Monthly Archives: June 2015

Genealogy Fitness

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Last week I spent a lot of time hunting through the genealogy files while the Mister was away fishing with the guys.  We do spend a lot of  time sitting at a desk or a reader, so you can imagine it takes some work to stay fit as a genealogist. How easy is it to sit at your desk and think that you are hungry and need something to nibble on.  Or that you can’t go for a walk because you have “just one more” record to look at.

I don’t know about you but one thing that I do;  is  yoga three times a week. It’s great for stretching those muscles so that you’ll be able to bend down to read that inscription on a tombstone  or to get that book on the bottom shelf in the library.

Going for a daily walk,  even if it’s only for 20 minutes,  sometimes is a great way to refresh yourself and your mind. Who knows; that may be when you think of  something you’ve never thought of before and you have new inspiration for your research.

Spring in the park

Finally, I know how caught up you can get in your research and the next thing you know you realize you haven’t eaten for a while and now your famished. Take a moment to have a drink of water before you dive in the refrigerator so that you aren’t quite so hungry and then you’ll have time to plan something healthy to eat rather than that quick fix. Or if your to hungry to wait;  then be sure to keep a supply of healthy quick fix meals so your armed and ready.

Genealogy does keep you in you seat quite often but we have to work to keep our bodies and minds fit so we can work on that next brick wall.

 

 

 

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DNA Gedcom

Biotechnology dna science

By now you have come to realize I’m a DNA junky and I may have to start a group. Oh wait a minute, I did… well a friend of mine and I did, for our genealogy society. We are not experts and we tell everyone that, but we are very interested in the topic and so we want to help everyone else that has the same interest, so that way we can all learn it together.

So to continue with the hunt to figure out the Beaton/Batten mystery the next step is to go to DNAgedcom.com. I learned about it from a blog post on Sue Griffith’s blog called Genealogy Junkie.  Take a look around her blog; there is a lot of info.

Once you’ve set up your account  on DNAgedcom.com you’re ready to go. You can do this several way; you can upload an Ancestry file, 23andMe file, Family Tree DNA file or a gedmatch file. I have my DNA kits (I’m the keeper of both my parents DNA and a few other family members) on Family Tree DNA but I also have my personal DNA and my husband’s on Ancestry.  I decided to opt for the gedmatch upload and I choose my mom’s kit as she is a part of the Beaton/Batten mystery.

If you choose the same path that I did, then I can tell you that on the gedmatch upload page (beta) there is a link to an instruction booklet that is written very well and was easy to follow along with.

Once you’ve completed all the steps you can download a report that looks like this.

 

Mom's matchesSorry my screen shot is a bit blurry.. But you get the idea.. or perhaps you will once I show you chromosome 22.

mom's matches chrom 22Here you can see that I have a couple of overlaps on this portion of the chromosome.  If your hover your mouse over the coloured segment it tells you all the people who match on that segment. Now you have a list of people who you can contact. On the green line there is my cousin Rick, my mom’s second cousin; Margaret and another person (whom I’ve contacted before). On the Brown line its the same three people. But on the purple segment there are seven people who I can contact.

Maybe I won’t find the answer to my Beaton/Batten mystery…but I’ll keep looking and convincing other people to do their DNA and work with the tools we have available and maybe someday the mystery won’t be a mystery any longer.

 

 

 

 

 

Gedmatch

 

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As I told you yesterday; this hound is on the hunt for DNA.  So a few years back, after getting my results from Family Tree DNA  I decided to put my information on Gedmatch. Gedmatch is a third-party site where you can upload your raw data from Family Tree DNA, Ancestry or 23andMe. Each of the sites provides information as to how you can download from their site.

Once you have the raw data it’s relatively easy to upload to Gedmatch. There is a waiting period after uploading the raw data before you can run the “one to many” report but in the meantime there are still quite a few reports you can run.  Like the “one to one” and even a few fun reports.. well at least I think they are fun.. “are your parents related” and “eye colour predictor”.

I also need to tell you that Gedmatch is a free site but there is a lot of work involved in making something like this work so donations are accepted. Also, if your going to do what I want to do with my information; namely transfer that info over to DNA Gedcom, then you have to donate to become Tier One.  But I’d still do it just because it helps me and I couldn’t possibly do something like this without making my brain hurt a lot.

So  the waiting period for your data to be tonkenized is a few days but once completed you can now run the “one to many” report which matches you to others who match your DNA. If your from Family Tree DNA your kit number now has an “f” at the beginning and if your from Ancestry you have an “a” and if your from 23andMe the you have a “m”. Of course it’s only those people who’ve taken the time to upload their raw data,  but hopefully your cousins are as enthusiastic as you are about DNA.

 

While The Cat’s Away This Hound Will Play

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For the next couple of days;  my husband has gone on a fishing trip with my brother’s and my father. So while they are hoping to catch fish I’m hoping that I’ll bag a brick wall.  I’m going to do that by going through all my bits and pieces of Beaton papers and I’m going to work on my DNA kits till all hours of the day and night.

Over the past few years I’ve had various people related to the Beaton family do a DNA kit.  Before my mom pasted away, she did a kit, I’ve done one on myself, my cousin Rick, my two uncle’s; Ken and Dick , Margaret who is a descendant of my great-grandfather; William (Willie) Beaton’s sister;  Annie and Mary who is a descendant of the Beaton family.

If you’ve heard the Beaton/Batten story then you can leave for a moment and grab a beverage.  But for those of you who don’t know the story then you need to know that my great-grandfather; William Beaton was adopted by his father  but the lady who raised him wasn’t his mother. Or so the family story goes. Another version from one of my aunt’s is that Willie’s mom abandoned him and then his father abandoned him as well. So I’m not sure if the family, I found Willie in, in the 1881 census,  really is his family. I’ve  spent many hours and four weeks in Kingston trying to find orphan records or something that would explain the story.

