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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in genealogy intro (33)

Tuesday
Oct292013

Daughters of the American Revolution Take 2: Saratoga

A few years ago I blogged that I was joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. For whatever reason it just didn't happen in Brooklyn. Now that we're living in Saratoga County- it's happening! Today I met with the chapter registrar and she was delightful. With my worksheet almost fully filled out, I just need to work on getting full documentation on my parents and my paternal grandparents (birth, marriage, death certificates).  I need to do this! I want to check this off my list and finally become a member of this prestigious group. For myself and my girls! My daughters are more fuel to the fire.

My American Patriot is Lieut. Samuel Merrill of MA. He settled in what is now Maine, specifically Salmon Falls, Saco, York Co Maine. More to be shared on him and his property.

Feeling very excited and motivated!

Wednesday
May092012

Genetic Ethnicity from my Ancestry.com DNA Analysis

Wow, it's been awhile since my last post! April was a very busy and celebratory month filled with baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthdays, and bridal parties. With all the big changes quickly approaching (twin baby girls due late July) my posts will probably become a bit sporadic, but I will not give it up!

I first shared my interest in Ancestry.com's new venture in DNA testing for genealogical research a few months ago, read my post and reader comments. At the end of November I swabbed my cheek and sent my DNA sample to Ancestry.com. Just 4 months later I was SUPER excited when I finally got the email notification that my test results were available. Since Ancestry DNA is still in it's Beta stage, there are disclaimers that results may not be as accurate as possible at first. They warn me that as more samples are processed and more samples are added to the database, results will become more accurate. This might be due to under or over representation of certain ethnicities.

How is ethnicity determined?

From ancestry.com-

"Your genetic ethnicity is a prediction of your ethnic background. We take segments of your DNA and compare them to our ethnicity database, which contains one of the most comprehensive collections of DNA samples from people around the world. We group individuals with a well-established family history in a given place (British Isles for example) and then compare your DNA to each unique group in order to identify overlap. And as our database continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.

DNA changes slightly with each generation, and over time any group of people that are relatively isolated (by geography or culture) develop unique genetic signatures that we can look for. It’s this aspect of DNA that makes our ethnicity predictions all possible.

We expect that over time, as the science continues to evolve, we'll be able to show more granular ethnic regions—even regions within a specific country."

I do wish they had the ability to break it down into specific country, but I understand how challenging that is with constantly changing borders! A big mystery I'm looking to solve in my family tree is the birth place of my great grandparents who are from Galicia, a region within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They might be from Poland, Hungry, or Austria.

Anyways, back to my results. They found my genetic ethnicity to be 44% Eastern European, 41% British Isles, and 15% Scandinavian (BIG surprise there). I expected the eastern european/british split (mother's side/father's side), but I have no idea where the Scandinavian comes from. I also expected some German in there, from census records I've found my ggg grandfather Jacob Grimm would have been born in Germany and so were both of his parents. TBD!

This is how my results are displayed:

Did you participate in Ancestry.com's DNA project? Do you have an interest in DNA testing for genealogy? I'd love to hear from you! I am VERY novice when it comes to DNA and genealogy, but I want to learn more! 

Friday
Apr062012

How to Search the 1940 Census Online at the National Archives

This has been a very exciting week in the genealogy community with the release of the 1940 census. It's still a little early for you to be able to search for your ancestors by name, websites are working to get states up with a searchable name index asap. For now, I've had the best results using the Enumeration District information with the National Archives. Want to learn how?

 

 Search By Location

Do you know the street where the person you are looking for lived in 1940? If so, you can search by location. Simply enter their State, County, City, and Street. If it's a long street split into numerous districts, you will have the ability to enter a cross street to narrow your search results. What you'll get after you search is 1 or more census schedules that street can be found in. If you're looking at a residential street in a smaller city, the better you're chances you'll only have 1 census schedule to search through. The longer the street, the bigger the city= more census schedule results.

 

 

Search by Enumeration District

If you have the 1930 census record of the person you are searching for in 1940, pull up their census page and in the upper right hand corner you will find their Enumeration District. The National Archives has this great tool that will figure out the 1940 Enumeration District from the 1930 Enumeration District you entered. So easy! Same thing as before, you might wind up with a few different census schedules to search through. I really didn't have much trouble with this issue though. If you are using the 1930 district number, don't forget to click on the 1930 tab!

Here I searched with the 1930 Enumeration District from East Orange, New Jersey 7-402. My result is a corresponding 1940 map of the district, 2 census schedule descriptions, and 2 census schedules.

The map will show me a map of the city of East Orange in 1940. The descriptions will detail the boundaries of each census schedule. The census schedules are the actual pages of the census where I might find my family! What I usually do is open a new tab with the street address of the house I am searching for. I then click on the census schedule and start checking the addresses from the census to the map of my address. I then kind of walk with the census taker, going page by page through the census schedule, checking the streets they hit to and follow their path to my intended street.

Remember, they will sometimes do blocks and jump from street to street or work only on one side of the street. So don't be worried if you see the street you're looking for but not your house number. Keep going! They will come back to it. And don't be intimidate when it says 38 pages or something like that, it goes surprisingly quick! When I find the house and family I'm looking for it feels SO good! You feel like a detective who just solved a mystery.

Where do I see the street/address on a census?

Just in case you're not quite sure where you find the street and address on a census. Look on the left hand side of the census and you'll see the street name written vertically in the left hand column. If you don't see the street name written, you might want to check the pages surrounding your page to find it. Sometimes if it's a long street they don't write it on every single page.

 Good Luck!!! And if you don't know where your family lived in 1930 or 1940, just give it a little time and you'll be able to search for them by name in the 1940 census. 

Questions? Comments? Happy Friday!!!

Saturday
Mar312012

Only 2 more days!

Are you ready for the 1940 census?! The details of the 16th United States Census will be revealed for the first time Monday April 2, 2012! Thats just 2 days away!

This great video is from the National Archives. To learn a little more about the 1940 census, read my previous post!