thegenealogygirl


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A FamilySearch Profile Photo Experiment

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Last week, I wrote about a funny glitch I came across in FamilySearch.  See that image right up there?  The profile picture?  It’s not William Taylor, it’s James Lake.  Weirder still is that picture of James Lake isn’t anywhere in the memories tab for this William.  It seems to be the ghost of a photo no longer attached to William.  Well, that post prompted a Twitter conversation that led me to conduct an experiment with FamilySearch photos and profile pictures.

These were my questions:

  • Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?
  • Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?
  • Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?
  • Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

 

 

Experiment Phase One – Simple Comparisons

 

I selected a handful of my own ancestors whose profile photos I have personally changed at some point and compared their profile from the FamilySearch Tree app on my phone, to the profile as seen when logged in as my friend.*  The results were interestingly inconsistent.

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Here are the profile images of each person.  Images from my friend’s account on the left, from my account on the right (note – I double checked the website, logged in as me, and the images on the right from the app match what I see on the website):

 

Based on these results we can answer two of our questions.

 

Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?

YES!

 

Logged in as my friend, I looked at my relatives who my friend had never looked at before.  They all showed a profile picture if they had any photos in the memories tab.  (With one strange exception that we will discuss in more detail in my report on part two of my experiment.  But recently uploaded and deleted photos can cause a person to go from having a profile photo to not having a profile photo.)

 

Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

NO!

 

Because there is such a wide variety in this set of simple comparisons, it appears that FamilySearch has had different default settings for profile pictures at different times.

 

Experiment Phase Two – Uploading and Deleting Photos

 

I selected a handful of family members who did not currently have any photos in the tree.  I uploaded and deleted photos from both my friend’s FamilySearch account and my own to see what happened to the profile photo.

These are the four photos I used in my experiment:

 

Let’s start with John Arthur Jerrain.

 

John is seen in the first and second photos.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 became the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 shows on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.  (Note – I did not click on the profile photo circle as I wanted to see if the app would add a photo by default.)

Still logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged John, Emma, & Prude in that photo.  Yes, Prude.  His full name is Prudent Arthur Jerrain.  😉  What happened?

  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 1 was still the profile photo for John when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 1 and photo 2 show on John’s memory tab, but he has no profile photo.

Still logged in as my friend, I deleted photo 1.  What happened?

  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • When logged in as me, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.
  • In the app, John now showed only photo 2 in his memories tab and had no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 1 and tagged John in that photo.  I made the tag a much larger circle so that it could be differentiated from the tag created using my friend’s account.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab.  Photo 1 with the larger circle was now his profile picture.
  • When logged in as my friend, John now showed both photo 1 and photo 2 in his memories tab but had no profile picture.
  • In the app, John now showed both photos and still has no profile photo.

 

Now let’s chat about Emma Esther Jerrain.

 

Emma is seen in the second photo.  Emma already had a few photos uploaded by me.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Emma’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2 when logged in as me.
  • In the app, Emma’s profile photo did not change to photo 2.

 

What about Prudent Arthur Jerrain & Jessie Cambell Shirkie?

 

Prudent can be seen in pictures 2, 3, and 4.  Jessie can be seen in picture 3 and 4.  Logged in as my friend, I uploaded photo 2 and tagged Prude in that photo.  What happened?

  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as my friend.
  • Photo 2 became Prude’s profile photo when logged in as me.
  • In the app, photo 2 was visible in Prude’s memories, but he did not have a profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 3 and tagged Prude and his wife Jessie Cambell Shirkie in that photo.  I did not tag their daughter Willow Eleanor, who is also seen in this photo, because I was planning to delete this picture and Willow was not part of my experiment.  What happened?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed from picture 2 to picture 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still picture 2, but picture 3 can be seen in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, both picture 2 and picture 3 can be seen, but Prude has no profile photo.

What happened for Jessie with the upload of photo 3?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo became photo 3.
  • In the app, photo 3 shows in Jessie’s memories tab, but she has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I uploaded photo 4 and tagged Prude and Jessie in that photo.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are all visible.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2, but photos 2, 3, and 4 are in his memories gallery.
  • In the app, all three photos are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie’s profile photo is still photo 3, but photo 4 is also in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 3 and 4 are visible, but she still has no profile photo.

Logged in as me, I deleted photo 3.  What happened to Prude?

