Drama, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

My life was a lie.

Just kidding, it wasn’t that dramatic.  My dad’s parents are Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel, although I didn’t really think about that until recently.  I wasn’t very close to these grandparents because, when I was born to teenage parents who did the best they could (a damn good job if you ask me), these grandparents didn’t feel old enough to be grandma and grandpa.  Amelia also tried to convince my dad I wasn’t his daughter.  I thought of her when my dad’s DNA results came in and did a little jig, even though we never doubted I am my father’s daughter.

My last name was Rangel, as was my dad’s, so I always assumed that was my grandfather’s last name.  Later I noticed some of my aunts and uncles were Conde.  As I got into genealogy I neglected my dad’s side because I feel very distant from them.  As time went on, I questioned my dad’s (and his dad’s) last name.  First off, it’s weird that my father has his mom’s maiden name but I had him join the Rangel Project at Family Tree DNA just in case.  I couldn’t find a Conde project.  In any case my father’s Y-DNA at 12 markers has no matches.  None!

My dad asked an older brother about all of this, and my uncle admitted to having asked my grandfather because he also had his suspicions.  My uncle said that my grandfather admitted his last name was false and told him his real last name which my uncle did not remember although he said “it sounded very indigenous.”

My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel.  Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
My paternal grandparents, Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel. Some of their children were named Rangel, like my dad, and others Conde.
Dad's mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel's birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
Dad’s mom, 5th down. Here is a record of Amelia Juarez Rangel’s birth on October 17, 1941 to Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez.
1940 census
In 1940 we see Amelia Juarez Rangel’s parents, Maria Rangel and Benito Juarez living with Benito’s family. Benito’s father Miguel is the farmer and his sons are farm laborers, suggesting that Miguel Juarez owned the land. Interestingly, living with them are some Conde relatives. I think this is how my grandfather Joe Conde took his last name.
1930 census
In 1930 we see a very young Maria Rangel living with her family. This seeks to explain the different last names used by my father’s family: Conde, Juarez, and Rangel

AJR tombstone

Genealogy, Rant

Good Luck Family Tree DNA!

I received my HVR2 results today which was exciting.  Though not very exciting because I haven’t had the coding region tested (FGS) to see if I fit into a subclade or am just V*.  One nice lady in the Haplogroup V Facebook group shared her Ancestral Origins list with me for HVR1 which I would assume to be about typical for someone who is just V*:

Country                   Match Total                Country Total                  Percentage               Comments
Denmark                           1                                 646                                  0.2%
England                             8                                 8,351                               0.1%
France                               3                                  2,873                              0.1%
Germany                          8                                  9,110                               0.1%
Ireland                             13                                7,076                              0.2%
Italy                                   2                                  3,033                              0.1%
Scotland                            5                                 3,462                               0.1%
Spain                                  4                                  1,424                               0.3%
Sweden                              1                                  1,644                               0.1%
Switzerland                      1                                  1,121                               0.1%
United Kingdom           11                                6,022                               0.2%                 Shetland Islands (1)
United States                   1                                 2,109                           < 0.1 %
Wales                                  1                                  780                                  0.1%                  British (1)
No matches were found.

Even accounting for her less common HVR1 mutations, if any, I would assume someone who is V* would have a lot of representation throughout Western Europe as this woman does.  As my results only indicated 1 person in Netherlands and 1 person in Germany I assume I either belong to a subclade or no one from my very specific maternal clan has been tested.  Ever.  In the history of genetic testing for genealogical purposes.  Or I’m just straight up a freak of nature.  I guess that’s a possibility.  Here are my HVR1 & 2 results:

As for Family Finder, I received another swab kit unexpectedly around the 15th so I swabbed and sent it back on the 18th.  The letter that came with it explained they would need another sample since FF uses up a lot of DNA.  It irked me that they didn’t send me an email so I knew to look out for a kit in the mail.  On top of that, I emailed them to see if they have received the kit yet since it was supposed to be there by the 21st.  They say they haven’t received it and if they don’t notify me that they have by next week I have to email them and they will send another kit.  Where is my DNA?  That’s a little scary.  When they actually have your kit they do good work.  Slow, but good.  Other than that, their business operations are a little suspect.  It’s kind of a shitty way to treat paying customers.  It’s not like we are getting this information for free.

