The Good of DNA and genealogy.

The good of DNA and genealogy. DNA and Genealogy set me up for a very interesting , humbling and fulfilling weekend in Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton Ontario and Union Station Platform 9 3/4

As a fan of Hamilton, Ontario, where I have had the pleasure of speaking, twice, in a month, or so I am happy to say, I now know how to get there. I’ll be back in Hamilton in June at the Ontario Ancestors (OGS) 2020 Conference. I am very much looking forward to it and I have solved a HUGE transportation issue.

Taking the train to Toronto, one must change at Union Station to the Go Transit Bus system. It’s a bit awkward in union station, but I have nailed it. Go to the York Concourse, and take the elevator, very near the entrance from the great hall, up to level 3, to the GO Train platform. Take a left out of the elevator then walk to the very end of the platform.

Push yourself and your luggage cart through the wall, taking care to not hurt your owl. Wait…

At the end of the platform you can take the stairs or go around the corner to the left and take the elevator down to the bus platform. Got it? Good, so far, so now your travel to Hamilton from Union Station Toronto will be less stressful (no there are no trains to Hamilton).

BUT…there’s more! Once you get into Hamilton you can take your bus all the way down to the Bus Station, about a half km walk, to the hotel across from the convention centre entrance (The Sheraton Hamilton Central). Or you can get off on Main St. in front of the cool Hamilton sign, near King St. West, walk across the street, down and around the corner to the entrance of the convention centre/hotel. Google Maps, Pshaw.

Leaving is so hard to do! Not really. The bus stop to get back to Toronto’s Union Station is right outside the entrance to the Honest Lawyer (it’s a bar/adult arcade not a real honest lawyer) across from the entrance to the convention centre and next to the hotel. Or if you are into health in June, in Canada, then walk yourself back the half km to the bus station.

Thank you, and shout out, to the Hamilton Public Library for throwing such a great Genealogy Fair. What a great turnout! What a great space! What friendly volunteers/event staff. Loved being so well cared for, throughout!

Ontario Ancestors! Thank you for sponsoring my contribution to the day. I can’t imagine having more fun at work than I do, you made my weekend.

My lecture? The audience was full, attentive, and engaged. We had fun learning about DNA!

Here are some Photo’s.

Big Thing #1

The two biggest things that happened during the day? As soon as I arrived, I was helped with my booth/table setup by my neighbors, the Hamilton Branch of the UEL, thanks Martha and Pat. No, that isn’t a big thing, to you. Martha is the big thing (sorry Pat). I didn’t remember her name on the first go. She and Pat immediately created nametags for themselves. Upon reading Martha’s name? I really shouldn’t give her privacy away, but suffice it to say that her nametag included one of my surnames. One that I have not researched (I don’t have time to work on my own family!!!) Now I have started a name/place study to figure out how we are connected. Bad Martha!

Big Thing #2


The other big thing? This is a really big thing. It’s about how the power of DNA can give us a sense of self, of identity.

A Lady who has attended my lectures in the past came by my booth before lunch. She was with a “friend” and they started confusing the heck out of me trying to get me to help them with the last nudge their research needed to tell them who their Earliest Known Shared Ancestor is.

I finally had to get them to spoon feed me the names dates and places so I could start drawing out a chart I create for all of my clients (for me). It is based on the Maguire Method of looking at diagraming shared matches. The chart let’s me see how close family members are related and their level of relatedness. I referenced Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM tool at DNA Painter, to help with the cousin/familial relationships and added those relationships to my McGuire Method chart.

After getting all the data down in a rough sketch we all three (more me than them) could easily visualize the familial connections and immediately we saw something was wrong in the family story. These were first cousins, these two ladies, but the amount of shared cM’s pointed to something dark and sinister about the birth of one of the lady’s Mothers.

This mother had been adopted. The other lady, who was a part of the first lady’s birth family, had accessed a family journal entry from a cousin, which stated that an aunt had gone away to Michigan and became pregnant while she was there. Once she was home and nine months later? A baby girl was born. The baby girl was shuffled off to live with an Aunt out west and all was good and a happy ending for the baby was guaranteed.

But the numbers were off. We talked of endogamy and could endogamy have anything to do with how things were lining up? It certainly looked like it, especially after looking at the high number of high cM matches that turned up in the match list.

The ladies, cousins, were throwing out three different father names from my sketch. How could this fella be, or this fella? It was all wrong and nothing really pointed to any of the men. Then, I ran David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility at GEDmatch (click on “Are Your Parents Related” in the right hand column of your GEDmatch home page) on the adoptee’s kit at GEDmatch.

