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Incipient Mongoloids (or elusive Denisovans) 105-125kya in China?

The authors claim that these archaic humans from China show parallels to both modern eastern Eurasians (Mongoloids) and to Neandertals. The relationship with the Neandertals makes them prime candidates for the elusive Denisovans who were a sister group to Neandertals but are morphologically unknown (since all we’ve got is a genome, teeth, and a pinky). The relationship with Mongoloids suggest an appearance of Mongoloid morphology pre-dating the transition to sapiens, and brings to mind past claims about incipient Caucasoid morphology in Neandertals. Did aspects of modern Eurasian morphology originate in pre-sapiens archaic Eurasians? Hopefully someone’s studying DNA from these crania as we speak.

Science 03 Mar 2017: Vol. 355, Issue 6328, pp. 969-972 DOI: 10.1126/science.aal2482

Late Pleistocene archaic human crania from Xuchang, China 

Zhan-Yang Li et al.

Two early Late Pleistocene (~105,000- to 125,000-year-old) crania from Lingjing, Xuchang, China, exhibit a morphological mosaic with differences from and similarities to their western contemporaries. They share pan–Old World trends in encephalization and in supraorbital, neurocranial vault, and nuchal gracilization. They reflect eastern Eurasian ancestry in having low, sagittally flat, and inferiorly broad neurocrania. They share occipital (suprainiac and nuchal torus) and temporal labyrinthine (semicircular canal) morphology with the Neandertals. This morphological combination reflects Pleistocene human evolutionary patterns in general biology, as well as both regional continuity and interregional population dynamics.


Younger Dryas comet impact encoded in Göbekli Tepe?

Fascinating if true.

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 17, No 1, (2017), pp. 233-250


Martin B. Sweatman* and Dimitrios Tsikritsis

We have interpreted much of the symbolism of Göbekli Tepe in terms of astronomical events. By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous ‘Vulture Stone’ is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC. We also find evidence that a key function of Göbekli Tepe was to observe meteor showers and record cometary encounters. Indeed, the people of Göbekli Tepe appear to have had a special interest in the Taurid meteor stream, the same meteor stream that is proposed as responsible for the Younger-Dryas event. Is Göbekli Tepe the ‘smoking gun’ for the Younger-Dryas cometary encounter, and hence for coherent catastrophism?

Link (pdf)

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Ellen’s Questions Part 4

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It’s Saturday Night again – 

time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her Hound on the Hunt blog three weeks ago – see 
Even More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You (posted 27 June). 

2)  We will do these five at a time – 
Questions 16 to 20 tonight (we did 1 through 5 three weeks ago, questions 6 through 10 two weeks ago, and questions 11 through 15 last week)

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook post.

Here’s mine:

If you’re into DNA which would you say you work on more? Genealogy or DNA? Or about the same? 

I definitely work more on Genealogy than DNA.  I am actively researching descendants of my 4th great-grandparents, and spend more time on searching, data entry and blogging than looking at DNA matches.  I do add the ancestral lines of some of my DNA matches into the RootsMagic tree.

17)  Do you think that your genealogy is ever really done? 

No, I think my genealogy will never be completely finished.  At least back to, say the 1600 time frame.  I have so many unknown parents of ancestors and it sure seems like there are no records for many of those ancestors.  I’m trying, though!

18)  Did you ever search an ancestor’s name on the internet and you were surprised at what you found? 

Yes, all the time this happens.  A birth record, a baptism record, a marriage record (or two or three), death record, burial record, a photo, a military record, a passenger record, a name change record, probate record, deeds, etc.  It only takes one clue to set off the search for more.  

19)   Do you ever feel like your ancestors are nudging you in the right direction in your research?

I really haven’t felt a nudge one way or another.  I haven’t had a dream where someone says “go to this place and find a surprise…” I have walked into a cemetery and quickly found an ancestor I was seeking, but she was right on the main path into the cemetery. 

20)  If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to genealogy, what would you tell them?  

Only one?  How limiting.  Please, please, please, cite your sources so that you can find the record again, someone else can find the record, or someone can evaluate your evidence and conclusions for each event for a person. 


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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Pain Pills, Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit, Emoji, More: Wednesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, July 17, 2019

Hey y’all! The latest Inside Google & Alphabet newsletter is available at . Today’s topics include yesterday’s hearings in Congress, expanded bike-sharing information on Google Maps, an upcoming AMA for Google Stadia, and more! Remember, the newsletter comes out every weekday excepting holidays and it’s free. Sign up here:


Washington Post: Drilling into the DEA’s pain pill database. “For the first time, a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — by manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city — is being made public.”

