Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Update: Ancestry DNA - Are they adding some new tools this weekend?

Update: Well as it turns out the tech I talked to at Ancestry didn't understand what I was asking him and was not correct about the lack of DNA surname search capability. It was, in fact, some major issues (it was broke). As of this afternoon it appears to be working again so the new Ancestry DNA tool watch continues. Hopefully they will get on this soon as I will be teaching this stuff starting next month at the college.

Original Post (7/19): There maybe some changes in the wind at AncestryDNA. The surname search module has been disabled from use (confirmed by phone call to their tech support) all day today. When I asked the tech, who spoke in broken English if they were bringing online the new tools promised at Rootstech earlier this year, the reply was yes (hope he understood what I was asking him). If these are in fact the changes I have been expecting, we may see some major changes tomorrow or more than likely Monday. This is the usual scenario I see at AncestryDNA when they are doing a major upgrade to the DNA tools so we maybe on the verge of getting some pretty unique genealogical genetic tools to help us all in our research. Fingers are crossed and some toes also.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DNA testing eyed for graves exhumed from historic Waco cemetery

By J.B. SMITH jbsmith@wacotrib.com Waco Tribune-Herald
                                   
The committee tasked with planning the reburial of some 300 human remains unearthed from the old First Street Cemetery are hoping to enlist DNA technology in a quest to identify them.
The First Street Cemetery Memorial Advisory Committee has asked Baylor University forensic anthropologist Lori Baker to extract bone samples from each set of remains before the reburial, which is expected in 2015.

The city of Waco discovered the unmarked graves during a construction project behind the Texas Rangers Museum in 2007 and determined they were part of the city’s historic First Street Cemetery, established in 1852.

But so far, none of the remains has been identified.

So the committee this spring turned to Baker, who is known nationally for her work in mitochondrial DNA testing on subjects ranging from prehistoric Americans to migrants who perished in the Southwest desert.

Baker volunteered to collect bone samples that ultimately could be analyzed to establish kinship with living descendants or with other family members in the cemetery.

Do you have someone buried in the Waco, Texas, old First Street Cemetery. Read more at http://www.wacotrib.com/news/city_of_waco/dna-testing-eyed-for-graves-exhumed-from-historic-waco-cemetery/article_7de0ccb2-b2fc-5212-8adc-5c337e9feef2.html.

 

FamilySearch Trees - Don't waste your time

While I give the nice folks at FamilySearch an A for effort in attempting to put together a one world family tree, their latest attempt at trees gets an F for failure to execute a viable system.

In my humble opinion this latest nuance (previous attempts by the LDS church were known as ancestral file, pedigree resource, etc) is probably the worse yet, this time not only is the computer system at Familysearch making changes to your trees that are flat wrong, much like the insanity of the old Ancestral File, but now you have even in some cases unknown individuals inserting wrong information , names, places and dates into your tree, after you have inputted your correct, source data. Then you are suppose to have discussions with these folks about who is wrong or right.

The flag I just threw and whistle I just blew means time out and a penalty. Hey FamilySearch I do not have the time, energy, or inclination to keep changing my stuff back to right, have a discussion with people who pull stuff they call genealogy from God knows where, and spending an enormous amount of time constantly correcting my files only to have your computer or someone think they are smarter and changing it to something else again. Then the cycle repeats itself in an endless loop.

This is suppose to aid in my research, not hinder it. I haven't spent one single minute of my time at FamilySearch and their new trees learning anything new about my family. Instead I have spent my time correcting bad info from everyone except me. But hey don't take my word for this. Let's take a look at only a tip of the iceberg illustrated in the screen capture I made this morning from my, uh their, uh the FS community tree. Let's just see how many of you catch the problems I captured in one instance in the image below from "my" FS tree (click on image to enlarge).

 

 
The second image below really show you dramatically what I'm talking about. I put the info in about John H. Mallory and his two parents. The rest came from so called cousins and the FS computer system who think they are smarter than me. I do not have the time to address the dozens of issues in this lineage and corrections needed to make it correct (and then have the whole things wiped out in a week or two) by their computer or others.
 
