Happy Whatever Kind of Holidays You Celebrate

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this holiday season, I wish you light, much joy and cheer.

Perhaps your heart is singing because you’re with family you haven’t seen in three years now.

Or, maybe you’re making new memories, with new friends, someplace different.

Or perhaps you flew the coop and you’re not “staying home” at all.

Maybe you’re not visiting someone else either.

Perhaps you’re gathering someplace new, making memories you never imagined possible, penning a brand-spanking-new chapter.

Far, far from home.

Maybe the old surroundings were just too painful.

Because a loved one slipped away. Remember them as their most beautiful selves – inside and out.

Take them with you in your soul. They are part of you and your new journey, guiding and protecting you along the way.

Life has changed a lot in the past few years, months and even weeks. There is more than one kind of death.

Maybe your life is in complete disarray, down to bare bones and seriously “under construction.” Nothing in its place or where it belongs, wherever that might be.

Maybe you feel like this chapter will never end.

I’m so with you on this one, but sooner-or-later, it will. Perhaps one day, you will even laugh at this adventure, “the good old days,” once it’s a distant memory of course.

Maybe you feel like you just can’t face tomorrow, or don’t want to. I’ve had those “I just want to stay in bed” days recently.

Too many of them.

But then, I glance up and I’m reminded of the simple beauty there just for the viewing. An envoy sent by Mother Nature.

Hi baby!

I’m holding you in the light and wishing you warm and sunny days. Basking in beauty

The fog and grey does lift and gives way to the glorious sunshine.

Sometimes sunshine is delivered in the form of a flower.

Or a few.

Or “furever” puppy love when you’ve rescued someone in desperate, life-threatening need.

Morning comes, even from the longest and darkest of nights. Just ask Savoy. He may be blind and can only use three legs now, but he feels love deeply and says that love and friendship arrives when you’ve given up and least expect it – in surprise packages.

Like, you, for instance.

Lighting the way for another illuminates the path for you too.

Sometimes small things are the biggest and mean so much – arriving just when you need them.

Sometimes the past just has to stay there. Cut those binding anchor ropes and float free.

Perhaps you need to light up your life with something new. Someplace new.

Dive right in and keep moving forward.

I know it sounds like a bird-brained idea, but let your imagination take flight.

May you embark on a grand new adventure.

And perhaps gain a new and different perspective along the way.

Sometimes, releasing, giving away, downsizing and beginning anew is actually gaining, not reducing.

Perspectives change. Maybe your “things” are seeds for another.

May your waters be calm, and your smiles reflect glorious happiness.

May new memories weave their way into the fiber of the old as you paddle your way through life’s currents.

May you decorate your life in unconventional ways.

Even if the familiar is completely gone. Sometimes we just have to seize the moment and redecorate our own lives.

Take a deep breath. Refresh and renew.

If old traditions are painful, leave them behind and make a new one.

Even if you need to be incognito.

Don’t displace your sense of humor😊

Wherever life has taken you, and wherever you find yourself, I wish you safe journey, safe harbour and smiles as you savor the path along the way.

Even if the trip has has been long and you’ve had to wait awhile.

Don’t worry though, because I’m sure Santa can always find you.

May your ancestors visit or at least send a message, share their wisdom and sustain you this holiday season.

And maybe, if you’ve been very, VERY good, they’ll even tell you who their parents were!


Oh wait, wait – sorry – I think maybe Santa drifted off and fell asleep again.

Their names are John Smith and Mary, last name unknown, but probably Jones, at least I think that’s what it says. There you go!


Your ancestors, John and Mary, followed their path, from who-knows-where to some county where all the records burned.

For all we don’t know about them, we know that eventually, they begat the people who begat the people who begat you. All those tiny, seemingly unimportant choices made a HUGE difference.

You descend from a long line of dreamers and adventurers, on that journey of life through the land called Unknown.

May your life be blessed so that you, in turn, can make a difference. Opportunities exist at nearly every turn.

Light a candle. Change the darkness.

Fulfillment isn’t about what we get, but what we have the privilege to contribute, the differences we make in the lives of others.

When you have taken that final step on your winding and uncertain path and are ready to walk on, may you look back upon your footprints and reflect upon a very long and cluttered trail, strewn with all of differences that you made.

