Monday, January 26, 2015

What do you find to be the biggest challenge when doing your genealogy?

Recently I got the ideas to post a survey on both Facebook and Google+ asking the above question. In this survey you had to select five ideas and see how they rated. Over the next few days I will be talking about the results.

The highest response of the ideas given was that most people found it challenging to locate the records that they are looking for on their family. As we all know finding records of any kind can be a challenge and frustrating process when researching our ancestors. A couple things came to mind that hurts us when locating records.

First one would be the lack of preparation when trying to resolve a problem. Many times we look at our brick walls with blinders on. We don't formulate a plan on how to tackle the problem. When I first started doing my genealogy I had this problem as well. Slowly though I figured out there had to be a better way. I started putting together a timeline that included in chronological order of all the information that I knew about a particular person. For me this allows me to see the gaps in my research. Then I needed to do some homework. Where had I not looked before? What records should I use to solve this problem? What are some of the limitations I might have with finding the record or information I seek? Once I was able to answer these questions I would make a list of sources I should consult. This list I would keep to make sure in the future I did not complete double work. This is a constant and ongoing process that needs to be updated. This is called a research plan. In my own situation I keep a sheet in each of my family groups so I can consult it when I go back to trying to resolve that particular challenge.

After administering on various genealogy websites for over five years I have fielded hundreds of questions that relate to record location. Why can't I find my ggrandfathers birth certificate for 1832? Why don't they have probate? They always spelled their name this way. You know what I mean. A lot of these questions can be answered by simply doing your homework or heaven forbid ask someone. The Internet and the numerous message boards make this process very easy. Even I ask questions when I don't know, which is often.

The final thought I have about the challenge of locating the records by many genealogist is the idea that if it is not on the internet it does not exist. This is wrong. Majority of records even today are still off line. The answers to our families questions still lie in the libraries, archives and genealogical societies that have been keeping these records well before the internet. One of the large challenges is getting the records online and available. This takes humans. Computers still do not have the ability to read handwriting and typing. Some day, but now. If you don't do more offline research you are cheating yourself.

So my suggestion on the locating of records is simple. Do your homework. Check your past research. Make a list of new possible resources. Don't assume you have looked everywhere. Ask someone that may be more knowledgeable in the area you are searching. Understand that it is not done in a few hours. Mine has taken over 30 years. Make sure to do offline research, because it is not all on the Internet.

More tomorrow. Make sure to click.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Using Ancestry DNA- Buyer beware

Thought some would find this post interesting.

Friday, January 23, 2015

the best place for Genealogy and DNA research is?

This will be our final installment on DNA and it's use in Genealogy. I find this subject fascinating and seems to be changing constantly. I hope in some small way that I have helped your reach a better understanding or at least helped you in deciding on having your DNA testing done.

It is my feeling that the best testing is to complete a surname study with people that share the same surname or variation to your surname. This will clear up a lot of your research by showing you the patterns that other people have with their DNA and having the ability to compare the genealogy work that has been completed. When starting this type of testing make sure to decide what you are trying to learn. Example would be determine the relationship of all the Davey's in the world or just the Davey's that lived in Michigan.

Second item is to identify the test center to complete this test. This is where you will want to do your homework on all the companies out there that are offering this service. Many of the test services will help with coordinating the Surname studies. This is a big plus.

Next you will need to gather a group of like minded people that have indicated some interest in the surname you are seeking information on. A great place to get people of interest is the many Surname message boards on the Internet. This will give you a great pool of candidates for the study.

Once the people start to submit their DNA tests you will need to coordinate it. Biggest thing to do is keep others aware of what's going on with the project. A great way to accomplish this is to create a mailing list or website to communicate. Finally respect other's privacy.

Next week I will be writing about a recent survey that I conducted and found fascinating. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How do I understand the results of mtDNA testing?

Now to explain some ideas on understanding your test results of your mtDNA. These should also help in deciding what test to take.

Test occurs in two separate areas of your mothers DNA. The two testing areas are known as Hyper Variable Region 1 and Hyper Variable region 2. These both tests are then compared to what is known as the “Cambridge Reference Sequence”. The differences of the two are what is used in this test. The results will allow two different persons to identify a common ancestor, but this could go back as far as 1000 years. (You do the math)That's a lot of people. The second result may identify potential family groups as well as ethnic origins.

Tomorrow I will talk about what is best for our genealogies. Remember to click.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How do I understand the results from my Y chromosome testing?

The results from your Y chromosome testing can be very confusing. Understanding the information to help you with your research is a challenge. Here are some thoughts on results.

In order for the test to identify similarities to other results it will identify the number of times you hit common markers and determine the number of times they repeat. These markers are what is known as short random markers. This provides the road map to identification of similarities with data that has been collected. The more markers you are able to identify the better chances you will have to identifying a individual or similar ancestral line. The difference in a 12 marker test is 50% probability in a 14 generation test. The difference between a 21 marker test is 50 % probability in the last 8 generations. Testing results tend to taper off the higher you go on markers. Some testing groups offer 37 and 67 marker testing, but costs go up dramatically without much bang for your buck.

Hope this is helping. Will be getting on to different topics real soon. Make sure to check out the surveys I am doing on Facebook and Google+. Real interesting results. Don't forget to click.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What can I learn from my DNA results?

Now I will write about somethings that you will need to deal with once you get the results of your testing. This often times can be a major challenge to our understanding.

The primary thing to understand is the results do not tell you a lot on their own. It is only when you compare it to other data that you get a understanding of your information. The key is comparing it to other peoples data and the various ethnic groups. In order to maximize the benefit from the testing you need to get other known family members to participate as well. If you are not able to do this you are comparing your results to a large database where depending on the people that have submitted you might not get a lot of information. You are only able to compare to other people in the database if they have agreed to share. Don't always expect to get a clear picture.

It's nice to be back. Yesterday was hectic with a household full of kids. As always please support my advertisers with a click.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Day

I have a house full of children today and will not have time for writing. Back to DNA in the AM.