We did the DNA now what…

I asked my father if I could take his DNA earlier this year. I got the results back. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge of what it all signifies means that I am not as prepared to decipher the results as I thought.

What I can tell you that there are three other DNA samples with FamilyTreeDNA that are the most like my fathers. We share the same Haplogroup (R-M269 aka R1b1b2). A haplogroup is a genetic population of people. It is like a clan (Vikings, etc). This Haplogroup is the dominant lineage in all of Western Europe. It is said that R-M269, is the most common European Y-chromosomal lineage. If you look at the map below, it shows where our Haplogroup (clade) was in 2010. (Source: Hammer M269 Diversity in Europe)

R-M269 in 2010

R-M269 in 2010

Some people have asked why the test results cannot give a percentage of different ancestral groups. The reason is that my father got his DNA from his father, who got it from his father. So, in my case, Dad got his from Fred Whitehead, who got his from Walter Whitehead, who got his from George Whitehead, who got his from Joel, to Samuel, to Samuel, to UNKNOWN. I have only confirmed my father’s paternal side back to my 5th great-grandfather. So I still have some research to do.


The map below shows which regions where my Haplogroup appears. Notice the red arrows. Please don’t ask me what all the pie charts mean, I am still working on that.

Haplogroup M269

Haplogroup M269

Source: Family Tree DNA

If you think of these haplogroups as branches on a tree, we can state that R-M269 is the dominant branch on the Western European Tree. It also seems that this clade (a grouping of organisms (i.e. humans) traced to a common ancestor) is also the largest, so the test that I did, was not sufficient to narrow down a subclade, I had my father take the 37 marker test. It now looks like the  111 marker test will be necessary. I will save my money!

My father’s Haplogroup R1b, can trace their roots back to the Saxons, Vikings and Celts.


This lineage is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is found in about 90% of Basques, 80% of Irish and Welsh, 70% of Scots, 60% of English, 50% of French, 50% of Germans, but only 25% of Norwegians and 1% of Syrians. It is believed to represent the main pre-Ice Age population of western Europe, which expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last Ice Age 10-12,000 years ago (Hauridna, 2016).


So, what has this really taught us? First, don’t always believe the hype. Yes, it is true that I believe this DNA test will be fruitful in the long run, in the short one; it did not produce a smoking gun. Second, I am a member of a DNA Whitehead Family Group with 81 members and growing. My goal in 2016 is to start working on these angles to see if I can break down my brick wall. Third, although it didn’t give me the result I wanted, I got to spend a wonderful 30 minutes on the couch with my father discussing it. To me, that is priceless!

Larry and Krista 1971

Larry and Krista 1971

Larry and Krista 2014

Larry and Krista 2014

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.




Family Tree DNA

Hammer, Michael, University of Arizona, Family Tree DNA, 9th Annual Conference

Hauridna, Hauri yDNA Project, retrieved on 1/18/16 at http://www.hauridna.com/haplogroups/haplogroup-r.


Vignettes and such

I have been busy and not able to do as much research as I would like. But, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and post a new message.


I have shared Martha Whitehead Moore’s stories before. Below is another story.

Grandpa takes us to the circus

This was in 1914 or thereabouts. Luther Harris drove Grandpa (Gus Stevens), Walter (Walter Chandler Stevens) and me to Athens to see the “then” popular circus, Barnum and Bailey.

I was frightened at seeing so many strange animals. The crowd was so thick, tall and big, I couldn’t see over the people. Luther, Bless his heart, picked me up and lifted me to straddle his neck on his shoulders in order to see what was going on. Then I felt safe and could see. Grandpa held Walter’s hand so that he would be OK. It was lots of fun – especially the monkeys.

Luther, the brother of my good friend Agnes, worked for Stevens, Huff & Co. – and boarded at Uncle Chandler’s (Walter’s father.) My father (Walter Whitehead) had worked at Stevens, Huff & Co and lived in one room in the back of the store. This was when he was about 16 or 18 and not married to Mama.

Stevens Martin [& Co.] grew out of the Sandy Cross store and there was a Stevens Whitehead in Comer (Uncle George [Whitehead]).

We were probably the first chain store in existence.


The reason why these little vignettes are so important is that they provide an insight into the lives of our ancestors. We all have stories and memories. However, something inside of us thinks that our memories are not worth writing down, not worth sharing. I beg to differ. I am grateful for Martha’s stories.  She shares funny times and frightening times, but each time we learn a little bit more about her and her family.  Here is one of mine.

