Cracking the Code – Old Handwriting Deciphered

Over the last few weeks I’ve reminded you that the Suffolk Family History Fair will come to The Suffolk University, Waterfront Building Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ on 24 September 2016.

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Family Folk will be there.  The 3 items shown above are connected to the theme of this year’s exhibit: Old Handwriting Deciphered.  Come along and find out what the connections are.


Carbon copies and DNA

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The Human Genome Project completed mapping the DNA sequence that contains all the information needed to build a human body in 2003.  Since then, DNA testing has come within the reach of family historians, requiring just a sample of body cells.

The DNA molecule is made up of two strands of complimentary base pairs that fit together like a zip. DNA is replicated by unzipping its two strands and making a new partner strand for each original strand, producing an indentical copy.  The instructions contained in the sequence of base pairs are copied much like carbon paper can replicate a list of names.  Mutations happened when the copying process is not perfect.

DNA is not kept as a simple string within our cells.  It is packaged up into chromosomes and each package keeps a selection of instructions together, a bit like binding the pages of a book.

When ordinary body cells divide to produce 2 new cells, two sets of complete chromosomes are copied to each cell, a process called mitosis. The book analogy is that each cell gets a complete book with identical pages.

Making a new person is a little more complicated than growing and dividing ordinary cells.  When egg and sperm cells are created, through a process called meiosis, only half of the DNA goes to each cell. The process is complicated further, with mixing of parts of the DNA.  Each human embryo, made by combining an egg and sperm, gets half of it’s DNA from each parent, in a unique mix.  Using the book analogy again pages are swapped between books.

Understanding these processes is critical to interpreting DNA test results.  Dr Maurice Gleeson will explain how DNA test results can assist family history research at the Suffolk Family History Fair on 24 September.  See you there?


Growing Roots, or what my grandmother taught me

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My gran taught me to crochet when I was a teenager.  While wielding her crochet hook, she talked about her youth, siblings, growing up in Birmingham between the 1910s and 1930s, and the courtship on a tandem that lead to her marrying grandad.  That started the growth of my family history roots.  This year the Suffolk Family History Fair theme is Grow Your Roots.  See you in Ipswich on 24 September 2016?


Suffolk Family History Fair – 24 September 2016

Family Folk will return to Ipswich for the Suffolk Family History Fair on 24 September.  Hold the date, and watch this space for further annoucements.  In the meantime, this image is a teaser for what Family Folk will be up to.

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What do I do next?

That is the question posed as the theme of the Suffolk Family History Fair next Saturday.

Wherever you are in your family history journey, it is a good idea to pause and assess your progress.  The fair provides an opportunity to talk to fellow family historians.  Just explaining your stumbling block can be enough for you to see the way forward.  Volunteer helpers will be on hand to answer your questions.

When you need a little more help than friends and free advice can provide, Family Folk offers professional research services.  Initial consultation is free, so come and discuss your next steps and get a no-obligation quote.

Date: 17 October 2015
Location: University Campus Suffolk, Waterfront Building, Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ. Click here for a map.


Family Folk is coming to the Suffolk Family History Society Fair

On the 17 October 2015 the Suffolk Family History Society celebrates its 40th anniversary with a Family History Fair.  Family Folk is pleased to announce that we will be attending with a stand.

The venue is:

University Campus Suffolk
Waterfront Building
Neptune Quay
Ipswich
IP4 1QJ

Watch this space for more details.  See you there!

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