Thursday, January 29, 2015

Using "wait time" for DNA results wisely

Over these past 2+ weeks since I've gotten my DNA results, I've been busy analyzing and comparing in an effort to break through some of my genealogy brick walls.   I really had a hard time waiting on the results but while waiting(and it really wasn't that long--around 4 weeks) I wanted to use my time wisely.  If you have additional suggestions please add them in the comments.

Things to do while waiting for your DNA results:

  • SET UP INQUIRY & INFORMATIONAL TEMPLATES  --  I did set up several templates with a link to my working file at Rootsweb's WorldConnect...a listing of my GGG & GGGG Grandparents and areas in which they lived.
  • "FLESH OUT" YOUR FILES   -- I also made some efforts to find the maiden names of a few of the females where I had just their given name.  While I didn't have a lot of luck with that, I was able to pick up some new names by finding who my direct line's siblings had married.
  • WRITE A PLAN OF ACTION  --  I did my atDNA test at Ancestry so my plan was to download raw data...upload it to FTDNA & GEDmatch.  I set up my username at GEDmatch ahead of time and uploaded a GEDCOM.  I also uploaded a "barebones" file of my direct lines to Ancestry.
  • DOWN LOAD GENOME MATE  --  This is a WONDERFUL software that lets you compare segments of your results.  The first week I had my results at GEDmatch I was doing this by writing things down or copying into a spreadsheet...this is so much better.  I don't regret having tinkered with it the hard way....I think I learned more by doing that.  When I started out researching in 1990 I used the hand cranked microfilm this day it is still my preference when viewing microfilm.(Don't judge
  • STOCK UP ON OFFICE SUPPLIES  --  Truth is....I look for any and every excuse to do this.  You will need loads of index cards for it notes unlimited supply of ink pens and mechanical pencils...and Print off a few 100 blank pedigree sheets and family group sheets so you can just grab those when the notion hits you.  As far as the pedigree charts take two of them and label one X inheritence Son and X inheritence Daughter....use these as your guides for checking contributors to your X Chromosome.
  • WATCH GENEALOGY SHOWS  --  I have a bunch of shows such as Finding Your Roots, Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think You Are? on my DVR.  You may also be able to find these OnDemand or on the web.
  • GET FAMILIAR WITH DNA TERMS AND TYPES -- Read DNA blogs like DNA Explained   Join USER groups for the site(or hopefully sites) to which you plan to upload your DNA.  For my budget, testing at Ancestry and uploading to GEDmatch and FTDNA was the way to go. 

Several things I learned since getting my DNA results:

If you email 30 people you will get several responses....but then one day 20 will answer all at will be overwhelming...don't stress.

Having a public tree at doesn't mean that anyone with a username can see it.  Be sure to send a share to a match if you use Ancestry.   Those who have their test there but who do not have a subscription(such as myself) cannot see your public tree.  I did not know that.  I assumed(wrongly) that if I made a tree public, that anyone that had registered and had a user id could see it.  That is not the case. I feel like the explanation of Public tree as given by Ancestry needs some clarification. Ancestry allows you to share(and turn off a share) with several different options.  Don't miss out on a cousin connection because you didn't share your tree.

Not everyone loves genealogy. WHAT!!!!   Some have done the DNA tests purely for the entertainment value of knowing their ethnic makeup.  Sad but true...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Incredible luck on an X Chromosome match

Several days ago while I had my One-to-Many Comparison tool results open for my kit at , I decided that it might be nice to know who I shared the largest segment matches with on the X Chromosome.  This led me to do a sort by largest on my results.  Of my results, I could tell that 3 were results for one person who had tested with 3 companies and uploaded, the top one along with two more on down the list all appeared to be managed by the same person given the contact email.

I went and looked at those three kits using the Chromosome browser to see if they matched me on the same segments.   They did despite not having any Autosomal relationship at the given perimeters of  7cM / 700 SNPs.  I figured there would be no harm in emailing the person who managed the accounts and asking to give me a little background on their ancestors and noted that mine were mainly in TN by the time it became a state and prior to that NC, SC and VA.  Best experience ever contacting a potential cousin!!!  Today I received an email with a note letting me know that she did indeed manage the 3 kits and that the kits were those of her grandmother, her grandmother's sister and the son of another of her grandmother's sisters.  She also sent me a guest invite to her file at Ancestry and within 5 minutes I knew how we were connected.  Our Most Recent Common Ancestors are my 5th Great Grandparents, James Knox and  Elizabeth Craig Knox.  The Knox, Craig, Eoff, Jakes, Sutton and Morrow families seemed to have moved in clusters from the early 1700s on til about 1900.

