Oh yes I said it, “Blueberries”. Speaking in Halifax at the Canadian Genealogy Summit and I am being well rewarded by the calibre of speakers (myself included, what?!?!) AND Blueberries.
First thing today, off the plane in Halifax and I am greeted with this:
The Land of Wild Blueberries! BLUEBERRIES! Heaven here I come.
Settled into my hotel room in Halifax, registered for the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, badge on (Speaker ribbon attached), Grandma’s Genes Biz Cards and decaf coffee in hand and I am set to go!
The Keynote speaker was better than good. Jan Raska introduced us all to Canadian immigration through Pier 21, The canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. I learned Immigrants to Canada were “cared for”. They were given housing and meals and even a gentle ear for translations or a postcard home. For those deemed problematic? They still had the tender love and care of Canada. He mentioned some of the Syrian and American refugees that Canada has been taking in over the last year (yes the wide, Canadian, southern border is being crossed en mass by people, families who are in fear of being deported by the current US presidents’ roll back of many immigration protections). Canada is truly the “Melting Pot” unlike so many other places in the world. They took me didn’t they?
Discoveries Before we begin
The presentation was great and the speaker’s knowledge was great and the company was great – at my table three women who did not know each other discovered there were cousins. Where else can you have that happen? When I mentioned this to Kathryn Lake Hogan (one of the organizers of the Conference) she said: “That’s it. We’re done”. Really. What other reason is there for coming to a great conference than meeting two living cousins before the opening of the event!
For me? I might be walking away with a DNA connection to one of my clients. Yes tonight before the Keynote we spent time going around the table talking about our genealogical interests and one of the cousins mentioned above knew one of my client surnames. Yes, she knew someone researching that line in the area I have been searching. Yes, they had done a DNA test. Yes, she would get me her GEDMatch Id and get us in touch with each other. HOW freakin cool!
And now back to our sponsor, BLUEBERRIES!
Then? The Blueberry infused dinner. I ate in the hotel restaurant, The Arms, at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. Way above and beyond!
Blueberry. Whiskey. Reduction. O M G.
I may never leave!
This weekends BIFHSGO conference has all the traditional Genealogy lectures and Tours and Workshops and a great Marketplace Hall.
Social Media Team
I am also volunteering here at the conference since BIFHSGO is also my “home” Genealogical Society (OGS Ottawa too). Surely you have noticed my tweets about the conference as a member of the Social Media Team. As such I spend a good bit of time slinking along the back rows of lectures taking quiet pictures and tweeting briefly, politely during those lectures so you all can live vicariously through me and my Social Media Shares.
DISCLAIMER – Please do not take pictures or do social media while attending lectures unless you are a part of a recognized Social Media Team for the event.
Since the Social Media Hub at this event is set-up in the BIFHSGO Conference MarketPlace we have the opportunity to hob nob with some of the venders while sessions are running. No it’s not downtime, because you don’t have to be registered or even pay to get into the Market Hall, so there are always people buzzing about, it’s just a break from the crush of people from the sessions.
This year the Social Media Hub is just around the corner from this conference’s main Gadget Geek Vender, Shop The Hound!
I want to buy everything they have!
A Few Eye Catching Gadgets
One thing that has caught my eye is the ZCan Scanner Mouse. If you have ever had a scratch off card? Lottery or coupon – as you scratch an image appears kind of thing? Well this is similar you run your mouse over an image or document and with each swipe of the mouse the image or document appears. It’s crazy cool and it’s easy to carry.
Shop the Hound has other Gadgets too. Need to add some bling to your headphone jack? They have has shiny, sparkly bangle for this. Want to carry a full blown, but portable, Scanner? You can walk away with the Flip Pal. Have a lot us SD storage cards from Camera’s or netbook storage floating around in every bag and drawer you have? Well, they have a little leather case designed just for this and more! Tech Gear and Gadgets specifically designed for Genealogy, can’t beat it.