  • When logged in as me, Prude’s profile photo changed back to photo 2.
  • When logged in as my friend, Prude’s profile photo is still photo 2.
  • In the app, photo 2 and 4 are visible, but he still has no profile photo.

What happened to Jessie?

  • When logged in as me, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • When logged in as my friend, Jessie shows no profile photo, but photo 4 is visible in her memories gallery.
  • In the app, photo 4 is visible, she still does not have a profile photo.

 

Interestingly, on the day I conducted this experiment, after a photo was deleted and a person “lost” their profile photo, in the couple box of that person and their spouse, the circle for the profile photo showed a broken photo link icon.  However, the next day, that icon was gone and the profile photo area is just empty despite there being a photo in that person’s gallery.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I started with four questions.  I was able to answer all four:

 

Question 1 – Does FamilySearch automatically set a default profile picture for individuals in the tree?

Yes!  It is the first photo uploaded for that person.  However, if a user adds a photo for the first time to a person who already has photos, the profile photo will change to the newly added photo for that user.

In the app, however, FamilySearch does not set a default profile photo.

 

Question 2 – If one user changes the profile picture for someone in the tree, does that change the profile picture for every user?

Yes and No.  This function has varied over time.

 

Question 3 – What happens to the profile picture if the photo used for the profile picture is deleted?

It appears that based on my original post, in the past, a ghost of the photo can still remain as the profile photo.  But now, when the photo is deleted, in most cases, the profile picture is blank until a user chooses a new profile photo.  In one instance, the profile photo reverted back to the first photo uploaded by a different user.  This function is inconsistent.

 

Question 4 – Have each of these things functioned consistently over time?

No!  FamilySearch has clearly made some changes to how profile photos are assigned.  Based on my experiment, I think they have changed things more than one time.

 

 

Thank you, Alberta Genealogical Society – @ABGenealogy – for prompting me to complete this experiment.  When I work with patrons at my local FamilySearch center and they ask a question about some quirk they have run into on FamilySearch I often say, “Well, it used to work this way, but let’s give it a look and see how it’s working now.”  FamilySearch makes changes regularly and just when you think you have it figured out, it’s different.

 

Thank you, FamilySearch for constantly working to improve all areas of your website.  You are awesome and you make the genealogy world so much better for everyone!!  (I’m especially loving how fast you are digitizing records and getting them in the catalog.  Amazing!!!!  ❤️)

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful genealogy week for everyone!  If you haven’t perused the FamilySeach catalog – do give it a look today!  You just might find a hidden treasure.  If you aren’t sure where the catalog is, read this post I wrote last yearxoxo

 

 

 

*I logged into my friend’s FamilySearch account, with her permission, to assist in my experiment.

 

 


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My Top Ten RootsTech 2018 Moments

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Me, RootsTech 2018, posing with my Photo+Story submission

Wow!  Last week was a blur of genealogy goodness at RootsTech.  There were so many awesome moments.  If you were not at RootsTech, but want to enjoy some of the awesomeness, you can view the general sessions and many of the classes for free here.

I made notes of so many fantastic quotes during the general sessions.  I will share those slowly over time.  My favorite keynote address was Scott Hamilton.  His love and respect for his mother was so moving.

One of the main reasons to attend RootsTech is for the classes.  They were great.  Lots of choices about lots of topics.  There was definitely something for everyone.

I loved being there all week long with one of my favorite friends, Catrina.  That definitely made the week the best RootsTech yet.  Even though we were together every day, we failed to take a picture together.  Does anyone else have that problem?  Haha.

Aside from hanging with my pal, there were lots of other amazing moments, here’s a quick recap of my RootsTech Top Ten:

 

10 – I spent a lot more time in the Expo hall this year.  There were so many cool sales, coupons, products, and demos.  I could have happily spent a small fortune for sure!

 

9 – The DNA sales were fantastic!  Living DNA was $49, 23 & Me was $99 for the autosomal + health, Ancestry was $59, and FTDNA was $59 for atDNA and $139 for YDNA.  I may or may not have purchased 7 tests from 4 different vendors…

 

8 – On Wednesday evening I stopped by the Larsen Digital booth and shared with them the short video of Grandpa Costello they digitized for me last year.  I thanked them for helping me discover and preserve this special treasure.  The darling woman running the booth said, “Can you say that again and let me record you?”  I laughed and then agreed.  There really is nothing like being asked to record a video on the spot to promote something.  Of course, watching it after the fact, I realized I am basically a super happy genealogy cartoon character.  😂  Here it is:

 

 

7 – On Friday I attended the BYU Sponsored Lunch.  I ended up sitting next to the head of the BYU Family History department and the Deputy Chief Genealogist for FamilySearch.  Very cool experience!  Next year I will definitely attend another sponsored lunch or two.