“Since you inherit half of your DNA from each of your parents, it stands to reason that large blocks of SNPs where both alleles are the same would be an indication that your parents each inherited that block from the same ancestor. These are called ‘Runs of Homozygosity’ (ROH). There are other utilities available that look for ROH for other purposes, but this analysis is specifically aimed at determining how closely related your parents might be.” – David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility GEDmatch.

Running the analysis took a second, which seemed like and hour…

David’s utility pointed us to the right man. Still a member of the family, but not a possible 1st cousin to the mother. The ladies were a bit worried that, that would be the case. It was still not a nice story for them, though. It appears that they share a common grandfather. That this man had had an affair with his wife’s sister, a baby was born, though not shipped off to the far away sister, but put up for adoption close by. It certainly isn’t the happy ending from the journal. But a happy ending none the less. Two cousins discovered together, who they were; one morning at their local library’s genealogy fair.

Oh, the power of DNA and the tools our community has put together for us to use, free of charge to make these kinds of discoveries. This is the kind of story I like to see about DNA databases and the genealogy community.

 

Hamilton Genealogy Fair

Hamilton Public Library’s 2nd Annual Genealogy Fair

Presented by the Local History & Archives Department and the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Learn more about your family history at the 2019 Hamilton Genealogy Fair. Presented by the Local History & Archives Department at the Hamilton Public Library and the Ontario Genealogical Society.


 

Date: Saturday, November 16, 2019
Time: 10am-4pm

Program
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Speakers & Programs (all on 4th Floor):

10am-4pm – Genealogy Kids Zone Drop-In, Program Room
10am-12pm & 3pm-4pm – Ancestry Library Edition Drop-In, Computer Lab

10:15am-11:15am – The importance of Traditional Storytelling to Family
History with Penny Warner

12pm – 1pm  Lunch

12pm-1:30pm – Digitize Your Memories, Photo Studio

1pm-2pm – Discover Your Family History using Local History & Archives’
Unique Collections with Kaye Prince-Hollenberg

2pm-4pm – Green Screen Fun, Photo Studio

2:30pm-3:30pm – DNA 101: The very basics please! with Mags Gaulden


Looking forward to this fun day at the Hamilton Public Library!

Quick and Clean Relationship Trail

I often have the need to do a quick search of the exact relationship between myself and someone else – a relationship finder. How do we connect? What ancestral pair begot our parts of our family tree?

Had an interesting question come up today about one of my Ancestors, John Stoney. The Gentleman who contacted me said his Stoneys were also from Knockshegowna, Tipperary, Ireland but he had no idea how we might connect.

WikiTree’s Relationship finder

Immediately my mind went to, “well have you (the Gentleman with the question) done an auDNA test? I have and so has my dad. Using our auDNA information we might be able to define the possibility that my John Stoney of Knockshegowna is related to his Stoney’s of Knockshegowna.

My first stop? WikiTree’s Relationship finder. It’s “‘WikiTree’s cousin calculator.’ It enables you to find out how two people are related. This can help you sort out the confusing ‘third cousin twice removed’-type relationships.”

Here is my Relation trip trail to John Stoney:

Notice that I do have some DNA confirmed status marked? It’s because I have been able to confirm those genealogical paper trail relationships via the DNA of some close shared cousins with my great grandfather Christopher Lee Templeton. But all the way back to John Stoney? No confirmed status indicators…yet.

So I know that I am genetically distant from John Stoney by 7. this is a genetic distance of 7, starting with 1 at my father. 7 is a long way genetically from me for auDNA since auDNA has a range back to our 64, 4th great- grandparents. But to my Dad? This might just be doable!

Within seconds I know that trying to find a genetic connection between my Stoney’s and the gentleman’s Stoneys of Knockshegowna using auDNA is a possibility. And that if we find some male line Stoney’s of our two family’s to YDNA test, would be a great idea too. There is no Stoney DNA project at FTDNA and no Stoney’s listed in the Stone DNA Project. Sounds like a project needs to get started, doesn’t it?

Merrickville and District Historical Society AGM

Mags will be presenting, The Power of DNA, to the Merrickville and District Historical Society Annual General Meeting. She will discuss the nuts and bolts of how DNA and genealogy can move family histories forward. The DNA of one of Merrickville’s founders may make a special appearance during the talk.

Please contact the Merrickville and District Historical Society for more on the Annual General Meeting.

DNA Workshops at OGS Conference 2018

Your favorite Blueberry loving Genetic Genealogist will be presenting Workshops on Friday June 1st at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, Ontario.

