I have always wondered who my natural father was. Being the
illegitimate child of an illegitimate child has always made my perception of
father figures somewhat misty. My mother did not know her father during her
childhood. Her father child-napped her when she was three because he did not
care for how his former girlfriend was raising his daughter. His former
girlfriend (they were never married) sic’d the police on him. After he was
arrested for child-napping and spent prison time for the offense, he did not
try any longer to have a relationship with his daughter. It wasn’t until his
daughter became an adult and pursued a relationship with him that she grew to
know anything about him. They became close in a distant sort of way. Today, he
has passed and she would like to be interned next to him and near his mother
I wasn’t so lucky. My mother has no memory of who my father
was. I was the result of a date rape while she was visiting North Carolina
& South Carolina from Michigan. Certainly there was too much alcohol and
probably some other drug that night. In any event, she has no memory of who was
there that evening. I never had a name, not a first name, nor a last name; just
a pair of question marks. Of course growing up is tough when you don’t know
your father’s name. Even tougher is trying to figure out how to enter
information in forms to get a security clearance.
About five or six years ago, I began seeing ads for Y-DNA. Ways
to find cousins or others that are close genetic matches. I thought, “Well,
maybe the test could tell me some things and give me a starting point to figure
out who my natural father might be. The test started coming down in price and I
decided to go for it.
Being a member of Ancestry.Com I received the most
advertising from them. I did a comparison between them and other services
available at the time and decided to order the Ancestry.Com test
. As I recall
there wasn’t much of a price difference between the 33 and the 46-marker test
so I ordered the 46. (Today’s prices at Ancestry.com are $149 for the 33 marker
and $179 for the 46 marker.) Therefore, back in the fall of 2008 I ordered the
test and waited with anticipation about what this journey might bring.
It seems that I left the best for last of the RootsTech videos (of those I intend to watch).
YouTube Your Family History
By Devin Ashby was extremely good. He spent a short time with background information about You Tube and then gave three ideas for ways to use You Tube. First was an Ancestor Video. Creating a life story for an individual can be wonderful. He does a great job of showing that a video might be much more interesting to family members than the boring trees and charts I love so much. He suggests some possible software applications that can be used to produce your video. He has great ideas, some of which will may the “Aunties Project” I’m working on much better. I think I can also use some of his ideas on some church videos. So his material was very useful.
He talks some about creating a website tour, where you provide sort of a guide to your website. I don’t think that is useful to me right now, but I’ll keep the idea in the back of my mind in the event it does become necessary.
Finally, he talked about creating a channel. He mentioned that having a channel can provide a way to make money from your videos. Of course, he mentions his channel, The Google Genealogist
which looks very good. I’ve subscribed and am looking forward to seeing more of his materials.
As a side note, in the background portion of his talk he mentions the YouTube Symphony
. I had vaguely heard of it but had never seen it. His mention spurred me to looking it up. It is really good. I’m playing it as background as I work and am enjoying it immensely.
In keeping with my goal to watch all of the presentations from this past RootsTech conference I decided to watch GeneTech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems by Nathan Murphy. The presentation was originally given at RootsTech but was re-recorded somewhere else (presumably at Family Search).
Because of my genetic history, I have a substancial interest in YDNA and using it as a tool for research.
Overall, the presentation had good material and was worth watching. He provided good information about various tests and potential reasons to select between Family Tree, Ancestry DNA, and GeneTree.
He also talked about places that allow for free uploads of your data, YSearch, GeneTree and Ancestry.
Nathan’s presentation style was quite stiff. He failed to engage the audience, and was quite apparently reading his material.
That said, most importantly his talk and discussion really made me want to document my DNA experiences. I think they are interesting, so, I plan to document my findings and experiences with both my Y-DNA and my autosomal DNA tests and their results. You will see the story of My DNA interspersed with my other posts.
Last Wednesday I did my first volunteer shift at my local Historical and Genealogical Society. Interesting. I spent a good amount of time in conversation with the Society’s curator and Vice President. Very enlightening. It appears that they have a lot of records and documentations that have never been digitized nor indexed. From a genealogical perspective it appears that there is a lot of really great things that can be done. I’ll be very interested to see what may have been done in the past and what might be done in the future. It appears to me that they may have many newspapers. Stacks and racks of them from many years ago. Certainly, it seems to me that if we could capture images of the births, marriages, & obituaries we’d have a place to start from. Anyone have ideas about what might be a good way to begin?
As I progress in my Genealogy practices I’ve come to realize that I need to use a system to determine the validity of data in my systems. I’m not really happy with the one that comes with my software and was looking for a definitive methodology to grade sources. For example, I find that death certificates are generally poor in assuring the year someone was born. Census records when a person is typically better and draft registrations are probably the most accurate.
When I saw one of the videos from the 2012 RootsTech Conference dealt with “Reputations Systems for Genealogy“I was really excited. Hopefully, the video would give me some great ideas about how to quantify the reputation of various sites and sources.
As you can probably tell from my tone so far, I was disappointed. For nearly the first 20 minutes he points out the reputation features of Amazon eBay, and StackOverflow.com. Then he launches into walk-through of the Yahoo Design Pattern Library. Finally, 51 minutes into the 62 minute talk he finally starts to talk about reputation characteristics of genealogy sites. It was a lot of background for little substance.
At that point he shows new.familysearch.org, which is really a bummer because it isn’t available to the general public. He show how little the site has on reputation of data and provides his recommendations on what it should have. I think it is in bad taste for a Family Search employee to present thing he’d like to see in a Family Search product (even though it isn’t available to the general public). The sad thing is that that the director of development for that product also presented at the conference. Anyway, he does talk briefly about the reputation elements shown on Geni, Fold3, and Ancestry.
The presenter sounded like he was reading from a script; he had little energy and was not entertaining. All-in-all it was one of the worst presentations I’ve seen from the RootsTech Videos. I’d pass on this video.