Sunday, February 26, 2017

History--Take an Interest--Pass it on

Are we remembering our history and are we involving our next generations in the preservation and documentation of that history? This is a question that has been on my mind for a good while now. I have always had a love for history but it was not brought to the forefront until I was about 22 years old. I was going thru a rough part of my life dealing with a loss and I needed a hobby which would take my mind off of my grief. I was lucky enough to have a family friend who took me to a college library and started me in finding my family in census records. From then on, I was hooked on history and wanted to know more about my ancestors and about history makers. Does that still happen today? I don't know if people still mentor--they should. I see so many of the younger generation turning to other outlets sometimes ones which are self-destructive.

Electronic media is used for everything. I'm not saying it is bad--it's not. It makes research so much easier than it has been in years but in some ways it makes our research lazy if we are not careful. Sometimes the only way you can find a record is in "Boots on the ground" mode. Everything is not online. Print out those family pictures you have on that SD card. Have something you can pass on to your cousins and descendants. Write letters. Go to your local library and look through their historical collection. The majority of those are books not available in digital copies and are non-circulating. I have always said, "I've never had to wait for a book to charge." Find a happy balance between old and new.

Support your local historical society. If there is one in your area, you are lucky. So many are inactive in the areas where my family lived. I think in some ways the generation gap and the Internet played a part. You could get a great deal of things on-line and the members of the historical societies for whatever reason, just let the societies die out rather than make an online presence. If you are a member of a historical society I challenge you to find a way to get the younger generations in your area involved.

Start your own blog about history, whether it is your family history, memories, traditions or local history you find fascinating. It can be any kind--Local Sports history, old buildings, church histories.  There is a need for blogs about family history as was brought to my attention recently.

Lend a hand. There are many indexing projects out there preserving and making available historical documents. The first one that comes to mind is but there are many more out there. Google search for a type that would interest you.

Teach or learn a trade so that it isn't forgotten to time. Cooking, gardening, building, fishing--teach so it lives on; learn so it lives on. When you are older, those smells of food cooking, scent of flowers, sounds of nature will be ones that stick with you.

Many families don't sit around the supper table and talk anymore. So much of oral history isn't passed on. Don't forget the art of conversation. Talk to your elders but more importantly, listen to them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shared Ancestor Hints are just that--Hints

I was extremely happy to get 14 new 4th cousins or closer matches on my AncestryDNA results overnight.  I wish people understood the importance of uploading to GEDmatch. Too many treat the circles or the DNA Hints as facts.  To them it is unnecessary to upload their raw data atDNA results to GEDmatch because Ancestry has told them the connection. Sure,  if you don't want to prove your research, go ahead and believe that!  Ancestry gives you hints and clues,  It is on you to investigate and research those.

I have the perfect example among my matches.  This match is kin to me on my Mom's side thru the Luna line at my 4th Great Grandparents.  She is not DNA kin to me or my Mother but she shows as DNA kin to my daughter and the Shared Ancestor Hint is my 4th Great Grandparents(my daughter's 5th Great Grandparents)  Clicking on the "i" shows that my daughter and this match have a shared estimated atDNA of 6.6 centiMorgans(cMs) shared across 1 DNA segment.

Ancestry has done a better job on their wording on the Shared Ancestor Hints than they did when they first appeared.  [If you want to learn more about hints & shared records watch Ancestry's Crista Cowan and her presentation, "Don't be a Searcher, be a Researcher" from RootsTech 2017.

What we should hear  "You have a 6th cousin through the Luna line of your maternal Grandmother with whom you share a 6.6 cM  portion of DNA across 1 segment.  It is possible that it may be through that Luna line. You need to investigate further"

Instead many people feel that they don't need to investigate further and take that info at face value whether it is through lack of understanding, laziness or just not really carrying to know the truth. I'm not talking about those that just tested to learn ethnicity and don't care to do more. I am fine with that.

Thankfully this match agreed to upload to GEDmatch.  Since both of my daughter's Paternal Grandparents have tested I was able to tell that the connection was through my daughter's Paternal Grandmother's lines.  I was also able to take it back a step further in finding where to look as my daughter's PGM's Mother(my daughter's Great Grandmother) had also tested.

The match amount at GEDmatch to:
Daughter:  11.3 cMs on 1 segment
Her  PGM:  12.4 cMs on 1 segment
Her PGM's Mom 12.6 cMs on 1 segment

I should also mention that while my Daughter tested at AncestryDNA, her PGM tested at 23&me and her Great Grandmother tested at FTDNA.  We can compare all of these test at GEDmatch.

