Saturday, October 4, 2008

57th Carnival of Genealogy is Posted - I Read It In the News!

Jasia has posted the 57th Carnival of Genealogy on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this edition is: I Read it in the News! The articles by 47 contributors look at family history information found in newspapers. There are many excellent stories in this collection that illustrates the value and power of newspapers to genealogists and family historians.

My own contribution was I Read about Benjamin Franklin Seaver in the newspapers: I found a gold mine of information about a distant Seaver cousin after a book author asked me for information. The recently published historical novel 'Timely Heroes' by Gardner Hale Russell used information from the newspaper articles from 1805 to 1807 to tell the story of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814).

The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: Halloween Hauntings... Fact or Fiction? We're going to have some fun with the Carnival of Genealogy this time around. Halloween is coming up in a few weeks. In keeping with the spirit of the season, write a story about or including one of your ancestors. It can be fact or fiction. Don't tell which it is (until after October 15 when the COG is published), let your readers guess. We should all get some great comments as readers try to determine if our Halloween genea-story is fact or fiction! Was your ggg grandmother a witch? Did you live in a haunted house when you were growing up? Were there bats in Aunt Betty's belfry? Did you ever meet up with a ghost when you were looking for an ancestor's grave? See if you can stump us!

The deadline for submissions is October 15th. Write up your eerie tales and submit them to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Research Trip to SDGS Library

There were only three hardy Chula Vista Genealogical Society members on the research trip to the San Diego Genealogical Society Library in El Cajon. You can see the holdings of the SDGS Library in El Cajon on their SDGS Research Library web page.

I think many of our members were tired out from BonitaFest last week or were at the Miramar Blue Angels airshow or the La Mesa Oktoberfest today. We did have an honorary CVGS member with us - he tried to sneak into the library before they opened.

Once inside, the intrepid Gnome tried to hide between your shy geneablogger, but failed. This is a view of the library looking back into the stacks.

The Gnome just had to try out the SDGS computer system - it works fine! Except he couldn't see the USB ports on the front of the computers (I think his back was turned!).

On the first Saturday of each month, the SDGS Family Tree Maker User's Group meets and shares information about their genealogy experiences over the last month. Jim Reynolds is the leader of this group, and is the person in the bottom left corner in the picture below.

There were 13 of us in attendance at the FTM Users group meeting. Jim passed out some handouts based on questions he'd received over the past month (this is a great idea!) - he found answers on the FTM help and FAQ pages, of course. There was some discussion of FTM 2008 (nobody is using it as their primary program yet, although several have it) and the FTM 2009 upgrade (Jim is testing this). I shared about my Using FTM 2008 series, Russ Worthington's FTM User blog, and the Genforum FTM message board, in addition to my own research. It was fun to hear what other researchers are doing, and to be able to share my information with them. I passed around the Genea-Musings URL and Russ's blog URL to the group.

After lunch, I was able to do a little of my own research - I found some useful Rhode Island Genealogical Register articles on several of my families in Volume 20, reviewed about 20 years of the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, and found a summary of the Martin family of Sussex County, NJ (Martin is my matrilineal brickwall surname in Sussex County).

I want to thank Marna, Shirley and Jackie for shepherding our little flock into the library and helping my colleagues with their research. We had a great time talking to the staff and digging up some useful information on the shelves of the library.

UPDATED: In Comments, Chris C. noted that the SDGS computers do have USB ports below the Dell logo - I must have missed them when I looked. He's the computer expert - my apologies for missing them. I edited the post.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Using's New Printing Options

I haven't done a lot of new online research recently, so when a colleague asked me for help getting some census records I was surprised to see that has added another option to the Print button that I've used countless times in the past.

I was searching for Byron Wheeler (born 1842 in WI) probably residing in Wisconsin in 1860. Here is the 1860 census image for Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Byron is on this page (below the bottom of the screen), so I wanted to make a print of the page to give to my colleague. I clicked on the Print icon just above the image.

A popup window appeared that gave me two choices:

* I could print it as I've always done in the past - entire image or current view

* FREE and easy customized printing. Your custom print should automatically include: Record image, Source, Title, Index. Furthur customize your record with our easy-to-use tool: Crop, rotate, and resize; Magnify and highlight names; Add photos, maps, notes, etc.; Optional page saving.

I chose the Custom Print option and it took awhile for a new window to open and load AncestryPress and then my image. Another popup window opened on top of my image as shown below:

This popup window says:

Welcome to Ancestry's easy-to-use self-publishing service, AncestryPress!
Here's what you can do from this page:

* To enlarge your record, click on it and then drag the little box in the bottom right corner.

* To crop, drag the square handles on each side of the image.

* To highlight an area of interest, add photos and change the page background, click "Customize Your Print."

* To learn more about how to enhance your image, click "Quick Guide."To print your record to your home printer, click "Print/Preview."

If you clicked the "Order" button on the previous page, you can also purchase a professionally printed copy of your record.

We developed AncestryPress to help you get the most value from your subscription. Please note that you can enhance your record, save it, share it and print it on your home printer for FREE.

If you have an online tree, you can also use AncestryPress to create and customize a family history book or family tree poster.

OK, I just want a printout of the census page. I clicked the close button and a formatted page with the full census page image appeared, as if in a book (which is what AncestryPress is intended to produce).

