Monday, January 25, 2016

Genealogy Talk at MCUG Feb 8

If you are local to the Tri-State I will be speaking to the Mountain Computer Users Group on Monday February 8 at 6:00 pm on Using Technology to do Genealogy Research in the 21st Century. I will also conduct a general genealogy "Q&A" session following the presentation. A brief meeting for announcements and door prizes will start at 7:45PM.

MCUG meetings are held at the Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church in Young Harris, GA, next to the college.

The program will be held in the Fellowship Hall of Sharp Memorial Methodist Church located in Young Harris. Entry is from the South side parking area about midway down the building.

You can find more on their website including a map at

I hope to meet a few of you there at the MCUG meeting Monday night.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ancesrty DNA matching system just gets wierder

For about the last three months I have been fighting major gremlins in the AncestryDNA matching system. One of my first matches at Ancestry/FTDNA for me and my dad was with a Texas Witt family cousin. That leaf match has totally disappeared, his tree is listed as private (it isn't and I am a contributor to the tree), and when I do a DNA surname search for Witt it doesn't even show up. I have called their tech support three times (each lasting well over 1/2 hour) and even though they put a ticket in, no resolution to date.
That is just one of the here one minute, gone the next, shows up in a few days again, disappears, etc.
Now today I get the weirdest email ever from Ancestry. It is titled "New Shared Ancestor Hint for Warner Lee Van Horn" (my dad).
My dad has a match and the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) is him. He is listed as his own father and the match is to an unnamed son. See screen grab below.
When I open up the "explore the connection" link, I am greeted with a 4c cousin who is not a leaf match (in fact, her tree is now private. She is a she and not a son as the link above states. See graphic below (click on image to get a closer look).
So I will be on the phone again soon with Ancestry to try to understand this bizarre occurrence. I swear this folks are going to make an old man out of me yet! ;-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Grumpy Genealogist