While the X chromosome inheritance pattern is known(it differs depending on the gender) there seems to be no set rule for what it does.  I am still learning after having only been at this for less than 2 weeks.  This X match segment is from my Daddy and yes it is his Mom's that she received from her Dad...and that her Dad received from his Mom who got it from her Mom who got it from her Mom...who got it from either James Knox or Elizabeth Craig Knox.  I could never just say "I found a 6th cousin once removed"  I have to tell you how.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

DNA Discoveries More Connections but to who...and when

I had found that I shared a good sized segment on a Chromosome with another researcher and a kit which she also managed which turned out to be her niece.  I had sent an email sending her a listing of sets of my GGG grandparents but I believe the connection maybe in the GGGG range or one step further back.  The estimate is 4.7 generations back.  Last name I have to say I was a bit discouraged and that probably showed in my email to her that let her know that I couldn't find our Most Recent Common Ancestor but that I would keep looking.. I also included my GGGG Grandparents listings in the off chance that she might recognize a name.   Cut to 3am this morning.  It hit me that I needed to run the "People who match one or both kits" search on mine and her results.  I did that and then compared the ones who shared segments with us on that Chromosome.  A check to see which part we had in common led to the realization that all but one of the 5 shared the same area with just a little bit of variation from where it had been passed down for generations.  So what I wound up with was a line from another researcher and her niece(funny thing...she happens to be the author of a DNA blog), another pair which looks to be two siblings testing...another researcher(Possibly a Newbaker researcher judging from his name) and someone using the pseudonym *hlthprof   with an email user name of dr_jrgates"@"[popularwebmailservice].com.  As a regular viewer of Finding Your Roots that last match was very intriguing but I hardly think it would be him.  Armed with this new info a wrote another email to the researcher whose match had sparked this interesting search and included a short explanation of the tests I'd run...the results along with the segment lengths at which all of them matched my results and a listing of the kit numbers so that she could also check it out for herself and give me her opinion.  So now I wait to hear back and in the mean time I am again working on my DNA match spreadsheets.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My AncestryDNA Autosomal Results are in.

My AncestryDNA test results came back yesterday afternoon and as promised I am following up with a post comparing my prediction to Ancestry's interpretation of my Autosomal DNA test.

My prediction
Area Percentage
English 68.75%
Scottish 12.50%
Irish 6.25%
Austrian 3.13%
Manx 3.13%
Unknown 6.25%

The Africa Southeastern Bantu, Asia South, Iberian Peninsula and Caucasus parts which are less than 1% are likely "noise" from recombination of the DNA although it could be some of what is left in small amounts from generations way back.  I am as I suspected a vast majority of English/Irish/Scottish mix.  I was surprised to see 2% Scandinavia.  I have uploaded my raw data to Family Tree DNA and looking for connections there as well as having uploaded to GEDmatch.

I have connected with a 2nd cousin once removed almost immediately after viewing my results.  This connection was through GrGr Grandparents David Pitman & Mary F. Adcock Pitman. His Grandfather was their son David H. Pitman (a younger brother of my Great Grandmother Nancy Florence Pitman Luna)

Ancestry doesn't have a chromosome browser where you can compare results one on one or triangulate to see if your connections are through your paternal or maternal lines.   From what I've heard so far, there are no plans for one in the near future.  They do have the best turn around rate.  I have results in less than a month...and that,to me, is excellent.

I foresee many more posts about this topic as I analyze my results and hopefully convince one or more of my siblings and my mother and cousins to test as well.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

My Direct Surnames Word Clouds

Finally got around to making Word Clouds of my direct ancestors surnames using Wordle website. 

