Monthly Archives: June 2014
We are pleased to reveal the cover of Academy Park Press’s next book. It is a primer on the Battle of Franklin that we believe will assist 4th and 5th graders in learning about it. We are especially excited about this book because, not only will it be published by the library’s imprint, but it is also created completely by library employees!
By Jason Gavin, Special Collections Librarian
DNA testing offers the modern genealogist an important and powerful tool that can provide unique information never available to previous generations of genealogists. In fact, there are so many companies offering DNA tests on today’s market, it can be somewhat daunting to know where to begin. In short, the answer to the question – “what kind of DNA test should I take?” can be answered by asking, “What kind of information are you hoping to get?” Below I’ll review some of the different types of genealogical DNA tests out there, and explain some of the pros and cons of each.
This test examines DNA found on the Y-chromosome. The Y-chromosome is one of the sex chromosomes that determine the gender of humans. Women of have an “XX” set of sex chromosomes while Men have an “XY” combination. Consequently, one drawback of the Y DNA test is that only males can take it, and it only traces a direct paternal line. It will give you information on your father’s father’s father, and so on, but no information about any females in your line, as the Y chromosome is only inherited by males. This means a Y DNA test can be especially useful for tracing surname history and origins, as surnames are also usually inherited along a direct paternal line.
Two males descended from the same male ancestor will have inherited the same DNA marker. That means that if you or a male relative and another person have the same marker 40 generations back, this test will let you know. One interesting consequent of this is what’s called the “Genghis effect”. In researching DNA dispersal through populations, it was discovered that a large proportion of the male population in Central Asia and beyond carry the same particular Y- DNA marker, meaning, they are all descended from the same single male. Further research concluded this was probably Genghis Khan, who conquered much of Asia and whose sons (who continued ruling in various parts of the continent) would have continued passing on this marker.
In addition, Y-DNA tests can provide “deep genealogical” information. Humans began migrating out of Africa beginning as early as 60,000 years ago, but they did so in waves. Often, there would be a wave of migrations to somewhere out of Africa – say the central Asia for example – and that wave would stay put for thousands of years, before a sub group would split of and travel to another area. These waves left their DNA markers in the places they traveled and settled. These markers can thus be divided into one of a number of identifiable “haplogroups”, the migrations of which can be traced by examining what percentage of a population carries a particular DNA marker.
Y-DNA PROS: Can help trace family surname
Can provide matches with other males that have the same marker, this might help solve “brick walls”, or place your father’s line at a specific place and time.
Can provide “deep” genealogical haplogroup information
CONS: Only traces direct paternal decent.
Can only be taken by males.
– Familytree DNA offers a variety of Y-DNA tests that vary in price depending on how many markers are to be tested, and will provide member matches and surname work groups as well.
– The Nation Geographic Genographic 2.0 DNA test is more expensive, but will trace the Y-DNA line as well as the Mt and autosomal tests. However, it is focused on providing haplogroup information more than more recent genealogical data.
This kind of DNA test examines mitochondrial DNA. This DNA is only inherited from your mother. Thus this test will only provide information about you direct maternal line – your Mother’s mother, and on back. Unlike the gender exclusive Y-DNA test, however, this test can be taken by both males and females. This test is useful in providing haplogroup information, but provides the maternal haplogroup rather than the paternal. Since mitochondrial DNA is always inherited directly from the mother’s line unchanged, population geneticists can trace concentrations of particular DNA markers around the globe and extrapolate migration patterns from that. Both Family Tree DNA and the Genographic project also trace Mt DNA.
Mt-DNA PROS: Can provide matches with other females that have the same marker.
Can provide “deep” genealogical haplogroup information
CONS: Only traces direct maternal decent.