So myFTDNA tells me the FF test is in progress and results are expected 10/29/2012 which obviously won’t be the case because of this delay.  Today I received this in my email:

I took the survey and left most of it blank.  I’m not sure if they started FF with my current DNA sample or if they are just fucking with me.  Whatever, I’ll just wait and see if the kit comes this week or not.  The survey was weird, by the way.  I was only able to answer where my grandparents were from with absolute certainty.  As to ethnicity questions, I left most of them blank since Latinos are such a diverse group.  What we look like on the outside is not what we are genetically a lot of times, more so than the average person of another heritage, I think.  I don’t know of any Jewish or African people, but I can’t rule it out, you know?  They did not ask me about my great-grandparents either.  So good luck Family Tree DNA!

The cynic in me kind of thinks they’ll just take the survey information and those will be your results.


In Which I Complain about Canas, Two-Toned Hair, and Delayed DNA Results

I received a note from Family Tree DNA regarding my mtDNA refine test: “If we already have your sample, your mtDNA test is in progress and results are expected soon. We have recently experienced a communication error in the computer program that transmits the data from the lab to our mtDNA Specialist. This has now been resolved. Consequently, our mtDNA tests are taking a little longer to process. We apologize for the delay, we are working diligently to get you the highest quality results.”

I was expecting the result on Monday but it is now pushed back to mid-October.  And I was hoping to get my Family Finder results around Halloween but I got a surprise in the mail on Saturday:

FTDNA said my previous sample wasn’t enough to do Family Finder and I needed to submit another sample.

So I don’t think I’ll get my results for that within the projected time-frame either.

In other news, I think this is a cana smack in the front.

Especially the one on the far left. Canas already? Grandma is 85 and only has a skunk patch near the front. Boo.

And my hair is two-toned in general.  It’s always been like this but lately has been grating on my nerves.  The top/extended root area is dark and the bottom is brown.  I like both very much but wish my hair would just pick one already.

It makes me look like I color my hair but am too lazy to take care of my roots.
Genealogy, Rant

That’s Not Very Helpful

I can’t find Ramonsita Ortega’s family.  No birth records, no arrival records.  Was she hatched from an egg?  I’m not sure why her maternal haplogroup is V; was her mother a recent immigrant or did her family leave Europe long before?  Either way, why did they leave?  How did the family blend so seamlessly with Mexicans in their new homeland?  There are so many questions unanswered.

This is not acceptable.  My Ancestral Origins matches claim their furthest maternal ancestors were from Germany and the Netherlands.  So I’m thinking, I don’t have any mitochondrial DNA matches.  I only have results for HVR1 which means this is the broadest level of mitochondrial testing.  So let’s  simplify this and say I have 3 things I’m testing that will stand in for HVR1, HVR2, and the coding region.  Say, hair color, eye color, and skin color (mitochondrial DNA in no way codes for these things, it’s just a really simple analogy).  The first test, hair color, will be like the HVR1 test.  I’m looking for brunettes in the first test.  So people with other hair colors will be excluded.  The second test will be added to the first, like HVR1 and HVR2.  I’m now looking for brunettes with green eyes.  See how that narrows down the field?  This is why I’m disappointed I don’t have any HVR1 matches.  Keep this example in mind.

But wait, how do I have ancestral origin matches when I don’t even have any HVR1 matches?  I’m not sure if Family Tree DNA took into account all 3 of my mutations in HVR1 or if they looked at the two common ones and threw out the unique 3rd.  If they threw out the third, how likely is it that my ancestor’s origin would be very similar to the two matches given to me?  Or did my 2 ancestral matches just opt out of having their personal and contact information from being shared so they don’t show up in my match results?  I decided to ask FTDNA:


I have tested HVR1 with the Genographic Project and am currently awaiting for my upgrade to HVR2 results. I don’t have any matches at HVR1 but my ancestral origins page shows 2 matches, the ancestral countries being Germany and Netherlands. Are those 2 people full HVR1 matches? If they are, why don’t they show up on “my matches”?



Pretty straightforward I thought.  Here’s what they told me:


Thank you for contacting us. The matches referenced on your Ancestral Origins page are merely very distant genetic similarities that were found. Please refer to our FAQ for more information.

