Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It is now officially Family History Month.

Today is October 1st, and October is Family History Month. To be honest, every month is Family History Month for me ;)

I am hoping the cooler weather and the fact it is Family History Month will inspire some new cousins to take up genealogy and maybe even DNA test!

I would say the biggest announcement of the day was the GenealogyBank/ agreement to make over a billion records from 100 million obituaries available and searchable online. 

The records will span from 1730 to present day. Volunteers are needed to help complete this enormous indexing project.

Obituaries are amazingly helpful records for genealogists, often containing more than the bare facts and telling us more about who our relatives were and what they did during their lifetime.

You can read more about this new agreement at

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The latest 23andMe "Show Close Relatives" disaster

I am disappointed to report that 23andMe has reneged on their promise to show Close Relative for any accounts that have not specifically opted out.  23andMe waited until the last possible moment, late in the evening on the day the change was supposed to be made, to post that they had changed their mind.

Many people had stayed up late, waiting and watching, hoping for a new close match to appear, and were justifiably outraged when instead they were given a "oh, sorry we changed our mind" post.

For people who don't know the background, to see and be shown to close matches you used to have to click a little box.  After you clicked the little box, a little pop up would come up saying you may find something shocking like a half sibling etc, and you would have to click yes, you want to see.  Many people did not understand that they needed to click this box when they received their DNA Cousins list, and so are not showing up on their close relatives pages. So, for example, if I had a half sibling and they tested in 2011 before I did, or sometimes between then and this summer, and they didn't check the box, they would not see me in their list and I would not see them.  They may not have known the check the box, and may have tested just to find a close relative, but upon not seeing any, gave up.  Not everyone digs in as deep into genetic genealogy and all the bells and whistles of 23andMe as I have.

After the planned change, anonymous profiles would still have been anonymous, but people would have known they were there (or not there, which is likely the case for the vast majority of people, who 23andMe has now angered)

I understand a small number of people have been unhappy with the results after having been matched with a close relative.   Sometimes the truth sucks. Even when it sucks it remains the truth. Many adoptees and people with "non-paternal events" have happy reunions.  Sometimes they don't, but the truth is still worth knowing, even when it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped.

I have tested my husband at 23andMe.  If an unknown half sibling to me or my husband were to appear I would be excited, and would be happy to meet them.  If an unknown to us child was to appear in his list, I would be shocked, but I would hardly blame 23andMe.  Maybe I would ask my husband to not have a relationship with this unknown (presumably adult) child.  I can't say that we would be all excited by the news. Maybe we would be, maybe we wouldn't.  But I can say that we would certainly offer up a full medical history and basic family information. And I would certainly not blame 23andMe for any issues. 

As a starting point, I would think there is no legal/ethical issues with telling customers that they have no relatives being hidden.  Sure, this would tell certain customers that they DO have relatives being hidden, when they didnt get this notice, but it would decrease the number of unhappy people by quite a bit. And it doesn't actually reveal the hidden matches in any way.  What % of users have a hidden match I wonder?

If 23andMe did not intend to follow through with the plan to reveal close relatives they should not have promised that they would.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Haplogroup Import at 23andMe???!

Today I was searching for a profile of a match who accepted a sharing invite and found something I have never seen before at 23andMe.  Instead of "Ancestry and Health" or "Ancestry only" or even "Profile suspended" this one profile showed "Haplogroup Import".  

I have no idea what it means. I edited a screenshot to remove the persons name and photo.

Haplogroup Import at 23andMe

I just might message just to ask what is this mysterious "Haplogroup Import" ???? Did 23andMe at some point experiment with the idea of importing Haplogroups??  

Friday, August 29, 2014

FREE ACCESS weekend at

In case you haven't heard, this weekend there is FREE ACCESS to Global Records at  No Credit Card required. I use every day in my genealogy research, usually for a good portion of my research time.  If you are not currently a subscriber I encourage you to check out all the great resources this weekend with this FREE offer!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tibudah Hayden - or The Ancestor Who Never Existed....

Today a distant cousin requested I try to clean up a messy area of the Potter family tree at  Always willing to help where I can, I started fixing the errors and duplicates in the area mentioned.  And then a remarkable thing happened. I came across the story of Tibudah Hayden...who it seems never really existed. 

According to a post by "kelleypaulf" on an message board: 

"To anyone researching Tibudah Hayden and reading through these old posts, I have an update on this old mystery. Joseph Potter's wife was not a "Tibudah Hayden". She never existed. This must have been some confusion with Zebudah Hayden who married Joseph Potter, Jr. The real wife of Joseph Potter, Sr. is Mary Baker (1717 - 1788), daughter of Joseph Baker and Elizabeth Perry. You can find the reference to Mary (Baker) Potter in Joseph Baker's will dated September 18, 1752. You will also find her signature as Mary Potter along with Joseph Potter's signature on Joseph Baker's probated will dated June 23, 1755. For further evidence, I compared Joseph's signature on Joseph Baker's probated will to his signature on his own will and they are the same. Although not proven, it is possible that Joseph Baker was the son of Joseph Baker and Ruth Holton from Northampton, MA born in 1676 and that this Baker connection would have made Mary Baker and Joseph Potter 2nd cousins (Joseph Potter's grandmother was most likely Elizabeth Baker from Lynn, MA, daughter of Edward Baker, who married John Witt). The Witts, Bakers and Potters were all neighbors in Marlborough, MA near the northeast section of the town at that time (some of which is now Hudson, MA). This place was known as Agaganquamasset, or the Indian Plantation. I hope this information helps others doing research into these families and finally puts to rest this old mystery."

