Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins

An artist's interpretation of the hominins that lived near the Sima de los Huesos cave in Spain. I do believe that one on the right looks like one of my uncles on my dad's side of the family!
Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries.

In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years.
      
The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found.
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Colonial Goldmine

One leaf from a 1775 journal kept by Harvard scientist and professor John Winthrop (1714-1779) in that year’s Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanac. The list notes the battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19) and Bunker Hill (June 17) and Harvard’s one-year refuge at Concord (June 21).

Historians and archivists know a secret that most of us do not: that vast stores of primary documents about North America’s Colonial era lie untouched and unseen in repositories throughout the United States and Canada.

But according to an article in the online Harvard Gazette, two digital projects aim to bring vast numbers of early documents, many unexamined, to light.

You can read the entire story online at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/11/a-colonial-goldmine/.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FDA Tells Google-Backed 23andMe to Halt DNA Test Service


23andMe Inc., the Google Inc.-backed DNA analysis company was told by U.S. regulators to halt sales of its main product because it’s being sold without “marketing clearance or approval.”

23andMe is led by Anne Wojcicki, who co-founded the company in 2006 and recently separated from her husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Google has invested millions of dollars in the company in recent years.

The 23andMe $99 Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service, or PGS, tells users whether they carry a disease, are at risk of a disease and would respond to a drug. Most of the uses fall into the category of a medical device and require Food and Drug Administration approval, the agency told the Mountain View, California-based company in a Nov. 22 letter made public yesterday.

Alberto Gutierrez, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a letter to the company made public on Monday that 23andMe had failed to address concerns raised on multiple occasions since the agency began working with it on compliance in July 2009.

“FDA is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS device,” the agency said today. “The main purpose of compliance with FDA’s regulatory requirements is to ensure that the tests work.”

“Assessments for drug responses carry the risks that patients relying on such tests may begin to self-manage their treatments through dose changes or even abandon certain therapies depending on the outcome of the assessment,” Gutierrez wrote.

The FDA said that while 23andMe had initiated new marketing campaigns that show how it plans to expand the uses of PGS, it had failed to provide information that the FDA requested multiple times. The FDA said it has had “more than 14 face-to-face and teleconference meetings, hundreds of email exchanges, and dozens of written communications” with 23andMe to discuss how to get the company to comply with its recommendations.

“However, even after these many interactions with 23andMe, we still do not have any assurance that the firm has analytically or clinically validated the PGS for its intended uses, which have expanded from the uses that the firm identified in its submissions,” Gutierrez wrote.

23andMe is one of many companies to offer at-home genetic testing; in September it reported that its database had reached 400,000 people. Scientists have raised questions about the accuracy of the tests, and in May 2011 a Dutch study claimed the tests were inaccurate and offered little to no benefit to consumers.

Blog Editor Note: I have had several emails regarding this story and it has nothing to do with the genetic genealogy test we take to study our family history. This is about the personalized health DNA test that 23andMe (and only 23andMe) has been advertising recently for $99. Scientist claim that these personalized health tests that screen thousands of genes for versions that influence disease are inaccurate and offer little, if any, benefit to consumers. This part of the DNA story has been out there for several years now. As I see things now not to worry about the genetic testing that we have taken as genealogists. This has NOTHING to do with that unless you did your genetic test at 23andMe and that would only be impacted if the company shuts down.

There is a very interesting Forbes article with background on all this online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/11/25/23andstupid-is-23andme-self-destructing/

Finally, here is an update posted yesterday on the 23andMe blog:

An Update Regarding The FDA’s Letter to 23andMe
         Published by Anne Wojcicki, co-owner of 23and Me.
23andMe was started in 2007 with the belief that consumers have the right to get access to their genetic information and that information can help them live healthier lives.

It is absolutely critical that our consumers get high quality genetic data that they can trust.   We have worked extensively with our lab partner to make sure that the results we return are accurate.  We stand behind the data that we return to customers — but we recognize that the FDA needs to be convinced of the quality of our data as well.
In 2008 we began our dialogue with the FDA. The relationship with the FDA remains critically important to 23andMe.

In July 2012 23andMe submitted its first application for FDA clearance and followed on with another submission at the end of August. We received feedback on those submissions and acknowledge that we are behind schedule with our responses.
This is new territory for both for 23andMe and the FDA. This makes the regulatory process with the FDA important because the work we are doing with the agency will help lay the groundwork for what other companies in this new industry do in the future. It will also provide important reassurance to the public that the process and science behind the service meet the rigorous standards required by those entrusted with the public’s safety.

I am committed to making sure that 23andMe is a trusted consumer product. I believe that genetic information can lead to better decisions and healthier lives — a goal that all of us share.

We will provide updates as they become available.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Genealogy Dream in the Making: OCR Software That Reads Old Handwriting

Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog is reporting that "Mocavo announced this week that it's making progress on optical character recognition (OCR) software that will read cursive handwriting, which could revolutionize how digitized records are put online."

On the Mocavo blog, company founder Cliff Shaw described the process, which first involved developing OCR software that could  "perfectly separate handwriting from typewritten text."

Now, Shaw says, the company is getting closer to the "Holy Grail" of being able to accurately read handwritten text. "With limited vocabularies (potential answers), we’re achieving 90-95% accuracy," he writes.

They still have work to do to achieve the ability to read handwriting of a wide range of styles, and to overcome problems with faded or ink-spotted documents I mentioned above. Read about the software and see examples on the Mocavo blog.

Imagine having  software package that can index a hand written document such as this without human intervention. That would truly be the holy grail of software.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

This is cute and in some respects true

Click on picture to enlarge.
Courtesy of the Family Tree magazine Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Do You Have a Native American Ancestor from North Carolina?

If you have a Native American ancestor from North Carolina, search through the Ancestry newly added North Carolina, Native American Census Selected Tribes, 1894-1913, database.

These census books enumerated Cherokee Indians living in communities o...n the Cherokee or Qualla Reservations in western North Carolina, including Big Cove, Yellow Hill, Birdtown, Natahala, Soco, and Wolf Town in Cherokee, Jackson, Swain, and Graham counties.