The census page image takes about 60% of the page height and width, there is a title at the top and some reference information at the bottom. I experimented a bit and dragged the lower right-hand corner down and to the right to use up some blank space and make the image bigger, as shown below.

At this point I could have cropped the image, or added a photo or a text box. I just want a print right now, so I clicked on the Preview/Print button and received a plain white (no color background) printout of the image as I had modified it.

What I really like about this new printing option is the information at the bottom of the page. The information for the target subject (in this case, Byron Wheeler) and the source information for the specific census page is given. For this page, it says:

Byron Wheeler: Age in 1860: 18; Birthplace: Wisconsin; Home in 1860: Byron, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Gender: Male; Post Office: Byron.

And the source citation: Database: 1860 United States Federal Census Detail: Year: 1860; Census Place: Byron, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Roll M653_1407; Page 271; Image 275.

While it's not exactly Evidence Explained standards, it's good enough for me on this project.

The only drawback I see for using this method to print record pages is the length of time it takes to load it into AncestryPress format. The major benefit is that it creates a decent and presentable copy with a source citation provided.

When did add this printing option? Did they announce it on their blog? I didn't see anything (I went back to March 2008) except for a reader comment about it on 12 June here, so I did a Google search. All I found was a mention in an article by Paula Stuart-Warren on the 24/7 Family History circle blog dated 20 July.

Current Obituaries by State

Harold Henderson on his excellent Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog posted Current Obituaries by State last week, based on Jasia's post about Michigan Daily Obituaries. Read Harold's post for his impressions of these seemingly automated blog sites.

The current "lineup" of states being compiled include:

* Michigan - - started in August 2008
* Indiana - - started in August 2008
* Illinois - - started in September 2008
* Ohio - - started in August 2008
* Pennsylvania - - started in July 2008

* New Hampshire - - started in 2007
* Vermont - - started in 2007
* Massachusetts - - started in 2007
* Rhode Island - - started in 2007
* Connecticut - - started in 2007

* New York - - started in 2007
* New Jersey - - started in October 2008
* Maryland - - started in July 2008
* Virginia - - started in August 2008
* North Carolina - - started in August 2008

* Tennessee - - started in September 2008
* Georgia - - started September 2008
* Florida - - started October 2008

Perhaps more states will come online in the future.

If you check these sites, you will find that the names of the deceased are linked to the specific newspaper obituary online. The names are in either first name/last name or last name/first name order.

Harold makes a great observation in that:

"One noteworthy quirk: each day's entries are alphabetical by whatever part of the deceased's name came first. Researchers trying to keep up with particular surnames in particular known states should nevertheless find this a time-saving resource."

If you are going to search by a person's name in a Google or other general search engine, you will need to search both ways (if you use quotes - and beware of middle names or initials).

These state obituary blogs are all hosted by Blogger, and a reader can save time by using the Blogger "Search Blog box at the top left of the blog page. If you use that search box, you can find obituaries for a particular surname very quickly rather than use Google or another general search engine. However, this search will find the post on the blog - you will have to search for the name using Edit>Find.

We still don't know how much coverage these lists have - Harold found that for one day in September that there were Illinois obituaries from four areas.

Obviously, they are not perfect, but they are a start! Now we need a Steve Morse-type search engine that would search all of them in one swell foop!

Working with my mtDNA Results - Post 2

In my post yesterday, Working with my mtDNA - Post 1, I described my efforts to find other web sites that might have mitochondrial DNA test results that match mine.

On the High-Resolution K Entries from MitoSearch web site, there were about 300 results for the K Haplogroup, with identities hidden. I found no exact matches, and found only one result with one difference. That was submitter AHTHE, who has all of my HVR1 and HVR2 matches, plus an HVR1 marker at 16519. This was the only result in this database that had my HVR1 marker at 16266.

On the site, there were two exact matches to my mtDNA results. I looked at their submitted family trees, and their earliest known matrilineal ancestors were:

* Ann Dawson (born 1800), married Andrew Elliott, resided in Quebec, Canada.
* Leana Sinclaire (born about 1800 in Northern Ireland), married William MacIlwaine.

The 19 matches with one difference had these earliest known matrilineal ancestors:

* Francisca Van de Velde (born 1817 in Belgium), married Joannes Van Bouchaute.
* Alice Mercier (born 1861 in Quebec, Canada), married William Alderton.
* Sarah Marinda Smith (born 1846 in Iowa), married George Franklin Burnham.
* Isabel --?-- (born England), married John Young, resided in Ohio in about 1870.
* Alvira T. Stalker (born 1868 in Idaho), married John D. Ellis
* Margaret E. Maugham (born 1843 in Durham, England), married Henry C. Rand, resided Minnesota in 1880
* Sarah C. Armstrong (born 1844 in Tennessee), married James K. Johnson, resided in Illinois in 1870.
* Julia B. Blake (born 1824), married ??? Joplin, resided in Illinois in 1858.
* Daisy Moore (born 1872 in Indiana), married Herbert Thomas.
* Mary Ann Arison (born 1820 in Ohio), married Elliott Trump
* Maria Magdalena Lang (born 1836 in Switzerland), married Johann Lang.
* Alvira T. Stalker, above.
* Fanny Johnson (born 1774 in Massachusetts), married Ezekiel Barnes.
* Katherine Morrell (born 1868 in Hungary), married John Freund.
* Olevia Gibson (born 1876 in Louisiana), married George Collins.
* Fanny Johnson, see above.
* Marjeta Debeljac (born 1874 in Slovenia), married Anton Ogrinc
* Margaret Reynolds (born 1844), married William Mousley, resided in Utah in 1873.
* Fanny Johnson, see above.

