Cousin Dawn & the Appleton Ancestors

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.

Social Networking & Mother-in-Law’s atDNA Results

Social Networking

I was out of town last week for personal business and didn’t have a chance to do any genealogical activity while gone.  I’m back now and am putting the final touches on my Social Networking for Genealogy presentation which I give this Saturday to the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society (GPS-MGS).  See https://www.facebook.com/events/1613563462253782/ for details. 
I decided to add a couple slides regarding Family Me and We Relate because both of them focus on sharing your family tree and then incorporating a Social Media element in order to allow for collaboration. Once I’ve given the presentation at the GPC-MGS, I’ll try my hand at recording a voice-over and making it a “canned” presentation and then posting it to my website. 

atDNA Results

This week I received the results from Ancestry DNA for my mother-in-law’s atDNA test. The good news is my wife is genetically her daughter so she isn’t a hospital changling/mix-up.  (We never thought she was.) Not many surprises. 

 ANCESTRY atDNA Results

Mother
Daughter
As I look at the results, they kind of imply that my wife father’s line was predominately from Ireland.  Because of the way Ancestry groups ethnicity, it still makes sense because “Ireland” includes not only all of Ireland, but also includes the rest of the United Kingdom. There is a heavy overlap with Wales and Scotland, which is where her father’s people were reportedly from.
It also interesting to note that most of my wife’s matches do not match with people her mother matches with, so the matches my wife has must relate through her father’s DNA.  Lots more about the matches once I can get to working that project. Again, more paternal matches makes sense because my mother-in-law’s ancestors tended to have smaller families than my father-in-law’s family did.

Finally, when I have time, I’ll export my mother-in-law’s Ancestry raw data  and import it into GEDMatch and see what connections I can find through them. GEDMatch is a great service, one that I highly recommend.  
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Social Networking for Genealogy

Title slide for
Social Networking for Genealogists
I’ll be giving a presentation on “Social Networking for Genealogy” to the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society on August 1. This will be the first presentation I have done since moving from Smyrna last year; I am really looking forward to it.
I attended a “Social Networking” presentation a couple years ago (in Georgia) and felt that I could do a much better job than that speaker did. The biggest issue that I had with that presentation was that the speaker talked about his family tree excessively and he didn’t tie his findings to social networking. In other words, he didn’t keep to the topic – an issue I often have with speakers. Anyway, I’ll be talking about some techniques I use and will speak of some of my social networking successes. I will stay on topic and, hopefully, people will enjoy the talk.
I’ll probably post my slides to “Social Networking for Genealogists,” my Pinterest board sometime after the presentation.
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