Tuesday, May 26, 2015

BBC radio on Genetic Genealogy DNA tests

There is a new BBC radio program on the "Business of Genetic Ancestry"  While it is true that without seeing your DNA (or even asking your name) I can tell you that you are a descendant of Charlemagne etc., I still feel there is great value in testing your DNA for genetic genealogy purposes, especially autosomal DNA. 

I agree that the deep ancestral stories given by the main DNA testing companies are vague to the point of being meaningless, but I believe that the value on the information that can be gleaned on more recent generations is much greater.   And the data is being kept which means that in the future we may be able to learn more from tests done on people now.  

Honestly, I hope as many people test as possible and it doesn't matter much to me what their reasons are for testing.  Many people who have tested for me have done so mainly because I asked them to.  I have followed genetic genealogy testing since it began.  It is still a new tool.  I remember when we thought that 12 marker Y-DNA matches were very significant or smaller than 5 cM autosomal was likely significant.  We don't believe this now, because we have more data that has allowed us to refine our understanding of what the matches may mean.  I am sure in the future we will further refine our understanding and change our positions on lots of aspects of genetic genealogy testing. Without lost of testers this will not happen as easily, if at all.  

It was not discussed in the program but the value of a test has gone up and the price has gone down.  When I first tested my own autosomal DNA I paid 4 times the current price and the databases were less than a third the current size.

You can listen to the BBC radio program here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05vy4kb

There is also an article on the content of the radio program at http://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/24/business-genetic-ancestry-charlemagne-adam-rutherford

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mocavo announces FREE US Federal Census Index and Images

All US Federal Census Images and Indexes are now free for everyone at Mocavo.com.  There is no excuse now to not have all the census citations for people living in the US 1790 to 1940!

You can read Mocavo's post here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Access to the Toronto Star newspaper archives

As reported here by Gail Dever of Genealogy √† la Carte, there is free access available to the Toronto Star archives until May 31st, 2015.  You can access the search engine for the archives here

I do not regularly subscribe to the archives as I also try to watch how much I spend on genealogy subscriptions and can't justify an ongoing subscription at this time.  I do have family, even direct ancestors who lived and died in Toronto so this will be a valuable time for me.  

I have already found a very interesting article.  Finding what you are looking for can be a bit tricky as there are often many articles containing keywords you wish to search on.  There was only 1 Peverelle article and it was great!  I'll report more on that in a different post.

There is also the opportunity to browse through the newspapers to see old advertisements and columns and see what your ancestor was possibly reading about in the newspaper or what happened on a certain date.  I will likely have more on that in another post as well. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Confirming SmartMatches at MyHeritage and more

Today I am working on confirming my SmartMatches at MyHeritage.  As of right now I have 136 SmartMatches over 26 trees.  All matchesI checked were correct. They are still being processed apparently so I should have more soon.

Since recently 23andMe has the option of linking to a MyHeritage tree I am using MyHeritage more.  I guess the plan is to wait on a SmartMatch with another tree with (23andMe) in the title.  My tree is fairly small here, with just 15 generations of ancestors and their siblings of each of the people I have DNA tested.  This resulted in 7169 people. 

All of my SmartMatches were for close relatives (grandparents, siblings, parents etc). 

Working on my family tree matches at MyHeritage has already led me to one correction in my database.  My paternal grandparents divorced and this was not in my database so I noticed this when confirming SmartMatches.  

One thing I do not like is that MyHeritage gives women married names they may not have actually had.  In two cases in my tree the woman had a child with a man they never married and they are showing as that mans last names in others trees. I have mentioned this in the note field when confirming.

Interesting, confirming SmartMatches seems to be adding more SmartMatches.  This may be because confirming one match gives weigh to nearby matches.  Or it may be because I was viewing the tree and this prompted it to look for SmartMatches.  Now I have 204 SmartMatches in 28 trees.

I finished the list of 204 Smart Matches and I have 203 waiting on confirmation.  

I should probably add some photos to my tree.  But I digress....

So I guess I have to wait on it to process more, so lets take a look at the RecordMatches.  I have 9699 RecordMatches in 52 collections.  I have 4328 Geni Matches.  (Interesting, where are the rest? Maybe my own profiles are not showing, and only those primarily managed by others?)  4327 WikiTree Matches. Hmm...I see, there is a filtering options. 1725 matches not being shown.

