Thursday, July 20, 2017

Am I Missing the Point?

I am baffled by people who have tens of thousands of people in their family trees.  How far removed are the individuals at the very outer branches and twigs?  Why are they there?

Is there any value in having the 3rd great grandmother of the wife of my mother’s cousin 2X removed?

Should I be including these distant in-laws?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Genealogy Blog Party: DNA Discoveries

DNA testing has led me down a wonderful path of discovery.  Not about me and my family but about European history. 

My DNA was tested by 23andMe back in 2013. I had breast cancer and, for my daughter’s sake, was concerned about BRCA gene mutations. I turned to 23andMe because a $4,000.00 full genetic assay just wasn’t in the budget. I was relieved to find that I don’t have that mutation.

My ethnic mix showed no big surprises, but a couple of small ones.  My favorite surprise is the 3% Neanderthal component.  I love it!  That’s been the subject of a couple of previous blog posts:

And just today came across another article: 

New DNA From a Neanderthal Bone Holds Evidence of a Lost Tribe of Humans

I’ve traced my ancestry back to the late 18th century in Poland. Ethnicity estimates from 23andMe, FTDNA, My Heritage, and Gedmatch all agree that is where my ancestry is centered. But they also show Southern European and Northern European roots, and that got me wondering if those are real or are false positives.

Poring over history books, historical atlases, and Wikipedia gave me quite an education.  The Northern European component may have come from the late 1600’s when Sweden invaded Poland. There are still ruins of Swedish fortifications in Poland.  Possibly this is the source of my Northern European connection.

My mother’s maiden name is Ganas, a name more common among Greeks than among Poles. It seems that in the 12th and 13th centuries merchants from Greece and Turkey plied their trade in Central Europe. My guess is that at least one of them, with the name of Ganas, stayed in Poland.  I have yet to convince any of my male cousins from that line to do a DNA test; but I’d love to see what their Y chromosome could tell us.

The knowledge and insights into history that I’ve gained are priceless.
Here are links to previous posts European history.

As for family discoveries, DNA has helped me find only two previously unknown 2nd cousins – none more remote that that.  I keep hoping to find more. I know they’re out there somewhere.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Narrative Fallacy: It’s easy to fall into this trap

This post on Narrative Fallacy by James Tanner on his Genealogy Star blog is a gentle reminder to all of us. It is far too easy to reject research that doesn’t fit with the story we’ve woven.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Different Brick Wall

Last week, a circuit breaker flipped.  I was working intensely on two projects when my circuits apparently overloaded. The projects have been sitting untouched on my desk for several days now.  I’m running in neutral  - idling.

What happened?  I haven’t a clue; but it seems useless to fight it.  In the meantime, I’ve been catching up on my reading and surfing the net.

My project trying to connect Sip families in Poland is temporarily on hold.  That’s OK.  The information will still be there when I get back to it – or maybe more information will have surfaced by then.

I am hopeful that using Genome Mate Pro will become clearer to me as discussion continues on the Facebook group.

Until my research gene gets turned on again, I’ll probably do some writing and reopen the video projects waiting in the queue.  Yep, the video projects sound good.  And I’ll find topics to keep this blog alive.

To everything there is a season.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tribes of Great Britain and Their DNA

I don’t remember where I first saw this (It was about 20 minutes ago, after all), but it is interesting whether or not you have British ancestry.

The list of the study’s findings beneath the maps is especially interesting.  The maps are from

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Genome Mate Pro – A Steep Learning Curve

A  link to a 2015 post on IOWADNAPROJECT led me to look at Genome Mate Pro software.  The best description I’ve found of this app comes directly from that post:

Genome Mate is a desktop tool used to organize in one place the data collected while researching DNA comparisons. Besides data storage it has many features to aid in identifying common ancestors.
·         Multiple Profiles for multiple kits
·         Import of 23andMe, FTDNA and GedMatch data
·         Chromosome Mapping of Common Ancestor
·         In Common With (ICW) Groups
·         Import of Gedcom data for each Profile
·         Surname Matching and Searching
·         Display of Overlapping Segments
·         X-List of X Chromosome Donors

It sounds like the perfect tool.

The software has been upgraded since that post, so while the description is good, the screenshots are no longer accurate.

This software is FREE. It was developed by Becky Mason Walker as she worked to coordinate and analyze information on her own DNA matches from 23andMe, FTDNA, and GEDmatch.

This software is also very complex – because it is very comprehensive.  But there are Youtube videos to help you get going; and there is a 16 part tutorial on Facebook co-authored by Leah La Perle Larkin and Blaine T. Bettinger. There is also a User Manual. See links below.

I’ve been at this for four days now, and have gotten to part 12 of the tutorial.  So far I’ve watched 3 of the videos.  I think that the videos will make more sense after completing the tutorial.  I expect to need to review some of this material more than once.

I am looking forward to actually trying to use this app – once I’ve had a first pass through the training process.  I’ll post a progress report.

Here are some links

Download the software:

There are nine videos. Links are on the getgmp site shown above, but here the link to the Introduction.

Tutorial - 16 part

There is a downloadable user’s guide in PDF format (265 pages).  Link is on the getgmp site.

The developer’s blog is here:

And there’s a group on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Taking a Break Led to New Discoveries

After being so completely wrapped up in trying to connect my various Sip families, a short break was welcome and profitable.

I took time to read blogs that had been waiting for me get around to them. Found a lot of interesting stuff, but I hit paydirt with this tip about Google Books:  

Because my own peasant ancestors are fairly recent immigrants, they’re not likely to appear in books except for city directories.  But I did search for one of my husband’s ancestors and one of my chlldren’s paternal ancestors.

My husband’s 7X GGfather came to The Colonies in 1702. It was a time when Britain was shipping convicts to the West Indies and The Colonies.  Library research[1] had told me That Francis Foxworthy was shipped to the colony of Virginia having been pardoned of his conviction for murder. A juicy detail like that demands more research but I set it aside at the time because I didn’t know where to look.

Search Google Books for Francis Foxworthy and here it is.  Now I know where to get more information.

I’ve struggled making the correct Rose family connections before 1812.  Search Google Books for Solomon Rose and find what may be the perfect resource: The Rose Family Bulletin

I found the Rose Family Association site which has a list of family reports available for purchase.  I’ve ordered Solomon Rose (w Mary/Polly) Oneida Co., NY; Rock Co., WI

If you haven’t used Google Books as a genealogy resource, you may be missing out on some good information.