Author: Guest Author

DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

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It turns out DNA is the best storage medium there is on Earth. Nothing beats it. Think about it, all the directions that make you up are stored on tiny proteins that are hard to see even with a microscope. The human genome (all of those directions controlling your eye color, hair color, height, skin) contains between 25,000 and 30,000 genes. That’s a ton of information compressed down into these microscopic structures.

 

Let’s put into perspective just how much data DNA can hold?

Consider this fact: one gram of DNA can hold the same amount of information as 14,000 Blu-ray discs! (One gram is about how much a paperclip weighs!)

What’s even more incredible is how long information in DNA can be saved. In 2008, Scientists discovered a human femur bone washed up alongside a river in Siberia. Six years later, that bone was finally analyzed to learn how old it actually was. Turns out it came from a man who lived and died over 45,000 years earlier. The actual DNA, still preserved in that fossil, confirmed his age.

So DNA is a material that can hold mind boggling amounts of data for ridiculously long periods of time.

Now think about your own DNA with the thousands of genes it contains, all of which combined make up who you are.

But DNA is not just useful as you develop, it can actually be decoded to learn about who you are. There are genetic tests for genealogy and ancestry and others that can help you uncover your body’s natural strengths when it comes to fitness.

Science is still decoding the complex workings of how all those proteins interact with each other, so it’s fair to say there’s much more to your code than anyone yet realizes.

However, DNA is also reactive to the environment around it and can degrade over time.  All these minor environmental chinks in your genetic armor could, over time, affect your health. This is why it is important to secure and store your DNA, just like the data you would keep safe on a hard drive.

Getting a sample of your DNA stored as early possible means it will be in its purest form and may be more useful for medical advances in the years to come.

By understanding that DNA is nature’s best possible hard drive, scientists are now working hard to transform it into the hard drive for our future.

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To learn more, visit http://www.dnaspectrum.com.

Source: DNA Is the Best Hard Drive on Earth


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A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

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Cemetery research absolutely is one of the most valuable tools for genealogy research.
Although I’m pretty much housebound and don’t get out much now, there was a time when I did venture out and do research in places such as cemeteries. As a matter of fact, I previously wrote about one experience at an old Catholic cemetery in Nova Scotia where I and my family spent the better portion of a day checking out the burial sites of our ancestors – and there were bunches of ’em.

By Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW

Grave Tombstone of Marguerite Melanson.
Cemetery research led to the discovery of Marguerite Melanson’s burial site.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling. Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were. Is their tombstone humble or grand? Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition? What dates are inscribed? The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

An ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names, but most often:

  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • the names of family members including parents, spouses, and children
  • religion
  • military service
  • fraternal order membership

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know. For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.


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A primer on cemetery research to find ancestors.

A primer on cemetery research to find ancestors.

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I’ve always loved gravestone and cemetery research to find ancestors.

Although I do most of my genealogical research via the internet, and in a very small amount via snail mail, there is something visceral about visiting the actual graves of our ancestors and recording the information about them (and their families if in family plots).

In previous posts, I related the story of my family’s genealogical driving tour of Nova Scotia a few years ago. The first was about our exploring a community cemetery and the other was regarding our experience taking the Fort Anne graveyard tour.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling.

Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were.

Is their tombstone humble or grand?

Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition?

What dates are inscribed?

The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

 

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

 

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 22 Aug 2015.

 

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

  • an ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names;
  • date of birth;
  • date of death;
  • names of family members including parents, spouses, and children;
  • religion;
  • military service; and
  • fraternal order membership.

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know.

For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.

 

How to find out where someone is buried?

 

There are many ways to find where your ancestors are buried.

The first is to look at any records associated with their death, including certificate of death, obituaries, church notices, and other funerary documents. Consulting similar information for spouses, siblings, children, and parents can also sometimes lead you to the right information.

If you know your ancestor’s religious affiliation, it’s possible to find out if there’s a church or community cemetery. Consult local records and histories.