I can't pass this up. Granted it happened five years ago, but this incident put a smile on my face this morning. According to a newspaper article I found, one of my cousins - Wayne Witt Bates - took on the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) back in 2011.
The article below was originally published in the Washington Post in July 2011 and goes to show:
1) How hard it is to research a Rev War patriot, and
2) How rigid some folks can be in this world of genealogy research proofs as outlined in the article while allowing other original records (e.g. 1850-1870 census records) to pass as absolute proof.
I should add as a note of clarification that the DAR now allows Y-DNA testing for proof as long as the testing meets their demanding standards. The Y-DNA testing alone within their proof standard will not be enough. You have to have two males take the Y-DNA test, both with minimum 37 marker tests and these two closely related males must match exactly on "all" 37 markers. And to add insult to injury you still have to have all the written proofs you would have submitted anyway even if you had not submitted the DNA tests which requires a bunch of extra paperwork.
Sort of looks to me like someone wants to build a Y-DNA database for Rev War patriots courtesy of their descendants applying to the DAR for membership. I should add the mtDNA or autosomal DNA are not allowed as proof with the DAR.
Bottom line: I fully support my cousin Wayne on this one. Your one in a million Wayne.
Daughters of the American Revolution challenged by Bates family of Virginia
Wayne Witt Bates did not set out to take on the Daughters of the American Revolution. But he is not used to being challenged on his genealogy. A short list of his credentials: researcher for the Bates Family of Old Virginia (300 members and counting), coordinator of the Bates Family DNA project and, for 15 years, editor of the family newsletter, the Bates Booster.
“I am surprised DAR wants to fight me about the Bateses,” said Bates, 88, of Centreville, who has been researching his family tree since retiring as a Pentagon employee in 1974. “I know more than anyone wants to know.”
The genealogical throwdown began in January, when a cousin in Nevada, Suzanne Witt Adrian, told Bates that the Daughters of the American Revolution had turned away her application to have one of their ancestors, Reuben Bates Sr., recognized for his Revolutionary War service.
Proving direct descent from someone who aided the Revolutionary War effort has been a prerequisite for joining DAR since it was founded in 1890 as a response to women being excluded from Sons of the American Revolution. DAR — which describes itself as “dedicated to good works, such as promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and better education for children” — has more than 165,000 members, with hundreds of applications pouring in each month.
The organization, however, has strict standards when it comes to proof, with a preference for primary sources such as probate records, wills and census records. A DAR genealogist told Adrian, who is already a DAR member, that she didn’t prove she was descended from Reuben Bates or that he served in the war. She appealed to Wayne Bates for help. He submitted evidence to bolster their case, including DNA test results that, along with paper records, seemed to show conclusively that Adrian Bates descended from Reuben Bates Sr.
But in March, she learned DAR doesn’t accept DNA evidence, and the society turned back her application for a second time, saying she still hadn’t proved lineage or service to qualify Reuben Bates as a patriot. For Wayne Bates, this amounted to a declaration of war.
Bates, who resembles Colonel Sanders in giant square eyeglasses, began shooting off daily e-mails to DAR genealogists. He went on genealogy message boards and posted mini-screeds with titles such as “Current Rigid Methodology Renders DAR Immune to Logic” and “DAR credibility suffers.”
His lobbying campaign did not go over well at DAR’s downtown D.C. headquarters, at 1776 D St. NW. Stephen Nordholt, DAR’s administrator, warned Bates that if he didn’t stop bugging them, there would be “no further attention being given your matter — even if you are able to find new documentation that proves service of the individual in question.”
Among Bates family members, Reuben Bates Sr.’s Revolutionary War service has been accepted as fact since the 1970s because of something Wayne Bates had found at the National Archives.
Back then, when his knees still let him scour courthouses and church basements, he came across a book that contained a list of Continental Army soldiers assigned to Virginia. Inside was a description of what essentially was a pay stub for service in the Continental Army by one Reuben Bates.
It read: “Bates, Reuben — Soldier of Infantry — paid by Mr. Duval on March 4, 1783 — 36 (pounds).”
The payment record alone is not enough to prove service, Wayne Bates concedes. Colonial-era parents were not terribly creative when it came to naming their offspring. There were multiple Reuben Bateses and William Duvals running around the newly liberated colonies in 1783.
So Bates narrowed his search. He found four men named Reuben Bates living in Virginia during the Revolutionary War and looked up their vital statistics. Only one would have been the right age to have served and lived in the same county as a Duval: his ancestor, Reuben Bates of Louisa County.
Bates surmised that Duval was most likely Maj. William Duval, whose service in the Continental Army is verified by military pension records at the National Archives. In his pension application, Duval said he commanded troops from Louisa and several other counties and that he also owned land in Louisa in 1783. He was, in fact, the only Duval in Louisa County in 1783, tax records show.
Bates thought for sure that was all the proof he needed. He figured that as Reuben’s neighbor and probably his commanding officer, Duval had paid him for his service.
But DAR was still not convinced. Genealogist Thomas Ragusin, in a letter to Adrian and Wayne Bates, said the Duval on the payment record could not have been Maj. William Duval of Louisa because the record mentions “Mr. Duval,” not “Maj. Duval.”
Bates offers his own explanation for that. The war had been over for two years by then, and Duval would have returned to being a civilian.
‘An art form’
Bates admits to being a tad obsessive. For fun, he once tracked down every man who served on his Navy destroyer in World War II. He spent much of the 1980s researching the causes of railroad accidents after his brother, a railroad engineer, was wrongly blamed for one. “I cleared his name, clean as a whistle,” he says proudly. “It took 12 years, but I did it.”
The genealogical staff at DAR, by contrast, gets about two hours with each application. More than 90 percent are approved. The Bates case is part of a small minority that, instead, receive detailed “analyses” that lay out what is missing and what other documents to look for.
Genealogy “is not a science. It’s an art form,” says Terry Ward, who is DAR’s chief genealogist and leads a staff of 40.
Ward has short, gray hair and a slightly gravely voice. She’s worked in the DAR genealogy department for 14 years and remembers the days when correcting an old record involved scratching off the typewriting and then typing in the right information.
She has been the most frequent target of Bates’s barrage.
Ward has seen her share of applicants get upset when they are turned away, although they’re not usually as relentless as Bates. She doesn’t take it personally, she said. Nor do her staff members. They understand that genealogy is, at heart, an emotional exercise.
“It’s research and human nature. Someone goes up into the attic and finds Grandma was married twice and my uncle isn’t my uncle,” she says. “We understand that. We all started out researching our own families.”
She said proving service for a soldier in the Continental Line is rarely easy. Given the proliferation of identical names, proof of residency is critical to properly identifying someone. But the men who served on the Continental Line were pulled from different states, making it harder to know whether an ancestor is, for example, Reuben Bates from Virginia or Reuben Bates from New England.
Wayne Bates and other proponents of using DNA in genealogy argue that is precisely what DNA could help with. Within the Bates family, DNA has helped distinguish who descends from which branch. He said DNA evidence also backs up his claim that he is descended from Reuben Bates Sr. The Y chromosome DNA is passed down from father to son. Wayne Bates’s DNA was an exact match for that of a relative who, by paper, can document his lineage to Reuben. Other lineage societies, including Sons of the American Revolution, accept DNA evidence.
Ward and her colleagues said their problem with DNA is that it is still too imperfect a tool for them to rely on, unless someone is able to find every ancestor, dig them up and test their DNA. “If life were like ‘CSI,’ ” Ward says, “that would solve all of my genealogical problems.”
On a recent morning, Wayne Bates makes his way down to his cluttered office in the basement of the home he shares with his wife, Rose. At the foot of the stairs is a map of Fairfax County in 1760.
Refusing to quit
He grumbles that he doesn’t move as well as he used to and that he has to fork out $40 an hour to send a professional genealogist to ferret out documents for him. He does most of his research perched in front of his computer, his face hovering a few inches from the screen.
He picks his way around piles of binders, boxes, an old exercise bike, file cabinets and an armchair. He points to a volume titled “Ancestors and Descendents of William Whitt (1775-1850),” by David F. Whitt.
“That’s a tremendous book,” he says.
Bates looks around at the mess. “You ought to see it up here,” he says, tapping his forehead.
“I still think the first genealogist made an innocent mistake,” he says. But the rejection by Ragusin, the other DAR genealogist, was galling. “He ignored all the evidence.”
At one point, Bates’s cousin suggested they ditch the effort to recognize Reuben Sr., but the old man refused.
“My poor ancestor is blue in the face from holding his breath,” he says. “DAR is still holding him in limbo.”
I tip my hat to you cousin Wayne.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Our 23andMe DNA test results are in! And our impressions of their service . . .