Willie’s sister; Annie was adopted by the Batten family. She lived with that family just down the way from the Beaton’s.  I know, similar name…. but I can’t find a connection between the two families other than they adopted my family.

So are they orphans, are they home children…. who’s children are they?

Ok for those of you who left to get a drink, we continue.

So I tested Mary; who is a descendant of the Beaton family (that Willie was raised by)  and she wasn’t a match to my mom as a second cousin. I know that doesn’t prove without a doubt that we aren’t from the family but I haven’t been able to get another descendant to test yet.

I tested Margaret; a descendant of Annie Batten and she was a second cousin match to my mom.

I’ve put all these kits onto Gedmatch which is a third-party site that provides additional reports on your DNA.  This is great, because you can see anyone who’s loaded their kits from Family Tree DNA, Ancestry and 23andMe. I’ve paid a donation, so I’m a 1st Tier member. 1st Tier gives you additional reports.

Now for the fun… I found a new site called DNA Gedcom and I’m loading my info so I can see what I can triangulate. Triangulation is described by the ISOGG as,  the technique used in autosomal DNA testing to compare matching DNA segments to determine which ancestor donated which particular segment.

So I’m doing that today and I hope I will have something major to tell you about in the next few days.. crossing fingers.

 

Open Up the Treasure Chest

Treasure chest

Today when I was speaking to another genealogist  about a road block I had, I told her that for some reason I have this feeling that I had the answer. Somewhere in all the things I’ve collected over the past 17 years. I don’t know why I feel like that, it’s just a nagging feeling.

So if your like me then you keep all those notes, sticky notes and scrap papers of those people who aren’t your family, but could be, because you haven’t made the connection.  After all why would you throw them out because as soon as you do you know that your going to find that connection.  But what do you do with them? Where do you store them?  and if you store them; how on earth will you be able to find them when you think you need to look at them.I can offer a few suggestion and I hope that you can offer some back.

One way you can keep track of all those bits and pieces is to create a file folder for each family group called something like “Beaton – Misc” or “Thompson-Bits and Pieces”.  I have a file like this for each family group and every so often (usually every 6 month but for sure every 12 months)  I go through them and see if I can connect that record I found with my family. I have things that I collected 17 years ago when I was just starting out. I sure didn’t know then what I know now about the family.

If your bits and pieces are of a digital nature then you should start folders on your computer similar to the paper version and make it a habit to check in from time to time.

Or you can take all the scraps and put them in an archival box and call it the treasure box. How fun to go through it and find that piece of information that you collected oh so many years ago actually fits into your tree.

The most important thing if you’re doing any of these things is to be sure that the scrap piece of paper means something to you when you find it again.  Site the source on it, if it’s just a note be explicit so you don’t look at it and thing “what the heck does that mean”. If you don’t do this then that scrap piece of paper becomes just that; a scrap piece of paper.

So as I sift through the things I have pertaining to my road block,  I hope I find that scrap piece of paper. Cuz I think one of the ancestors has been nagging me enough, that I just might have the answer in my treasure box.

 

 

 

Sleepless Nights

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How many times have you stayed up late at night doing your family history? After all your on a hot lead, aren’t you?….  It’s only 100 or 200 years old. There are times when you get into bed and then roll over, roll over and finally you just get up. Something or someone is keeping you up.

That was the situation last night. Did I accomplish something? No not really, well maybe just a bit. I added more information to my ancestors and I even added some collateral ancestor. Collateral ancestors for me, are your direct line’s sibling’s, children and spouses.. and sometimes their children and spouses.. Why do I do that? I think you need those collateral ancestors for your tree so that when you are doing a DNA gedcom to add to the DNA site that you have your DNA at… that you provide as many connections as possible. So often,  I see others with very limited trees and perhaps they haven’t gotten that far back. By adding collateral ancestor on my tree, they may have a better chance to see where we have a connection. Now they can see (or search)  that family name that they didn’t know was connected to that common great great grandparent.

Queries – Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Question Mark Puzzle Shows Asking Questions And Inquiring

 

Queries can be a useful tool for doing family history. They can be posted on genealogy society webpages or to genealogy boards.

When creating your query be sure to give it a title that tells the reader at a glance what you’re looking for. If you post something like;  “Family History” most people will just scroll by it. But if you post; “William BEATON, Pittsburgh Township, Kingston, Frontenac, Ontario” then if they have a connection to that name at least they will stop and read. After all, isn’t that why you’re creating the post? To have someone look”.

Many years ago I posted on the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Genealogy Societies query page; I wrote that at the time of my great-aunt;  Jesse Lett’s death that she was survived by the following people etc. This led to my meeting my second cousin (on-line) about a month later. She wasn’t even aware that she had any other family on that side of the family.

Also be sure to stop and search those old queries.. perhaps someone is searching for your family.

 

Tracks Through Time

tracks

This past weekend my husband, my sister-in-law, Debby, and I  spent time in Barrie, Ontario at the Tracks Through Time, OGS Genealogy Conference. Debby was a participant and Kevin helped me with my Shop the Hound booth.

There were about 400 lively conference attendees and they were able to hear tips and tricks on how to track your ancestors through the ages.  It was a well-organized conference and they had events to help beginner conference attendees as well as; “ask the experts” where you could make an appointment to see if you could get help with one of your genealogy struggles. Something new was;  Fast Tracks which was an opportunity for vendors to showcase something about their booth.

Thomas MacEntee, Christy Gray, Dr. Maurice Gleeson and Dave Obee  were speaking and this was only the tip of the iceberg.

It was a great weekend and both the Flip Pal and the Zcan+ were a big hit. We had a great time and look forward to next year’s event in Toronto.