Happy Holidays

Concepts: Your Matches on the Same Segment are NOT Necessarily Related to Each Other

Just because two (or more) people match you on the same segment does NOT mean they are related to each other.

This is a fundamental concept of DNA matching and of using a chromosome browser.

I want to make this concept crystal clear.

This past week, I’ve had two people contact me with the same question that’s based up on a critical misunderstanding, or maybe just lack of understanding.

It’s not intuitive – in fact, it’s counter-intuitive. I understand why they don’t understand.

It seems logical that if two or more people show up as a match to you on the chromosome browser, on the same segment, you’ve hit a home run and all you need to do is to identify their common ancestor who will also be your common ancestor, or at least related. Right?


Let’s walk through this, step-by-step. Once you “get it,” you’ll never forget it, and you can use this to help other people understand too. Please notice there are lots of links here to other articles I’ve written if you need refreshers or help with terms.

Yay! – I’ve Got Matches

OK, so you’ve just discovered that you have a close match with three people, on the same segment. You’re thrilled! Maybe you’re trying to identify your grandparent, so first or second cousin matches are VERY exciting for you.

They are also close enough matches with large enough segments that you don’t need to worry about false positive matches, meaning identical by chance.

Let’s take a look. I’m using FamilyTreeDNA because that’s where the majority of my family has tested, plus they have a nice chromosome browser and their unique matrix tool.

We have three nice-sized matches to people estimated to be my first or second cousins. I’ve selected all three and compared them in the chromosome browser. The large red match is 87 cM and the blue and teal matches are 39 cM each, and completely within the 87 cM segment, so completely overlapping.

I’ve hit the mother-lode, right?

All I need to do is identify THEIR common ancestor and I’ll surely find mine.



Just because they all three match ME on this same segment does NOT mean they all match each other and are from the same side of my family. All three people DO NOT NECESSARILY have the same ancestor. From this information alone, we cannot tell.

I know this seems counterintuitive, especially since you’re seeing them all on MY chromosomes – which are the background pallet.

However, remember that I have two chromosomes. One from my father and one from my mother.


So, I’m going to see matches in exactly the same location – matches on my mother’s chromosome and matches on my father’s chromosomes – painted on the same segment locations of my chromosome.

Let’s prove that in the simplest of ways.

Mom and Dad

This is my kit, compared with my Dad and Mom.

I only took a screen shot of my first several chromosomes, but you can see that I match both of my parents on the full length of each chromosome – on the same exact segments.

I am the background – the pallet upon which my matches are painted.

First, my father is painted, then my mother – their match to me displayed on my chromosomes.

I assure you, my father and mother are NOT related to each other. I’ll prove it.

I could simply select one parent, then look for the other parent on the shared matches list.

Or, I could use the Matrix tool, especially if I wanted to see if a group of people are related to me and also to each other.

The Matrix

The Matrix tool is available under “See More,” in the Autosomal DNA Results & Tools section.

The Matrix allows you to select 10 or fewer matches to see if they are matches to each other. We already know they are matches to you.

I added my parents into the matrix.

My parents do not match each other, meaning they are not genetically related, because their intersecting cell is not blue.

Next, let’s select those three other people I match and see if they match each other.

Yes indeed, we can see that Cheryl and Donald match each other, but Amos matches NEITHER Cheryl nor Don. Yet, the segments of Cheryl and Donald, who had the 39 cM blue and teal segments on the chromosome browser fall entirely within Amos’s 87 cM segment.

Therefore, if Cheryl and Donald do not match Amos, that means that Cheryl and Donald are from one side of my family, and Amos is from the other. This is absolutely true in this instance because we are comparing the exact same segment on my DNA, so everyone has to match me maternally or paternally, or by chance (IBC.) The segment size alone removes the possibility of IBC.

Each parent gave me one copy of chromosome 4, so everyone who matches me on chromosome 4 must match one or the other parent on that chromosome segment.

I’ve added my parents back into the comparison, at the bottom, with the three matches on chromosome 4. Now you can see that same segment again, and everyone matches me, parents included, of course.

There’s no way to tell the difference whether the blue, red and teal match is on my mother’s or father’s side without additional information.