I did run the One to One for this match against my results and my Moms and she didn't have any measurable DNA match with us.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Apparently it's Large Colonial Segment Week

I had a large 54 centiMorgans DNA segment(or chunk)  in Mom's matches that showed up just under a week ago.  Upon examining others who matched Mom and each other along the same segment I was able to determine it was likely from the Luna/Looney lines. All those that matched Mom along that segment have Robert Looney and Elizabeth Llewellyn as their most recent common ancestors.  This is my Mom's 5th Gr Grandparents and back a good ways.  That put Mom matching 6th cousins and several 6th cousins once removed at an amount (54cMs) that typically is indicative of 3rd cousins.   I am thinking that this has something to do with this couple  being from the Isle of Man or colonial.

Last night I found that I had a new match that AncestryDNA estimated matched me at 50 cMs shared on one segment.  The match is going to be on my Paternal side as he didn't match my Mom's test.  Upon checking this match with my sister's test I found that he matched her even better.  I think they probably share the same 50 cMs segment but they also share 4 other segments which I didn't get and match at 101 cMs over 5 segments.  It is entirely possible that they share 5 different segments which doesn't include the 50 cM segment that he and I share.  Shared matches appear to be somewhere along our PGM's Jakes/Morrow/Harger/Frizzell  lines--all colonial.  I can't wait to hear back from this match and hope to get them to upload to GEDmatch so I can identify the segments in my sister's file and make note that I got segments from our  PGF along the 4 which I don't have in common with my sister.

PGF= Paternal Grandfather
PGM=Paternal Grandmother

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Andrew Jackson McElroy (1820-1900)

Looking through the ProQuest Historical Newspaper in search of some information on a Paternal great-uncle and had the urge to search for my 3rd Great Grandfather, Andrew Jackson McElroy(from my Maternal lines).  I didn't have a source document for his death date.  I knew it was some time after the Ogle Co.'s Compendium of Biography which was published in 1898.  I also knew that he had written his will November 20th of 1896 and that the will was proved September 3rd of 1900 and recorded the next day in Van Buren Co TN Records.    The first item that came up in my query led me to the answer.

Death of A.J. M'Elroy  Prominent Citizen of White County Joins the Majority---Special Dispatch in The American
SPARTA, Tenn., Aug 21-  Andrew Jackson McElroy, one of the oldest and best known men of this section, died Sunday night at his home at Bone Cave in Van Buren County after confinement to his room for some time.  Col. McElroy was 86 years of age and until the past two or three years had regularly attended the courts here, where he enjoyed a fair practice.

He had ever taken a great interest in politics and was an ardent Democrat.  Besides holding several minor offices he represented this district in the State Senate from 1885-1887.  His character was spotless and he was admired by all who knew him.  The interment took place last evening at the family burying ground before a large attendance of relatives and friends.
(Source: "Death of A.J. M'Elroy -Prominent Citizen of White County Joins the Majority";.Special Dispatch in The American; The Nashville American(1894-1910); Aug 22, 1900; Digital Collection of ProQuest Historical Newspapers:  The Nashville Tennessean pg 8. )

I did a Google search and found a site that lets you check a date to see what day of the week it was on for a given year.  August 21, 1900 was a Tuesday which puts him dying on Sunday August 19, 1900.  Problem solved!

Andrew Jackson McElroy was likely born in April of 1820 as that is the age which he lists the most consistently in census records.  For the 1870 Census he is listed as a few years younger.  I just feel fortunate that he was listed at all.  Several of my other folks aren't listed in 1870.  The 1870 census is the first census after reconstruction and is notorious for inaccurate information some of which is possibly due to census takers from the north being using in many areas of the south.  See the Census Book for more information on this and other census records.   Below are a few of  Andrew J. McElroy's Census entries.

