Thursday, March 28, 2019

Family Pastimes

Today is Opening Day of Major League Baseball's 2019 season.  Did your parents or grandparents have a favorite baseball team?  When we are writing about our ancestors, sometimes we get so focused on their paper trail that we forget about their hobbies and pastimes.  If we are lucky and they played sports that can be a part of their paper trail.

My Mother has always been a Dodger fan.  I asked her a few years ago about that and she told me that she and one of her friends used to listen to the games on the radio.  I remember her and my Dad's brother smack-talking about whose team was going to win the World Series.  Uncle Morris was a Yankees fan.  I never knew my Dad to support one team or another.  He didn't talk about sports much really.  I do have a letter he wrote home to his brother while he was in the Army, stationed in Korea around August 1953.

He writes,

"Wish I could be there watching the ball games with you.  Well it won't be too long before we will be watching them together.  We hear a ball game every day thru the week over here. They're brought to us by the AFRS. (Armed Forces Radio Service)"
This letter is part of the archived collection of my families papers(Thomas & Pearl Jakes Cooke Family) that I wrote about in an earlier post--Just a Small Portion of a Family's Paper Trail.

Also, think about some of the other sports or group activities.  My Uncle Morris played baseball and basketball in school and also was known for his skills as a bowler.  My mother played basketball in high school when girls just played half court.  My nieces and nephew all played in their school's band.  My brother, David and I were active in the Chorus/Choir at our high school. 

My daughter and I will be watching(via television) our favorite team today--the Atlanta Braves.  ⚾

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Top 5 of my Top 5 Resources.

This is a listing of the top 5 of each of the top types of resources I use in my research.  Some are for educational services and organization while others are more record content focused.  I do also have memberships in Virtual Genealogical Association, TN Genealogical Society, Middle TN Genealogical Society as well as the local Dickson Co.(TN) Historical & Genealogical Society.  What are your favorites of each of these categories?

1.  Blogs--Most of these blogs I read using Feedly.  I do quick reads of the blogs of the major Genealogy Database companies to keep aware of new record availability.
  1. Kitty Cooper's Blog
  2. Genealogy Tip of the Day
  3. The Genetic Genealogist
  4. Behold Genealogy
  5. DNAeXplained
2.  Podcasts: Search For and Listen to them via Google Play, Apple Tunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast listening app.  I usually listen to these podcasts using Google Play on my phone.  If I"m listening from my Desktop PC I use Spotify(basic). 
  1. Generations Cafe
  2. Genealogy Guys
  3. Research Like a Pro
  4. Genealogy Gems
  5. Genealogy Happy Hour

3.  Webinars--There are many sites that offer webinars.  Some are free for a limited number of days or to attend Live with registration.  After the free period, they require subscriptions or membership to access their entire library.  The majority of the webinars I attend are free with registration.  These are such a great resource.
  1. Legacy Family Tree Webinars
  2. Southern California Genealogical Society and Family History Research Library
  3. Georgia Genealogical Society
  4. Illinois State Genealogical Society
  5. Utah Genealogical Association

4.  YouTube Channels--A lot of the channels I used to watch are kind of dated now so I've listed below the ones that have current content and I'm always looking for more that would be helpful in all areas of genealogy research.
  1. Blaine Bettinger
  2. Ancestry
  3. FamilySearch
  4. GeneaVlogger
  5. Allen County Public Library

5.  Subscription Services--These are the services that I feel offer the most value to my research.   You list likely will vary.  The DNA tool sites aren't overly expensive but Ancestry and can be.  I only purchase subscriptions when they are on sale and I don't combine the two because normally the two sale prices are cheaper than what a combined price would be.
  2. DNAgedcom
  3. GEDmatch Genesis
  5. DNAPainter

Monday, March 04, 2019

Working with the NEW DNA Analysis Tools at MyHeritage

After my previous blog post about ThruLines™ and how I was using it with my Putman line, I moved on to MyHeritage's new tool  Theory of Family Relativity™.  I have about 12,800 DNA matches at MyHeritage for which about 77 theories were generated.  Among the theories was one for a descendant thru one of the Putman/Tyler children thru which I had previously found no testers descending thru.  Now to verify and check and recheck. 

In the example below, you will notice that there is hyperlinked text which says "View Full Theory."  This will allow you to see additional information about the connection or connections if there are more theories than one. It will also give you a confidence level for the relationship(s) on that page.

I'll be the first to admit, I don't do such a great job of my notes at MyHeritage(or FTDNA).  This makes it hard when I run AutoCluster reports because my note field offers very little hints.  I would recommend that you write notes on your first 100 or so matches at MyHeritage and use the Theory of Family Relativity™.tool for help with your notes before running the AutoCluster tool.  It will make the report far more useful.

Using ThruLines to Visualize DNA Testing Coverage of an Ancestor Couple

In November I blogged about Visualizing DNA tested Descendants of an Ancestor Couple.  For those who have tested at AncestryDNA, the ThruLines™ tool that Ancestry introduced this past week just made this so much easier.  It's not completely automated and even if it were I'd still need to follow good research guidelines but that is a given with any tool or resource.