Again, let’s prove it.

Everybody, Let’s Dance

I added my Mom and Dad back into the matrix.

You can see that Mom and Cheryl and Donald all match each other, plus me of course, by inference because these are my matches.

You can see that Amos and my Dad match each other, and me of course, but not the other people.


So, we’ve settled that, right.

In my case, I could provide this great example, because I do in fact have parental tests to use for comparison.

You can see when I remove my Dad and Amos that Cheryl and Donald and my Mom all match each other. If I were to remove my Mom, Cheryl and Donald would match each other.

If I remove Mom, Donald and Cheryl, Dad and Amos match each other.

Of course, you may not have either of your parents’ DNA to use as an anchor for matching. You may, in fact, be searching for a parent or close relative.

If you do have “anchor people,” by all means, use them. In fact, upload or create a tree, link your anchor people and as many others as possible to their profiles in your tree at FamilyTreeDNA so your matches will be automatically bucketed, meaning assigned maternally or paternally. FamilyTreeDNA is the only company that offers linking and triangulated bucketing.

But, if you’re searching for your parents or know nothing about your family, you won’t have an anchor point, so what’s next?

What’s Next?

Using a combination of matching, shared matches and the matrix, you can create your own grouping of matches.

My suggestion is to start with your 10 closest matches.

Pull all 10 into the matrix.

Remember, you will match these people across your chromosomes. The only question the matrix answers is “do my matches match each other,” and a “yes” doesn’t’ necessarily mean they match each other on the same line you match either or both of them on.

I’ve noted how each person is related to me.

You can see that there’s a large block of matches on my paternal side. Some are labeled “Father- both.” These people are related both maternally and paternally to my father, because either the families intermarried, or they are descendants of my paternal grandparents.

Three, Donald, Dennis and Cheryl are related on my mother’s side, but it’s worth noting that Dennis doesn’t match Cheryl or Donald. That doesn’t mean he’s not on my mother’s side, it simply means he descends through her maternal line, not the paternal line like Donald and Cheryl. Remember, we’re not comparing people who match on the same chromosome this time – we’re comparing my closest matches across all chromosomes, so it makes sense that my mother’s maternal matches won’t match her paternal matches, but they would both match Mom if she were in the matrix. Clearly they all match me or they would not be in my match list in the first place.

You could also run a Genetic Affairs AutoCluster or AutoTree to cluster your matches for you into groups, although you can’t select specifically which individuals to include, except by upper and lower thresholds.

Regardless of the method you select, you still need to do the homework to figure out the common ancestors, but it’s a lot easier knowing who also match each other.

Circling Back to the Beginning

Now, when you see those two or three or more people all matching you on the same segment on the chromosome browser, you KNOW that you can’t immediately assume they match you and therefore are all related to each other. It’s possible, and even probable that some of them will match you because they match your mother’s chromosome and some will match your father’s chromosome – so they are from different sides of your family.

The Matrix tool shows you, for groups of 10 or less, who also matches each other.

What you are doing by determining if multiple people share common segments and match each other is triangulation. I wrote about triangulation at each company in the articles below:

Unfortunately, Ancestry does not provide a chromosome browser, so triangulation is not possible, but Ancestry does provide shared matching with some caveats. However, some Ancestry customers do upload their DNA file to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage or GEDmatch. You can find step-by-step download/upload instructions for all vendors, here.

Additional Resources

You’ve probably noticed there are lots of links in this article to other articles that I’ve written. You might want to go back and take a look at those if you’re in the process of educating yourself or need help wrapping your head around the “same segment address – two parents – your matches are not created equal” phenomenon.

Here are a couple of additional articles that will help you understand matching on both parents’ sides, and how to get the most out of matching, segments, triangulation and chromosome browsers.

I prepared a triangulation resource summary article, here:


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“Nature scientific reports” 2022 Editor’s Choice Collection – We Made It!!!!

You’ll excuse me while I jump for joy and do a happy dance. You might say I’m over the moon, pardon the pun. There’s nothing to lift your spirits quite like a pleasant surprise!I

In June, when our article, African mitochondrial haplogroup L7: a 100,000-year-old maternal human lineage discovered through reassessment and new sequencing was published, you may or may not have noticed that the journal name was “nature, scientific reports.” No, they don’t capitalize the words in the journal’s title.

