X and Y...It's All About Genes and Skirts!

A to Z Family Tree...The Letters X and Y

Perhaps nothing is more of a determination of one's Ancestorial Branching of the Family Tree as the Letters X and Y.  Before the Science of Genetics and the XY Chromosomal discovery, ancient scholars believed that the sex of an infant was a matter of male and female insemination. 

 Whew...I was dreading this 'Birds and Bee's explanation of my Family Tree's Genes Jeans and Skirts, and I only had to use the 'S' word once.  It's pretty well know that the 'S' word was not used in the explanation of the 'Birds and Bees' during the times of my ancestors and that X and Y were known primarly as Letters of the Alphabet.  The Letter X was more versatile in that it could mark a spot or serve as a signature.
The X's and Y's  of my Great Great Marley Grandparents resulted in  eight boys and five girls with all living to adulthood except for a set of infant boy and girl twins and a one year old boy.  I doubt if they ever heard of the X and Y Chromosome Theories and were more than happy to have each and every one of their children...regardless of whether they wore pants or skirts.
   Oh wait....the pants or skirts thing!!!!  It's not always the way to tell!!!  Here is the oldest daughter of the above mentioned Great Great Marley Grandparents and my Direct Descendent Martha Jane Marley Carroll with her husband...my Great Grandfather Stephen Bennett Carroll and their three children.  When first this photo was found in Martha Jane's Photo Album their identities were not known, and I tagged it  "couple and three daughters".
This photo, also in the Album, had written on the back "sons and daughters of MJ Carroll".  So, let's do some 'Photo Detective" work and compare the above photo with this one. 
*First...look at the background.  The photos were taken in the same studio.
*Now look at the faces of the two boys in pants here and the two girls in skirts standing beside their father.  Same eyes, same faces.
*I'm looking at Stephen B. and  Martha Jane's June 14, 1900 Census Record now...hope you are still with me...it says:
 Stephen (27) and Jannie (23) Carroll, married 3 years, Othella (2) daughter and Merritt (1) son. 
 Well, that explains ONE of the skirts and makes the above photo a strong maybe as being Stephen, Martha Jane, Merritt and my Grandmother Estella born June 22, 1900...she's the baby and the photo was probably taken late 1900 or early 1901.

'To make a long story short' or 'short work of 'Photo/Census Research', I'll tell you that the 'couple is indeed Stephen B. and Martha J. Carroll and their three children taken in 1901 before my grandmother's first birthday.  And that Othella is really a boy that the 1900 Census Taker  mistakenly put an A at the end of his name instead of an O.  One look at him in that skirt, and I'd have done the same thing.

The photo labeled 'sons and daughters of MJ Carroll' was taken in the fall of 1903 after the death of their father, Stephen, on June 23, 1903 at 30 years of age.  The fourth child, Mary Ella was born the year before on July 14, 1902.

I imagine that my widowed Great Grandmother was very grateful to have these four children, and never gave a thought to the 'How's and Why's of their X's and Y's.

I know...I sure am!!!

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  1. I can't help it - - - the BIOLOGY TEACHER IN ME must come out.

    The sex of the baby is STILL all about insemination - - - which is what the male does to the female. It is the MALE gametes (OK - - - that's sperm) which can either carry the X or the Y. The female gamete (egg) can ONLY carry an X.

    So - - - all those old nasty kings who said "off with her HEAD" about his queen who wasn't giving him anything but daughters - - - what they REALLY should have said was "Off with MY head" 'cause their little Y's just weren't fast swimmers.

    OK - - - enough from me.

    Very fun post.

  2. What a brilliant post! You get extra credit today for your clever combination of X and Y. And you get bonus points for the photo detective work. I first thought girls too. But when I went back and looked at their faces, they really do look like boys in spite of the dresses. I have a picture of my grandfather in a dress, but he was younger than the boys in your photo -- I think.

  3. WOW - amazing pictures! I wish my family had kept better track of our ancestry.

    New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


  4. I'm laughing at Keetha's comment. My college doctor told me male sperms are strong swimmers thus they can swim from a further distance. However... girls are more dainty so they require a swimming distance closer to the honey pot! Wink Wink!

    You know Sue, you are very fortunate to have such indepth information about your family history. Someone cared about preserving it for future generations. Just like you are doing now! Hugs!~Ames


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