Monday, July 11, 2016

Born this day - Jul 10th

My Legacy file has 777 people born on Jul 10th.  The first one I am going to write about is Susan Maria Abbott. She is my 6th cousin 6 times removed.

Susan Maria Abbott was the daughter of Josiah Abbott and Ruth Estabrook and she was born 10 Jul 1820.

She married Benjamin C Schneider on 25 May 1858.

That was all the info I had and the only source I had for this was Descendants of George Abbott of Rowley, Mass., Vol 1.

I was able add a vital record source for her birth, marriage and death and I found an entry with a photo at Findagrave.

She was born in Massachusetts.  She died 25 Nov 1905 in Massachusetts.

death record for Susan Schneider in 1905, viewed at

I also found her in the 1850 US census.  I also found her living with her parents in the 1855 Massachusetts census.

The record I was most pleased to see was a copy of her will.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

More about Ancestry Hints

Yesterday I posted that I do use the shaking leaf hints at  I wrote about the hints that I was given on a person and the new info that I had and how many other sources were not hinted.  

One problem that I do have with Ancestry hints is that they are for everyone in your tree, so you will get hints on your 7th cousin 5 times removed's wife's grandfathers second wife's father as likely as for your great grandfather.  This isn't entirely true, because the hints are generated when you look at a profile in a part of the tree but it happens more than is convenient.  When you go to attach the hint to get it off the list, you get more hints on a line you may not care about. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to sort the hints to show blood relatives only.

My hints climb faster than I can hope to clear them. Yesterday I had 112, 050 and today I have 112, 526. At the end of the day I will probably have more even though I will have spent hours attaching hints to profiles.

My relationship with Kevin Bacon

Yesterday was Kevin Bacon's birthday and Geni posted about this here.  Kevin Bacon is my 10th cousin 3 times removed.

relationship path, Kristina Hewitt to Kevin Bacon, path generated by on Jul 9th, 2016
I had my path back to Ralph Allen pretty well documented, but I did not have the path back down to Kevin Bacon.

I find it interesting that my path goes through two previously unknown fathers.  My own father was unknown to me until my late 30s.  My paternal great grandmother Lillian Margaret Townsend's father Harvey McMaster Lloyd was not confirmed until I worked on it over the past few years.  DNA has confirmed both these fathers.  

Want to know how you are related to Kevin Bacon? Go on over to and ask!  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ancestry Shaking Leaf Hints - Do I Use Them or Not?

Randy Seaver asked his readers if we use Ancestry's Sharking Leaf Hints. He is asking about the Family Tree Hints, not the DNA Hints, which also use the leaf icon.

In short, I *do* use the shaking leaf hints.  Much like Randy, I view them as low hanging fruit. When picking fruit, I pick the low hanging fruit first.

In my Ancestry Tree, 2007RiceDesc, I have 126, 018 people, and 43752 records. Sources imported did not attach so I actually have more sources than that.  

For this tree, Ancestry offers me 144960 hints, of which 112, 050 are Record Hints.  The first one is for William Gorham Rice, my 6th cousin 5 times removed.  

There are 868,451 people in my Legacy file. 

Looking in my Legacy File for William Gorham Rice I see I have the same sources listed in the Ancestry Tree, which are the 1900 US Census, the 1920 US Census, and US Passport Application. There is also a book, Descendants of Joseph Rice of Conway, Mass. but this book is listed under "Other Sources" at Ancestry. Ancestry Family Trees are also listed as a source at Ancestry.

Starting out, I have a photo of William and his birth as 23 Dec 1856 in Albany, New York. I have his wife as Harriet L Pruyn and a son, William Gorham Rice born in 1892.

Ancestry is offering me 13 Hints. 

The first is a city directory for 1938 in Albany.  I accept this hint.

The second is a city directory for 1935.  I accept this hint. 

Third is Findagrave, which gives his death as 10 Sep 1945.  This is new information, both the death date and the burial location. I accept the hint and add the information to Ancestry and Legacy,

Fourth is a burial card.  This card included the cause of death. I accepted the hint.

Fifth is the 1880 US Census. I accepted this hint,

Sixth is a passenger list from 1925. I accepted this hint.

Seventh is a Military Service card. I accepted this hint.

Eighth is the 1930 US Census. I accepted this hint.

Ninth is the 1910 US Census. I accepted this hint,

Tenth is the New York State census for 1905. I accepted this hint.