1830 White Co TN
Andrew McElroy
1 5-under 10
1 10-under 15  (Andrew J. age 10 )
1 40-under 50  
1 under 5
1 5-under 10
1 13-under 20
1 30- under 40
(Source: 1830 White Co. Tennessee; Series: M19; Roll: 182; pg. 13; FHL Film: 0024540) 

1840 White Co TN
Andrew McElroy
1 10 under 15
1 15 under 20
1 20-under 30 (Andrew J. age: 20)
1 40-under 50
1 50-under 60
1 10 under 15
2 15 under 20
1 40 under 50
(Source: 1840 White County, Tennessee; Roll: 536; pg. 19; FHL Film: 0024550)

1850 Van Buren Co. TN 1st Dist   pg. 367B  14/14
 A. J. McElroy 30 M Clk of Crt $5000 TN
Jane McElroy 24 F TN
Levina McElroy 4 F TN
Sarah McElroy 3 F TN
James K. P. McElroy 10/12 M TN  
(Source: 1850 Van Buren, County Tennessee, Dist 1 ;Roll: M432_897; pg. 367B)

1860 Van Buren Co. TN Spencer P.O. pg 21  273/273
A. J. McElroy 40 M Farmer $10,000 $1737 TN
Jane McElroy 32 F TN
Leviney McElroy 14 F TN
Sarah McElroy 13 F TN
J. K. P. McElroy 9 M TN
Martha McElroy 7 F TN
Eliza McElroy 5 F TN
A.J.M. McElroy 1 M TN
John O? 18 M common Laborer TN  
(Source: 1860; Van Buren, Tennessee Spencer P.O.; Roll: M653_1277; pg 21 FHL Film: 805277)

1870 Van Buren Co. TN Bone Cave 1st Civil Dist pg. 304a  15/15
A.J. McElroy 47 M W Lawyer
Martha McElroy 27 F W Keeping House
Levina McElroy 23 F W
Sarah McElroy 21 F W
Polk K McElroy 20 M W
Martha McElroy 18 F W
Eliza McElroy 15 F W
A. J. McElroy 11 M W
William McElroy 7 M W
Eveline Greer 9 F W
Elizabeth Greer 7 F W
William Greer 5 M W
Hiram C. Carter 62 M W Sadler
(Source: 1870 Van Buren County, Tennessee, Dist 1; Roll: M593_1567; Page: 304A; FHL Film: 553066)

1880 Van Buren, Tennessee Dist 1 Page 246D
A. J. McElroy Self M M W 68 TN Lawyer GA  GA
Martha McElroy Wife F M W 40 TN  Keeping House GA GA
Andrew J. McElroy Son M S W 21 TN  At Home TN  TN
Wm. McElroy Son M S W 19 TN At Home TN TN
Wm. Greer SSon M S W 16 TN  At Home TN  TN
E. Wallace Niece F S W 22 TN At Home TN TN
R. G. Waterhouse Other M S W 24 TN Minister Of Gospel  TN TN  
(Source: 1880 Van Buren County, Tennessee, Dist 1 ; Roll: 1283; FH L Film:1255283; pg: 246D; Enum Dist 127)

1900 Van Buren Co. TN Dist 1 Enum Dist 133  Page 3B  Sheet 3B  56/56
Andrew J McElroy Head W M Apr 1820 80 M 31 TN GA GA
Martha McElroy Wife W F Dec 1842 57 M 31 2 of 3 children living TN TN TN
Lizzie Zimmerman Aunt W F Nov 1854  45 wd 1 of 1 children living TN TN TN
Eva Zimmerman Cousin W F Aug 1888  11 S  Missouri Ohio TN  
(Source: 1900 Van Buren, County, Tennessee Dist 1 ; Roll: 1603; pg: 3B; Enum Dist: 0133; FHL film: 1241603)

ProQuest Civil War Era Collection

If you have family who fought in the Civil War, don't overlook the ProQuest Civil War Era Collection. One of the items in it that I noticed was in the Pamphlets on the Civil War, 1861-1865 collection and titled

Roll of honor (no. xvii), names of soldiers who died in defence of the American Union, interred in the national and public cemeteries in Kentucky, and at New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Madison, Indiana, Lawton, (Miller), and Andersonville, Georgia, (supplementary)

It is a rather large listing(516 pages) and is just one of the many items available to search within this collection. Check with your library and see if they have ProQuest available. Also remember that your public library isn't the only library available though it is one you should fully support. Colleges and Universities often times have great Family History Collections.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Google Sheets for Collaborating and Visual Presentation of DNA Matches

When I am working with an adoptee or with any researcher to help them "see" their DNA matches and to get a handle on the amounts each one matches, possible relationships and groupings,  I've found that the Office Documents at Google are great.  I use the Spreadsheet for DNA matches.This is really just an adaptation of the technique I use when working with the information from my AncestryDNA Circles which I blogged about in my post from August 2016.  (Click below to get a better look--I have edited out the usernames and GEDmatch numbers to protect the privacy of those in the spreadsheet shown below )

I keep a template of this sheet and just make a copy when I need one to work with for another researcher.  You can adapt this to fit your needs but this is what works for me and seems to be the easiest to understand.  If you are working on your own matches you can start making the sheet...if not you will need to get the person to send you a share link to the DNA account with which you will be working.  If they don't know how to do that I have a blog post that I wrote about Sending a Share link to AncestryDNA test results.  Feel free to share that link with them if they need instructions on how to do that.  Also if they aren't at GEDmatch you might also want to refer them to the Upload to GEDmatch post.

