Rabbit Holes and Amonute Matoaka “Pocahontas” and DNA

What about Rabbit Holes and Amonute Matoaka “Pocahontas”? As I sat down to go through my emails and social media notifications (I often laugh when I check in on Facebook for work) I saw a note from Abby Glann, Leader Liaison at WikiTree, telling me she has chosen the profile of Amonute Matoaka “Pocahontas” to be used as an example profile coming up in a week or two.

Setting out to do anything but what I planned

Forget my wonderful and patient (you know you are) clients, forget my research, push a blog post to the back (the blog is the first thing that gets pushed back to accommodate everything else) forget everything else, drop it all to run have a look at the state of this profile? 4 hours later I am still fixing stuff, piddling about, sending messages to project members about this looming deadline and the need to work collaboratively to make this profile sing.

To Blog or not to Blog

Blogging is something I enjoy. I love to Blog, to write (if you can call my butchery of the english language “writing”) and to share the “what’s going ons” of my genetic genealogical pursuits. In a year that has seen regular Genealogical Bloggers pull up stakes and move on from blogging I jumped in with so many feet and inches and centiMorgens that I am chest high in the muck of it – the genealogy blogging world. And LiveCasting – that too can be considered a blog. I don’t see myself jumping out either.

I have been pushing this blog thing to the back of everything. When Abby sent the note about the Example Profile, I thought I would just have to wait to write til another day. Enough!

What are all of these Rabbit Holes? Here are a few…

My most regular client

for whom I work a specified amount of hours a month – working the DNA and the Genealogy looking to make connections for him as I find them and or as they appear. He drops me a note when he gets a note from someone wanting to know if they are connected a certain way via DNA. They have the same surname in common, it must be it! 9 times out of ten it isn’t and I get to spend some time in the primordial ooze that is his family DNA and his genealogical paper trail to show the hows and whys of “not that route”or the excited exclamation of YOU ARE RIGHT! and we need to do this and this and…Doing work for him every month is like the part of the doughnut you save for last whether it be the filling or the icing, there is always something fun to be had and it can be had at anytime – no calorie restrictions (I have been craving doughnuts this week).

One of my clients sent me an email from the Ukraine

Yes he took off on his own to investigate some of the information we have turned-up about his family. This one is interesting in that it is Jewish Genealogy rife with a demographic that makes genetic genealogy hard – Endogamy. The practice of marrying within ones own community or family group. This case is exacerbated by the living descendants protective nature of the past and the unwillingness to do tests to help find an adoptee from the 1910’s. “Yes, we must keep our 100 year old secrets hidden, even if we don’t know what they are ourselves”.

Betty Jean

Oh yes Betty Jean is still on the front burner because we need to track down her mother. Yes I have been waiting for my favorite genealogical investigator to emerge unscatheed from some very hard family issues. Why do I feel guilty if I work without her? No, it’s not that I feel guilty, it’s because on this we are a team and I feel like I am walking without one of my legs. There is no rush on this for my part at all. Take care of family and I will see you soon.

New client with boxes

She actually said she was bringing shoeboxes with her to our first meeting. She is a professional who just doesn’t have time to learn how to do Genetic Genealogy. She is a good and tenacious researcher and a joy to work with. Sent her a note to ask her Ancestry DNA matches to download their DNA raw data and upload it to GEDMatch and zoom she was off. I am working the analysis and working the paper trail as they appear.

AND MORE! <breathAt this point I just had that stomach turning feeling of I really should be working and not blogging <STUPID FEELING>

WikiTree

Of course there is always work to do on WikiTree since I use WikiTree as my Genealogical Program and it is an integral genetic Genealogy tool in my genealogy toolbox. Did I mention Chris Whitten came back to me with the answer to a question I asked him while at Roots Tech? Hey! He has been busy revamping the GEDCOM apparatus of WikiTree among other things! The question?

How many DNA connected profiles do we have on WikiTree?

Drum Roll Please…

“A new number just went live on our home page: 3,027,628.

