The origins of my grandmother’s paternal line has been lost to later generations — until now.

The German Connection

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Using a multidisciplinary approach, including DNA and a family religious artifact, helped me confirm that my grandmother’s paternal line had its origins in Germany.

The artifact is a book, printed in Philadelphia in 1814 with text in German. This alone is significant. The language is not American English. This is German.

When I first saw this, after a copy of it was reproduced in a book on the family history called Michael Hay and His Descendants, I knew that I had to pursue this. I had to unravel this story.

One of the compiler’s of the book, Lucy Bayley, lived in Oregon. And one day years ago my grandmother, her brother Everett, and I made the short road trip to her home. She was welcoming, but when I began asking questions about the family, she was reticent to give much information.

She was publishing a book and did not want to share, as if I was a competitor. It was a strange experience. I certainly had no intentions of publishing a book. But she treated me like a spy. So I was frustrated. Grandma said that I should just let her handle it.

Funnily, when the book was finally released, many in our branch of the family were disappointed. It was a typical genealogical book, with a bunch of names and dates, but little else. And there were some errors. I much prefer a narrative format, rather than the routine one.

This is not to say that the book is without merit. The first few pages are worthwhile and quite informative. These include maps and photographs, of land where our ancestors farmed and the long-neglected cemetery on private land where many were buried, more than a century ago.

Lucy was convinced of a Scottish connection, that the family had been in Scotland, part of the Hay clan apparently, but had then relocated to Germany. She was obsessed with this theory. To this day I have no idea if there is one. But I have seen no evidence of it.

However, the link with Germany is solid. I convinced my great uncle, the same one who made the journey to visit Lucy, to submit his DNA, and the results proved a link to a man named Kettering, who had traced his line back to a particular place in Germany.

So now I am working on a translation of this catechism book. I don’t know if I can do it on my own, using online translators such as Google Translate. But I am gonna try.

ajh

Peanut butter? No thanks. I prefer cookie butter.

Peanut butter is popular in the United States. It is everywhere. Plastic tubs of the stuff. For most American kids PB&J, peanut butter and jelly, sandwiches are a staple of childhood.

I, however, did not like it, and my parents, thankfully, somehow avoided the PB&J stereotype. We ate other stuff instead.

One such staple in our family for years was dry milk, which I think is disgusting. These days I only use dry milk for cooking and baking.

My hatred of peanut butter has waned. I will eat a PB&J sandwich occasionally and spread peanut butter on celery. But other than that I don’t eat much of it.

A few weeks back I found a tub of cookie butter mixed in with a horde of peanut butter. These tubs were the same size, shape, and with red lids, so it was understandable to have a mix up.

This particular cookie butter, brand name Lotus and made from Biscoff cookies, is from Belgium. And it is tasty.

ajh

Parliament of Whores is right. Sadly, oh-so-right.

 

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“The average net worth of a Senator is more than $14 million, and the average net worth of a member of the House of Representatives is nearly $6 million.”

Though this information is a few years old, the numbers are likely to have gotten worse, such is the corruption and cronyism within our government.

ajh

Crossfire! With three actors named Robert — Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan.

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Just finished watching Crossfire, a film made in 1947, the year my parents were born. It’s a good film, with shockingly modern themes. I have many thoughts on it, which I will have to write about later, besides what I have already tweeted on the Twitter. These topics go well beyond the film itself, to subjects such as McCarthyism and the Red Scare, liberalism in Hollywood, etc.

ajh

Summing up politics in America in the 1830s

Henry hates John. John abhors Henry. Andrew can’t stand Henry or John—and neither of them have any use for Andrew.”

The Players
Henry is Henry Clay, Speaker of the House for decades. John is John C. Calhoun, a proud southerner who developed the idea of nullification. And Andrew is Andrew Jackson, war hero and eventual president of the United States.

I discovered this incredible summation of affairs in the book Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults by a man named Schnakenberg.

ajh