Betty Jean’s Adoption Search – Begin At The End

Betty Jean’s Adoption Search

Begin at the end? Well yes. To find Betty Jeans birth family we have to start with her. Since she is the descendant of her parents – we have to start with her. Since there is nothing in her adoption file – we have to start with her. Since technology has progressed to a point where we can scour the world’s birth, death, marriage, newspaper, city directory and family tree records with ease and ultimately submit DNA tests – we have to start with Betty Jean. She is the end, the end result of her mother and father, the people we want to find.

The Genealogy

Betty Jean has no Genealogy, or does she? Of course she does, it just doesn’t connect to her… yet.

March 1, 2016 – The first step in working her Genealogy was to go to WikiTree and connect her to what I had already input for our shared/her adopted family by creating her adopted profile. Then I created her birth profile. WikiTree is the program I use for all of my genealogy, including clients. WikiTree’s collaborative, connective mindset paired with its tools for DNA makes it ideal.


Later in the month, on March 23, Betty Jean gave me her 23andMe information. Yes, Betty Jean had already done a 23andMe test. She had done it because, like so many other adoptees, she wanted to find medical information she could share with her children regarding any inherited medical issues. As for using DNA to find her birth family? She may have thought about DNA connections at the time, though it wasn’t at the top of her list.

She had been contacted through 23andMe’s internal messaging by a few people who found they shared DNA with her. But she didn’t know what to do with it as she had no idea who she was. She couldn’t share any family information nor identify from the messages, any names which belonged to her.

Answering all the 23andMe messages, I explained who I was and what I was doing.  I also looked through her matches, and found something very interesting right off the bat – a first cousin, once removed. I frantically sent this match a note stating that she was Betty Jean’s highest match her closest know living relative. Boda Boom Bada Bing it’s done! Just grab this cousins family information and genealogy and that’s it. Wow how easy was that?

It was not that easy

This new first cousin once removed is adopted too. No quick and easy answers.

March 28, 2016 – I sent 26 emails to Betty Jean’s 23andMe DNA matches. While I waited for responses (two were immediate) I added her 23andMe test information to her WikiTree birth profile. Then I downloaded her raw DNA data from 23andMe and uploaded it to GEDmatch. “GEDMatch is a free service that helps you find even more relatives than 23andme’s relative finder. That’s because it also matches you with people who have uploaded their data from another genetics service called FtDNA (Family Tree DNA).” Google Search GEDmatch also accepts raw data from the other major genetic genealogy testing companies.

CeCe Moore uses the pond analogy to explain why you should upload your data to as many sites as you can, to test with as many companies as you can. The more ponds your genes are floating around in, the more likely you will find matches. GEDmatch is a big pond with user uploaded Genes from all the testing companies floating in it.

I sent 35 emails to Betty Jeans top GEDmatch matches. It goes without saying that every time I did anything with Betty Jean’s information, I asked her permission. With all the emails sent, I got many good responses. But I also hit the mother load of Genetic Genealogy Research. Another Genealogist who had already been working with Betty Jeans’s other adoptee match, her first cousin once removed. The match I mentioned above. Another Bada Bing Bada Boom and we are done right? Well, no.

A Huge Step In The Right Direction

A huge step in the right direction, but the answers will have to be teased from the information this other researcher, this other adoptee searcher, has been compiling. One other HUGE thing about this other researcher? Jane Howard Schenck is ALSO a DNA match to Betty Jean. This means that Jane has incredible knowledge about Betty Jean’s birth family not just from data and research, she has a memory of many of the people involved.

On March 28, 2016 I began a collaboration with Jane which would propel us toward finding Betty Jean’s birth family. I love collaboration!

Bada Boom Bada Bing!

Wee Doggie is Grandma’ s Genes ever busy this weekend!

Grandma’s Genes is ALL over the place this weekend – literally!

Friday at Grandma’s Genes

We are kicking off our first ever Friday at Grandma’s Genes. Come as you are and stop by for a glass of wine, a beer and light snacks while we shake off the dust from the work week. It’s an open invitation to chew the fat at our offices here in Ottawa. No one is expected and everyone is welcome.

Genetic Genealogy Tools, GEDmatch and Genomate Pro

Marc is working his magic on Saturday morning in his presentation, Genetic Genealogy Tools, GEDmatch and Geneomate Pro. If you want to take your DNA results into analysis heaven, come to the BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Groups’ Saturday morning  meeting at 9:30am. Marcs overview of these tools may get you further along in your research. Marc will be around to answer questions and give advice.

City of Ottawa Archives – 100 Tallwood Dr, Nepean, ON K2G 4R7

WikiTree’s Source-A-Thon

Marc and Mags are participating in, collaborating with other WikiTreer’s, to widdle down WikiTree’s unsourced profiles during WikiTree’s Source-A-Thon. Mags will also be hosting many of the Live Hangouts on Air, along with WikiTree’s Forest Elf, Eowyn  and Greeter Chief, Julie.

“It’s the world’s first Source-a-Thon, a 72-hour sourcing marathon.

Our goal is to clear out the Unsourced Profiles category on WikiTree. Including sources is in our community’s Honor Code but inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. Sometimes the source is ‘Aunt Mabel,’ as Mags put it. This doesn’t mean the information isn’t worth preserving or sharing. It’s a starting point — information waiting to be confirmed.”

Hangouts will be hosted every two hours all weekend long. Check into WikiTree’s G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist) Forum for a link to the Hangouts.

Wee Doggie are we ever busy!