Start searching here >> http://ancstry.me/1gKMV7C <<



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Have You Used the FamilySearch Free Lookup Service?

My genealogy students all know what my favorite word is "FREE!"

Right now I can heard them all say "FREE" in unison all the way over here in the Btown Gap.

Well nuff of that. I thought I was the master of free, but my old ham buddy Dick Eastman of EOGN fame has me beat. There I said it. So Dick don't get a big head on this. What am I talking about? Here is something very interesting from Dick Eastman's newsletter at http://www.eogn.com/. If you like free, you will definitely like this.

This must be the best-kept secret in genealogy! Well, it isn't really a secret as it is documented on several web pages on FamilySearch.org. However, in my travels, I have never met anyone who has used this valuable service. In fact, most of the genealogists I have talked with have never heard of FamilySearch's free lookup service. This surprises me because (1.) it is a chance to easily obtain valuable genealogy information from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and (2.) because it is available free of charge.

Family-History-Library
FamilySearch provides a free lookup service for genealogy books and microfilms that are available at the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The free service does ask you to supply specific information. The folks in Salt Lake City are not prepared to answer questions of, "Please send me all the information you have about my great-grandfather (insert name here)."  However, if you can specify a book and page number, or a specific image on a reel of microfilm, the personnel at the Family History Library will gladly look at that page or image and (in most cases) scan the entire page and email it to you for free.

What's not to like about this service?
You do need to do a bit of homework before using this service. At a minimum, you must provide:
  1. The name of the individual as it appears in the book.
  2. The book title
  3. The page number(s)
Next, check the Family History Library Catalog at https://familysearch.org/catalog-search to see if that book is available in the Family History Library's collection. If so, make a note of the Call Number.

Once you have the required information, fill out the online Photoduplication Request form at https://lds.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9tdS7lqbTCW30kR.

Assuming you supplied enough information for the Family History Library employee to find the book, you will receive the reply and (usually) a scanned image of the page within a few days.

So how do you find the page number of a book that contains information about your ancestor? I suspect there are several ways but I would always start with Google Books at http://books.google.com. You can find tens of thousands of genealogy books there along with a few million other books covering a wide variety of topics. I would search for the name of the person I seek to see if anything about him or her has been published in a book.
Comment: As a genealogist, you really should be familiar with Google Books as it is another free and valuable service. If you are not yet familiar with Google Books, this is a good time to learn!
Keep in mind that Google Books scans ALL the pages of all the books it digitizes. That includes books both in and out of copyright. For books that are obviously out of copyright (normally anything prior to 1923 for U.S. publications), Google Books will display the entire page to you. For books out of copyright, you won't need to use the FamilySearch Free Lookup Service as the same image is already available to you on Google Books.

However, for books printed in the past 90 years, Google cannot legally display entire pages to you without the author and/or publisher's permission. Instead, Google displays only a snippet from that page. Typically, you only see a paragraph or two, showing the words immediately before and after the name you specified. If that snippet happens to contain all the information you need, consider yourself lucky. However, my experience has been that the snippet is only a "teaser" and does not display everything I need.

What do you do if you want to see the entire page, or several pages from the book? The answer is to use FamilySearch’s free lookup service. Assuming the Family History Library does have the book and the information you supplied does point to the appropriate page, an image of the entire page will be sent to you in email. I am no lawyer but I believe U.S. copyright laws allow libraries to look up information for patrons upon request and send limited photocopies or scanned images whereas Google and other providers of information cannot legally supply similar images in large quantities to everyone.

You may never need to use the FamilySearch free lookup service. However, if you do have the need, this is a valuable service that is free. You don't need to fly to Salt Lake City to obtain what you need.

If you wish to use the FamilySearch free lookup service, I would urge you to first read Nathan W. Murphy's description on the FamilySearch Blog of how it all works at https://familysearch.org/blog/en/google-books-free-copies-pages-family-history-library-books/. Nathan even supplies screenshots showing the step-by-step process of using Google Books to find snippets of genealogy information.

UPDATE: By Nathan W. Murphy of the Family History Library: "GOOD NEWS -- you can now use this service up to five times a week. The previous limit had been five times a month."



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Prowling the Harshaw Chapel Cemetery in Murphy NC

Gayle and I spent the early afternoon prowling the Harshaw Chapel Cemetery in Murphy. Beautiful Fall day to look for tombstones.

 
 
I love the Fall and all the color that the Lord provides.
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

DAR to accept Y-DNA evidence!


According to a post on the NSDAR President General's Today's DAR blog, beginning January 1, 2014, the NSDAR will accept Y-DNA evidence in support of new member applications and supplemental applications. DNA evidence submitted along with other documentation will be considered along with all of the other source documentation provided to prove heritage. Y-DNA will not be considered as stand-alone proof of lineage because while it can be used as a tool point to a family, it cannot be used as absolute proof for an individual.

See the following webpage for the full statement from the President General's official blog of the DAR. http://youngblog.dar.org/dna-evidence-dar-applications-and-supplementals

As soon as I see more on how this fits in with the rest of their proof structure, I will post additional information on this blog.

It is my opinion that this is a very important step forward in genealogy research. I have stated in the past that "every" genealogist should at least take an autosomal DNA test. You need to consider this test a unique genealogical record that only you can create. It is a record that will last for generations and help future researchers untangle all of your family lines. The more people who test, the more we all will be able to lock down and prove scientifically all our paper trail lines. Like the computer was to genealogy, in the future, so will DNA testing.

So it is great that such a nationally recognized lineage society, such as the NSDAR, recognize the new frontier of DNA testing. Now I hope we won't have to wait long to see autosomal DNA testing as part of the proof structure in lineage genealogy research.

More on this very soon de Larry.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Three Ways to Celebrate National Family History Month

Some of my relatives at the String Prairie, Bastrop County, Texas, Post Office. Love those floppy hats. And check out those dudes on horseback. Must have been one heck of a celebration. If you know the story of this photo, contact me at the email address in the masthead.
October is National Family History Month, a perfect time to discover your roots, learn something new, or gather photos and other memories to create that special project you’ve been meaning to work on. Here are three great ways you can make the most of this month to celebrate and share your family’s story courtesy of Lisa A. Alzo.

