thegenealogygirl


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Save the Date!

2018FairPoster

I work one shift each week at my local Family History Center.  Every year, that center puts together a fantastic – and FREE – Family History Fair during the winter months.  We always draw a large crowd of people from our small town and the surrounding cities.  In fact, the last few years, we have filled the church almost to capacity.  This year I am teaching four classes.  It will be a busy day!

I know that most of my readers live far away from me and can’t possibly attend, but some of you live close by, so please, feel free to join us.  All are welcome.  The entire day is free and lunch is served.  It’s usually pizza, fresh veggies, cookies, and water.  Nothing too fancy, but it means you can stay all day without starving.  😉

2018Flyer

The classes I am teaching are the following:

DNA Basics – Have you wondered about using DNA in your research?  Come and learn about the different types of DNA tests, the different companies you can test with, what genealogy problems can be addressed with DNA, and a few examples of what DNA can do to knock down those brick walls.

Finding Hidden Records on FamilySearch – Did you know that FamilySearch has several different types of record collections? Come and learn how to find them all as we explore indexed collections with images, indexed collections with no images attached (but they might still be on FamilySearch), partially indexed collections with additional browse images, browse only collections, digitized microfilm found in the catalog that can be accessed from home, and digitized microfilm that can only be viewed at a Family History Center.

Making the Most of Ancestry.com – Come and learn how to supercharge your research on Ancestry.com by understanding the website and collections better and learning some fantastic smart search strategies that will help you find the records you are looking for more quickly.

Making the Most of Ancestry.com Trees – Why have a tree on Ancestry.com?  Is public or private better?  Learn how to create and use Ancestry.com Trees from scratch, by uploading a gedcom file, or by importing from FamilySearch.  Give your research a boost by adding the power of an Ancestry Tree.

I have been teaching the two Ancestry classes for a few years now, but they are a hit and draw a large crowd so I will just keep on teaching them as long as I am asked to do so.  😉  The DNA Basics class and the Finding Hidden Records on FamilySearch class are both new classes that I created this fall.  I LOVED teaching them and look forward to teaching them again.

Please feel free to join us and invite your friends!

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 

 

ps – We have had an unseasonably warm fall.  I think it was 60 degrees on Saturday.  FINALLY, it snowed on Sunday night.  My little fella has had his snow gear all gathered and ready for weeks now.  Well, not really his gear, a collection of items from the coat closet that he decided were the coolest.  😉  He was sooooo delighted to put it all on for school today.

 

pps – Su, in September I mentioned that we had snow on the mountains and everything was still in full bloom.  Here you go – three pictures taken on the same day, at about the same time, from about the same spot.  The mountain as seen from the front of my neighborhood, the flowers on my porch.  Utah weather is crazy!

 


26 Comments

Tip: Site Colon Searches

site colon tip final - crop

Let’s have a quick chat about a great search tool – the “site colon” search.

Have you ever found yourself searching a website for something specific that you just can’t seem to find?  You know it’s there, but the website doesn’t have the best navigation tools?  I definitely have.

Let’s use an example.

Last week I mentioned that I had found some FindAGrave entries outside of the US.  They were fabulous and unexpected finds.  I wanted to quickly search some other cemeteries.  But searching for foreign cemeteries on FindAGrave isn’t very friendly.  This is what you see:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.30.45 AM

On the main page you can choose “Search for a cemetery” on the right, top bullet list, second choice down.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.31.02 AM

Then you see this search box.  I was searching for cemeteries in Scotland.  I didn’t know the names of the cemeteries, I just wanted to see how many cemeteries there were in specific parishes and counties.  So, I didn’t have a cemetery name to type into that little search box.  I chose Scotland on the “Country” drop down list.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.31.17 AM

Then I find myself looking at a very long list that can’t be searched by smaller locale.

At this point I have a few options.  I could waste a whole bunch of time scrolling through that super long list hoping to see the parish names I want.  I could google search cemeteries in specific parishes and counties, come back and enter cemetery names one at a time into the search box.

Or…

I can use a site colon search.

 

In my case, I wanted to see all cemeteries for Carluke, Lanark, Scotland on FindAGrave.

