What’s In A Name

What’s In A Name

Change isn't always a good thing, sometimes it gives us a new life

What’s In A Name

By Anna Hessel


A New Beginning…

As one of my milestone birthdays quickly approaches, my thoughts have wandered to my birth.  I was privately adopted as a newborn by an older couple that were never meant to be parents.  Through DNA testing and the state of Pennsylvania finally opening original birth certificate availability to adoptees a few years ago, I have been blessed with finding my biological family.  So far I am in contact with two lovely sisters, a beautiful niece, and a couple of cousins and their families, one of whom has become one of my dearest friends.  She has encouraged me to reach out to my other siblings and maintains our family tree with the accuracy of a brain surgeon – a truly amazing lady.

Oh Yeah, I Blend…

My adopted family was abusive and ashamed of my multi racial ethnicities.  I, on the other hand, am thrilled to be an Irish, Italian, Hispanic, Iraqi Jewish Christian.  I was cheated out of growing up with sibling camaraderie and arguments, but I do have dear friends that have become my family.  My spouse and I are truly blessed.

Choose Carefully

When I was adopted, my birth name was changed.  This angered me; a name at birth should remain through a lifetime.  Hopefully parents will take this into account before choosing overly unusual names.  Names are special, and should be treated with reverence.  When we adopted our most recent lovable Puggle, we kept her beautiful name Sasha.  In Hebrew it means defender of mankind.  I will admit we changed our younger cat’s name from Nala to Brioche when we brought her home, to go with our older kitty’s name Latte.  Now Nala is now her middle cat name.  They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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Neanderthal’s Gone, But Not Forgotten

Neanderthal’s Gone, But Not Forgotten

Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals interbred and we still carry the genes of those ancient ancestors

A 60,000-year-old Neanderthal gene once made us resistant to viruses, but now it may make us vulnerable to it.


Neanderthal’s Gone But Not Forgotten

Sonnet Gomes

Half of Neanderthal Genome Survives

Neanderthals died out around 40,000 years ago, but traces of them still remain. In the past decade it has become clear that Neanderthals mated with the ancestors of modern humans, producing viable offspring. Studies indicate that almost half of the Neanderthal genome still survives, scattered in small quantities among most modern people’s DNA. (The exception is those with mostly African ancestors, for Neanderthals seem never to have lived in Africa.)

Two Long Chains

Such genes have been associated with everything from hairiness to fat metabolism. Many seem to be related to the immune system, and to affect the risk of developing diseases including lupus, Crohn’s and diabetes. A pair of recent papers suggest covid-19 belongs on that list as well. Two long sections of DNA, both inherited from Neanderthals, appear to confer resistance or susceptibility to severe covid-19, depending on which is present.

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10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

By David L. Jones

Depression Has Taken Over My Life

It’s Dave, here. I have for the last month been living at the bottom of a black hole. I have spent all day in bed with the comforter pulled tight over my head.  I won’t lie to you, depression has taken over my life.  Feelings of immeasurable sadness, hopelessness and utter emptiness are consuming me. This time of year is always a struggle for me, but this winter has been excruciatingly painful.

A Dark and Windowless Room

The only reason I have found the strength to pull the comforter off my head and pull up a chair to my computer and start writing, is that hopefully sharing my story, can help someone else that has found themselves trapped in a dark, door-less, window-less room.

Four Generations of Suffering

A friend of mine who also suffers from depression offered me some advice recently. She reports at least four generations of depression, alcoholism and suicide in her family. She told me that when she begins to experience depression she refuses to give herself permission to suffer.

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My personal DNA Questions, Answers & Discovery

DNA marketing has enticed 26 million people to get tested

More than 26 million people have completed DNA testing.

My DNA Test

By D. S. Mitchell

A Painful Cry

I have been on the internet this morning, searching for answers to my genetic history. It turns out that I am not alone in my curiosity. More than 26 million people have sought DNA information thru testing. A sign that many of us just want to understand our roots and our family story. In this age of disconnect, I believe the search for our history is a painful cry for validation of self.


My folks divorced when I was 12. There was never much discussion about genealogy, or our family history, other than the most basic information. As in most things the story of my DNA tells a story I did not expect.

Mass Marketing

There has been a big time marketing push for DNA testing. TV and internet ads encourage testing and the marketing seems to be working. Basically, one of the DNA companies will have you spit in a tube and another will have you rub a swab on the inside of your cheek. Whichever format the company uses the results will be the same.

Mom’s Side

Like Elizabeth Warren, I believed I had significant native American blood. I mean, I tan deep mahogany and I have amazing cheekbones. In my case, I also thought I might have some black lineage. My mother was first generation American, born in Seattle, Washington. Her mother and her father were both born and raised in Liverpool, England. I believed there hadn’t been enough time for significant genetic mixing from those new immigrants who didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1900.

Daddy’s Dad

On the other hand, my father’s father’s family has been in the United States for at least 15 generations. That’s over 300 years. That is before the United States was even a nation. It was from this group that I expected there would have been a mingling with other available genetic groups. My father’s mother was an immigrant, born in Ireland.

Spitting In A Vial

In February of 2018 I spit into a vial and sent off my saliva to find out who I really am. Six weeks later I had my answer and it was not what I had expected. It was however, exactly what my parents had told me years ago.


I have no Native American ancestry. I have no persons of color in my genealogy. I am 49+% British Isles (mother). I am 49+% German/Dutch/Irish (father). That’s right 98+%. There was however, a mysterious less than 1% from my mother’s side, and another less than 1% from my father’s side of a mysterious contributor.  Strange. The DNA indicated that both of my parents have a tiny piece of genetic material from the Central Asia/Russian steppes region. What? How can this possibly be? I’m supposed to be an American Indian princess, not a Russian Cossack.

Less Than 2%

Interestingly, or maybe it is not, I dismissed the 98+% and focused on the less than 2%. If a conversation ever turned to ancestry or DNA testing I would always suggest it was strange that I had this central Asian connection. Sometimes I would start the genetic conversation, about my unique Central Asian mystery relative. But whether in conversation or just imaginings I wondered how that less than 2% figured in my family history.


Life is weird and strange. This morning I’m on YouTube searching for a music video for the www.calamitypolitics.com blog, when my pointer lands on a video history of the Celts and their migration routes to England. I’m kind of nerdy. The video sounded intriguing. Curious, I tapped the video and watched, as a college type, describes the migration of the Celtic people from Central Asia around the Black Sea and the Russian Steppes thru Europe to the British Isles.

Following The Y

I watched three YouTube videos on the Celts. Each one told a similar, yet very different story of the migration of the Celtic people. What most agreed on was that the Celts were a ‘horse aristocracy’ that originally migrated from a place called Scythia on the Northeastern side of the Black Sea. They worked with iron and made beautiful jewelry and weaponry and at one time were spread throughout Europe. The most interesting to me, was the video that traced the 3 primary migratory routes taken by the Celts using “the Celtic male Y chromosome.” Wow, who knew.

Migration Routes

So, I am not an American Indian princes or an Afghani princess; I am a Celtic warrior! As I watched one of the video professors describe the routes of immigration I could see exactly what happened. I was less than 1% Celtic on both sides of my biological line. I guess my mysterious middle eastern relative is the Irish in me, or just maybe, it might be the Neanderthal (Neandertal) in me.

The test cost $59. I have been fascinated with the results. Don’t wait, check out your DNA, it is likely to surprise, amaze and possibly inspire you.