That's quite a hodgepodge, isn't it? The European origins include Ireland, England, Belgium, Switzerland and Hungary.

A scenario for the Exact Matches could be that my Sarah Martin and their Ann Dawson and Leana Sinclaire have a common matrilineal ancestor in the British Isles, and the lines diverged (through different daughters or granddaughters of a common mother or grandmother) before Sarah Martin was born in New Jersey, Ann Dawson was born in Quebec, and Leana Sinclaire was born in Northern Ireland. That's about the only conclusion that I can draw from this study, I think!

I did send an email through GeneTree to the two persons with exact matches and I hope to hear from them. I wonder if it would be worthwhile to contact the one difference persons in the GeneTree database. Frankly, I doubt it.

I would be interested in any other conclusions that people can draw from my information presented above.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can doing Genealogical Research Improve Family Functioning?

My local genealogy society received this request by email, and I thought my blog readers might want to participate. As far as I can tell, she wants as many participants as possible:


Dear Fellow Genealogists,

I am doing my doctoral dissertation in Clinical Psychology on “Genealogical Pursuit and Relationship with Family Functioning” at Argosy University in Minnesota. I am trying to find out more about the nature of genealogists, and how doing genealogy may affect family relationships. I am especially interested in family “secrets”, how they affect the genealogical search, and how their uncovering might affect family members.

Perhaps you would like to take my survey, and/or forward the link to people you know who might be interested. The responses to the survey itself will remain anonymous, as I have no way of knowing the identity of any respondent. The survey takes about 12-15 minutes to complete. The survey and privacy issues are explained in more detail on the website.

The link to the survey is:
(Spaces before 3d are underscored.)

At the conclusion of my study I would be happy to share my results with you.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Bonnie Williams Lloyd, MS, LMFT
Duluth, MN


I encourage my readers to particpate. I did! It may help all of us understand "why" we do what we do.

Happy 2nd Birthday, RootsTelevision!

One of my favorite genealogy web sites is Roots Television at Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak worked with several others to set this site up two years ago. More details about the site and the people who make it work are on Megan's post is Two Years Old.

There are many 24 "channels" at Roots TV - including Conferences, How-to, DNA, African Roots, British research, Cemetery Research, DNA Research, Irish family history, Hispanic roots, Jewish Genealogy, Kids and genealogy, Libraries, Archives, Reunions, Photo Restoration and more. The Program Guide is here.

Some videos are short and some are very long. My experience is that most are in the 10 to 15 minute range, which is optimum for me because I'm easily distracted after about 15 minutes.

I especially enjoy the interviews that have become a staple of RootsTV - the recent NGS Conference, Southern California Jamboree and FGS Conference provided many interview videos on RootsTV. These videos put a face and a voice to the name and subject. For instance, Dick Eastman interviewed Leland Meitzler, David Lambert, Mark Halpern and David Mink, Blaine Bettinger, Judith Lucey, Paul Nauta, Tim Sullivan, Diane Haddad and Allison Stacy, Feargall O'Donnell, Maureen Taylor, Brian Donovan, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, and Melinde Lutz Sanborn at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Philadelphia in early September.

The all-time highlight of RootsTelevision for me was the videos of the presentation In Search of Annie Moore - the story of Megan Smolenyak's research to identify the real Annie Moore, and what happened to her after she stepped of the boat in 1892 and was the first person processed at Ellis Island. There is also a video of the play Making Up History: Searching for Annie Moore based on Megan's research.

I wish Roots Television many more happy birthdays, and I thank Megan and her staff for their hard work to bring genealogy to life through videos on RootsTelevision. If we are to bring younger people into our genealogy community, online video will be one of the major means that will be used to attract and enthuse new genealogists.

Working with my mtDNA Results - Post 1

I posted the last two days about receiving my mitochondrial DNA results from in My mtDNA is in the K Haplogroup and My mtDNA Results on GeneTree.

In the latter post, I showed some screen shots of my mtDNA results, a K Haplogroup distribution map and discussed my mtDNA matches. Emily and Utah Grammie commented on this second post, which I really appreciated.

As I understand it, the differences between my mtDNA and the Cambridge Reference Standard (CRS) mtDNA sample are:

Tested HVR1 between 15975 and 16579

* 16224 - I have C, CRS is T
* 16266 - I have T, CRS is C
* 16311 - I have C, CRS is T

Tested HVR2 between 1 and 584

* 73 - I have G, CRS is A
* 146 - I have C, CRS is T
* 195 - I have C, CRS is T
* 263 - I have G, CRS is A
* 309.1 - I have C, no CRS
* 315.1 - I have C, no CRS

The GeneTree results don't identify the HVR1 and HVR2 regions specifically, but I think I have them identified correctly above. If not, I'm sure someone will help me out.