I went to google and typed this:

site:www.findagrave.com carluke, lanark, scotland

 

I’ve just told google to please search the FindAGrave website for Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  My results look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 11.43.29 AM

Looking at the list quickly, I see that there are two cemeteries for Carluke included on the FindAGrave website.  The Old Carluke Cemetery and the Carluke Wilton Cemetery.  I clicked on the first google result and I am taken right to the search page for the Old Carluke Cemetery on FindAGrave:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 11.45.06 AM

Just what I was looking for in about 15 seconds!

A site colon search can help you quickly find something you need on FindAGrave or any website that you are struggling to navigate.

The formula is simple:

site:www.websitenamehere.com followed by search terms

 

Make sure there are no spaces until after the .com.

 

Give it a try!

 

And let me know if it helps you out.  😉

 

ps – FindAGrave is being overhauled and will have more navigation tools for finding foreign cemeteries.  But for now, a site colon search is a quick shortcut.  It works on most websites, not just FindAGrave.

 


18 Comments

My Unexpected DNA Discovery – Conclusion and Tips

DNA Discovery

Finding Bob’s* birth mother and father was such a privilege.  I learned a lot, and felt like I was on a rollercoaster.  Because we were successful, I thought I would reemphasize the biggest lessons and tips that I gathered along the way.

 

DNA tester's warning

First – Please go into the DNA world with your eyes wide open.  There will be surprises.  Possibly, surprises that are upsetting.  Like, it turns out your favorite Grandpa isn’t your Grandpa after all – at least not biologically.  Or, you have a half-sibling you never knew about.  Or, one whole brach of your tree is completely wrong, genetically speaking.

For me, the surprises were not unwelcome.  That is not always the case.  So please, if you choose to DNA test, or ask someone else to DNA test, be open to surprises.  (People have been having babies outside of marriage for like, ever.  It bears repeating: There will be surprises.)

 

DNA Discovery, lesson one

Luckily for us, Bob had already tested with FamilyTree DNA and 23 and Me – three total tests.  Additionally, my uncle had Y-DNA tested with FTDNA and autosomal tested with Ancestry.  Having multiple tests in multiple places was really the key to finding Bob’s parents so quickly.

Most people can’t afford to test with every company.  As the person working with Bob’s matches, I can tell you that each one of those 5 tests played a crucial role in the process.  If even one of them hadn’t existed, we wouldn’t have gotten our answer.  Well, at least not so quickly and easily.

So what do you do if you are an adoptee and can’t afford multiple tests?  Learn about autosomal transfers so you get the most bang for your buck.

 

DNA Discovery, lesson two

I know this one is easier said than done in many cases.  For adoptees, they have a whole bunch of matches that they can’t differentiate.  They have nothing to work with.  There are plenty of cool science-y things you can do.  If that speaks to your soul, and you have the time – by all means, learn the cool science-y DNA tricks that barely register in my pianist/dreamer/reader/artistic brain.  If that is not you, pull up a chair and let me give you a few of my sneaky detective tricks.

Study your closest matches – up to third cousin.  Look to see if they have a tree.  If you are looking at matches in Ancestry, please note that just because there is not a tree attached to someone’s DNA results, does not mean they don’t have a tree.  Here is an example from my matches:

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 3.13.43 PM copy

This is a match I have been working with over the last few weeks to help solve some long standing mysteries.  She has not linked a tree to her DNA results.  But if you look at the very bottom left, I have the option to “Select a tree to preview” with a drop-down arrow.  After clicking the arrow I see the tree she does have.  If she had more than one tree, they would all be listed here.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 3.13.52 PM

Her tree is quite small, because she had a dead-end she was trying to solve.  I have been able to help her, and she has been able to help me.  Win-win!

Okay, let’s get back to the point here.  Compare the trees of your matches and look for the closest common ancestors.  Everyone will fall into two camps – maternal and paternal matches.  If you can group them based on common ancestors you will be in better shape.  Try to connect your matches.  There are connections – find them.  Pay attention to names, but be careful, they could be maiden or married surnames.  Pay attention to dates and places.  You are looking for patterns.

Use the tools in the DNA service you are using to look at matches you share with your matches.  This tool can help you separate your matches into two groups.