I know I didn’t mention how difficult is it to get published in this particular journal, so you’ll just have to trust me about how many grey hairs I can attribute to that process.

Taking that into account, imagine my surprise today when I discovered our paper in the Editor’s Choice collection for 2022. That’s not only amazing, it was entirely unexpected. Ironically, they didn’t notify the authors, so we found out quite by accident.


“For what?”

“Editor’s Choice”

“Editor’s Choice for what? Where?”

“Nature scientific reports – the Editor’s Choice articles for 2022. Your L7 paper. It’s there in Ancient DNA.”


I had to look right away, of course, never mind that I was standing in line at the bank at the time. I hope they didn’t notice the strange woman giving out a little yelp and accompanying leap. Ok, maybe it was a tiny leap, more like a happy hop, but it still counts.

Here, you can look too!

I was dumbstruck. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize there WAS a yearly Editor’s Choice collection. My bad. I probably shouldn’t admit that😊

The editor’s intro mentions that Svante Pääbo won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year for his work over the past several years on sequencing the genomes of extinct hominins, founding the field of paleogenetics.

Excuse my fan-girl exuberance, but it has truly been a banner year for genetics. I can’t help but be incredibly geeked! I had to read the announcement two or three times to be sure I was seeing what I was seeing.

Our paper was selected as one of 5 in the Mitogenomics section of the ancient DNA category and has accumulated just over 9700+ views which is actually amazing for a scientific paper. So, thank you everyone who read it. I’m glad we made the paper “open access,” which means free.

I wrote about our discovery, here and we published a video, here, but our paper is slightly different than the ancient DNA of the other papers in that category. The other papers utilize DNA extracted from ancient remains, but the “ancient DNA” of haplogroup L7, reaching back 100,000 years, was discovered in living people, with the exception of one 16,000-year-old ancient sample from Malawi that had initially been misclassified as L5, but has since been moved to L7.

That’s super-exciting because we know that this hen’s-teeth rare lineage still exists in a few people. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you carry a different but equally-as-rare mitochondrial lineage – your mother’s direct maternal line.

I hope you’ll test your mitochondrial DNA, here, to see what secrets are waiting for you.


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Estes Ancestors to 1495, Plus Wives – 52 Ancestors #385

I’ve been asked several times to compile a list of all of my Estes lineage articles in one place.

I’ve created a table below, and I will update with links as I write additional articles or expand the lineage, although I suspect we are at the end of the Estes line at 1495.

I’ve also included the wife or partner that I descend through for each ancestor, when known. I will create a separate lineage document beginning with the wife as the first person in her family line.

Think of these as chapters in my Estes lineage book! I hope some of these people are your ancestors too, and if not, I encourage you to write your ancestors’ stories.

