09 June 2016

Great Book: Elements of Genealogical Analysis

Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson is really a great book!   I have been working through it for almost a year and still enjoy every single page.  It's not the sort of book a reader just goes through once and puts back on a shelf:  the content is concise yet very dense.  There's a lot there to consider.  I believe the sort of study groups that erupted for the Jones book would be very appropriate for "Elements."

If you appreciate the Great Migration Newsletter articles about how a passenger list or a town record was analyzed, then there is absolutely no doubt that you will enjoy "Elements."  You'll also appreciate it if you like to read books about evidence and analysis in genealogy and it's an absolute must-read for anyone with colonial New England ancestry.

I think one of its strengths is both the number and depth of the examples for every single point Anderson set out to make.  The detailed analyses of documents -- not simply what is printed on them but where, when, why, by whom -- support any discussion of the genealogical proof standard.

05 June 2016

SCGS Jamboree 2016 in Brief

This is Part Two of my Jamboree experience this year. Part One is here.

FRIDAY – Yeah! An average commute so I wasn't late...just tired.

8:30 to Noon  – Extra $50 Hands-on Workshop with Blaine Bettinger on Third-Party Tools for Autosomal DNA
As expected, an “Oh, Wow” Experience for me! Ok, maybe I would have preferred less time on admixture and more time on GEDmatchTier One Tools and a lot more on DNAGedcom. At least I do now see that there is some value to the admixture tools in general. Overall, the workshop was well worth my time but it was also evident that not everyone had done the workshop preparation as listed in the registration materials. Since I had done all the preparation, there was a good deal of repetition and that time could have been much better used on the Tier One tools &/or DNAGedcom. Still I feel it was worth the price.

A thought: Remember how Thoma MacEntee did the weekly prompts/steps to review genealogy research? Given my success at following Blaine Bettinger's workshop preparation instructions for third party tools, I think Blaine (or someone) should continue that concept and have weekly prompts to take users through GEDmatch and DNAGedcom. That may be what his upcoming book is going to do...we should know by next month!

I spent the afternoon in the exhibit hall, perusing, picking up freebies & brochures. I asked some questions and got some help at My Heritage. It turns out most of my issues are them and not me. Great freebie bag, though....

Overall, the exhibit hall did not have the excitement it has had. A couple of my favorites were missing and I was unable to purchase two books I had planned to buy.

With no exciting sessions to see and relatively little to do in the exhibit hall, I went home mid-afternoon, trying to beat both Friday drive-time traffic and getting past a Dodger stadium before the home game traffic. 

The biggest surprise Saturday morning was the commute: the absolute easiest & fastest I have ever, ever had to Burbank for anything!

Saturday held no research-necessary sessions, so I settled with being entertained by Michael John Neill on Pre -1850 Censuses. I've heard him before on that topic, but he's one of my favorite speakers and I knew it would be enjoyable. Note: I think his Casefile Clues is the most under-revered genealogy books/newsletters there is. I think of it as a book because I printed out Volumes 1&2 and put them in a binder. Super!!

I tried Newspapers.com in the Tech Zone.  Found some things worth pursuing. 

I bought 2 more FTDNA autosomal kits and went home after lunch. I really like how FTDNA re-organized and fully staffed their conference booth.  It was the best FTDNA conference experience I've ever had.  Unfortunately, the commute home was not so good.  

SUNDAY'S program didn't have enough great stuff to overcome the commute and the thought of sleeping in, so I stayed home to sleep in, console Hubby, and blog.

Big News! Oh, my goodness! I've made the big time...after all these Jamborees, I'm finally one of the unnamed background extras in one of Randy Seaver's Jamboree photos!! I can prove I went to Saturday!

Overall Conclusion
I think that the next time Jamboree has a schedule that really motivates me, I will take Hubby along and get a room at the hotel for 2-3 days. My total commute time for the three days I attended was over 10 hours and that doesn't count the stress and energy and parking fees and the lonely husband issues....

SCGS Jamboree 2016: DNA Day

I hadn't expected to attend Jamboree this year, but when the schedule first came out with a full day of excellent speakers on intermediate/advanced sessions for DNA Day and an extra Friday workshop, I was hooked for the whole conference. Unfortunately for my blogging, the daily commute precluded my posting each day...more on that later. Here's a summary of my impressions.  A blog post on the rest ofJamboree to follow.

