I spent some birthday money getting my mother tested at AncestryDNA. My own ethnic percentages had almost no surprises, so it was kind of, I dunno, boring. Turns out, if a parent gets tested, there are tools that can separate out your own matches so you know which side of your own tree a match is on (it's called "phase matching"). Cool! Also, any new ethnicities that show up in her, I can claim, too, even though they weren't detected in me. Sure enough, she has some "trace" ethnicites that are much more exotic than mine. :-) Plus, she's a whopping 6% Finnish, which is a juicy mystery for me.

I petered out on doing the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. Partly I was dislodged by the shock of learning, through YDNA testing, that my Coffman line never came from German-speaking Kauffmans, as I posted about here. Instead, it was originally Irish Coughlins. My relative's YDNA is a perfect match for a man named Coughlin, and all the men who are a nearly perfect match have Irish surnames. I have still not identified the ancestor(s) who immigrated, but there was a name change involved, and probably a religion change, too. Coughlin is a Catholic name and I see no evidence that any of my Coffmans were Catholic.

Anyway, I've gotten very involved in genetic genealogy, and I volunteered to moderate what FamilyTreeDNA calls a surname project. I am now officially in charge of the Bixby surname project.

And I now make Finnish yoghurt called viili on my kitchen counter every night. :-) What are you finding out?
Just a heads-up in case anyone's interested that findmypast.com is having a Free Weekend from 18-21 Sep.

You do have to register, but it's fairly unintrusive. I've been using the site continually since it first developed out of the old National Burial Index (UK) site. They have records from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, and Australia. They manage to get a few firsts along the way, too, such as being the first to offer the 1911 UK census back in 2010 or whenever that came available. I guess they outbid ancestry for that coup!

Happy hunting!

blueswan: nancy drew silhouette (sometimes I feel like a detective)
([personal profile] blueswan Jul. 21st, 2015 09:32 pm)
Family History and DNA

I'm posting this here, because while some of the community might know all about genealogy and dna tests, I for one didn't know anything about how it might work. This is a 101 level post for people like myself who are vaguely interested but not sure it's for them.

Recently, Ancestry has been able to offer DNA testing in Canada. I debated over doing it because it isn't inexpensive, but finally I decided it would be worthwhile. So I signed up and received my kit in the mail. It's not a simple swab, but a saliva test. (I never realized just how much spit they would need. *g*) I sent the kit off and prepared to wait the possible six to eight weeks the company said it might take. Within two weeks they sent an email to say the test had been received and the day after that to say it was being processed. I received the results less than a week after that.

Ancestry promotes the dna test as insight into discovering your ethnicity. Which is cool and all, and probably attracts people who aren't into geneaolgy. Sound business to tap into a bigger pool of users than they might if they just targeted family history explorers. For me, the big attraction was how they connect your test to your tree and then continually search for other trees with tests attached and seek matches for your results.

So, how did that work out, you might wonder. I learned that my results wouldn't be mirrored by the results of cousins, nieces and nephews, not even siblings. DNA recombines in each new individual so every child has 50% DNA from each parent, but it's unique each throw of the dice. Um, it's more technical that that, but you can find plenty of information explaining, if you feel like googling it.

Okay, here are the results, and I'll start with the ethnicity estimate first.

My test indicates that I'm 97% European. The breakdown is 41% Great Britain, 26% Europe West, 12% Ireland and 6% Scandinavia. (As I said to my friend yesterday, VIKING, YAY!)

There are Trace Regions of 2% for the Caucasus which includes places like Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc. And finally the remaining 1% is for North Africa, which includes places like Morocco, Algeria, Niger and Libya, Egypt and so on.

The Trace regions results are so small, they may or may not be accurate. It's best to just disregard them for now and focus on the larger number. Okay and at 97% I'm not at all surprised. Two of my four grandparent's families came from Switzerland/Germany, and the other two originated in Great Britiain. I assume the 6% Scandinavia is remnant dna markers of the Viking expansion throughout Europe and Great Britain. Maybe.