See more at: http://www.reelgenie.com/blog/3-ways-celebrate-national-family-history-month/#sthash.rnWQPLBU.dpuf

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Ellis Island Name Change Myth


A bit of controversy arose after the Monday night airing of PBS' Genealogy Roadshow. Joshua Taylor made a comment about immigrant name changes supposedly made at Ellis Island by the personnel on the Ellis. According to Taylor that comment which aired was a mistake. His very interesting comments on this subject can be found on his blog at http://www.djoshuataylor.com/2013/10/01/the-ellis-island-myth/.




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ancestry.com LLC Acquires Find A Grave, Inc.



Editor Note: Well dear readers this was only a matter of time.

PROVO, Utah, Sept. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry.com LLC announced today it has acquired Find A Grave, Inc., the leading online cemetery database.

With over 100 million memorials and 75 million photos, Find A Grave has amassed an unparalleled collection of burial information. Over the past 18 years, it has grown to become an invaluable resource for genealogists, history buffs and cemetery preservationists. Find A Grave will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com, and will continue to be managed by its founder, Jim Tipton.

"Find A Grave is an amazing phenomenon supported by a passionate and engaged community of volunteers around the world," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. "We at Ancestry.com are so excited...honored really...to take on the responsibility of supporting this community. We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation, and look forward to working with Jim Tipton and the entire Find A Grave team to accelerate the development of tools designed to make it even easier for the Find A Grave community to fulfill its original mission to capture every tombstone on Earth."

Ancestry.com plans to bolster the resources dedicated to Find A Grave to launch a new mobile app, improve customer support, introduce an enhanced edit system for submitting updates to memorials, foreign-language support, and other site improvements.

"Ancestry.com has been a long-time supporter of Find A Grave. They have been linking and driving traffic to the site for several years," said Jim Tipton, founder of Find A Grave. "Burial information is a wonderful source for people researching their family history and I look forward to working with Ancestry.com to help continue our growth and accelerate the pace of improvements."

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com is the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 12 billion records have been added to the Ancestry.com sites and users have created more than 50 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, the Company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com, all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About Find A Grave
Find A Grave is a free resource for finding the final resting places of famous folks, friends and family members. With millions of names, it's an invaluable tool for genealogist and history buffs. Find A Grave memorials are rich with content, including dates, photos and biographies. Visitors can leave 'virtual flowers' on memorials to complete the online cemetery experience. Find A Grave also contains listings for thousands of celebrity graves, making it the premier, online destination for tombstone visitors.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Century of North Carolina City Directories Now Online

Courtesy of the UNC Library News and Events Blog at http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/news/

image from directory
Wilmington, N.C., directory, 1940
Before Google or Siri, before the telephone book or even the telephone, humble city directories helped salesmen, businesses, and newcomers contact clients and neighbors.

Now a century’s worth of North Carolina directories is online (here) as part of the City Directories Collection from the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC). The collection features 939 directories from the years 1860 through 1963. They cover 108 cities in 64 counties.

The NCDHC is a statewide digital library based at the UNC Library and sponsored by the State Library of North Carolina. Through cooperative projects with libraries, museums, historical societies, and cultural institutions, it has digitized more than two million pages of North Carolina history since its founding in 2010.

The directories are a valuable tool for genealogists, historians, city planners, and anyone curious about the state’s past, said Nick Graham, program coordinator for the Center. “City directories don’t sound interesting until you realize how much is in them,” he said.
 
 The simplest directories list residents alphabetically, along with their address and occupation. Some have a reverse-directory feature arranged by address that can help researchers understand how businesses turned over from year to year.

Raleigh, N.C., directory, 1875-76
The most comprehensive directories contain a treasure trove of history, such as local business ads and Jim Crow-era publications that denote the race of each resident. Graham said UNC researchers studied the racial geography of Charlotte in 1911 by creating a map using the directories.

A convenient cross-directory search feature allows users of the collection to find all instances of a single name, business, or industry in the entire collection. Most of the directories come from the stacks of the North Carolina Collection in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library.

However, a growing number are from public libraries around the state and from other partners such as the Duke University Library. “Local libraries often have things that UNC does not,” said Graham. He invites libraries and historical societies interested in digitizing their city directories to contact him at ngraham@email.unc.edu or (919) 962-4836.

The State Library of North Carolina supports the NCDHC with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library and Services and Technology Act. UNC contributes the technical and administrative infrastructure and the expertise of staff consultants.

Friday, September 13, 2013

AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update -- They Did Update It Sorta!

Well if you are one of my readers who took an Ancestry Autosomal DNA test, no doubt you probably marveled at the ethnicity that Ancestry reported to you (I didn't realize I that I so  much Scandinavian in me even though over 60% of my lineage is, wait for it, GERMAN. That German part of my lineage must have manifest itself in that 4% uncertain.  When you add that to my Mom's ethnicity, well, as I told the folks at Ancestry, they blew it.

                     My Autosomal Ethnicity                             Mom's Ethnicity
                     British Isles 57%                                         Eastern European 40%
                     Scandinavian 22%                                       Central European 26%
                     Southern European 17%                              Scandinavian 25%
                     Uncertain 4%                                               British Isles 9%

Well this afternoon I saw a bunch of messages on the DNA-Newbie newsgroup that Ancestry has revised their ethnicity calculations.

You can read about click clicking here


Imagine my surprise when I checked my AncestryDNA account and saw that all three of my kits that I manage had that orange button in the upper right hand corner. Yahoo, oh wait that is a search engine!

Well I have looked at all three kits I manage and I can safely say they have put out a much better and accurate product.

Here is my Mom's new ethnic results:

Asia  < 1% 
    Asia Central < 1% .

