The Osgood Family

We Are One

Organizing Your Family History With Your Computer

If you’re into organizing your family history, there are several computer programs that you can use to research and build your family tree.  Computers have made this classic historical task not only easier, but much more fun thanks to the innovative tools and the detailed records that they allow access to.  It can become an extremely fun hobby for anyone interested in the extent of their family tree.

AncestryStoreFamilyTreeMaker2012VideoOne of the best programs out there is Family Tree Maker.  Not a very creative name, but this program has many features to keep you happy.  It’s the standalone version of, and works tightly with the site.

If you’re into making the family tree on your personal computer, then it’s important to consider backing up your computer every once in a while.  This is so you don’t lose all the valuable work that you’ve done in the event that the computer should have a problem such as a hard disk failure.  Or, perhaps, if your laptop gets stolen (like mine was last year).

The easiest way to back up your computer is to use backup software tools.  There are a bunch of them out there, such as Acronis, that can help you to make an image of your computer.  If you want something quick and easy to help you specifically back up your family tree files to a cloud server, then MyPCBackup could be a great solution.  Check out this MyPCBackup review for more information on the software and the service.

What Is The Common Ancestor Of Humans And Chimps?

No matter how often I read about it, the origins of the human being seem very strange indeed.  When one looks at a Chimpanzee, and then a human, it’s hard to imagine one coming from the other.  But that has to be the case.  New DNA research has revealed that humans and Chimps had a common ancestor, and the Gorilla had split off the family tree before that.  It’s not a three way split like scientists had once believed.

Every organism’s evolutionary history is encrypted in its genes. For this reason, during the past 30 years, there has been considerable interest among molecular biologists and biochemists in using this information to reconstruct phylogenetic, or family, trees–an activity that traditionally has been the province of systematists who base estimates of genetic similarity on interpretations of morphological similarity.

Although the molecular approach to systematics can be applied in principle to any group of living organisms, it typically engages wider attention and stirs sharper controversy when the subjects of scrutiny are Homo sapiens and its closest relatives, the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and gibbon, which collectively are known as the hominoids. Thus, when Charles Sibley and Jon Ahlquist of the Department of Biology, Yale University, moved on from completing more than 20,000 DNA comparisons among the birds of the world (see box, page 1180) to measuring genetic distances among the hominoids, their work immediately provoked critical commentary.

Sibley and Ahlquist report that the gibbons were first to diverge from the hominoid family tree, 18 to 22 million years ago, followed by the orangutan, 13 to 16 million years ago, then the gorilla, 8 to 10 million years ago, leaving humans and chimpanzees sharing a common ancestor until they split some time between 6 and 8 million years ago (1).

The phylogenetic tree derived from the DNA comparisons therefore gives branching order and, with proper calibration, branching times. This dual aspect to molecular systematics–giving both branch order and branch length, or time–illustrates the great potential power of the technique and is based on the idea that the difference in the genetic profile between two species is a linear representation of the time at which the two diverged (of which, more below). Because morphological change is not necessarily directly related to genetic change, traditional systematics cannot automatically place a phylogenetic tree within a temporal framework.

Lewin, Roger. “DNA reveals surprises in human family tree.” Science 226 (1984): 1179+.

So then, it will be interesting to see just what this common ancestor was.  And where the split happened.  Was it in Africa?

Also it’s interesting to find out that genes can be the same between species, but they are used differently.  Gene expression can be turned up or down like a volume dial, and allows for different expression.  The genes for the brain are largely the same between the two, but they are turned up in the human expression which is why our brains are larger and smarter.