Genealogy and Diversity

I have had two work projects where I have been able to combine by hobby (and passion) of genealogy with my career (and love) of Meteorology.  One project was a year ago where I used genealogy investigation skills and resources to identify fatalities or survivors of historical Pacific NW tornadoes. The second project was very recently, when I was asked to answer a few questions on how genealogy relates to diversity on video.  My friend (a fellow employee with the National Weather Service), Brooke Bingaman edited this lovely video of me and a fellow Meteorologist/genealogist, Ken Waters. Ken is a genealogy blogger too.

What do you think genealogy can teach us about diversity? Please provide your ideas in the comments.

Using Ancestry Stars to Distinguish DNA Matches

StarTitleImagepsd
My recent Mirror Tree obsession has made me realize that having a consistent method of organizing Ancestry DNA matches is key for finding the most elusive ancestors.  Are you overwhelmed by the hundreds of ‘4th cousin or closer’ Ancestry DNA matches, and not sure what to do with them?   Have you been struggling with how to identify which of your Ancestry DNA cousin matches make good Mirror Tree candidates? Using the Ancestry stars to distinguish your DNA Matches may help you maneuver around these common DNA challenges. Continue reading Using Ancestry Stars to Distinguish DNA Matches

Mirror Trees Really Do Work

I gave compelling evidence in The Biological Father of my Foundling Ancestor that William Norsworthy Gordon is my great grandfather.  A living direct descendant of  William N. Gordon agreed to take a DNA test, and the results have arrived. The descendant is a granddaughter of William Norsworthy, and if my theory is correct, her father would be my grandfather’s half-brother.  Her DNA matched 306 centiMorgans (cM) and 22 segments with my mother. According to Blaine Bettinger’s shared cM relationship chart (see below), this DNA match fits in the 1st to 2nd cousin range. This is the range that I expected, and proves that I really have found my biological great- grandfather, and that  mirror trees really do work. Continue reading Mirror Trees Really Do Work

I Have Created a Mirror Tree, Now What?

MirrorTree Part 2

The real work with mirror trees is not in creating them, but what you do with them once they are created. If you have created a mirror tree, and do not know how to use it to discover those hard-to-find family members, then you are at the right blog. Continue reading I Have Created a Mirror Tree, Now What?

How to build a Mirror Tree

Mirror Tree Blog Post1

After exploring mirror trees with the main roadblock of my family tree (my foundling grandfather), I now have a better understanding  of what a mirror tree is, and how useful it can be  for revealing ancestors that left incomplete paper trails. Mirror trees offer a method for organizing genetic DNA matches to help those with unknown ancestors (adoptees, orphans and foundlings) identify biological ancestors.

Here are  five steps to create a mirror tree:

Continue reading How to build a Mirror Tree

The biological father of my foundling ancestor?

I think I have found the biological father of my grandfather, Dwight Willard, who was abandoned as a newborn at a charitable orphanage organization in San Francisco in 1920. The man I believe to be my Great Grandfather is William Norsworthy Gordon, son of Robert Edward Gordon and Emma Norsworthy.  He was born in Texas which is where all of his siblings and ancestors remained, but uncanny circumstances brought him to California when he was a young boy. Continue reading The biological father of my foundling ancestor?

Are we related?

Family Search just released a new website, www.RelativeFinder.org that allows you to see if people in your surrounding area are related to you.  I used it this past week at RootsTech, the world’s largest genealogy conference, and saw that there were distant cousins of mine in the same room as me, or  across the street, or down the hall.  It was really fun to see my family tree in action.  Not only can you see cousins in the area, but it will show you how you are related.

Continue reading Are we related?

Roots

 

Treelight

“Roots” by Heidi Renee Mason

Deeply embedded

Inside the earth,

Twisting, turning

In every direction;

The source,

The beginning,

The origin of all;

Firmly established,

Gripping tightly,

Anchored,

Securing our existence;

A network of viability,

Our roots

Yield

The genesis of life.

Clues into Frank McCourtney’s Mysterious Past

Resting spot for Frank L McCourtney at Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Photo taken March 2016.
Resting spot for Frank L McCourtney at Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Photo taken March 2016.

Frank L McCourtney is one of the most mysterious ancestors that I have researched in a long time. His name came up at a dinner conversation last Christmas, when my Uncle in Law commented that he knew very little about his grandfather, Frank. My uncle had done his own genealogical research into his grandfather, but could not find who his parents were.  Further conversations with other family members about Frank McCourtney made him even more intriguing.  This man did not speak of his past much, at least with his grandchildren, and the varying stories that they had of his youth inspired me to want to find factual sources to get the story straight. Continue reading Clues into Frank McCourtney’s Mysterious Past

Giving back to Find A Grave

Tombstone of Verna May Smith (1895-1929). Photo taken in the Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon on March 1st, 2016.
Tombstone of Verna May Smith (1895-1929). Photo taken in the Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon on March 1st, 2016.

Almost all of my genealogical research has been for ancestors that live in other states than my current state. I recently began working on my husband’s lineage, and was happy to discover that he has a lot of roots in and near where we live in Vancouver, Washington. Since today is #TombstoneTuesday, I decided to visit his great grandparents burial site at the Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, snap a few photos, and make my first submission to the Find A Grave website. Continue reading Giving back to Find A Grave