Europe  96% 
     Great Britain 41% .
     Europe East 28% .
     Europe West 19% .
Trace Regions 8% ..
    Italy/Greece 4% .
    Scandinavia 2% .
    Finnish/Northern Russia 1% .
    Ireland < 1%

West Asia  3% 
 Trace Regions 3% ..
    Caucasus 3%

Much better considering that more than 60% of her paper trail is a German lineage. And here is the new presentation screen:



And now here is my new results:

Asia  < 1% 
 Trace Regions < 1% ..
    Asia Central < 1% .

Europe  99% 
    Europe West 62% .
    Ireland 12% .
    Great Britain 7% .
    Scandinavia 5% .
 Trace Regions 13% ..
    Iberian Peninsula 6% .
    Europe East 5% .
    Italy/Greece 1% .
    European Jewish < 1%



There is also some useful help material available to explain this material on another screen.

 
 
The "sorta" in my blog post title refers to the fact that only a handful of the AncestryDNA testers have seen this new feature and not the entire AncestryDNA Universe. So I guess I'm one of the lucky 6000 selected to preview and survey this new stuff. Thanks Ancestry. I do love chatting with you folks from time to time on things I see needing improvement.

Oh, by the way, could you please now work on a Chromosome Browser package for your Autosomal AncestryDNA package. It really would be a great thing to have and make my life as a genetic genealogist a hell of a lot easier. Please, please develop and implement a chromosome browser. Maybe begging will work instead of a hard line.

I hope to have more on this as it becomes available so stay tuned to the Family Roots and Branches blog.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to Make a Billion Global Records Available Online

 

 

Groundbreaking Agreement to Deliver Valuable Historical Content Over the Next Five Years

PROVO, Utah, Sept. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry.com and FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org), the two largest providers of family history resources, announced today an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault.

The access to the global collection of records marks a major investment in international content as Ancestry.com continues to invest in expanding family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.

"This agreement sets a path for the future for Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to increasingly share international sets of records more collaboratively," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. "A significant part of our vision for family history is helping provide a rich, engaging experience on a global scale. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring to help benefit the family history community and look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch to identify other opportunities to help people discover and share their family history."

The organizations will also be looking at other ways to share content across the two organizations. Both organizations expect to add to the already digitized records shared across the two websites in addition to new record projects to be completed over the next five years.

"We are excited to work with Ancestry.com on a vision we both share," said Dennis Brimhall, President of FamilySearch. "Expanding online access to historical records through this type of collaboration can help millions more people discover and share their family's history."

This marks a groundbreaking agreement between the two services. But the two organizations aren't strangers to working with each other; hundreds of millions of records have already been shared and are available on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.

About Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com is the world's largest online family history resource with approximately 2.7 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 11 billion records have been added to the Ancestry.com sites and users have created more than 50 million family trees containing more than 5 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site www.ancestry.com, the company operates several Ancestry international websites along with a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com, all designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,800 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fall Genealogy Classes at Tri County Update 21 Aug 2013

Sorry this is later than normal getting out but this summer has been . . . well it has been.

Here are the classes and dates as currently scheduled for the Fall Genealogy classes at Tri County Community College in Peachtree, NC.

Genealogy – Beginning/Intermediate Course: This course covers the basics of genealogy research by exploring a variety of record sources used in the pursuit of ancestor hunting. Sources such as vital records, census, church records, court, military, land property, probate, and tax records will be discussed in detail. We will also cover the newest genealogy tool in that can open up your family history research – DNA testing. If you want to learn how to do genealogy research the right way, this is the course for you. This course is a requirement to take any of the advanced genealogy courses we offer at TCCC.
September 10 - October 23 on Tuesday/Wednesday nights, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $60


Genealogy /Advanced – Google and Your Family Tree Research: When it comes to tracing your family tree online, you need the right tools to get the job done. This course will teach you how to discover all the powers of Google and how to use it in your family research. It will help you stuff your genealogy toolbox with free state-of the-art Internet tools that are built to search, translate, message and span the globe for your family history. This is a must course for the advanced genealogist that will help you explore the depth of power contained within each major part of the Google Internet service. Prerequisite: Beginner/Intermediate course.
August 29 -  October 31 (8 weeks) on Thursday nights, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $40


Genealogy /Advanced – Google Earth for Genealogy: Google Earth has the power to geographically document your ancestors lives. It is one of the most exciting online genealogical tools available, and best of all, it’s free. In this course you will learn how to download and use Google Earth and use Google Maps. We will also cover how to plot ancestor homesteads, pinpoint property, create family history tours and a whole lot more. Prerequisite: Beginner/Intermediate and the Google and Your
Family Tree Research courses mentioned above.
November 7 -21 (3 weeks) on Thursday nights, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $20

Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the changes at Ancestry just keep on coming!

My record of teaching an Internet and Genealogy course, finishing it, and have the various websites that I taught in that class make changes is still 100%. Yep, those funny folks in the Product Development Team at Ancestry.com are at it again.

So now you guys who took my class last Spring remember the night we talked about old search and new search at Ancestry. Well the old search is going the way of the Dodo bird. Yep, the famed old search engine will be history in the next six months. The good news is at least they have done away with the result pages that had those gold colored stars. Those stars were suppose to rate the results you received based on the search criteria you put into the new search engine.

I'm sorry Ancestry, but that was the dumbest damn thing I have ever seen you do in the nearly 13 years I have been with you as a paying customer.

So the search engine below that has been around literally forever will be history soon.


So will the results page that was associated with this search engine (below).



The new search engine now looks like this.



On the results page you will have two different views of the search results depending on which tab you select in the upper right hand corner. Here is a view when the record tab is selected.



And here is the new search results page when the category tab is selected.



This second results page is more like the old search engine results page and for that I will applaud the Product Team at Ancestry. The other thing that I mentioned above is you got rid of those juvenile star results pages.

If you want to switch between the two search engines follow my instructions below.

First look at the toolbar at the top of the Ancestry page. Click on the search button.


You will then get a second screen that dumps you off your Ancestry home page and puts you at the current search engine you are using. Look at the upper right hand corner and there is a link that lets you select between the two different search engines (see below).

 
 
In my screen capture above clicking on the Go to Old Search engine in the upper right hand corner will take you to the old search engine.
 
Bottom line the old engine will be history soon so time to get use to the new engine. Here is the email I received from Ancestry about this situation this afternoon.
 