As in: “Our shared tree includes 15,105,620 profiles (3,027,628 with
DNA test connections) edited by 453,232 genealogists from around the
world.”

…The total number of DNA test connections is up around five or six million….The total number of test-takers is about 53,000.

This is really very cool. A stat that really says something about our commitment and success in growing a shared, *accurate* family tree. Afamily tree that someday will be confirmed with DNA.” -Chris Whitten

What does a “Test Connection” on WikiTree mean?

Every time a WikiTreer adds their DNA test information to WikiTree, WikiTree adds that information to the WikiTreers profile as well as to that of every profile in the limbs of WikiTrees great big ole shared tree, that that test would affect. So, if I add that I have taken a FTDNA auDNA (Family Finder Test) to my WikiTree Profile, WikiTree will post that DNA Connection to every single profile of my family – siblings, parents, cousins, grand parents, great grandparents – back to my 64, 4th great grandparents will show my test information. All following how I. you, we, inherit auDNA.

Why is this important and why is it a connection? Let’s say Julie Blue is hunting around the internet for information on her great great great grandfather, Dempsey Gaulden. Because WikiTree is cutting edge on it’s search engine optimization, when she searches for Dempsey, his WikiTree Profile pops-up at the top of her search engine results page.
She bounces over to his profile and sees all of the information that this ‘Mags Gaulden’ has done on he and his family, “Oh wow I never knew Dempsey raced horses in New Orleans!” she exclaims. Then her eye falls on this list, “DNA Connections” prominently displayed at the top right of the page:

“Oh My Word! I tested my DNA, I wonder if we match?” And,  “Wow, My Uncle jeb Gaulden – his y-DNA should match this Earle!” Julie Blue spends the rest of HER afternoon down the rabbit hole that is the GEDMatch/WikiTree integration. She uploads her raw data to GEDmatch where she finds Mags and Earle and others on wikiTree from her list of matches at GEDMatch.

Chris just posted this explanation – way more…techie than my answer. What you don’t like Melodrama? <southern hand across southern forehead>

“What exactly is a DNA test connection? It’s where we post a notice on a WikiTree profile that says there is a DNA test that might be useful for confirming or rejecting relationships to that person. For Y-chromosome tests it means the test-taker is on the same paternal line. For mitochondrial tests it means the test-taker is on the same maternal line. For autosomal tests (the most popular these days, e.g. AncestryDNAFamily Tree DNA Family Finder, 23andMe) it means that the test-taker is within eight degrees and is therefore likely to share significant segments of DNA.

The bottom line: A DNA test connection is an opportunity to try to scientifically prove what’s been established through traditional genealogy.

Every time I see a new one on a profile that I care about I get a little rush of excitement. Knowing there are three million of these around our shared tree puts a big smile on my face.” – Chris Whitten

Sound easy? It is!

ooop, I just blogged. ‘Scuse me.

Genealogical Holiday

You often see posts for people traveling to their family home to do research and see loved ones and family. Visiting the Archives of the state or province where the family lines connected and settled. You even see posts where people follow the (whichever) “Great Wagon Road” their pioneers used to get to the place where lines connected and family settled.

My Genealogical Holiday

I was asked to speak at a family reunion in Cherryville, North Carolina by my Mom’s Neill Family. Not because I am a Neill researcher, but because 3 Neills had done DNA tests and I had results and observations to share.

It was supposed to be one day for a short bit of Genealogy and I was done.

Blaming my Flight

On the flight south a fella politely turned his head from his row mates and and sneezed on me. Within two days (mom said it isn’t possible it was the sneeze) I was laid out with a very nasty bit of nastiness – a cold turned into bronchitis variety of sick. The first two days were spent with family and friends, but on the third day I flat out couldn’t do a thing. All plans canceled – except the presentation.

What to do when your Mom is in charge and you are home Sick?

My mom is in charge of my schedule this trip anyway. One day I knew about in advance. The “Going Through Doodle’s Photographs Day” (Doodle = my grandmother who passed in 2005 on the brink of a century). I had gone through them with her many years ago and had asked her to go through them and mark who the people were so when we went through them later we would know. She did. She reorganized them into their own envelopes with each person in the photo noted on the back. Wow and thank you Doodle.

