Your Results Are In!

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I don’t know if I’ve received a more exciting email. Short, sweet and to the point, that email means my AncestryDNA results that are ready for viewing!! That was so much faster than I expected and now I can’t wait to view them. Sadly I’m not sure I’ll have time to view them right away because I’m so busy with work right now. Here’s hoping I have some spare time in the evening sometime this week to take a look at them 🙂

I’ve been considering uploading my results to GEDmatch. I’ve heard good things about the website from other genealogists. I’ll also be spending some time looking for good resources to help me understand my results. I’ve taken a couple of classes and webinars but those were more introductory level. I’d like to step it up a little and really understand my results.

Have you done your DNA yet? What resources did you use to help you understand your results and did any of your results surprise you?

Sample Received!

I received the following notice from Ancestry about my DNA sample:

DNA001

Woo hoo how exciting!  I’ve been hearing that DNA results from Ancestry are coming back a little faster than 6-8 weeks but I’m a don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched kind of girl so I’m going to assume it will take the full 8 weeks and if it doesn’t I’ll be very happy!  I wish I could be at the DNA testing facility to see the entire process (how cool would that be?).  There’s no time to be idle while waiting for my sample to come back, however, because I received a batch of death certificates from North Dakota and need to add the information to my genealogy software.  Interesting, one of them is a completely blank death certificate with the exception of the name of the deceased, date of death and certifying doctor’s signature.  Death occurred in 1917…so why would all that information be missing from the death certificate?  The area the deceased lived in was peppered with relatives everywhere.  Hmmmm a new mystery!

I Took the Plunge!!

I finally did it…I took the plunge into the world of DNA.  DNA is an interesting subject to begin with, but the use of DNA in genealogy has been intriguing for me.  I actually wanted to dive into genealogy-DNA close to when it first began to be used for genealogy but I’m a rather cautious person and wanted to let genealogy-DNA refine a little bit before I jumped in.

So I waited, attended classes and webinars to gather information on the subject and I watched the developments made in the area of DNA for genealogy.  And then the DNA companies began offering deals.  And being the cautious person I am I researched the reviews of the companies, attended more classes and webinars, and finally…I took the leap.

I was torn between using 23AndMe and Ancestry.  Ancestry had decent reviews and a large database, but 23AndMe had come very highly recommended.  The final decision came when another genealogist posted about a deal Ancestry was offering for $49 kits and I was actually in a position financially to purchase one.

I’m excited to embark on this journey.  I have no idea what I’ll discover.  Will it be the stories that my grandfather passed along?  Or will it be something different?

My DNA kit arrived in an inocuous little box…drumroll please!

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And as you can see below, there’s not many components to the DNA collection kit at all!

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I was entirely too excited to wait so I grabbed the instruction sheet included with the kit and began reading to see what I needed to do.

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Register your kit with Ancestry, spit in the tube, seal it up and send it back and that’s all there is to it!

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DNA collection tube and cap

 

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DNA is in the tube, the cap with the stabilization liquid has been
screwed on tight and the sample is ready to be returned to Ancestry
 
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Place the sample in the enclosed bag for transport thru the mail
 
 
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Ready for the USPS
 

And that’s really all there is to it!  I was so excited I dropped the sample in the mail that night.  Now it’s hurry up and wait!  And I can’t wait to see the results.

Surprise!

With the time off from work I had around Christmas time I devoted some time to beginning work on D1’s genealogy.  I had no idea what I would find or if it would be difficult to find information on his family but I was prepared for some quality time on different genealogy sites in search of information.  I was pleasantly surprised with my first foray onto Ancestry.com to discover there were others out there who had done quite a bit of research into different parts of his family.

Like a good genealogist I began entering the information to prove into my database.  I’m always hesitant to use GEDCOM files I find online.  I’m just a little overly cautious, so I choose to re-enter the information manually.  It’s more time consuming but it also allows me to get to know each and every person I enter so I can usually remember one or two things about each person I add, plus I can verify the information I add.  In my opinion, those reasons alone balance out the time and effort it takes to enter the information manually.

I spent hours each day on my time off looking at different family trees on Ancestry, checking source documents and adding names to the family file.  D1 thought the amount of time I spent doing genealogy over Christmas break was pretty humorous and he began to joke about it with his family.  It’s all good though, because I got the last laugh.  I made it back to his 10th great grandfather and began entering the information and was surprised to get the following error message from Family Tree Maker:

Whaaaaa?????  What was this??  This was an error message I’d never received before!  No, there was no way we shared an ancestor.  I was sure I’d made a mistake in my entry of individuals.  So I checked the list of children for each Caleb and Hannah Knapp…and they matched.  To the name, date and place of each event listed for each child.  So I checked the source documentation to make sure these were the correct connections.  And they were.  Unbelievably, my husband and I share a common relative from the mid-1600s!  My 8th great grandfather was his 10th great grandfather.  I couldn’t help it, I started to laugh.  Poor D1 didn’t really find as much humor in it as I did.  He just didn’t get why it was so funny, but it was hilarious for me.  The maternal unit thought it was pretty funny and dear brother thought it was pretty funny, so maybe it’s a genealogy humor thing.

I haven’t done any research into the Knapp side of my family but after I told the maternal unit about my discovery and the possibilities of additional Daughters of the American Revolution patriots, she mentioned she had heard they were a pretty large and prominent family in early American history.  I’m having a very hard time focusing on just one genealogy project right now, LOL.  I want so badly to start working on supplemental patriots for DAR, even though I haven’t even received notification of acceptance of my initial DAR paperwork.  On the other hand I really want to see what else I can find on D1’s family.  His 2nd great grandfather died in France during World War I and is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.  I definitely want to look into him a little more and see what I can find out from the National World War I Museum’s research center.  Then there’s the rumored Native American connection in D1’s family, the woman who lived in the dugout that my mother-in-law remembers, and the part of the family my mother-in-law would like to know more about.  I feel so ADD right now, LOL.

So many projects, so little time for genealogy…what surprises have you found in your family?

Genealogy Basics: Divorce Records

The last three weeks we’ve talked about birth, marriage and death records.  These three types of vital records are the records most genealogists think about when you say the words “vital records”.  But there’s a fourth type of vital record that isn’t immediately thought of: divorce records.  Obviously divorce records aren’t going to exist for every person and prior to the 1900s they’ll be virtually non-existent since divorce was rare.  In some places it was even illegal.

So what kind of information can you find in divorce records?

  • Husband’s name
  • Wife’s name
  • Marriage date
  • Divorce date
  • Current residence of husband
  • Current residence of wife
  • Property of husband and wife
  • Name(s) of child(ren)
  • Birth date(s) of child(ren)
  • Reasons for divorce

The information provided in the divorce records may vary from location to location and all the information in the above list may not be included in the records you find.

Divorces are handled by the court system so the location to contact to obtain these records will vary by location.  They may not be indexed so some searching may be required.

If you have some family information or situation in your genealogy that just doesn’t add up, consider the possibility that there may have been a divorce in your family.

My family had that situation with my second great-grandma Sarah (McKee) McCabe and second great-grandpa Chester Eaton McCabe.  After some digging my mother stumbled across another branch of the family we had no idea existed!  Initially we suspected Chester had run off and simply re-married.  We eventually discovered Chester and Sarah divorced, Chester met another woman and married her while Sarah came to Kansas City to be with her children in this area.  It was a fun mystery to solve and couldn’t have been solved without the help of some cousins and a Civil War pension file.  We don’t have the divorce documents yet but that’s definitely on my list of things to get.