Finally, there are a number of cemetery guides online that can help you locate an ancestor’s gravesite.

You might also want to try billiongraves.com and findagrave.com. They can be very helpful in locating family members and their information.

 

Making the most of a cemetery visit.

 

Whether you’re already near a cemetery where an ancestor is buried or you’re making a special trip, there are several things you’ll want to do to make the most of your visit.

The first is to bring a copy of any information you have about the ancestors, such as names and dates of birth. If you have a map or details of the cemetery, bring those as well, as large burial grounds can be difficult to navigate.

To document as much information as possible, bring paper and writing implements or electronic devices to record information and make any notes.

Consider bringing a digital camera with you to document the cemetery, individual headstones, and the relationship between specific stones that may be useful later.

Avoid taking grave rubbings, if possible. It’s a source of conflict but most people today feel that the risk of damage to the stone is too high. A high resolution camera now yields a wonderful degree of detail.

A final note on the logistics of cemetery visits: dress appropriately for being outdoors, and think ahead to things like bug spray and sunscreen. Wear a hat, and bring plenty of water as your visit may be a lengthy one.

If the cemetery you’re visiting is on private property, get permission first.

If the cemetery in question has a caretaker and you’re able to find them, spend a moment saying hello and explaining your mission. They may have valuable information.

Finally, if you’re headed into a cemetery that’s overgrown, isolated, or in an unknown area, consider bringing a companion for both company and safety.

A professional genealogist can help you with all types of genealogical issues, from completing all your research to answering specific questions about cemetery research.

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Jillynn Stevens is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more.


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The Feast of St. Patrick

The Feast of St. Patrick

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The Feast of St. Patrick, or St. Patrick’s Day, as it is popularly known, is a day set aside in ‘celebration’ of his death, every year on 17th of March across with globe.

 

Copyright Stuart Monk | Dreamstime.com

Image: Copyright: Stuart Monk | Dreamstime.com

The day is a public holiday in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and some other overseas British territories. This date marks a traditional day for spiritual renewal and for offering prayers worldwide.

For an artist and traveler, this festival definitely rings a bell deep down with the celebrations being so full of rich Irish culture with parades, dancing, a whole lot of green and of course the best part of it all – the special food.

It is a custom to wear green clothes and accessories as green is deeply associated with Ireland, as illustrated in the Irish national flag or the name “Emerald Isle” by which the country is known.

Copyright Porbital | Dreamstime.com

Image: Copyright Porbital | Dreamstime.com

If you are traveling to Ireland or the neighboring regions of Europe around this festive season, there is a lot to see and taste.

Facts about St. Patrick.

(taken from Wikipedia.org)

Statue of St. Patrick in Aughagower, County Mayo
Statue of St. Patrick in Aughagower, County Mayo

“The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland.”

“According to the Confessio of Patrick, when he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.”

In one of many legends about St. Patrick, it is said that “during his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent’s home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.”

“St. Patrick’s position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.”

“Irish academic T. F. O’Rahilly has proposed the “Two Patricks” theory which suggests that many of the traditions later attached to Saint Patrick actually concerned Palladius, who Prosper of Aquitaine‘s Chronicle says was sent by Pope Celestine I as the first bishop to Irish Christians in 431.”

Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on 17 March, which is said to be the date of his death.”

Modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Parades.

The most important ingredient for the celebrations of the day, The grand parade in Dublin makes the festival come alive, with parades all over other cities which you also should not miss. Expect to see a lot of green traditional clothing in the parades that give the event a signature look.

For all photographers out there, green is the color to watch out for. The use of the color green in the festive spirit can make the location of your images very obvious and add that special character and feel to your images.

The parades are composed of marching bands, on-road theatres and several dance programs are arranged as the main flavour of the day. Be a part of the moving carnivals and feel the joy and happiness in the festive air!

Dying river or beer green.

If you have not seen this, you will not believe it.

Yet another very important aspect of this auspicious day, the Chicago river is dyed and transformed to a bright green colour from its usual murky green colour as a mark of respect for St Patrick, Apostle of Ireland.

