A scientist in Ottawa, wants to know what his real last name is. The family lore? The great grandfather, Samuel, was adopted by an African-Canadian gentleman, Abraham. The adoptee, Samuel, was the son of Abraham’s wife’s sister. Family photographs of Samuel’s children reveal Anglo-Canadian boys. Taking all the information from a family Genealogy done previously and adding aspects of traditional, forensic and genetic genealogy we will extend the story, finding the truth to this family’s rich history. Along the way we will discover their real identity, and their story, beyond Samuel Gorge and into the dark history early African families in Ontario.
I’ll be webinaring (new verb) one of my best-loved talks, An African Canadian Family History Mystery on the 26th of this month. Not that I am bragging or that the presentation is all that good (it is), but it’s the conversations it starts that make it so powerful.
It’s the story of a family who in this day and age had heard rumors of something “different” in their ancestry. It was an adoption dating back to the early 1800’s. The wife of the couple was reported to be the aunt of the lad, and he was adopted because his father was “not nice” to him. This is a story in and of itself, but add in that the adoptive father was an African Canadian man, the boy took his name and the rumors of blood cousins who might be African Canadian as well?
Today this story still makes a difference in how this family tell their story. so much so, one descendant asked me a simple question. Is my name really what it is? This spurred months of research and a whole hornet’s nest of family lore vs. the truth. A Truth that is still being uncovered by family DNA testers today.
Join me for this one gang, it’s an incredible story!
I will be one of many WikiTreer’s losing sleep the first weekend of October during the WikiTree Source-A-Thon.
Instead of writing a new blog post to tout that I will be appearing on source-a-thons hangouts (I will), or that I am offering a one hour consult as one of the prizes (I am), I am posting the press release for you from WikiTree! Enjoy…
WikiTree Announces Fourth Source-a-Thon Wiki genealogists celebrate Family History Month by verifying oral family histories with sources
September 4, 2019: Registration opened today for WikiTree’s fourth annual “Source-a-Thon,” a 72-hour genealogical sourcing marathon. The event is scheduled for the first weekend in Family History Month (October), starting on the morning of Friday, October 4, and ending on the morning of Monday, October 7.
Family trees often start as oral histories.
Events are retold as they are remembered by those who experienced them. These memories are incorporated into family trees and handed down through the generations. The genealogists who collaborate on WikiTree seek to preserve these family histories forever as part of a single family tree that everyone can access for free.
Unfortunately, oral histories and handed-down trees sometimes include mistakes. Conflicts arise when the trees are put together into a single family tree. The only objective way to resolve these conflicts is to refer to original source documents, such as birth, marriage, and death records.
Family History Month Marathon
To celebrate Family History Month, WikiTree members from all over the world will be working together around the clock for three days on profiles that don’t currently have any source citations.
This is the fourth annual marathon event. Of the 2018 Source-a-Thon, participant Neil Perry wrote, “I have to say, I really enjoyed it, and the fact that over 72,000 new sources were added to the tree is amazing! … everyone’s a winner.”
To support this event, individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are donating prizes to be awarded at random. Over $3,500 in prizes have been donated so far, including DNA tests and full memberships from MyHeritage and Ancestry, as well as valuable prizes from Fold3, Newspapers.com, Legacy Tree Genealogists, Family ChartMasters, RootsTech, Grandma’s Genes, and more. Prizes are still being added. If you would like to donate a prize, contact email@example.com.
WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See https://www.WikiTree.com.
I spent the last 6 days in sweltering, melting, sauna like, Washington DC in the comfort of the luxurious Omni Shorham at the FGS Conference 2019. Here are my takeaways…
The Luxurious Omni Shoreham, was spectacular in architeture, hospitality and location at Woodley park. The proximity to Woodley Park was a must have since the hotels restaurants and bars (under new management?) seemed woefully unprepared for this flock of genealogists.
Since I spent the majority of my time in the exhibit hall talking about mitoYDNA, WikiTree, DNAGedcom and Genetic.Family, I can only speak first hand about how well the exhibit hall worked. Second hand I can say that everyone I talked to who attended sessions mentioned they learned a great deal and were being spurred on by the sessions to dig deeper and work smarter on thier genealogy.
The Exhibit Hall itself presented challenges for the organizers, yet those challenges did not translate to anything but a great experience for our booth. Our biggest challenge was very poor lighting which was over come by the generosity of the exhibitors close to us – Thank you Mary Kay from Our Fun Tree and Angie and Louise from The National Institute For Genealogical Studies.
