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.
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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.

 

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Surprisingly…No Surprises!

I had a few minutes today to take a look at my AncestryDNA results and surprisingly…there were NO SURPRISES! Between my grandparents’ knowledge and stories and the work the family has done on the genealogy already I was well prepared for what Ancestry told me. Which, I have to say, was almost disappointing, LOL. I’d heard of so many people being surprised by their DNA tests I was almost hoping for something really out of the ordinary.

I was a little sad that the DNA test didn’t show any Native American ancestry. I know that the little tiny bit of that genetic material that I might possess is so small that current DNA tests probably wouldn’t pick it up but I was really hoping for a definitive answer on the question of whether we really do have Native American ancestry or if those stories were simply incorrect. I’ll just keep plugging along on my attempt to prove or disprove that history.

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I’m looking forward to diving into the DNA a little deeper when I get home. I’m like a little kid at Christmas right now 🙂

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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?

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Mid-Year Check-In

In January I posted about some of my previous-year accomplishments and current-year goals for my genealogy.  I decided to do a mid-year check-in to see where I’m at on meeting my goals for this year.  Here’s the list I began the year with:

  • Continue the research I’ve begun on D1′s family and start collecting proof of lineage (on a side note, it’s pretty amusing to me that I discovered D1 and I share a common ancestor around 8 generations back, LOL!)
    • Status: Progress made.  I’ve been collecting digital copies of census records, military records, obituaries, etc.  I’m very excited about what I found this weekend!  When I originally talked to D1’s parents to get some preliminary genealogy information it was mentioned that D1’s paternal great-grandmother was known by several different versions of her name and that no one really ever knew what her name was.  This weekend I ran across what I suspect is her legal given name.  I started the weekend with the name Leona or Lena and discovered she’s been known as Leona, Loney, Laney and finally…drum roll please…Appalonia!  Wow, what a name!  AND I now have some potential family connections to contact thru Ancestry.com.  I hope I get some cousin-bites 🙂
  • Once my application to DAR has been accepted, start work on adding one additional patriot to my file, submitting paperwork for the additional paperwork by the end of 2014.
    • Status: No progress made.  Hmmm, I don’t know if I’ll make much progress on this since I’ve been so focused on D1’s family.
  • After acceptance of my DAR application, obtain my first DAR pin.
    • Status: No progress made.  I’m hoping to get my first pin within the next couple of months.  I really want a patriot state pin!
  • Make a genealogy trip to Danville, Illinois to see the grave of my third great-grandfather and visit the genealogy library to see if I can find any information on my family there.
    • Status: No progress made.  I’m not certain this one will get completed this year.  It doesn’t help I keep adding things to my list of genealogy to-dos.
  • Make a trip to North Dakota to visit family and obtain more genealogy information on my paternal family.
    • Status: Partial progress made.  D1 and I made it up to North Dakota and spent several hours with my family up there but we didn’t discuss much about the family history.  We had a ton of fun talking to them though!
  • Increase my participation in the Billion Graves transcription project
    • Status: No progress made.  And no excuse for it either 🙁
  • Get a new copy of my great-grandmother’s obituary
    • Status: No progress made.  This is a fairly straightforward thing, not a lot of searching involved since I know either Mid-Continent or the Johnson County Library will have the microfilm that contains the obituary.
  • Get the genealogy document hard copies sitting in piles around my house organized
    • Status: Progress made.  I still have a loooooong way to go on this but I’ve made a good start.  I’ve gotten my hanging folders and file folders made, tracking labels made and affixed to the folders and a nice stack of printouts and copies filed in those folders.  Next piece of the project: making sure all those printouts are filed under the correct person and that they all contain source citations.  I’m really trying hard to make sure all my documents have citations not only printed on or with them when I print them but that the electronic copies also have the source citations included in the file somewhere.
  • Print and organize all electronic copies of genealogy documentation
    • Status: Partial progress made.  I keep running the printer out of ink…LOL
  • Finish attaching electronic copies of records to applicable persons in my genealogy database
    • Status: Partial progress made.  I need to be more active on this goal.  I haven’t gotten very much done on it.

Well it seems as though I need to get my rear in gear on my to do list, doesn’t it!  I feel pretty good about what I have gotten done though.  I think a mid-year check-in was just what the doctor ordered.  Time to get moving on some of these items!

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Sample Received!

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

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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!

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