Even though I allowed 90 minutes for a commute that can be done in an hour-ish, I was 30 minutes late and arrived to find myself “locked-out” of Kitty Cooper's session on triangulation. Fortunately, her blog posts are thorough so I think I can tough it out and fill in the gaps myself. I spent the time left that session in with Katherine Borges & Linda Magellan on Recruiting DNA in Europe. Those few minutes were enjoyable and informative while I let myself unwind from the drive.  On to the rest of my day:

10am with James V. Bartlett on Intermediate DNA: Autosomal DNA – Specific Steps to Insure Success
An excellent presentation and syllabus: lots of detail yet very easy to follow. I need to follow his suggestion of having a few “standard messages” ready to use for cousin contacts. Duh..no wonder I was never happy with my attempted messages...I was trying to make one fit them all. Also, I need to keep trying: Jim cited much improved response rates by the third inquiry he sends out to an individual. His tips on spreadsheet management are useful, too.

11:30an with Tim Janzen on Organizing All of Your DNA Match List Data
Another excellent presentation in every regard. He provided very detailed info on how he structures his spreadsheets. Maybe I can make this work...I really like the idea of giving a new cell to each individual email to/from a cousin contact. In general, he works his analysis more at the segment level than by total size of a match.

2:00pm back with James V. Bartlett on Segment-ology: Learning about Autosomal DNA
Still very good and by this point I didn't need to take as many notes. I choose to think that's because of all my new knowledge and synthesis skills rather than from info overload! I think I've really got a good grasp now on analyzing matches that could be on either one of a chromosome pair.

3:30pm with Diahan Southard on Circles or Triangles? What Shape is your DNA?
Another excellent presentation as always from Diahan! I went into this expecting to still be strongly favoring triangulation. However now, I must admit that I see there is indeed some logic & science behind Genetic Networking (seems to be the generic term for “DNA Circles"). I still count myself in the triangulation camp, but I will be less overtly critical of a certain company's circles. I really liked Diahan's emphasis that while you may have DNA matches in circles, you MUST then “do the genealogy.”

5:00pm with Blaine Bettinger for Genetic Genealogy: Year in Review 2016
Good presentation, well organized. Yes, a lot really did happen in just the last year. Key quote: “We need to expect our match lists to change over time.” It's clear that more updates and more changes are going to be a fact of life.

Overall, a great day and it's going to take me hours and hours of work to start implementing all that I learned and/or am now more motivated to actually do.

04 May 2016

Ancestry.com DNA: Then v. Now

It appears that the changes to Ancestry.com's DNA matching protocol have reached my results.  Oh, dear: 

19 Missing ... that's 20%...

Following all the alerts from other bloggers, I made sure that all of my existing 93 green leaf matches had stars and/or notes*.  As you can see above, now I have only 90 green leaf matches.  Doesn't sound too bad, does it?  But, examining those 90, there are 16 with no star and no note but with a new blue dot ... they are entirely new to me.  

So, a total of 19 of my "Then" DNA matches who had trees with a match to my tree are no longer in that category. I haven't looked exhaustively for them, but it seems likely that they are indeed "gone." I assume ancestry.com did not change my tree or their trees, so if they are no longer among the green leaf DNA matches, they must no longer match my DNA at/above the threshold.  So much for starring or noting previous matches....

Other signs of change
I selected, fairly randomly,  6 of my "then" matches and looked at Ancestry.com's specification of shared cM's now.  All of them have been modified:

A Decision
I'm glad ancestry.com wants my opinion and I will give it to them, but I'm not sure it really matters to them.  They don't appear to have listened to the Power Bloggers....

I've decided that I'm not going to give these changes any more of my time and energy right now.  I'll wait to read some blogs and I'm very interested to hear all the talk at SCGS Jamboree DNA Day.

* I followed many more of the precautionary suggestions, but I don't have the strength to analyze comparisons of them now...if ever....

26 October 2015

Obituary: Margaret Lavina (Richardson) (Hegwer) Danes

I'm certainly happy with any obituary, but some are better than others... and this obituary is one of the others....  It is about my great-grandmother and briefly refers to my grandfather, but you'd have to be a family genealogist to know it!

The "local lady" is Margaret Lavina (Richardson) (Hegwer) Danes.  This obituary is from the 14 July 1919 issue of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, p. 5.  From the first line shown in the image, her obituary continues:
whose home was at 829 South avenue, occurred yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock, following a sickness of several months from asthma and complications. Mrs. Danes was born in Tiffany, Mo., August 29, 1860, and has been twice married, the first husband leaving her with two sons, one of whom is now making his home with his mother in this city and the other living in Idaho. Mrs. Danes was united in marriage with her present husband at Durango in 1905, and the family came to Grand Junction the following year.
     The funeral services are waiting word from the son in Idaho and upon receipt of such word the arrangements will be completed; burial will be on Orchard Mesa.
     Later--The funeral services will be held at the Martin chapel Tuesday at 2 o'clock p. m. and will be in charge of Rev. Edwards of the Christian church.
The only named person is her second husband, A.W. Danes (note the use of initials rather than 'Albert Wentling'). Neither her married name nor even her forename is given; survivors are not named.  Click here  for a photo of Margaret, Albert, and local son, Raymond Hegwer.

