Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ten of Randy's Best Research Discoveries of 2018

I see that several of my genea-blogging colleagues are listing their best genealogy research discoveries of 2018, so I decided to do the same.  Here is my list:

1)  I finally received a clue to the birth family line of my 2nd great-grandfather, Devier J. Lamphear Smith (1839-1894), who was born in Jefferson County, New York to an unknown Lamphear/Lanphier/Lanfear/etc. parent (male or female, I don't know which), and was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson before they all moved to Wisconsin.

The clue was an autosomal DNA match on MyHeritageDNA whose 3rd great-grandparent is Nancy Lanfear (1816-1898) of Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York, daughter of Isaac and Rosina (Lown) Lanfear.  I share 44.7 cM with this DNA match in 3 segments, so it's probably a 4th-5th cousin match.  If Devier's grandparents were Isaac and Rosina, then they would be my 4th great-grandparents, and I would be a 5th cousin to my DNA match person.  I just don't know which of the 7 children of Isaac and Rosina was the parent of Devier.  There are over 60 matches that share the largest segment (only two shown below in the MyHeritageDNA chromosome browser tool).  I wrote about this in Finding Devier J. Lamphear Smith's Parents - Part I: DNA Trails.

2)  George W. Seaver's life story became a focus in February after finding a newspaper article about him leaving his family in Los Angeles in 1899.  With Barry Sheldon's help, I managed to piece together an interesting life story, and found his parents, spouse and child.  I even created a presentation about his life story to show how I do descendancy research.  See The Rest of the George W. Seaver Story - Part VIII: More Family Information for a summary of information and links to earlier blog posts.

3)  I posted in January about my mother's San Diego High School Yearbook information, and mentioned it to my San Diego genea-blogger friend Yvette Porter Moore (who is now the Historian of the San Diego High Alumni Association).  She went digging into the alumni association records in May to find entrance cards, report card summaries, and yearbook entries for my mother, and her parents, Lyle L. Carringer and Emily K. Auble who were all San Diego High School graduates (as I am).  Yay, Cavemen!  See the records found in

4)  I made significant progress in finding common ancestors for autosomal DNA matches on the various websites.  I downloaded DNA match segments from MyHeritageDNA, FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe for all of my DNA matches to a spreadsheet to find matching segments with me and cousins with known relationships using a spreadsheet.  I added Notes to about 1,000 AncestryDNA matches, and used the MedBetter DNA Chrome extension to display them on the match list.  I also learned how to use Quick and Dirty Ancestry trees to find the common ancestors for those with small or unlinked trees and successfully found common ancestors with some of the matches.

5)  I subscribed to in late 2017, and have used it every week to supply obituaries and articles for my "Seavers in the News" series.  The articles have helped me add Seaver families to my RootsMagic family tree database, plus I have found articles about some of my ancestors that added dates and details to their life stories.

6)  My CVGS assignment in February 2018 was to research the ancestry of one of our local politicians, a county supervisor, for a presentation to him and his family at the CVGS Family History Day on 29 September. With his sister's and daughter's help in supplying family information and photographs, I was able to find his English and German ancestry, but was stumped on his one set of American 2nd great-grandparents.  I made a RootsMagic family tree, TreeShared it with an Ancestry Member Tree, matched it with the FamilySearch Family Tree, and researched on all of the major sites.  The family loved the presentation.

7)  I was able to extend my grandsons' Danish ancestry back several more generations after FamilySearch added several Denmark record collections for church records and census records.  I also discovered the home village of one of the Italian families in their ancestry and extended that line one more generation in FamilySearch records.

8)  Maggie is my 103 years old friend, and she didn't know the name of her grandparents, since her father came from Denmark in the early 1900s.  I was able to find her grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles in the Denmark records.  See Down the Rabbit Hole: Finding Maggie's Grandparents I gave her a copy of the records, and sent the family tree data I have and the record images to her son in Maryland.  

9)  I search for Seaver/Sever/Seever/s/ persons almost every day, and add them to my RootsMagic family tree.  I find them with database searches, and in the online collaborative trees.  After I add them to RootsMagic, I TreeShare with my Ancestry tree and obtain Web Hints, and then search the online databases, and update the RootsMagic profiles.  For persons born after 1800, I can almost always find birth, death and burial records, and sometimes marriage records.  

10)  Needing blog fodder, writing the Amanuensis Monday, Treasure Chest, Seavers in the News, 52 Ancestors, and Surname Saturday posts keep me searching and finding records to add to the RootsMagic family tree, and thereby "advancing the ball" of my ancestral research.  Every little bit helps!  


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1 comment:

Bill said...

A great year, Randy. Thanks for all you do in teaching readers like me about how we can "advance" our own reaseach.

Happy New Year!

Bill Greggs