Besides the 70 matches (2 exact, 21 with one difference, and 47 with two differences) identified in the GeneTree results, I was sure that there are other web sites that provide mtDNA Haplogroup K results and therefore potential matches. I went searching for them. I found:

* Swinging in the mtDNA Tree provided more information about the overall DNA tree and some references for Haplogroup K studies..


"mtDNA haplogroup K has been traditionally defined by HVR1 mutations 16224C and 16311C. Virtually all K's also have 16519C and HVR2 mutations 073G, 263G, and 315.1C. The latter three show up because the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS) is in the minority for those loci. 16519C has been called a “hotspot”; but that does not mean, at least for K, that it mutates often. It simply means that it is found in several different haplogroups. Oddly enough, no K haplotype in mitosearch has just those six basic mutations. Two entries are missing 16311C. Two are missing 16224C; one of those has 16224A instead. One is missing 16519C. Any of those could be a typographical error. The lack of one or more of the three basic HVR2 mutations is not uncommon."

Yep - I have 16224C and 16311C in HVR1 and 073G, 263G and 315.1C., but not 16519C. I'm missing 16519C, but it says that is not uncommon. My uncommon ones appear to be 16266 in HVR1 and 146C, 195C and 309.1C in HVR2.

* mtDNA Haplogroup K (Katrine's Clan) Website -- this site is the FamilyTreeDNA K Haplogroup site administered by William Hurst, who had the previous web site also. This led me to the next two sites:

* High-Resolution K Entries from MitoSearch -- this site has results for about 300 specific tests. I haven't compared my results to these yet.

* Ian Logan's mtDNA site - this has links for all mtDNA Haplogroups. The K1 and K2 sites list specific marker differences to the CRS. I looked through the K1 and K2 charts and did not understand them completely - I need to revisit it.

I would appreciate knowing any other web sites that I could search for matches to my own mtDNA results.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Doing Genealogy Time

Several of my readers and colleagues have asked "how do you ever do everything you do?" Well, I recently had the opportunity to find out!

The "homework" in September for the Professional Genealogists Study Group that I participate in (we are studying the book "Professional Genealogy" edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills) was to read Chapter 13 ("Time Management") and to:

Part 1 -- keep a time journal of everything you do in a day -- from the most minute task and the least significant distraction to the most essential elements of your schedule. Do this religiously for the next seven days.

Part 2 - Study your time journal and identify all of your time thieves -- social calls, instant messages and emails, mindless television shows, commitments to projects you're not vested in, etc.

I did this for two weeks instead of one week, and found that I spend, on average, this amount of time on these tasks (from get-up to go-down):

* Read and write email (personal + 10 lists): 0.51 hours/day (31 minutes)
* Read genealogy blogs (over 300): 0.72 hours (43 minutes)
* Writing blog posts on 3 genie blogs: 1.58 hours (95 minutes)
* ProGen/TGSG: 0.13 hours (8 minutes)
* Reading/writing on Facebook: 0.27 hours (16 minutes)

* CVGS activities: 0.96 hours (58 minutes)
* CGSSD activities: 1.30 hours (108 minutes)
* SDGS activities: 0.26 hours (16 minutes)

* Client Research: 0.71 hours (43 minutes)
* Randy's Research: 0.66 hours (40 minutes)

* Read news sites: 0.27 hours (16 minutes)
* Morning non-genealogy activities: 1.94 hours (116 minutes)
* Mid-day non-genealogy activities: 2.38 hours (143 minutes)
* Evening non-genealogy activities: 3.85 hours (231 minutes)

Total Genealogy hours/day: 7.09 hours
Total non-genealogy hours/day: 8.44 hours
Total bedtime hours/day: 8.47 hours

Obviously the biggest time wasters from my two weeks are taking too much time getting up, reading the paper, watching TV, watching and going to the Padres games, taking my wife, daughter and granddaughter out to dinner, taking care of the granddaughters, working on the house with my contractor, taking walks with George, blogging on Randy's Busy Life, and going to church.

Still, I managed to work over 7 hours a day on genealogy (on average) - 49 hours a week. One anomaly was the CGSSD presentation - I spent a lot of time working on it and giving it, and that is time that I would normally use for my other genealogy activities, like client research and my own research. A normal month would have about 3 hours each for CGSSD and SDGS meetings (or about 6 minutes a day for each) - which frees up maybe 1.5 hours a day for other genealogy activities. I do spend a lot of time on CVGS activities with four meetings and four table talks each month, so that number is pretty accurate.

Another anomaly is our worship of the hapless (this year, anyway) San Diego Padres - during the summer this takes at least three hours each day, and often more if we go to the game. A third anomaly is that we are improving the house, and some of the non-genealogy time was spent going to Home Depot, moving stuff around, etc.

My day is centered around CVGS and blogging right now. I could cut out email, Facebook and reading and writing blogs, and could gain about 3 hours each day, but Randy would be a very frustrated Genea-blogger. Or cut it all back to say 1.5 hours and gain 1.5 hours.

Essentially, I "worked" on genealogy for about 1/3 of the day, spend about 1/3 of my time on other waking interests and about 1/3 of my time in bed during this two week period. Of course, when the house is done and the Padres aren't on (but the Chargers are), I will gain maybe 3 or 4 hours a day for genealogy.

