Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More DNA Testing in the VH Household

Well, surprise, surprise, I just ordered another DNA test kit. As most my students know I am eaten up by all this DNA stuff.  More about that kit in a minute.

So let's review what we have here. I started things when I ordered my first test, a 37-marker Y DNA test in January 2007 from FTDNA. I later upgraded that to a 67-marker Y-DNA test at FTDNA in Feb 2012.

In June 2012 I ordered and took a HSV1 mtDNA test from FTDNA.

In the meantime Gayle ordered and took a HSV2 mtDNA test in Feb 2012. In April 2012 we had Gayle's 2nd cousin take a 37-marker Y-DNA at FTDNA. Three months later we had his nephew also take a 37-marker test to verify and support the test taken by Gayle's cousin.

In May 2012, I was honored to be one of the original AncestryDNA autosomal Beta testers. On the heels of my test I had Gayle also take an AncestryDNA autosomal test. When AncestryDNA test raw results were finally released for download in June 2013 I sent both Gayle and my results to FTDNA and their atDNA database (much cheaper than taking two more test at their site).

In short order I also had my Dad, Mother and my Dad's 1st Cousin test at Ancestry and Gayle had her 2nd cousin also take an AncestryDNA test. All those results were also uploaded to GEDMatch (another large database with a chromosome browser capability).

So I admit that I have been a very busy guy managing all these test, but recently got a nifty great idea. Since neither Gayle or I have tested at 23andMe, the third major atDNA test site/database, we are going to have our son test there to get our DNA in their database with only one test for $99. Of course, I will upload his results to GEDMatch and phase his test with ours to see who gave him the most DNA.

That will get our autosomal DNA across all three major atDNA databases. So I hope that before my Fall DNA class a TCCC is over, I can provide a report to my students on how our 23andMe experience has been.

All this testing has been a wonderful tool in genealogy research. Some brick walls have fallen, leads have been pursued, and ancestral paper research lines have verified.  We maximized our testing by doing our initial test at Ancestry and uploading results to FTDNA and GEDMatch. We have truly gotten the most bang for the buck.

It has been a lot of fun working with our DNA test results and everyday is a new adventure thanks to it our genetic genealogy research.

If you have not tested and you are working on your family history, you are missing the boat. I especially encourage those who have parents living (or in their place siblings of those parents) to test them as well and soon before they are gone. You don't want to lose that precious resource and family genealogy record.

Bottom line, each of us has a genetic genealogy history book inside us and now we have the ability to read that book. It is time for you to turn those pages and discover your family history.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

We Are All Cousins says Elizabeth Shown Mills

One of my favorite authors and genealogy persons Elizabeth Shown Mills discusses how people are connected in surprising ways. Lot's of food for thought here and worth the 5:37 to watch it. Elizabeth is arguably the most influential genealogist of our time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Don't Confuse AncestryByDNA with AncestryDNA Autosomal Test

From Richard Hill, DNA Testing Advisor and his blog/Facebook page:

"Buyer Beware. Something came up in the discussion of my last post that needs to be made clear. There are two DNA tests with similar names that are not at all similar. The AncestryByDNA test is an old technology test that checks less than 200 locations in your DNA. The AncestryDNA test, on the other hand, checks about 700,000. Furthermore, AncestryByDNA does not report matches with other users, so it has no genealogical value. Finally, only AncestryDNA results can be transferred to Family Finder or uploaded to GEDmatch."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fall 2015 Genealogy Classes at Tri-County Community College

Registration for genealogy classes at Tri-County Community College during the Fall 2015 semester is now open. We are offering a wide variety of genealogy classes on either Tuesday night (short courses) or our most popular course on doing genealogy on the Internet (Thursday nights). You can get more details by calling Lisa Long at TCCC at 828-835-4241 during normal business hours.
Genealogy: How to Research Your Family History on the Internet

The Internet offers a wonderful array of databases, records, and other resources for researching your family tree online. Knowing how and where to search online is a must for any genealogist using the Internet. In the past few years there have been major changes to nearly all the major online genealogy research websites and record repositories. This course will teach you how to search like a pro, find genealogy databases, and discover your family history on the Web. All the top sites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, GenealogyBank, National Archives, Google, Mocavo and many more will be covered. Students will learn tips and tricks on using these resources, and how to put them to use in their family research plans. While our beginner genealogy class is not required to take this course, a basic understanding of genealogy research principles is strongly recommended. We also recommend a laptop or tablet capable of wireless internet access to be brought to this class. This is the most popular genealogy class available at TCCC and seating for this class is limited.

August 27 - November 19          6:30pm - 9:00pm      Thursday, 13 weeks


Genealogy: DNA - Using Genetic DNA Testing in Family History Research

Science can help you with your genealogy research, but you will have to take a test first. That test is a low cost autosomal DNA test available at Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe. This course will cover the new and expanding field of genetic genealogy basics and is designed for DNA newbies and advanced genetic 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 and document 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.

August 25 - September 22       6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m            Tuesday, 4 weeks


Genealogy: Cemetery Research - Introduction to Cemetery Research

Digging up family history isn't always easy, but the key to making a breakthrough may be as close as your ancestor's final resting place. This new genealogy course will cover the fascinating practice of cemetery research. You will learn to determine where and when a person died, locate the cemetery where they are interred, how to analyze headstones and markers, and a whole lot more. In this course you discover a whole new way to unearth your family history in the cemetery.

September 29 - October 13     6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.           Tuesday, 3 weeks


Genealogy: Using Probate Records in Genealogy Research

The passing of a loved one is a trying time in any family, but the death of that ancestor can provide a wealth of valuable information to the family historian. Probate records exist in places and for time periods when few other records are available. These records are essential for research genealogy research because they often pre-date the birth and death records kept by civil authorities. Even if your ancestor didn't leave a will, he or she may have been a beneficiary, witness or trustee in someone else's will. In this new genealogy course we will cover where to find probate records, what records should you be looking for, what is included in the probate package, the steps involved in probate, and estate inventories -  how to use them. This course will help you uncover genealogy information in these potentially intimidating (and often, underused) records.

October 20 - October 27        6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.           Tuesday, 2 weeks


Genealogy: This Land Is Your Land - Introduction to Using Land Records in Genealogy Research

Do you have an ancestor's deed or land patent? Were your ancestors among the millions who claimed federal lands under the Homestead Act of 1862? Want to do find your ancestor's land records? In the real estate world they say it’s all about Location, Location, Location! And the same holds true in the world of genealogy. Location is a key element in understanding the context of our ancestor’s lives and obtaining coveted genealogical documents. To get closer to our ancestors, we need to get closer to their land. This is a new introductory course on land records and genealogy research that will cover locating documents of ownership in the courthouse or online, accurately interpreting and recording what you find, and use maps, atlases, and gazetteers to focus your efforts in the right area.

November 3 November 17      6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.           Tuesday, 3 weeks