Look for a match who is really into genealogy, they love to help!  Even if they are a little bit more distantly related, a 3rd cousin say, they probably know a lot about their tree and can help you narrow things down.

In my case, it was easy.  I already knew which of Bob’s matches belong to my side of his tree.  I was just looking for common ancestors of the remaining matches.  All of these matches were from his birth mother’s side.  Each of them added a clue or two that helped me identify Bob’s 2nd great grandparents as the common ancestors of his closest matches.  From there I had to switch to descendancy research.

 

DNA Discovery, lesson three

What is descendancy research?  I’m glad you asked.  I happen to have an info graphic handy that answers that very question.

gg defined- descendancy research

I know that is super tiny and not the least bit reader friendly.  Just click on the image and it will take you to the original post.

Completing descendancy research on the common ancestors of your matches, will help you build a tree filled with your family members.  You may not know how you are related, but you do know that you are related.  Building that tree will lead you to living family members who may be able to help.

Remember – you can switch any trees in Ancestry and FT DNA to descendancy view.  This will help.  Don’t overlook those living people who are marked private.  They still show gender.  I actually looked at Lucy in someone’s descendancy view, I just couldn’t see any data other than her gender.  She and her siblings gave me a pattern to look for – a family with a certain number of sons and daughters.  That key obituary for her brother, backed up the pattern I had already discovered.

By the way, there is a delightful bit of serendipity I left out of my previous posts.  Lucy’s brother who died?  He has the exact same first name as Bob, spelled the same way.  I know there is only one way to spell Bob, but there are several ways to spell Bob’s actual name.  Bob’s given name was chosen by his adoptive mother, who did not know that Lucy’s brother had that name.  I hope that was a tender and helpful thing for Lucy in her journey.  ❤

 

DNA Discovery, lesson four

Once you have built the descendancy tree of your common ancestors, start adding living family members by searching for obituaries.  Recent obituaries can often be found by simply googling someone.  Learn how to do targeted google searches to help with this.  My favorite tricks are putting quotation marks around a name, like this, “Ronald Skeen Peterson”.  If I search google with that phrase, I’ve just said to google, please bring me things about a person with this EXACT name.  Be careful though, not everything uses a full name.  So I should also try, “Ronald S Peterson”, “Ronald Peterson”, and “R S Peterson”.

Ronald Peterson is a super common name, so I can make my search even more targeted by adding additional facts.  Use operators like OR, AND, NOT, etc.  So if I wanted to find an obituary for my Grandpa I could try something like this: “Ronald Skeen Peterson” AND “1997” AND (death OR funeral OR obituary).  I’ve just told google to only bring me results that include the exact name Ronald Skeen Peterson, and the year 1997, and one of these three words: death, funeral, or obituary.

These google tricks can help you find LOTS of goodies.  Of course, remember to use variants.  In fact, if I want to get reeeeeaaaaally fancy I would do this: “Ronald (Skeen OR S OR ?) Peterson” AND “1997” AND (death OR funeral OR obituary).

If you can’t find obituaries using google, consider trying GenealogyBank or another newspaper website.  Many libraries or Family History Centers have subscriptions to such websites that you can utilize in their facility for free.

Once you find an obituary, update your tree with all of the people mentioned.  Even if you only know their first name.  Get everyone linked together and make good notes so you remember which obit added which people.

 

DNA Discovery, lesson five

Now if you are thinking to yourself you just did that when you found some obits, you are correct.  But what I mean here is you need to learn how to find contact information for living people.  This is where we get into creepy stalker territory.  This is where my particular skill set goes into the danger zone – that area where some people may use the skills for good, like me, or for not so good.  So I will be a bit on the vague side here.  If you know me and need personal pointers, and I know you will be using your powers for good, shoot me an email.  If not, well – shape up creepy stalker!  😉

I will just point you to my three main websites for finding living people: Facebook, the White Pages, and Family Tree Now.

If you don’t have luck finding people on Facebook, spend a little more time learning how to search it effectively.  Use a name but also add a city or state.  And so on…

The White Pages are good for people who still have a landline.  However, they are constantly tweaking their website hoping to make money off of you, so there is less info here now than there used to be.

