28 October 2011

Make Your 23andMe Profile Public

     If you join 23andMe in order to connect with cousins, it's important to make sure that they can find you. Because of the way 23andMe is set up, each account's default settings are for full privacy. Many users aren't fully aware of this and may not realize how this will limit their genealogy research. If your account is set to full privacy, your account appears as just one of many private accounts users see when viewing their Relative Finder matches. Unfortunately, this is a sight familiar to 23andMe:

     This is just a small selection of my Relative Finder matches. As you can see, only one of them has allowed me to view their surnames. In order to get any information about these accounts, I have to send an invitation to each one to view their profile see what surnames and locations they have listed. And I can only send five invitations a day. It's tedious and time consuming. It would be much easier and faster if these accounts were public. Even if they don't know their genealogy, I'd be able to see their profile to know that.

     Take a look at how my profile appears to my RF matches:

     On top of what appears here, matches can click on my name to view my entire profile. Or they can stay on this screen and expand my data to see 37 more surnames and 16 more locations. If they see a match, they can request to share DNA. If they don't see an obvious match, they can decide for themselves if they want to move on to someone else. And they don't have to use one of their five invites just to see my list of surnames.

     So, what do you need to do to make your profile public?  It's very simple. On the top menu bar, next to your name, click on "Account" and then "My Profile."  On the left side of the screen, you input information such as your name, location, ancestral names, etc. On the right side of the screen are your privacy controls. Make sure that your name is set to "all 23andMe members." According to the site's FAQs, "You must have your name published in order for other users to search for you by name and invite you to share genomes." The other information is optional, but why wouldn't you want to share you ancestral information? Isn't that the point of doing the DNA test? Once your profile is filled out and public, members can find you in a surname or location search, which can be very helpful with uncommon surnames.

     To make 23andMe work for your genealogy research, fill out your profile completely and make it public. It'll be worth it.

23 October 2011

400 Whitehall in Pictures

     My Great-Grandmother, Auline Witt Albea, and her second husband, James Wilson, lived in and owned The Frederick Hotel in Atlanta. The family referred to it by it's address, 400 Whitehall. I used records such as city directories to find information about when, and which, family lived there. I emailed the Atlanta History Center's Kenan Library and they also provided me with some background on the hotel. The last available information was from 1967 - was it closed or torn down then?

     I continued to be curious about the hotel, but Sanborn Fire Insurance maps didn't cover the period. When I checked google maps, I was taken to an empty lot. Was this the location?

     I visited my Great-Aunt Ree and discovered that she had photos of the hotel.  One of the photos showed the business across the street, which is still there. Thanks to this, I was able to accurately pinpoint the location of the hotel (which is the empty lot shown on Google maps).

     The other day my sister and I went down to 400 Whitehall with copies of the original photos and did our best to created the "Looking into the Past" effect.  It was difficult due to windy conditions and a fence now in place around the bank next door. The photos aren't perfect, but they give you the idea.

 The Frederick Hotel - 400 Whitehall Street, Atlanta

The Frederick Hotel - 400 Whitehall Street, Atlanta

The Frederick Hotel - 400 Whitehall Street, Atlanta

16 October 2011

William Barfield's Burial

     I have spent numerous hours searching for a death certificate for William Barfield, my Great-Great Grandfather. I don't know who his father was and hoped that this document would provide the information. He died in Emanuel County, Georgia in 1924, five years after death certificates became mandatory.  I'd searched for his death certificate in multiple indexes and browsed microfilm records for certificates Hawhammock Baptist Churcharound that date, but could not find his record.  I started to think that he had died out of state, but a "Card of Thanks" in the local newspaper from his wife indicated that he died a illness at home. Finally, a family reunion provided me with an answer.

     I was talking to Shirley, a granddaughter of William Barfield. She told me this story: William Barfield died at home. His family built a coffin for him, a simple wooden box. They took him down to the Hawhammock Church Cemetery on a horse drawn wagon and had his funeral. They didn't hire a mortician or funeral home, but did things the old fashioned way.  It appears that the family either didn't know about the recently instituted laws requiring death certificates, or else they didn't care.

     So there's no death certificate; I can stop looking. Unfortunately, I'm no closer to finding William's father. 


15 October 2011

The Barfield Family Reunion

Barfield Descendants
Descendants by blood 
(not including the some of the
younger attendees)
     Today I attended my first Barfield family reunion, the first one held in many years.  The event was held in Martinez, GA (near Augusta).  In attendance were many of the descendants of William and Frances Boatright Barfield of Emanuel County, Georgia.

     This reunion gave me a chance to meet cousins that I'd heard of but never met, a few of whom I'd communicated with online. It was great to finally meet these cousins in person. There was an intentional genealogical emphasis built into the reunion, so I was also looking forward to extending my family tree.

     I traveled to the reunion with my Aunts June and Charlotte and my Uncle Richard. Both of my aunts brought photos, some of which I'd never seen before, and I brought my laptop. We arrived right as everyone else did, on the dot at 11am. There was a ton of food but most everyone's attention was focused on sharing photos. William BarfieldIn only a few minutes we'd taken up an entire picnic table with photo albums and genealogy scrapbooks. Cousin Barbara had brought a number of duplicate photos that she shared with everyone. Cousin Shirley helped me identify a few Barfield "unknowns" in my photos. Everyone remarked on how much Cousin Frank resembled William Barfield.

    After a bit we ate, filling up on chicken, macaroni and cake. I admit, I did not try the pineapple sandwiches.  These are simple sandwiches of white bread, mayonnaise and pineapple.  I have a somewhat irrational aversion to mayonnaise, but understand that these are delicious.  Apparently my grandmother's favorite meal consisted of pineapple sandwiches and fried chicken.

