Ancestry’s ThruLines

By Don Taylor

One of the many huge announcements made at Roots Tech was Ancestry unveiling of ThruLinestm. Many bloggers have been writing about it, and I thought I’d see what it can do for me and the DNA Kits that I manage on Ancestry.

Immediately upon entering  AncestryDNA®, you now see ThruLines as the right-hand block which used to house DNA Circles.  There is a link in the block to restore DNA Circles if you wish, but I wanted to Explore ThruLines.

ThruLines then presents a block of my ancestors, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., all the way to my 5th great-grandparents. (About the limit of what Autosomal DNA results can predict relationship at.)

As I clicked on my parents, ThruLines presented my half siblings for whom I’ve known about for several years now. The same thing was true when I looked at my grandparents’ entries. Looking at my great-grandparents, Hugh and Clora Scott Robert’s ThruLines yielded a 2nd cousin that I’ve corresponded with before.

Clicking on the 2 down block opens up the names of two individuals from Beth’s tree.

When I looked at my Great Grandparents, Joel Clinton and Marada Alice (Lister) Barnes, the power of ThruLines came alive. Two new lines showed. It showed my paternal grandmother had two sisters — one a half great-aunt to me the other a great-aunt. I had known about Essie’s sisters, Flora and Mabel, but hadn’t traced their descendants down. ThruLines provided links to a half 2nd cousin 1x removed (Beth) and to another 2nd cousin 1x removed (JK). In both cases, I know about their grandparents (Flora & Mable) but I didn’t have descendants for either Flora or Mable. The first one, “Beth” had a tree that provided names, dates, and relationships.  That line should be easy to replicate with sources. The second person, cousin “JK,” had two “Private” individuals between her and my great-aunt Mabel.  I should be able to follow Mable’s descendants to that cousin fairly quickly also. However, because ThruLines shows JK’s mother and grandfather are the pathway to her great-grandmother Mable, JK’s line is clear enough to provide information to be able to ask clear and concise questions regarding JK’s ancestors.

Continuing to look at my great-grandfather Arthur Durwood Brown, I found seven DNA cousins with whom I share Art Brown as a common ancestor. Two of the seven were new to me. That is to say, I knew they were DNA cousins before, but I didn’t know exactly how they were related.  Thanks to ThruLines, it is clear.

One problem I do see with ThruLines is that it relies entirely upon individual’s trees.  That is to say, if someone has a mistake, the mistake takes shape and form throughout the system. As an example, I believe my 2nd great grandfather is William Henry Brown, but many others think that Arthur Durwood Brown’s father was Henry “Mack” Brown. ThruLines won’t show anyone who believes that Henry “Mack” Brown might be the common ancestor because he doesn’t show as an ancestor in my tree. So, if your tree is right, ThruLines will confirm your tree. But if your tree is wrong, then ThruLines will confirm your tree with the wrong trees of someone else.  I think it is a dangerous path to follow.

So, it is essential for you to do your own research to validate any “hints” you receive from anyone and  ThruLines is no exception to that rule. Consider what ThruLine provides as a hint and you’ll be okay.  I like ThruLines much better than I liked DNA Circles. It will be more useful in helping me to quickly develop width to my tree, something that is important in understanding DNA match results.

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NIGS & “Google for the Wise Genealogist”

It has been a busy week.  Among many other things, I’ve been catching up on my genealogical education and training. I finished up and tested in the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGSonlinene course, “Google for the Wise Genealogist.” (Got a 97.5%) It was a free course, apparently intended to have potential students learn what lessons with them might be like.

The sample offering was on a topic that I already know much about – Google.  I use Google in so many ways in my genealogy. Besides the obvious uses of Google Search and Google Maps, I use Google Drive and often create documents, spreadsheets, and other items in Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc. Basically, if I am planning on sharing a document, I use Google. I don’t use Google Scholar as much as I probably should. I have a Google Blog (Blogger web site), D. Taylor’s Food & Travel. Additionally, my genealogy blog (Don Taylor Genealogy) began life as a Blogger blog until I migrated the information to a WordPress site. I don’t use Google Patents Search as much as I should. I did find where my wife’s father patented several things but didn’t find where my grandfather supposedly patented some fishing items. (Family Oral History indicates that he patented a fishing lure.)  Anyway, I think I use Google Patents when I should as the need arises.

I think NIGS did a good job going over all of the Google tools that exist and highlighted uses that genealogists would actually find Google useful for.  The course had assignments and a final test to show understanding and competency in the material presented.

