What A Ride!
by Neal McFarland
Updated September 9, 2010
I'll never forget the first time my Dad took me to ride in his lap on The Comet roller coaster at the Forest Park Highlands amusement park in St. Louis. I was five or six years old, excited and giddy with anticipation. I had no idea what to expect when we got into the car and pulled down the safety bar. As we slowly climbed up the first long hill, leveled off, then plunged down the deep chute, it took my breath away and with every unexpected twist, turn, climb and drop, my heart pumped faster and faster. The 60-second ride scared the bejabbers out of me. When we finally stopped, I begged my Dad for a re-ride, which he agreed to. I was hooked! And since that first ride on the Comet, I've ridden some of the longest, fastest, steepest, meanest coasters in the country and never found one I couldn't handle.
My research into our McFarland family has been a microcosm of all those thousands of twists and turns, climbs and free fall drops. Every new discovery has been exhilarating; every dead end frustrating. But the anticipation of discovery never diminished. Like that first ride on The Comet, the search became an addiction.
As I've stated before, I started knowing next to nothing about the McFarland side of my family and only a little more about my Mother's side. Now, I can trace my McFarland line over three hundred years; my Mother's family over two hundred. And, along the way there were plenty of surprises.
Understanding the Haplogroups in the MacFarlane Project
March, 2012 update
By Mary Helen Haines
So far, we have 220 participants in the MacFarlane project with surnames from Allan, Miller, Williamson, Weaver, Jackson, Galloway, Webster, McGaw, Knox, Robb, to all the variations of MacFarlane (McFarland, McFarlin), plus more. This number changes daily as more people decide to join the project. This includes women who have taken the Family Finder test, as I have, and people who found out they were part of the MacFarlane clan, even though their surnames were not.
Every male in the study has a unique set of markers that he acquired from his father’s line that goes back in time approximately 60,000 years to the progenitor of all living men. That set of markers is called his haplotype. Only occasionally does someone have an exact match with another person. In our study there are only two people that have an exact match at 67 markers, and they do not know their common ancestor, but are still searching. It is even possible for two brothers to have markers that do not match exactly if one of them had a genetic mutation that changed his set of markers from that of his father. He would, though, have a very close match, and probably differ by only one marker, if at all.