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 varioush 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Stumbling Upon Historical Documents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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ancestral Origins Based on DNA Test

There is some confusion out there in regards to a person's genealogical makeup vs their DNA makeup. You frequently hear people say they're half German and half Irish, or a quarter Polish, a quarter German and half Italian or some such makeup in regards to their genetic and/or ancestral origins. For most people who make these statements, they don't make a distinction between the two or even think there is a difference. In actuality, there is an enormous difference between your ancestral origins and your genetic makeup.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Today is Veteran's Day. In honor of this day, I'm posting a few things about my dad's and my grandfather's military service.

While I don't know much about my grandfather, Leo Henry Miller's military service, I know he received a service medal for The Great War For Civilization.
Leo Henry Miller - Medal for The Great War For Civilization
 I know this photo is not a military photo but it is the only portrait I have of him close to his time in the service. This photo and this medal hung on the wall in our living room while I was growing up.

Friday, November 6, 2015

In Honor of Facial Hair

It is now "No Shave November", where men choose to do away with their razor and grow a manly beard. In honor of this month dedicated to not shaving. this post is dedicated to the facial hair of my ancestors. The style of mustaches and beards, I'm confident, is a sign of the time and location your ancestors lived. I wish I could say I was an expert at the styles of facial hair of various times and locations, but all I can do is post the photos of my grandfathers of varying degrees of "great" as samples.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Saving and Archiving Photos

Let's say you're scanning in photos or documentation and need to decide how you're going to save them. What file format do you use? For the non-technically minded, file format means what file type you are using. On Windows computers, the file extension tells Windows how to open the file. For example, Windows knows to use Microsoft Word to open a .doc file and a web browser to open an .html file. Image files can be in the format of .jpg (jpeg), .bmp (bitmap), .tif, .png and many others. The difference is mostly in how the file is compressed, meaning how small the file is made for the same size photo.

Many people say to only save scans and photos in .tif format. The reason for this is that a .tif file is not compressed at all. The file tells the photo viewer/editor that this bit is this color, the next dot is another color and so on for every single dot in the photo. The larger the dimensions of the photo, the larger the file size, no matter what. This way, when a file is edited and resaved, all of the changed bits are changed in the file and the file size remains the same.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DNA Testing Frustrations

One of my third cousins had their Ancestry DNA test results imported into Family Tree DNA. We had hoped that finding common matches between us could help us track down where our Kelly and/or Murphy families were from in Ireland. My father's mother's mother's parents are also her great-great-grandparents.

I see she popped up on my match list so I looked and saw that Family Tree DNA estimates we are 3rd-5th cousins. We're 3rd cousins so that estimate is correct. I see that we share a portion of our DNA on chromosome 9. This is all well and good. Now to see who our common matches are to see whose genealogy we can study to gain insight on where our family came from.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beginning Genealogy


I'm posting this in the hopes I can help someone who is just starting to figure out how to research their family history. While I know a person new to genealogy may not know that there are blogs to help, I believe that same person is likely to do a Google search to find out how to begin. Of course, everyone will have their own recommendations of how to start tracing your genealogy. This is the way I'd recommend.

Step 0: Maybe you won't actually do this step until you've found some information. Regardless, it's important that you do it if you intend to do genealogy as a hobby. Find a piece of software to document your family history in your own database locally on your computer. I don't recommend storing your original research online. You can read about my opinion here. Store it locally and backup your information. You can then upload it to other websites to share your information.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ancestor Appreciation Day

Sunday, September 27, 2015 is Ancestor Appreciation Day.

To go along with a post I made a while back about being proud of your ancestors, here is a poem asking another question.

Would They be Proud of You?

If you could see your Ancestors all standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them or not – or don’t you really know?
Some strange discoveries are made in climbing family trees
And some of them, you know, do not particularly please.

If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row,
There might be some of them perhaps you wouldn’t care to know.
But here’s another question which requires a different view:
If you could meet your Ancestors, would they be proud of you?

--Author Unknown