31 January 2012

ConnectMyDNA Test Results

     Update: When I wrote this post, I did not intend for it to be as popular as it has become. Because of this, I have disabled comments. When reading this review of my ConnectMyDNA experience, keep in mind that I knew this was not a genealogy DNA test. However I cannot help but expect my "country connections" which reflect "which population group you most closely resemble" to have a connection to my heritage or physical appearance. The following review reflects those expectations and I stand by my comments.

     A few weeks ago I ordered a test from ConnectMyDNA via a LivingSocial special. I received my results back recently and they were... interesting. I knew that this was not an ancestry / genealogy DNA test, but rather it compares your DNA to current populations. I was curious: was my DNA more similar to the English, German or some other European?

     Well, according to ConnectMyDNA, my DNA is more Malaysian. Um, what?  Here's the breakdown:

     I was more than a bit confused by the results. There are only three European countries on the list, Sweden, Ireland and Slovenia. The rest are asian or hispanic countries. I don't know how my results could possibly be correct, even understanding that colonization mixed European DNA into populations throughout the world.

     I emailed ConnectMyDNA to find out more about why my results came out the way they did. I got a response that seems pretty copy and paste:
"Thank you for your inquiry. ConnectMyDNA™ is not an ancestry test.  ConnectMyDNA™ utilizes current databases that represent the modern world population structure. ConnectMyDNA™ provides you with a Gene Ring™ and the populations with which you share the most similarity. Your unique DNA signature is used to calculate the frequency of occurrence of your DNA profile with different population databases from around the world using a standard population genetics formula known as the Hardy-Weinberg equation. The numerical value of the different calculations identifies your top country connection. Your top country connection represents the population that you most closely resemble based on today’s demographics."
     Ok, I tried to do some research on this, but science is not my thing.  It appears that Hardy and Weinberg came up an equation that explains how the frequency of genotypes and alleles stay the same generation by generation and will not change under certain conditions. Pretty much ConnectMyDNA plugged my DNA into an equation and came up with these results. Their response to my email was not specific to my question or my DNA, and was not a very helpful.

     There may be a reason that my results came back the way they did, but I can't understand how they could be correct.  How can I have mostly pure European DNA and be more closely related to an Asian population?

     Simply put, I don't trust the results and would not recommend that anyone purchase a ConnectMyDNA test.

UPDATE: This message was posted on the ConnectMyDNA Facebook page in response to customer concerns:
"Here is some additional information on ConnectMyDNA that may shed some additional light to the results. 
Although there is no real simple way to explain some of the science involved, one way to express or explain your results is through Population Genetics. Population Genetics is a branch of genetics that focuses on how frequently genes occur in a population and once determined, how frequently combinations of genes (genotypes) should occur. For example, if a gene has two forms (alleles) in a population, they can be referred to as x and y. Allele x is found at a frequency of 10% in the population while allele y is found at a frequency of 90% (total adds up to 100%). A different population may have the same two alleles, but their frequencies may be different. Since each person contains two copies of a gene, one from each biological parent, there are three possible genotypes; x/x, x/y, and y/y. These three genotypes will occur in a frequency proportional to the individual allele frequencies and can be calculated using a standard Population Genetics equation known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equation. In this case the three genotypes are expected to occur at a frequency of: x/x is (0.1 x 0.1) = 1%; x/y is (2 x 0.1 x 0.9) = 18%; y/y = (0.9 x 0.9) = 81%.

ConnectMyDNA uses these principles in providing information about the population groups you share the most statistical similarity. Since the markers used to generate your unique DNA profile are weakly affiliated with ancestry, your connection will likely not match your expectations in terms of ancestry.

ConnectMyDNA is a fun and unique way to take 13 markers, a very small fragment of your own personal fingerprint and compare these to the same 13 markers of others around the world. It just so happens that those same markers are more prominent in your #1 country match.

If we were to expand and include other markers in this comparison, the results could change and become more refined and would perhaps show more of your ancestry if we also included markers used in ancestry testing. This also holds true if we were to add additional population databases as these could change the population order. ConnectMyDNA will always pick the top 5-10 matches, even if the most appropriate database is not included in the mix.

In a world that thrives on social connections CMD is a easy way to get people interested in learning more about themselves and create ways to connect with others with new commonality.

ConnectMyDNA uses these principles in providing information about the population groups you share the most statistical similarity. Since the markers used to generate your unique DNA profile are weakly affiliated with ancestry, your connection will likely not match your expectations in terms of ancestry. 
ConnectMyDNA is a fun and unique way to take 13 markers, a very small fragment of your own personal fingerprint and compare these to the same 13 markers of others around the world. It just so happens that those same markers are more prominent in your #1 country match.
If we were to expand and include other markers in this comparison, the results could change and become more refined and would perhaps show more of your ancestry if we also included markers used in ancestry testing. This also holds true if we were to add additional population databases as these could change the population order. ConnectMyDNA will always pick the top 5-10 matches, even if the most appropriate database is not included in the mix.
In a world that thrives on social connections CMD is a easy way to get people interested in learning more about themselves and create ways to connect with others with new commonality."

30 January 2012

Will of Lewis McCurley

     This is the will of my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Lewis McCurley of Hart County, Georgia. He was kind enough to list of all of his children, even the deceased ones.