 
Tell us what you think
          Dear Larry,
Ancestry.com is continuing our efforts to improve the search experience across Ancestry.com and will be making changes to our search functionality in the upcoming months. Some features will be added and some will be discontinued. As part of the 2% of our subscribers that use the old search function on the site, we know that you are passionate about the search experience on Ancestry.com and we are reaching out to you to get input on potential improvements. We hope you will take the opportunity to share your insights and feedback on our plans.

To identify which areas of the experience we should focus on this year, we have drawn on customer input, usage data, usage patterns and our old search function for inspiration. From all of that, we are looking at making your time on Ancestry.com more productive by improving these areas of the search experience in 2013:
  • More relevant search results with the best results at the top
  • Easier refining and control of your search results
  • Keeping a better history of the work you have done
  • Publishing more new content and more corrections to existing content
  • Performance improvements to return results faster
As we begin to make these improvements, we will no longer maintain two separate search systems for the site. Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make. Additionally, continuing to maintain the two systems limits our ability to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting existing collections.

Based on that, as a part of the work this year we will be bringing together the two search experiences into a single search experience on Ancestry.com. We hope to bring forward the best features of both the old and new search systems into the consolidated experience to facilitate the transition for our users and to improve the overall search experience. We expect to discontinue the old search function as a separate experience within the next 6 months.

As a user of the old search feature, we wanted to give you advance notice and let you influence the changes we are making in search. Please take this survey to share your feedback and ideas on key features to improve.

Best regards,
The Ancestry.com Product Team
So there you have it folks. Hey Ancestry now that we are focused and you have made improvements how about a DNA Chromosome Browser and improved ethnic DNA admixtures. Maybe a Xmas present, hint, hint!

Here we go again Ancestry is tweeking their search engine!

Dear Ancestry Product Development Team.,

I got your most wonderful and heartwarming email today informing me that your programmers as restless again and going to make some major changes to your main search engine - Again! I'm now informaed that I only 2 percent of the total users of Ancestry who continue to use the old search engine you decided needed changing several years ago to the piece of junk you now have called a "new search" engine.

Oh how cute and warm and fuzzy that new search engine is. It gives me stars to let me know the relevance of the results of my search. And oh look at this. On the right hand side of the page I have "filters."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Be careful when using tombstone information in lew of vital records.

I'm sure most of my readers are aware that tombstones can contain erroneous information from time-to-time. Personally I prefer a vital record (aka death certificate) if it is available as a primary record for someone's death event. But in many cases as we go back in time that will not be possible. But you should use tombstone information with a grain of salt. Case in point below is the tombstone of Joe Rob Redus.



Joe Rob Redus was the son of John Clement Redus Sr. and Hazel Ann Slater. According to the tombstone picture posted to his Find-A-Grave memorial # 28257374. He was born 14 Apr 1929 in Medina County, Texas and according to his tombstone died 12 July 1929. But that is not the entire story. The Texas death certificate tells us something different.



The death certificate  above shows that Joe Rob died at 10:15 pm 10 Jul 1929 and was buried the next day 11 Jul 1929. Bottom line the death certificate should be the primary document used in any lineage and the tombstone should be documented with the exceptions noted above.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

AncestryDNA Surname Search Tool Brief Appearance Explained

As first reported on Monday (May 20) on this blog, Ancestry has been tinkering around with a new search tool for their autosomal DNA customers. CeCe Moore has posted up on her blog the rest of the story about why this function has been popping in and out of our DNA results.

"I asked Stephen Baloglu, Ancestry.com's Director of Product Marketing, for clarification in regard to exactly what has been going on with this feature the last couple of days, as well as the time frame for a full roll-out. He explained, "We had been doing some isolated early release testing of the new ability to search matches by surname and birth location. It's very exciting, but the development is not complete. We put it in the wild for a small, random portion of AncestryDNA customers to get a sense of how it is working. We expect to roll out the feature in late June/early July to all DNA customers along with a few modifications to what has already been seen."

You can read her full account of this story on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog at
http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2013/05/sneak-preview-of-ancestrydnas-new.html

On a somewhat related note we still have NOT seen or heard any additional word from FTDNA re: upload of the AncestryDNA raw results to their site. To many of us this is not a surprise. The only entity in this world that moves slower is the U.S. Government (oh hell, bet I will get audited for that comment).

As soon as I hear something more definitive, I will pass it along here on the FRB blog.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A New Ancestry Autosomal Tool Being Added as I Type

While working on my AncestryDNA just seconds ago something new popped on my screen -- the long anticipated surname search feature. Normally when these sort of features are added, Ancestry will disable the function until it is added. In this case they didn't. I can't tell you anything about it right now as nothing seems to be working yet so stay tuned and I will post more when I see it.

Below is a screen capture of what I saw

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Hey Ancestry, if it isn't broken there is nothing to fix!"

What did I told you guys in my last class that it would happen. That we would barely get out of class and Ancestry would start making major changes to their website.

Sure enough the people at Ancestry are tinkering with the main search engine again. When I logged in this afternoon they wanted me to take a survey about their new search engine results with various screen grabs.

Hell, give me a chance to give you my thoughts on the junk that the Ancestry programmers think up and I will take it every time. Here is my reply:

"I am a long time subscriber to your service (since Dec 2000) and I have taught hundreds of genealogy students how to use your website. I probably know more about what has been here every the years than most anyone else you have on this site today. As long as you do not do away with the old search engine, I don't mind the second screen grab above. The rest aren't worth your or my time. I have said this on many occasions to you folks and my students, if it isn't broke don't try and fix it. Why doesn't your IT staff spend more time giving us useful and easy tools to aid us in better understanding our AncestryDNA results instead of this constant tinkering with the search engine. How about surname search engines for DNA results and other things than this constant changes to the main search engines. Enough is enough. No more changes to the main search engine until we get a DNA Chromosome Browser."

Heck, don't take my word for it, login and see the junk they are peddling this time.