Randy Whited worked tirelessly to make sure the exhibitors had what they needed and was in the hall, I think, for the entire conference. Thank You to Randy for being very present.
Rob Warthen and DNAGedcom hosted mitoYDNA at the DNAGedcom booth and at the conference. Which is a pretty big deal. Really a big deal to have that kind of support for a brand new, non-profit (run totally on contributions and support from the genealogy community) organization. Thank You!
mitoYDNA took the opportunity afforded us to introduce the Genealogy Community to this new, free, accessible YDNA and mtDNA database. It was our first public appearance since swinging open our doors for uploads, matching and analysis.
We had great conversations about privacy and our philosphy of making this database availabe to everyone while still being able to provide privacy to our users as well. We talked about how Y and mtDNA can be used to smash brickwalls. We talked about how acedemic researchers can use the data to show how we are all connected.
We geeked out with people who came to us with ideas for tools and analysis for the database. I am talking serious Geeking going on at all hours.
FGS Conference 2019 was a great first public appearance for mitoYDNA and the support and good words we got from so many was incredible!
WikiTree In The House (or I am home where ever I am)
The very first person I saw upon arriving at the conference was WikiTreer Star Kline! We both screamed each other’s names when we saw each other and hugged it out – it was our first time seeing each other in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world of WikiTree). What a great welcome!
WikiTreers stopped to say hello everywhere. Even in the ladies room! Some made multiple trips by the booth to ask questions or just to be “WikiTree” at the conference.
FTDNA graciously asked me to do a booth session/talk and WikiTreer’s came out in force to see my WikiTree infused presentation on mitoYDNA.
As I was getting into my uber to leave for home, WikiTreer Glenn York came over to see me off (and to tell me we are double cousins!). WikiTree is always home where ever I go!
Here are some interesting numbers from FGS 2019:
mitoYDNA had 25 to 30 new site visitors each day of the conference.
We added approximately 240+/- kits to the mitoYDNA Database.
I talked to every single society who were exhibitors at the conference and to quite a few who were not official exhibitors, which was the goal of mitoYDNA being at the conference. Societies who have promised to mention the mitoYDNA is open and avialable? 100+/-
There is no hard number for the number of WikiTreer’s who are re-engergied about working our great big ole shared tree at Wikitree, nor are there numbers on new WikiTreers, but there certainly are (I know this because I had people coming by to ask me questions about their first profile work).
People who were sent to the FTDNA booth for Y and mtDNA upgrades? 10 – 12 (million, he he).
People who were sent to YSEQ for Y and mtDNA tests? No numbers on that but a few at least.
South Carolina Peeps in attendance? I think half the conference were my fellow Carolinians! Loved getting to meet new friends and to see old friends from “down home” – especially the contingent from SCGS who were like light for this Carolinian-Canadian moth. Can’t wait to see you again next July for the 2020 SCGS 48th Annual Summer Workshop, July 10-11.
Granma’s Genes Hugs given away? Way too many to count!
mitoYDNA, THE new Y-DNA and mtDNA Database is here. What is mitoYDNA? How can it help the genealogy community? And many more questions, answered.
What is a Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA database and why do we need it?
Y-DNA – is the DNA for males that follows the patrilineal line back, father to son, for a very long time – thousands of years.
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – is the DNA that follows the matrilineal line back, mother to her children, which is passed on by only her female children to their children, for a very long time – thousands of years.
For years anyone who tested their Y-DNA and mtDNA could post their results to the databases YSearch and MitoSearch to do comparisons, matching and analysis. If you had a Y-DNA or a mtDNA test you could compare and match with people from various DNA testing companies. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) caused FTDNA to make the decision to close these two databases – time and money to get each and every person in the former databases up to the new privacy standards was too expensive and time consuming to attempt.
How and why did mitoYDNA get started?
I spoke with FTDNA in 2017 about YSearch and mitoSearch and its future since there were lots of rumors floating around regarding it’s possible closure. I was told that indeed the sites would be closing.
As someone who uses DNA daily in my own business, and having used YSearch and MitoSearch for my own family mysteries – especially using mitochondrial DNA to solve an adoption mystery (or tale of adoption) in my own family – I knew firsthand how important having a free and accessible Y-DNA and mtDNA database was to my research. I know how important a third-party Y and mtDNA database is to DNA researchers in the genealogical community.
Over the course of 2017, a team came together to build and create mitoYDNA.org.
mitoYDNA.org is a website for uploading Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA to create a YDNA and mitochondrial DNA database. The site also offers DNA matching, analysis and tools to help our users/volunteers further their genealogical research. mitoYDNA is:
Crowdsourced – www.mitoYDNA.org is volunteer driven.
