Friday, June 11, 2021


	I recently had occasion to revisit my DNA results and update the information I included 
in my book Mama Said: The Mostly True Story of the Begue Family of Louisiana and 
Mississippi which was published in 2012.

	My husband and I and my brother did our first tests through the National Geographic 
Genographic Project  which is no longer available. This was before the explosion of autosomal 
DNA testing. There were two tests available, mtDNA for women and Y-DNA for men. Results 
would give you insight into your distant ancestors not your recent family tree. As an 
anthropology major I found this population genetics interesting. 

mtDNA Results

	The mtDNA test looks at just two small areas of the whole mitochondrial DNA called the 
Hypervariable Region 1 and the Hypervariable Region 2. They are more likely to have changes 
although the rate of change is very slow. They show our deep ancestry measured in tens of 
thousands of years. HVR1 changes happen about every 20,180 years and HVR2 changes happen 
about every 5,138 years. This is not too helpful in filling out a family tree, but interesting to 
anthropologists who are studying human migration patterns. People who have the same changes 
are descended from the same ancient female ancestor and are in the same haplogroup.

	The HVR1 changes are the ones that Dr. Brian Sykes wrote about in his book The Seven 
Daughters of Eve. He wrote about the seven most common haplogroups in Europe known at 
that time. There are now ten mtDNA Haplogroups identified in Europe among 36 identified 
throughout the world.

	When I got my test results back I discovered that my haplogroup is HV*, which you 
could say was the maternal ancestor of both haplogroups H and V, the two most common 
haplogroups in Europe. If you follow out the last line on my mother's ancestor chart, the 
maternal line, the earliest female ancestor identified is Mary Elizabeth Obermayer, born 
about 1800 in Hanover, now part of Germany. Our mitochondrial DNA came from her. It 
was passed down to Bernardina Harmeyer who passed it down to Anna Hattaway who passed 
it down to Sarah Gonzales. Sarah Gonzales married John Louis Begue and all of her children 
and all of her female-line grandchildren will be in mtDNA Haplogroup HV*. 

	Mitochondrial results are expressed in differences from CRS,  the Cambridge Reseach 
Sequence. CRS was the first sample tested at Cambridge University and all later tests are 
described as to how they differ from this first DNA sequence to be analyzed. Our sequence 
is identical to CRS in the HVR1 region and has only one difference at marker 263G in the 
HVR2 region. Haplogroup HV* is a west Eurasian haplogroup found throughout the Near 
East, including Anatolia, the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, and the republic of 
Georgia. It predates the beginning of farming in Europe.

	About 30,000 years ago, some members of HV* moved north across the Caucasus 
Mountains, west across Anatolia and into Europe with the Cro-Magnon people. Their arrival 
marked the appearance of the Aurignacian culture. This culture was distinguished by 
significant innovations in methods of manufacturing tools.

	Colder temperatures and a drier global climate about 20,000 years ago drove early 
Europeans south to warmer climates of the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and the Balkans where 
they waited out the 5,000 year long cold spell. Population sizes and genetic diversity were 
drastically reduced. When the ice sheets began to retreat about 15,000 years ago, HV* split
 into two main subgroups, H and V, and recolonized Europe. Today these three haplogroups 
make up almost 75% of all European lineages.

Y-DNA Results

	The Y-DNA test looks at changes or mutations made in copying DNA, called Single 
Nucleotide Polymorphisms, SNPs. These changes happen about every 500 generations. 
Y-DNA tests also look at sequences of genes along the DNA strand. They are called Short 
Tandem Repeats or STRs. As DNA is copied, changes or mutations occur in these STRs .
These changes happen about every 200 years or about every six generations. This makes 
them a little more useful in a genealogical time frame. 

	I asked my male Begue cousin to take the Genographic Project Y-DNA test. His 
Y-DNA came from his father, Gonzales Begue, who got it from his father, John Louis Begue, 
who got it from John Blaise Bégué who got it from Jean Baptiste Bégué. So it will tell us 
about the paternal line, the top line on our ancestor chart. The results show that our Bégué 
line is Haplogroup I1a.(That is Capitol Letter I not Roman Numeral I.) Members of this 
haplogroup carry the following Y chromosome markers: M168>M89>M170>M253. 
This Haplogroup is now known as I-M253.

	When geneticists identify a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred and 
in what geographic region of the world. The first of our Bégué markers, M168, mutated 
about 50,000 years ago in northeast Africa. The man who gave rise to this marker was one 
of a group of people that migrated into the Middle East. His descendants became the only 
lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African 
man living today.

	The next marker, M89, arose from a man in the M168 group about 45,000 years ago 
and is found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man traveled with a group that 
followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond. 
Some of his descendants remained in the Middle East and others continued, some east into 
the Central Asian steppes and some north into Anatolia and the Balkans. This is where our 
Bégué ancestors split from my father's Booksh ancestors and my husband's Zimmerman 
ancestors. The Bégué ancestor with marker M89 went north to the Balkans and the 
Zimmerman and Booksh ancestor with marker M9 went east into the Central Asian steppes. 
Booksh is Haplogroup R1a (M17), which is most common in Eastern Europe and 
Zimmerman is R1b (M343), the most common Haplogroup in Western Europe.

