DNA results are in!!!

How very exciting - my DNA test results are in!!

Now let me warn you - you may quite possibly be surprised by the results.  I know I was.

I did this test with Ancestry.com  (or in my case Ancestry.ca).  Its a simple to take test - just uses saliva- no blood letting or anything too weird.   It cost approx $120 Canadian.   My daughter bought it for my birthday- how sweet is that.   (And I paid for hers, haha!)

This test that they offer is an "autosomal" test.   Which means it is very general and only ascertains a persons "recent" heritage.

When I received the results I was surprised by the larger than expected percentage of Irish ... and smaller than expected Scandinavian ethnicity.   (what the heck- my surname is "Arness" after all !!!

They break the test down into further detail:

Another surprise was my "Iberian" heritage - (Spain, Portugal and southern France) - this probably includes my Basque heritage as well ???  (The Basque country lies between France and Spain)  No doubt this is from my mother's Quebecois/ Acadian side.

and here... ta-dah!  is the full ethnicity showing all trace regions (discovered).

It's all so much fun!

There are a few other types of DNA tests... the one I'd like to do next follows a persons DNA back from mother to mother to mother and so on... it goes way back (several thousand years)-  its called the mtDNA test.  Its a bit more pricey. $250?    I have actually hit a brick wall (without having tried very hard) on my mother's mothers maternal side so this could be quite useful for my research (another very good reason to take a DNA test).  If you are male you can take the Y-DNA test (or either male or female have a father or brother take this).  It does the same type of trace except this goes father to father and so on.

The other cool thing is that the DNA test has given me matches with other people on Ancestry.com -those who are related and inevitably show up in my family tree.   The exciting thing about this is they may have family tree information /photos etc. that you would not normally find.   

I think you, my dear reader, should put a DNA test kit on your Christmas wish list!!!   Anything that makes learning about your ancestry even more enjoyable has gotta be good!


the ship Neptunus sailed from Norway in 1869..... carrying my "Arness" ancestors

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a cousin who is interested in our shared family history!  So much fun!  

One thing I shared with her was the passenger list and information regarding the ship Neptunus which sailed from Norway in the Spring of 1869 and carried our great-great grandparents Peder P Arness and Minni Eriksdatter Arness ages 29 and 26.  What a young age to be making such an adventure!

neptunus text.jpg

I don't have an image of the ship (I wish I did!) but I found details online:  

"In 1867 she departed from Trondheim May 2nd, and arrived at Quebec June 19th. The ship was inspected before leaving Trondheim, and was found to be in perfect order. It had sufficient supplies of water, food and medicine. On this voyage the Neptunus carried 347 passengers, 124 adult men, 111 adult women, 97 children between the age of 1 -14 and 15 children under 1 year. Most of the passengers were from Selbu, Aalen, Holtaalen. The passengers on this ship were the first persons to be listed in the Trondheim police emigration protocols. The ship had a crew of 17 included the Captain. Her burden was 303 Norwegians.

In 1869 the ship Neptunus departed from Trondheim May 5th, and arrived at Quebec June 27th. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 320 steerage passengers. There was an outbreak of typhus fever and measles. Thirteen passengers were sick as the ship arrived at the quarantine station on Grosse Île. Two passengers had died on the voyage, and one was born. The Neptunus was mastered by Capt. Hermann Ludvigsen, and had a crew of 17."

(from Norway Heritage - Hands across the sea website)

The one passenger who was listed as born on board was quite possibly my great grandfather Ole John Arness.  According to family stories and other documents he was either born at sea or on the great lakes en route to Minnesota, in International waters.   How cool is that ?!?

When I read things like this I close my eyes and try to imagine what it was like... the long voyage, the endless ocean.. the illnesses, the anticipation.... the impending birth of a child.

here is some additional information regarding the ship (from the same site)


Bark Neptunus, C. B. Pauss & H. Houen


 Burden BuiltShipowner or operator Dimensions

303 kl 1847 at Vegesack, Germany C. B. Pauss & H. Houen, Skien, Norway 131ft x 30ft x 18,8ft 


 1866Captain Hermann Ludvigsenfrom Trondheim May 5 to Quebec June 9Passenger list:  

 1867Captain Hermann Ludvigsenfrom Trondheim May 2 to Quebec June 19Passenger list:  

 1868Captain Hermann Ludvigsenfrom Trondheim May 13 to Quebec July 15

 1869Captain Hermann Ludvigsenfrom Trondheim May 5 to Quebec June 27

The information listed above is not the complete record of the ship. The information was collected from a multitude of sources, and new information will be added as it emerges

The ship Neptunus was built in 1847 at Vegesack, Germany. She had a tonnage of 645 gross tons, 631 net. The Neptunus sailed with emigrants from Trondheim in 1866, 1867, 1868 and 1869. However, she was not a Trondheim owned ship, but belonged to Hans Houen of Skien. Her master on all of the voyages was Captain Hermann Ludvigsen of Skien. She was wrecked in the Atlantic in 1897.  "

here is a photo of Minnie...

the fun thing about genealogy is there is still so much to discover!  I know I have more photographs from my Aunt, and I know there must be a lot more information online or in archives.   

all for now!   


Finding my niche as a Genealogist

my "niche" :-)

my "niche" :-)

I recently watched a webinar (on the APG/ Association of Professional Genealogists website) about the importance of "choosing your niche" as a genealogist.   I guess that holds true for any career - being a specialist in one particular area makes you unique and more valuable to others.   For example, as a photographer, I specialize in homes and fine art photography.

In the field of genealogy I feel the strongest connection to my own past.  Having grown up in Maine I am very familiar with the local geography, history, surnames, etc.  It's "home".   Even though I don't live there anymore, it's very much a part of me and I would love to specialize in all things Maine.  (I would also love to have yet another reason to visit- ha!!)  I think it's said that a third of the population of Maine has French heritage (be it Acadian or Quebecois).   Other heritage is Puritan from Massachusetts/ Boston area.  Of course we also have the original population (native American). My grandmother's side is originally English/Scottish from New Brunswick/ PEI/Nova Scotia.   I have ancestors from all of the above.   (Maine also has a large population of Irish, Italian, German and Scandinavian, as well as many newcomers in the last 50 years)  I want to help people looking for their Maine heritage.

In this seminar the speaker mentioned that genealogists can also expand their niche by giving seminars, teaching, legal matters, adoptee requests, etc.

I gave this some more thought.  For me- I want to focus on education-  making people more aware of the importance of knowing their past.  Not boring education - l want to bring this concept to life!  I want children to know where they came from.  I want them to feel connected to history.   The world has become so homogenized... kids, people live in nameless suburbs and are surrounded by materialism and shopping malls.   There is so much more to your life than that.   Our ancestors had struggles, strengths and values to which they clung.  They had cultural heritage.  Songs and stories.  Skills.  Achievements.  Its all a part of who we are - and we must not forget or overlook where and who we come from.

I hope that's not too long-winded.. but I wanted to share how this seminar made me determine where I want to go with genealogy- and life :-)