When I was a young girl, my father used to take the four of us to see the Cleveland Indian’s play baseball at Municipal Stadium. It was also called Lakefront Stadium due to its proximity to Lake Erie. I remember several occasions going to the stadium for Bat Day or Ball Day. If there was a promotional day going on, we were there.

On one occasion, Dad, Kathy, David, Joey and I went to the lakefront prior to the game for a pregame lunch. I cannot recall if my mother packed us a picnic or if Dad bought us hot dogs. But I do remember a local news crew filming at the same location. I think we got o the news, but I am not sure if my memory serves me correctly? I will let my siblings chime in!

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo at Municipal Stadium

Not sure where, but age is about right.

Not sure where, but age is about right.

What are some of your favorite vignettes?


The Bible

The Bible


My cousin Sara was kind enough to send me my second grandfather’s Family Bible. What a treasure.

I wrote in previous posts that George Wiley Whitehead married Cena Ann Mathews after returning home from the civil war. The date was 30 January 1866. Although many of the names are faded, I know them. I am proud to have learned about them through my research. George and Cena had seven children.

Bookmark inside Bible

Bookmark inside Bible


The purpose of a Family Bible, along with the scripture is that they provide vital records for the family long before these records were collected for the State. By looking at the penmanship and ink, I can tell you that several of the entries were copied into this bible from another source. A few entries at the end are in both a different hand and ink. For a genealogist, Bibles can provide clues to the elusive maiden name or a birth dates.

Think about how this Bible could have been used. Our ancestors did not have the internet, television or radio. The reading of the Bible could have been a weekly or evening event. This was their connection to the word of God outside of church.

Whitehead Family Bible

Whitehead Family Bible

This bible has a copyright of 1872, this was 6 years after George and Cena married. It is 143 years old. This book has been held by a multitude of our ancestors. It is an important piece of our heritage. I am proud to be the steward of this family heirloom.

Vital Record Page

Vital Record Page

My parents recently moved into a smaller place. In the weeks prior, I kept reminding my mom not to discard any family heirlooms. She knows how much I appreciate our family history. However, what may be special to me, others may think less of. We each have different memories attached to different objects.

What pieces of your past do you cherish? Share one or two of your favorites!




What is a Quartermaster?

What is a Quartermaster? That is what I wanted to know. My great-grandfather Walter Everett Whitehead was a Quartermaster. I have written about him many times. However, I continue to find new things about him. As you know, Walter Everett Whitehead was a very patriotic man. He was involved in three wars, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II.

After I read that, I wondered how that was even possible for him to be involved in three wars. According to a snippet from newspaper, The Constitution, it mentioned that Walter served in the Spanish-American War. Walter would have been 29 years old when President McKinley asks Congress to go to War on April 11, 1898 (Spanish-American War Chronology). I do not have any genealogical proof of his participation, but I am still looking.

During World War I, even though he was too old to enlist (approximately 50 years old); he found other ways to get involved. He was a Quartermaster at Camp Joseph E. Johnson in Florida in 1918.

I have not read volumes about the military, nor have I ever been a military buff. However, as you delve into genealogy, you begin to read about the life and times of your ancestors. Here is a bit, of what I learned.

Quartermaster officers are responsible for making sure equipment, materials and systems are available and functioning for missions. More specifically, the quartermaster officer provides supply support for Soldiers and units in field services, aerial delivery, and material and distribution management (Quartermaster Officer, 2015).

You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartermaster_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29

Essentially the Quartermaster services are like a large mail order house, whereby different supplies are requested and distributed.

While visiting the Carlton home, I found some treasures of his military service. There was a little ledger that he used to take notes. It was dated October 1918. My great-grandfather took some notes in this little ledger. One of the things that he wrote was a lecture he attended on 18 October 1918, about Influenza in Horses. He would attend the interval camps in connection with Remount Service. I had to learn what Remount Service meant as well. Walter’s assignment meant that he oversaw the procurement and training of horses for the US Army.

You can read more about it here: http://www.qmfound.com/remount1.htm


During my genealogical visit to Walter’s home, I scanned a few important military papers. I did not have enough time to scan everything that I wanted to but I have a few.  That just means I will have to go back!

There was a correspondence dated 19 September 1928, which reappointed Walter as captain in the Army of the United States. He was 60 years old at this time. He was still serving his country as a Quartermaster Reserve Captain. The next year on 17 May 1929, he was promoted to Major.

While he was serving his Country, Walter continued to serve his home state of Georgia. I have a letter dated January 11, 1932, announcing that Walter was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Aide de Camp for Governor Richard B. Russell. He was 64 years old.