	The third mutation at Marker M170 characterizes our haplogroup I. It  emerged 
about 20,000 years ago in southeastern Europe at the height of the Ice Age. These people 
had migrated into the Balkans and eventually spread into central Europe. The ancestor who 
gave rise to this marker, was probably born in one of the refuge areas that people occupied 
during the last of the Ice Age.

	Marker M253 emerged about 15,000 years ago as populations moved north from 
the ice free regions. As the ice melted, the group carrying this marker migrated north 
and began to repopulate northern parts of Europe including Scandinavia. They carried 
with them this unique genetic marker that defines our Haplogroup as I-M253. Today 
this marker is found in highest frequencies in Scandinavian populations in Denmark, 
Norway, Sweden, and Finland. It is found in low frequency in the rest of Europe.

	Our original Bégué ancestor may have been a Visigoth who settled in southern 
Gaul around AD418. The Visigoths established their own kingdom with its capital at 
Toulouse, not far from where our Jean Baptiste Bégué was born.  Or he may have been 
a Viking raider along the Atlantic Coast of France. He may have been one of the 
Norsemen who settled in the area of France that came to be called Normandy. He may 
have been a Breton with Viking genes who settled in Brittany. However he got there, 
eventually some of his descendants migrated into the Pyrénées Mountains of Southern 
France. For more information on our Begue Y-DNA Haplogroup see the  Wikipedia 
entry for Haplogroup I-M253. 

	We eventually transferred our results to the Family Tree DNA website and did further 
testing there. See  They do mtDNA, Y-DNA  

and autosomal testing. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Clean Off Your Desk Day

Thomas McEntee tells me that today is Clean Off Your Desk Day. 

HA HA HA! It will take me longer than a day.  

I'm putting it off until tomorrow...and tomorrow and tomorrow.

I realized when I posted about Honore' Leonard for Battle of New Orleans Day that I needed to do more research. I think it's time to do Thomas's Genealogy Do Over. I also need to go through a couple of boxes of print-outs to enter some of the research I've already done. Tomorrow.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Battle of New Orleans 1815

On January 8, 1815 our ancestor, Honore' Leonard, fought in the Battle of New Orleans. 

Honore' was born on July 2, 1771 in New Orleans, Louisiana, son of Louis Leonard and Marie Anne Dardenne. He married Isobel Crause, also recorded as Elisabeth Kraus, on June 27, 1796. He lived to be 90 years old, dying on November 7, 1861 in Iberville Parish, Louisiana.  He and Elisabeth had nine children. Their last child, Marie Eliza Elisabeth Leonard, born October 14, 1819, is our Great Great Grandmother who married Charles Booksh December 18, 1837. Their son, Samuel Walker Booksh (1853-1930) is our great grandfather.

Image from the Historic New Orleans Collection web page. For more on their exhibit on Andrew Jackson see Historic New Orleans Collection Virtual Exhibit://

Monday, September 28, 2020

80 Years Ago


Little Grandma Anna Hattaway Gonzales with
Vera Armelle Booksh and John Frederick Hertz
October 1940

   On this day 80 years ago I was born. Three days later my cousin Johnny was born. This is the oldest photo of us that we have. Our Great Grandmother, always called Little Grandma, was 80 years old when this picture was taken in her backyard in October 1940. I am the one with the ruffled bonnet. 

   Anna Hattaway and her twin Hannah were born in Algiers, Louisiana, on January 3, 1860, daughters of Peter Hardaway/Hartway/Hartwig from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Bernardina Harmeyer of Alfhausen, Hanover, Germany. Little Grandma said that she was the sickly twin and had to be carried around on a pillow because she was so frail. But she survived and her twin died. She was Peter and Dina's sixth and last child. (One of the strange coincidences of genealogy is that I named my daughter Dina before I knew that Bernardina's nickname was Dina.)

   Little Grandma's father died sometime between 1862 and 1870 leaving her mother to raise five daughters and one son. Peter had been a ships carpenter and worked on the riverfront in Algiers which later became part of New Orleans. During the Civil War and the blockade of the port he may have gone off aboard ship. Little Grandma only knew that he went away and never came back. He is listed with his family on the US census in 1860 but not in 1870. Bernardina died 8 October 1883. 

   Little Grandma married John Henry Gonzales (1856-1907) on 15 April 1880. He was also born in Algiers and worked on the riverfront and as a fireman. His father, John Gonzales (~1820-1884), was born in Northern Spain and his mother, Anne Farnan (1827-1910), was born in Ireland.

