Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What You'll Find on my Public Tree

I've hemmed and hawed through the years about whether to make my family tree at Ancestry public or keep it private.  I've finally decided that it should remain public, though I've added "Working File" to the title to make sure that fellow researchers know it is an evolving file.  I sync my RootsMagic database with Ancestry fairly regularly with my results.

I'm not getting any younger, and I want to make sure the research is out there for someone else to pick up the torch.  The link to my public tree is here. There are several types of information in my tree:

  • Cumulative research on my direct family lines, started back in the 1980s when I was a young Boy Scout;
  • The ancestry of my wife's family lines;
  • The ancestry of my daughter's family lines (ex-wife's);
  • The ancestry of my step-children's family lines;
  • One name studies - such as LeMaster families that are either distantly or not yet connected to my main lines.
  • Place name studies - such as records of related families in locales such as Madison or Jay Counties, Indiana where I have concentrations;
  • Quick & Dirty trees of DNA matches that have undiscovered connections to my main lines (before I learned to keep them separate)
In a nutshell, there is a little bit of everything in my tree, which has grown quite large - over 40,000 individuals.  My citations and facts from RootsMagic are tied to the profiles in Ancestry, though I haven't uploaded documents in every case to attach.  Some of that I am hoping to get around to adding - I have Dropbox files for each surname of the families I am researching where I keep the images.

I'm hoping that by keeping it public, more researchers might reach out to me to share information.  What has been your experience with public versus private trees?

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Today in the United States it is Memorial Day, a day to remember and recognize those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while in military service to our country.  

Looking through my RootsMagic database, I found the following individuals who gave the ultimate sacrifice (undoubtably, not a complete list) :

  • Daniel Beals (1822-1863), died in Louisville, KY while a member of Company A, 101st Indiana Infantry during the Civil War.  He was the son of Nathan C. & Elizabeth (Chew) Beals, making him my maternal 4th-great granduncle.
  • Samuel Chew (c1743-1778), died in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War while serving in the Continental Navy.  He was the son of Thomas & Martha (Taylor) Chew, making him my maternal 7th-great granduncle. The USS Chew was named in his honor.
  • Joseph Davis ( -1777), died in New York City after capture by the British on 13 Feb 1777, while serving in the 1st Regiment out of Monmouth, New Jersey.  He was the son of Thomas & Bethia (Maxson) Davis, making him my paternal 1st cousin 8 times removed.
  • Johann Jacob Deutsch (1821-1863), died of yellow fever while serving in Company D, 13th Connecticut Infantry during the Civil War.  He was the 4th-great grandfather of my daughter, Corinne.
  • John W. Duffey (1845-1863), died at Cumberland Gap while serving in Company G, 118th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War.  He was the son of Daniel L. & Susanna (Freese) Duffey, making him Eileen's 2nd-great granduncle.
  • John Wesley King (1837-1865), died at Paducah, Kentucky while serving in Company G, 17th Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.  He was the son of William & Nancy (Owings) King, making him my maternal 3rd-great granduncle.
  • John Cooper LeMaster (1934-1953), Marine Pfc., killed in action in Korea.  He was the son of Donald Cooper & Luella (Gibbons) LeMaster, making him my paternal 2nd cousin.
  • Gurdon Lord Pierce (1841-1864), died at Cold Harbor while serving as Lt. of Company C, 112th New York Volunteers.  He was the son of Austin & Mary Ann (Sterlin) Pierce, making him my maternal 1st cousin 5 times removed.
  • Reuben Sherman (1845-1864), died at Andersonville Prison while serving in 135th Ohio Infantry.  He was the son of Lorenzo & Sophia (Moulton) Sherman, making him my paternal 1st cousin 4 times removed.
  • Frederick Charles Wildt (1921-1944), killed in action 20 Jul 1944 in France.  He was the son of Arthur & Anna Magdalena (Damm) Wildt, making him Corinne's great-granduncle.
Looking over this list, I am honored by their sacrifice and proud of their history.  Though I have the service records for some, there are many in this list that I need to document their time in service.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Categorizing Mother's AncestryDNA Matches

After the Indiana Genealogical Society's annual conference, where I heard some powerful lectures from Blaine Bettinger, I've been spending more time at AncestryDNA looking over my DNA matches.  In particular, I've been focusing on my maternal side matches, as that is where I hope the 120-year old mystery of June Gilliland's father might be solved.

Using some of the tools at AncestryDNA, I've been marking the matches that I can identify in a couple of ways. 

If I know the relationship, I am using the Note feature to add a note to the match that spells out the exact relationship.  This has come in handy when I've had to try to remember exactly how a match ties into a family.

These notes are edited when I click into the matches, but will also display the first couple of lines when I am at the main screen looking at all of mom's matches.

Another feature I've been using is the ability to color-code groups of matches.  Ancestry gives you a color palete and allows you to create groups of matches that you can use in any way you would like.  I've chosen to create groups based on ancestral couples, so I can tell in an instant what branches of ancestors the match shares with mom.

I use these groups to indicate the MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) of the match.  For example, if the match shares, Charles Lambertson and Pearl Beals, then I group them in the Lambertson-Beals group, even though they might also fall into the more recent Lambertson-Gilliland group.

Using these features, I've been able to identify and catergorize several matches without having to reach out to them and ask them how we might be related - I'm able to figure out our common connections and can decide who to reach out to for more information at a later date.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Meeting Cousin Judy

Back in April, I had the opportunity to hear Blaine Bettinger speak at the Indiana Genealogical Society annual conference in Fort Wayne.  The talks on DNA and utilizing AncestryDNA to the fullest has inspired me to take an additional look at the matches on my mom's side in an attempt to solve the mystery of my maternal great-great grandfather.  

While at the conference, I was able to connect with my cousin and fellow researcher, Judy Hill.  Judy and I have been corresponding since around 1983 about the family history, and it was nice to finally meet in person.  She and I share a common ancestor in Mary Ellen Swafford (1854-1932).  Judy is my 2nd cousin twice removed, her grandmother was the half-sister to my great-grandmother.  Judy has done genealogy and DNA research for several years, recently helping as a search angel for solving DNA mysteries.  Hopefully, we can work together and she can give me some pointers on solving my mystery ancestor.

Cousin Judy Hill and me, IGS Conference, 2019
Excuse the sunburn in the photo, I had just returned the night before from a week in Florida.  Made the mistake of getting too much sun the first day at the beach. Somehow this year has seemed to just fly by, it's hard to believe it's Memorial Day weekend already. 

At the conference, I learned some valuable tips for researching my DNA matches - and a door prize - 6 months of Ancestry World subscription.  I never win door prizes, maybe this was a good sign.