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

13 August 2015

Obituary: Walter H. Hegwer

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again to the Mesa County Libraries!!

My goodness, I'm having a great summer finding obituaries!! This time it's not a subscription website but is a free service of a public library: Mesa County Libraries in Colorado.

Luckily for me, one of my great-grandmothers spent her last years in Grand Junction, Colorado. I know my great-grandmother is buried there and that Hegwer grave(s?) were purchased at the Orchard Mesa Cemetery in Grand Junction.  I know I've looked before but, this time, something went right and I stumbled into the Genealogy section of the library system's website.

I was shocked to find that they had four entries for "Hegwer" or related "Danes" surnames in their files. I was even more shocked to see that it appeared that they have a free service of providing e-copies of the related obituaries.  I filled out the form and now I have copies of obituaries from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for:
  • Margaret Lavina (Richardson) (Hegwer) Danes, my great-grandmother
  • Albert Wentling Danes, her second husband
  • Walter Hegwer, one of her children who died young
  • Myrtle "Mamie" May (Foltz) Hegwer, widow of Raymond Dudley Hegwer, another of Margaret's sons
The biggest news here is the info about work, residence, and illness for grand-uncle Walter.  And, I have his birthplace as Laveta, Costilla, Colorado rather than Pueblo.  The clipping is from the 18 Feb 1908 issue on p. 8.

The moral of the story is to always check the library where family lived and to recheck it periodically...the digital world is changing...!

11 August 2015

Great Goodness: Sixth Blogiversary, 2009 to 2015

Wow...I almost missed it!  I sat down to send a note to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High-Definition Genealogy (among others) and suddenly flashed on 'what date is this?!'

State of the Blog  --  Writing
I haven't posted annual goals for  GreatGreats for ages.  Considering I only blogged once in all of 2014, my unstated goal this year was just to get back in the rhythm.  I'm feeling pretty good about 2015: eighteen posts since last (uncelebrated) blogiversary.

On the other hand, I haven't done as many as I'd planned on DNA in my genealogy research.  I have to do better with my DNA research in general.

I resumed First-Friday-Folder posts, but I've missed a couple.  It's really hard when the first of the month is Thursday or Friday...I must plan ahead!!  I'm very happy that I've scheduled regular review of existing folders and the related family group sheet.  The biggest thing I saw recently is that while I have always written source citations, many  of the earlier ones are lacking any written, specific explanation of specifically what my thought process had been.

State of the Blog  --  Cosmetics
I'm feeling a serious urge to redecorate, ie redesign the blog.  Ideas?  Comments?  My husband says my font size is too small.  With the ease of manipulating screens nowadays, is that an issue for anyone?  Anyway, the next time you visit GreatGreats, don't be surprised if it has a new look!

07 August 2015

First Friday Folder: David Bascom & Lydia Palmer

David Bascom and Lydia are third great-grandparents on my mother's side.  I selected this folder for review because, if I decide to participate in NEHGS' new database project  Early Vermont Settlers to 1784, Lydia's father, Zenas Palmer, is a viable candidate.  Before working on Zenas, I better make sure the more recent generation is in good shape….   (Read the very first one here to review what I mean by First Friday Folder.)

The Couple
Lydia PALMER was born in 1789 in Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont, the daughter of Zenas Palmer and Lydia Marshall.   David BASCOM, son of Thomas Bascom and Martha Field, was born 8 Aug 1780 in Amherst, Hampshire, Massachusetts.  David was in Fairfax by 5 Dec 1805 when he married Lydia.  They lived there the rest of their lives and had nine children.  David died 21 May 1859 and Lydia died just three months later, 29 Aug 1859. They, and many members of their families, are buried in Sanderson Corners Cemetery in Fairfax and most are listed at Find A Grave.

The Folder
The folder's contents were is relatively good shape, organized and nicely grouped.  There were even three unnecessary duplicate pages to remove and file in the trash!  I was feeling pretty good until I reviewed the family group sheet. While my citations were thorough enough to find the related source, I could not tell what-in-the-world I had been thinking…what did that page have to do with the event to which I had linked it?!  I probably thought the link was obvious…something I'd "never" forget...

The Plan
  • FHL #28213 has been on my to-do list for some time: Now is the time to order these early Fairfax Town Records and write really thorough citations and proof statements as appropriate!
  • Review all citations for this couple and re-research and/or rewrite as needed.
  • Investigate two very promising DNA match in this line at Ancestry.com and another at FTDNA
  •  I need to remember that I am writing citations not for me today, but for me later when I am not in the midst of solving that problem and I no longer remember what I was thinking at the time.  My  new dream is to someday review a folder that does not embarrass me….
  • I have to figure out a rationale or procedure on how to prioritize and rank which DNA matches to pursue.  There are just too many to do them all justice.