Smithsonian: Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit On Display at National Air and Space Museum for 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. “The effort to protect and display Armstrong’s suit also included sharing it with a wider audience. The museum and the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office 3-D scanned the suit, helmet and gloves. Through laser-arm scanning, structured light, photogrammetry and medical CT scanning, anyone in the world with an internet connection can now peek inside the suit and take a guided tour of its many complex components. The team has also made the data available so the public can download the high-resolution 3-D model for use in AR/VR platforms, animation software and 3-D printing.”


CNET: Emoji for falafel, service dogs and sloths are finally here. “Apple and Google both unveiled dozens of new emoji ahead of World Emoji Day on Wednesday. They include animals like a flamingo, orangutan and sloth, as well as foods such as waffles, falafel and garlic.”


Fast Company: This next-level Google Calendar hack lets you focus on what matters. “I’m happy to report that it’s actually quite simple to split up your Google Calendar events in a way that reflects the messy, multifaceted nature of your life and makes it possible to focus only on the items relevant to you at any particular point in time. Here’s how.”


Ohio University: Ohio University Libraries awarded grant to develop Southeast Asia Digital Library. “Ohio University Libraries has been awarded a $1.2 million grant to develop the Southeast Asia Digital Library in collaboration with 14 other institutions. The five-year grant was awarded by the Henry Luce Foundation. The project will update the Southeast Asia Digital Library with a new generation of digital initiatives and expand its collection of materials to further enhance studies of Southeast Asia, including language program support.”

Vietnam+: Experts want digital archive for ceremonial singing. “Folk music researchers support the creation of a digital archive of ca tru (ceremonial singing) owned by a State-run agency to preserve the traditional art form and gather scattered materials owned by individual artists and researchers.”

Dublin Live: Dubliner Gemma O’Doherty’s YouTube channels removed after ‘repeat’ violations of Google-owned video site’s terms of service. “Controversial investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty’s Youtube channels have been removed following what the company describes as “repeat” violations of its terms of service…. The failed European election candidate was live streaming on the site from outside Google’s headquarters in Dublin, which owns YouTube, this afternoon and on Facebook this evening.”


Courthouse News: Class Claims AT&T Sold Their Real-Time Locations to Bounty Hunters. “Despite assurances to the contrary, AT&T has been selling its customers’ location data to creditors, bounty hunters, landlords, prison officials, and all sorts of third parties, according to data privacy watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation in a federal class action filed Tuesday.”


EurekAlert: A new tool for data scientists and biologists and more. “A new computational tool developed in the lab of USC Viterbi School Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Paul Bodgan in collaboration with Ming Hsieh professor Edmond Jonckheere, is able to quickly identify the hidden affiliations and interrelationships among groups/items/persons with greater accuracy than existing tools.”

Mashable: Can VR help treat schizophrenia? Researchers launch trial with more than 400 patients . “A major clinical trial for mental health treatment just kicked off in the UK — and it involves virtual reality. Organized by VR therapy outfit gameChange, the government-funded program seeks to find out if VR can help people affected by schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Genealogy News Bytes – 16 July 2019

Some of the genealogy news and education items across my desktop the last four days include:

1)  News Articles:

Announcing the Polish Genealogy Conference 2019

*  Announcement – Laura G. Prescott Scholarship Winners

*  Vivid-Pix Announces Adding Metadata Zoom/Transcribe Feature to its RESTORE Software

2)  New or Updated Record Collections:

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar – Wednesday, 17 July, 11 a.m.:  Research Your Newfoundland Ancestors, by Tessa Keough

*  Upcoming SCGS Webinar — Wednesday, 17 July, 6 p.m. PDT:  More Power: Genetic Genealogy Apps and Extensions, by Shannon Christmas

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands, by Yvette Hoitink

4)  Genealogy Education – Podcasts:

*  Fisher’s Top Tips:  #88 — Write Your Story

*  Extreme Genes:  Episode 290 – The Georgetown Memory Project / Lambert On Researching Revolutionary Ancestors

*  Research Like a Pro:  RLP 53 – U.S. Homestead Records

5)  Genealogy Videos (YouTube):

6)  Genealogy Bargains:

7)  DNA Success Stories:

8)  Did you miss the last Genealogy News Bytes – 12 July 2019?