Now I have to run do another WikiTree Source-A-Thon. Exhausted but still working!
On Saturday September 30th at 3:00PM EDT US Southern Colonies Y’all! LIVE from the BIFHSGO Conference. Join Mags as she chats with US Southern Colonies Project members about the US Southern Colonies and possibly a couple of drop-ins from the conference, AND don’t forget that the Source-A-Thon will be on the go as well! So much to talk about in an hours time! As always, bring your questions to the live chat and Emma will post them for our LiveCasters to answer.
Pull up a chair to watch or ask questions in the LiveCast chat, OR even join us as a LiveCast attendee (LiveCaster). Either way we promise an hour of WikiTree fun! If you want to see a complete list of past and future LiveCasts click the graphic below or follow this link.
It’s a controversial topic, Slavery In The US Southern Colonies/States and DNA. Well, I don’t know if DNA is all that controversial but I don’t shy away from discussing it either. It is my heritage, slavery and slave ownership. That my family(s) were a part of this wide ranging, “it’s what they did back in the day”, thing is not something to be proud of, but I am also not hiding it away. My Family, most every limb, at one time or another owned slaves.
Resources, information and a listing of owners.
My part as the descendant of slave owners, is to add any information I find regarding the ownership, sale, gift of a human being to another, to the work I am doing. Mainly on WikiTree, where the US Southern Colonies has a Project on Slavery. As WikiTreers add profiles of Slave owners, and transcriptions of wills or other documents to WikiTree, they can also add the category, Slave Owner. There are other categories for each state and one for all of the US. Searching these categories for the names given to Slaves is a boon to helping those searching for their ancestors. These categories create an incredible resource for people trying to find and identify the place where their ancestor lived and worked.
Today I was looking into something we are working on in the DNA project regarding triangulation (using DNA from three matches that share DNA on the same segment of the same chromosome, used in confirming the genealogical paper trail). I drifted to my own DNA trail when I got an email from a Gaulding/Gaulden cousin in reference to the Y-DNA of her brother – which matches my dad back many, many, many generations to our MCRA.
The haplogroup that caught my attention
I headed over to the FTDNA Gaulding/Gaulden Portion of the Golding DNA project. The results page is cumbersome (a table within a table and two scroll bars) so the page often sits or takes a while to scroll. Sitting there waiting for the screen to catch up with my mouse I realized I was staring at people in the project who had a Nigerian/Camaroonian Hapogroup – E-M2.
I had been staring at it for so long that when it dawned on me who I was looking at I felt a burst of energy. Really. There in the midst of all these DNA results were people whose ancestors were, in all probability, slaves. They listed as their MDA (most distant ancestors) as people living in the US south prior to 1864.
Slavery DNA Project
My next question is, is there a DNA Project specifically designed to help identify people whose ancestors were slaves? Googling Slavery DNA Project returns hits with people. like me, writing articles or Blogs about Slave related DNA Projects. FTDNA has an African DNA Project and 23andMe has the African Genetics Project, but no one has a Slavery DNA Project.
Check your surname DNA project
Because of the way Slaves were named, very few carried their original name, they were given the name of a master, or of many masters. Then the masters listed them in the bills of sale or their wills by first name only or by the diminutive “boy” or “girl” or just “negro”.
I know there are Gaulden’s out there who are of African descent. Already done a shout out to try and connect with Lydia Gaulden (mother of Raven-Symoné – someone has to know how to get me in touch!). There’s a college football player with Gaulden emblazoned across his Jersey as well. I know that every single person out there with the name Gaulden is related to me to some degree, no matter the amount of melanin we have.
Find Your Surname DNA Project
Go check out all the DNA Projects associated with the name your family was given and look for the African haplogroups in the DNA. Better yet, get your DNA tested and add your results to a DNA project. Other people may find you and have some answers for you.