Friday Afternoon

DNA and the Global Family Tree

DNA and adding your DNA connections to a Global family tree. Attempting to breakdown brickwalls using DNA can be daunting. Which “Global” family Trees are truly capable of connecting you to your DNA matches? Which is best for the kind of DNA test taken? How do each of the Global Family Tree’s propagate DNA results? How do you find matches and make connections on these Trees? Working across all DNA testing Companies and all Global Family Tree Sites we will look at which “Global” family trees work best for DNA. Via hands on work, participants will work through the process of making DNA connections and help to get their DNA Global Family Tree connections working for them. – Computer Skills are essential to this workshop.

Not One But Two DNA Workshops!

Your favorite Blueberry loving Genetic Genealogist will be presenting Workshops on Friday June 1st at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, Ontario.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy giving lectures, presentations and Workshops? I do. I do! On June 1st, 2018, at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, ON, I will be doing a double Whammy! Two DNA Workshops!

The first one, which already has it’s own post will be in the afternoon, DNA and the Global Family Tree. Then, Just when I thought I could sleep in after the fabulous Sleeman Brewery Tour on Thursday (list of all the Thursday OGS Conference 2018 Tours), I hear I have to get up early to present a workshop on DNA Matching, Working with your living limbs.

Here is the description: “DNA is the newest tool to the Genealogists tool box. In this workshop we’ll take the DNA matching tools out and work with them. How do I find my DNA matches? How do I figure out how they are connected to me? We will work the matches to find your living limbs. From tests to third part matching sites. You’ll have all the latest developments on matching in the Genetic Genealogy Community at your finger tips and in your Genealogy tool box by the time we are finished.”

You can register for this Workshop here.

Visit Your Grandma!

Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project

It’s nothing near a stretch to say that Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project. Genetic Genealogists are often called citizen scientists. To say someone is a citizen scientist means, in my book, that they, them, you and me, us are not associated with multi million dollar corporations in any financial way.

We work to share our work. It’s the new paradigm in Genealogy – collaboration.

Since we are working to share our work and further our research together, we have worked out ways to do that. Many of us have our own blogs. Many of us have Facebook pages or even Facebook groups to share. One great case in point is Blaine Bettinger’s Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group which has over 40,000 members. 40 thousand people sharing and posting and discussing Genetic Genealogy – crowd sourcing.

GEDmatch stands out as one of the greatest crowd sourced tools in the Genealogy community, offering a database of autosomal and X DNA test results and tools to do analysis and matching. It’s growing rapidly. This growth in new members has occurred since the release of information that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify a man who turned out to be California’s most prolific and elusive serial rapist and murderer. The case has caused an uproar in the Genealogy community with people publicly stating that they will remove their data from this important database because of it’s use in a criminal investigation. But still there is that growth. I certainly have noticed it in the higher count of people on GEDmatch when I login. Good.

Family Search is crowd sourced. Geni is, for the most part, crowd sourced- if you can work around the the many annoying paywalls. We Relate is Crowd sourced.  Then there is the ultimate crowd sourced Global Family Tree, WikiTree, with it’s…well with it’s everything.

Recent Crowd Source Losses

Three significant crowd sourced projects closed their shutters this week. Which speaks to growing concerns for privacy and the GDPR (if you have been under the proverbial rock – it’s the General Data Protection Regulations for the EU and UK. Google it. I am so disgusted with it’s fall out I don’t even want to link to it). I know this new regulation will eventually make crowd sourcing better, but it’s a huge hit to lose Y-Search, mitoSearch and World Families. 

Thank you and goodbye to you three. I have often been in your data working to solve adoption cases or help a family find their true surname or build a clients sense of family or connect my family to the rest of my family tree through DNA.

Moving “onward and upward”

The “onward and upward” quote is something I see often in Chris Whitten’s (WikiTree’s, WikiTreer-In-Chief) emails and posts to WikiTree. We as a community will move on. Moving on means that we need to do some things to protect our databases from extinction. And we will.

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd sourcing will be better with tighter controls on privacy and a mind to even more openness. Yes I said it, privacy and openness. I will say it again and I will follow that advice as I work on my family and friends and clients families on my favorite crowd sourced project (which has taken incredible steps to protect itself and it’s community of crowd sourcing and enthusiastic genealogists) WikiTree.

I will also continue to use and support and lecture about other crowd sourced ventures like GEDmatch.

I love being in this incredible crowd sourced community.

