I’m trying to think fluffy. It isn’t working. Last night, we had a storm. High winds. Rain. How fluffy can things be when the rain is coming down so hard it sounds like little rocks?

We got the promised torrential rains and wind — with a 4-hour power outage too. It was the dead of night — around three, I think when it hit — and it was repaired by morning. For the first time ever, my cell phone was dead. I usually turn it off when I’m not using it, but I must have forgotten. The WiFi was down of course and the only phone number I have for the electric company is on my cell.

So — brilliant move, if I do say so myself — I plugged the phone into the laptop to got enough charge to call the electric company. I figured it was late. Although the whole street was blacked out, I might be the only person awake to notice it. If I waited until morning, there wouldn’t be (gasp) COFFEE when we got up!

I was right. No one had called, but there were several lines down and the power was back this morning. Now, the sun is out and the trees are bare. The 70 mph wind last night finished them off in a hurry.

In the course of last night’s meanderings around the computer, I was checking out a DNA research area called “GEDmatch.” It’s not an ancestry testing company. It’s more a researching humans on earth thing. It is free. So if you already have your DNA from some other organization — doesn’t matter which group — you can dump it into GEDmatch and get information about yourself and to whom you might be related.

The main problem is that this is pretty heavy scientific stuff and I’ve been staring at it for more than a week without it making any sense at all. Then, last night, I ran one more test. It showed up as a list and a pie chart. Bing! It made sense. I realized exactly what the pie chart was showing and how to get additional information on what each pie slice comprises. I love it when the light bulb goes on for the first time.

There are email addresses for people to whom you might be related, so I picked the one from the top who would be my closest relative in that heap of Ashkenazi Jewish people … and wrote a note explaining that I feel like a moron, but I’m too curious to not at least ask a few questions. He got back to me this morning. He’s trying to figure it out too.

I think he is my second cousin — or more to the point — the grandchild of my grandmother’s sister or brother. I think sister, but I’m guessing.

There are three or four more on my father’s side, too. A huge chunk of what might have been family was wiped out during the Holocaust. No surprise there. That may explain why the family never ever talked about the rest of the family that we didn’t know. It was not exactly forbidden, but it was definitely not encouraged. Without getting complicated, I think my mother found it too depressing to discuss. With anyone. Ever.

If you have had your DNA run by any company — doesn’t matter which one — you might want to check out GEDmatch. Prepare for a lot of “HUH??? Does this mean anything?” Total confusion — speaking of fluff — seems to be the initial reaction. There are some parts of it that are so completely obscure, I doubt I will ever make any sense of them. But I’m beginning to see bits and pieces of  information popping through the mishmash.

You can hook up with them on  

You have to register, but it’s free. They do encourage donations because research costs money and research funding is hard to come by. If you have a packet of DNA from any company, you can add it to GEDmatch. After a while, you might get information you find useful. I’m getting there. It’s a giant puzzle, but it’s probably good for what remains of my brain.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


      1. I’m curious myself. My grandmother was later 100% rumours abound about who were related to. The asshole father was native American. One day on the ferry, a man versed in linguistics heard my son speak and said he had a Bostonian accen i was unawarw of the in laws bostonian heritage but found out kater mother in law was a quaker from boston and theyd moved to canada. Lots of interesting ppl to consider.


          1. lol. Go Marilyn! Whatever cranks your boat and makes you float! Your delightful all round. You have thousands of stories locked in your head you probably haven’t shared yet. I for one can’t wait.


  1. Wow, we had a horrible storm here last night too! Three trees in my backyard came down.. still without power. Glad you made it through okay!


      1. We don’t have a generator, so without power, we have no water. Heat isn’t a problem right now, but winter is on its way and we worry. So far, so good, but almost half a million people’s power went out in Massachusetts last night …. not a good sign.


        1. We’re okay. We HAVE power — I just worry for what can happen is we don’t. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve had very few outages … but we live amidst trees. It wouldn’t take much …


    1. Well, this is more like research than curiosity. I think I’m doing it just to prove I can figure it out. It’s complicated and I don’t have a background in biology. But i kind of enjoy challenging my brain to learn something new.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Start writing down all you know. I think is pretty good. I was able to trace Peter’s family back to Paris about 1600. My family goes back to 1700 and probably further if I could go back to Wiltshire, England and do some digging.


        1. We aren’t part of Ancestry. I didn’t get the DNA done there. But this site is a research site and although it’s free (donations strongly suggested), there’s a huge amount of information on it … but it needs to be deciphered. Honestly, I’m less interested in family connections than in how humans journeyed from where we started (Africa) to wherever we ended. It’s the ancient journeys that fascinate me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck with your research! 🙂

    Science now tells us Australian Aborigines have lived on this continent for at least 60,000 years which probably makes them the oldest ‘civilisation’ on the planet who still live the way their early ancestors did, although western influences have encroached on all but the most remote communities these days.

    Given that there were still traces of Neanderthal man as recently as 10,000 years ago ( but not here in Aus i think?) i imagine aboriginal DNA could tell some very interesting stories of mankind’s journey’s Out of Africa. 🙂


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