No shit Sherlock.  They told me the definition of a low resolution mtDNA match.  Understand that I’ve only tested HVR1 thus far and a perfect HVR1 match only has a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor with you in the last 1,300 years.  An HVR1 and HVR2 match has a 50% chance of sharing a maternal ancestor with you in the last 700 years.   And a full sequence match (HVR1&2 and coding region) has a 50% chance of sharing a maternal ancestor with you within 125 years.  So I know that these ancestral matches, even if they shared all 3 of my mutations at the broadest level of testing, would only have a 50% chance of being related within the last 1,300 years.  But FTDNA didn’t answer my question so I don’t know if they threw out my 3rd mutation for comparison’s sake or if it was included.  How would this help my genealogy search?  FTDNA says this about no matches:

Why Don’t I Have Any Low Resolution (HVR1) Matches?

You are the first person with your particular HVR1 sequence to be in our database. This can mean that your result is relatively rare and that, as a result, few people have it. It can also mean that no one else from your particular lineage has happened to test yet. The good news is that the database is constantly growing. The system will continue to search for matches for you whenever new results come in, and we will notify you by e-mail when a new match arrives.

I think maybe doing a Family Finder test might shed some light on my ancestry.  At the very least it would give me an ethnicity breakdown which wouldn’t be helpful, but would be interesting.  If I had any relatives who have also tested (you hear about cousins finding each other all the time), I would get contact information and familial surnames associated with them.  This could help me a great deal if I had any matches.   But it’s a high price to pay for the possibility of finding more information.  So I thought I would ask a relevant project administrator for leads:


Since you are the administrator of the BLANK Project, I thought I’d ask you this question.  I’ve hit a bit of a wall in my search for the female ancestor who passed on her mitochondrial DNA to me.  I’m interested in doing Family Finder to see if that gives me any more clues but I want to wait for a discount.  Would you happen to know when FF goes on sale?  Or, alternatively, do you know of anyone with extra coupon codes?

Thanks, and have a good weekend


This is what the administrator told me:


If I were you I would save the money and not do the FF test.  Wait until you get an Mt-DNA match and see if you get someone with a genealogy that can help you.



Ok, I appreciate that the guy was trying to save me money but I wasn’t asking him if I should do the test or not.  The project in question has a lot of participants so I would think if my maternal DNA were common I would already have matches.  And even if I did have matches, their genealogy information probably wouldn’t help me at all considering an HVR1 match has a fucking 50% chance of sharing an ancestor within the last 1,300 years!  I don’t have anything against this admin, but does he know how mtDNA and Y-DNA work?  That would be kind of important if you’ve decided to head a DNA project.

First world problems, I know.  I’ve wanted to participate in the Genographic project since I’d first heard about it so to finally do it has been awesome.  And I’d like to think that my weird little bit of information has been somewhat helpful to the project.

See that sad, lonely little pin in the southwestern United States? That’s me.
Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

So that Finding Your Roots Episode Got Me Thinking…

Purely speculation.

According to the New Mexico project on FTDNA:

“DNA studies on Hispanics show a higher European admixture. *Anthropologist Andrew Merriwether and colleagues conducted a study on Hispanics living in Colorado. Using classic genetic markers they estimated an admixture of 67% European and 33% Native-American.

He further tested their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is a test to find the origins of your great, great…grandmother, going back 10’s of thousands of years. This one ancestor which is your families “Eve” so to speak, showed up as Native-American 85% of the time and European in origin 15% of the time. Thus showing that the majority of unions in this admixture were of European males and Native-American females.”

Why does my maternal genetic history reflect a European female rather than a Native American female (The Mystery of Juana Ortega)? I’ll be honest, since skin color and appearance aren’t reliable indicators of genetic heritage I was really hoping for a strong Native American ancestry.  I think many Americans desire that feeling of rootedness and since my family is Hispanic it wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to assume.

I haven’t researched my father’s side but that’s largely due to 1) not being close to or identifying with them and 2) not being able to get truth from them.  For example, as I was preparing my family history for Case 2, I noticed my father’s birth certificate clearly states that my  grandfather is white (ok, not uncommon, all of my ancestors are listed as white) and that he was born in Texas.  My paternal grandfather is most definitely not white (I could be wrong since I’m going by phenotype) and he recently won his immigration case allowing him to stay in the US after some 50+ years of living here, paying taxes, and owning a business.  I’m certain he was born in Puebla.  I hope I don’t get my father or grandfather in trouble, but how does that happen?  Let’s pretend my father’s name is John Peterson Jr.  I would assume my grandfather’s name was John Peterson and my grandmother’s name was Woman Father’slastname Mother’slastname (Spanish naming custom).  Well, my grandfather must have provided a false name on the birth certificate.  According to the birth certificate my grandfather’s name was John Mother’slastname.  He took my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name for the birth certificate and no one questioned it!