Family Tree Now is a hackers dream come true.  I urge you to go there and get you and all of you family members off of their website by “opting out”.  However, you can track down those living people you found in the obits on this website because hardly anyone has opted out yet.  This website is free, but scary!  It definitely could be used for evil.

I know I said I was only going to mention three websites, but I should also mention that High School yearbooks helped me identify Lucy.  You can find many at Classmates.com.  But, you can often find them in local libraries online.  I found them in both places and found Lucy in them.

 

DNA Discovery, lesson six

I know it doesn’t always feel this way, but people are good.  There are always helpers in every family.  If your first, second, third interactions are discouraging – keep trying!  Don’t you quit.  You will find someone one day who will be happy to help.

Look for the helpers, there are always helpers.

 

Here are a few last tips:

Contact your matches.  Remember that people like reciprocal relationships.  They love messages that say things like, “Hey cousin, I see that we are a DNA match, I have some family photos I would be happy to share.”  Now.  An adoptee can’t say things like that.  So come up with something that invites that same type of reciprocity.  Be creative!  Maybe you are willing to help fund other family members DNA testing or something like that.

If your matches don’t respond, try again.  Be nice.  VERY nice, low-key, low-pressure.  Keep your messages short and open.  Try to deal with only one question or issue at a time.  Think like you would if you were texting someone who you know is really busy.  Once you get a feel for the other person’s interest level and time, adjust your message length and content accordingly.

Learn about DNA.  I barely know anything about DNA research, all the crazy cool, ultra-smart and nerdy charting and phasing and segmenting and so on, but it would have been the next step if my genealogy skills weren’t so robust.  Find ways to learn, watch Legacy Family Tree webinars, find Facebook groups for adoptees and DNA research, read one of Blaine Bettinger’s books, attend classes at your local Family History Center/Archive/Library, attend a genealogy conference and go to DNA classes etc.

 

A few closing thoughts:

I began my journey with a very clear goal – find matches that would help me learn more about my great grandfather John Costello.  I did not set out expecting to find a first cousin who was adopted at birth.  That wasn’t anywhere on my radar at all.  And yet, that is what I found.

The journey we took together was overwhelming, emotional, exhilarating, surprising, and of course had a few hiccups.

I will forever be grateful and humbled that I was able to help Bob find his birth parents.  That is a distinct honor and privilege that will hold a special place in my heart all of my days.  I hope to do it again one day.  Although… hopefully not for the same uncle.  😉

I imagine that John Costello is smiling down on all of us, a bit like a puppet master who somehow managed to keep his pre-marriage life a secret so that I would go looking at our DNA and find his long lost great grandson.

Well played Grandpa John, well played.

 

 

Isn’t genealogy cool?!  Isn’t DNA cool?!  But the combo – WOW, that is a powerhouse combo!

 

 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  A lot of you have been reading along.  In fact, a lot more than normally click on over to my little corner of the genealogy blogosphere.  Thank you for sharing your own stories both here and through email, text, and FB messages.  I am inspired by how many of you have a personal connection to Bob because of your own experiences or the experiences of your loved ones.  You are awesome!

 

 

*Names, dates, and places in this series of posts have been changed or omitted for privacy purposes.  Previous posts in this series found here – Part OnePart TwoPart Three, Part Four, and Part Five.


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Dear Genealogy Bloggers, I love you!

I heart genealogy bloggers

For several weeks now I have been wanting to send a big thank you to two bloggers.  Randy Seaver of Geneamusings and Gail Dever of Genealogy à la carte.

Randy regularly posts lists of new and updated record collections.  These are not the blog posts I usually spend much time on.  (No offense Randy, I’m just a busy mom with a preschooler still at home…)  But for some reason, I started reading them more carefully lately.  Well, on May 12th he posted a list of new records available on FindMyPast.  Among the many collections was “National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914.  He noted that, “Over 34,000 York School records have been added…” to that collection.

Guess who lived in York?

My Hyde family.  Including Robert and Rosey.

Now, I have looked through the indexed school records available on Sheffield Indexers and found several records for my Hyde family.  But I thought I’d give it a look and see what was there.

Guess what?

There were SEVERAL records for my Hyde family on FindMyPast that have not yet been indexed on Sheffield Indexers.  And even better – there are images!

