Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Old New York City Photos

I was listening to old Extreme Genes podcasts from 2015 recently and in one episode, Fischer interviewed the man responsible for putting together the web sites https://www.oldsf.org and https://www.oldnyc.org. I have no connection to San Francisco, so oldsf.org did not interest me but oldnyc.org definitely got my attention. This is a collection of old photographs from as far back as the beginnings of photography to as recent as the year 2000. The majority of the photos are from the 1920-1930 range. The photos are mapped out according to their location on a map of New York City.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

DNA Web Site of My Dreams (*does not yet exist)

I am a tech geek but my normal environment is system configuration and security. I can install and configure systems, make a given system work and can suggest configuration changes that will help secure it. I am not a developer. When it comes to writing code, I can do html (web) and basic scripting. I cannot develop a full program or web page. While I can't write a program, I do understand what goes into it and can estimate the difficulty of implementing a given feature. Hearing about the updates to various DNA testing company tools, it made me think, "This is a good update. This should help. But why can't they do...." and I started listing off various things that I would think should be relatively easy to accomplish. Then I thought, why not put it in a blog post and maybe a developer at one of these testing companies might read it and start working on some of these wish list features. I will include a few features that already exist but they don't exist on every service so I'm going to include them. So here we go!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Iowa Birth Certificates 1921-1942

Family Search updated their collection of Iowa birth certificates for the years 1921-1942. When I saw that, I definitely had to see what I could find. I found a large number of Menke birth certificates but since they are more distantly related to me, I'll skip posting them here, relying only on my closer relations. First up is my father's first cousin, Bernard Hellrung. His mother was my great-grandfather, Thomas Doran's daughter.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Family Tree DNA Updates Policy Regarding Law Enforcement

I received an email from Family Tree DNA today regarding how they are allowing law enforcement to use their DNA matching services. While I haven't dug into the details, my first reaction is that this seems to be a good option for those who do not wish to allow law enforcement to use their DNA to help track down criminals. Law enforcement users must register using a separate process that signifies they are law enforcement. Users can opt-out of allowing these specially created accounts from appearing as matches. Granted, this will not prevent agencies from creating normal user accounts, hiding the fact that they are law enforcement but, assuming the agencies act appropriately, this should relieve the concerns of many people.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Coincidence of Names in Carthage, Illinois and a DNA Match

I did a search on Ebay for anything whose description mentioned "Carthage, Illinois". I found an envelope, postmarked in 1891, with a printed return address of a business named "Wm. Dugdale, Dealer in Boots and Shoes, Carthage, Illinois".

This surname of Dugdale sounded familiar. I recalled seeing this surname in my Family Tree DNA matches. I looked and verified I do have a DNA match with the surname of Dugdale. This match does not have a family tree posted on Family Search.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Creating a Memorial Video

My wife received news that the boyfriend of a friend of hers passed away suddenly. He was very young. My wife knows that I'm good with computers and can create videos from photos without any problem. She volunteered to her friend that I would create a video for him and of course I'm happy to help out. Since I was racking my brain, trying to come up with a blog post, I thought this would be a good one. How to create a video memorial. This may be for a funeral, such as this one or the one I created for my mother, or it could be something to show at a family reunion or a birthday party or genealogical society meeting or any other reason you may want to show a video.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Relative Finder & Distant Relations

In this blog post, I talked about https://www.relativefinder.org, 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 FamilySearch.org! 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 https://www.familysearch.org. 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 https://www.relativefinder.org 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..."