 

6 – I skipped class on Friday morning and wandered the Expo hall in relative quiet.  I met Johanne Gervais at the Québec Genealogical Society booth and learned about some awesome resources available to society members.  She also looked at two curious records for me and shared some insight.  I was delighted when she said she hadn’t seen a record quite like that before.  It’s always nice to know that a record you find curious is just as curious as you thought.  😉

 

5 – During my Friday morning Expo hall wanderings, I joined NGS and learned about a few opportunities from the wonderful ladies running the booth.  This was definitely a good thing for me!

 

4 – My first year at RootsTech I met Kit.  We chose a lot of the same classes and both love the front row so we kept sitting by each other.  By the afternoon of the first or second day, I had shared a snack with her and we have been pals ever since.  Kit and her friend Karen travel to RootsTech together each year.  This year Kit and Karen met Grace on the flight to SLC and so our circle of friends grew.  On Friday evening, Kit, Grace and I enjoyed a lovely, long dinner that was super fun!

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Thursday morning – me, Kit, and Grace (who I didn’t realize was in the shot until later, I should have gotten her in closer and with a smile ;))

 

3 – Meeting Diahan Southard on Thursday at her booth.  I thanked her for helping me smash a brick wall and she said, “Can you say that again and let my assistant record you?”  So on Friday, I met Diahan at her booth and we recorded a video together.  Twice in two days!!  What are the odds?  I quit thanking strangers for helping me with my genealogy after that.  😂  But it was a super fun experience!

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Diahan Southard & I on Friday after recording a video together.

 

2 – Finding a VERY important land deed at the FHL on Saturday for a (sort of) end-of-line ancestor that helps tighten up his timeline!  🎉

 

And finally… my top moment at RootsTech 2018 was…

 

 

1 – My Photo+Story Submission won 3rd place!  New Canon Rebel DSLR camera for me!  🎉

 

 

 

Thank you, FamilySearch and RootsTech for a great week of genealogy goodness, learning, friendship, and connections!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

Thinking about RootsTech for next year?  The dates are – February 27-March 2, 2019.  I hope to see you there!

 

 


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RootsTech 2018 – THIS WEEK!

It’s going to be a busy and awesome week for me at RootsTech!  I’m looking forward to a week of genealogy goodness, learning, and research at the Family History Library.

If you can’t be at RootsTech but want some RootsTech goodness, you can watch the live stream sessions from home.  Here is the streaming schedule.

Or, you can check out the recorded sessions from RootsTech 2017 here.

Or, check in with me here and on twitter – @genealogygirl_ – as I share a few things throughout the week.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you learn some amazing new genealogy tidbits this week!

 

xoxo

 


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Photograph Showcase: Finding Treasures With Help From A Friend & A New Site to Love

WOOD, Agnes Blair Boyd and Andrew Wilson newspaper article about wedding, crop

Stirling Observer – Tuesday 28 April 1942 Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Last week I wrote about my cousin Mary Brown Wood and the many, many family deaths she experienced.  My friend Su Leslie who blogs here and here suggested that I look for a newspaper article to help learn the fate of Mary’s son, John Wood.  I shared with her that I haven’t become a savvy Scottish newspaper searcher yet.  She shared a few tips and her favorite newspaper website for Scottish newspapers – The British Newspaper Archive.

I gave it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised that they offer three free views to give you a taste of how their website works with your free registration.  I wasn’t going to use any of those credits on a guess, so I still haven’t found a record for John Wood, but I did find three records for my family using all of my three free views productively.  Among them was this marriage announcement for Mary’s granddaughter Agnes Blair Boyd Wood.  What a sweet treasure!  It felt wonderful to look into the beautiful, smiling face of Agnes and feel a bit of happy closure to the very sad tale of Mary.

I am definitely a fan of The British Newspaper Archive!

Once the busy-ness of RootsTech is over, I’m going to have to decide which subscription level is right for me.

Have you tried The British Newspaper Archive?  If so, do you have any search tips to share?

