Saturday, January 31, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 4: Bullet Journaling and Stuck-on-Sources

I haven’t actively worked on the Dukes project this week.  I need to just get there and do it.  But regardless, the events for this week were to manage projects and tasks and tracking searches.   

To manage projects, I have complex systems in play that I’ve already described in my Goals post.  I won’t revisit them, as they are working for me.  What WASN’T working was my daily home to-do lists.  I’m trying a new system called Bullet Journal.  So far, I’m loving it.  Working great in a regular ol’ Moleskinenotebook.

For search tracking, I use post-its made by the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group, called, “Stuck-on-Sources.”  I have them handy as I search and I just jot stuff in that I find (or don’t).  I stick these right on the Family Group Sheet and Research Checklists that I’ve created.

Debbie Does DNA, Part 2: The One with Some Possible Funny Business in Ireland

I’m going to go through each of the big buttons on the FTDNA home page.  Here is what they look like:

First off is the MATCHES.  I have (well, Grampa has) several matches.  Most are old and I’ve already contacted them.  Most also do not have a family tree or GEDCOM information posted.  The first three on the list are our closest matches with a genetic distance of only two.

Here is what that means (as shown in the TiP report provided):

Basically, we are related somewhere.  But where?  You have to email Person 1 to figure it out.  Having done that, I can tell you that Person 1 has no idea how we connect.  Person 2 never responded and Person 3 asked me for a full GEDCOM and money so that he could put us into his CONNER CD.  Um…. No.

So where does that leave us?  Did we really learn anything yet from DNA?  Maybe not “learn” but an interesting thing to notice is that in all the matches, few are Conner/Connor. In fact, only 13% share our surname.

Why is this odd?  Well, to show you, I have to tell you about the test we took.  Grampa did the Y-DNA test.  The sex chromosomes are XX for women and XY for men.  These chromosomes carry the code that makes us a man or a woman.  We inherit an X from our moms always.  If we are a boy, we get a Y from our dad.  If we are a girl, we get an X from our dad.


X from Mom
X from Dad
X from Mom
Y from Dad

Since only men inherit the father’s Y-chromosome, it follows the paternal line back.  So in doing the Y-DNA test, we tested Grampa, his dad, his grampa, his great-grampa, etc.  We also tested, by default, his sons, Harry and Ricky, and their sons.  And their sons.

The test looks at certain markers (STR markers), which are places where the genetic code tend to vary in its repeated parts.  They change a bit from one generation to another, but slowly.  So when you test a bunch of them, you can see who is related to whom by how much (or how little) variance there is.

Now that we know this, let’s go back to that there aren’t that many CONNER/CONNOR/O’CONNOR etc. in the matches.  Shouldn’t they all be CONNOR/CONNER, etc. if we are looking at the Y only?  Possible that way back there somewhere in Ireland, a Connor wasn’t really a Connor…  

Just 10 minutes ago, I got an email notifying me of two new matches.  I'll write about those next time on...

Debbie Does DNA.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over: Using Scrivener, Logs, and Family Group Sheets

In GenealogyDo-Over Week 2, we were to focus on collecting information about our own lives, interviewing other family members, and setting research goals.  Since I’m not doing a full do-over, I focused on getting my information ready.  I put my information for Part 1 of Dukes into Scrivener.  Next I went through and make in-line annotations for where footnotes need to be. 

Thomas also looked at Family Group Sheets, so I decided to use mine over again, too.  I will use these (by hand) when I’m creating my do-overs.  I reviewed my Family Group Sheet and Research Checklist that I’d created and decided to continue with their use for now. 

In Genealogy Do-Over Week 3, the focus is on tracking and conducting research.  I looked at Thomas’ Genealogy Research Log and decided to see if it can work for me for the Dukes project.  I added a Place column, as sometimes I get the place separate from the date, so I thought that may work better for me. 

Here is the first shot at that for the first paragraph in Section 1:

I can use the log to add all the other data that I have or that I find, from the records that I have or that I find.

In Do-Over Week 2, we were to also focus on ourselves (if we were doing the full do-over.  I am not, but since I’ve already written a number of stories for my Personal History with prompts, I put all those into a different Scrivener file for a different project I’m exploring that isn't really genealogy related, but more myself and my dad's story.  Combined.  It's still being mulled around, so I'm not sure on it yet, but I did get my stories out of Word and into Scrivener.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Debbie Does DNA: Part 1- GO FISH!

I will admit that the whole DNA in genealogy thing has entirely baffled me.  In October 2012, I asked my grandfather to be tested.  He did the swab, we did the 37-marker YDNA test, and we sent it in and I got notes about matches.  I continue to get notes about matches.  I write to the people I match with using a stupid email that plays Go Fish.  “Hi! Our DNA says we match. Do you have any Williams?” 

