Thursday, April 21, 2022

Pretty Women


My first memories of my maternal aunts were as middle-aged (at least) women. Perspective: My mother was the 10th of 11 children. She was 30 when I was born, so her sisters ranged in age at that time from 34 years to 48 years old. For a small child, they seemed “old”.

I had a fresh look at these women when a cousin recently sent me a box of old photos including some of my aunts’ wedding photos. It was wonderful to see my aunts as lovely young women.

I scanned these photos and then took advantage of the colorizing service offered by MyHeritage.  You may need to be a member to take advantage of this service.

They are posted below along with a photo of my maternal grandmother that was probably from the mid 1890’s judging by her dress.

And my maternal Grandmother, Stella Schipp  

I am so glad to be reminded that they were once young, lovely and lively. It would be great to be able to go back in time and know them as they were then.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

1950 Census


I found myself on the 1950 census! Don’t know why it was so important to me, but it was.


 It was fun browsing my Enumeration District in Northlake, IL.  Brought back memories of people I hadn’t thought of in years. I’ll also look at Northlake’s other ED to find kids in my class at St. John Vianney school.

I looked for my cousins born in the ‘40’s but didn’t find them all because I don’t have their 1950 street addresses. At this date, the census has just been released and is not yet indexed, so you need to know the street address of the person you’re looking for. More info down below in this post.

Then I went browsing the EDs where my grandparents lived.

I know that in the 1940’s there were several Dachtera relatives living near my Grandmother’s house. A few of them were still there in 1950 – all in their 70’s by then.

Grandma Ganas was living alone in1950 in the same house where my mother grew up.  I found my mother’s sister Stella & family, who were living near my Grandma.

Neighborhoods have changed from when I knew them as a child. Homes where relatives lived in 1940 are occupied by strangers in 1950. I found that a bit jarring to my memories. It is hard to imagine other families in those homes that I once knew.

This census is very different from previous ones. The form is different, and the enumerators’ instructions are very different.  Until indexing is completed you must know the 1950 street address of the person you are looking for. With that info you can find the correct ED (Enumeration District). Once you have that you must browse page by page to find your person.  Or you can wait a few months for the indexing project to be completed.

It is well worth the time to view YouTube videos to learn more about it. Here’s one of many Lisa Louise Cooke 1950 Census Seminar

A Google search can also get you to the instructions you need.

Time marches on. I was 7 years old in April, 1950. 


Monday, October 18, 2021

Dachtera Immigration Story

 Finally almost finished. I don't like recording and hearing my own voice so it took a while to get around to doing the narration for my Dachtera immigration story.  It still needs some editing. If you watch it, I'd like to hear your suggestions for improvement.

Dachtera Immigration Story

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Down a Rabbit Hole


I’ve been down a rabbit hole for a couple of weeks, but finally came up for a breath of fresh air. Finding distant cousins via DNA matches led me into a maze. 

I have a match who seems to descend from my paternal Grandmother’s line. She also descends from a line that seems identical to one that married into my paternal line. Both surnames match.

Veronica Reczynska was married to Lawrence Lewandowski. My paternal grandmother was Tekla Reczynska; I can find no connection to Veronica.  John Lewandowski married my great aunt Pauline; I can find no connection to Lawrence.

I confused myself and went round and round in circles for too long before I finally decided to let it rest for a while. This could all be just coincidence. I’ll get back to it after a while.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Is It Soup Yet?


This post is inspired by Judy G. Russell’s blog post Not soup in 2021 either.

Her point is that the admixture results we get from DNA tests ARE ESTIMATES. They are educated guesses. Please note that these estimates vary from one testing service to another. They are not definitive; but some of the unexpected results may be interesting.

I claim that these estimates are soup. Soup in progress – still on the stove but not the final product. 

Soup is generally a combination of several, sometimes many, ingredients. So are we. Looking at a soup pot on the stove we can easily see the large ingredients; but what about the herbs and other small bits that give the soup its flavor?

My first views of my admixture showed a couple of surprises. I trace my Polish ancestors to the late 18th century – all in Poland. So why am I being told that I show Scandinavian or Greek heritage?

Well, history implies the Scandinavian part. In the 1650’s there was a 5 year war between Sweden and Poland. Five years!. I’d bet that some Swedish soldiers married and settled in Poland. I have no doubt that many other Swedish soldiers left their DNA scattered among Polish women.

Greek is a little more far-fetched, but my mother’s maiden name is Ganas. A search on that surname shows mostly Greeks. So maybe several hundred years ago a traveling merchant from Greece chose to stay in Poland. I’ll never know but it brings up a possibility.

I’m glad that my curiosity led me to look at these seeming anomalies. They make my heritage a bit more interesting.

I am comforted by seeing my admixture concentration where I’d expected it to be. But if, as 23andMe tells me, I carry Neanderthal genes, then I probably also carry some from Sweden and Greece.

My point is that while admixture is just an ESTIMATE, some of the outliers may be worth consideration.



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Oh, Cousin – Where Art Thou?


My current focus is on finding cousins via DNA matches. I’m still waiting for results from my test, but there are lots of matches from my 23andMe and My Heritage tests.

Image lifted from Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches

I got all excited when I learned about DNA Painter.  I downloaded match information and painted it. It’s a very colorful DNA map. But I also created a problem for myself and now I’m having to backtrack a little.

Problem: I failed to finish the research to add some of them to my family tree. I am a “big picture” person who sometimes tends to gloss over the details. That almost always causes problems, but the details are not the fun part.

So now my task is to summon some self-discipline to bring my tree up to date. Self-discipline isn’t the fun part either

Monday, September 6, 2021

Playing Catch-up


There are so many new tools for genetic genealogy that it’s been a challenge to catch up.

DNA Painter has some great tools. Here’s a sample of my chromosome map showing that I’ve painted 43% of my map. The legend on the right shows the familial relationships. I’ve mapped matches from 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FTDNA. I don’t yet have results from my Ancestry test.

The legend also shows that I’ve imported the ethnic origins of my chromosomes as interpreted by 23andMe, but they’re not displayed in this image.

Another useful tool is Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cm Project. The Shared cM Project (ScP) is a collaborative data collection and analysis project created to understand the ranges of shared cM associated with various known relationships. Click on the link for an explanation of the project.

DNA Painter will also show your family tree based on the ancestors you have listed and showing the color of each group.

There’s a contrast between my ethnic origins as shown by 23andMe and those from FTDNA. Both of these reflect the raw data from the same test.

Here is a sample of the DNA Painter chromosome map showing ethnic origins as per 23andMe. Familial relationships not shown in this image.

And here is the chromosome map of my ethnic origins as interpreted by FTDNA. Again, the same raw data as above.

Another interesting contrast is between 2 different tests interpreted by My Heritage. My Heritage does not have a chromosome mapping tool, so here are the two maps.

23andMe DNA test raw data as interpreted by My Heritage

My Heritage DNA test raw data as interpreted by My Heritage.

Conclusion: DNA analysis is an evolving process.