My paternal grandmother, A. Juarez Rangel. Haplogroup A2d1a

This would probably show up as the much desired Native American I was hoping for but since it’s on my father’s side it has the potential to fade over a handful of generations.  I didn’t inherit something genetically lasting from him or my paternal grandmother.  I’m still young enough to be able to say DH and I would like to have children in the future, so I must ask, what would they inherit from me?  Let’s say we lost our immigration case, went back to Europe and started a family.  After 5 generations would I be that darker-skinned, strong-cheekboned woman in old pictures my family thinks might have been a Real Native American?  I guess that happens more often than not.

At this point in my research my maternal line is still in New Mexico.

*Interesting tidbit: My paternal grandmother A. Juarez Rangel was born in 1941.  I was able to find her parents on the 1940 census and her Texas credentials check out.  I noted that the year before she was born, her family had some cousins staying with them that have the same last name (his real last name, not Rangel) as  my paternal grandfather, her future husband.  Hmmm.

Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

About that Canada plan…

Over a year ago, our state legislature passed a law effectively barring undocumented students from attending our community colleges, after implementing similar rules in 2006 at our state universities.  This forced a lot of undocumented students, including my straight A husband who is also legally barred from accepting scholarships despite his hard work, to drop out of school. After a lot of brainstorming and plotting for the past year+ we were unable to find a viable option for him to return to school thus far.

First we tried applying to the University of North Dakota.  The tuition was reasonable and the admissions people were very nice and helpful but we hit a wall when they asked for DH’s I-94 since DH could not be classified as an in-state or out-of-state student.  We also applied to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with the same experience.  This American university plan was not going to work.

Then we tried applying to the University of New Brunswick in Canada.  DH was accepted for the Fall 2011 semester and under the advice of an attorney specializing in Canadian immigration, we asked to be processed at the Canadian embassy in California.  Months passed, we asked the university to defer his entry (Spring 2012) which they did, then we received our application back stating that they could not process the application.  DH scrambled to reapply to UNB for Fall 2012 and send the student visa application to the Canadian consulate in Romania, where Bulgarians are served.

This week we learned that our application was refused based on DH’s current immigration status.  We were told they are not confident we will leave Canada after DH’s course of study to which we argued that our plan was to take advantage of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union to find work in an English-speaking country after our visas expired.  They basically told us not to reapply unless DH’s status changed.  I think we’ve exhausted our escape route options, so we’ll see what happens next.

I’ve been researching my family history in the meantime because it felt good to be consumed by something other than worry.  I’m the type of person who obsesses over things, so the distraction from our situation is great.  My family has roots all over the American Southwest and I was surprised to learn of immigrants in our family history just a few generations back, and more surprised to learn that our roots extend to Europe.  This new information has reminded me that people will always seek the opportunity to better their lives.  The U.S. would do well to remember our roots.

Drama, Immigration, Rant

230% Increase in Tuition Fees for Undocumented Students

The Maricopa Community Colleges used to charge $96 per credit hour for anyone taking 6 credit hours or less a semester.  This is how many undocumented students were able to attend class, including my husband.  This is a very slow and frustrating route to higher education, but at least it made education possible.  A student could take two 3-credit classes  for about $576 or a class with a long lab for about $384.

This is no more, at least in this district.  The district board has decided to increase the fees to $317 per credit hour.  Your average three credit hour class will now cost an undocumented student $915 and with no chance for financial aid, means the end of dreams for many students. The new rates go in to effect in July.

Last month, the Phoenix New Times reported that Board President, Mr. Lumm, warned students that the measure was intended to target undocumented students.  Many members disagreed, especially Debra Pearson, who is a member of the Minuteman Civil Dense Defense Corps.

Some students have decided to leave Arizona in hopes of finding schools with lower tuition rates and less strict residency rules.  My husband and I are planning to save a little money before we look for another school for him to attend.