"Hey Ancestry, if it isn't broken there is nothing to fix!"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve

I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard this one - "I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve"  In January on the FamilySearch Blog with have this from Nathan W. Murphy:

"Warning. Contains spoilers. Have you ever heard these words uttered “I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve”? When asked if it is possible for living people to extend ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, of the Church Genealogical Department, stated:
“The simplest answer is No. Let me explain. In thirty-five years of genealogical research, I have yet to see a pedigree back to Adam that can be documented. By assignment, I have reviewed hundreds of pedigrees over the years. I have not found one where each connection on the pedigree can be justified by evidence from contemporary documents. In my opinion it is not even possible to verify historically a connected European pedigree earlier than the time of the Merovingian Kings (c. a.d. 450–a.d. 752).
“Every pedigree I have seen which attempts to bridge the gap between that time and the biblical pedigree appears to be based on questionable tradition, or at worst, plain fabrication. Generally these pedigrees offer no evidence as to the origin of the information, or they cite a vague source.”
And then there is this from Nathan in Part Deux:

"Several readers posted questions after my initial post “I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve” in which Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, writing in 1984, had stated that it is not possible for someone alive today to document a pedigree back to Adam and Eve. Readers asked (1) has additional research conducted since 1984 improved the situation, and (2) isn’t it possible for European royalty to trace their lineage back to Biblical genealogies? Fran├žois Weil provides authoritative answers to these questions in his new book Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America (2013) published by Harvard University Press. Weil, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris, states:
Genealogy was originally the prerogative of kings and princes. The oldest surviving royal genealogies in Europe go back to the sixth century A.D. for Gothic sovereigns, to the seventh century for their Irish, Lombardic, Visigothic, and Frankish counterparts, and to the eighth and ninth centuries for Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian kings. (pp. 10-11)
Thus Weil and Gunderson agree – European royal pedigrees cannot be verified before the 500s A.D.
If family tree databases, such as FamilySearch FamilyTree suggest otherwise, I would encourage you to correct the information and ask contributors for their sources.

To learn more, read: Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America. By Fran├žois Weil. Published by Harvard University Press, Online bookstore; 2013. ISBN 9780674045835. 320 pp. Indexes. Hardcover. $27.95 • £20.95 • €25.20."

I think it is time to put this myth to bed. I totally agree with Nathan after my 35 + years of genealogy research that no one and I mean no one has a verifiable tree back to Adam and Eve!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Online US County Boundary Changes


For those of you who just completed my Internet and Genealogy class, I have an update for your notes.

Knowing US county boundaries on various dates in our ancestors timeline is extremely important. No sense in looking in a particular county for a genealogy record if that county had not been established yet.

So what is a genealogist suppose to do? A free website the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries on the Newberry.org website is the online answer.

The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is meant to be a resource for people seeking records of past events, and people trying to analyze, interpret and display county-based historical data like returns of elections and censuses, and for people working on state and local history projects. The special interests of those potential users range from history to demography, economics, genealogy, geography, law, and politics. While many of these goals can be achieved using the Atlas' Interactive Maps, the downloadable data can be used with various GIS (Geographic Information Systems) programs to create specialized projects.

A project of the William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture at The Newberry Library in Chicago, the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a powerful historical research and reference tool in electronic form. The Atlas presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia. It also includes non-county areas, unsuccessful authorizations for new counties, changes in county names and organization, and the temporary attachments of non-county areas and unorganized counties to fully functioning counties. The principal sources for these data are the most authoritative available: the session laws of the colonies, territories, and states that created and changed the counties.

What makes this Atlas stand out?

Over a dozen features distinguish the volumes and files of this atlas from other compilations.
  1. All boundary changes in states and counties-unrivaled historical and geographic coverage.
  2. Non-county areas-never before compiled or mapped.
  3. Attachments to operational counties (non-county areas and unorganized counties)-never before compiled or mapped.
  4. Separate map or polygon for every different county configuration-clarity and ease of use.
  5. Based on original research in primary sources-unlike most reference works.
  6. Primary sources cited for every change-unmatched documentation.
  7. Information organized by both date and county-unmatched flexibility.
  8. Locator maps for all county maps-show each county's location within its state.
  9. Area (sq. mi.) for each county configuration-available nowhere else.
  10. Polygons available in two formats: shapefiles and KMZ-broad applicability.
  11. Interactive map has many options for background-unmatched convenience.
  12. Supplementary bibliography, chronologies, and commentary-unusually complete and thorough data presentation.
  13. Short and Long metadata documents for each state dataset-convenience and completeness.
You can view this wondeful resource at http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

AncestryDNA-FTDNA Raw Results Import


I just talked this morning to a representative of FTDNA regarding when they will start accepting AncestryDNA raw test results for import into their Family Finder platform. According to that source it now looks like the end of next week  (6-10 May) at the earliest before they will make this service available to those of us who tested at Ancestry. Also my source could not confirm the price for the import, but felt that they would be charging the same price for the service as they do for 23andMe autosomal test imports.

You can get more information on all the various autosomal DNA tests on the ISOGG website by clicking on this link.

Friday, March 29, 2013

We have raw results from Ancestry - now what?

There has been a lot of chatter around the web and on the social media, including this blog, regarding the release of the raw data from Ancestry for our autosomal DNA (aka the AncestryDNA test). Some of it has not been very flattering regarding the "possible" comments supposedly made by some Ancestry officials at RootsTech 2013 conference.

Roberta on the DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog had a take that she posted that on first blush had me madder than a hornet. I was especially not happy with one of the comments that has been attributed to Kenny Freestone, the Ancestry product development manager, and I quote, "that their primary focus is to keep things simple for the newer users." This was in regards to providing some advanced tools to aid those of us who tested using their AncestryDNA test to further refine the DNA matches we have received via their testing system.

In chasing this story down, I actually found someone who was present at the event where Mr. Freestone supposedly made the infamous comment mentioned above. Honestly, after reviewing the record, I think Roberta may have jumper the gun just a bit. I can find no evidence from anyone who attended those get togethers that he actually made that comment.

CeCe Moore at the "Your Genetic Genealogist" blog has an extensive post on all this at
http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2013/03/ancestrydna-raw-data-and-rootstech.html.