Who needs a Brick and Mortar Archive?

We also went through her keepsakes: letters from her grandkids, EVERY single newspaper article about us and Dad and Mother and Mom. An old Scrapbook about…we couldn’t really figure it out…clippings from the Laurens Advertiser on keeping house and home. Bible verses and stories. Her children’s storybooks (so delicate we barley touched them). My dad’s early artwork. It was, for me a wonderful day of sitting with my parents, with my dad, and reintroducing Doodle and my dad to me through Doodle’s archive.

The Presentation

Bolstered with piles of pills, cough syrup and herbal remedies we set out for the drive up I-85 into North Carolina for the reunion and the presentation. Nothing better than a potluck in the Carolinas – Friend Okra, Mac and Cheese, Home cured Ham Biscuits, Squash Casserole, Green Beans cooked southern style and Banana Pudding. The tastes of my childhood.  The Presentation went very well, made more so by one of the organizers who took all the kids into the church kitchen for Ice Cream while I spoke (Thanks Sam). There were great questions afterwards and a couple of people asked me if I might help them with brick walls. I was able to spend time with the DNA testers as well, to thank them for testing and to give them specific information about their results. One set of results were a bit hard to deliver as they introduced one fella to his real last name according to the DNA. He didn’t tell me, but he told my mom I had it wrong. That’s ok. It’s DNA and unless he got a friend to do the swab?

More HomeSpun Archives

The plan was that I was going to spend the night at my Aunt Chris’s and meet with the testers so there would be time to discuss things. But with me so very under the weather I didn’t stay. Chris had a bag of stuff for me to take back to South Carolina. The First Volume of the Shoe Cobbler’s Kin, By Lorena Shell Eaker. Family Memories and Stories, a collections of emails and essays about the family including recipes. The last one is an incredible collection of Family notes for each of James Andrew and Mary Jane Eaker Neils descendants which was aptly entitled, Genealogy. This collection of Binders and book were too heavy for me to carry. Now I have two days to try and absorb them. Wow.

Downtime and Chief Inspector Gamache

Since I am sick I asked my mom to make me some soup. In my mind I was thinking of her old cure, Campbells Tomato Soup. Instead I arrived at the kitchen table to Lobster Bisque. YUM. When I curl up with a blanket (which means I can’t work – incapable of holding a laptop and curling up in a blanket at the same time) I pull out my current Louise Penny book and read. Being able to escape to Quebec with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec while I am sick in South Carolina is more than wonderful.

The delivered archives are calling to me here, wrapped in the blanket, medicines and herbal cures to my left and my Mom and Dad working around the house, around me (Mom is cooking dinner for My Aunt, my Brother, my Niece, my cousin and his family tonight – I hope I can smell the lemon zest I hear her working on in the kitchen).

 

Lydia Gaulden Shout Out – Come on Social Media, Connect Me!

This is a Lydia Gaulden Shout out. When I discovered Raven Symoné’s mothers surname is Gaulden my curiosity was piqued.

Who is Raven Symoné?

The adorable kid on Cosby, “American actress, singer, songwriter, television personality, and producer”, WikiPedia the former outspoken co-host of the View.

My interest is not so much in Raven, it’s her Gaulden’s I want to know about!

Could we have a Gaulden Cannection?

A part of my Sumter, South Carolina Gaulden Family headed west. Martha Gaulden married Francis Richardson and migrated to Mississippi . They lived in Woodville, MS which is close enough to New Orleans that my ggg Dempsey Gaulden spent time there.

“Dempsey Gaulden was born in Sumter County, South Carolina in about 1767. He may have migrated with his brother William or sister Martha (Patsy) to Mississippi about five years after the revolutionary war.[1]As a young man Dempsey raced horses in New Orleans.