1st Column =  Ancestry Matches User Name(or any username if you are adding those from another site)
2nd Column =  cM amount/  # of segments
3rd Column = Possible relationships--keeps you from having to constantly check chart)
There are many charts but I consult the ones at the shared cM project page.
4th Column = GEDmatch numbers--helps you to see who is already at GEDmatch and who it would benefit you the most to ask if they will consider uploading.
5th Column = Notes section--I put common surnames and notes on any patterns I see emerging in this section.
6th Column = ICW/Shared --you can use this section to color code groupings with the fill color feature if you want.  If you know the grandparent you could put PGF MGM etc. here.  You may not need this if you choose to color the entire rows for the groups.  I just have an alternating color applied here so I can read across the row without losing my place.  But coloring the entire row will work if you can to use a different color for each group of shared or ICW matches.

Once your spreadsheet is formatted to your liking, visit the DNA Insight page of the test you will be working with and click on See All Matches From the main match consult each match's page and click on the "i" to collect the amount of shared cMs for each matches you want to catalog.  Typically I only do this with an adoptee's matches that are 50+ cMs.  Also look at the shared matches and start filling in info if you notice any patterns of surnames.  Go ahead do this now while you are at their page.

Once you have the spreadsheet set up click on the SHARE button in the upper right and enter the email(s) of anyone who is going to be helping or observing and set their permissions.  They may view, comment or edit.

If you find this helpful, please share.  Also if you have ideas or comments I'd love to hear those as well.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Inventory--AncestryDNA circles- reinforcement of the importance of uploading to GEDmatch

When I worked in Retail, February was our Inventory time so it felt like a good time to take inventory of my Ancestry DNA Circles.

Ancestry DNA Circle Inventory  57 Circles:
Maternal:  29
Paternal:  23
Non-Direct: 5(Shipman/McMurry, Acuff/Harmon/Pharris. Nathaniel Haynes)

Largest Membership is Mason Combs(maternal) circle containing 112 members
Yep! No Television back then and the Combs are known for testing.  I do think that some
of these are attributed to the wrong group and should be in a Riddle circle. If they
claim to descend thru Amelia "Milly" Combs who was thought to be a COMBS for many years.  Many people still have her as a Combs.  She was a Riddle

The next largest is that of Jabel Putman with 62 Members.

Honorable mentions
Paternal:  Ann Knox(39 members)
Paternal:  Mark Lambert Jackson(36 members)
Maternal:  James Hatfield(50 members)
Maternal:  Peter Luna/Looney (55 members)

My sister(full sibling) has 58 Circles  She loses two of the Non-Directs but gains 3 Non-Directs.  Felix Grundy Crick, Susan Frances Putman and Wade Henry Carlton.  These are from our Paternal Grandfather's side who is a descendant of Cook, King, Putman, Manire, Harris, Ogilvie, Jackson.

Mom has 33 circles 4 non-direct(Includes the one maternal sis & I share and 3 ones which come and go on mine)
2 of the Non-Directs on Mom's can be attributed to Double Cousins testing--Two Hitchcock siblings marrying two Fleming siblings.  The other two are Acuff/Campbell cousins

My daughter has 62 AncestryDNA circles
Maternal:  52
Paternal:  7
Non-Direct:  3

She has all 52 of my Circles.  I have done a good bit of research on her Paternal lines and she would probably have more circles but the majority of those families had  less children than most of mine did which may account for the lower amount of circles--less descendants available to test.  The Hogland and Demonia lines are the exception.

Also while all three of the Non-Directs she has are from my lines she has only one of them in common with me(the Acuff cousin)  The other are the Hitchcock/Fleming ones that my Mom has from the Double cousins.  I should also note that my daughter, my Mom and my sister all have New Ancestry Discoveries.  I have none at this time.  I have had several appear in the past but they didn't stay long.

To me this reinforces the importance of working your circles and asking if the members will upload to GEDmatch.