discover HOW these folks were related to me. I discovered the most practical application offered by Ancestry – the NOTE. When you see the name of a Match, click on the name. A screen pulls up that now reads You and “John Doe” at the top. Beneath that: Predicted Relationship: 4th to 6th cousin (or whatever as shown below), depending upon the next bit of information on the next line down which reads Shared DNA: (Example) 72 cMs across 4 segments. Beneath that is a Plus sign Add to group and finally, at the bottom of this heading appears an icon that looks like a page with a corner turned down and the words Add note. (See sample below)

You and henry saldana

Predicted relationship: 4th–6th Cousin
Shared DNA: 72 cM across 4 segments
(+) Add to group
(Note icon) Add note

      This icon for the note (unfortunately, Ancestry does not permit me to copy that icon) should be stored in your memory for this will provide valuable information from this point forward about this DNA Match. In a listing of your matches, those names with the Note icon can be examined by clicking on the icon to bring up a dialog box showing whatever you’ve entered. I always try to enter the Shared Ancestors info if it is available. Otherwise, I examine the tree data to see if I recognize names (which may not have shown up as a Shared Ancestor if either you or your match has entered differing dates for birth and death). For instance, one of my Notes is for a close cousin and reads as follows:

      Marsha Mouck Dearinger, daughter of Billy Mouck and Opal Horton Mouck. SHARED: William Henry Bullard, Great-Grandfather and wife Malinda Ellen Hopper, Great-Grandmother, parents of both our grandmother, Carrie Bullard and her sister Lilvia Acenith BULLARD, our Grand aunt. Many common surnames, of course.
This information appears when I click on the name shown on the revealed Match (there may be initials, a full name, a fanciful name, or a number depending upon how that person chose to have their DNA test show up in a public forum). In this instance, Ancestry clarifies their choice of proposed relationship as shown below:

When two people have a DNA match, it means they inherited DNA from one or more recent common ancestors. The length of DNA they have in common is estimated in centimorgans (cM). The higher the number, the closer the relationship.
DNA Relationship
You and (Test Name) share 255 cM. This table shows the percentage of the time people sharing 255 cM have the following relationships:
Percent & Relationship

69% Relationship
2nd cousin
1st cousin 2x removed
Half 1st cousin 1x removed
Half 2nd great-aunt/uncle
Half 2nd great-niece/nephew 17% Relationship
1st cousin 1x removed
Half 1st cousin
2nd great-grandparent
2nd great-grandchild
2nd great aunt/uncle
2nd great-niece/nephew
Half great-aunt/uncle
Half grand-niece/nephew
13% Relationship
2nd cousin 1x removed
Half 2nd cousin
1st cousin 3x removed
Half 1st cousin 2x removed
<1 br="" relationship=""> 3rd cousin
2nd cousin 2x removed
Half 2nd cousin 1x removed
Half 1st cousin 3x removed

Evaluating DNA Evidence
DNA evidence may support or contradict other forms of evidence and may point to different sources of evidence. Other possible relationships between people should also be considered.

      This section, advising the POSSIBLE relationship shared with your DNA match is the most confusing for most folks. The table above shows HOW OFTEN two people sharing the number of centiMorgans shown actually share the relationship POSSIBILITIES shown after the percentage. In other words, this person is most probably my 2nd cousin, 1st cousin 2x removed, my Half 1st cousin 1x removed, and so on. If I do not recognize the name (typical case since I have nearly 100,000 cousin matches now!!), my next step is to see if Ancestry has supplied Shared Surnames. Click on each Shared Surname and a new dialog box pops up. Look at the names for your match and for your own tree. Any look really close, with maybe dates varying? May be the same ancestor, entered with differing dates of birth and/or death. If I am unable to discern our possible relationship from this review, I move next to Shared Matches.