 

Important side note:  I LOVE newspapers and use them frequently.  But if you have been following along, then you know that my tree is very diverse and I research all over the world.  I hadn’t yet chased Scottish newspaper research because I have so many irons in the fire already, and the need wasn’t pressing.  But it’s something I have been wanting to learn more about.  I am so glad that Su shared a few tips and her favorite website.  She is all Scottish so I especially value her opinion on this one.  Thank you, dear Su! 

 

 


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Preparing for RootsTech 2018 – A Few Tips

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RootsTech 2018 is coming right up.

 

I will be attending once again this year and I can’t wait!  Many of my plans are taken care of, but I’m still working on the two most important items:

1 – Selecting classes to attend and printing the handouts.

2 – Making my FHL research plan for my free time.

Let’s talk a little bit about those two very important items.

 

Class Choice & Handouts

It’s important to carefully look over the RootsTech schedule, you can find it here.  The RootsTech app allows you to create an electronic schedule of classes.  If that works for you, great!

I use the app, but I also make a detailed paper schedule for each day of the week.  Why?

There are so many reasons.  My perspective changes throughout the week.  Sometimes I attend a class that is so incredible, I decide I want to go to every class taught by that teacher during the rest of the week.  And, unfortunately, the opposite has happened.  I attend a class taught by someone and decide to skip any other classes taught by that person.  Sometimes a class is full by the time you get there and you need a backup plan.  And then sometimes a presenter isn’t able to be there for one reason or another, and once again, you need a backup plan.  Sometimes I have selected more than one class on a specific topic, but the first one I attended was so detailed that I decided to change my later plans and learn about another topic of interest to me.  There are lots of reasons you might decide to change your schedule during the week.

I try to choose three classes I am interested in for each session.  I make myself a schedule in Google docs.  I rank my three choices as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice.  Sometimes I add a note to remind myself of what I hope to learn from a specific class, like – “maybe I can learn some tricks that will help me track down John Costello’s immigration records?”  I include all relevant data in my document – classroom, teacher, class title and description, etc.  Here is a sample page from my schedule for last year:

RootsTech 2017 schedule

Notice that I even added information about streaming sessions and times when the class is being offered again during the week.  Those are important factors to consider.

I spend time making my schedule really user-friendly for me.  I print out my schedule for each day, staple it together and then this is the part that works especially well for me – I use a different colored folder for each day.  I use a few large paperclips to paperclip the schedule to the front of the folder.  And then on the inside, I have ALL of the handouts for each of my class choices – 1st-3rd.  I write on them so that I know which handout is for which class.  The handouts are paperclipped together by session, with the first choice class in the front of the stack.

Seems excessive right?

Well, there is plenty of downtime in between classes and while you wait for the general session to start.  I try to always be one class ahead on my final decision.  What does that mean?

Well, while I wait for the general session to start, I look over my three choices for the class after the general session.  I skim the handouts, finalize my decision, make any necessary adjustments to my backup plan (like switching my 2nd and 3rd choices), and then look at the map so I know where I am going after the general session ends.  While I wait for the first class to start, I go through the same process to prepare for the next session.

I love having the printed handout to write on, but I also bring a notebook in case I want to write more than will fit on the handout.

I add one more very important list to my schedule – a list of exhibit hall goals.  That might include things like purchasing DNA kits, getting coupons from specific vendors, meeting someone at their booth, purchasing some specific books, or learning about a new tool, group, or tech item.  Having a list of exhibit hall goals that is printed is really helpful for me so that I don’t forget anything.

 

FHL Research Plan

One of the best parts of being at RootsTech is the opportunity to do some research at the Family History Library.  It’s really important to have a plan for that research time.  And a backup plan, and a second backup plan, and even a third backup plan…

Last year, my top priority was getting a long list of South African probate files.  I had a detailed list of film numbers and reference numbers to help me locate the items quickly.  I had double-checked and finalized that list on Monday.  On Wednesday I was in the library going through those microfilms.  When I got to the 6th probate file, I had some trouble locating the file on the microfilm and went into the FamilySearch catalog to make sure I hadn’t written the microfilm number down incorrectly.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that all 400+ microfilm in that collection were suddenly online and viewable from home when just on Monday they were not!  Thankfully, I had several backup plans and quickly shifted gears.

Just like I like having a physical, printed schedule for each day of RootsTech, I like to have a physical, printed research plan so that I can have it in my hand as I wander the library looking for things.  It’s much easier for me to glance at a piece of paper and make notes on that, check things off, etc, than to have to keep pulling up a list on my phone or on the computers.

