52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition

Last year I stumbled upon the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge and made an attempt to complete the challenge.  I won’t say that I failed to complete the challenge, even though I didn’t post for all 52 weeks but I did enjoy what posts I did complete.  My goal was to get as many of my spousal unit’s ancestors out in the public eye as possible.  And even though the 2014 challenge has ended, I’m still not giving up because…

There’s a 2015 Edition of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks!

52ancestors-2015

Oh yes, I get a second chance to complete this challenge and I’m pumped.  A little late getting started obviously but better late than never!  So I’m going to do my best to catch up to the current post while still doing justice to my post subjects.  And what better place to start than where I left off in 2014?!  My last 52 Ancestors post in 2014 was on the spousal unit’s second great-grandfather, Joseph Victor Bowlby.  So that’s the point I’ll continue from with the 2015 challenge.

There’s been the addition of monthly themes to the 2015 challenge but the themes are optional.  I’m going to try and just continue along my theme of highlighting my husband’s family.  To quote a favorite of my father: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” (http://www.enotes.com/topics/henry-5/etext#etext-dramatis-personae).  So we’re going to channel our inner Doughboy and dig into those genealogical trenches and try to complete the 2015 Edition of 52 Ancestors!  Who’s with me!

british-trench
British soldier keeping watch in a French trench at the Battle of the Somme
United Kingdom Government Photo, Public Domain

 

Projects, projects, projects!

My two most recent projects seem to have taken me away from blogging lately. I can’t believe how long I let my blog go without writing. Color me embarrassed. One of the projects I’ve been letting occupy all my blogging time is that I signed up for one of the Mastering Genealogical Proof Standard study groups. It was a very good course and I highly recommend the study groups for all genealogists. The groups work through the book “Mastering Genealogical Proof” by Thomas W. Jones and participate in discussions about the items covered in the book. It was a great opportunity for me to continue expanding my genealogical knowledge-base. I learned a lot about the standards I should be employing in my genealogy research and was happy to see that I had actually been unknowingly trying to incorporate some of the recommendations made by Jones into my current research. Of course, that does jut create another project LOL. I need to review all my proof and make sure it meets the GPS. While some of it might, most of it probably does not.

The other project I’ve been allowing to occupy my blogging time has been the DNA test I took several months ago. Not being a very technically-minded person I’ve set my sights on learning more about DNA for genealogy and how to understand the results I received from my test. It’s been very interesting so far. My test was originally taken with AncestryDNA but I’ve uploaded my matches to GedMatch as well and have been playing around with the tools available on GedMatch. (reference GedMatch blog posts) I’ve seen several people talk about FTDNA’s transfer option so I’m considering the possibility of uploading my results to FTDNA as well and see what kind of matches I get there.

What projects are currently occupying all of your time? 😉

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

In my quest for learning as much as I can about all things genealogy-related I’ve taken to reading as many blogs as I can. Reading what others write about their experiences, successes and failures is not only educational but allows an outlet for sharing between genealogists and the opportunity to support and assist others who are taking a similar journey to mine.

So about two weeks ago I was reading through a stack of blog posts and ran across a post written by a mom on her blog about genealogy education for children. The subject matter of Emily’s post Engaging Children with the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner (and GIVEAWAY!) was getting her children involved in helping with genealogy by letting them use her Flip-Pal to scan scrapbooks and photos. When I had a small child I hadn’t ever considered looking for ways to get him involved. I wish I had, he might have more interest now if I’d involved him the way Emily involves her children in her genealogy.

The blog post also served as a review of the Flip-Pal. What a great idea! Let the kids use it, then review the product based on the kids’ use of the product. And her little one did a great job scanning with the Flip-Pal! Personally I’ve been drooling over the Flip-Pal for months now, ever since I learned about it online, but hadn’t had the chance to work it into the budget yet. So when I saw the chance to enter the giveaway included in her blog post I figured, why not? So I entered, not really thinking I’d win…but, big surprise, I did!!!! And guess what came today (just in time for an upcoming trip to Washington, DC)…

IMG_0440.JPG

Color me excited!!!! I can’t wait to break this bad boy in.  Hmmm, I think I see some scanning in my very near future 🙂

And a big shout out to Emily for hosting the giveaway! Check out her blog at http://kowalski-bellan.weebly.com/growing-little-leaves, I highly recommend her posts for both parents and non-parents alike!

DNA Pie…Charts That Is

I’m obviously really excited to have been able to do my DNA.  My problem now is that I really want to understand more about my DNA, not just take the pie chart Ancestry provided and be happy about it.  I know I have DNA that didn’t show up on the Ancestry pie chart and I’ve heard other genealogists raving about what a great tool GEDMatch is.  So I decided to try my results at GEDMatch and see what happened.  Wow, am I ever overwhelmed right now!  There are so many tools at GEDMatch and uploading my raw data has provided tons of information that I neither understand right now nor do I know what to do with it, LOL.  So it’s time for me to look around and see what information I can find about using GEDMatch.