This exercise was very useful because it forced me to accurately account for my time. I have been summarizing my genealogy day in a nearly daily journal at for almost a year now, and I see that I'm underestimating my blog reading and blog writing time there.

Frankly, I'm happy doing what I'm doing - I'm having fun pursuing my genealogy interests. I do not actively seek clients, but if I did I would use a time management tool (I used a Microsoft Word table to log my time and tasks) to keep a time journal to support my work.

See - I don't do it ALL the time! My wife thinks I do, however. Now I can show her that I have a balanced daily life, heh heh. Am I wrong here?

Family Photographs - Post 25: Sisters and Cousins

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Seaver/Richmond family collection:

This photograph was taken in 1958 at the Marshall Chamberlain home at 4601 Terrace Drive in San Diego.
The persons in this picture are, from the left:
* Emily White (Richmond) Taylor (1879-1966), daughter of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, and widow of George Taylor.
* Evelyn (Seaver) Wood (1903-1978), daughter of Frederick W. and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, wife of Walter H. Wood.
* Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962), daughter of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, and widow of Frederick W. Seaver.
* Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain (1904-1992), daughter of George and Emily (Richmond) Taylor, and wife of Marshall Chamberlain.
Emily Taylor and Alma Bessie Seaver are sisters, and Evelyn (Seaver) Wood and Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain are first cousins.
Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver was my paternal grandmother.
This photograph was in the possession of my mother in 1988 when she gave it to me.

My mtDNA Results on GeneTree

I posted about receiving my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) results in My mtDNA is in the K Haplogroup. I thought it might be useful to share what the mtDNA results look like.

After I logged in to, I clicked on the DNA tab and this screen appeared:

The mtDNA results are right at the top of the screen - they show that my mtDNA sequence has 10 differences with the Cambridge Reference Sequence. The Haplogroup K distribution map is also shown.

The bottom half of this web page provides text information about Haplogroup K, most of which I posted in the previous blog post.

Under the mtDNA test results are two links - I clicked on Understanding Your Test Results, and this screen appeared.

More information is provided about the specific test sequence, the reference sequence and the haplogroup prediction.

The other link right under the mtDNA results was Find others that match your DNA. The screen below shows the result:

It told me that I could find exact matches, and matches with one or two differences. I chose Exact Matches, and this screen appeared:

There were two exact matches to my mtDNA in the GeneTree/SMGF database. Both of these persons have identity protection. The maternal line names for the first person are Anderson (Canada) and Beattie (Canada). For the second person, the maternal line names are MacIlwaine (Ireland) and Kennedy (Ireland).

GeneTree permits the user to send an email through their system to the persons that are matches, so I did that inviting them to join GeneTree or to contact me via email.

I had 19 matches with one difference, and 47 with two differences. All of these matches the K Haplogroup, except for six matches with two differences had the K1 haplogroup and one with two matches had the U8b haplogroup.

A scan of the maternal line surnames for all 70 of these matches showed none of my maternal line surnames. Nearly all of the 70 matches have a pedigree chart attached to them, so I can search the exact and 1-difference matches to see if there is any commonality with with my families. has something called DNAvigator that has a timeline and maps showing where the DNA matches were located at specific points in time. I'll show some screen shots of that in the next post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Everton Publishers Genealogy Blog is back!!!

I have missed Leland Meitzler's daily postings about genealogy news, web sites and societies over the past month.

He wrote a post today that it is back online. They had quite a time getting the hosting company to give them control of the web site back.

I am glad that Leland and Joe Edmon are OK (I was concerned, although I'd read Dick Eastman's post from the FGS Conference) and are back online. Will there be a blogalanche of posts on the EPGB?

My mtDNA is in the K Haplogroup

Like thousands of other genealogists, I swabbed my cheek at a genealogy society meeting several years ago in a project conducted by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF). At the time, I sent a five generation pedigree chart to SMGF.

In early September, I received the invitation from GeneTree to receive my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) results from this test. I signed up with GeneTree, paid the $19.95 by credit card, and while I was on their site I uploaded a family tree of 644 individuals who are some of my ancestors. Today, I received my invitation via email to view my mtDNA results.

Hey - I'm a K! I'm not overly surprised of course.

The chart above is the distribution of the K haplogroup for mitochondrial DNA.

The web site says this about the K haplogroup:

"Mitochondrial haplogroup K is a sub-branch of lineage U. Haplogroup K is widely distributed across Europe and is found in about 6% of the population. Notable clusters occur in Ireland, Scandinavia, France, and regions of Northern Italy, where about 10% of the population carries this variation. Outside of Europe, haplogroup K is found in the Near East region (5-7% of the general population), the Northern Caucasus region (5%), Central Asia (4%) and North Africa (2-3%).

"Historically, the first appearance of haplogroup K was about 30-35,000 years ago, likely in the Near East region. Ancestors in this haplogroup expanded into Europe about 25,000 years ago, just before the last Ice Age.

