Friday, February 8, 2019

Relative Finder & Distant Relations

In this blog post, I talked about, where you could log in to Family Search Family Tree and the program would automatically climb your tree, telling you if you're related to anyone famous. While I was related to only 4 famous people, my wife was related to a few hundred and her best friend was related to most of those along with several hundred more. What I found interesting, as I browsed my wife and her friend's famous relatives, is that even though they are related to many of the same people, they are not related to each other.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

More Iowa Death Certificates

Be sure to sign up for email updates from! While I don't receive these every month like I would expect, when I do receive them, they almost always pay off. The email I received this morning definitely did. Included in this month's update was the fact that they added new indexed records to their collection of Iowa death records. I've searched this collection previously but since they said there were updated indexed records, I thought it couldn't hurt to do another search. I entered just the surname of "Panther". This resulted in a large number of records, as I expected. I then stepped through each one, verifying I had the death certificate for each one listed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Laurel Hill Cemetery

My wife and I visited Laurel Hill Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska last weekend, hoping to find the graves of some of her ancestors. It was a spur of the moment stop. I didn't have any of my research of her family with me. I had to rely on my memory of names of her family to figure out who might be there. I could access the tree on RootsWeb but I didn't have much of her tree uploaded prior to RootsWeb going offline over a year ago. No uploads have been allowed since then.

So we wondered the cemetery, looking for familiar names. We found only one surname from her tree and it wasn't clear who was buried there.

Glup (pronounced Gloop) is the maiden name of my wife's paternal grandmother. Once we got home, I looked on Find-A-Grave and it says the baby's name was Edward. I do not have an Edward Glup documented in her tree yet but, based on the families that lived in the area, I tend to believe Edward was my wife's grandmother's nephew. Her parents would have been Carl Glup (1856-1939) and Augusta Zych/Zeeck Glup (1857/60-1933). This couple is buried in Laurel Hill but we could not find them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Are You Related to Anyone Famous?

I just learned about a very cool tool provided by Family Search. It's called Relative Finder. It will tell you about any famous people, living or from history, and tell you your relationship to them, such as fifth cousin, once removed etc. This uses the Family Search Family Tree so you are relying on the research of others. Still, I believe this can be used like any other online family tree, as a clue. Once you find the information on Family Search Family Tree, you can then research the original records and prove this. You can only run this tool on the person you are logged in as and that has a Family Search Family Tree entry.

First, if you don't have one already, create a free Family Search account at Go to Family Tree and add the individuals necessary to connect your family into the tree. So much research has already been done, you likely will only need to add your ancestors that are still alive, since you won't be able to find them in the tree. Living individuals can only be seen by the person who added them. Once this is done, go to and sign in using your Family Search account.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Autoclustering - Large Groups

In my previous post, I talked about the new tool, Autoclusting by Genetic-Affairs. I still believe this is the most powerful tool that's come out to help in analyzing your DNA results in long time. This makes it so much easier to see the in-common matches and figure out how they all might be connected. That first post was after I had generated my initial autoclusters but before I really looked into the results. My initial thought was that I inherited some DNA from an endogomous population that my paternal first cousin did not. Discussing it in various DNA discussion groups on Facebook, the question came up of a potential NPE ("non-paternal event" or "not parent expected"). If this was going to be the case, it would have had to have been an affair that would have come as a shock to many family members so I wanted to be 100% certain before speaking of it to anyone.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Auto-Clustering of DNA Matches

In the Facebook genetic DNA groups, I've seen one subject discussed pretty frequently over the past couple of weeks that I hadn't heard of before. That is auto-clustering of DNA matches. This looks like a spreadsheet of your DNA matches, color coded and clustered into common match groups. The way it works is that for any given colored cluster, each of them should be descended from one common ancestral couple. This seems like a way to better compare in-common matches. Here is how you do it.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Multi-Generational Portraits

I had this idea as a gift for my wife, step-daughter and mother-in-law for a few years. I got started on it right away but never managed to finish it because of availability of the individuals, a decent camera and the materials at the same time. Finally! It's done! My project is a portrait of the mitochondrial DNA line of my wife, or for someone not that interested in DNA or genealogy, a generational ladies' portrait.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Your Zig-Zag Ancestral Line - A Challenge