Yesterday, I got back the results of my son's atDNA test. It is my first experience with this genetic genealogy testing company. I have tested in the past at Ancestry and FTDNA. And in my opinion of 23andMe - what an absolute utter mess.

The site is not user friendly (very difficult to navigate), the genetic tools, especially the chromosome browser, if that is what they call it, is non-standard and it is darn near useless.

They have loaded their plate up for all this health stuff and turned away from the genetic genealogy part of DNA testing. To add insult to injury it looks like they may have hired some of Ancestry's programmers to make their site real pretty, but like Ancestry and their "new site" the trade off is it is non-functional as a working DNA testing site (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

This experience has been a huge disappointment and as a genetic genealogy instructor I will make sure to let my students know not to utilize this service if they are interested in doing real genetic genealogy testing.

Bottom line: I immediately took his raw data and uploaded it to GedMatch (will also populate his test to FTDNA), and will wash my hands of this site, their tests, tools and company. For something that I have heard others rave about in the past, the 23andMe of today pretty much sucks and is a huge disappointment IMHO.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gedmatch's new spreadsheet feature

I am a huge fan of Gedmatch, a tier 1 supporter. It is a place where you can read the tea leaves, and tell the story that your atDNA test results hold for you. TL Dixon on his Roots & Recombination DNA blog just posted about a new feature - a spreadsheet option when you run your Gedmatch kit number (mine is A343022) through the Gedmatch admixture calculators (ie Dodecad, MDLP, PuntDNA, Eurogenes). This new Population Spreadsheet corresponds to your ORACLE results --- simply a population-fitting program measuring your genetic distance to a set of chosen reference populations based upon your Gedmatch admixture calculator results.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tri-County Community College Spring 2016 Genealogy Classes

Here is a list of genealogy classes that I will be teaching at Tri-County Community College in Peachtree, North Carolina, during the Spring 2016 semester.