Free – www.mitoYDNA.org’s use will be at no cost to the users/volunteers, though donations are encouraged to defer hardware, facility and administrative costs.
Accessible – www.mitoYDNA.org will be accessible to all.
501(c)3 non-profit company
mitoYDNA Ltd., the 501(c)3 non-profit company behind the design, implementation, and ongoing upgrade and maintenance of mitoYDNA.org, is a group of collaborative genetic genealogists who believe genealogists can have access to a YDNA and mtDNA database which includes Y and mtDNA testing from all available companies today and those of the future. mitoYDNA Ltd. is based on the principles genealogical collaboration and continues to work to keep mitoYDNA:
Using the menu bar for navigation, click on Register.
Fill in all of the fields (password help is listed below the password fields) and be sure to read the TOS/Privacy Statement and click the checkbox at the bottom of the page to verify you have read them – they are very important.
Once you have registered “Kits” and “Tools” will be added to the navigation menu at the top of the page.
Click Kits on the Menu Bar and it will take you to the Kits You Manage Page. From there click on the create button to create a kit. When you create a kit, you will download your results in a CSV file for YDNA, from your testing company to your computer then upload it to mitoYDNA. For mtDNA you will download a chrome extension (for Google Chrome) which will download your mtDNA results from your testing company to your computer then you can upload it to mitoYDNA. For more on how to download your Y-DNA and mtDNA and upload to mitoYDNA please visit our FAQ/Help page.
What Files does mitoYDNA take?
The Y-DNA files are the Short Tandem Repeat (STR) marker values (alelles) and represent your Haplotype (the set of DNA alelle values; not to be confused with Haplogroup) . mitoYDNA does not process Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) data!
The chart below shows the current status of data processing capability for each company at mitoYDNA. Click on the Company name to get instructions on how to get the files you need to upload to mitoYDNA (if currently processed). Abbreviations:
I always have a list of takeaways when I attend Genealogy Shows/Conferences and THE Genealogy Show 2019 is no different.
Disclaimer – I am on the board for THEGenShow and have a slightly rosie view on how things went down. No Canadian GG’s lost appendages (arms, fingers, pounds) from attending this event.
THE Take Away? THE Peoples Show
From the very beginning, in the very informal conversations for THE Genealogy Show, in its acorn stage, the show director, Kirsty Gray, used the words “a peoples show”. How do you make a recipe for The Peoples Show?
You start by building a team who are known to each other but in most cases, don’t “know” each other. Throw them together for a year and let them bounce international, accessible, open, teaching and researching ideas off of each other. Then, with a light, guiding hand, morph those ideas into the Show Directors vision and you come out with a show that is for “every genealogist”.
Plenty of Seating Spacious Floor Plan Accessible Speakers Great Stands Large, enclosed Wizard Consults Stand Engaging and Friendly Volunteers (some of which were the Accessible Speakers) Engaging and interactive Tags Station A Coffee/Tea Stand in the Hall ….mix, stir with… Thousands of wonderful attendees
Takeaway – THE People
As a personal note, it was my first time for more than a stopover in England. I got to try some local brew, foods I have only heard of my whole life, attempt to be competent in British currency, meet more than a few incredible brits, experience british weather and enlarge my ever-growing circle close friends – thousands of you.
Then there was this amazing wall of ORANGE…My WikiTree family was out in full force as well.Just…Amazing!
Mags will be lending her bit of Canadian/Carolinian spin to this Birmingham, England based Genealogy show!
She will be talking about:
Forensic Genealogy and Adoption – Betty Jean’s Story
Finding Genealogy for your family can become a seriously daunting task if you are adopted. Betty Jean is a 90-year-old Adoptee with no paperwork or information to go on, other than her adopted birth certificate and small hints from her adoptive parents. Walk through the steps needed to find her father.
Friday June 7th, 2019, 11:30 to 12:30 PM in Arena 2.
I’ll be one of many WikiTree splashes of orange at Roots Tech 2019. Stop by the WikiTree booth to meet some of the people you have only met Virtually – Chris Whitten, Eowyn Langholf, Jaime Nelson, Me (Mags), Michael Stills, Peter Roberts, Karen Tobo, Susie McCleod, Sarah Rojas, Barbara Shoff, and more!
I will be the one in Orange with the biggest smile and hugs to boot!
Come by the WikiTree Booth at 11:00AM on Friday for our WikiTree Photo! Don’t forget to wear your WikiTree T, or Sweatshirt or…