I need to keep up on reading the blogs of other genealogists. It seems I'm always busy and never get a chance to sit down and read. I recently started reading several of the blogs I follow. I always enjoy Linda Stufflebean's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun". The one titled "Your Zig-Zag Ancestor Lines" provides a new way to look at your family tree. She asks you to follow your family lines, zig-zagging from your father, to his mother, to her father, to his mother, to her father, to his mother, to her father, etc as far back as you can go.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Tom Doran and Cale Hall of Junction, Texas

In the book, The Mason County "Hoo Doo" War, 1874-1902, author David D. Johnson quotes a letter from Mason County dated February 27, 1877 written by Private H. B. Waddell noting that Kimble County was "a theifs stronghold." He continued:

"Old man Dublins may well be called the theifs hous. Black Burt the head man of the thieves...
A heavy set dark comp. [man] wants to kill every stranger that comes into the neighborhood fearing that he is a detective. Rich Doublin, Dell Doublin, Black Burt, Thos. Doran, Frank Burk, John Burleson Cale Hall $400 reward for him, Bill Deal, McGrue Allison, John McKiever and numerous others that I could name are in the county, the sheriff of the Co. is in full concert with them..."

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Clarifying the Different Types of Sources of Information

I'd be willing to bet that a good number of beginner genealogist and probably a surprising number of more experienced genealogists don't have a good grasp of the different types of sources of information. I know I never really thought of it before and prior to really thinking about it, I'm pretty sure I had a couple of these types confused. There are six categories you can put sources of information into. These are three sets of opposites. Any given source can be classified as one of each of these pairs so each source is actually in three of these categories, all at once.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ancestry Snapshot - 1818

I came up with an idea of what to use as a basis for a blog post. I'm not sure if anyone has done this before so if they have, I'm not stealing the idea. It just came to me. What I'm going to do when I'm searching for a blog post is to select a year and document where every branch of my family tree is and what they are doing. As much as I know anyway. I believe the toughest part of this is to choose a year. For my first Ancestry Snapshot year, I'm selecting 200 years ago, 1818. Also, if you have a better name for this challenge, let me know.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lee County, Iowa Obituaries

When I was in southeast Iowa in June, I spent an entire day at the Fort Madison public library genealogy room. While there, I printed out over 100 obituaries. I've been able to connect all except a few to my family tree. Here are the ones I found most important to my genealogy.

First, and most important, is the obituary of my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Kelly Doran.
I find it amazing that I haven't had obituaries for close relatives of mine and I don't realize it until I find them!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Protecting Physical Items From Disaster

In this post from 2015, I discussed backing up your digital files. Whenever someone offers me actual physical documents related to my genealogy, I typically reply that I'd like to scan in the documents and give them back to the original owner. I'd prefer to NOT hold on to physical documents. Why? Because I can back up digital files so I should NEVER lose all of my data. That happened to me once about a year after I got my first modern computer. Yes, I lost data but really, it was nothing important. Now, if I lost all of my data, I would lose most of my years of genealogy work. That's why I'm so adamant about having at least two copies of my data in two different physical locations. Why two locations? Because no matter how careful you are, disaster can happen. Your home could flood, catch fire or get hit by a tornado or hurricane, or earthquake, or whatever natural disaster can occur where you are located. That's the same reason I don't like holding on to original documents. If disaster hits, you don't have two of those original documents.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Biography of Leo Henry Miller

I barely knew my grandfather, Leo Miller. He passed away when I was in my single digits in age. My family traveled to the area he lived about once per year. During those visits we spent most of our time with my mother's family since we had many cousins around our age on that side of the family and only a few on my father's side. Since starting my genealogy hobby, I've slowly learned more about him and now feel I know a lot about his life, although there are many details still missing, such as details about his military service and the interactions that had to be tense regarding the home he lived in much of his adult life. Here's what I know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Descendants of Nancy Doran Dunnigan

I don't have any big genealogical projects going on. So what do you work on at a time like this? You look for a piece of your family tree that isn't complete that you haven't beat your head against for months on end. Find some part of your family tree that you can make some progress on. In my case, when I started thinking about who I might be able to have a DNA test on to find connections on my Doran family tree, I realized a few things. First, my first cousin on my dad's side of the family helps me see who I'm related to on either my dad's mom's or dad's branches. The problem is that it doesn't help me see which branch they are on.