"Haplogroup K splits into two subclades, K1 and K2. K1 represents about 89% of the haplogroup K population; K2 comprises about 11%. There are currently no regional correlations within the subclades; however, the haplogroup as a whole is found at high frequencies among the Ashkenazi Jews (32% of the haplogroup population). In particular, four Ashkenazi founding lineages were recently identified – three of these lineages were within haplogroup K. Only four ancestral women comprise these lineages and account for more than 40% of the current Ashkenazi population (about eight million people). These four lineages underwent major expansions throughout Europe within the past millennium. The most dominant of these lineages is a subvariation of K1 (named K1a1b1a), encompassing 19% of contemporary Ashkenazi Jews, approximately 1.7 million people."

I posted several matrilineal lines (that's the line of mothers) here, but I want to add my specific line below:

a) Betty Virginia Carringer (1919 San Diego CA - 2002 San Diego CA)
b) Emily Kemp Auble (1899 Chicago IL -1977 San Diego CA)
c) Georgianna Kemp (1868 Norfolk County, ON - 1952 San Diego CA)
d) Mary Jane Sovereen (1840 Norfolk Co ON - 1874 Norfolk Co ON)
e) Eliza Putman (1820 Steuben Co NY - 1895 Norfolk Co ON)
f) Sarah Martin (??) (1792 NJ - 1860 Norfolk Co ON)

My earliest known matrilineal ancestor was born in 1792, perhaps in Sussex County, New Jersey, according to the sparse records I (and others) have found. I'm not 100% sure that Martin is her maiden name.

My hope is that other persons have contributed their mtDNA to the SMGF study and that they share my matrilineal line.

I've read all of the educational material on the GeneTree site, and my conclusion is that this mtDNA test WILL NOT match me up with 100% accuracy to other family members. It only matches the Haplogroup, not specific markers the way the Y-chromosome DNA tests do. However, if there are persons with exact matches of the mtDNA, then it is possible that there is an mtDNA match within the last 500 years or so.

Future posts will show some screen shots of the DNA results, the mtDNA matches and the family tree aspect of GeneTree is a social networking site - you can invite family members to join and view the tree, add information and media, and see the DNA results.

I Read about Benjamin Franklin Seaver in the newspapers

In early February 2007, I received an email from Gardner Russell asking me "what do you know about Captain Benjamin Franklin Seaver?" He had Googled "Seaver" and had found Genea-Musings somehow.

My initial response was "I know who his parents are, and that he died off Buenos Aires, and he was a distant cousin of mine."

This query led to a 9 part series of posts transcribing newspaper articles about the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), including:

Part 1 introduced the series, and an article from the Suffolk (NY) Gazette dated 4 March 1805, which published a letter dated 15 November 1804.
Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the Connecticut Herald newspaper (published in New Haven CT), dated 20 January 1807, and posted the first letter, dated 23 March 1806.
Part 3, the second letter, dated 28 April 1806.
Part 4, the third letter, dated 9 June 1806.
Part 5, the fourth letter, dated 31 July 1806.
Part 6, the fifth letter, dated 3 September 1806.
Part 7, the sixth letter, dated 14 September 1806.
Part 8, the seventh and final letter, dated 18 September 1806.
Part 9, an article in the New York Spectator dated 1 August 1807.

The newspaper articles were intriguing and informative, and documented BFS's travails in north Africa - he was held captive and ransomed. But this is not the end of the story of the short life of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814).

The "rest of the story" is told by author Gardner Hale Russell in his book Timely Heroes, Under the Southern Cross (published by BookSurge Publishing, paperback, 230 pages, copyright 2008). This book is an historical novel, about the five "heroes" (four of them Americans) who formed a naval flotilla and fought in the battle for the independence of Argentina from Spain in 1812 to 1814.

Each "hero" has a chapter in the book. Benjamin Franklin Seaver's background is described in Chapter 1 - some of it based on the letters found in the 1805-1807 newspapers noted above. The final chapter of the book describes the outcome of their efforts.

Gardner Russell sent me a copy of his book in early September and I've read it now. It's an interesting story about a part of history that I knew nothing about. In his letter sending the book to me in gratitude for my help, Gardner wrote: "... Soon, I had all the information I needed on Benjamin Franklin Seaver, and his incredible life."

I'm thrilled that I could help Gardner find information about one of his timely heroes, and that a distant cousin of mine (BFS is my fourth cousin six times removed) helped bring liberty to Argentina. He certainly led an interesting life!

My Genetealogy Dilemma - Blaine kindly responds

Last week I posted A Genetealogy Dilemma - Any Ideas? and Blaine Bettinger (The Genetic Genealogist) wrote an extensive comment to the post.

Yesterday, Blaine posted Identifying an Unknown Parent Using Genetic Genealogy in a more expansive response to my dilemma, and he provided cogent and helpful information. His response was:

"This particular situation is exceptionally challenging. If the child had been a boy, he would have his father’s Y-DNA and a decent chance at identifying his father’s surname (and thus could perhaps further elucidate his actual identity with the combination of DNA research and traditional genealogical research). If the unknown parent had been the mother, the daughter would possess the unknown parent’s mtDNA and a remote but possible chance of finding an mtDNA match and using traditional genealogical techniques to identify the mother."

And the possible long-term solution (I hope Blaine doesn't mind me using his quotes here, bolding and italics mine):

"I agree that AS OF TODAY, there is little to no hope that the woman will discover the identity of her father. However, people almost always believe that this mystery will never be resolved because there is no Y-DNA or mtDNA solution. Of course, as we all know, the child inherited 50% of her genome from her father. It is my hypothesis that somewhere in that DNA is a clue to her father’s ancestry which can ultimately be used to identify her father.