Ancestor Article My Ancestral Spouse
William Sterling Estes (1901 or 1902-1963) Searching for Ilo’s Son – 52 Ancestors #1 Barbara Ferverda (1922-2006)
Finding Ilo’s Son, Lee Devine – 52 Ancestors #3
William Sterling Estes – The Missing Years – 52 Ancestors #5
April Fool Meltdown Thanks to William Sterling Estes, 52 Ancestors #154
WWI – 100 Years Ago – Thou Art Gone, 52 Ancestors #155
Unwelcome Discoveries and Light at the End of the Tunnel, 52 Ancestors #156
On This Day – What Were Your Ancestors Doing? – 51 Ancestors #170
Suicide – 52 Ancestors #197
Eleven “Soldier Boy” Love Letters from the Lost Summer of 1919 – 52 Ancestors #205
William Sterling Estes and the Backwards Tombstone, 52 Ancestors #209
Aunt Margaret’s Bombshell Letter – 52 Ancestors #210
William Sterling Estes’ Court Martial and Escape: 3 Wives and 4 Aliases – 52 Ancestors #217
Edna Estes Miller (1920-1990), Sister: Once Found, Twice Lost – 52 Ancestors #361
Seriously, Addie Browning (1909-1996) is NOT my Father’s Wife – 52 Ancestors #365
William George Estes (1873-1971) William George Estes (1873-1971), You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, 52 Ancestors #53 Ollie Bolton (1874-1955) Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
My Crazy Estes Aunts – 52 Ancestors #2
Unraveling the Odd Fellows Lodge Meeting in Claiborne County, Tennessee – 52 Ancestors #343
MyHeritage New Photo Enhancer – Seeing Family Faces for the First Time
Lazarus Estes (1848-1918) Lazarus Estes (1845-1918), Huckster and Gravestone Carver, 52 Ancestors #59 Elizabeth Vannoy (1847-1918)
John Y. Estes (1818-1895) John Y Estes (1818-1895), Civil War Soldier, Walked to Texas, Twice, 52 Ancestors #64 Martha Rutha Dodson (1820-1903)
John Estes Goes to Jail – 52 Ancestors #265
John R. Estes (1787-1885) John R. Estes, War of 1812 Veteran (1787-1885), 52 Ancestors #62 Nancy Ann Moore (c1785-1860/1870) 
Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
George Estes (1763-1859) George Estes (1763-1859), Three Times Revolutionary War Veteran, 52 Ancestors #66 Mary Younger (c1766-1820/1830)
Moses Estes (1742-1813) Moses Estes (c1742-1813), Distiller of Fine Brandy and Cyder, 52 Ancestors #72 Luremia Combs (c1740-c1820) 
Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available 1
Moses Estes (1711-1787) Finding Moses Estes (1711-1787), 52 Ancestors #69 Elizabeth “probably not Webb” Estes (1715/1720-1772/1782), Wife of Moses, 52 Ancestors #86 *2
Abraham Estes (1647-1721) Abraham Estes, (c 1647-1720), The Immigrant, 52 Ancestors #35 Barbara “Not Brock” Estes (c1670-1721), Abraham’s Wife, 52 Ancestors #70  Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
Sylvester Estes (1596-1647) Visiting Deal, Kent, UK – The Estes Homelands Ellen Martin (c1600-1649)  Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
Deal and Deal Castle – Kent, England
Sylvester Estes (1596-c1647), Sometimes Churchwarden, 52 Ancestors #31
Robert Eastes (Eastye) (1555-1616) Robert Eastes (1555-1616), Householder of Ringwould, 52 Ancestors #30 Anne Woodward (1571-1630)
Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
St. Nicholas Church at Shoulden and St Leonard’s at Deal
Sylvester Estes (Eastes, Eastye) (1522-1679) Sylvester Estes (c1522-1579), Fisherman of Deal, 52 Ancestors #29 Jone (<1535-1561)
Need mitochondrial DNA – testing scholarship available *1
Nycholas Ewstas (c1495-1534) The White Cliffs of Dover Anny (c1500->1533) *2
Nycholas Ewstas (c1495-1533), Progenitor, 52 Ancestors #28

Brief  Estes Progenitor Synopsis

It’s hard to comprehend that the earliest known Estes progenitor, Nycholas Ewstas was born in 1495, the same year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Nycholas owned a sheep and a horse, and was found living near Deal, England, along the white cliffs of Dover.

Despite a persistent and enchanting story, there is no evidence, genetic or otherwise, that the family descends from the d’Este family of Italy. Trust me, I wanted it to be so, but I’ve pretty well disproven that oral history.

Nycholas Ewstas’s descendants, for generations, were mariners.

If you have information about these lines that I have not included in these articles, please let me know. You never know what’s going to pop up.

Estes Resources

My family trees are available at:

The Estes family archivist, David Powell, maintains free research sites here and here.

The Estes Trails Newsletter, current and back issues are available from Larry Duke at estestrails@aol.com.

The Estes DNA Project is available here, and all Estes descendants are welcome to join by either taking a Family Finder test, here or uploading a DNA file from another vendor. Step-by-step upload instructions are found here.

Estes men are strongly encouraged to order the Y DNA test, here. The most detailed results are available with the Big Y-700 test.


*1 – Mitochondrial DNA descends through all females to the current generation, which can be males. Anyone who descends from this woman through all females carries her mitochondrial DNA today, so is eligible for a free testing scholarship if you have not already taken a mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA. Either way, please reach out! There’s a lot we can learn.

*2 – No daughters known, so mitochondrial DNA would not be available.


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I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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