My Direct Maternal Surnames

My Direct Paternal Surnames

Old Hickory TN Area: Old Photos of Homes and unknown persons

These pictures were taken in Old Hickory TN during the mid 1920s.  My paternal grandfather, Thomas DeWitt Cooke and his family moved there when he hired on at Dupont.  They lived at 1009 Clarke Street until some time after their oldest son died from Scarlet/Rheumatic Fever in 1927. From there they moved to 911 Dodson St several blocks away from their previous residence.  The house on Dodson St. is no longer there but the one on Clarke Street is still standing.  I have read the articles which tell about the different house styles of Old Hickory.  I am not sure which house my aunts and uncle are standing in front of in the pic.  It may be the one where they lived on Clarke St. or at a neighbors.  I believe that the picture of the woman sitting on the steps, the children all in front of the house...and the one of the two boys beside the house are all taken by the same house.  The picture of the two girls is probably at a different house as the porch column looks different to me.

I wish I could identify the children in this picture.  The boy standing in front right is Tomie D. Cooke(my uncle).  The 2nd girl from the left on the back row is my aunt Magnus Cooke Snoddy.  Girl on the right of the back row is my aunt Viola Cooke Agee.  The little girl in front on the right is my Aunt Olive June Cooke Brannon.

I wish there was some way of contracting folks who had family who worked for Dupont and live in the area around Clarke street during that time period.  If you can identify any of the unknown people in the pictures or know which house this is please contract me at my gmail address associated with this blog.

This is a picture of my uncle Tomie D. Cooke and his friend from the neighborhood.

This is a school picture take prob. in the mid 1930s at whatever school was operating at Old Hickory at the time.
If you can identify any of the people in this picture, I'd love to hear from you.  My aunts as the ones with the Xs beside them.

This is a picture of my aunt Viola Cooke Agee and a neighborhood friend.  I believe that the taller girl in the picture is the same one who is in the picture of the 7 children in front of a house as shown above

Monday, December 29, 2014

A few observations about Tennessee resources at

This is a screen shot from the app on my phone.  While this is not my Wm. T. Hale who died in 1861 in TN it still bugs me to see this.   The top hint is from the Mortality Schedules and the one under it is from the Mortality Schedules index.  I have pasted the notes about both sources below the image.  Both Hints refer to the same person.  While I have atDNA tested with Ancestry and am awaiting the results I do not have a subscription and cannot tell if the records set allows the user to note the year error on the published Index.  Wish there had been some way that Ancestry could have fixed this but I guess showing both and hoping that the researcher will investigate is the best that we can hope for...not only in the online tress but also in the records.  Still I am grateful for any clues about my ancestors.

Tennessee residents are lucky to be able to access a few of Ancestry's Tennessee record collections via the Tennessee Electronic Library.  I was able to find my Paternal Grandparents's Delayed Birth Records.  They were born between 1888-1891 and TN did not require Death Records at that time

About U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
Part of the U.S. Federal Censuses from 1850-1880 included a mortality schedule enumerating the individuals who had died in the previous year. Because each of the censuses from 1850-1880 began on June 1, “previous year” refers to the 12 months preceding June 1, or June 1 (of the previous year) to May 31 (of the census year). U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index, 1850-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.
Original data: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. AIS Mortality Schedules Index. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.
About U.S., Federal Census Mortality Schedules Index, 1850-1880
This database contains the following mortality schedules: (snipped)....Tennessee 1850, Tennessee 1860, ..... (snipped)
Included in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses were questions regarding those who died in the twelve months prior to the enumeration. They list persons who died between 1 June and 31 May of the year prior to the census. Even though these lists of deaths are widely believed to underreport actual numbers of deceased, this is still a valuable source of information. In many states where vital records were not kept it provides a nation-wide death register for five years between 1849 and 1880. The schedule lists the deceased name, sex, age, color, widowed or not, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. In 1870 the parents' birthplace was added.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Humorous news article Hickman, Fulton Co., KY, USA April 1892

It is a mystery to me why my Grandfather, William Richard Luna, was born in Fulton Co. KY.  Why was his mother in Fulton Co.  We have no known family connections there.  His mother Nancy Florence Pitman Luna's  lines were in Dekalb Co. TN along with her husbands lines.  I thought maybe that my Great Grandpa might have been there for work but that would not explain why my Great Grandma was there.  This would have been in March/April of 1892.  Another example of when the 1890 Census could have really helped me out.  This article won't solve that mystery for me but I found this snippet of local news from The Hickman Courier entertaining.