Genealogy – Searching for Your Ancestors

Who am I and where did I come from? It's that intriguing question that has made genealogy research one of America's most popular hobbies. But where does one begin such research? What resources exist? How can you prove that what you find is true and valid? How do you go beyond America's borders to find roots in other English speaking nations? This "new" TCCC genealogy course - Searching for your Ancestors - offers the beginner and experienced genealogist alike a fresh approach to genealogy research. Subjects cover the full gambit from organizing your research to exploring your family history using traditional and electronic research, social media, and our newest tool DNA testing. Whether you are new to genealogy or have been family hunting since microfilm days, this course will assist you in researching your family in the 21st century. This beginner/intermediate course is a prerequisite for advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC. 32.5 hrs.(13 weeks)
January 19 - April 12 - Tuesday 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy

Genetic science can help you with your genealogy research, but you are going to have to take a test first. That test is a "low cost" autosomal DNA test available at DNA testing companies such as Ancestry, Family Tree DNA or 23andMe. This course will cover the new and expanding field of genetic genealogy basics and is designed for DNA newbies and other genealogists who want to get the most from their DNA testing. Some of the topics to be covered include an introduction to DNA testing and technical terms, the different types of autosomal DNA tests available, how DNA testing will help your genealogy research, what are your ethnic origins and how to interpret your results. Special emphasis will be given to the AncestryDNA autosomal test. If you want to demystify genetic genealogy, and you want to use this new and exciting research tool in your family history study, then this course is for you. This course is a prerequisite for the advanced DNA course. 7.5 hrs. (3 weeks)

January 21 - February 4  - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting More Out Of Genetic Genealogy Research

This advanced course is intended for the genealogist who has a thorough understanding of genetic genealogy basics and has experience applying DNA testing to family history research. The course will examine the methods used by genetic genealogists to thoroughly and accurately analyze DNA testing results to advance knowledge of an individual’s genealogy. Instruction will include the incorporation of various types of DNA testing results, analyzed in conjunction with documentary evidence. Part of this course will include comparing DNA testing data from all of the companies offering products to the genealogy community with explanations and demonstrations of the most valuable features and tools for the genetic genealogist. Students in this course will be exposed to skills for integrating DNA testing with traditional genealogy research. Pre-Requisite: Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy course. 12.5 hrs. (5 weeks)

February 11 - March 10 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Genealogy Research in Military Records

Military records are from times of war and times of peace. They identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. How can Military Records help in our genealogy research?  Military records can help you learn more about your ancestors who served their country and can often provide valuable information on the veteran, as well as on all members of the family. It is highly recommended that you have taken one of our beginner/intermediate courses before you take this course. 7.5 hrs. (3 weeks)

March 17 – March 31 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting It Right

If you are one of the millions of people who research, record, organize, or share family history, then this course is for you. You will learn a systematic approach to recording information in your genealogy databases and online trees. This course will teach you the rules and language you need so that your research will fit smoothly and efficiently with the rest of the family trees and histories being compiled worldwide. We will teach you how to compile a style guide for all your data entry regardless of the genealogy platforms you use. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned veteran in the world of genealogy, this is a class you do not want to miss. 5 hrs. (2 weeks)

April 7 – April 14 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

For more information or to get your name on the interest list contact Lisa Long at (828 835-4241).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry Christmas Family Tree Maker Users

