Tuesday’s Tip: Command Click

Command Click

I LOVE keyboard shortcuts!

They save time and page loads, which of course is also time.  I love saving page loads.  I’m a busy mom, I will do anything I can to save page loads.

So today, I would like to introduce you to one of the lesser known keyboard shortcuts, ‘Command Click’ for a mac OR ‘Control Click’ for a pc.

In the video I will show you how to use this tip on:

  • – open items in new windows without losing the page you started from.
  • – open ‘Suggested Records’ in their own windows so you can click back and forth between them to compare the data.  (Did you already know about the ‘Suggested Records’ on the sidebar in  If not, another bonus tip for you!)
  • – open people in a new window without losing the tree view you started from.
  • – open other family members in their own window without losing the family member you started from.
  • Blog posts – when a blog post has links that don’t open in their own window – learn how to open them in their own window so you don’t lose the blog post you started from.
  • – if you’ve loaded up your cart with several items you want to choose between, from the cart, open each item in their own window so you can easily click between windows without waiting for page loads.
  • ANY website with hyperlinks – learn how to open those links in their own window.


Seriously guys, if you use the internet for anything at all, you ALL want to watch this one.



Make sure you click and HOLD the command or control button while you click your mouse.


Do you have a favorite keyboard shortcut that most people don’t know about?  If so, tell us about it!



ps – This is my 400th post!  🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉





Happy Birthday America

This is my favorite commercial ever created in the genealogy industry.  I love the concept and the execution.  In less than a minute, managed to remind us of the importance of unity and freedom.

This great experiment that is America, survives and thrives by our willingness to be united in supporting the freedom and rights of every human being.  I hope our experiment continues for generations to come.  I hope this lovely commercial can serve as a reminder that there is always more that unites us than divides us.  We are stronger when we are one.

Happy Birthday America.


Thank you for reminding us what we celebrate on this day.



My DNA Results – How do they compare to my tree? (Updated)

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 5.52.56 PM

Yesterday I shared my ethnicity percentages based on my tree.  They look a little something like this:

  • 62.5% – British Isles (English, Mixed British Isles, Scottish, Welsh)
  • 15.6% – Europe West (French Canadian, French)
  • 9.4% – Scandinavian
  • 6.3% – Some mixture of European Jewish & Italy, Greece
  • 6.3% – Iberian Peninsula (Spanish)

As you can see from my screenshot up there, I have some interesting differences between my tree and the DNA I inherited.  Here is a comparison of my tree ethnicities and my DNA ethnicities.

Ethnicity comparison - Sheet1

The first important note is that those trace ethnicities, 2% or lower, are often considered noise.  In my case, those bottom three surprise ethnicities are not backed up by documentation.  The first six however, are documented, even the 1% Iberian Peninsula.

The biggest surprises for me are these:

  • How little of the French and French Canadian DNA I inherited.
  • How much European Jewish DNA I inherited.
  • How much Italy, Greece DNA I inherited.

John Costello and his ancestors make up 12.5% of my tree.  And yet, I inherited 19% of the three regions he could have contributed – Iberian Peninsula, European Jewish, and Italy, Greece.

And here is where I need to beef up my learning, you see something I read recently caused me to misunderstand a very important point – you inherit 50% of your DNA from each parent, beyond that, it is a random mixture of all that came before them.  I had a handful of paragraphs with some interesting questions and insights into some of the nuances of my tree.  But those questions and insights were based on my misunderstanding, so I chopped them out.  😉  Thank you Deborah for some helpful pointers!  (See her comment below).

I have so much to learn about genetic genealogy.  I need to test my siblings and cousins so I can isolate the various pieces of my DNA and do some fancy-science-y-ultra-nerdy-but-oh-so-cool-DNA-genealogy like this.

While I am still learning, and not completely sure of what my next steps are, the thing I keep coming back to is… How can I be 10% European Jewish when I had no idea I had ANY European Jewish ancestry?  10%.  That’s a lot of percent.  Especially when I didn’t see it coming.

This DNA stuff is oh-so-fascinating.  Have you tested?  Did you find any surprises?

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today – DNA or otherwise!


RootsTech Videos & A Question


If you missed RootsTech, you can still soak up some RootsTech goodness!  Below are links to the recorded sessions available on the RootsTech website.  I’m so sad to say that the LeVar Burton session isn’t included.  It was excellent.  Here is a brief recap article.

I am also delighted to say that they still have the 2016 RootsTech videos available.  They don’t normally do that so I’m not sure how long they will be there.  There are several that are worth watching.

And now for my question…

I purchased a few DNA kits while at RootsTech, a few from ancestry and a few from FamilyTreeDNA.  For those of you who have purchased an ancestry DNA kit for a family member, did you activate the kit before you gave it to them?  Is that the only way I am the steward of the account?  That seems logical to me but I’m hoping for a little input from those of you with experience.


Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a delightful genealogy discovery today!


New Ancestry Color Options

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Earlier this week the Ancestry blog announced new color options for Ancestry users.  Here is a sample of the blue – pretty bright.  There are a handful of choices.  If the Ancestry default color doesn’t work for your eyes, go check out the other options.