The Hickman courier. (Hickman, Ky.) 1859-current, April 08, 1892, Image 3
Image provided by University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Regional DNA Studies

I received my Ancestry DNA kit this last week and took the test, mailed it and activated it on Ancestry's website on the 13th of this month.  In the mean time I have been trying to keep busy and not think about it too much.  I know....Good Luck with that.  In an earlier post to my blog I gave it my best guess on what I think my ethnic breakdown will be.  I am really looking forward to comparing the results with my tree.  Barring some kind of crazy find in the one line that I don't have back further than my Gr Gr grandfather I am pretty much colonial American with those lines coming out of Maryland and Virginia in the 1600 & 1700s.  By 1800s most of my lines were in Tennessee, USA with many in the area just prior to the formation of the state in 1796.  This has got me thinking about DNA research for areas.  I know there is a tool where you can take your DNA results and compare surnames but is there a tool available to the public where you can compare areas of the USA during more recent times that would be helpful to those looking for adoptions and non paternal events within the last 200 or so years.  Using both the Location & Surname together could help.  Something similar to a surname study but for a specific region.  If so I would be interested in a Colonial American one and also Early TN Settlers. Just some thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Who do I think I am?

I have been wanting to do DNA testing for awhile now.  Last week I ordered an Autosomal DNA test from which I will take and mail back this next week.  In an effort to make an educated guess about the outcome I have made a list of my 32 GrGrGr Grandparents(all but 2 of them are known surnames)

Paternal Surnames:  Cook(e), (Last Name Unknown wife of Cook), Putman(Last Name Unknown wife of Putman), King, Upshaw, Manire, Jackson, Jakes, Harger, Morrow, Sutton, Frizzell, Kennedy, Manley, Frizzell.

Maternal Surnames:  Luna, Lennox, Rigsby, Lewis, Pitman, Hatfield, Adcock, Bowles, Acuff, Curvin, McElroy, Webb, Hale, Elzie, Hitchcock, Fleming.

I examined the last names and determined from which part of the world they came.  The break down is shown below.

Area # Percentage
English 22 68.75%
Scottish 4 12.50%
Irish 2 6.25%
Austrian 1 3.13%
Manx 1 3.13%
Unknown 2 6.25%

I multiplied the amounts by 3.125(100/32) to get the %
I realize this is somewhat flawed not just because I don't know the ethnic background of the two unknowns but in most cases do not know the ethnic background of these GGG Grandparents mothers.  My Hatfield's mother was said to be Cherokee(I don't think her mother could have been more than 1/2 ) but I have no way of knowing how much so I didn't take that into account since her father was an English Hatfield.

I am not sure how Ancestry has their grouping now...but to me looks like I am 90.625% British Isles.  When I get the results I will post them so that I can compare to my guesstimate.  Too it might also depend on how much of each of the genes I received.   Those aren't always exact even in siblings.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Tennessee Researcher's disappointment with Finding Your Roots episode

Just now catching up on my DVR'd episodes of Finding Your Roots.  Was disappointed that when they showed Steven King's ancestor's Civil War card, Steven read it as Born in: Kent Co. TN when it was so obvious to me that it was Knox Co. TN.  At first I thought Steven had just pronounced it incorrectly...but then I saw the note card where they feature the run down of the info they had found and they had written it as Kent Co. TN.  I don't understand several things...first off why did they not catch their error when they consulted map or gazetteer and secondly why did they not call in someone who worked extensively with TN records.  Why was this not done prior to the revealing to Mr. King?  Still love the show...but disappointed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sadness in the Census.

To the ordinary eye this may look like just a typical page from the 1940 United States Census. This page to a country music fan and a true crime fan is much more.  Seven year old Dorthy Marsh in household 27 would grow up to be Dottie West.  Dottie was physically and sexually abused by her father, Hollis Marsh(a crime for which he was sentenced to 40 yrs in prison).  The Bratcher family in household 33 would be murdered by Billy Gibbs in 1955----a tragedy still talked about among the locals even to this day.

1940 United States Census, Warren Co., TN, Dist 15 sheet 2-B