Well if you were using Family Tree Maker (FTM) software and you used it to interface (tree sync) with your Ancestry tree(s), this announcement will not make you a happy camper. Got it yesterday in e-mail and confirmed it on their Ancestry blog. Also thank you Karen Howard, one of my genealogy students, for also passing along the heads up on this.
Dear Family Tree Maker™ community,
Ancestry is proud to have made a significant investment this year to bring valuable new content and records to the Ancestry site. In 2015, we’ve made 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico available, more than 170 million pages from the largest collection of U.S. will and probate records, among others. We’ve also introduced new features such as Ancestry Academy, and major advancements for AncestryDNA.
As we strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible, we are constantly evaluating our services and product offerings. True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.
We will continue to support existing Family Tree Maker owners at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™ will continue to work. Our Member Services team will also remain available to assist with questions or issues you may have.
These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on continuing to build great products for our loyal Ancestry community.
You can find additional details about the retirement of Family Tree Maker on our blog.
So this is more fallout by the implementation of their new Ancestry website next week. This company continues to amaze me how they manage to tick off their members on a regular basis.
Not sure who is advising Tim Sullivan Ancestry CEO in these matters, but I guess when you are the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room, you will do what you want subscribers be damned.
My guess is this represents the Internet cloud mentality that permeates the net these days. Also this looks like more a marketing ploy to keep you as a subscriber rather than doing good genealogy. I can't imagine doing genealogy in a net/tree only environment.
If you are using FTM software I highly recommend making the move to Legacy genealogy software.
Geoff Rasmussen at Legacy is smiling all the way to the bank.

Friday, December 4, 2015

More AncestryDNA woes.

Well I have been on the phone again to DNA, more issues like the ones I have uncovered below.
This time my dad and I shared matches with a set of cousins and he had the leaf matches but I did not.
Here are the screen captures with mine matches we share above and his below.
He had the leafs hints and I did not. I discovered this due to the extensive documenting via spreadsheet that I work with all the DNA testing results I work with. As I explained to the Ancestry DNA support tech, if I am having these issues I guarantee that others are as well. So far this has manifested itself in only my father and me matches. You might want to closely examine your matches with other relatives to see if they or you have leaf matches and they do or not have those matches. Do keep in mind that there is a 10 generation limit (7GGP - 9th cousins). If you are looking at parent/child matches both need to be within that 10 gen limit in order to document this issue.
Let's hope that Ancestry gets this fixed. Oh yea, they still haven't fixed the initial issue with my cousin's Gerald's tree/leaf match with me (see previous post). I have replied to their email telling me it was all fixed.
"Not so fast my friend. It isn't fixed."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

AncestryDNA Frustration Levels Continue to Rise at this Genealogy House

Well here I am again, writing about more troubles and issues with This time we have a mix of issues they may involve the old vs new Ancestry website, as well as the computers that run the DNA matching system.
During the third week of November, I called in two trouble complaints to the tech support people at AncestryDNA. One involved a problem getting back to the match list from a match's page when using the "new Ancestry" webpages with either Internet Explorer 11 or Google Chrome. Switch back to the old Ancestry website pages and the issue goes away.
I don't mind telling you if I keep having issues with AncestryDNA pages crashing my browser after a handful of match views, and me having to restart the browser each time that happens, you won't be hearing nice things after the 15th of December when the old pages go away. You folks need to get this fixed ASAP or delay your implementation. BTW I did confirm that others are having the same issue and they were able to duplicate the issue at AncestryDNA tech support.
But there is a second problem and this second issue is a bit more sinister in nature and it calls into play the entire computer DNA-tree matching system at Ancestry. The first instant I have documented  involves a cousin who is a DNA match at both FTDNA and Ancestry that I have been researching with for decades. Since my early days as a Beta tester for AncestryDNA, my cousin Gerald, my dad and I have been AncestryDNA leaf matches with a strong paper trail that supports it. DNA testing at Ancestry, GEDmatch and FTDNA all show the same thing, we are all cousins, well until now.
Recently while adding in the new shared cM/segment data that Ancestry now has available for each match into my DNA matches spread sheet, I noticed something very odd. My cousin Gerald's tree was no longer showing a leaf match between him, my dad and me. In addition it was showing his tree as private.
Now to some that might not be that big of a thing, but Gerald's tree is not private and I have contributor access to it (both recently confirmed by him). In addition, now when I do a surname search off either my father's DNA match list page or mine, the surname Witt we share in common does not bring his tree up in the DNA match list (he has all sorts of Witt ancestors and so do I). Nothing has changed on either end, we still have him listed as a DNA match, but now he is not a leaf match and we can't see the tree anymore off the DNA match page since it says it is private, yet I do have contributor access.
What makes it even more bizarre, I got an email this week saying that he had added to his tree. When I clicked on the link, I could see his tree via that email link and here is what it showed.
If you look closely at the graphic above it says Your role (that is me) Contributor.
Now the nice lady at AncestryDNA tech support was able to verify that there was an issue and put in a trouble call on November 20 [Incident: 151118-000867] which I also uploaded to screen captures per her instructions. I even received a nice email thanking me (verifying they had received the screen captures) from someone named Christopher.
On November 25, I received the following email from Ancestry.