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the “Comments” link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

MyHeritage Expands to Health; Launches New DNA Test Offering Powerful and Personalized Health Insights for Consumers

MyHeritage today announced the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test, a major expansion of its DNA product line. The following is the announcement:

The new MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test provides comprehensive health reports for conditions affected by genetics including heart disease, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease

Tel Aviv, Israel & Lehi, Utah — MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today a major expansion of its DNA product line with the launch of the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test. The test provides a new dimension of genetic insight with comprehensive health reports that can empower future health and lifestyle choices. It is a superset of the current MyHeritage DNA Ancestry-Only test, and includes its pillar features: a percentage breakdown of ethnic origins and matching to relatives through shared DNA. MyHeritage is now the only global consumer DNA company to offer an extensive health and ancestry product in over 40 languages.

The launch of the Health + Ancestry product distinguishes MyHeritage as the only major service that bridges consumers’ past, present, and future: MyHeritage’s integrated suite of products enable users to discover their family history and ethnic origins, find new relatives, and receive valuable insights to help manage choices regarding their health that may impact their future well-being.

“Our Health + Ancestry test is the next step in the evolution of MyHeritage. After 16 years of changing lives for the better through family history research and genetic genealogy, we are excited to expand our mission and try to improve and save lives as well. Our vision is to integrate our successful family history technologies with the new health product in innovative ways that bridge heritage and heredity to deliver deeper insights for our users,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We are proud to be part of a movement to democratize healthcare globally and make genetic testing accessible to millions of people, and allow them to discover what makes them unique.”

The MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test provides health reports that show users their risk of developing or carrying genetic conditions. Reports include conditions where specific genes contribute to the risk, such as hereditary breast cancer, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and late-onset Parkinson’s disease; conditions associated with multiple genes, such as heart disease, and type 2 diabetes; and carrier status reports on conditions that can be passed down from a couple to their children, such as Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis.

In total, MyHeritage’s Health + Ancestry test covers one of the most extensive ranges of conditions offered by an at-home DNA test: 11 Genetic Risk Reports, including a hereditary breast cancer (BRCA) report that tests 10 pathogenic variants; 3 Polygenic Risk Reports; and 15 Carrier Status Reports.

The World Health Organization identifies cardiovascular disease as the number one cause of death globally. This makes MyHeritage’s unique report for heart disease risk particularly beneficial. This report is based on a cutting-edge method called Polygenic Risk Score that examines hundreds, and in some cases thousands of variants across the entire genome.

In addition to heart disease, the Health + Ancestry product also includes a Polygenic Risk Score for type 2 diabetes, a condition that has significantly increased in prevalence in recent decades and now affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and 40% of Americans within their lifetime. MyHeritage is also unique in providing a third Polygenic Risk Score for breast cancer, which delivers a risk assessment for breast cancer when none of the BRCA variants that MyHeritage tests for are found. MyHeritage is currently the only major home DNA testing company to offer Polygenic Risk Reports for multiple conditions, and more Polygenic Risk Reports will be added shortly after the product’s initial release. The three initial Polygenic Risk Reports support only populations with European ancestry, but the company has begun conducting research to allow the polygenic reports to cover a broader spectrum of populations in the future.

The new product is based on robust scientific research conducted by the MyHeritage science team led by MyHeritage’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Yaniv Erlich. It has been in development for two years and leverages the company’s growing expertise in genomics. MyHeritage’s prowess in the field of consumer genetics has led to the growth of its DNA database to 3 million people in under two and a half years. To balance the needs of genetic genealogy and health testing, MyHeritage has custom-designed a new DNA chip using Illumina’s Global Screening Array (GSA). The new chip provides MyHeritage with the flexibility to add reports for more conditions, without the need for users to retest their DNA. Several new health reports are already in the pipeline for release over the coming months following the company’s rigorous validation processes.

MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry is a Laboratory Developed Test, processed in a CLIA certified and CAP accredited DNA lab in Texas. The at-home DNA test is an easy and painless cheek swab, and does not require spitting as some other tests do, which makes it more suitable and convenient for all populations, including older people.

Health reports only determine users’ genetic risk for the supported conditions. However, all users are required to complete a personal and family health history questionnaire, to ensure that each user receives the reports appropriate for them. MyHeritage works with PWNHealth, an independent physician network and genetic counseling service, to provide end-to-end physician oversight of the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test for all U.S. customers, which includes genetic counseling, if appropriate. PWNHealth’s physician oversight and genetic counseling fee is included in the total price.

