Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Say Miller, You Say Muller


I'm hot on the trail of relatives on my Miller line. Charles Miller, aka Karl Müller was my great-grandfather. Sister Catherine Seaman's Bixenman family history book lists his siblings as brother Gottlieb, who was partner with a man named George Quenzer in a clothes cleaning and dying business in New York City, Annie, who married a man named Frederick Quenzer, who was involved in a clothes cleaning and dying business in New York City, Sophia, who married a man named Joseph Schmalzl, who owned a clothes cleaning business in New York City and Rika (possibly Fredrika), who married a man whose last name was Susenberger. The name of one of the brothers is unknown. There were a few Quenzer brothers involved in clothes cleaning businesses in New York at the time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Brandstetter Descendants

I stumbled upon a hand-drawn Brandstetter family tree. It shows the descendants of Christian Brandstetter on several branches down to the 1950s. You can find the full document here: http://www.renchen.de/kultur-stadtgeschichte/stammbaum-brandstetter/

You shouldn't just take a family tree that someone else put together without supporting documentation but I went ahead and put the tree into a database so I could browse through the tree. Here is a pdf showing all of the descendants of Christian Brandstetter down to the generation of my great-grandfather, Aloys Panther.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Trick to Find Obituaries and Newspaper Articles

I thought of a simple trick to tweak a Google search in order to help you find newspaper articles and obituaries for people of relatively uncommon surnames and especially for those with surnames that are also common words.

The trick is to search for "Mr. Surname" or "Mrs. Surname", including the quotes. Let's say you're searching for someone with the last name of Swords. Doing a Google search for just the word Swords is going to find many pages regarding the bladed weapon.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ancestry Lost RootsWeb Data

When I first started getting serious about genealogy research, I loved RootsWeb. It provided surname and location message boards, a place to post your family tree data for free and even provided a large amount of disk space available for genealogy-related web pages. Best of all, it was free!

Then Ancestry bought Rootsweb. They assured us that nothing would change in the way Rootsweb was run. I never noticed any problems but was always wary because I just have never trusted Ancestry to do the right thing. This is only my personal opinion. It is not based on anything that has gone on in the past. I just always thought their share holders were more important than doing the right thing.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Family Tree DNA and GEDMatch

I've used Family Tree DNA for all genetic testing I've had done or recommended. I also upload my data to GEDMatch to expand my search for genetic cousins. Now, it appears the two organizations are in a spat. It's become a he-said/she-said argument but neither has publicly stated what the problem is. All we know for certain is that Family Tree DNA says that data uploaded to GEDMatch compromises the privacy of Family Tree DNA customers. GEDMatch says that Family Tree DNA has threatened legal action. Family Tree DNA has said (sort of) that they didn't threaten legal action. GEDMatch says that Family Tree DNA demanded that uploads of FTDNA kits to GEDMatch be suspended. Family Tree DNA says that they were surprised that GEDMatch suspended the uploads unilaterally. However, in the same and other statements, Family Tree DNA says they requested that uploads be suspended. Based on the fact that Family Tree DNA has issued conflicting statements, I'm believing what GEDMatch is telling us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Doran Family - Facts and Speculation

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2016! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm presenting the known facts and what I believe is true of one of my Irish ancestral families.

First Generation

    1.    Thomas Doran  was born about 1804 in Ireland. His naturalization papers state that he was originally from County Donegal, Ireland. Several of my genetic matches that have Donegal ancestors have their ancestors from near Ardara. I don't know if this is where the Dorans are from but it is a possibility.

Thomas married Catherine O'Hara . Catherine was born about 1804 in Ireland.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Emigrants Out of Germany in the Mid-1800s

What are the reasons people left Germany in the mid-1800s? I've always wondered and could never find the answer. When my cousin visited our great-grandfather's home village last year, a local reporter wrote an article about his visit. In addition, part of the article was about the mass emigration of people out of the Black Forest region in the 1850s. I found this extremely interesting. While it wouldn't explain my great-grandfather's reasons for leaving in 1872, it could explain his brother leaving in 1854. The article was written in German. This is a translation that my cousin had a friend do for him.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Roots Miniseries

I was excited to find out that they are remaking the Roots miniseries. I was first introduced to family history by watching this show in 1977. While I enjoyed it at the time, a recent rewatch made me realize that some parts of it haven't aged very well. I look forward to watching the remake.

