In the presentation I am giving next Wednesday evening at the Scarborough Museum on “Social Networking for Genealogy,” I emphasize the importance of connections. Connections with people and connecting with cousins are among the best. A cousin, who is into genealogy, cares about the accuracy of your family tree, particularly at your shared ancestor and beyond. They may also have researched areas that you haven’t and can provide great insight into potential sources and facts. I tentatively accept a lot of information from cousins; however, I flag the source and know that I need to try to find original documents to replace my tentative source as having come through someone else’s research.
An example of this is my cousin Dawn M. Through Ancestry.Com’s DNA test I had a match with a 4th to 6th cousin, Dawn M. (Not to be confused with my 1st cousin, Dawn M.) First, through Ancestry’s “Send Message,” then through direct emails, we quickly learned that our first common ancestors are Henry and Marion (Sanford) Brown. They are 2nd great-grandparents to both of us, thus making us 3rd cousins. According to Ancestry.Com, Dawn M. and I share 29.9 centimorgans across 4 DNA segments. It is really interesting to note that my half-sister, Glennis, and Dawn M. share more than double the DNA, 77 centimorgans across 5 DNA segments and is predicted by Ancestry to be 3rd cousins. Seeing that difference in shared DNA between Dawn M. and Glennis compared to between Dawn M. and me reinforces the importance of testing siblings as well to better identify DNA connections and improve the odds of finding the best possible matches. In this case, I almost didn’t pursue contacting with Dawn M because the suggested match was so distant (4th to 6th cousins).
I shared my tree on Ancestry.Com with Dawn and she shared a genealogy file she works with. It was 276 pages of information. Nearly overwhelming – No it was overwhelming. I decided to analyze her material based upon surnames. The first surname we matched alphabetically was “Appleton.” Samuel Appleton, Esq. and his wife Hannah are our 10th great-grandparents.
I had a lot of information she didn’t have, much of it from Chandler Wolcott’s book, The Family of HENRY WOLCOTT published in 1912. What is really good about that source is that it is available through the Internet Archive (a key genealogical research tool). Anyway, I sent her a link to the book and sent her an extract of the appropriate pages. Her information included the names and relationships for four 11th, four 12th, and two 13th great-grandparents. Just learning the names and potential sources for the information is huge and is a great beginning. Learning the probable names of 10 new ancestors is always a good day.
|8 new ancestors thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn.|
Altogether, just the Appleton section (15 of 276 pages) provided details, which I didn’t have before, on 25 individuals. As slow as I am, (I like to think of myself as thorough instead of slow) this is several days of verification and validation research, thirteen of which are direct ancestors.
|2 new ancestor names
thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn
In all the Appleton material, there were only two minor items that were in conflict with what I have. Both these conflicts give me additional research areas so I can double or triple verify my interpretations of other sources. If I still disagree with Dawn M.’s assessment, then I’ll let her know my thoughts and why.
Thanks to DNA Testing, I found a third cousin, Dawn M. Thanks to communications with her I was able to assess that her unpublished tree. Thanks to that assessment, I have tentatively added twenty-five new ancestors. Yes, social networking can provide amazing results. Five percent done, only 95% to go.