She was the 6th great grandmother of my sister Sandra Foster.  This is of importance to me, as I have autosomal DNA tested my sister, and this ancestor is within range to have DNA cousin matches.  

My sisters line goes Joseph Potter and Mary Baker >Martha Potter>Esther Ann Rice>Nelson Hugo Reed>Cora Josephine Reed>Marjorie Beatrice Whiteway>Daryl Wayne Foster>Sandra Marie Foster.

I looked at the evidence that the poster had kindly posted images of in her family tree at, and I agree, she was Mary Baker, born 29 Jul 1717 in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  Tibudah Hayden did not exist and was an error. I haven't seen enough evidence to be 100% convinced that they were 2nd cousins as described, but it does seem probable. Perhaps in time more evidence will be discovered, or I will find the time to look deeper. 

So goodbye to a brick wall, and hello to new ancestors :)

Had I not been doing this tidying up the tree at I would not have discovered this valuable information!

And, always remember to check for documents to support every name and relationship! When you can't find something on someone, sometimes it is because they don't exist and you are looking for the wrong name, date or location, or all of the above!

Known descendants who have DNA tested for genetic genealogy:

Sandra Foster (23andMe autosomal)

If you are a descendant of Joseph Potter and Mary Baker click here for more info on how you can help!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My AncestryDNA results are in!

I was about to take a nap and I quickly checked my email and it said my AncestryDNA results are in.  No more nap for me!

260 pages of matches with 50 per page means I have 13,000 matches, maybe a bit less if the last page isn't full. 13,000 new DNA cousins! Woohoo!

8 hints! Only 8! And all are estimated to be "Distant Cousin"! Maybe it takes some time for more to appear. I have a pretty well grown tree.  Of the 8 the top one is locked the rest are not.

For the 2nd hint, they are my 6th cousin twice removed.  Our common ancestors are Josiah Sawyer and Abigail Sawyer (my 7th great grandparents). My line is through their daughter Abigail who married Nathaniel Haskill.  His line is through their son Lemuel. I have to mention at this time that I have far from a complete list of descendants of this couple.  Since AncestryDNA doesn't show segment matches I will have to wait and see if this cousin is at GEDMATCH or willing to upload to GEDMATCH to see if they also match my maternal grandfather as they should if this is the actual connection.

For the 3rd hint, they are my 4th cousin 4 times removed. Our common ancestors are Jeremiah Haskell and Thankful Beaman. His line is through their son Jeremiah, and mine is through their son Nathaniel Haskill.  Again, I do not have a complete list of all the dsecendants of this couple.  Again, since AncestryDNA doesn't show segment matches I will have to wait and see if this cousin is at GEDMATCH or willing to upload to GEDMATCH to see if they also match my maternal grandfather as they should if this is the actual connection.

For the 4th hint, she is my 6th cousin twice removed. Only one possible relationship is showing but the connection is from my paternal grandfather.  In this case our common ancestors are Joseph Athanase Gravel and Marguerite Laporte.  Due to a hyphen in my name "Joseph-Athanase" the match only shows Marguerite Laporte. Again, since AncestryDNA doesn't show segment matches I will have to wait and see if this cousin is at GEDMATCH or willing to upload to GEDMATCH to see if they also match my father as they should if this is the actual DNA connection.

For my 5th hint, according to the hints, she is my 5th cousin two times removed 2 ways and 6th cousin twice removed once.  This is actually not quite correct. Again, we have a minor difference in how we have entered one of our ancestors. I actually have a theory of yet another way we may be related. Our connection could be from Stephen Culver/Lydia Lee, or Abigail Sawyer/Nathaniel Haskill.  My theory is the possibility this is a FRIAR match. This cousin was actually already in my tree.

For my 6th hint, she is my 8th cousin. Our common ancestors are Francois Petrin and Marguerite-Antoinette Parenteau.

For my 7th hint, he is my 7th cousin once removed. Our common ancestors are Claude Hus and Marie-Francoise Mandeville.

For my 8th (and final) hint, he is my 7th cousin once removed.  Our common ancestors are Eleazer Williams and Mary Lord.

I believe that 8th cousin is as far as they will go (out to 7th great grandparents)

Next up is the cousins with no hints. 18 predicted 4th cousins (range 4th-6th), and the rest are predicted distant cousins (range 5th-8th ).

I really like the ability to click on the surnames in common with the DNA cousins. I also really like the ability to see when a match last logged in.  

Now, for the ethnicity estimates, I think they are insanely off.

3% Great Britain? Really? I will post later comparing my 3 different ethnicity reports from 23andMe, AncestryDNA and FTDNA.

Welcome AncestryDNA cousins!

Welcome! Nice to meet you!

I am always thrilled to "meet" a new cousin.  

Since AncestryDNA does not show actual matching segment data it would be very helpful if you uploaded your data to GEDMATCH, and then let me know your Gedmatch kit#.  This will also allow me to see if you match other relatives as expected. You can find more information about Gedmatch here

If you are comfortable sharing, I would love an invite to view your AncestryDNA matches as well. You can do this by going to "Settings" (looks like a little wheel icon) from your AncestryDNA Home Page. Partway down the page is a "Invite others to access DNA results". This will allow me to see who we match in common. You can invite me as username yourlinktothepast or email krislovesmike (at)

If you or any other known relatives who have tested at AncestryDNA or 23andMe or FTDNA please let me know as this may help us work on finding and/or confirming our common ancestors.

My tree on Ancestry shows pretty much all my ancestors, but you may find a complete list of my direct lines only here.