Tuesday, February 28, 2023

DNA Cousin Email Template

I’ve been working on a new template to use when reaching out to my DNA matches, hoping to inspire some collaboration.  Here’s an example:

 Hello cousin -

AncestryDNA predicts that we are 2nd-3rd cousins, sharing 192cM (centimorgans) across 10 segments.

Because you also match my father, sharing 406cM (centimorgans), I know that our common ancestors must be on my paternal side.  Looking at the shared matches we have at Ancestry, many of them have ancestry in common with my Lemasters-Wehrly family lines.

Due to the absence of a  family tree at Ancestry, I have not found any commonality yet.  Are you aware of any anomalies in the family tree? 

Would like to work together with you to determine exactly where the relationship lies.  Could you provide a screenshot of your top matches at AncestryDNA or provide me access to your results?

I’ve built a family tree online that does not require membership at Ancestry, at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/LeMaster-580 .  This is a collaborative tree, and I would appreciate any corrections or additions you can provide.

If you’d prefer to share information outside of the Ancestry message system, my email is travis.lemaster@gmail.com 

I have also tested at other DNA sites - such as 23&Me, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA and LivingDNA.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Self Documentation - County Birth Certificate

 The next piece of evidence in my quest to make sure that I had documented my own existence and was able to link back through each generation was a copy of my birth certificate provided by the local county Health Department.

The scanned copy of the certificate indicated it was issued back in 1985, so this document was requested by my parents for some official purpose and ended up in my possession.  The heading on the document indicates the name of the county Board of Health and titles the document as a Certificate of Birth Registration.

The certificate gives the city and date of my birth, and lists both of my parents by their first, middle and last names - but again it does not list my mother's maiden name.

The birthplace of both of my parents is listed on this certificate.  Both of them were born in Indiana, and it gives the exact certificate number, as well as the book and page where the document is maintained.

Once again, regarding the proof standard - this document provides original, direct evidence of my parent's names - but it does not list the maiden name of my mother.  The document does, however, list the middle names of both of my parents.

My RootsMagic database has been updated with this source information and the type (original, primary, direct) in relationship to the birth fact.

For many years, this document was the extent of my self-documentation, and it would only be when I began validating my line with an eye towards joining a lineage society, did I realize that my data was incomplete.  

Earlier posts on this topic include Documenting Myself and Even Weak Evidence Can Teach.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Self Documentation - Hospital Birth Certificate

 It has been over a year since I'd posted any updates on my quest to begin making sure I had adequate documentation of each generation, starting with myself.  Building out a timeline of each event and keeping a research log, the objective of my first report was "to identify the parentage of Travis LeMaster, born [redacted] in [redacted], Indiana."

One of my first pieces of evidence that I examined in my possession was a copy of my birth certificate.  I had two versions - one provided by the hospital itself and one that came from the county Health Department.

The scanned copy of the hospital birth certificate in my collection is not an official, legal document, but rather a ceremonial one provided by the hospital to new parents.  I can remember growing up that this birth certificate was used to verify my age during Little League baseball and other sports teams.  I doubt that it would pass muster in today's world.

The certificate is embossed with the logo of the hospital

The certificate states my full name : first, middle and surname and states the day of the week I was born (Tuesday) as well as the time of birth - 12:50 a.m.  The certificate is signed by the hospital administrator and lists the name of the attending physician, Dr. Paul E. Jarrett, M.D.

Regarding the proof standard, this document provides original direct evidence of my parents, but it does not list the maiden name of my mother.

In order to prove the link between myself and my parents, I would need additional evidence that would list my mother's maiden name.

Earlier posts on this topic include Documenting Myself and Even Weak Evidence Can Teach.