The Geni matches will take a very long time, because each time I confirm one it takes me to page to add details from the Geni profile.

Lets move past those two beasts, and look at the Newspaper Archive list, 135 matches there.

Then there is the 1881 England census, with 104 matches.

Then the 1891 England census, with 95 matches.

Then the 1901 England census, with 72 matches.

Then to Ontario Births, with 66 matches.

I continued for a bit confirming/rejecting matches and ended up adding a couple new ancestors on my husband's line that I had recently learned so they weren't in the GEDCOM I uploaded.  This gave me the first FamilySearch Match!

Now I am really down a rabbit hole, because I am now looking at matches at WikiTree, Geni, MyHeritage and FamilySearch and boy is the FamilySearch world tree interesting.....

Now onto the next day, still no new SmartMatches...I need to do something to hurry them along!  So I added the location my daughter was born and Voil√†! She got a new SmartMatch.  So, it would appear adding a fact will lead to faster, new SmartMatches.

I wondered if adding photos would also work.   Either it did not, or that daughter was too young and actually does not have any SmartMatches.  Lets try something else, if I delete a place and put it back....does not seem to work.  Maybe it is new info. It is not that the info has to agree with the others, because I just added a death location and got 11 Smart Matches, when none of those 11 had the death location I added.  

Any ideas on how to tease out more SmartMatches? 

Are you Irish? Want to find out? Test at AncestryDNA, 10% off between now and St. Patrick's Day!


My own test indicates that I am 48% Irish, which seems about right to me.

This week I will be reviewing, updating, and adding and to my posts on my Irish ancestors, but in the meantime I wanted to let you all know about the 10% sale at AncestryDNA through March 17th (St. Patrick's Day!) On St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish but how Irish are you really? 

Since AncestryDNA recently became available in the United Kingdom, I expect to get many new Irish matches and maybe finally break through some "brick walls"!



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Growing by Leaps and Bounds!

Today I was working my way through my Geni Tree Matches.  These matches are usually not valid matches. Sorry Geni, just saying it like it is ;) I usually use the invalid matches to show me where I need to add more information to my profiles to improve matching.  

Today's e-mail had 5 new Tree Matches for me.  The first one I was unable to really add much to.  The second one I was able to add a bunch of relatives to my daughters ancestors.  The third one though was an amazing breakthrough.  Sadly, the match was not at all valid. The "matching" profile had different parents, and a different birth date etc.  

As is my usual custom, I went to add more to my profile of  John G Bowman. In the process I looked at his father, William W. Bowman (my husbands 3rd great grandfather) and Ancestry gave me a hint I could not ignore.  The hint was for a 1901 Canadian Census record in Vancouver, BC.  I didn't expect this hint to pan out, as I had no reason whatsoever to suspect that William and his wife Sarah had left Ontario, where they had immigrated to from England with their children.  Yet, when I looked at the census entry, it did look promising.  William Bowman was born in Scotland, and his wife Sarah was born in England.   And he was a tailor....and they did have a son Thomas who was born in England about that age....But...."our" William didn't have a daughter Ada born in Ontario in 1872?  

Still, there were enough similar facts to cause me to look further.  It seems a William Bowman died 6 Jul 1903 in Vancouver who was born about 1837.  

Now I am fascinated, because I find that he was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.  This is very interesting indeed, because I have actually been to this cemetery, although it is across the country from where I now live.  The man I was originally told was my father is buried in Mountain View and when I lived in the Vancouver area a few years ago, I went there with my husband on two occasions, one for my step fathers mothers funeral, and once to visit the grave of my "father".  Findagrave actually has a photo of the stone for William and Sarah.  Sarah had died in 1907 in Vancouver.

So, I check Mountain View at Findagrave for other Bowmans, and find Thomas there as well.  Apparently he had married a Charlotte Ruxton Carswell in 1891 in Michigan.  So I checked FamilySearch and indeed the marriage lists his parents as William and Sarah "Dunning" Bowman! Findagrave also links me to her parents and also a daughter of Thomas and Charlotte, named Alma. By now, I am so excited I nearly wake the baby.  Sadly, there is no image available for the deaths of William, Sarah or Thomas in BC.  I will need to acquire those. And still, who the heck is ADA?