Do not lose this opportunity to be a part of the celebrating crowd and watch the river turn green!

Drinks.

Green beer?

Green cocktails?

Irish mixed drinks?

There is a lot waiting for you, enabling you to immerse yourself in the celebrations. On this day nearly every Irish pub and restaurant is brimming whiskey and beer. ’Green beer’ is the drink of the day.

A special custom, “drowning the shamrock”, is frequently seen, in which the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of that evening.

A toast for St Patrick’s Day is, “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out”.

Happiness is really in the air, is it not?

Copyright Jennifer Barrow | Dreamstime.com

Image: Copyright Jennifer Barrow | Dreamstime.com

Food.

If you are one of those tireless travelers and adventurers looking for something new to feel and experience, mouth-watering food probably forms the major part of your fantasies. Needless to say, no festival can be complete without traditional cuisines, so like every other festival St Patrick’s Day also puts a special set of dishes on the menu.

Traditional Irish cuisines are the highlights of this festival, with the main ingredients of these dishes being beef, lamb and potatoes.  Traditional Irish dishes also include Irish stew, cabbage, etc. So, take advantage of this perfect opportunity to delight your taste buds this festive season!

Pea planting.

In some areas of the northeast, pea-planting is also a part of the celebrations. This is mainly because the time of the festival coincides with the pea planting season.

And if you just remembered peas are green too, you got it right.

Everything is greener on St Patrick’s Day!

Featured images:

  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

This article was brought to you by professional photographer, graphic designer, and freelance writer Pratik Panda. You can learn more Pratik by visiting his personal website or stock photography portfolio on Dreamstime.com.


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The benefits of storing your DNA for future use.

The benefits of storing your DNA for future use.

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Assisting with legal issues, future comparison for accuracy, investigation of family histories, and verification of paternity and maternity are only a few of the benefits of storing your DNA for future use.
storing your DNA for future use.
The benefits of storing your DNA for future use.

As of June 2013, it has been legal for law enforcement officers to obtain DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted of a serious crime. The purpose of this collection process is to enable the police to easily scan DNA evidence that has been collected from other crime scenes with the intention of helping them solve more cases. Although this was a controversial Supreme Court decision, it has also opened the door for individuals to consider protecting their rights by storing their own DNA samples. After all, evidence is not always as tamper-proof as it should be, and it could be extremely beneficial to have a professionally collected and stored sample for comparison’s sake.

What are the perks of storing DNA samples?

There are many reasons that an individual could decide to store their DNA. For example, it can provide an easily testable record of their family line for future genealogy enthusiasts, and it can also speed up the process of determining paternity. From a legal standpoint, being able to conclusively verify whether or not someone is the parent of a child can be imperative in certain cases. It is also important to consider the implications of DNA on criminal cases. The Justice Project has helped people become exonerated years after a conviction by comparing DNA samples, and now everyone has the opportunity to make sure that a reliable sample of their DNA will be available if they find themselves accused of a crime they did not commit.

How will stored DNA impact a legal case?

It is necessary for a DNA sample to be properly processed and stored in order for it to provide reliable results during a legal case. Any tampering or improper storage of DNA could cause the results to be skewed. Additionally, it is important to note that prosecutors do not always use DNA as evidence. In these cases, having properly stored DNA could very easily help lead to an acquittal, especially if any DNA that was found on the scene does not match the samples that are provided by the accused. Even if someone does get convicted, their stored sample could end up getting them exonerated in the future if new DNA evidence is found.

What happens if the DNA samples do not match?

If a prosecutor claims that an individual’s DNA links them to a crime but their sample does not match the one that the accused has in storage, it will typically become necessary for law enforcement officers to obtain a second sample. Going through this process can help erase any doubts about improper storage and processing, and it can make the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense for everyone to protect themselves by storing a sample of their DNA with a professional collection company.

Article Source

photo credit: Spanish Flea via photopin cc


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