 
Wonder how many reader can spot all the problems in this chart and nothing past the second generation was created by me.  The "computer and other cousins" created it all and it is now attached to my tree!!!
 
The worse of the abuses above was Lucinda Paynes b. 1718 whose mother was identified as Lucinda Pynes, born in . . . 1718. Really??? As my son would say when he was a little guy, "Are you Kidding." Sad really, really sad.
 
The bottom line in all this as far as my personal research is concerned, I will no longer participate in this madness. If I could take my data out at this point, I would so I can wash my hands of the whole thing. I didn't get much of a response from FamilySearch when I attempted to address the issue. They wanted me to me to watch a brief video telling me how this is all done. I guess they figured I was uninformed how this was all suppose to work.
 
So if you take any of my classes are doing so in order for me to explain how to do FamilySearch trees, don't bother. I will not be covering anything in regards to FamilySearch's trees. I will also be sending a link of this in feedback to FamilySearch. You folks can reach me via email at familyhistorian  at  frontier  dot com. I will also be happy to discuss this on the phone with them, but please do not patronize me by telling me I need to watch a video so I can better understand how to do your trees.
 
Bottom line, this whole thing is extremely labor intensive to input, update and maintain; very frustrating to use; and definitely not an aid to genealogy research. Oh yea, you won't be seeing any of my pictures of other electronic research records either.
 
PS - (That means post script for all you common core students). I attempted to provide feedback with a link to this post to FamilySearch and guess what, it didn't work (the send button did not work). I got a message saying I need to update my Internet Explorer to then latest version (I'm using version IE 11) or switch to another browser such a Chrome. I did switch to Chrome and the send button and you guessed it the send button still didn't work. Does anything at FamilySearch work at all????
 
 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fall TCCC Genealogy Classes


Well we are a little more than a month and a half away from starting our fall genealogy classes at Tri-County Community College. Boy is this summer flying by fast.

So in case you didn't get a catalog from TCCC, here is the class list and descriptions of the three classes I will be teaching this fall.

Genealogy – Introduction to Family History

This course introduces the student to the basics of genealogy by exploring the heart of family history research - basic records and sources used in the pursuit of ancestor hunting. Some of the records and sources that the student will be taught include home and compiled records, vital records, census, church records, court, military, land and property, probate, and tax records. The course will also touch on the latest technology including Internet record resources and DNA testing. If you want to learn how to do genealogy research the right way or need a refresher on the latest techniques and sources then this course is for you. This course is a prerequisite for advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC. 30 hrs.

August 19 – November 4 Tuesday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $65

Genealogy – Introduction to Ancestry.com
This course will cover in-depth one of the world’s most popular genealogy websites – Ancestry.com. With more than six billion historical records, in excess of 20 million family trees available, and over 400,000 people that have DNA tested, Ancestry.com is the world’s largest genealogical database and research website. Have you explored what Ancestry.com has to offer? Or are you needing guidance in navigating the website? If you want to get more out of your Ancestry.com experience, then this course is for you. Topics that will be explored include the website layout, family trees: construction and use in research, the “new” Ancestry search engine, the AncestryDNA autosomal test and the site’s DNA research tools, and how to make effective use of their community collaboration tools. A paid subscription to the site is not necessary, but a good basic knowledge of genealogy research principles is a must. 17.5 hrs.

August 21 – October 2 Thursday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $39

Genealogy: DNA – Using Genetic Genealogy in Family History Research
Science can help you with your genealogy research, but you will have to take a test first. This course will cover the new and expanding field of genetic genealogy basics and is designed for DNA Newbies. Some of the topics to be covered include an introduction to DNA testing and technical terms, the different types of DNA tests available and their applications, how DNA testing will help your genealogy research, and what are your ethnic origins and how to interpret your results. Special emphasis will be given to autosomal DNA testing. If you want to demystify genetic genealogy and use this new and exciting research tool in your family history study, then this course is for you. 12.5 hrs.

October 9 – November 6 Thursday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $29

As always I look forward to seeing each of you in class, sharing your genealogy adventures and helping you to Find Your Family Roots.