I am able to find the birth record for Alma Lillian Bowman in Ontario, 26 Feb 1897 in Essex County.  This lists both parents.
Alma Lillian Bowman married Robert Edward Neighbour on 28 Jan 1930 in Vancouver, BC. And this time there is an image!

marriage of Alma Lillian Bowman to Robert Edward Neighbour, 1930, BC, Canada
I double check, and no, I didnt miss a daughter Ada in the 1891 and 1881 census records for William and Sarah.  Who is she I wonder?  I checked the BC index for Ada Bowman and found this record:


I see....so she was a widow, maiden name of BURT.  Seems likely that she was married to a Bowman son of William and Sarah, who died before the 1901 census.  I then search Ancestry for an Ada Burt who married a Bowman and I get a marriage in Ontario in 1899 of Ada Burt to Charles Bowman.  Ada is listed as the daughter of Samuel Burt and Caroline Jackson, and Charles is listed as the son of William Bowman and Sarah Friendship. Huh? What? Sarah Friendship??? I can only guess somehow her stepfathers name Winship because Friendship somehow.  Charles is 25 in this marriage.  So, this would appear to be Charles Winship Bowman.    But why is Sarah listed as Friendship??? His birth record lists that his mother is Sarah Dinning.

birth record of Charles Winship Bowman in Ontario, Canada, 1874. Viewed at Ancestry.com
Interestingly, there is a death index record for a Charles W Bowman, born about 1875 who died in Vancouver 21 Oct 1917. No image again!  And we do find Ada, a widow, with her widowed mother Caroline in Vancouver in the 1921 Canada census.  She has a 20 year old son (indexed by Ancestry as Wai H. Bowman, yes indeed, Ancestry you are the indexing gods....) named Wm. H. Bowman, born in BC. An Ada Cotton died age 66 in 1944 in Vancouver (no image).

And then there is a birth index entry for William Henry Bowman, born 1 Jun 1901 in Vancouver. There is also a death index entry (no image) for William Henry Bowman, age 25, died in Vancouver, BC on 26/07/27. And guess where he is buried....yep, Mountain View in Vancouver!
birth record of William Henry Bowman,, 1901, BC, Canada Notice the name Mrs. Sarah Bowman in section 8.

So I am now rather satisfied that these are "our" Bowmans and I know now who this mysterious daughter Ada was.  but where was Charles in 1901 and 1911? And, oh the photo? Did I mention that Ancestry had a member tree hint with a photo of Charles, Ada and William Henry?  I am writing to ask permission to share that photo here...


Now onto Sarah Dinning....I had previously had her as a daughter of Irving Dinning and Catherine (last name unknown).  

She appears in Gateshead, Durham, England, age 3 in the 1841 census of England. The others in the household where Catherine, 34; Thomas, 12; Elizabeth, 10; Eleanor, 8; John, 5 and Irvin, 1.

There is a baptist for Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England on 24 Nov 1838 for Sarah Dinning, daughter of Irving and Catherine Dinning.  

In the 1851 census she is listed as Step daughter, with her brother Irvin Dinning, age 10, born in Gateshead, Durnam, in the household of William Winship (age 60), his wife Catherine, age 43, and his two sons John, age 29 and Thomas, age 19.  They were all living at 43 East Row in Seaton Delavel, Northumberland.

Things get even better now, because I find a marriage record for Catherine Dinning to William Winship in All Saints, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northumberland and it lists her father as John Crooks!!! So we have a maiden name and a father for Catherine...I am super excited now, that is a maiden name for my husbands 4th great grandmother! And a name for his 5th great grandfather!!! WooHOO!

Now it gets even better because I find a baptism in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for Catherine Crooks on 11 Jan 1807 daughter of John Crooks and Elizabeth Hudson.  So thats a 5th great grandmother too!  But can I be sure this is her? Well, the 1841 census supports it, because Elizabeth Crooks is living with Catherine Dinning!!

Notice also George Dinning, age 21 and Sarah age 20.  We'll get back to them..

There is a burial of an Elizabeth Crooks, age 76, on 20 May 1850 in Gateshead, Durham, England.  