   Anna and John Henry Gonzales had seven children, only three of which survived childhood: Joseph Manuel (1882-1938), James Peter (1886-1957) and Sarah Ann(1888-1965), my Grandma.

Anna Hattaway Gonzaales with her two sons,
James Peter Gonzales and Joseph Manuel Gonzales, circa 1930

   Little Grandma died 7 July 1943 at age 83. I barely remember her except from old photos, but my Mama passed on many stories of things she said. Mama said that Little Grandma never cursed. The closest she came to cursing was to say "He's as full of piss and vinegar as the barber's cat." or "He can go to Guinea." She also used to say "You never know what's cooking in someone else's pot." That is very similar to a Spanish saying "The only one who knows what's cooking is the spoon that stirs the pot." I wonder if that came down from her Spanish father-in-law.

   The last photo of Little Grandma we have is this one with Cousin Johnny and I circa 1841.

Anna Hattaway Gonzales with
John Frederick Hertz and Vera Armelle Booksh, 1941


Saturday, May 2, 2020

2020 Genealogy Class Canceled

Just a few days after our first genealogy class for 2020 the library canceled all meetings, classes and gatherings. We will reschedule as soon as it is safe to gather again.

 Meanwhile take advantage of some of the free classes available on the Family Search website's Family Search Wiki  and their Family History Guide

There are also many free classes available at the Legacy Family Tree website.

Stay safe and remember your ancestors who experienced the Flu Pandemic of 1918.

Friday, March 13, 2020

2020 Genealogy Class 2

This week we will be looking at the 1940 and 1930 U. S. Census and taking a tour of the Genealogy Department.

A good place to start is Cyndi's List
There you'll find a list of the censuses and by clicking on the 1940 census you'll be taken to a page with specific information and links to all the relevant sites.

First on the list of links is an important site to explore, NARA, National Archives and Records Administration. Be sure to read their Resources for Genealogists.

Another part of the NARA site is Introduction to Census Records.
They also have an Official 1940 Census Website where you can learn the best way to tackle your research.

Next in importance to the NARA Site is Family Search. Start with the wiki for United States Census.
The URL for the 1940 census is 1940. You will have to sign in to use Family Search but it is free.

Cyndi's List also has a link to Steve Morse's ED Finder so once you know where your ancestors were living you can find what Enumeration District they were in. Steve Morse site

For the 1930 Census NARA's web page has a helpful page on How to Start your 1930 Census Research , but you don't have to send for microfilm anymore. There are also links to Ance$try and Fold3, also $, and Family Search which is free. Start with Family Search 1930 Census. It includes basic information and links to the images at Ancestry. You can view them for free at the Genealogy Department of the library.

We will be talking about Whole Family Research and Cluster Genealogy, also known as FAN, Friends, Associates and Neighbors. So be sure to look at the pages before and after your family on the census to see if there are any relatives or other clues.

Once you have your tree back to your grandparents it will be time to do some Library Research and you'll be amazed at the amount of material there is in our Genealogy Department.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

2020 Genealogy Class

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, we will start our genealogy class, Researching Your Family History, at the Brevard Library in Cocoa, Florida. We'll be in Meeting Room 4, in the Genealogy department on the 2nd floor from 9:30 to 11:00. I'll be using this blog to post information for the students.

The first class is Getting Started and will introduce the basic forms used in genealogy research: the Family Group Sheet and the Pedigree Chart. A third form useful in genealogy is the List of Sources for Research to keep track of where we have looked and what we have found. We will also talk about looking for family records and how to cite our sources.

In the course syllabus there are many links to useful web  sites and it's my plan to put  some of them on this blog as clickable links. Here are some links for the first class:

Looking for blank forms? Start at Cyndi's List. It's also a good site to search for anything genealogical. Another good site with links is Linkpendium. Both are free.

One of the most important sites we use is Family Search. There, besides doing genealogy research, you can find blank forms . You need to register for an account on the site before you can access, but it's free. he web site address is Family Search . Another important feature of this site is the FamilySearch Wiki.  It's a wonderful learning site and it's free.

The Genealogy Department at the Cocoa library has many good How To books including Emily Croom's Unpuzzling Your Past, which we recommend. We will be taking a tour of the Genealogy Department in Class 2 and learn how to use all their great resources. Besides books on all areas of the country, they have subscriptions to some genealogy magazines. One of the best is Family Tree Magazine which every year publishes lists of the Best Genealogy Websites. They have blank forms and much more on their website at FamilyTree Magazine.
We're also going to talk about Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over and Go-Over programs so here is a link to his 12 Steps to Better Genealogy Research: Genealogy Do-Over  .

In conclusion one of the best places for learning how to use the most popular research sites is the free Family History Guide. You can learn to use Family Search site and the pay sites like Ancestry, MyHeritage and Findmypast. They also have research pages for over 65 countries and all 50 U.S. States as well as several ethnic groups. There are links to thousands of top family history articles and videos. You could spend a month on this site!

Hope to see you Tuesday.