Autosomal DNA tests
These are the types of DNA tests offered by popular genealogy sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. The big advantage of this type of test, is that it traces both the father’s and the mother’s line. The drawback is that it is only accurate to a limited number of generations. You’ll get no haplogroup information here, but companies such as Ancestry do provide an “ethnicity estimate”. By comparing your DNA markers against a sample collection from various populations around the globe, a rough estimate can be made. They can, in effect, tell you “your DNA looks like its 20% Irish, 40% German, and 20% Russian” for example. Of course, this information can only be compared from comparatively recent generations, and is not the same as tracing one’s haplogroup back thousands of years. In addition, details about the sample population against which your DNA is being compared is generally proprietary, so we don’t know how many people were sampled, or from what exact area. Another big advantage of using companies like Ancestry.com, is that your much more likely to find a match between your DNA and another Ancestry.com user, since so many people use this popular site.
PROS: Traces both paternal and maternal lineage
More useful for more recent genealogy. Primarily 6 – 8 generations back.
Popular companies like Ancestry.com and 23&Me can provide a large number users against which to compare your DNA.
In general, these tests tend to be a bit less expensive
CONS: Lacks any “deep” genealogical component – does not provide haplogroup information
Usefulness is largely determined by how many other users of this service have similar DNA to yours – thus there is no way to know how useful the test will be before you’ve taken it.
Some accessible introductions to using DNA to trace populations available at your library:
Brian Sykes: Seven Daughters of Eve
Saxons, Viking, and Celts
Spencer Wells: Deep Ancestry
The Journey of Man
By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, is an urban fantasy set in rural Eastern Tennessee. The mysterious community of Tufa is about to be in the spotlight now that wild child Bronwyn has returned home on leave to recuperate from captivity and war wounds. She has to deal with the strained relations with her parents, the town and her siblings. She has to find her music again, so essential for all Tufa. Her ex-boyfriend wants to pick up where they left off , then there’s the haint that is trying to get her attention… All this while being hounded by the media and keeping her secretive community private. It’s just too much for one person to handle.
I picked up this book for the East Tennessee location, but was drawn into Bronwyn’s world. An unusual story by the author of the Eddie LaCrosse novels and the Firefly Witch series, The Hum and the Shiver quietly involves you. When you finish you will start looking for a sequel (there are two so far) and wondering if there are Tufa in remote forests in the Eastern U.S.
We are pleased to share the cover of a new book: Where No Sorrows Come: The Life and Death of Confederate Brigadier General John Adams, by Bryan Lane. Bryan Lane is a local Williamson County resident and part-time Battle of Franklin aficionado. He has worked for 20 years on a biography on John Adams. Adams was a confederate general in the battle. We are pleased to be assisting Mr. Lane in getting his book published to put in the hands of readers. This project is in the final stages and will be sent to Ingram in July.
If you missed Terry Hedge’s performance on Thursday, June 5, you’re in luck!
Check out some of the photos from the event and remember, it’s still not too late to stop by and sign up for SUMMER READING!!!
Benefitting from Wildlife Books with Drawings and not Simply Photos
By Lance Hickerson, Reference Assistant
A few months ago in the children’s library I stopped abruptly upon glimpsing a book on the shelf that I had not seen since childhood. It was my very first bird book, the Golden Press Guide, Birds. Certainly it had an updated cover, but inside were many of the same drawings that started my birding in the fourth grade. Alongside the classic book were other bird guides for children. Some of them, like Birds A to Z by Chris Earley, contain clear and close up photos of the same birds covered by drawings in the Golden Guide. It was then that a question arose: Why have a bird book with drawings when you can have one with well-done photos? Aren’t we in the digital age? Why had Golden Press continued to use drawings when so many good photos were now available?
At first I thought the answer might be that the latest version of the Golden Guide continued to use drawings for cost-saving reasons. But near the Golden Guide were newer books like the World Book Science and Nature Guide to Birds, and the Usborne Spotter’s Guide to Birds, both full of detailed drawings and no photos. Is there something about drawings that photos cannot do?
I asked a similar question some years back to a talented painter who trained at Parsons and traveled to Nice, France each year creating Matisse-like water colors that hang on walls the world over. My question to her was this: “Why would anyone want a painted portrait, when they could hire a good photographer to do the same?” Her answer was instructive. She explained that a painting is able to express things a photograph might only accidentally show. A painting can reveal marks of character that endure over time, those aspects of heart that a single photographic instance will often miss. And that is why good portrait artists continue to get commissions, like Paul Emsley who recently completed a painting of Kate Middleton entitled, Portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Is there a sense in which the principles of portraiture apply to pictures of animals in general and birds in particular? Do we see good “portrait artists” of birds receiving commissions? The answer surprised me at first. A survey of some of the best bird identification field guides presently available shows that, while some have outstanding photos, others continue to offer painted bird drawings. Among these are The Sibley Guide to Birds, the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America.