I love it when the big websites address common complaints/requests.  The default color works for me but I know a lot of people struggle with the colors, and a lot of people have complained.  Ancestry listened.  Happy Friday!


Public Member Ancestry Trees – A Mixed Bag

esther death

Burial record for the other Esther Brouillette.  Record from

Public Member trees on have a quite a reputation.  The funny thing is they are wholeheartedly embraced by some, completely shunned by some, and then used as a potential clue by others.  I’ve had a few experiences recently that demonstrate the importance of taking the middle road.

Let’s start with a good experience:

Laura Ann Potter is my 4th great grandmother.  My sister Megan works on this line in our tree.  For a few years now Megan has had a good guess about Laura Ann Potter’s parents but all of her evidence was indirect and a little thin.  Recently we were talking it through.  I pulled up my private Ancestry tree to refresh my memory.  I looked at the hints on Laura Ann Potter – just a few public member trees.  I went through each one that had parents listed for Laura Ann Potter to see what sources they had attached to their trees.  Lo and behold one of them had an excellent source.  A source that combined with the indirect evidence confirmed Megan’s guess.

While that was certainly a good experience with a public member tree on Ancestry, not all experiences match that one.

Let’s explore a frustrating experience:

Esther Brouillette is my 3rd great grandmother.  I know of her from my grandmother.  Esther’s name has existed on family group sheets held by my family for the last five generations but with no additional details.  She was the end of line person.  We knew very little about her because she was born in Quebec, immigrated to Illinois, married, had 5 children and died before the 1880 census was taken.  A short life of at most, 41 years.

Through a lot of research and use of indirect evidence I have determined that her parents are Landrie (or Andrew) Brouillette and Emilie Fortin.  Until very recently the public member trees on Ancestry were very quiet about Esther.  They listed her husband and children but no parents.

Well, a few months ago I was revisiting those trees to see if anyone else had found what I had found.  Two trees were now listing parents.  Different parents than I had proven.  So I took a look because – what if I was wrong?  I was using indirect evidence after all.

One tree had a baptism record attached to Esther.  It listed parents names that matched the parent names listed in that tree.  So I went to that parish book and looked through a few years worth of entries and this is what I discovered.  The Esther in the baptism record was born and baptized one day and died the next day.  So that Esther was definitely not my Esther who lived for about 40 years.  After contacting the tree owner, her response was that she just figured they may have had another daughter later and used the same name.

Okay.  That is possible.  People do that.  But the record being used to prove Esther’s parents was about a different person.  The mother in that record remarried another man eight years after Esther’s death.  Her marriage record states she was a widow.  During the years between Esther’s death and the mother’s remarriage I can find no other birth records that could be our Esther born to those parents.

Here’s the super frustrating part.  The parents listed in that tree have now been added to two more trees.  Oh boy.  It’s just going to spread.  And it’s wrong.

This experience definitely falls into the not-so-good experience category.  It also illustrates why we can’t blindly trust someone else’s tree.  We can certainly use it as a guide to go looking for sources that either prove or disprove the conclusions in the tree.  But blindly accepting a tree can quickly lead us down the wrong road.

Public member trees on Ancestry can be quite helpful.  They can also be completely wrong.  Just like every other genealogy resource, it’s up to us to use them wisely.

How about you?  Have you had any good, bad, or in-between experiences with public member trees?






Shout Out!

Alice Elizabeth Grant Cheney Funeral Home Record, California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, accessed at

Alice Elizabeth Grant Cheney Funeral Home Record, California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, accessed at

Happy Monday!  I have a happy genealogy story for you.  A shout out for a new-to-me record collection, and for kind strangers.

Thursday I was preparing a class on Family History Basics.  Part of the class was a demo portion within Family Tree on FamilySearch.  I clicked around in my own tree and found an area that was missing sources, facts and some people.  The person related to me was James W. Cheney.  In the tree he had a wife name Alice G. Tinsley.  Alice wasn’t jiving with the other records I was finding.  I was pretty sure Alice didn’t belong with my James.  But I was also sure that someone named Alice Grant did belong with James.

I did some checking in findagrave and there was an Alice Elizabeth Grant Cheney.  She seemed like a pretty good potential match for the Alice belonging to my James.  I did some basic searching and couldn’t find an obit.  I was hoping an obit would tie up some loose ends.

This is when I thought I would try something out.  I posted a help request in Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness on Facebook.  I asked for help locating an obituary to match the Alice Elizabeth Grant Cheney on findagrave.

Within a few minutes a kind stranger had found the funeral home record above.  This fabulous record was step one in proving that my James was not married to Alice G. Tinsley but was married to Alice Elizabeth Grant.  Isn’t that record amazingly detailed?  I love that the obit is at the bottom of the page!  I was however a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t found this myself.  Somehow I missed it.  (Insert sheepish head shake here.)  But a story with a happy ending nonetheless.

So – two big shot outs.

One – Hooray for the new-to-me collection, “California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985“!

Two – Hooray for kind strangers willing to help at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness!

But also, hooray for being able to clear up the Alice confusion.  I love a good puzzle.  I love it even more when I solve it.