Like this one:

HYDE, Muriel Grace, 1909 to 1910 School Record

Do you know what that is?!

It’s a record of Muriel Grace Hyde, Rosey and Robert Hyde’s oldest daughter, being enrolled, and re-enrolled, and removed, and removed again from the Western Road Infants School in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.  This means that I have several more dates for my timeline.  Yippee!!

Thank you Randy!

 

Now let’s talk a little bit about Gail.

Gail also posts quite often about new collections and other genealogy news.  On May 16th, she posted about an update to the WWI Canadian Expeditionary Force service files.  If you remember, that very collection gave me a hint of Norma.  And from there, well, the ensuing research took me on a crazy trip down the rabbit hole.

But here’s the thing.  My 2nd great grandfather, Francis Cyprien Duval, was also a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.  I had looked for his file before.  A few times.  After all of the “D”s were supposedly indexed.  I never found it.  But when I read Gail’s post I thought I’d give it another try anyway.  Just in case.

And there it was!

In all it’s full color, 66 page glory.  It was very enlightening.  I thought Frank stayed in Canada doing work at home during his service.  He did not.  In fact, he lied about his age so he could join up and head overseas.  He was too old, so he fudged it.  I was so surprised by that.  He claimed to be 44 years and 4 months old when he enlisted.  A mere 8 months younger than the upper age limit of 45.  It didn’t work out for him though.

On page 58 there is this telling note from the doctor:

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.03.12 PM

“Is 54 years old and looks it.”  Hmmm, did he age considerably during the short time he was enlisted?  I mean visually.  Because just shortly before this note was written he got away with saying he was 44.  😉  There are so many cool details in this file.  It is awesome.

I have no idea why I never found it before.  I don’t know if it was indexed out of order and published well after the other “D” surnames or if I didn’t search carefully.  (That is soooooo not like me, but maybe I was distracted?)  Either way, I am very glad I read Gail’s post and decided to give it another look.

Thank you Gail!

 

So.  What is the lesson in all of this?  There are two.

First, I really love genealogy bloggers!  I think we are the friendliest bunch of bloggers out there.  We share our great finds, our search strategies, awesome websites and collections, cool stories, brick walls, research woes and wonders, and so many other tid-bits.  We all make the genealogy experience SO. MUCH. BETTER. for everyone.

And second, I will never again skip a “see what’s new at such-and-such website” post.  🙂

 

What do you think?  Do you love genealogy bloggers too?  Well if you do, share a little love today and thank your genealogy blogger friends.  Because they are just plain awesome!  ❤

 

 


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Creating Free, Beautiful Charts on TreeSeek

Adeline Perrault, 5.13.2017 fanchart

I love beautiful, informative charts.  I love them even more when they are free!  That lovely fan chart up there was created for free at TreeSeek.com, using information from FamilySearch.org.

In the center of that chart is Adeline Perrault, my 4th great grandmother straight up my maternal line.  I wanted to look at my tree based on only her ancestry to see where my holes are and make some decisions about where I may choose to research next.

Now, if you are thinking to yourself that you don’t use FamilySearch so creating that lovely chart is not an option for you, guess what?  TreeSeek has you covered.  You can create a chart from a gedcom file.  If you don’t use a genealogy software program, but you do use an online tree service such as the one found at Ancestry.com, you can download a gedcom file of your tree to use on TreeSeek.

Let’s take a quick tour of TreeSeek and the chart options you have.  When you go to TreeSeek.com you will see a landing page like this:

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Notice that in the center gray box you have two options: “Login now to create your chart” and “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.”  The login option will take you to a FamilySearch sign-in page.

Before we log-in, I want to point out that if you scroll down you will see some of the chart options available:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.15 PM

After clicking the log-in option I am taken to a FamilySearch sign-in page.  If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will need to upload a gedcom file, your chart choices will be limited, but that beautiful 9 generation fan chart is available to you.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.52.30 PM.png

After logging in I am given some quick options.  Under “Starting Person”, there is a drop-down menu that currently has my name, Amberly Beck, showing.  The other options I have automatically are: my husband, children, and parents.  I can also choose anyone I like based on their 7 character PID number in FamilySearch.  I simply type that PID number into the empty box to the right of my name.  After selecting the start person, I choose my chart.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.26 PM

Here is the complete list of chart types to choose from:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.38 PM

I can name my chart if I like and select whether I want to include the siblings of the start person on the chart.  Once I have made my selections, I click the green “Create Chart” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.47 PM

Next, I will see this message as the chart is being created.