It must be my lucky month because among the many blog posts that appeared in my Feedly feed and I had tagged in Pocket to read later was a post from Randy Seaver at Genea-musings called My First Look at GedMatch Autosomal DNA Analysis.  It was totally perfect timing.  I still don’t understand a lot of what I’m seeing but it was great to find someone who was stepping through the process of uploading to GEDMatch at the same time I was.  Randy’s post inspired me to start clicking on links in GEDMatch to see what I could find.  And what I found was pretty interesting stuff.  In my post Surprisingly…No Surprises! I shared a clip of my Ethnicity Estimate from AncestryDNA.  I knew the AncestryDNA test tools weren’t the best out there and that the estimates weren’t necessarily the most accurate but it was a good place to start.  Now that I’ve completed the upload of the raw data and a GEDCOM file to GEDMatch I have quite a few more tools at my disposal.

One of the items I clicked on was the MDLP Ancient Roots K18 Admixture Proportions.  My first reaction on seeing the title was “Whaaaa????”  So, I did what any researcher would do and I Googled it.  What I found was a great blog post and presentation by Kitty Cooper about GEDMatch Tools which helped me understand the functionality of some of the tools at GEDMatch.  The MDLP Ancient Roots K18 Admixture Proportions basically just tells you your ancestral composition.  Each of the different Admixture calculators gives you a different breakdown of your ancestral composition.  On her presentation Kitty explains that “…the number at the end of each name is the number of reference populations the result is divided among.”  Okay, so that helps me understand the pie charts that are presented with each calculator I select.  So back to the calculator I clicked on, this is the chart I was presented when I clicked on the MDLP Ancient Roots K18 Admixture Proportions calculator:

MDLP Ancient Roots K18 Admixture Proportions
GEDMatch MDLP Ancient Roots K18 Admixture Proportion

Well that’s really interesting!  My Ethnicity Estimate on AncestryDNA said I was 97% European (36% Europe West; 23% Europe East; 17% Great Britain; 8% Scandinavian and 7% Ireland) which, according to my maternal grandparents and what I know of my paternal family is correct.  But, oh ho!  Look at how much more specific the GEDMatch data set is.  According to GEDMatch I’ve got something called Melano-Austronesian and Volga-Uralic in my DNA…whatever THAT is!  I really wanted to know what these terms meant but I haven’t had much luck finding any definitions online.  I was excited to see the teeny tiny bit of Native America I was rumored to have had shown up.  I haven’t been able to prove or disprove the stories about the Native American heritage that my Grandda told until now and while this isn’t 100% written-in-stone proof, it does give me a reason to keep looking for that heritage.

I kept playing around with the different calculators on the GEDMatch site and got some pretty interesting results…maybe one of these days I’ll actually figure out what all these terms mean!

MDLP World-22
MDLP World-22

 

MDLP World
MDLP World

 

MDLP K=12
MDLP K=12

That was my fun for this evening.  Kitty mentioned some calculators in her presentation that either currently aren’t available on GEDMatch or have been discontinued.  I’m a little disappointed about that because a couple of them looked like fun but maybe GEDMatch will bring them back.  So far I’ve been very happy with the tools I’ve tried at GEDMatch.  I just wish there was more information out there on how to use the tools and what everything meant.  I’m sure the information is there somewhere, I just haven’t looked in the right place yet.  If you have any suggestions, dear readers, throw them my way because I’m very curious now!

Genetic Genealogy…First Contact

I’ve been on such a genealogy-high since getting my DNA results back.  I honestly didn’t think I could get much more excited until…first contact!!!!!  I had pages of hints to review from AncestryDNA and as I was beginning to review each match on my DNA profile I received an email through Ancestry from one of my matches!  And…poof!  Just like that I was conversing with a fourth cousin through a branch of the family I hadn’t done hardly any work on because most of the line had already been traced.  And if that wasn’t exciting enough I learned that he was located only about an hour away from where I live (near where some of that family branch were buried) and some of his family actually lived in my area as well.

Until I received first contact I’d been a little hesitant to contact anyone.  Once first contact had been established I started going to town sending Ancestry messages to close matches.  And now it’s a waiting game to see if anyone responds back to any of the messages I sent out.  Meanwhile I’ll continue to explore the DNA profile to see what additional information I can gain from the DNA test.  Not one to remain idle, I’ve been working to get my raw data and GEDCOM file uploaded to GedMatch.  I’m still in the early learning stages of GedMatch and how to use it but I’ve heard it’s a very good resource.  And, of course, I’m also starting to explore the DNA, Genetics & Family Health section of Cyndi’s List, which has a dedicated section for GEDmatch & Other Analyzing Tools.  There is so much information on Cyndi’s List alone I’ll be occupied for a good, long while.
MGP

On a slightly different note, I’m also very excited to have been accepted into one of the upcoming Gen Proof Groups!  For those who don’t know the Gen Proof groups are small study groups who meet in an online forum and study the book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, GG, CGL, FASG, FNGS.  I’m looking forward to fine tuning my current genealogical skills as well as adding new skills.