     After eating we had a photo session. We took sets of photos organized by each of William and Frances' children and then a photo of the blood relatives (though some of the younger folks got left out - not sure what happened there). I have to admit, I didn't talk to everyone and can't remember everyone's names.  But, I've put the photos on Flickr and Cousin Anne promised to help me identify everyone.  For more photos, check out the Barfield Family Reunion set on Flickr: here.

     It really was great to be able to attend and meet so many relatives. I'm looking forward to the Craft family reunion next summer (with some of the same folks) and next year's Barfield family reunion.

11 October 2011

Great-Aunt Ree's DNA

     My Great-Aunt Ree Albea Wingard's DNA test results started coming in tonight. I purchased a test for her from 23andMe back in August and it took 28 days for her results to come back (plus three weeks lost in the mail). So what have I learned?

     First, and most obviously, I learned that she is indeed my Great-Aunt. I wasn't expecting otherwise, but it's nice to prove our relationship scientifically.  And then by deduction, my grandfather is my grandfather - any DNA match between my great-aunt and myself is a reflection of DNA I inherited from my mom, who inherited it from her dad. And really, that's partly why I tested my Great-Aunt: she is standing in for my deceased paternal grandfather.

     Here's a visual of the DNA I share with my Great-Aunt Ree (right), as well as the DNA she shares with my mom (left).

     You can see that my mom shares more of her DNA with Aunt Ree than I do. On top of that, there's a large portion of Aunt Ree's DNA that my mom and I do not share. This is where testing her DNA comes in handy. In those portions of her DNA I will find cousins that I would not otherwise find. Also, her DNA is yet another generation further back in time, another generation closer to a common ancestor  we share with a DNA match.

     For example, look at one of my matches. This is a match with Mr Rush, my 3rd cousin twice removed. Our most recent common ancestors are John P Quattlebaum and Permelia Langley, my 4x Great Grandparents. Mr Rush is then Aunt Ree's third cousin. Here's the visual, with Aunt Ree and Mr Rush on the left and my comparison with Mr Rush on the right:

    You can see that Aunt Ree and Mr Rush share DNA segments on two additional chromosomes. My mom didn't share these segments. Now imagine that Mr Rush and I didn't share that segment on Chromosome 10. I'd be able to identify him through his match with Aunt Ree on Chromosomes 1 and 3.

     I'm still waiting for Aunt Ree's relative finder (cousins test) results. Until then, I can compare her to my existing matches. If they match her, then I know I have narrowed our match down to my paternal grandfather's side of the family. If you have tested with 23andMe keep a lookout for my aunt in your matches!

What Year Was This?

     I'd appreciate anyone who could help me find a date for these photos. I'm trying to figure out if one of the girls is my grandmother or great grandmother. The low quality of the photos is due to the fact that they are actually negatives.

  unknown and Milton Waters unknown unknown

04 October 2011

The Partain Connection

     A few years back I discovered that my Great-Great-Great Grandmother was Harriett Partain of Hart County, Georgia. This struck me, as my paternal Aunt had married a Partain, also from Hart County. I always assumed that there was a connection, but had never gotten around to finding it. Recently, I asked my Aunt what she knew about her husband's family. It only took me about half an hour to uncover the connection. My Uncle is also my third cousin twice removed! Here's the relationship:

(the dates are birth years and I only included surnames when they changed)

03 October 2011

Visiting the Franklin Memorial Library (Emanuel County, Georgia)

Franklin Memorial Library
     After coming home from South Carolina, I headed out the next day on a day trip to Emanuel County, Georgia with my mom and sister.  During the previous portion of the week's trip, I'd been looking for information on my maternal side of the family. In Emanuel County, I was looking for information on my paternal side, specifically, the Barfield Family. Even more specifically, the obituary of William L Barfield.

   Emanuel County is four hours from home, so I checked out the library before heading out. I found their facebook page an inquired about available resources. They replied:
"we have local obituaries dating back to 1901, census records, marriage records, several local families' histories, HS yearbooks back to the 40's. We also have veterans pension records, cemetery records for Emanuel County and surrounding counties, and more. Come visit us!"
     My ancestor died in 1924, so I was very excited about finding his obituary in their collection. I cannot find a death certificate for William, though I had found his grave. I was curious about where he died and what the cause of death was. I'd already accessed many of the other items in the libraries collection through other source. To make the trip more worth while, I also planned to visit a local cemetery.

Genealogy Room - Franklin Memorial Library
     The library has a whole room devoted to genealogy, including two microfilm readers. I always wonder why is it that libraries out in the country, in the middle of "nowhere," always have better genealogy collections than Gwinnett County, the second biggest county in Georgia by population.

     I sat down at the microfilm reader, set my mom up looking through books, and asked my sister to look through the card catalogue of obituaries. I was not able to find an obituary for William Barfield, but I did find something else in the newspapers: a Card-of-Thanks.

     It seems that during this time and this location, not everyone had an obituary published. It might have just been the particular newspaper; the Swainsboro Forest Blade was a weekly newspaper with on about six pages. Instead, there were a number of notes from families thanking others for their support after the death of a loved one. This is what I found for William Barfield.

Card of Thanks for William Barfield

     It's almost as good as an obituary. Honestly, it just as good as some I've seen. I now know that William died from an illness, most certainly at home. Perhaps there was an epidemic of some sort? I'll have to look into that.

     I found a few other items of interest, though nothing that broke through any brick walls. I also visited the Hawhammock Cemetery, which I had visited before. I made sure on this visit to take photos, not just of my direct ancestors' graves, but also any other Barfield and Boatright graves. I've also emailed the cemetery to ask about some unmarked graves.

  Also in this series:


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