Eleventh is New York State census for 1875. I accepted this hint.

Twelfth is the New State census for 1925. I accepted this hint,

Thirteenth and final hint is for a England Parish Register for Peter Prior????? I reject this hint.

I now glance over the Facts list and see that there is no 1860 or 1870 or 1940 census record attached. I find it interesting it did not offer me any Member Connect hints.

By clicking the "Search" button I can look for more sources. I get 391, 760 results.

First one I like is for his wife in a DAR member book from the North America, Family Histories collection.

Next I add a city directory from 1934,

Next I add a passport application from 1922.

Next I add a city directory from 1939,

I now have 391, 688 results.  One thing I like about Hints, that is not available in the full Search results is the ability to reject/remove a suggested record.

Next I add the 1940 census,

Next I add the 1870 census. 390, 592 results now. 

Next I added a 1931 Passenger list.

Next I added a 1922 passenger list.

Next I added the 1892 New York State census.

Then I added a 1929 passenger list.

There are still 390,588 results but I am really interested in finding that 1860 census, so I click Census and get 31, 077 results.  Narrowing down further to the 1860 I get 17, 835 results. Narrowing to the US Federal 1860 census is 961 results. I find him partway down the first page of results as "Willie G"

Now an overall search gives 389, 627 results. I have Smart Filtering on, which basically means that once I add for example the 1870 US census it will exclude all other 1870 US census results since he should appear only once.

I added a 1913 passenger list.

If I narrow the search to All School, Directories etc there are 127, 550 entries.

I add a 1909 city directory.

I added a 1926 passenger list.

With 29 records now attached, and search results showing 389, 624 more possible records, but no way to remove obviously not right ones,  I am beginning to run out of steam.

I add a 1903 city directory.

I attached a Wills and Probate record.

I decide to stop with 31 records added and a search list of 389, 622 not dealt with.  Do I believe that there are no other valid records in those 389, 622? No, I believe there are but there is no big mystery to solve and no need to spend the time at this point.

Bottom line here is there were 13 hints and I added a total of 39 sources.  One hint was not a valid match.  Since I had 4 record attached when I started and am not sure, lets give the hints system the benefit of the doubt and say they would all have shown as hints, that 16 hints out of a possible 39.

The hints given provided a cause of death, a burial location, and a death date.

Other notes:

At Geni, they suggested 5 Record Matches.  I rejected one that was from England, and accepted the 1900 US census,  I then accepted the 1860, 1870 and 1880 US census.

New FTDNA Family Matching

FTDNA recently announced they have a new Family Matching tool.

At first look, I have 1448 matches at FTDNA.  180 Maternal and 394 Paternal. A few things I noticed: My maternal half sister Sandra does not have a tree.  My first cousin once removed Samuel does not have a tree.  My maternal grandfather and his sister do not have trees.  I think this may be hindering FTDNA's ability to assign matches as Maternal.  

On a side note, I updated my contact info which was out of date.  If I ever get a close match and for some reason do not notice I would certainly want FTDNA to be able to contact me!

I linked Sandra, and added and linked Tiffany and Samuel.

Working with the Family Trees is not ideal.  I was unable to delete a person I accidentally added twice.  The tool bar at the top is in the way of where I figure the confirm I wish to delete button is.

From the FTDNA description it is clear that the Maternal/Paternal tabs are only activated when you have linked to a maternal or paternal matches in your FTDNA Family Tree.  This is likely true, but the description makes it sound like the tabs will be immediately available which does not seem to be the case. After linking 2 half siblings and a 1st cousin once removed and waiting 24 hrs nothing had changed.

The question here is how is FTDNA determining whether a match is maternal or paternal? It is not a straight-forward in common with for a tested parent.  It is not strictly based on if/where they are linked into your tree either.  They have apparently devised their own system of how to assign matches as paternal or maternal based on matching on the same segment for a segment over a certain size.

The FTDNA website has more info on the new tool here.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Geni DNA Matching - My Personal Experience - Update

I now have 23 DNA matches at Geni. As I mentioned in my first post on this, 9 are people who I requested to test. In my last post I had 14 matches so there are 9 new matches.

I am surprised that so many people who have uploaded DNA are not attached to the WFT initially. Of the 14 matches so far (not counting known relatives I asked to test) 1 has a known path which explains the DNA match.