The lead artist for the National Geographic book, Jonathan Alderfer, comments on using illustrations versus photography. “Even though a series of photographs can reveal minute details, most birders eventually come to realize that illustrations are more helpful than photographs in a field guide. Art distills the image of a bird into what our brains experience rather than what a camera sees in a single instant, and illustrations are much easier to compare … “
David Allen Sibley recently released an update to his 2000 best seller, The Sibley Guide to Birds. He was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal (Ellen Gamerman, “Bird-World Star David Allen Sibley Releases New Guide,” March 12, 2014) which reveals the following:
A perpetual researcher, Mr. Sibley brings his binoculars everywhere, even to the gas station. He is always sketching in the field, a process he calls “interviewing the bird,” which he said allows him to internalize each bird’s gestures and shapes.
The Sibley guide has one main purpose: to help identify and differentiate more than 900 species. Mr. Sibley’s birds aren’t the most lifelike . . . but instead demonstrate the most essential traits of a species.
“Sibley’s achievement has been to draw birds not as they are but as they appear to the birder trying to identify them,” novelist Jonathan Franzen, an avid birder, wrote in an email. “They’re brilliant drawings of ideas, of what the birder needs to be seeing.”
In all this there is a strong irony. One of the greatest bird artists of all time has a wonderful society by his name (Audubon) that publishes an indispensable bird guide full of photographs. But as we have seen, others continue the drawing tradition that even today plays a significant role in acquainting us with nature. Bird watching is an increasingly popular hobby with presently around 47 million Americans participating. If the latest Golden Guide to birds (Birds of North America, Golden Field Guide from St. Martin’s Press) becomes our childrens’ first bird book among so many available, we have done well. There will always be good photos, but drawings can express things photos cannot. It is good that we, and our children, benefit from both.
By Robin Ebelt, Reference Department
I love a good young adult trilogy, so several of my librarian friends encouraged me to read Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. This weekend, I finally plowed through it although I felt like I was reading Twilight again. I understand that Hush Hush is a book about the paranormal but this one didn’t do it for me.
Nora Grey, a sixteen year old sophomore, lives pretty much alone. Her father was murdered last year but we are given no details about that. Nora’s mother is on the road with her job leaving her teenaged daughter at home for days at a time. Sure she has a housekeeper/cook throughout the day, but she’s alone at night. Really?
In biology class, the teacher pairs her with the dark mysterious “fallen angel” Patch who literally gets in her head. Thus ensues the reluctant romantic relationship between Patch and Nora. Another creepy guy, Elliot, shows her some interest and hostility without a clear purpose. Even Nora’s best friend, Vee, gets swept along with the excitement of some attention from the new guys at school.
I have to admit that while I didn’t feel connected with the book, I was intrigued enough to finish it. I had to read on to find out who really was the bad guy and I needed some resolution to the weird things that were happening in Nora’s life. I wonder if Nora’s father’s murder might be connected to some of the paranormal activity in this book. I guess I’ll have to read the sequel to find out.
By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Librarian
Six members of an exploratory mission land on Mars for a three month stay. They are advised to abort the mission soon after, as soon as NASA notices a giant sand storm heading their way. They are packing up to leave when a piece of equipment blows away, taking crewman Mark Watney with it. He is presumed lost.
Imagine NASA’s surprise when satellite imagery show changes in the Martian landscape! Now what? How do you rescue one stranded crew member on a distant planet? How do you set up communication that many light years away? Meanwhile, Watney is keeping a log; charting his days and figuring out how to survive.
This is a classic science fiction novel – no alien monsters, just a man trying to survive on Mars. The tension builds nicely and the problems Watney daces sometimes seem unsurmountable. This is Weir’s first book and I agree with all the praise being showered upon him. I do hope he will write much more.