The responses have ranged from, “I’m sorry.  I don’t find your Grampa in my GEDCOM file so we aren’t related,” (someone really very unfamiliar with what being "related" actually means...) to “We are likely related way far back.  Good luck with your research!”  And the most common?  Never, ever hear back from them.  One told me to send a GEDCOM file on CD and he would add me to his database.  It was a mass email sent to hundreds of people.  With no information at all about him or how he is a Conner. Or not.

I knew I wouldn’t have anything hugely exciting like flashing semaphore signs leading me back more generations, but I also didn’t expect to be so completely lost with the whole thing.  So today is the day I start to figure this crap out.

I downloaded the IHave the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? Ebook that FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) has on their site.  Based on this document, the first thing I really should do is to determine Grampa’s “Haplogroup.”  FTDNA provides this for me!  Here is our haplogroup:

Your Predicted Haplogroup: R-L21

What does this mean?  Well, FTDNA helps with that, too.  “The R-L21 lineage began in West Asia. It is the descendant of the major R-M343 lineage. R-L21 spread to Europe and is one of the most common branches of R-P25 there.”

Funny thing is that when I first looked at this page, I wrote down our Haplogroup and it was R-M269 then.  It’s changed.  Why?  Because more research is done all the time.  As more mutations and commonalities are found, it appears they further define.  So don’t go memorizing R-L21, as that part isn’t important in the grand scheme.

Here is the migration map from FTDNA of our Rs, though, which is more general and vague so likely won’t change:

So what I’ve learned so far is that R-L21 (formerly known as R-M269) is our number and that it likely began in West Asia.  Grampa lives in Washington..  I decided to add in the FamilyFinder test today.  So that will begin soon.

Not much of a help so far, but I will move us further along in the next episode of Debbie Does DNA…

Monday, January 5, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over... Week 1: Doing It Again- The Right Way

This week’s topics on the Do-Over are:

  1. Set Previous Research Aside.
  2. Prepare to Research.
  3. Establish Base Practices and Guidelines.
I’ve explained a bit that I’m not going to actually set my research aside.  Actually, almost the opposite; I’m going to REALLY look hard at my research and document it.  Preparing to research for me means that I have to find a beginning and make a map of now versus done (with this project).  Since I have the skeleton (Dukes of Mixager), I have the map.  Done for this project will have a fully sourced book.  Base practices and guidelines are covered below.

Here is an example of how I want to tackle my Do-over.  Here is a paragraph from my family book:

William Connor was born in 1820 in Londonderry County, Ireland.  He married Jane Humes (or maybe her name was Simpson- records show both names*) on August 12, 1838.  Jane was the daughter of farmer, John Humes, and she died on June 9, 1879 in Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland.  Soon after, William came to the United States, and he died in 1885 in What Cheer, Iowa.

See what I mean?  No footnotes.  No sources.  No information about where I got the information and how I know what I know.  Here is how I want to tackle my Do-Over.

1. Make notes throughout the text showing what I want to write footnotes and source properly.  Example:
William Connor was born in 1820[FOOTNOTE] in Londonderry County, Ireland[FOOTNOTE].  He married Jane Humes[FOOTNOTE] (or maybe her name was Simpson- records show both names[FOOTNOTE]*) on August 12, 1838[FOOTNOTE].  Jane was the daughter of farmer[FOOTNOTE], John Humes[FOOTNOTE], and she died on June 9, 1879[FOOTNOTE] in Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland[FOOTNOTE].  Soon after[FOOTNOTE], William came to the United States[FOOTNOTE], and he died in 1885[FOOTNOTE] in What Cheer, Iowa[FOOTNOTE]. 

2. Make a list of what items are needed to support the text.  Example:
·         William Connor birth date
·         William Connor birth place
·         William Connor wife name
·         William Connor marriage date
·         Jane Connor father occupation
·         Jane Connor father
·         Jane Connor date of death
·         Jane Connor place of death
·         William Connor immigration
·         William Connor date of death
·         William Connor place of death

3.      Make a list of what items additionally are needed. Example:
·         Jane Connor birth date
·         Jane Connor birth place
·         William Connor parents
·         Jane Connor parents

4.      Locate items I already have that are needed to support text. 

5.      File these items digitally in the proper folder and link to these in Family Tree Maker.  Format: 
·         c:/My Documents/Genealogy/Surname/Surname_Given Name_Year_Type of Record*

*BC= Birth Certificate, DC=Death Certificate, Census=Census Record (show image where possible), ML=Marriage License, PHOTO_Description=Photo of person with a description of what’s happening in the photo.  NOTE: Keep running list of each type and abbreviations.  For those where there are multiple people in the photo, I will have to have it saved in multiple locations.  This concerns me.  I may need to think about creating shortcuts…

6.      Footnote my document appropriately using Evidence Explained.  I did this for my Mariani book and it was a wonderful exercise.  I will continue and then have this book sourced as well.