"How will autosomal (non-sex chromosome) DNA reveal her father’s identity? As genomic sequencing becomes cheaper and cheaper, it will be possible to sequence an entire genome relatively cheap (first under $1,000, then eventually under $100). With this technology, genealogical and medical organizations will use vast autosomal DNA and family chart databases to trace genes and mutations through genealogies. SMGF, for example, is already collecting both DNA and family charts, and is set to release the Sorenson Autosomal Database in the near future.

"Additionally, earlier this year a deadly mutation that leads to colon cancer was traced to an English couple that emigrated to the United States in 1630, almost 400 years ago. Although not everyone with this mutation is descended from this couple, many are; thus, if you have the mutation, it is very possible that you are descended from this couple and this would provide a clue to your ancestry that could be explored with traditional genealogical research. With cheap sequencing scientists and genealogists will be able to trace unimportant ‘quiet’ mutations through time and genealogies, just as scientists have already done with health-related mutations.

"So how will all this help the woman identify her father? Someday in the very near future she will be able to query her genome against a database of genomes and ancestries. Just as a deadly colon cancer mutation can be linked to a certain family, it is likely that the woman has one or more random mutations in her genome that are linked to certain families. Using traditional genealogical research (to rule out inheritance of those mutations through her mother, for example) and genetic technology, she might be able to use that knowledge to identify possible sources of half her DNA."

Blaine has additional comments about genetic tests and ethical concerns.

I thank Blaine for explaining the problem succinctly and providing a summary of the current state-of-the-art in DNA analysis. I hope he's right that it will eventually be possible to solve genetic genealogy problems like the one I posed.

I will pass Blaine's information to my CGSSD colleague.

By the way, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak coined the term Genetealogy - see her Genetealogy web site.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm Fed Up - elect someone unknown!

I don't usually talk about politics on Genea-Musings, but I'm fed up with the Republicrats and the Demlicans so I'm deciding to do something about it. War, peace, taxes, economy, immigration, geneology, budgets, debt, gas prices, handouts, global warming, housing, health care, education, you name it - it's all really screwed up. They've really made a mess of it. Common sense and basic principles don't seem to count any more.

I say "fire every person in elected office and choose unknown persons with successful life experiences raising a family, leading a group or a business, someone who will work hard and has a good head on his/her shoulders."

See the video here and tell me if you think this person (unknown to nearly everyone in this great nation) would make a good President.

The Genea-blogger Gnome visits Genea-Musings!

The Genea-blogger Gnome came to Genea-Musings while the chief muser was away... so better late than never, here he is:

Now what does he represent? Nobody told me, but I do know that he is a world traveler - from his home in Bonn, Germany the gnome has been to:

Cologne, Germany
Paris, Frances
Reims, France
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
London, England,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
New Orleans, Louisiana
Fulton, Mississippi
In Fulton, he became the Genea-blogger Gnome and has appeared on quite a few genealogy blogs since early September.
Hmmm, if someone grew his beard a little longer, and if he put on a funny red cap and wore an XL green gnome outfit, he'd look a lot like .... well, you know who (without his glasses).

Best of the Genea-Blogs - September 21-27, 2008

Several hundred genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

* How to share your family history with your family - Books by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet shares some of the family books that her mother has produced over the years - we should all be so lucky! Janet's point is that we all need to do this so that our descendants feel lucky and spoiled by us.

* Wizards! by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise shares some OpenOffice Wizards secrets that sound very useful. You do know what a wizard is, right? No, not Gandalf...check Denise's post for good information.

* Road Trip The Finale by Bill West on the West in New England blog. Bill finishes his road trip saga with stories about Washington DC, the trip back to New England, and a picture of him with his sister, Cheryl.

* Internet Privacy by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. Lori explains why she didn't participate in the Getting to Know Me meme, and tells about the homework she gives her students so that they understand internet privacy issues.

* Marianne Gets Her Due by Colleen on the Orations of OMcHoDoy blog. Colleen's Aunt Marianne represents a group of citizens in an Encyclopedia of Disability in America to be published by the group Facts on File.

* Family Tree Maker Web Sites and Links by Russ Worthington on the Family Tree Maker Users blog. Russ posted a very helpful list of tutorials and help sites for FTM users.

* Canadian Genealogy Carnival - 1st Edition the blogger on the Looking4Ancestors blog. This first Carnival of Canadian Genealogy had nine entries - all excellent pieces (someone at Genea-Musings forgot to put it on the calendar...). The topic next month is "My Famous Canadian Ancestor."

* by Tom Pearson on the MoSGA Messenger blog. Tom links to a free web-based program that lets you access your uploaded files from any internet-capable computer.

* Carnival of Eastern European Genealogy - First (Given) Names by Steve Danko on Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve hosted the 11th Carnival and had 8 entries.

* Facts Right Under My Nose by Travis Lemaster on the TJLGenes - Preserving our Family History blog. Travis reviews his computer and paper files and finds some treasures that he forgot he had.

* Geni Person Pages by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. Thomas takes a detailed test drive of Geni's person pages and likes (pretty much) what he sees.