The cool thing is since I received my results I've been contacted by two distant cousins and have new people to add to my tree. Because of a third contact, I've found an error on my tree which is great, because it's best to get rid of those as soon as possible. Otherwise you run the risk of passing it along or simply wasting years on a dead end. I've also gotten links to 64 new to me fourth cousins or closer. There are also some potential new ancestors and relatives I may have uncovered by taking the DNA test. I havent had time yet to explore those links.

Needless to say this is all pretty exciting. I'm happy with the initial results. Some day maybe those dead ends on my tree will be come to life. I am hoping as more people take the test it will become cheaper and more members of my family will also take it. I've already had a cousin and a nephew approach me taking the test themselves. I don't regret taking the test at all.
blueswan: nancy drew silhouette (sometimes I feel like a detective)
([personal profile] blueswan Jun. 29th, 2015 08:27 pm)
DNA testing is now available in Canada through ancestry.ca. I've been waiting for this for some time so I was pretty excited. I understand it isn't really going to tell me my ethnicity beyond European. (Unless it does, which would be pretty exciting!) I'm hoping it will lead me to distant cousins who are researching some of the same lines I am working on presently.

There is a six to eight week wait for the results. Colour me impatient!
This post is about a woman I really hope prospered. And it's another family mystery with a whiff of scandal. :-)
This weekend we found the letter from 1907 )
I ought to post about a long-lived ancestor, but I couldn't find any that were particularly interesting, so I'm back with the German theme this week. My other German line (I'm assuming it's ultimately German) dead-ends in Pennsylvania with a man named Joseph Kauffman, born in 1765. I simply can't find his parents. I can't find that he was an immigrant, either.

Maybe Pennsylvania DutchRead more... )
I picked this picture to blog about. I call it, "The first three Dan Coffmans."

The man with the baby is my great-grandfather, and the baby is my grandfather. (Hi, wee Grandpa!) They were all named Dan Coffman. The elderly gentleman was my great-grandfather's uncle and namesake. He was an older brother to my great-grandfather's father, Sylvan, and I think he must have been quite close to the family, since not only did his brother name his first son for him, but his son named his own son for him. You might think my grandpa was named for his dad, but his dad quite explicitly named him for his dad's uncle, because he also gave him his uncle's middle name.

Doesn't the elder Dan Coffman look like Col. Sanders? And, as it happens, he did serve in the Civil War, but as a very young man, and he mustered out after four years with no higher rank than Private. However, he then served in the Spanish American War, and was a Colonel then. Heh.

It's often enlightening to think about who is taking the picture, and in this case I think it is Sylvan Coffman, Col. Coffman's younger brother. He is photographing his favorite brother, his son and his grandson, who all have the same name.

The Dan Coffman holding the baby divorced his wife in a time when that wasn't done, and married a woman named Rachel. The story is that he met Rachel after a bank robbery. Rachel was a bank teller and she was locked in the bank vault with the other employees. Dan was the man with the tools who got them all out. He and Rachel had a daughter and they had a musical act with the daughter. They traveled around to places like Elks Lodges and played the banjo and sang. Meanwhile the baby on his lap in the picture and a second child were being raised by his first wife.
This week I am blogging about a Puritan-protesting ancestor named Herodias Long. She was different than what you'd expect in 17th century Puritan country in a lot of ways.
Read more... )
Back before the internet was useful for genealogy research, I was in college with friends who were largely uninterested in genealogy, though I was, and had been since I was a small child. Knowing my interest, one friend, N, mentioned that her grandfather had done a careful recreation of all his lines back to when they weren't in the U.S. anymore. He had printed it up in manuscript form and given a copy to all his grandchildren. She had hers in the back of a closet, and would I like to see it? Yes, of course I would! Read more... )
Last week I blogged about my Irish ancestor who survived the wreck of The Faithful Steward. That was lucky for him, but the 190 or so people who died in that wreck were all Irish -- not the lucky ones, apparently. In fact, when I look at history, "luck" of the Irish seems almost ironic.
Read more... )
There may be good deeds in the lives of many of my distant ancestors, but I don't know about them. So I'm blogging about my grandmother.