This email is in reference to your recent inquiry with Ancestry Member Services, number 151118-000867.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you. Now we'd like to know how we did, and what we can do better. Please take a moment to complete the following short survey about the support we provided.

Click here to take this survey.

Sincerely, Ancestry Member Services

**Please do not respond to this auto-generated message, as we will not receive it.

When you clicked on the link to take the survey it didn't work. Surprise, surprise.
Regardless, of what this email says the issue isn't fixed, it doesn't work still either. They either don't know what they are doing, didn't look at it or just flat blew me off, none of which makes me a happy camper, uh, customer.
BTW, Ancestry does not show a match between my cousin Gerald and my 1C-1R Jerilyn (GEDmatch shows they share 8.6 cM/1637 SNPs on Chromosome 10 and she is a descendant of the same line as my dad, Gerald and me, but no match at Ancestry.
Now it is getting even worse. I have my four family DNA testers all linked to their spots in our family DNA tree. Those four are me, my dad, my cousin mentioned above (that is also genetically a match to my cousin Gerald) and my mother. It is the tree I use publicly for my AncestryDNA testers (we share the same family).
Since this incident cropped up a new one has just surfaced today. Again keep in mind that my dad and I are using a common tree that I have prepared at Ancestry just for DNA matching purposes. So any leaf match I have, he should also. But not so fast my friend.
Today I discovered that while I have an AncestryDNA leaf match with one of my cousins and her father (see screen grab above click for a zoomed in version), my dad doesn't get the same treatment from the computers at Ancestry (see screen grabs below for the same two cousins shown above for me).
And this plays into what I have been seeing on a regular basis now since the changeover to the v2 last year. I track all my leaf matches for all six of my testers very, very closely. I have seen leaf matches come, go and reappear again; matches themselves come, go and reappear and in some cases disappear; and sometime it happens in a matter of only hours. One match in particular appeared, disappeared, reappeared as a leaf match, disappeared and came back as a leaf match again, all in a matter of two weeks.
I'm sorry Ancestry this is no way to run a railroad. You have some major issues and I bet if others followed their matches as close as I do, they would start discovering some crazy issues as well.
You folks have some problems and instead of investing time, manpower and energy make your site pretty for the masses, how about taking that same energy, time and manpower to make it work properly.
My subscription to your site is up for renewal in two months. I have been a continuous subscriber for nearly 15 years now. But all of this has given me pause to rethink whether this relationship will go on further or not. Something has to give and it isn't going to be my sanity, plus the waste of time and energy I am expending working with your DNA system.
Guess it is time to get back on the phone with tech support again. Just damn!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

News Flash! Digitized Microfilm: From the Drawer to Your Computer

Great new from the FamilySearch Blog at has the complete story,

Exciting news is here explaining how users will access microfilmed records found in the FamilySearch catalog. In the early weeks of November, a new feature called the Thumbnail Gallery will be available to the public. Everywhere that historical record images are visible, users can view a single full-screen image or view a gallery of thumbnail (small) images for all images on a microfilm. Parts of this new viewer can be accessed through the Record Hints on Family Tree.