The "detail" of her first marriage is inaccurate and the location of her second marriage is wrong.  Click here for previously posted info about her divorce from Charles Hegwer.

By 1910 census and Salt Lake City directories, they did not arrive in Grand Junction Colorado before 1913.  I wonder who supplied the information...I would have expected her widower or her son to have been more accurate or to have simply omitted specifics.  So, it's another example of how cautious we have to be with obituaries.

 I found it through the website of the Mesa County Libraries and ordered an e-copy from them.   Thank you, Mesa County Libraries of Colorado!

10 October 2015

atDNA Matches by Company

I've made this my own "DNA Month"  and plan to concentrate on getting all the things I've learned to  do actually done.  I've got some more gedcoms to upload, some more third-party tools to download and start using, match contacts to reply to, other matches to contact, and lots of results to analyze.

Comparing atDNA test results across companies
Luckily for me, my aunt was gracious and curious enough to let me test her atDNA.  She's the only close relative I have from an earlier generation and so, consequently,  her results are very important in my research.  I tested her with Ancestry.com and then transferred the raw data to FTDNA to facilitate chromosome mapping.  I've also got both of us at GedMatch.

I haven't been paying much attention to my matches beyond 4th cousins.  Making this chart made me realize looking at my aunt's "4th cousin" matches, in essence, gives me one more good generation of priority matches to consider, at least on that side of my family.  And, I didn't realize that she actually has more "4th cousin or closer" matches than I do.  I'm going to have to spend some time on this result!

Hmmm...my chart for our FTDNA matches illustrates some of the differences between the two companies and how they select/report matches. ...  Far fewer matches but more (on the surface) common matches.   Given that my aunt doesn't have the Colonial America ancestry that's a full quarter of my pedigree chart, it surprises me that my aunt has more matches than I do.

It will be interesting to see how all these numbers change over time.

19 August 2015

Obituary: Dan Davison

Transcribed from the newspaper Vermont Republican of Windsor, Vermont.  It was the 5 March 1821 issue on p. 3.  Accessed with GenealogyBank.com

DIED --  At Hartland, on the 31st Jan Deacon DAN DAVISON in the 85th year of his age.  It may truly be said of him, 'He came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season.' He was a soldier in the last French war in America, and when the struggle commenced between Great Britain and America, he was a warm friend to his country, and had two tours in the Revolutionary Army.  He was a member of the Legislature of Vermont several years.  He was a kind neighbor and a faithful friend.   The order and regulations of his family, were exceeded by few, if any in the present age; and great spiritual blessings has he enjoyed in his family.  He was a Deacon in the Baptist Church in Hartland, from its first constitution, and one of its main pillars.  We think we shall not exaggerate if we say, he lived and died a Christain, in the consciences of all classes of people.--His funeral was attended on the 3d inst. by a great concourse of people.  A discourse was delivered on the occasion, by one whom he had appointed, from the words of Elisha when his master was taken away, recorded in II Kings, 11th chap, and a part of the 12th verse 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.'
'Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of theta man is peace.' 

The death notice immediately following was, coincidentally, one sentence for one of his grandsons, Paul Davison, who died at age 26 in Waterford.

It saddens me that the memory of this man did not survive to my generation.  When I began my research, I did not know that any of my ancestors had lived in New England, or that they had fought in wars, or that they were Deacons or even Baptist.  Deacon Dan Davison was one of my 4th-great-grandfather on my mother's side.

17 August 2015

Thomas Bascom and Martha Boltwood Field

Thomas Bascom and his wife, Martha Boltwood Field, are two of my fourth-great-grandparents, through their son David.  This image is from Amherst town records and shows a family listing of their first five children.

Such a record does not prove the children were born in Amherst, but most certainy the family resided there for a time.  Given that David is the last listed, it is more likely that he was born there.  Town histories uniformly name Thomas Bascom as one of the early settlers of Amherst and there is no record of him returning to Warren, Worcester, Massachusetts prior to 1880.  Consequently, I believe it is fairly safe to say that David was born in Amherst.

The baptismal note added to the first Nathan's birth listing would seem to imply that he was at least baptized in Amherst.  It's probably also safe to list Martha and the second Nathan as born in Amherst.

Four more children were more probably born in Warren: Solomon, Asa, Absalon, and Simon.

Line of Descent
Thomas Bascom = Martha Boltwood Field
David Bascom = Lydia Palmer
Titus Davison = Hannah Field Bascom
Celim Homer Porter = Clara Evelene Davidson
my Grampa Porter

FHL186126 / online browse images / Amherst
Amherst, Hampshire: Births, marriages, deaths 1747-1836 vol 1 / clip from image 7 
Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001 at Familysearch.org