      Shared Matches shows where you and this particular DNA Match have ALSO matched to other test results. Many of mine now have those helpful NOTES attached. Ancestry displays the DNA Match lists differently on the phone versus on the computer. Either way, to read the entire text of the NOTE, you will need to click the Note icon. On the computer, Ancestry now lists the DNA Matches in a handy table format and to the far right appears the first two lines of text of any Note you have entered for that Match. I can go down the list, clicking on the Note icon where it shows up and try to find a common piece of information. For instance, on the first Match I examined today, I found it highly probable this person with NO PUBLIC TREE (or linked tree) matched to a lot of DNA test results proven to link back to George Hempleman Alexander, my 2nd Great Grandfather and his wife. Now I used the NOTE dialog box to enter that valuable clue. “Shared Matches indicate we are related through George Hempleman Alexander and wife…” From now on, when I see that name all I have to do to refresh my memory is click on the Note Icon to see what information I’ve stored. Unfortunately, since this person chose not to link to a tree shared with the public, I am unable to enter the name, parents, and back through his line to link to our shared ancestors. However, since Ancestry added that neat little sorting mechanism, the customized GROUP with a colored dot, I can add this cousin to my Hempleman Family Line Group with its Blue dot icon.

      Occasionally, the Match is managed by another who does have a tree that is public. Your author will try to find a tree for the Match, either a tree not linked but that appears when the profile of the Match is examined, or the Manager of the DNA test for that Match may have a tree. Take a peek at the tree. Try to find familiar surnames. Make notes if anything causes you to believe you may be on the trail of the relationship. Those notes can always be changed – just make sure the note you leave for yourself makes it clear nothing was set in stone.

      In some instances, Ancestry compares trees to provide suggested common ancestors. In one such instance today, one of my most recent Matches provided this:

Common Ancestors

According to Ancestry member trees, these are the common ancestors that connect you and fre_fas.
View a common ancestor to see the relationship path that connects you. fre_fas could be your 5th cousin 1x removed through:
James Rutledge or Matthew (?) Russell
4th great-grandfather
View Relationship
Ann (Annie) Bryant
4th great-grandmother
View Relationship
Clicking on the View Relationship link opens up a dual path revealing how my Match and I descend from what Ancestry believes to be our Common Ancestor. A very helpful clue, indeed.

      This sums up my hints for this issue concerning translating the DNA Match list for maximum assistance in confirming your ancestral line, and, possibly being able to break down a few brick walls. All this possible from the comfort of your own Armchair!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Cooking with Rod

Back to School –
Quick n Easy is the Word

      It’s almost Fall and the kids’ schedules will rule the household, running late to school, it’s football practice, cheerleading practice, soccer, on and on and on. That means it is time for quick and easy meals that taste good and please the palate.
This is one of my favorites –
my version of Sloppy Joes.

      Bon appetit~!

  • 2 lbs ground beef, lean
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced large
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 1 large onion, Spanish or Bermuda, diced small
  • ¼ cup raw oats (Oatmeal but not the microwave or quick type)
  • 1 Tbsp Chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 8 large hamburger buns, toasted
    1. Begin browning ground beef in skillet. Season with a bit of the black pepper and top with onion and bell peppers. Cover and permit to smother cook until veggies begin to soften. Add in raw oats to help absorb and hold moisture.
    2. Add chili powder, a bit more pepper, and garlic powder to the beef mixture. Stir well and continue cooking. Allow the meat to brown a bit to enhance flavor.
    3. Add barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well, heat thoroughly.
    4. Cover and permit flavors to blend well.

      Serve beef mixture over open face, toasted hamburger buns. You can offer toppings of cheese slices, sour cream, grated cheese, and the like, but we like them as open face meat on buns.

      Delicious served with baked beans and a tasty potato salad. Potato chips, radishes, corn chips are the traditional sides. Be sure to offer ice cold tea, lemonade, or soft drinks. The kids will love it!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


Irish Eyes


Chicken, An Anvil
and “The Old Bog Road”

Valleymount & Ballyknockan Forum presented "The Old Bog Road". An evening of music, musing, song and tales in the community hall, Valleymount on Friday 19th July. (See Valleymount Stage at bottom of page.) Local artists included Noel Nolan, Harry Farrington, Al and Zoe Stout, Noel Kennedy Pat and Eugene Flanagan and Niall Kelly.

Local singer/songwriter Barry Kinane opened the programme with a selection of his own songs.

* * * * * *

      Overheard in Ballinastockan during the Tour de France; “Would ye wonder at thim lads giving themselves such hardship. Ridin’ bikes up hills an’ down hills.”

      “Listen. The winner of that will be world famous and will become a multi-millionaire."

      “I know that. But what’s the rest of them doing it for.”