New matches:

.Megibben: He is a match at FTDNA on chromosome 9. Initially he was not connected to the Geni WFT. He also matches my father and paternal grandmother Jean. After some merges, Megibben is in the WFT and Geni reports they are my 16th cousin thrice removed, but the path is through my maternal grandfather Lewis not my paternal grandmother Jean. Some additional merges and Geni now reports that he is my 15th cousin twice removed. This new path is still through my materal grandfather.

Janet A: Initially she was not connected to the WFT. She also matches Brandon and Sam Knox.

Melody H: Initially she was not connected to the WFT. She matches me on chromosome 2. She is also a match to my maternal half siblings Brandon and Tiffany and our maternal grandfather Lewis.

Clifford W:  On my first request, Geni could find no path, although Clifford is connected to the WFT.  Clifford is a match to me, my father and my paternal grandmother Jean Mulligan in a segment of chromosome 8.

Marion: The first path Geni gives me is she is my 4th cousin 8 times removed wife's first cousin 6 times removed. Well, that clearly isn't the explanation of the DNA match! So far I have not found Marion at FTDNA.   She does not show a match to my father, or any of my tested maternal relatives.  So, in theory, she is related through my maternal grandmother Doreen. I added a bit to Marion's tree at Geni, but didn't see any better paths.

Pamela F: Initially not connected to the WFT at Geni.

C. Y.:  This user came at my invite after we matched at AncestryDNA.  She is my 5th cousin once removed.

Ronald G: At FTDNA matches me on chromosome 17.  Geni reports he is my 11th cousin twice removed.

Steve I.: Initially not connected to WFT at Geni. Geni reports that Steve also has matches with my father and my paternal grandmother Jean. FTDNA reports a match on chromosome 20.

A review of the first 5 matches:

Bradley: I can see at FTDNA we match on chromosome 14.  There is a path that shows him to be my 12th cousin 6 times removed.  This path goes though my father (good as he also matches Bradley) and my paternal grandfather (not good because Bradley also matches my paternal grandmother in that same segment of chromosome 14). The path goes through Bradley's mother (not good as I do not also match her).  I switch Geni's relationship path setting to find relationships to my paternal grandmother Jean and search for a path between Jean and Bradley's father David, and find they are 21st cousins once removed. Not related to the DNA match, David is apparently my 18th cousin thrice removed on my mothers side. My conclusion here is that either Jean or David's or both Jean and David's tree at Geni is missing their true common ancestor. Time for some research!  The first thing I usually do is to add the people to my tree, and look for source records.  I also like to run an Ancestor Chart at History Link for both people, and see what locations might be in common.  A bit of research turned up a set of parents linked to Margaret Slater who married William Quigley/Tweedley to be incorrect. After severing this incorrect link, I reran the relationship paths. There is now no known blood path between Jean and David.  There are some ancestors of David who are from Liverpool, England.  Jean has Joseph Herrington Townsend from Liverpool, England.  Unfortunately, he is a brick wall for now.

Roberta and Michael: Since they are full siblings I will work with just Michael. He matches all 3 of my maternal half siblings, but does not match my maternal grandfather.  Therefore we likely need to look for a connection between Michael and my maternal grandmother Doreen Knox.  There is a suggested path making them my 14th cousins once removed but although this path is through my mother it is also through my maternal grandfather who is not also a match. According to the chromosome browser at FTDNA this match is on chromosome 10. Rerunning the path to find a path between Doreen and Michael finds no blood path.  There is probably a connection back in Ireland somewhere.

Shawna: Shawna is adopted with an unknown birth father.  We match in a segment of chromosome 16, where she also matches my father and paternal grandmother Jean. She also matches with Samuel Knox, my 1st cousin once removed in an unrelated segment.  Her tree at Geni was not yet connected to the World Family Tree so there were no paths to explore.

Becky: We match in a small segment of chromosome 21.  She also matches my father and paternal grandmother Jean in that segment.  We are 11th cousins once removed but the path is through my mother so does not explain the DNA match.

Sunday, July 3, 2016 World Indexing Event is a great resource for FREE genealogy records. Indexing is easy and fun with the indexing software they provide. 

In the 72 hrs from Jul 15th to Jul 17th they are looking for 72,000 people to help create searchable historical records. Click here to say you will be participating and then spread the word using #TheWorldsRecords !