Read more... )
My entry for "Love" crosses over nicely with last week's theme "So Far Away." I think, to be cautious, I will leave off the real names of my relatives, since this is a somewhat recent story and is about the parents and grandparents of living cousins.

She stowed away disguised as a sailor )
For this week's topic I'm just going to post my grandmother's poem. She wrote it from memories her own grandmother told her of emigrating from Holland as a little girl with her family. My grandmother's grandmother was Jennie Schreurs.

To Find A Home
By Mildred Bigsby

My grandmother's family
Left the dykes and sea of Holland.
They came by sailing ship to New Orleans
Then took the first riverboat north that spring
To find a new home and a better life.
Sailing up the Mississippi they stared, wide-eyed
At wild animals in the dense woods.
Indians watched the large craft
Steam up the river to Casey's Woodpile.
The far away flat lands looked like Holland
But the high river bluffs were new to them.
Four blocks from the river
They founded the "Young American Flour Mill"
Their son fought in Shiloh in the War Between the States.
When the fighting was done, he walked
Overland to the Mississippi and caught a steamboat north
Back home to his place along the river.

Jennie's brother in the Civil War was Gerrit Jan Schreurs. The night he arrived home to the farm, it was late and he was dirty from traveling, so he slept in the barn. That morning Jennie found him there and woke him with a kiss. He said it was the best wake-up he'd ever had.
There are several relatives I whose birthdays are to mine, but I share a birthday with Madill Hoover who was born 24 Sep 1899. Madill is a fifth cousin once removed. Madill and his family are from the western part of the province, and for years I've tried to find a connection between those Hoovers and my Hoovers. I thought there must be due to one of my dad's stories. In the eighties, he was in that area, sitting on a bench when a older man sat down beside him. After some chitchat, the man asked my dad which of the Wapole Hoovers he was related to. He was positive based on his appearance, that he must be related. I've exhanged letters and emails with a descendant of the original family. We were unable to make a connection.

Finally, I discovered my five times great grandfather Martin, whom I have written about before, was married twice and his oldest son's son David had moved to the Selkirk settlement sometime in the 1840s. I can't connect my Hoovers to the ones who originally settled there in 1800, but to have some connection at all is great. David had four sons and a daughter, all of whom married and raised families in the area. It's kind of cool to think their descendants were still in that area into my lifetime.
My "plowing through" ancestor actually has a bit of a mystery to him. He and his family seem to have changed their name when they emigrated from Wales. And they didn't tell anyone. In fact, of his descendants (and there are many) I and my mom are the only ones who know this, at the moment.

Gad James plowed through Iowa prairie )
Week two didn't happen. I have zero ancestors with any connections named King and none at all connected to royalty.So no week two.

Tough Women )
Blogging here as part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge:

This week's challenge didn't do much for me other than make me learn how to use Family Tree Maker's search function to sort by birth date. In a tree with thousands of people in it, only three shared my birthday. One was the sister of an ancestor so far back I know nothing about him let alone his siblings, the second was only related through marriage, and the third ...

... is my second cousin. Now that's kind of interesting. I was born smack-dab on my second cousin's second birthday. I don't know her, but that side of the family is planning a "cousins reunion" next summer. I hope she'll be there. I will definitely look her up.

So I decided to randomly blog about someone in my tree I've been interested in lately. There are some mysteries in her life, and I've gotten a good deal of help from the people at reddit.com/r/genealogy, but if anyone else wants to help with her, I'll be really grateful.

Juanita Grace Coffman b. 1901 d. 1995 and her daughter Margaret
That flu pandemic was a bitch )