* * * * * *

      The Annual Sean McCarthy Memorial Weekend will be held from Thursday 01st to Monday 05th August. It starts on Thursday with an Art exhibition.

      On Friday, among other events, there is a concert with Ann Marie O Riordan.

      The wonderfully distinctive singing voice of Ann Marie has become so superbly recognisable not only at national level here in Ireland but increasingly on a much wider international scale. Her five albums- "Harmony Handed Down", "Melody in Harmony", "Ireland - Love of my Heart", "Song for the Journey" and ''The Joy's of my Heart'' have proven hugely popular and receive consistent airplay on radio worldwide. She has toured throughout Europe, America and Canada with her band. She felt honoured to perform Ireland's National Anthem "Ámhrán na bhFiann" in Croke Park for an All-Ireland football semi-final in August 2013. She is currently recording her sixth album including songs she penned herself as well as many old Irish favourites.

Details on:
Thatched House in Finuge

* * * * * *

      Overheard at funeral in Tallaght;
“What killed him?”
“He sneezed.”
“You don’t die from sneezing.”
“You do if you’re hiding in a wardrobe and a husband comes home early.”

* * * * * *

      A young Ballinastockan man went into Blessington and in a well- known hardware store he bought a bucket and an anvil. He stopped at the feed store/ livestock dealer and picked up a couple of chickens and a goose. However, he had a problem. How to carry his entire purchase home.
      The feed store owner said, "Why don't you put the anvil in the bucket, carry the bucket in one hand, put a chicken under each arm and carry the goose in your other hand?" " I didn’t f*in’ think of that " says yer man, and out the door he went.
      As he was heading out the Lacken road, he was approached by a little old lady who told him she was lost and asked if he could tell her the way to Ballinastockan.
      “I’m walkin’ to Ballinastockan” says yer man, "ye can come wit’ me an’ we’ll be there in no time".
      The little old lady looked him over cautiously, and then said, "I am a lonely widow without a husband to defend me. How do I know that when we get on the lonely part of the road you won't hold me up against the wall, pull up my skirt, and ravish me?"
      “Now” says yer man “I'm carrying a bucket, an anvil, two chickens, and a goose. How the hoorin H'll could I possibly hold you up against a wall and do that?"
      The lady said, "Set the goose down, cover him with the bucket, put the anvil on top of the bucket, and I'll hold the chickens."

* * * * * *

      Thursday 15th August will be the last working day for John Cassidy from Clogher, County Donegal. An Operational Support Supervisor with Dublin Bus, he will hang up his headphones and leave Central Control after almost four decades. One of the most colourful and versatile employees in the history of CIE he was described by one of his former Divisional Managers, as, “ A most dedicated supervisor. He could grasp the finer points of any situation, was tenacious, logical and innovative and always applied rules and regulations with common sense.”

            John Busy in Central Control
      One of John’s many talents is writing. Patrick Kavanagh said that the Ascot Gold Cup was the only sporting event mentioned in Ulysses so Joyce mustn’t have considered sport very important. But he also said that no one could write a comprehensive account of Irish life that ignored the Gaelic Athletic Association. John Cassidy reckoned that nobody could write a history of CIE and ignore Gaelic games so he brought out a book, “Buses, Trains and Gaelic Games” which records the contribution that transport workers made to the GAA. Where did John’s interest in Gaelic games start? There wasn’t a great tradition of hurling around Clogher, Barnasmore or Clar and even his neighbour Packie Bonner couldn’t interest him in soccer.

      In his memoir “From McGettigan’s Field to Gaelic Park” John wrote , “Like most young people growing up in Donegal in the early nineteen sixties, I dreamt of one day playing for my county in an All-Ireland Football Final. We would listen to the late, great, Michael O ‘Heir as he gave a blow by blow account of games one hundred and fifty miles away. Once the match was over we would assemble in McGettigan’s field and replay the game. Two older boys would select the opposing teams: every one present was included which meant we often played twenty a side. As our pitch consisted of the entire field this was no problem. With the goalposts (four jackets) in place the game would begin. It would end for one of the following reasons: Hunger, darkness or a pitch invasion by McGettigan’s cattle.” And John did play in Croke Park not in an All-Ireland final but in the 125th Anniversary games on 8th October 2011. He was aged 58 at the time.