I know some people criticized Alex Haley for making up a lot of the story of his ancestors. When I finally read the book, I realized how little of it is actually based on known fact of their story when I read the bit near the end explaining how Mr. Haley had put together pieces of the family oral tradition with stories passed down in the family still in Africa.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My DNA Origins

I've been trying to figure out the racial makeup of the various lines of my family tree. To do this, we'll start with my yDNA haplogroup.

My yDNA haplo group is J-M172. The origins of this haplogroup are Middle Eastern and, in particular, from the Asia Minor region. This could potentially be Jewish but could also be Middle Eastern men who migrated into the Roman Empire.

Then, we move on to my autosomal DNA test results. According to my autosomal DNA test, I am 96% European. Of this 96 percent, 45% is of Scandinavian origins, 39% British Isles, and 12% southern Europe, including Greece, Italy and Spain. The remaining 4% is the Middle Eastern origins shown in my yDNA test.
My DNA Origins

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Family Reunions - Panther Family Reunion 2016

Do you have a family reunion scheduled for this year? If you are related to the Panther family you do!

If not, you should organize one! Why? To get back in touch with your relatives, to share information about what you've been up to and to learn what your relatives have been up to. And, for genealogists, the most important reasons: To share family history information about your ancestors and to learn stories and obtain copies of photos and documentation that you don't already have. Just imagine, you have a family reunion and a distant cousin brings along the baptismal certificate for your grandmother! Or a photo of the old family home in the family's home country!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Stumbling Upon Historical Documents

While searching for your ancestors in historical records, occasionally, you'll come across records documenting something of historical significance. I wanted to post this because, while doing a little bit of research on the history of the area my Panther family is from, I noticed that the church record documenting the death of Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen is not posted anywhere on the web. Grimmelshausen fought in the Thirty Years War and is a noted German literary figure.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Confederate Cemetery Vandalized

The Oakwood cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina, was vandalized. Headstones in this Confederate cemetery were toppled and defaced with spray painted "KKK", "white supremist", "slavery" and other graffiti.

Cemeteries are a place of rest for our ancestors. A place of peace and a place of remembrance. It's a place of history. Likely, most of those people buried in this cemetery are someone's ancestors. If someone disagrees with what the people in a cemetery lived for and died for, they should just stay away, not vandalize it. If everyone vandalized the headstones of those they disagreed with, every single headstone in the entire world would be damaged. No matter what their political orientation and no matter how they lived, how would you like it if your ancestors' headstones were damaged?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Never Use Expedia

No, this isn't a genealogy post and I apologize for that, but Expedia so messed up my vacation and it's become so obvious that they will do absolutely nothing to fix it that my only option to make sure that Expedia pays a price for their mess up is to post it for all to see.

I'm not going to go into details but just suffice it to say that should you ever book anything through Expedia and there is ANY hiccup in your travel plans, no matter how small, Expedia will be worse than worthless. At best, they will do absolutely nothing. At worst, they could end up charging you more than double and you'll be stuck talking to overseas operators on the phone that don't care whether or not you're satisfied. They'll promise you the moon but you'll get nothing.

Don't use Expedia for any travel arrangements. Just don't.

Now....back to genealogy.

--Matt

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top Posts of 2015

2015 is nearly over. In many ways, it was a very good year, with my new home and new job. It's also brought some sad news, from illnesses of cousins to the loss of the old family home. In regards the my genealogy blog, we hit 100 blog posts and have surpassed 22,000 hits. Now it's time for a rundown of the most popular posts of 2015.

Coming in at #5 is my step by step instructions on how to create an animated photo-mosaic of an family portrait. It's a neat little project that can be added to a family history presentation that, I believe, helps demonstrate to the non-genealogist all of the documents and photos a genealogist accumulates.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Mathematics of Genealogy

When most people begin looking into their genealogy, I tend to believe their thinking is much like mine was when I first started out, which is something along the lines of this, "I have two parents and two grandparents. I see this branch of my family tree goes back 5 generations so I have 10 ancestors!"

In reality, the growth in the number of ancestors is exponential. Every generation you go back, you double the number of ancestors you have. This make sense on the surface, but again, I don't believe most people fully grasp what this means. If I was able to trace back every single branch of my tree as far back as I have my Brandstetter line, the numbers are virtually astronomical.