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Once the chart is complete it appears in a window like this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.07.28 PM

I can click the green “Download Chart” button to download this chart as a pdf.  Once I have the file, I can save it as a jpeg if I like.

If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will click on the “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.03 PM

That will take you to this page:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.32.26 PM

You will click the white “Choose File” button and then select your gedcom file from your computer.  After your file has uploaded, you will see this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.00 PM

In the dropdown menu you will see a list of people in your gedcom file.  They are organized generationally starting with you.  I chose my great grandfather and a 9 Gen Fan, and then clicked “Create Chart”.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.21 PM

Again, my chart shows up and I have the option to download the pdf file of the chart.

Here are a few other cool charts I was able to make.  These options are only available to FamilySearch users at present.

mixed first names cloud

Mixed first names in a name cloud from FamilyTree on FamilySearch, using me as the starting person.  This means this comes from my portion of the tree on FamilySearch.  Remember, no one has their own tree on FamilySearch.female first names cloud

Female first names in a name cloud.

male first name cloud

Male first names in a name cloud.

surnames name cloud

Surnames in a name cloud.

5 Generation Photo Family Chart

I think this chart is my favorite of all.  It uses the profile photos I have selected for each person on FamilySearch.  My parents are in the center with my brother and I beneath.  I removed the names of anyone who is living, but those are also on the chart.  I want to go in and update each person with the best photo of I have and create this chart again and frame it.  It’s such a lovely visual for my children to really get to know our family tree.  I also need to either remove my brother or add my other siblings.  😉

One last note, these charts print up beautifully in very large sizes.  They can be printed at any copy store.  If you live near BYU, the BYU Family History Library has a wonderful fan chart printing service available for anyone to use.  You can print a full color 24×18 poster print for $3.50 or a full color 24×36 poster print for $7.00.  They are printed on a high quality, thick paper.

 

Have you used TreeSeek to create any charts?  Do you have another favorite service for creating charts?

 

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

 

 


20 Comments

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!


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My Ethnicity Fractions – Based on My Tree

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Years ago my younger brother Derek asked me, “What are we?

He was curious about our ethnic makeup as so many people are.  All those years ago I did a quick calculation based on the research I had done and drew up this little map for him.  Over time I have learned more about my heritage and can now update that set of data to reflect my most current understanding of our tree.

ethnicity percentages

Based on this new chart, our ethnicity percentages – from our tree – are:

  • 34.4% – English
  • 12.5% – Mixed British Isles
  • 12.5 % – French Canadian
  • 12.5% – Scottish
  • 9.4% – Danish
  • 6.3% – Italian Jewish (I don’t think this is really a thing, but I’m not sure yet what to call this portion of my tree…see here.)
  • 6.3% – Spanish
  • 3.1% – French
  • 3.1% – Welsh

I know that totals 100.1% – I rounded.

Based on how Ancestry DNA lumps things together, these percentages should look like this on my Ancestry DNA ethnicity estimates:

  • 62.5% – Great Britain (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)

But here’s the thing about DNA.  We don’t inherit exactly half of what our parents inherited.  We inherit a unique combination of half of what they inherited.  So while the percentages based on my tree look one way, the actual DNA I inherited is an entirely different matter.  I have four siblings.  Each of us inherited different combinations of our parent’s DNA – half from each parent, but a unique and random half.

My DNA results are in.  I will share them tomorrow.  They are fascinating.  The portion I am most curious about happens to be the potion that is brand new to me – the Jewish ancestry of John Costello.  What combination of DNA did he pass on to me?  12.5% of me comes from him.  Based on what I know, he could have given me DNA from these three regions – Iberian Peninsula, European Jewish, and Italy, Greece.  Because the Jewish portion is a brand new – weeks old – discovery, I wonder if I inherited any of it?  If so, how much?

Care to take a guess?

Tune in for my DNA reveal tomorrow.