It is important to note that the thumbnail gallery will respect all record restrictions. Some digitized films will be available to anyone at home with a FamilySearch log-in. Other films will be LDS-only or family history center–only. Logged in users will see the camera icon based on their access rights. Only completely unrestricted images will display the camera icon for users who are not logged in. When you notice a film with the format icons, look at the same film as a logged-in user and nonlogged-in user. View films from home and from your family history center. Becoming familiar with the icons will help you be a better resource for answers from your staff and from visitors.

A complete transition to digitized film will happen over several years.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Another Ancestry DNA change just hit the street

The other night I told Gayle (those of you who do not know that is my lovely spouse) that I knew Ancestry was fixing to make another change/upgrade. And I was right. Must b getting pretty good at predicting these things now.

They have added a new feature (aka another DNA diagnostic tool) to the Ancestry DNA match page.

Now when you open a match you will get the total amount of shared DNA with your matches in centimorgans (cM) and how many segments that DNA occupies. So again they are slowly advancing the ball towards a chromosome browser IMHO.

Below is a screen capture of what I saw for my dad's match with me.

This feature works on every match on your pages including private trees, unlinked trees, no linked trees, leaf matches, etc.

Now how accurate is it, that remains to be seen.  CU you all in class Tuesday night and hope to have more in the pre class show.

Here is the information page from Ancestry on this feature which is tied to the match confidence level.

What does the match confidence score mean?

When we compare your DNA to the DNA of one of your matches, we calculate a confidence score for you. This score lets you know how much DNA evidence there is for you and your match actually being related.
But, just because you and another member have identical DNA doesn’t mean that you both inherited that DNA from a recent genealogical ancestor. (Learn how you can have identical DNA and not be related.) That’s where the confidence score comes in, and how we calculate the likelihood that you and your DNA match are actually related. A high confidence score means that we’re pretty sure that your DNA is identical because it was inherited from a recent ancestor. A lower score means that your identical DNA might be because you’re related, but it might also be because you have similar ethnic or regional backgrounds.

The confidence score is based on the amount and location of the DNA that you share with your match. We show the shared amount using centimorgans (cM), a unit used to measure the length of DNA. The higher the number, the higher the confidence, and in general, the closer the relationship. Since you can share DNA with your match on one or more segments in different locations in the genome, we show you how many. Note that the number of segments and number of centimorgans that we show reflects only those segments that we believe were inherited from a recent common ancestor (in other words, segments that are likely to be identical by descent).

When you’re exploring your list of DNA matches, look for these confidence scores and let them help you focus your research.

Confidence Score / Details

Extremely High  - Approximate amount of sharing: More than 30 centimorgans
Likelihood you and your match share a single recent common ancestor (within 5 or 6 generations):  Virtually 100%
You and your match share enough DNA to prove that you’re both descendants of a common ancestor (or couple)--and the connection is recent enough to be conclusive.

Very High  - Approximate amount of sharing: 20—30 centimorgans
Likelihood you and your match share a single recent common ancestor (within 5 or 6 generations):  99%
You and your match share enough DNA that we are almost certain you’re both descendants of a recent common ancestor (or couple).

High  - Approximate amount of sharing: 12—20 centimorgans
Likelihood you and your match share a single recent common ancestor (within 5 or 6 generations):  95%
You and your match share enough DNA that it is likely you’re both descendants of the same common ancestor or couple, but there’s a small chance the common ancestor(s) are quite distant and difficult to identify.

Good  - Approximate amount of sharing: 6—12 centimorgans
Likelihood you and your match share a single recent common ancestor (within 5 or 6 generations):  More than 50%
You and your match share some DNA, probably from a recent common ancestor or couple, but the DNA may be from distant ancestors that are difficult to identify.

Moderate  - Approximate amount of sharing: 6 centimorgans or less
Likelihood you and your match share a single recent common ancestor (within 5 or 6 generations):  20—50%
You and your match might share DNA because of a recent common ancestor or couple, share DNA from very distant ancestors, or you may not be related.