There are two birth/baptism records for Elizabeth Hudson, born 9 Oct 1864 and bapt 6 Nov 1764 daughter of George and Elizabeth Hudson (oh my goodness, two 6th great grandparents for my husband?)

So it would appear John Crooks died before 1841 census.  There is a birth of a Jno. Crooks to George Crooks baptism 10 Jul 1765 in Gateshead, Durham, England.  Is that a 6th great grandfather for my husband???

Seems there are the following baptists for children of John Crooks and Elizabeth Hudson: 

William Crooks, 4 Aug 1789, Bladon, Northumberland
Sara Crooks born 24 Nov 1790
Judith Crooks, born 1 Apr 1793, bapt 28 Apr 1793 St. Thomas Aquino, Roman Catholic, Stella, Durham, England
John Crooks, born 22 Aug 1795, bap 30 Aug 1795 St. Thomas Aquino, Roman Catholic, Stella, Durham, England

There is a John Crooks who was buried 18 Sep 1833 in Heworth, Durham, England age 72 (birth approx 1761) Heworth=Gateshead

Now back to the Dinnings....There is a baptism for a Irving Dinning in Northumberland to Thomas and Elizabeth Clark, born 18 Feb 1807. There is a marriage of Irving Dinning and Catherine Crooks 20 Jun 1829 in Longbenton, Northumberland. Thomas Dinning and Elizabeth Clark are possibly new 5th great grandparents for my husband.  

Sure enough, Thomas Dinning married Elizabeth Clark 21 Jun 1791 in Northumberland

Baptisms of children of Thomas Dinning and Elizabeth Clark:

John 1798
Thomas 1801
Ralph 1804
Irvin 1807

And then the fun really begins, because there is already Thomas Dinning/Elizabeth Clark on the Geni tree....and yet another person with Mary Coxon/William Dinning and then yet another person, no make that 2 or is it 3 down the Australian!! branch. So we have Monika and Annette, Pauline, and Derek to work with on this tree branch at Geni.

Now back to more modern and closer lines.  Alma Bowman was with her uncle John G in 1901 which tells us he had a wife "Marguerite|" and daughter "Gladis".

This leads to the 1921 which adds son and daughter Fred and Rachel.  The birth of Gladys names mother Maggie McCallum.  Also 1911 census...

Back to Thomas Bowman/Charlotte Carswell.  They had another daughter Catherine Eleanor Bowman, she married George Albert Cheeseman, and apparently their daughter Rosalie Gower was rather well known as I came across her wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalie_Gower

Also here is a house that  George Cheeseman and Catherine lived in:
http://www.victoriaheritagefoundation.ca/HReg/Rockland/Pemberton855.html

There was plenty more, but that's all I have time to report on for now :)  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 2014 Genealogy Score....9% or 97/1024...What's yours?

Last year, at the end of December, I checked my genealogy score. (You can read the original post: What's my number?)

At the end of 2013, here was my score:


2/2 parents (100%)
4/4 grandparents (100%)
8/8 great grandparents (100%)
16/16 greatX2 grandparents (100%)
32/32 greatX3 grandparents (100%)
51/64 greatX4 grandparents (79.69%)
37/128 greatX5 grandparents (28.91%)
33/256 greatX6 grandparents (12.89%)
34/512 greatX7 grandparents (6.64%)
58/1024 greatX8 grandparents (5.66%)

Here is my current score:


2/2 parents (100%)
4/4 grandparents (100%)
8/8 great grandparents (100%)
16/16 greatX2 grandparents (100%)
32/32 greatX3 grandparents (100%)
51/64 greatX4 grandparents (80%)
41/128 greatX5 grandparents (32%)
37/256 greatX6 grandparents (14%)
55/512 greatX7 grandparents  (11%)
97/1024 greatX8 grandparents  (9%)

For those people who prefer to score according to the Total of All Generations method, I have 343/2046 (17%).

My HistoryLink Ancestry Graph Dec 2014


Overall, I am happy with the progress I made this year, but there is still a ton of more work to do.  I fear making progress from this point on will be very difficult, as I have pretty much hit "brickwalls" on all the existing known ancestors.  I am hoping that my extensive DNA testing will help me with some of those.

So, what was your 2014 genealogy score ?