      There were four charity matches played on that historic day on behalf of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Special Olympics Ireland. And who do you think procured the hallowed ground? Transport Gaels PRO, John Cassidy.
John Cassidy with Mattie Lennon

      He produced a DVD, “ Transport Gaels G.F.C. 125” to record the achievements of various transport teams involved in the GAA since 1886.

      A founder member of CIE Writers’ Group he was contributed to the two collections of transport workers writings, “There’s Love and There’s Sex and There’s the 46A” and “It Happens Between Stops.” In the mid-90s, with colleagues John Brady and Kevin Fitzpatrick, they set up a recycling programme which raised funds to purchase two computers for The National Council for the Blind of Ireland. Later with Kevin Fitzpatrick they rescued from the jaws of obscurity every in-house publication of CIE from 1945 until 2000. This project resulted in a DVD “Down the Decades with Link and Nuacht.”

      Happy retirement, John.
See you in September.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


Sifoddling Along


Food To Grow On – The Role Food Played
in Survival in The Ozarks

Recently I realized that my parents grew up on farms that were much like the customs of the 1700’s when their ancestors came to the colonies. It took me a while to understand that I was reared in a way that was not all that different – at least in the way we ate.

My maternal grandparents, Lee and Mary Bunch were almost totally out of the money economy – they grew or foraged to meet most of their family needs. Three generations lived together on the farm. My great-grandmother Nancy Miller Bunch and grandpa’s bachelor brother Sam also lived with their burgeoning family. My mother was the youngest of seven children so there were a lot of mouths to feed. They had an 80-acre farm on Big Sugar Creek in McDonald County Missouri. The nearest store was about 3 miles up stream at the well-named Cyclone Post Office.

My grandmother would catch a ride with the mail hack and go to Cyclone to trade eggs, butter and milk for items like coffee, sugar and a few spices. The farm produced chickens, eggs, hogs, cattle (beef and milk cows), sheep, a huge garden, a tobacco patch, (Granny Bunch liked a chew occasionally; Grandpa had a pipe.) fruit trees, greens, berries, nuts and sassafras from the forest.

Their perishable food was kept in a spring house or dangled close to the water in the well. Knowing the winter would be long, major efforts were made to preserve food to keep them healthy. Wheat and corn were taken by a horse-drawn wagon to a distant grist mill. They canned fruits and vegetable, sausage sealed in by lard, smoked hams and bacon, dried fruit on the roof of the house, cracked black walnuts, hazel nuts and pecans for candy and pies.

So how was my early life different?

Not as much as I originally thought. My daddy had a good job as the Superintendent of Schools, but even a good job didn’t pay much. He hunted and fished for a lot of our food. Mom was the farmer of the family and loved it. We also were largely out of the money economy, but did buy a few more items at the grocery store. More items were available due to improved transportation and refrigerated rail cars – coffee, sugar, flour, spices, dried pinto beans, lunch meat, cheese (American and rat-trap), chili that was chilled in a form that made about a 1# brick, occasionally bananas and oranges. We got a mechanical orange squeezer when I was about 6 years old. It thrilled the whole family. Strawberries, cantaloupes, watermelon, apples and peaches were bought in season. Soda pop was a rare treat.

My mom had a big garden and kept chickens for meat and eggs, a cow for milk and butter. She canned and later froze food for year around consumption – We all looked forward to the first hints of green in her garden – leaf lettuce, green onions, radishes (the basis of delicious wilted lettuce in a sauce of vinegar, bacon grease and sugar), tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, cabbage, corn, onions, turnips – even popcorn and peanuts. In addition to the garden, she raised steers (one to sell and one to butcher) and hogs (she smoked hams and bacon in a little smokehouse in the garage.)

Our diets were rounded out by pies baked every week and biscuits, cornbread and other baked goods.

I saved the best for last. Almost every summer weekend, we gathered the whole family for a feast at my grandparents. Mom’s two sisters would prepare the meal; usually fried fish, fried chicken or a beef roast with all the fixin’s. Before the meal, a 6 quart freezer of ice cream was prepared and churned. Daddy’s favorite was banana, but when others got weary of that, a second freezer was prepared with other flavors – vanilla, red hot cinnamon, sour cream peach or nectarines. Those family gatherings are long in the past with the members scattered around the United States, but they remain some of my best memories.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.