* LiveRoots by David on the Family History Tracing blog. David (formerly known as X-Faith) visits this new web site which goes live on 10 October. Read Illya's comment too for more helpful information.

* Top of the class: Family historians set goals for Irish Research by Lisa on the Small-Leaved Shamrock blog. Lisa hosted the 8th Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture and had 12 participants. The theme for this carnival was making research plans.

* Time for a Distraction by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM challenges genea-bloggers to describe their life in Sorted Book spine titles.

* Friday from the Collectors - September 26: Storytelling with Photos by Kim O'Neill Screen on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Kim (who writes about books at Good Stock) provides useful tips for effectively using photographs while writing family stories.

* Apprenticeship of Motherless Boy by Brenda Joyce Jerome on the Western Kentucky Genealogy blog. Brenda found a fascinating apprenticeship contract in a Kentucky deed book from the 1845 time frame. I love posts like this!

Thank you to all genealogy bloggers for an interesting and informative week. Did you notice some new blogs on this list? I hope so!

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - we all appreciate feedback on what we write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me!

Back to the Genea-Cave

I came back from Santa Cruz this afternoon, arriving in San Diego at 2:40 p.m. Linda was waiting in the cell phone lot, but had a dead battery when she tried to start the car. An hour later, we were on our way home.

I will try to post the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" article tonight and then try to catch up on several issues from the weekend and today.

I was able to read my email and blogs from Santa Cruz using my daughter's computer, which uses Google Chrome now. The setup is different - every new URL gets a tab and the Chrome start page has images of the last 12 (?) URL's that were input. The Bookmarks have moved (it took me awhile to find them!) and the Refresh symbol too. The think I really liked was that the scroll wheel on the mouse worked in the frame beneath it without having to click in it. It was OK for me - but not a quantum leap in browser management.

I fear that I have caught the Santa Cruz crud (runny nose, sore throat, headache) again - it happens every time and is the result of working closely with and loving little boys who go to two different schools with a completely different set of germs than my body is familiar with. It happens every time! I'm not complaining, of course, because "making family history" with them is challenging and fun.

My apologies for not posting more often - I had very little time between Thursday morning and Monday afternoon to read and post anything - perhaps an hour a day just to keep my head above the email flood and the blog torrent.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"I Love You, Grandpa"

Sometimes you have to listen carefully to what a 5-year old says - especially if you are dozing and watching football, as I was today.  Lucas is pretty good at expressing his feelings, and he sometimes uses fairly big words to do it - "this food is real tasty," "I like to watch the NASA programs on Discovery Channel," etc.  Today he climbed up in my lap as I dozed with Logan in the crook of my left arm and said the words every grandparent aches to hear..."I love you, grandpa."  I came alert really quick and never did go back to sleep - my head and heart were just so full of happiness.

I call my trips to Santa Cruz "making family history" because each time I come we have an experience that may last a lifetime.  These little guys (Lucas is 5, Logan is 2.5) will remember the fun they have with me - the baseball in the backyard, the Grandpa Monster that chases them, catches them, tickles them, carries them around upside down, lets them climb Mount Grandpa all the way to sit on his shoulders,  that takes them for ice cream at Foster's Freeze down the road, that lets them get naked in the front yard and squirts them with the hose, that makes really bad dinners that somehow get eaten, that is too lax on discipline, the endless watching of Disney Channel in the morning and PBS Sprout in the afternoon and evening (Caillou, Thomas, and Sesame Street are our favorites - I like Sesame because it's an hour long and I can sneak some winks, but have to listen for the freezer door opening - they sneak ice cream when unsupervised).   

For his birthday, we gave Lucas a 4-DVD set of "When They Left Earth" - a history of space flight.  He has watched all of them in the last three weeks, has learned the names of astronauts and space vehicles, understands the different parts of the Apollo vehicles and the Space Shuttle.  He amazes me with what he knows and remembers, even though he isn't reading yet.  Over the winter when I was coming here monthly to help my daughter while her hubby was in Iraq, I taught Lucas all about how an airplane flies - the forces and moments, and he can demonstrate them still.  He has a box of different airplanes that he pulls out and flies around the house, even though most now have missing wings or tails.   Every time I come in on the airplane, he has to know if it was a blue Southwest airplane with wingtips.   When they flew back from San Diego last month, they were taken into the cockpit and he asked the pilot how to move the elevator.  The kid is 5.  

He can run faster than I can now, and he's building his endurance with soccer.  They had practice today for an hour, and he was constant motion for 15 minutes at a time.  He has excellent hand-eye coordination and can hit the ball, with decent form, well (depending on the pitcher, of course).   He is very good with his little brother, and has learned to translate Logan's words for all of us.  

He loves me, and that's enough for me!  Not many hugs and kisses, but plenty of cuddling and snuggling, especially on the couch (which leads to the aforementioned roughhousing or climbing). 

I'll have to brag about Logan next time.

Now it's off to bed early so that if Logan comes in again at 5:15 I will have had at least 6 hours sleep.  Their parents come home on Sunday evening, so I'm looking forward to getting some rest when I get home, and get back to research and blogging.   But I'll never forget this little part of my "family history" with my grandsons.  I think they'll remember it too.  But will one of them pick up the genealogy and run with it?