Another correspondence that I was able to scan was from the Governor’s office appointing Walter to the Madison County Selective Service Board on 17 October 1940. He eventually became the Draft Board Chairman.

Walter attempted to join the service during World War II, but was denied after physical examination. He was 76 years old!

Whitehead Honored

Whitehead Honored

In 1946, Walter was invited to Washington DC to represent Georgia’s Draft Board Chairman for their contributions to the war effort. He was 78 years old. Walter and his son Joe attended. President Truman pinned the Selective Service Medal during this ceremony. What a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving his state and country.

Harry Truman & Walter Whitehead

Harry Truman & Walter Whitehead

Mr. Whitehead goes to Washington

Mr. Whitehead goes to Washington

In addition to all of this, he also served as a Georgia State Senator on two occasions. I will discuss those terms at a future time.


Quartermaster Duties. Retrieved from http://www.Goarmy.com on November 13, 2015

Spanish-American War Chronology retrieved on November 21 2015, at http://www.spanamwar.com/timeline.htm


Until later, I will be exploring backwards!


Making Syrup in Sandy Cross

Martha Whitehead was the family story-teller in the past. I suppose I have taken up her charge. I believe these stories give us not only a glimpse of the times in which they live, they also give us some insight into the people themselves.

Since it is beginning to feel like fall, I chose this story today. Recall, these are not my words, rather Martha Whitehead Moore. I am posting them here so we can all share them.


Making Syrup in Sandy Cross

Sandy Cross is a generous community. Everyone shares. Grandpa’s (Gus Stevens) syrup mill served the entire area. When sorghum cane was ripe, people used to sign up for a day’s use in the Fall.

“We” were the only ones who had a ribbon cane patch, and Grandpa had “Hop” Appling to cook his syrup. “Hop” cooked for most everyone. We grandchildren would get up early to watch the mule pull the grinder around and round to squeeze the juice from the cane.

We drank a little juice, but it was not as good as the syrup!

A pan, about 10 feet long was divided into sections by pieces of tin 6 inches high. The sections were open at the end – every other one open on a different side – so that the syrup could be moved to cook evenly. It was pushed and pulled with a hoe-like contraption attached to a long handle. Under the pan there was a bed of hot oak coals.

When it was done, “Hop” would let us sample it – with hot, buttered hoe cake.

Grandpa didn’t charge for the use of the mill but each family brought its own wood and cleaned the place thoroughly after use.


This story has an individual you might not know. “Hop” Appling was a tenant farmer on the Stevens land. I have “met” via this blog, a relative of his, Sheila Appling. Her Mother and Aunt lived on the Stevens land. I am not sure what relation Hop was to Sheila. Sheila, if you know, please let me know.

Can you all taste that syrup in your mind? I can. I love the way Martha wrote her stories. The images jump of the page. I found a few images online that give us an example of this story.  But, I can also imagine the little children waiting their turn for this tasty treat.

Making Syrup

Making Syrup

Source: http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2014-12-06/story/odum-couple-uses-modern-equipment-turn-out-old-fashioned-cane-syrup, Retrieved on 10/16/15.

Mule pulling grinder for syrup.

Mule pulling grinder for syrup.

Source:  http://cdm.georgiaarchives.org:2011/cdm/ref/collection/vg2/id/8769

Until next time when we explore backwards.


Never Give up on Learning

Sometimes we think we are too old to try something new. The old adage states, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.”   Well, they never met my grandmother.

Virginia Odelle Moss was born 3 October 1916 in Petersburg, Virginia. She was not her parent’s first child, but she was the first child to survive infancy. Her parents Thomas Irving Moss and Carrie Lou Hicks went on to have three more children, Lillian, Thomas, and Margaret. I will talk more about them in a later story.

I want to share you some of the things about Odelle. She went by her middle name, I am not sure why. Anyhow, Odelle’s family moved from Petersburg to Lynchburg, Campbell County before the 1920 census. Odelle seemed to have a typical upbringing in the 20-30’s. Her senior yearbook states she was in the Honor League, Be Square Club, Girl’s Glee Club, Spanish Club, Volleyball 1933, Basketball 1933, 1934 and the Girl’s Hiking Club. She wrote a fabulous poem that is in her high school yearbook. I have tried to ascertain whether she actually wrote it or if it was one she liked. I have “googled” it to no avail, so I think it is an original.


Oh, to be a gypsy girl,

A life so glad and free,

Oh, to wear the tattered clothes,

Of a wondering, gay gypsy.