Privacy is strictly enforced. All health data is protected by state-of-the-art encryption. Health report data is secured using additional password protection and is so secure that even MyHeritage employees cannot access it. MyHeritage has never licensed or sold user data, and has committed to never do so without obtaining explicit user consent. MyHeritage is the only consumer DNA company that has pledged to never sell data to insurance companies. It also applies a strict policy to prohibit use of its DNA services by law enforcement agencies.

The MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry kit is available at the price of $199 + shipping. Users who have already purchased a MyHeritage DNA test for ethnicity and genealogy matching can upgrade to receive health reports for $120. To order, visit the MyHeritage DNA website. An annual Health subscription is available as an optional add-on to the new DNA kit, which grants users access to new health reports as they are released. As a special benefit for the launch, the Health subscription is currently offered for free for the first twelve months and users can cancel it anytime.

The new health product is not intended to independently diagnose, prevent, or treat any disease or condition or tell users anything about their current state of health in the absence of medical and clinical information. The product is also not intended for making medical decisions, including prescription or dosing of medications. Users may need to obtain further services from their physician, a genetic counselor, or other healthcare provider, in order to obtain diagnostic results regarding the conditions or diseases indicated within the MyHeritage DNA health reports. The health reports provide genetic risk information based on assessment of specific genetic variants but do not report on users’ entire genetic profile. The health reports do not detect all genetic variants related to a given disease, and the absence of a variant tested does not rule out the presence of other genetic variants that may be related to the disease. For most diseases, currently known genes are only responsible for a portion of the overall risk. Other factors such as environment and lifestyle may affect the risk of developing a given disease and, depending on the condition, may be more relevant predictors. If a user’s data indicate that the user is not at elevated genetic risk for a disease or condition, this should not be interpreted as meaning that the user is safe from developing the disease or condition. The opposite is also true; if a user’s data indicates that the user is at an elevated genetic risk for a disease or condition, it does not mean that the user will definitively develop the disease or condition. Any findings within the health reports should be confirmed and supplemented by additional medical and clinical testing as recommended by the user’s healthcare provider.

MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry is available globally except in a few countries that do not allow health-related consumer genetic testing. In the USA, it is available in all states except New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where separate laboratory certifications are required and are currently being pursued. Altogether, MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry is now the genetic test for health available in the greatest number of languages and with the widest global reach.

Seavers in the News — Judge Thomas O. Seaver Dies in 1912 in Vermont

It’s time for another edition of “Seavers in the News” – a weekly feature from the historical newspapers about persons with the surname Seaver that are interesting, useful, mysterious, fun, macabre, or add information to my family tree database.

This week’s entry is from the St. Alban’s [Vt.] Weekly Messenger newspaper dated 18 July 1912:

The transcription of the article is:


Col, Thomas O. Seaver

Col. Thomas O. Seaver, of Woodstock, aged 78 years, for over 20 years judge of the Hartford probate district, died suddenly of heart trouble Thursday morning.  He had just come home and entered his office apparently in the best of health.  Ten minutes later he was found dead in his chair at his desk.  The funeral was held Saturday afternoon art 3 o’clock.

Colonel Seaver was one of the best known veterans in the state with a brilliant military record as commander of the Third Vermont regiment in the Civil War.  At the outbreak of the war he recruited Company F, was chosen captain in June, 1861, promoted to major, then to lieutenant-colonel a few weeks later, and in January 1863, took command of the regiment.  His regiment participated in most of the great battles of the war.  Colonel Seaver rendering notable service at Fredericksburg and at the Battle of Wilderness.

Colonel Seaver was born in Cavendish, in 1834, the son of Joseph Seaver Jr., was graduated from Norwich University, Northfield, in 1859 and began the study of law in the office of Washburn and Marsh in Woodstock.  Returning at the close of the war, he resumed his law studies and was admitted to the Windsor county bar in 1864.  He first practiced in Cavendish, going to Woodstock in 1873, where he had since resided.  About 20 years ago he was appointed probate judge and had since been successively elected to this office.

In May, 1897, Colonel Seaver was shot by William W. Lawrence for some fancied grievance, the bullet passing through his body very near the heart.  Courage and a strong constitution saved him and he apparently entirely recovered from the wound.  Lawrence was sentenced to the state prison for 16 years and was later transferred to the state hospital for the insane at Waterbury.  Colonel Seaver married Nancy J. Spalding, of Hartford who survives him, and he also leaves a son, Kenneth, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

The source citation for the article is:

“Thomas O. Seaver,” St. Alban’s [Vt.] Weekly Messenger newspaper, obituary, Thursday, 18 July 1912, page 3, column 5, Thomas O.Seaver obituary;   ( : accessed 11 July 2019).