So for now I will put this chromosome browser issue and Mr. Freestone to rest. But let it be known by all that I will be keeping at least one eye on you Mr. Freestone. I just don't trust everything coming out of your shop. I have had issues in the past with some of the supposedly great ideas you and your software engineers have generated in the past. I have been an Ancestry paying customer since December 2000 and I honestly just don't trust your software programming staff to do the smart thing all the time (aka your old search vs new search templates/results, etc).

I won't rehash everything that CeCe covered in her post here on this blog. So if you want to get the whole story I encourage you to click on the link above and read all of her post. I think you will find it very interesting. Below I will cover some of the more interesting things she mentioned that have immediate impact on those of us who have spent our cash with Ancestry taking their autosomal DNA test.

CeCe mentioned that she had sent her raw DNA file to several 3rd party providers and received the following comments:

* "After working with it a bit, John Olson announced on the site that he expects that Gedmatch will be accepting AncestryDNA uploads in about two weeks."

You can view John's GEDmatch website at http://gedmatch.com/.

* "David Pike told me that he has updated his tools to work with the AncestryDNA files."

David Pike's DNA Comparison Utilities can be viewed at http://www.math.mun.ca/~dapike/FF23utils/
* "Leon Kull has reportedly updated his HIR search site to work with them as well."

Leon Kull's website is located at http://hiropractic.snpology.com/22/

* "Dr. Ann Turner has created an Excel macro to convert the AncestryDNA files to 23andMe format."

I'm still searching for this tool so if anyone knows where this Excel is at, please email me.

CeCe further wrote on her blog:

"At the "Ask the Expert" Genetic Genealogy panel that I moderated at RootsTech on Saturday:
* "Bennett Greenspan told the audience that Family Tree DNA will be accepting AncestryDNA transfers into Family Finder starting on May 1st. "

* "Dr. Catherine Ball confirmed that the raw data file is not phased and that they are delivering it as they receive it from the chip manufacturer Illumina. She also confirmed what Dr. Ann Turner had already discovered - the data labeled as "Chromosome 25" is from the PAR region. Further, the "Chromosome 23" label refers to the X chromosome data and "Chromosome 24" refers to the Y chromosome."

Additional notes from CeCe:
* "Unlike Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA is not removing any SNPs from the data - medically relevant or not. "

* "The overlap between AncestryDNA's raw data file and 23andMe's should be around 690,000 SNPs due to the fact that they are both using the same Illumina OmniExpress Plus base chip. The ~10,000 SNP difference can be accounted for due to a different set of poorly preforming probes and test SNPs. Family Tree DNA's should have a similar overlap for the same reasons."

* "There is no mitochondrial DNA included in the raw data file because it is not included on the Illumina chip that they are using. (23andMe adds the mtDNA SNPs)."

CeCe did hear from Ancestry that a search function is in the works but no firm date of availability has been announced. This search function will allow us to filter our list of matches by surname, location and username.

Ancestry is also working an improving the genetic ethnic feature. CeCe mentioned that "a number of AncestryDNA personnel acknowledged to me over the weekend that certain "ethnicities" (i.e. - Scandinavian) are overestimated for many customers. However, they also emphasized that much of the perceived problem with their admixture analysis stems from the question of "where and when". What they mean by this is that it is very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to pinpoint where specific DNA signatures were at an exact time in history."

CeCe also mentioned, "The good news is that AncestryDNA customers don't have to wait for this update to gain more insight into their ancestral origins. Now that AncestryDNA has made the raw data available, customers will be able to upload their raw data file to the various third party sites to try out the admixture calculators and/or send it to Dr. McDonald for his very highly regarded analysis."

I hope to have more details on all of this in the very near future on this blog so please stay tuned.

--Larry aka The Chief

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ancestry to Spend A Bunch of Bucks in the Next Half Decade

During Tim Sullivan's (Ancestry CEO) RootsTech presentation yesterday, he announced that over the next five years Ancestry is committing to spending $100 million to digitizing and index records. They are partnering with FamilySearch to make available over 140 million will and probate record images and their related indexes

For those of you who hve never taken one of my classes, that is one of the most important class of genealogy records that we have for putting families together, especially when you get into "Dark Territory." Now that is the best news I have heard so far from RootsTech 2013. Way to go Ancestry/FamilySearch. When will us FamilySearch indexers have a chance to get started? I can't wait.


Friday, March 22, 2013

New Pricing for AncestryDNA Test Announced/FTDNA 12 Y-DNA On Sale

 
 
Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan announced this morning during the RootsTech 2013 Friday keynote address in Salt Lake that the new fixed price for their AncestryDNA autosomal test will now be $99 for both subscribers an non-subscribers alike. If you have not taken the plunge yet, now money will not be an excuse. This is the best price around for a 700,000 plus SNP autosomal DNA test.
 
In a related story FTDNA has a sale on for their 12 marker Y-DNA test, currently set at $39. IMHO don't waste the funds gents. A 12 marker testvwill not advance anything in your genealogy research other than give you an indication of your haplogroup (ethnic ancestry on your surname line only).
 
What they need to do is drop the rpice of their Family Finder DNA tet to match Ancestry. Now that would be something I would jump on.
 

Update: AncestryDNA Raw Data Download Procedures

Since I had to teach a genealogy class last night, I really didn't a chance to detail the download procedures for getting your autosomal DNA raw data from the Ancestry website (assuming you have taken the test of course). So what follows is the steps you need to follow to get your raw autosomal DNA data. Note: click on any graphic below to get a closer look.

First log in to your Ancestry account, select the DNA tab at the top of the page and go to your DNA Home Page.


On the page above click on the Manage Test Settings link next to the orange view results button.

On the Manage Test Settings page on the left hand side of that page you will see a large gray box.

 
In the box above you will see the Download your raw DNA data section. You need to click on the Get Started button

At this point you will see a box like the one below asking you to input your Ancestry password. Do that.

 
 
After you enter your password you will receive the following box from Ancestry.
 
 

You will then open up the email software you use and go to the email account you have registered at Ancestry and you will get a message with the following graphic embedded in it.