It’s important to note that the confidence score is related only to your match and not to the relationship range we’ve assigned. The confidence score should not be interpreted as our confidence that you are specifically 4th cousins, for example. Instead, it lets you know how confident you should be that you and your DNA match are related through a recent common ancestor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Setting the Record Straight on Province and Colony Names

While entering states into your genealogy databases - have you ever wondered what the correct name for Georgia or the other twelve, before they became a state ? While most researchers opt for listing these as they are now known, during colonial days, Delaware, Maryland and the others were not states, but instead were known as  a colony or a province. Virginia during colonial days was known as Colony and Dominion of Virginia. The following list can assist your research as well as keeping a concise and correct name for those once known as the Thirteen Colonies.

Thirteen Colonies
The chart below lists the 13 original colonies in alphabetical order, along with information about when each colony was founded and when each colony became a state:

January 9, 1788
December 7, 1787
January 2, 1788
April 28, 1788
February 6, 1788
New Hampshire
June 21, 1788
New Jersey
December 18, 1787
New York
July 26, 1788
North Carolina
November 21, 1789
December 12, 1787
Rhode Island
May 29, 1790
South Carolina
May 23, 1788
June 25, 1788

Contemporary documents usually list the thirteen colonies of British North America in geographical order, from the north to the south.

·         Province of New Hampshire, later New Hampshire, a crown colony

·         Province of Massachusetts Bay, later Massachusetts and Maine, a crown colony

·         Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, later Rhode Island, a crown colony

·         Connecticut Colony, later Connecticut, a crown colony

·         Province of New York, later New York and Vermont,[3] a crown colony

·         Province of New Jersey, later New Jersey, a crown colony

·         Province of Pennsylvania, later Pennsylvania, a proprietary colony

·         Delaware Colony (before 1776, the Lower Counties on Delaware), later Delaware, a proprietary colony

(Virginia and Maryland comprised the Chesapeake Colonies)

·        Province of Maryland, later Maryland, a proprietary colony

·        Colony and Dominion of Virginia, later Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia, a crown colony

·        Province of North Carolina, later North Carolina and Tennessee, a crown colony

·        Province of South Carolina, later South Carolina, a crown colony

·        Province of Georgia, later Georgia, northern sections of Alabama and Mississippi, a crown colony

Other divisions prior to 1730

Dominion of New England
Created in 1685 by a decree from King James II that consolidated Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, Rhode Island, Connecticut,Province of New York, East Jersey, and West Jersey into a single larger colony. The experiment collapsed afterthe Glorious Revolution of 1688–89, and the nine former colonies re-established their separate identities in 1689.
Settled in 1630 by Puritans from England. The colonial charter was revoked in 1684, and a new charter establishing an enlarged Province of Massachusetts Bay was issued in 1691.
Settled in 1622 (An earlier attempt to settle the Popham Colony in Sagadahoc, Maine (near present-day Phippsburg and Popham Beach State Park) in 1607 was abandoned after only one year). The Massachusetts Bay Colony claimed the Maine territory (then limited to present-day southernmost Maine) in the 1650s. Parts of Maine east of the Kennebec River were also part of New York in the second half of the 17th century. These areas were formally made part of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in the charter of 1691.
Settled in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Plymouth was merged into the Province of Massachusetts Bay in the charter of 1691.
Founded in 1635 and merged with Connecticut Colony in 1644.
Settled in late 1637. New Haven was absorbed by Connecticut Colony with the issuance of the Connecticut Charter in 1662, partly as royal punishment by King Charles II for harboring the regicide judges who sentenced King Charles I to death.
Settled as part of New Netherland in the 1610s, New Jersey was captured (along with New York) by English forces in 1664. New Jersey was divided into two separate colonies in 1674, which were reunited in 1702.
Founded in 1663. Carolina colony was divided into two colonies, North Carolina and South Carolina, in 1712. Both colonies became royal colonies in 1729.