Putman/Tyler Descendants DNA Testing Chart
From WATO Tool at

Below is a table which shows the Putman/Tyler Children and how many of their children are represented among my families DNA test matches. The table and the chart I have built using WATO( also includes any Putman/Tyler descendants that I've identified at other testing sites.

The "Spread" of Putman/Tyler Grandchildren's Descendants
Represented among DNA Matches

I really like viewing the descendants in List View See the example below of my branch of the Putman/Tyler Descendants

List View of  Putman/Tyler Descendants Tested at AncestryDNA

When you are using ThruLines™ and see an error in the way it's working please provide feedback using the Feedback pop-up which is on the bottom right when you are viewing a page in ThruLines™ view.  I've found and reported several. Feedback reports of errors are necessary to improve the performance and ensure that it works as it's intended.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 4

Day 4 of RootsTech 2019.  Here is my take on Saturday's happenings from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech

Saturday's Live Stream

Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps (Power Hour)-- D. Joshua Taylor explained the importance of knowing the context of your immigrant's arrival into the country.  Ashley gave us some great ideas on where to search for the customs passenger and immigration lists. "Don't be afraid to use wildcards in your searches of the online databases."  Fred talked to us about the naturalization process and records and how they have evolved over time.

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter--Jonny Perl
Really enjoyed Jonny Perl's session.  Loved that he showed his earliest version of what would eventually become DNApainter.  He explained the process of painting Chromosome match segment data and also gave a tour of the site.  My hope is that many of my AncestryDNA matches will watch this and want to use this great tool. They will need to upload to a site which has the Chromosome browser so they can get the segment data which is not available at AncestryDNA

Saturday General Session: Jake Shimabukuro
Blown away by Jake Shimabukuro's talent.  Who doesn't like to sing along?  Loved it!
The Winner of the RootsTech FilmFest '19 was Enge Van Wagoner's "My Name is..."

Leading with Science at 23andme
Sarah Laskey spoke about the science behind the 23andme health studies.
Genetic Data + Survey Answers = Discoveries

The Silent Language of the Stones: Reading Gravestones through Symbols and Carvings --Joy Neighbors
This session contained so much information.  She talked about the types of stone used and gave the time period in which each type was popular. This brought back some good memories of my own Cemetery touring. Joy is the author of "The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide."

Saturday's Hottest News
The announcement of the winner of RootsTech FilmFest and the date for RootsTech 2020 which will be February 26–29 were the top news of the day.

A big THANK YOU to all who helped make RootsTech and #NotAtRootsTech possible.  Be sure and check out the recorded sessions posted at

Friday, March 01, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 3

Day 3 of RootsTech 2019.  Here is my take on Friday's happenings from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech

Friday's Live Stream

Why and How to Put Yourself into Your Family History--Curt Witcher, Amy Johnson Crow, Scott Fisher  What a moving presentation.  Amy shared some of her family stories and reiterated the importance of recording our stories.  "Experiencing stories alter our brains and make us better individuals," said Curt Witcher.  Scott Fisher gave us some great points to consider when planning the interview(Who? What? When?)  The Q & A portion made me cry.  I was reminded of my Grandmother when an attendee asked what to do when interviewing a family member who has Alzheimer's or dementia.

Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence--Blaine Bettinger
I LOVED this session!  Blaine covered so many things that we should consider when we are evaluating our DNA matches--Confirmation Bias, Tree Completeness, Pile Up Regions, Small Segment Matches, Segment Frequency, Total Shared DNA.  Catch this when they post today's sessions!  You won't be sorry!

Friday General Session: Saroo Brierley
What an AMAZING story!

Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch--Mike Mansfield
Mike introduced us to the tree Sync feature between the FamilySearch tree and MyHeritage tree and how it was handling exceptions and conflicts in data, especially as it pertained to LDS researchers and maintaining the integrity of the FamilySearch tree.  He showed examples of the tree features and MyHeritage's SuperSearch.  He also discussed the new tool Theory of Family Relativity that premiered this week.

Discover Your Japanese Ancestors--Valerie Elkins
Valerie explained that while the Japanese are excellent record keepers they value their privacy.  When researching Japanese ancestry you need to understand the Japanese culture Names are laid out differently.  The Japanese have 3 different alphabets and use a different calendar.  They also have male heir adoptions and she offered an explanation of that.  The Koseki is a Japanese family registry.  Why did my Colonial Americans not have those?  Very informative presentation.

The Research Road Map: Your Path to Success--Amy Johnson Crow
We need research goals and a question we want to answer.  "Phrase it in the form of a question.  Pretend you are on Jeopardy." Review what you already have....your notes and your sources.  Identify holes in your research or opportunities.  Use a Timeline.  Evaluate your sources.  Is there a better source available now?  Amy gave a really great explanation of sources, information, and evidence and the two types of each of these. Be sure to check out her genealogy podcast, Generations Cafe.  It's available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.  She is a wonderful speaker and above all an inspiring teacher.

Friday's Hottest News
MyHeritage announced that they are donating an additional 5000 kits to DNA Quest, a project they initiated which is helping adoptees to find their biological parents.  All of today's sessions were great and my news-feed was buzzing with people talking about the new AutoCluster tool at MyHeritage as well as the new Ancestry tools.