The obituary covers the three major events in Thomas Orville Seaver’s life, mentions his father’s name, his wife’s name and one surviving son.  Thomas was born 23 December 1834 in Cavendish, Vermont, to Joseph and Abigail Evaline (Parker) Seaver.  He married Nancy Johnson Spaulding (1840-1917) on 20 June 1861 in Hartford, Vermont, and they had five children:
*  Ethel L. Seaver (1862-1893), married Richard S. Ely (1863-1929) in 1892.
*  Gertrude E. Seaver (1865-1887)
*  Mary Seaver (1870-????)
*  Maude M. Seaver (1874-1875).
*  Kenneth Seaver (1877-1969), married Mabel B. Bright (1878-1963) in 1903.

Thomas Orville Seaver (1834-1912) is my 5th cousin four times removed.  


Disclosure:  I have a paid subscription to and have used it extensively to find articles about my ancestral and one-name families.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Ancestry® Unveils Over 225 New Communities for Members Who Have Ties to France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand

The article Ancestry® Unveils More than 225 New Communities for Members Who Have Ties into France, Canada, the Uk, Australia, and New Zealand appeared on Ancestry Blog.

In Ancestry®we leverage the most recent cutting-edge DNA technology and science to supply detailed historic insights that enable you to find more about your family’s sources. Now, we published over 225 fresh AncestryDNA® communities that will assist our members that have ties to France, Canada, the Uk, Australia, and New Zealand, enabling them to unlock Read

The Natick Community and the Watertown Dam

Last month the Junto blog shared an interesting essay by Zachary M. Bennett, “Damming Fish and Indians: Starvation and Dispossession in Colonial Massachusetts.”

Bennett writes:

Compared to other Native Americans in southern New England, the Ninnimissinuok community of Natick, Massachusetts seemed to have secure footing going into the eighteenth century. Located only fifteen miles outside of Boston on the Charles River, Natick was the largest community of Native American converts to Christianity—or “Praying Indians”—in mainland New England with a population exceeding two hundred persons. These Praying Indians owned their land in corporation to safeguard their enclave against land hungry colonists. . . .

In 1738, colonists downstream in Watertown raised a dam several feet on the Charles River that blocked migrating sea-run (anadromous) fish. Spring fish runs were of vital importance to Natick. Native people depended on these fish for half their yearly supply of animal protein and were also an important fertilizer for New England’s notoriously thin soil. Although Massachusetts law required the operators of the Watertown Dam to allow fish to pass by building a fish ladder, on the Charles River corrupt local officials looked the other way. Natick’s Praying Indians protested. . . .

To placate Indian petitioners, the [Massachusetts General Court] committee ordered that portions of the Watertown Dam punctured by the winter ice not be repaired until May, giving migrating fish a slightly lower structure to scale. This was a deceiving concession because the General Court granted dam owners full discretion to adhere to this judgement: if they deemed the water too low to power their mills sufficiently, only the approval of five selectmen from Watertown and adjoining Newtown [sic]—communities directly invested in the smooth running of these mills—was required to raise the dam during the May fish run. . . .

For Natick, the loss of river fish a few years before the outbreak of King George’s War in 1744 was particularly bad timing. Nearly all able-bodied Praying Indian men served in this conflict and they suffered significantly higher mortality rates than their Anglo comrades in arms.

In addition, Daniel Gookin wrote in 1792, the Natick soldiers “brought home a mortal disease, of which twenty three died in the year 1759.”

As a result of those factors, Bennett writes, “land sales in the community rose 150% in the 1740s.” Gookin reported: “In the year 1763, according to a census then taken, there were thirty seven Indians only in Natick; but in this return, probably the wandering Indians were not included.” By 1792, he judged that “The Indians in Natick are now reduced to one family of five persons, and two single women.” Of course, many more people of Natick descent were still living in Massachusetts—but they were no longer recognized as Indians or no longer had their own land in Natick to live on.

Ancestry® Announces Coveted Content Releases and New, Game-Changing Family History Research Tools at RootsTech 2019

For the 9th consecutive year, we are thrilled to be participating in RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City.  It’s such a special event that unites tens of thousands of people who are curious, excited and passionate about family history. For more than 30 years, we too have shared your passion and are proud to introduce Read More

The post Ancestry® Announces Coveted Content Releases and New, Game-Changing Family History Research Tools at RootsTech 2019 appeared first on Ancestry Blog.