Monday, October 29, 2012

WWII love letters and a green chest

There is one particular branch of my tree that I often look at longingly...wishing a leaf would sprout...

But, one never did...until now.

On Saturday I clicked on this leaf and it lead me to a public member tree created by a woman who I will call B. B's tree was sparse. Less than 15 names and even fewer birth dates. I find myself intrigued. I spend a few minutes writing down some of the information and take a few minutes more to stare at it.

It seems like a close enough match. No guarantee, but reasonable enough to send a message to B.

I start getting ready for bed (because as usual genealogy sucks me in late at night when I should be sleeping). As I set my alarm I check my email once more and I find a reply from B.

When I got home after a long day on Sunday I sat right down to email B back. In the meantime I have received another email with a few more details. Her information about the person who possibly holds the link between our trees is slim.

I send her what I know, and we go back and forth a few more times. Unable to answer a few of my questions about names, she decides to share all of the information she does have from a death certificate.

There it is. One address solidifies our connection. I hadn't seen it on any census or on any public directory listing. I knew it from an envelope that spent 66 years in a green chest from 1945 until I found it in the attic in 2011.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tree Stats

  • People currently on my tree: 1443 (up from 1430)
  • Records currently attached to my tree: 2503 (up from 2423)
  • People with unattached hints: 1122 (up from 1100)
  • Total number of unattached hints: 3008 (up from 2910)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

AncestryDNA Results

This past week was very long. I ended my Friday with a 3 hour and 15 minute drive that should have taken 2 hours. Needless to say, it was a wonderful surprise to check my email upon arriving at my destination and see that my DNA results were ready! 

I anticipated receiving them sometime in November based on the estimated 4-6 week processing 15 days was much quicker than I expected!

I have been building my family tree for just over 4 years now and the majority of that research has focused on individuals residing in the United States. I can trace many branches back to the 'immigrant ancestor' but that is where I stopped. I haven't yet ventured into a 'world' ancestry membership, but perhaps I will in the future.

Based on the history of my last name, family stories, and my personal research I fully anticipated a very western European slant to my genetic ethnicity...and....well...

That's exactly what I got!

Modern day: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

I couldn't help but laugh when I initially saw the results, because they are so...uniform? I do find the 1% uncertain to be interesting and I hope eventually what that is might be revealed. Like many people I have heard stories about ancestors with various backgrounds - a Native American influence on one side, or a German sounding maiden name on the other.

Throughout this venture I have enjoyed comparing my father's side of the tree with my mother's side. According to these results, the genetic origins of both are rather similar. What I have found most interesting is the vastly different time periods that each side immigrated to the United States.

Based on current knowledge about each side, all of the branches on my mom's side immigrated to the United States well before the American Revolutionary War. In contrast, all of the branches on my dad's side immigrated to the United States shortly before the American Civil War.

Along with DNA results Ancestry also provides historical information about migration patterns into and out of the areas where your ancestors came from. Interestingly enough the two migration periods highlighted match my own ancestor's activities - the 17th and 18th centuries ("the Great Migration") and later, the mid 1800s ("the Great Irish Famine").

Since receiving my results, I have already been contacted by a genetic match who is my 6th cousin! Ancestry has also identified 8 new 4th cousin matches and 1742 individuals who may be my 5th to 8th cousins. This is all very exciting!

Even though this makes perfect sense from a genetic standpoint, I was intrigued that many of the potential matches have vastly different genetic makeups than I do.

It's going to be fun to see how this evolves over time :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

A little bit of rambling.

I took this photo in August while on a road trip home from the beach. Doesn't it look like a small village nestled in the hills of Europe somewhere? It's not. It's Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet. It is a toss up which state I was actually in when I took this photo from the passenger seat. In the short span of a few minutes the road that meanders through this scenic area weaves in and out of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.

It was also on this road trip that a name on a bridge caught my eye. I double checked once I got home and sure enough - named after an ancestor! I find that the little bits of knowledge I have gathered while researching my family history over these last four years pop up quite often in my daily existence.

On another note, it's amazing how quickly the last two months have passed. We had a 30 degree temperature drop overnight and it has been overcast and gray for two days now.

I am looking forward to a lot of life changes from now until the end of the year. One of which will be an abundance of free time to catch up on some of my hobbies including genealogy! It is a treat that I am expecting my DNA results from Ancestry to arrive around the same time my other obligations slow down.

I do love this time of year!