Author: Dominic

I like to write. I like to create worlds and mould people. I possibly like the creating and the backstory more than the story-telling .... I also enjoy photography, and am still learning. I prefer 'raw' photographs - I don't feel drawn to any kind of manipulation, but that may changes. My other main passion in life is genealogy.

Dad’s DNA: The Mother Lode

When I was a child I used to have this odd … not fantasy … belief? … that I was adopted. (Or maybe actually an android. Or maybe a dragon. You get the point.) 8 year old me can rest easy knowing that my dad is definitely my dad and my mother is definitely my mother. (And I am definitely human.)

As I thought, my dad’s DNA results from Ancestry were delivered about a week after my mum’s.

And holy moly …

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Mr. DNA Brings New Surprises; or My Mother’s DNA Results!

A little over a year ago I shared the results of my Ancestry DNA test and how it laid to rest one of the family legends my mother had grown up with. As time has marched on and Ancestry gathered more and more participants (recently surpassing the 2 million mark), the amount of matches I was able to access grew and grew. The vast majority of these were in America – but without a full view of the American ancestry of each of my parents it wasn’t always possible to gain a sense of which side the matches were. Consequently, when an offer reducing the price of the costs to only £60 each (instead of the standard £80) came online a week or so before my parents were due to spend time back in the UK, I decided to take advantage of the coincidence and hopefully find some clarity on these results.

Despite being posted at the same time, my mother’s saliva sample arrived at the lab and was processed about a week ahead of my father’s … and today I received her results …

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The Fascinations of Halliday, or The Perils Of Ignoring Old Research

Way back in the mysterious depths of time (aka 2002) when I was still something of a newbie and early on in my family history journey (following a move from the UK to France where I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands…), I was in correspondence with a distant relative based in Queensland, Australia. Brian had spent many years compiling what he called The Halliday Heritage, a story of our combined family, which he very kindly shared with me. Sadly, I took what I immediately needed (yep, I admit to being a harvester of names back then …) and ignored the rest. Going over it again and giving this rich seam of information the attention it deserves has thrown up some interesting titbits …

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Yorkshire Puddephatts, or The Surname Conundrum

It’s no big surprise that on one side of my mother’s family there’s a surname that I’m more concerned with than any other. That is, my grandmother’s maiden name: Holborow. Part of the reason for this – I’m not going to say obsession – bias is that it’s a pretty rare surname. It’s no Smith, Jones or Taylor. Consequently when I come across another surname that seems … striking in some way it causes my inner onomatologist to sit up and take notice. Therefore when I started working with someone with a distinct last name I was intrigued …

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Everett & Nellie Payne: or, The Folly Of Believing Everything You Read On The Internet

I mentioned my paternal great-grandparents Everett & Nellie Payne way back in September 2013 in this post, but have never come back to talk about this family in more detail. But this post is less an exploration of them, and more a warning about the ever-present danger of trusting other people’s data – even when sourced – and not eyeballing that evidence for yourself …

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Creative Writing Degree Prep

It seems like such a long time since I registered for my Open University degree (and it was – January 2014) and so far all I’ve done is an introduction to Humanities module …

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… and my beginners French module …

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… but this October – finally – I am starting the Creative Writing element of my degree with  – and if that wasn’t reason enough to get all excited, I received an email with a link to some “bridging materials”. These consist of a couple of podcasts and three exercises to try out before it all kicks off…

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I say that anything that starts to get my creative juices flowing for whatever reason can only be a good thing!

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Gym Loser

Its not exactly a surprise that I like to start blogs at the drop of a hat.

Kingdom of Appetency was started and is now kind of … defunct.

A Wiltshire Garden was started and is now kind of … defunct.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the newest blog from the Flibberatic stable …

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Gym Loser is here to detail my ups, downs, successes and failures as I try to turn my health around.

I bought oat milk and chia seeds today, for chrissakes!

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My DNA Test

About a week ago, the lovely Alex over at Root To Tip blogged about the results of her DNA test performed via Ancestry, and it got me thinking as earlier in the year at the end of last year I also spat in a tube and sent it back to Utah (all via a family member in the States as Ancestry had not yet started testing via the UK), but had never publicised the results. (In case you’re worried I’m going to get all science-y and talk about haplogroups, haplotypes, single nucleotide polymorphism or allele frequencies – I’m not.)

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The Voice In An Old Man’s Ear

I’ve not done a lot of writing lately. NaNo came and went without so much as a twitch from me in November. Winter has so far left me somewhat dyspeptic when it’s come to writing. But in the back of my head has lain the knowledge that next year my OU course stops focussing on the French element of my degree and shifts to the Creative Writing. And I’ll be expected to produce works in a variety of formats at prescribed times. Terrifying.

So when, rather out of the blue, my friend Jamie decided to throw down the gauntlet (yet again, it has to be said!) and have us a little challenge (possibly too strong a word …) whereby we share a picture that acts as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) for us both, it seemed like something that would a) pass the time, b) get some sort of juices flowing, and c) be a bit of fun!

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NaNo Approacheth – Well, Sort Of

This time next week it’ll be Day Two of this year’s National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or just NaNo) – and I still have a curious ambivalence about it …

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Not about the concept of NaNo, nor about the good that comes out of it, but about my journey through it this year. (On the off-chance that you have no clue what the point of NaNo is – participants agree to write a 50,000 word manuscript in the 30 days of November – James Snaith has a nice round up and makes some valid points that are kind of outside of this post.)

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