The “Google for the Wise Genealogist” course is one of the elective courses that can be used in pursuit of a Certificate in Genealogical Studies. Such a certificate requires nine compulsory basic courses, nine compulsory intermediate courses, ten required advanced courses, plus 12 elective courses. Receiving their top (American) certificate takes 40 classes.  At between $71.25 (one-time payment for all) to $89.00 per class (one at a time), the total cost to receive the “American Certificate in Genealogical Studies” runs between $2,850 and $3,560.

That said, NIGS has many other certificates, such as “Librarianship” and “Methodology” you can achieve along the way.  The real key to NIGS Courses is to know what you want. Are you looking for a certificate?  If so, this might be a way to receive one.  On the other hand, if you are looking for training and experience in a particular area of study, such as Probate Records or Military Records, taking individual, specific classes might be useful in your studies.

Logo of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium I’m still behind in my genealogy training goal, but I should catch up in April when I attend the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) conference.  I’m signed up for sessions every period of the conference from the time I arrive to when I expect to leave. Also, I’m an “official blogger,” so I’ll be blogging about my experiences, doing a couple interviews, and taking some pictures. It should be grand.

Family Search’s “Watch” & Barbara Bertha Trumpi

Darling/Huber/Trümpi

Family Search Watch

Family Search is one of my favorite genealogical websites. They have many great features, but one of my favorites is their “Watch” function. It is simple but really powerful.

Click “Watch”.

Family Search uses a universal tree. That is to say, everyone with a FamilySearch account sees the same tree (except for living individuals you created). Some people don’t like that feature because it means you do not have complete control over your tree. But once you have a person in the tree, you can watch that individual and be informed of any changes that occur with that person.  Those changes can provide import clues for your own research and can suggest contacts clearly interested in the same individuals as you are.

One of my problem research areas has been my wife’s great-grandmother Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber and her parents [Bernhard and Bertha (Koch) Trümpi]. Little more than their names were in the tree when I began watching each of them. Over the past few months, another researcher has added several children to the couple that I didn’t know about, a second wife, who I knew about but didn’t have a name for, and Bernhard’s parents’ names. Wow!

Now, I don’t accept that new information at face value; but I consider it as clues to other facts, which I can investigate. In this case, the researcher suggested four new siblings for Bertha:

  • New Brother: Heinrich (1886-1914)  Potential –
  • New Sister: Barbara (1888-____)    Probably a mistake (same name as Bertha Barbara)
  • New Brother: Bernhard (1891-1961) Potential.
  • New Sister: Emma (1901-1901) Potential.

The entries also confirmed information I have about Bertha, Frieda, August, and Ernst.

It also suggested a first wife for Bertha’s father, Bernhard was Regula Stüssi and seven children for Bernhard and Regula. Following the Family Search additions, it seems that

Bernhard Trümpi married Regula Staüsi in 1867. They had seven children, four of whom died as infants. Regula died in 1882 and Bernhard married Bertha Koch in 1883. Although Regula was only two years younger than Bernhard, Bertha was 19 years younger. Now the family oral history which said that Bertha Barbara came from a large family makes sense. I had her with six siblings, with the addition of new family members she may have had 15 siblings, 11 of which live to adulthood. That would be a large family.

Finally, the researcher suggested that Bernhard’s father was Bernard and his mother was Anna Maria Oertli. That knowledge opens an entirely new avenue of research.

That which I thought was a brick wall now has many new holes for me to pick at and find a way through. Thanks to the “Watch” feature of Family Search I circle around and have a new direction for my research. If you aren’t using the Family Search “Watch” feature, I highly recommend you do so.

Genealogical Education – RootsTech

High on my list of things to do is to spend a least one hour a week improving my genealogical knowledge through regular webinars, seminars, and workshops. One of the easiest and best ways for me to keep up with this is to watch RootsTech presentations. RootsTech is arguably the best Genealogical Conference there is and their presenters are top notch. I would really like to go sometime but Salt Lake City is difficult for me to get to, especially in February and March. Maybe next year. In the meantime, many of last year’s presentations are available to watch for free on the RootTech website.

RootsTech speaker Devin Ashby.