I’ll be talking more about slavery as it relates to the US and Canada in my presentation, An African Canadian Family History Mystery on Sunday October 15th at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit in Halifax.
LiveCast on the 30th
The US Southern Colonies Project will be the focus of the the WikiTree LiveCast comping up on the 30th, live from the BIFHSGO Conference 2017.
Check out this in-depth article, Locating Afro-Diasporan haplogroups within Africa, on African Slave DNA from Tracing African Roots Blog.
Give me a shout
If you ended up with my last name (any of my last names) or any derivative shoot me a note. I will gladly try to connect you further back along your in your heritage if I can.
Shout out from me
Thanks to my childhood friend Cynthia for sharing your finding of your heritage story with me. Your wonderful work and your family inspire me everyday.
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”.
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! <breath> At this point I just had that stomach turning feeling of I really should be working and not blogging <STUPID FEELING>
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
…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. AncestryDNA, Family 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.
On Saturday August 26th At at 8:00PM EDT (Sunday August 27th 10:00AM AST) All things Australian! How many Australian Projects does WikiTree have on the go? Join Mags as she talks with Team Member and Aussie, Paul Bech about all the things happening On WikiTree that are Australia related.
On Saturday August 26th At at 8:00PM EDT (Sunday August 27th 10:00AM AST) All things Australian! How many Australian Projects does WikiTree have on the go? Join Mags as she talks with Team Member and Aussie, Paul Bech about all the things happening On WikiTree that are Australia related. As Always bring your questions to the live chat and Emma will post them for Paul to answer.
Pull up a chair to watch or ask questions in the LiveCast chat, OR Join us as a LiveCast attendee, either way we promise an hour of WikiTree fun!
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.
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).
Mags will be speaking about the Neill/Neal family and it’s DNA connections back to Niall of the Nine Hostages. She will be consuming mass quantities of Southern Home Cooking as well!
Serendipitous Synchronicity. Well Serendipity is something I beleive in. When I saw the Title of Michaels post to the WikiTree Members Group Facebook page, I had to share it with y’all, so here it is:
Shaking Brick Walls
SO in the month of my 54th birthday, DNA has decided to shake my biggest brick walls. But only to tease me.
My Mom, also born this month, has the surname of Culp, but my 2nd Great Grandfather in her line got his surname from his mother Nancy Jane Culp. We do not know his father. But tantalizing info suggests a James Watt. This month I found a DNA connection that has one of my two suspected James Watt in her tree and this Watt family intertangles with the Culp family. But Also, DNA withholds a confirming connection, 3rd Cousin, one removed.
Ricker, Make it so…
My Dad, during the month of Father’s day, is not a true Stills. My 2nd Great Grandfather, in his direct line, was raised by William Henry Stills and Nancy Jane Tarlton. Y-DNA testing with a Stills cousin, confirms that my Dad is not a Stills, which we knew. My grandmother says that my 2GG Smith A Stills parents were killed in a wagon accident but did not say who his parents were. Lots of circumstantial evidence suggests he is a Ricker. While I am still searching for a Ricker to test with, auDNA says that my tested Stills cousin is a Second cousin, and that Nancy Tarlton is possibly the mother, but alas DNA once again with holds confirmation as there are just too many Ricker, Lamb, Stills, Tarlton intermingling’s and dalliances that need sorting.
Should I sort this all out, I will have changed the surname of both my parents and found my remaining 2nd Great Grandparents.
Identity Crisis or not?
So, am I Michael Ricker son of Maynard Ricker and Martha Watt?
Good Bye June 2017, you raised my hopes with DNA and excited my heart only to leave me yearning for better chromosomes.
It’s always incredible to me to see someone, anyone, making great strides in their Genealogy. Genealogy is now a dynamic, sometimes fast moving enterprise. Certainly not the Genealogy Hobby of our Grandparents.
Use Triangulation Michael you don’t HAVE to have that third cousin connections to confirm this.