Blew-up someones world this weekend…

I work methodically, how on earth did I just blow up someones world? Truly, it’s the way I work, slow and methodical. Find each piece and put into place.

When I say blow-up someones world I mean it in a good way. This time. Let’s take a step back and methodically go thorough this so at least you understand what I am talking about.

She is adopted

Of course she is. I could describe her in so many other ways too, but to know she is adopted is the only way to describe her today. I don’t think she frames her life to people she meets this way normally, but she framed her life this way to me, because when we met we talked about what we each did for a living. Of course when I told her what I did, she kind of looked at me sideways and from a distance. It’s something adoptees do when presented with something that might blow-up their life..

She briefly told me her story; she found her mother through the Adoption Disclosure Register of 1993 and had no idea who her father was…I did tell her that she would find her answers in her DNA.

A few months later she asked me for help.

She knew her mother, but the information she was given about who her father was, was incorrect. How did she discover it was incorrect? Because she paid a company to do a paternity test on a family member of the first person her Mother told her (paternity tests run into many hundreds of dollars). Then a family member of the second person her mother named (with a tiny bit of influence from me) had an FTDNA test (much less expensive).

The second test proved no DNA match to the second man named. Seems the more “no answers” she got the more her drive was  ignited to know the truth.

Driven to Know

I talked with someone once who helps Adoptees. She told me a horror story about a client who, when given a bit of information on where the researcher thought the clients father/mother might live, spent an evening knocking on doors and being incredibly confrontational with the families she encountered.

Imagine opening the door to a wild-eyed woman who thinks the world has lied to her for 45 years and sees a crack of light peering through a darkened tunnel. I can’t imagine how utterly terrifying it would be to have a child you didn’t know about, or one you had hidden from your family, or that you had tried to hide from, just appear, demanding you talk openly and frankly about her. Your secret.

She was shown a crack of light.

Back to today, to this client, who is fast becoming a good friend. I opened a crack in her dark tunnel. I was working methodically. But I did ask her if she would take on some of the research since I know she was capable and because I told her the story I just related to you above. Did she listen?

She did and she didn’t and well…it was like a can of biscuits. You push the the spoon in just a touch and POP it’s all out there.

And it is all out there.

She spent the weekend working social media with the information I gave her. We talked and texted over the weekend and each time I tried to get my, “take it slow”, “don’t go overboard with this”, ‘don’t be disappointed”, “don’t”, “don’t”, “don’t”… I got a text from her this morning…”______ _______ is my Dad, I just talked to him.”

It’s all good. It is. After 2 hours it’s all good. What a wild weekend for her. What a wild weekend for him. What a, “what can of busquits have I opened” weekend for me. 

I wish I could have bubble wrapped her after our “revealing” meeting Friday night. At least I would have felt she and her newly discovered family could have had some protection – protection that in the end none of them seem to need.

Wow, what a weekend!

My Dad has a Y-DNA match to two Gauldings.

My Dad has a Y-DNA match to two Gauldings. This means we can confirm our family connections back to our most common recent ancestor. The other two Y-DNA testers are from a branch of the family that haven’t been connected to the main trunk by anyone with published information.
 

Distant Cousins and Gaulding Researchers

Over the past years I have been talking to a very distant Gaulding cousin (a close relation to one of the Y-DNA testers) who has one such unpublished document. To make the family connections she agreed to share it with me. The document arrived as a 70K word rich text document converted to a Word document format. There is no consistent numbering schemes. It does not follow any genealogical numbering system nor is it chronological, skipping around from sibling to sibling in one generation then back to the generation before. The formatting, because of the conversion, has globs of spacing and the indents and lists are crazy.

Making It Make Sense

It’s taken me weeks of night and weekend work to get it into a format to print so I can look at it, make notes and correct the formatting, chronology, indents and lists systems. I started three nights ago with the meat of the document. The “How are we connected?” work of getting the siblings, parents, grandparents, great grandparents all lined up correctly so I can start the research and sourcing to make it right (the author did not include his sources either).
 
The author of this document (in an introduction to the document) makes no excuses, no apologies for the document format or lack of sources and rightly so since it is not intended to be published.
 
My hope is to get the document in good nick, genealogically wise, make the connections to confirm my dad and their dad’s DNA connection and to send the re-formatted document file back to the cousin who sent it to me. What a wonderful labor this is. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her willingness to trust me with this researchers life work. As I work, I will fill in the missing pieces on WikiTree from his work so you can follow along there if you’d like.

Follow along if you’d like

I think our most common recent ancestor is, John Gaulding, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent, Virginia, (abt. 1665-1740).