The wide, wide world before me lies,

No binding ties to keep;

Just to ride in a gypsy van,

Oh, how my heart does leap.


With ever the changing landscape

Moving before my eyes,

The riding sun, the song of a bird

Would make a paradise.


Yet when all is said and done,

Perhaps ‘twould loose its zest

To roam always like a gypsy girl,

And I’d find that home is best.


When my grandfather died in 1983, Odelle was 66 years old. She did not let her life as a widow define her. According to my Aunt Carol, she enrolled in the local community college and took Music and Art Appreciation classes. When she was 70, she took a beginners art class. Over the next 10 years or so, she painted a vast amount of priceless artwork. I have included several of her works below.  You will see not only how good they are, but also how we all cherish them.  They can be found in the homes of my siblings, my mother’s and my aunt’s home.

Grandma with her painting

Grandma with her painting


This one hangs in my brother's home

This one hangs in my brother’s home


This one hangs in my mother's home

This one hangs in my mother’s home


house on cliff-odelle-kw

This one hangs in my home.


This one hangs in my sister's home.

This one hangs in my sister’s home.


My memories of her include shopping.  She like to go shopping. I do not think she bought much, but she liked to go, go go. She would iron everything; I mean everything, even the sheets and her underwear! She loved her daughters and her grandchildren so much. Family was very important to her. Her kisses had a bit of static in them, I am not sure why. I just remember that.   Mom, Carol, others, what do you remember most about her?


Until later, I will be exploring backwards.




Epictetus once said, “Man is not disturbed by events, but by the view he takes of them.”

This is true in genealogy as well. It is interesting how people of the same family or attending the same event have such different perspectives of things. My father has two siblings, both older than he is. Viv was born in 1927, Annette in 1935 and my father in 1936. My Aunt Viv had 8 years as the only child. Therefore, her perspective of things is different. She was a “Daddy’s girl,” although she recognizes the deficits that Fred had as a drinker. She was still his girl. My father on the other hand, did not see it the same way. He had a father that drank and probably caused his mother stress as a result. Fred died in 1950; my father was not yet 14 years old. So, he had an entirely different perspective.

Over the years, I have heard some stories about my grandfather. I know he was a gregarious outgoing man. He was probably the black sheep of his family growing up. He did not come home after the war. He landed in Chicago. There are documents to suggest that he was court-marshaled for an infraction. (I have sought his military records for verification of this. So I will post an update once the documents are received.) He was the third of four children born to his parents. His eldest sibling, George was a genius, attending Balliol University as a Rhodes Scholar. His other brother, Walter Joe, was more like his father; he stayed home after the war and went to work in the family business. His younger sister, Martha Ann, was the sole baby girl of the family. Their father, Walter Everett, was a very strict man, held his patriotism in high regard. Papa was a Georgia State Senator, Mason, Reserve Corps Major, Mayor of Carlton.

Fred seemed to be a bit of a cut up. Viv wrote that Fred always “remained docile to his strong father, although he had a way with Papa (Walter) that none of the other children had.” Martha Mae Whitehead Snelling wrote in the little book of Whitehead Family history that Fred’s “outgoing personality endeared him to all who knew him.”

There is another story about Fred that his sister wrote and included it in her booklet she gave her granddaughters. I wish to share it in her voice.

Fred gets double punishment

Fred was about 12 years old and in the 8th Grade at Carlton. They only had 10 grades, and all 3 High School grades, 8-9-10, sat in the same room.

Mr. Smith was the teacher.

He was having trouble with a 10th Grade math problem.

Fred, who was watching, held up his hand and said,”Mr. Smith, I believe I can work it.” Come right up,” said Prof. Smith.

Fred went to the black board and quickly solved the problem. But he didn’t stop there. He wiped the chalk dust off his hands and said “Aw shucks, twasn’t nothin’. All us Whitehead’s are good ‘rithmetickers”. (Not very good English.)

Prof. Smith pulled off his belt and gave Fred a good licking right there before everyone.

When Fred got home and told Papa about it, Papa gave him another good whipping.

PS Papa was chairman of the School Board.

PS2 Whipping was a very common form of punishment. Not abuse.


Aldous Huxley wrote, “What we perceive and understand depends upon what we are.”

I will end here with some great photos of Fred. So, the next time you think you are right and the other person is wrong, just think you are coming at things from a different perspective.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Fred with sombrero


Whitehead’s on the beach


Fred Whitehead acting silly 001

Fred acting silly


Fred and Margaret

Fred and Margaret

Fred with his children

Fred with his children