 

 
Once you receive the message above in your email hit the orange Confirm Data Download button.  This will open a new window in your browser that will display the screen below.
 
 
At this point you will hit the green Download DNA Raw Data button and it will initiate the download of your raw data file to your computer. Be sure to tell your computer were on your computer you want to place this file.
 
This file will come to you zipped. Zip is a file format used for data compression and archiving. A zip file contains one or more files that have been compressed, to reduce file size, or stored as is. The format was originally created in 1989 by Phil Katz, and was first implemented in PKWARE's PKZIP utility, as a replacement for the previous ARC compression format by Thom Henderson. The zip format is now supported by many software utilities other than PKZIP. Microsoft has included built-in zip support (under the name "compressed folders") in versions of Microsoft Windows since 1998. Apple has included built-in zip support in Mac OS X 10.3 (via BOM Archive Helper, now Archive Utility) and later. Most free operating systems have built in support for zip in similar manners to Windows and Mac OS X, while also supporting several other formats in a similar manner.
 
Once you have unzipped your results, you can then view your results. Since this ASCII text file is very large I use a free program EditPadLite to view the file. Your results will look like below in that program.
 
 
As I mentioned in my previous post right now there won't be much you can do with your raw data until third party software providers and other DNA companies jump on the band wagon an incorporate this raw data format into their systems. I have taken my data and stored it in a safe place (aka one of my thumb drives where my genealogy data and pictures are stored) until I can export my 700,000 plus SNPs into other areas for further study.
 
Ancestry has updated their information on this and they now have a file on downloading your raw data at this link: http://ancestry.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5557/kw/dna%20raw
 
There is also another page in the Ancestry Knowledge base with information on the raw data at this link http://ancestry.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5556/kw/dna%20raw/related/1
 
If you have any questions, email at the address in the masthead and I will do my best to give you a hand.
 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

AncestryDNA Autosomal Raw Results Now Available

Those of you in my class Tuesday night heard me say that I suspected some major changs were on the way in the short term for those of us who had taken Ancestry's autosomal DNA test. Yesterday afternoon I had it confirmed by a friend that today Ancestry would finally allow us to download our raw DNA test data from the website. And, in fact, minutes ago I did download Gayle and mine's results, all 700,000 plus SNPs.

So what does that mean in the short term? Not much until the software people get on board and make available interfaces and common areas were we can compare our results with our DNA cousin matches. Now that the rest of the world can see the SNPs we had tested at Ancestry, I don't feel it will be long before we all are talking about RS position numbers, chromosome #s and allele 1/2 results among friends and relatives.

Now a little background as a reminder about this DNA test. AncestryDNA’s test is an autosomal DNA test. That’s the kind of test that works across genders and helps you find cousins with whom you can exchange genealogical information to try to identify common ancestors and fill in gaps in your family tree.

Unlike YDNA, you don’t have to locate sons of sons of sons to test and only get results in the male line, and unlike mitochondrial DNA, you don’t have to locate daughters of daughters of daughters and only get results in the female line. With autosomal DNA, you can test the son of a daughter of a son against the daughter of a son of a daughter and get good results.

But unlike either of those tests — where you can get matches with people who descend from common ancestors many many generations ago — autosomal DNA pretty much punks out about 250 years in the past. While it’s possible to find matches to eighth or ninth cousins, you can only expect to find matches reliably back to the fourth or fifth cousin level.

I will have more about this tonight at the beginning of class and if you are a Tuesday night person, you are welcome to sit in the first part of the class for this how to do all this.

If you can't wait for tonight you can get the gory details on downloading your raw data at http://dna-explained.com/2013/03/21/downloading-ancestrys-autosomal-dna-raw-data-file/

CU All Soon


 
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

RootsTech to Stream Popular Lectures on Net

I mentioned in genealogy class last night that RootsTech conference will be held next week in Salt Lake City. Most of us do not get to attend this magnificent event, but you can attend some of the more popular lectures via the Internet.

RootsTech 2013 announced yesterday which of its conference sessions would be streamed online for free. The conference will broadcast 13 of its 250+ classes live at RootsTech.org, including the daily keynote speakers. The family history conference is the largest of its kind in the U.S.

"Not everyone can attend RootsTech in person," said Dan Martinez, RootsTech conference manager. "So we give them a chance to virtually attend a free sampling of some of our most popular sessions live online." Martinez added that the live webcasts in 2012 had 50,000 views during the show.
Following are the RootsTech 2013 Streaming Sessions and when and where to find them. Note that the times below are in MST. For EDT time add 3 hours.
Following are the RootsTech 2013 Streaming Sessions and when and where to find them:

Mountain Standard Time  "Best of RootsTech" Live Stream on RootsTech.org

Thursday, March 21

8:30 a.m   Keynote speakers: Dennis Brimhall, President and CEO, FamilySearch International, Syd Lieberman, Nationally Acclaimed Storyteller, Author, and Teacher, and Josh Taylor, Lead Genealogist at findmypast.com and President, Federation of Genealogical Societies

11:00 a.m. The Future of Genealogy-Thomas MacEntee and panel

1:45 p.m.   Tell It Again (Story@Home)-Kim Weitkamp

3:00 p.m.   The Genealogists Gadget Bag-Jill Ball and panel

4:15 p.m.    Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web-James Tanner

Friday, March 22

8:30 a.m.    Keynote speakers: Jyl Pattee, Founder, Mom It Forward Media, and Tim Sullivan, President and CEO, Ancestry.com

9:45 a.m.    Researching Ancestors Online-Laura Prescott

11:00 a.m.  FamilySearch Family Tree-Ron Tanner

1:45 p.m.    Google Search... and Beyond-Dave Barney

3:00 p.m.    From Paper Piles to Digital Files-Valerie Elkins

Saturday, March 23

8:30 a.m.    Keynote speakers: David Pogue, Personal Technology Columnist, The New York Times, and Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO, MyHeritage

9:45 a.m.    Using Technology to Solve Research Problems-Karen Clifford

11:00 a.m.  Digital Storytelling: More Than Bullet Points-Denise Olson