According to Laura Gaulden Bailey he married ‘(wife’s name unknown) and left at least two sons: John Sidney and _________, father of Sam Gaulden of Windsor County, Mississppi. This information is furnished by John Sidney Gaulden.’ If she got this information first hand from John Sidney Gaulden and he was indeed a son of Dempsey this adds two new , and older sons, for Dempsey than I have in any information about him.” WikiTree

Dempsey sows his wild oats and is back in SC in 1830 working on my part of his family with no sign of Sidney, etc.

Raven Symoné has origins in the south, possibly Louisiana, so I hear. Though it doesn’t matter where, since she is a Gaulden, I want to know how, and who and where in the gene pool we connect. I would like to learn about her family lines and hopefully find some common genetic cousins to connect the story.

I am looking for someone, somewhere, somehow to put me in contact with Raven’s momma Lydia Gaulden Pearman, so I can cure my curiosity.

Come On Social Media Connect your Grandma! Let’s go Viral! 

Share, Share, Share, Spread, Spread, Spread. Please and Thank you!

Grandma’s Genes Year End Review – Networking

Grandma’s Genes is winding down 2016 with a mind towards the things that most influenced our work. Aside from the blueberry pies, presentations, research, Swab-A-Thons, field trips, conferences, phone calls, blog posts etc., there is one major take-away.

Networking.

Networks connect us all. We drive to our jobs on a network of roads. We communicate with each other over a network of airwaves or wires or through the vast web of the internet. We have a network of support – friends, family and the baker down the street. Even our neighbor next door is a thread in the Network of our Lives.

How we connect to our networks is just the facility of that connection. What matters is the content.
WikiTree

If I hadn’t joined WikiTree in December 2013, the mother load of genealogy networking and collaboration, and turned this many, many year passion into a mystery solving venture that pays for my blueberry pies? I would still be just answering family queries and would never have learned the joy of genealogical collaboration. Collaboration on such a stratospheric level. I posted once about how WikiTree has given me an education beyond my university degree in WikiTree’s G2G Forum. That was a year ago – I must be working toward my WikiTree doctorate now.

23andMe

As such, I have been able to solve a 90 year old mystery, fairly quickly (8 months to find her father), because I was able to use a Network to make a connection. 23 and me connected me with Jane and her family who in turn helped connect Betty Jean to half of her birth family.

Facebook

A woman posted in Gauldings page on Face Book about a common Ancestor. She found an obituary stating our common ancestor was a Captain in the revolution under Francis Marion. In all the research anyone has ever done on this man, he was not a soldier in the revolution. He served as a Petit Juror. He also might have been providing supplies to the troops – no one knows for sure. She used Facebook to find me and my very underwhelming answer to her question, “was John Gaulding a Captain under Francis Marion?” “No…”

A man who believed a long held family story that his gggrandfather was adopted into a family of African Canadian’s has been able to find interest in the real story. This story told mainly by his DNA and supported by the network of other distant cousins who had heard and believed or not believed the story. These distant cousins are all testing their DNA now and finding that they too have a connection to a very rich African ancestry. These distant cousins have also created their own network, on Facebook, so that others who are not in the know can find the truth and their heritage through them.

Mother Nature

If mother natures network of weather hadn’t dumped 20 + cm of snow on Ottawa in a matter of a few short hours last year, the idea that became Grandma’s Genes would not have formed into what it is today. Marc, my fellow shoveler on that day, has moved on to work in his day-job field full time. During the year, though, he helped an adoptee find his fathers family. Marc helped so many with Indigenous roots find the right identity for themselves and possibly take the true meaning of being connected to an indigenous ancestor with them into their new found knowledge of self. Marc also made long sought connections within his own genealogy through research and networking with others who have connections to his indigenous lines – to his Quaker lines – to his southern lines.

Moving Forward Through Networking

For me? I found a path which has been made stronger, straighter and more focused than I would have ever thought imaginable. Only with the help of my network of family, friends, partners, genealogists, geneticists, clients and all those ancestors long passed, has Grandma’s Genes grown into what it is today. What it will become tomorrow.

Thank you, every – single – point on our network – one of you.

 

Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety. Continue reading “Migration As A Genealogical Tool”