Sunday, December 31, 2017

Genealogy in 2017 & Plans for 2018

Last night, I dreamed my husband's DNA results showed up as him having 31 different ethnicities. 😂

Naturally, his DNA results were in when I woke up this morning (because that's how my dreams work). So I thought I'd write a little round-up of 2017's genealogical progress.

This was the year of really delving into DNA. I know - I haven't stopped yapping about it. Even this morning after my husband's results came in and I said, "I promise to stop geeking out, now," he simply looked at me and said, "You've only just begun."


But I'll start with the most fun I had this year.

The NSGS Conference

I went to my first genealogy conference! It only took twenty-five years. I had such a good time at the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference and I am wicked excited to attend again in 2018 with my good friend (and amazing independent historian), Kassie Nelson.

When I lived back home on the east coast, I used to go to the local Family History Library regularly and that was such a great way to talk about people about genealogy, while researching. I missed that aspect of community when I lived overseas and then settled in Nebraska, so this is my new must-attend event every year (in addition to the geek cons I attend!).

Genealogy Books

I also added to my genealogy library in 2017. The titles I purchased this year include:

The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir by Bill Griffeth (interesting!)

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing & Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger (my favorite genealogy book of the year)

Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger & Debbie Wayne Parker (fantastic follow-up)

Guide to Finding a Loyalist Ancestor in Upper Canada by Lorine McGinnis Schulze (very useful, no-nonsense guide)

The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide by James M. Beidler (because of hubby)

Trace Your German Roots Online by James M. Beidler (because of hubby)

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide by Melanie D. Holtz (for me)

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide by Claire Santry (for us both!)


On to the topic I can't stop talking about this year. Today I was looking at how many tests I've administered and the various results.

In 2006, I took my first DNA test for mtDNA with Family Tree DNA. In 2013, I added the Family Finder. In 2010, I started my ex-husband off with the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests at Family Tree DNA. Both our results have been on GEDMatch for a few years.

This year, I took the Ancestry DNA test. For my ex-husband, I added the Family Finder and expanded his Y-DNA test. I also sent him an Ancestry DNA test.

I sent my father an Ancestry DNA test, followed by a Family Tree DNA test. Finally, I had my husband take an Ancestry test.

In 2018, I hope my father does the FTDNA cheek swab, because I would like to upgrade it for Y-DNA and mtDNA. His maternal line ends in a brick wall.

I also hope to have my husband take the FTDNA Family Finder test in 2018, so I can upgrade it in the future.

Alas, no brick walls were demolished in 2017. Will DNA help with that? I hope so. It's certainly a useful tool for confirming relationships and expanding knowledge of the family!

My 2018 goals are to:

1. Continue working on said brick walls and

2. Find a research buddy. I would like someone with whom I can exchange problems to give and receive a fresh perspective. Are you that person? 😉

Looking forward to reading about everyone else's genealogical goals for the new year!

Genealogy in 2017 & Plans for 2018 -

Copyright (c) 2017 Wendy L. Callahan

Friday, December 8, 2017

Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin

Thanks to DNA, I discovered a "new" cousin. Well, not exactly new, because I knew she existed. However, I had no idea a particular first cousin, twice removed on my father's paternal side was still living. After all, dad's father, and almost all of his great-aunts and great-uncles (except for one) have passed away.

So what were the odds of my paternal grandfather's first cousin still being alive?

Well, one of her four children tested with Ancestry and we were a match. I reached out to him just to introduce myself, because I already knew how we were related based on our family trees. The name was familiar to me and I asked about his parents.

Imagine my surprise when his mother - my grandpa's first cousin - was the person who emailed me! This dear woman is 91-years-old and we have emailed steadily for a few months now, which has been absolutely delightful.

I learned that even though she has four children (my dad's second cousins, all in their sixties, like him), none of them have children. So what did this lovely first cousin, twice removed do recently?

Knowing how passionate I am about genealogy and how keen I am to learn more about the people in our family, particularly those in my great and great-great grandparents generations, she sent me an envelope full of wonderful photographs. Originals for me to keep.

Here are some of the treasures I received from her:

John William Wood: Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin - New England Genealogy
Great-great grandpa, John WIlliam Wood (1874-1928), about 21-years-old here, circa 1895.

John William Wood: Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin - New England Genealogy
Great-great grandpa John William Wood, circa 1928. Born in Manchester, England, married Lulu Lyman in 1897 in Willimantic, Connecticut. Died of Hodgkin;s Disease in Willimantic, Connecticut.

Lulu Gertrude Lyman: Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin - New England Genealogy
Great-great grandma, Lulu Gertrude Lyman (1874-1963), about 16 here, circa 1890.

Lulu Gertrude Lyman: Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin - New England Genealogy
Great-great grandma, Lulu Gertrude Lyman, full body shot, circa 1890. Born in Mansfield, Connecticut. Her second husband was just after her money! Died in Plympton, Massachusetts, cared for my her daughter, my great-grandma.

William Chapman Lyman: Photographic Treasures from a "New" Cousin - New England Genealogy
William Chapman Lyman (1840-1920), father of Lulu, in his G. A. R. hat and medals. He served during the Civil War from 1863-1865, when he received a disability discharge. Born in Bolton, Connecticut and died in Willimantic, Connecticut. 
She also sent several photographs of Wood aunts and uncles, such wonderful things to have. I shared them with my sister, who discovered a love of genealogy this year, and added those I kept to my family album.

DNA has turned up some unexpected and fantastic connections this year. I am looking forward to what the growing databases and new cousin connections may bring in 2018!

Copyright (c) 2017 Wendy L. Callahan