I use FamilySearch.org nearly daily, so I skipped over a presentation by Devin Ashby, “FamilySearch.org – 10 Easy Tricks” a couple of times thinking it would be a little too basic for my needs. Wow, I was so wrong. I was familiar with getting an account, using the search features, and understand the shared family tree, but I hadn’t paid much attention to the Memories section and how easy it is to post material, particularly photos, to FamilySearch. I also learned that the indexing process had changed significantly since I last did it several years ago.

The presentation got me to thinking. I’ve been concerned that much of my genealogical work will be lost when I pass and my blog ceases to be. I know much of it will be available in the “WayBack” machine for years, but it would be better to have much of my research in a permanent location. I know that Family Search is serious about genealogy and will never go away (like a company can).  As such, I’ve decided to make FamilySearch a repository for my research. As I continue with my research, I will post stories to my blog as always, but I will also post an abbreviated version of my stories to FamilySearch. Along with the story, I will post any photos that I own or are out of copyright associated with the story. I think this will be an excellent way to help my research find a permanent archival home.

I have also created a task to bring some of my past stories to Family Search as well. I know the stories are in my trees on Ancestry, but I’ve had enough trouble with tree synchronization that I’m not going to rely on Ancestry any longer. I currently have two trees that won’t synchronize and am just frustrated with the process.

I recommend, if you haven’t seen it, to watch the Devin Ashby’s presentation. Learn more about the features FamilySearch has that can enhance your trees and make your archive capabilities better, faster, and cheaper.  And try, like I do, taking an hour a week for genealogical training and education.

Keep on learning,
Don Taylor

 

Review – DNA Painter

Tech Tuesday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Last fall, Blaine Bettinger mentioned in his Facebook group, “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” an introduction video was available on YouTube for DNA Painter. I respect Blaine’s opinions, so I knew that I wanted to give it a try. It took a while for me to get to it and I’m glad I finally did. Wow, great program.

DNA Painter helps you understand exactly where your DNA came from. With it you can determine if a segment of your DNA you have may have come from your great grandmother on your maternal grandmother’s side or from another ancestor.  You can paint with common DNA information from GEDMatch, Family Finder (Family Tree DNA), or 23&Me. Sadly, Ancestry doesn’t provide DNA segment matching data, so it can’t be used. However, the raw data from Ancestry may be exported by the DNA owner and then imported into GEDMatch or Family Finder where you may export the data for use in DNA Painter.


The DNA Painter video was great. I only needed to watch it once and I was confident I understood the tool enough to use it for DNA painting. I was right; the tool is very easy to use.

I am fortunate because I have had my mother tested and I have her results. So, if my mother has a DNA Segment and I have it, I know it came from her. All the other DNA that I received from my biological father, who passed away before autosomal DNA testing became available.

I began doing the DNA painting, copying the data about matching segments of DNA from various cousins. When I looked at the matches from my half-aunt and myself, I could see exactly which DNA segments came from my maternal grandfather (and his ancestors). I compared with a known third cousin and saw which DNA came from our common second great-grandparents.

Image of Note: Chromosome 3 has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Image of Chromosome 3 has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and a one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.

I could see where bits of DNA came from.  In another example, I received a nice 141cM chunk of DNA from my father on Chromosome 3. Based upon other DNA matches, of that fragment of DNA a 21cM piece of it and another 17cM piece of was inherited from Asa Roberts. He also had a sizeable 47cM chunk of DNA inherited from another ancestor that apparently was not Asa. I don’t know who it was yet, but additional samples should show its source. It was fun to do, but I couldn’t see a substantial genealogical reason for doing it. How could I use this tool?

Image of DNA Painter - AHW match on C13
DNA Painter shows three DNA segments match on C. 13 for Glennis.

Then, I thought about my half-sister Glennis, so I started a new profile and began painting her DNA. We share a common mother, so, once again, I was able to copy that information into her profile and have all of her maternal DNA. Then, I could focus entirely on her unknown paternal side.  I began finding any of her biological cousins that do not contain our mom’s DNA. That is when I started to see a pattern.  There were segments that were shared by a common ancestor of multiple individuals. That proved, to me, that these segments were from a common ancestor. Their trees indicated that they shared a known ancestor, so I know that Glennis shares either the same common ancestor or an ancestor of that individual. Furthermore, if the individual is more genetically distant than a second cousin, I know that the descendants below the person’s second great-grandparent cannot be a direct line. That can save me considerable research disproving a potential family line.

DNA Painter is a great tool that can help identify likely genetic ancestors and help identify unlikely descendant lines. I like it.

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DISCLAIMER
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