I have lots of work to do to get my class schedule and research plan prepared, but it will be so worth it!  The more time I spend preparing, the more I learn during the sessions, and the more I find in the library.  Preparation makes the week even better.

Are you attending RootsTech?  If so, do you have any favorite tips to share?  Happy Monday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 


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Tuesday’s Tip: Awesome & Easy Source Citations in WordPress

Tuesday's Tip - source citations

Today’s tip is super simple – no video necessary!

Over my four years of writing about genealogy, there have been many times I wanted the ability to add source citations – or footnotes.  My friend Cathy had figured out a way to do it.  Her way is great but felt like too many steps for my schedule.  (And general lack of skill with html code.)  😉

You can also upgrade your blog to a Business Plan and use plug-ins to create source citations.  That seemed like a steep price tag for footnotes.

A few weeks ago I did a little digging online and then sent a query to WordPress support and was led to a super simple way to add source citations in WordPress.

First, I want to bring your attention to a recent post I wrote using this trick.  In “52 Ancestors – ALL the Babies of Mary Brown Wood,” I included thirteen source citations.  Here is an image showing the first four citations within the body of the post:

 

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Notice the little blue numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 scattered throughout this section of text.  If you click on any of those numbers in the original blog post, it will take you right to that citation at the end of the post.  After viewing the citation, you can click on the blue arrow to pop you back up to the body of the text.  Here is what the citations look like at the bottom of the post:

 

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I LOVE them!!  They are clean, simple, and easy to use.

So.  How do you do it?

The first step is to go to your admin page on WordPress.  Many of us are using the new WordPress tool that looks like this:

 

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But you need the admin page that looks like this:

 

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If you don’t know how to get there, type https://yourblognamehere.(your extension here, mine is .blog)/wp-admin.

Once you arrive at your admin page, go to settings, then writing.

 

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On the writing settings page, check the box labeled “Use Markdown for posts and pages”.  Then scroll down to the bottom and click on “Save Changes”.

 

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Once you have enabled Markdown, you are ready to add source citations to any blog post.  You simply write a phrase, then type this set of characters beside the item needing a citation: [^1]

At the bottom of your post, you will type this set of symbols followed by the citation information: [^1]:  These endnotes should each have their own line with no other spaces or characters preceding the [^1]:

For additional citations, just use the next number in sequence.  If you want the footnote number to touch the word it appears next to, do not include a space between the text and the [^1].  For cleaner citations at the end, begin the citation right after the colon with no space.

 

Edit:  Because a friend asked a few questions, here is a short video to help you understand potential quirks with using Markdown:

Good luck!

 

 

ps – A few months ago I treated myself to the most recent edition of Evidence Explained by, Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I am so glad I did!  I have been far less frustrated trying to create accurate citations.

 

 


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Quick Disney Break – AWESOME Genealogy Day – Miracle Update

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A few weeks ago my hubby was checking Disneyland prices and noticed a big price drop for last week.  We decided to move up our tentatively planned February Disney trip to last week.  It was fantastic!  I’m so glad we fit it in this year.  Our youngest is at the perfect age – he can ride everything and he LOVES the magic of Disneyland.

Hastily moving a trip to the same week as the big Family History Fair in my town meant I had to go into serious prep mode for both the trip and the Fair.  It all worked out wonderfully.  The Fair was this past Saturday (we got home late Thursday).

I had been a little bit nervous to be teaching four different classes all on the same day but it went great!  We had a fabulous turnout, especially considering the major snowstorm the night before.  I learned I can teach four different classes on the same day without losing my voice, mind, or ability to make sense.  Phew!

But the BEST part of the Fair was having a minute to talk to my sweet friend and catch up on her recent discoveries.  She is my elderly friend whose own father was her brick wall.  She had only one picture of him.  ONE!  And did not know for sure who his parents were.  Using her DNA results, we were able to identify those grandparents and come up with a hypothesis for which of their children is her father – he changed his name.  It turns out we were correct!  It also turns out that her father was married before he married her mother.  My friend has FOUR previously unknown half-siblings.  They are much older and have all passed away.  But there are two living children of those half-siblings.  They have connected and will meet for the first time THIS WEEK!  Photos have been shared and relationships have begun.

Using DNA with your research = MIRACLES.

Give it a try!

❤️❤️❤️

 

I have lots of catching up to do but had to share the fantastic news.  xoxo