WikiTree search results now include DNA test connections.

Once again WikiTree is moving forward with DNA functionality that is bleeding edge in the field of Genetic Genealogy. WikiTree search results now include DNA test connections.

What does this mean?

“When you search for a person, if there are any Y-chromosome, mitochondrial, or autosomal DNA tests that are believed to be relevant for the person’s genealogy, a Y, mt, and/or au icon will appear next to their name. Clicking this will open up a window with details.” Chris Whitten

WikiTree Search results showing DNA connections

Clicking on the Icon gives you a window with details:
WikiTree DNa search info.

I know I often say those busy little WikiTreers are always busy coming up with better, innovative ways to work with it’s one single family tree, but this DNA tool on WikiTree is just great!

Thanks WikiTreers Kitty Cooper, Roberta Estes, Peter Roberts and of course the WikiTree techies who fly through the limbs making our suggestions come to life.

Why WikiTree Use WikiTree for Genetic Genalogy?

This one bit of collaboration is just another great example of how WikiTree and it’s global, collaborative Tree can be used by anyone to further their family research using Genetic Genealogy.

No math degree required.

WikiTree does all the work for you. All you have to do is add what tests you have taken to your WikiTree profile. No uploading of Raw Data, just tell WikiTree what tests you and WikiTree will auto-populate your limbs with all of your DNA test information.

“The WikiTree Pledge: Always Free

As the creators and hosts of the WikiTree website, we pledge that our mission is the same as that of the community: to create an accurate, single family tree that will make genealogy free and accessible for everyone.

Free is an essential part of our shared mission. We will never charge for access to the single family tree. And we will never knowingly and willingly sell or transfer the single family tree to any individual or organization that intends to charge for access to it.” WikiTree Pledge

What if something happened to WikiTree, do I lose everything?

No. If a Tornado were to rip WikiTree up by it’s roots and throw it miles away shattering it’s precious limbs, there is a plan. There are several cloud and server back-ups of the physical tree. There are also fail safe’s “if WikiTree suddenly disappeared it would not be easy for someone else to simply restart it using the same software and all our members’ data…if the team knew that the current organization could not continue hosting WikiTree it would be a top priority to find a successor organization. We are all WikiTree users who have our family information here too. The WikiTree Pledge means that a successor organization could not be planning to put WikiTree behind a pay wall. It must stay free.”WikiTree Back-ups

Source-A-Thon – October 1st & 2nd!

WikiTree, The Free Family Tree
What is more important to Genealogy than sources?!

Well, I guess something else important would be finding a long lost, multimillionaire uncle and finding you are his only relative…

In the perfect world all Genealogies would be well sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy and pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70’s. I am not saying Aunt Mabel’s memory is fallible, but Aunt Mabel’s tale is only a tale until it is proven with sources. Until it’s sourced, this kind of information can be used as a clue to where you might look.

What if there were a group of volunteers in the Genealogical community that worked continuously, tirelessly on sourcing a global family tree? And what if these Volunteers threw a party and invited you?

If you don’t already know about WikiTree and it’s Sourcers? Then you get an opportunity to know them and join in the fun at WikiTree’s Source-A-Thon, the weekend of Octber 1st, 2016. How can you help? You don’t have a tree on WikiTree? Hmm. There are no trees on WikiTree, just one tree. One Profile per person for anyone who lived from 0AD to now. Just one Tree.

You can start buy looking to see if you have an ancestor or living cousin on WikiTree. Your Grandma’s are there (Mags Gaulden / Marc Snelling). I stumbled on WikiTre, literally, while talking to a distant cousin about our shared ancestor, Esli Hunt, Sr. I was over the moon when I discovered Esli’s profile because other cousins – those living, breathing ones had already added all of his siblings – The Hunt 14 – to WikiTree. I had a great time adding my research to the research that was already posted.

About the Source-A-Thon from WikiTree’s G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist) Forum:

As a fun way to tackle the intimidating Unsourced Profiles category, we’re envisioning a “Source-a-Thon” weekend. A bunch of us would all work together to add sources over a two or three day period.

With Family History Month coming up in October, it could be the weekend of October 1-2.

We’re thinking we’ll make it a competition. Not a really competitive thing. I imagine most of us would just be participating for fun or as a challenge, like the way people participate in marathons. There could be a target for everyone, e.g. 100 profiles removed [from] the Unsourced category. – Chris Whitten

Why are there an intimidating number of unsourced profiles? WikiTree is for the serious genealogist as well as the family historian and the new family history keepers. Anyone and everyone can import a GEDCOM from another program and move it over to WikiTree. Because WikiTree is so open, it get uploads from other sites who do not require or work on making their numerous trees sourced. WikiTree is the only Global Family Tree with one of it’s main points of focus being that our big ole shared tree should be sourced.

WikiTree Sourcerer
WikiTrees Sourcerer Badge

Not a part of the World Family Tree – WikiTree – just join the family (it’s free) at You can put on your Sourcers hat and do some sourcin’.

The Stastistics

For Numbers on Unsourced as to sourced profiles? Wikitree currently includes 11,996,179 profiles edited by 353,768 genealogists from around the world. The majority of the profiles on WikiTree are sourced. Of the 240,786 unsourced profiles, 24,304 profiles have been sourced in the last year of the WikiTree Sourcerers challenge which leaves 216,482. If about 2/3’s of WikiTree’s profiles manager were to source one profile during the Source-A-Thon there would be 0 unsourced profiles on WikiTree…well until the next GEDCOM upload!