State of Georgia, Hart County.
                     Last Will and Testament of L.W. McCurley.
I L. W. McCurley being of sound and disposing memory, do make this my last Will and Testament.
Item 1st
      I wish my wife Nancy McCurley immediately or as soon as possible after my death to pay all of my debts out of my personal property, the remainder of my property after my debts are paid I give and bequeath to my wife Nancy McCurley and my entire estate consisting of perishable property and two hundred and thirteen acres of land for her own use and benefit during her natural life.
Item 2.
     After the death of my wife I will that my property all be sold, equally divided between all my children namely: W.S. McCurley, Nancy Brown, Susie Craft, J.S. McCurley, Lucy Rand, G.W. McCurley (now dead) R. E. McCurley, Sallie Jordan, Ada Evans, Ona Charping and Vannie Shiflet. Any that are now dead or should die between now and the death of my wife I wish the children of deceased to receive the part of the part legally divided between them.
     I do will that my daughter Nellie Slaters (now dead) children receive the part of their mother legally divided between them.
Item 3.
     I do hereby appoint my son J.S. McCurley as executor of this my last well.
     In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand that 22n day of July 1908.
                                                                       L. W. McCurley
Signed and published by L.W. McCurley as his last will and testament in the presence of the undersigned who subscribed our names hereto as witnesses at the instance and request of said testator in his presance and in the presence of each other.
This 22nd day of July 1908.                           R.L. Shiflet
                                                                       Geo. S. Shiflet
                                                                        L.M. Cunningham
                  Recorded this August 9th 1910
                                                               W.B. McMullan, Ordinary

27 January 2012

Double-Cousin DNA

     This week I received my double (possibly triple?) cousin's DNA results from 23andMe.  It took exactly six weeks to receive these results, which is the longest I've ever had to wait with this company.  

     Cousin Anne and I are related at least twice on my dad's side of his family, through each of his parents.  Anne and I are 1st cousins, 2x removed and 2nd cousins, 1x removed.  We might also be related about six generations back, also on my dad's side of the family.  

     I was extremely curious to see how much DNA we had in common and which matches we would have in common. I also hoped to find more matches on my paternal grandfather's side of the family, which she is genetically closer to.  It turns out that Cousin Anne and I share about 4.3% of our DNA in 322 cM.  I uploaded the data to Gedmatch so that I could compare it with my dad's ftDNA data.  It turns out that they share twice as much data, at 644 cM.  

     Here's what our data looks like, with my the blue being my dad and the pink being myself:

26 January 2012

Trixie, In Memoriam

     In 1997 a friend's dog had puppies. Having gotten our first dog the previous year, we thought we could convinced our parents to let us have one of the puppies. We were successful and, after much debate over which puppy, brought home the one that we'd been referring to as Mud-Face. She was a pale blond except for on her face, which was a light brown. We liked the name (we were 13), but Mom said that it wasn't an acceptable name for a dog. Our brother picked Trixie, as in Speed Racer's girlfriend. She ended up outgrowing her coloring, so the name change worked out.

     Trixie was different from our other dog. She was a bit more standoffish and wanted to do what she wanted to do. Sometimes I would say that her personality was more cat-like.  If she didn't want to do something, she just ignored you. She looked a little silly too. Upon seeing her for the first time, my grandmama exclaimed "that's a dog?" If we let her fur grow out, she was something of a ball of fluff. I would sometimes call her my dandelion dog.  She loved cheese and would run across the house at the sound of the wrapper being removed.

     Last week Trixie got sick, so we took her to the vet. We had x-rays done which showed a lump in her lung. At close to 15 years old we decided to give her medication and hope for the best. Unfortunately she declined rapidly and, only 10 days after first showing signs of illness, passed away quietly at home. The last few days have just been heartbreaking, seeing what was coming but not being able to do anything to prevent it.

     Loosing our two childhood dogs within just a little more than a year of each other has been difficult. It feels like an ending to something, I'm not sure what.  Betsey and Trixie brought a lot of love and happy memories to our family, ones that we will cherish forever.

Just woke up cowgirls . trixie is a patriot

24 January 2012

Changes I'd Like To See at 23andMe

     23andMe' new Ancestry Ambassadors Group, made up of customers, has posted in the community asking "what improvements we would all like to see for Ancestry in 2012." The query was for everyone's top two requests. I thought I'd post my additional thoughts here, where I have more room to expound. My concerns are more about improving the system already in place, rather than introducing brand new features. These are in no particular order, but simply stream of thought.

  • The Ability to Hide Non-responsive Relative Finder Matches.  I have 1,005 matches, which is capped. When I get new matches they have to be closer than my furthest match to show up in my results. This then kicks out my more distant matches.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of my matches are "anonymous" and do not reply to invitations. I would love to be able to hide these matches. If you have an ancestry.com family tree, think about how the hints feature works. You can "ignore" a hint, but it doesn't go away entirely. It actually gets moved to another tab, which you can always access later to bring back that hint. So for example, if I have a RF match at 23andMe who has not responded to my sharing invitation, I can "hide" it. If I want to try again later I can view my hidden matches and resend the invite. If they eventually respond I can bring them back to my main page of matches.
  • No Anonymous Relative Finder Matches. I don't know why anyone would want to participate in Relative Finder and yet keep themselves private. How are new cousins going to find you when they can't see your ancestral information? There's nothing to differentiate between an anonymous match is only there for health or is actually interested in genealogy.  If you want to participate in Relative Finder you should be required to fully participate. Why would someone else want to share with someone who can't share anything at all to begin with?
  • Gedcom import / Family Tree App.  This is a feature that's badly needed. 23andMe does have a place to record surnames and another place to record locations where your ancestors lived, but there is a disconnect between the two. You know that your match has Millers, and that they have ancestors from Edgefield County, SC. But I don't know if their Millers are from Edgefield. If this information was in the format of a family tree there would be a clear connection between surnames and locations. They already have a start on this, with the Family Health History tool. This is a tool designed to help trace health risks through your family tree. A version of this could be integrated into profiles, minus the medical data. This tool does need work though: when I "auto sort" my tree I end up with grandparents on different vertical levels and other strange arrangements. 
  • Eliminate 1,000 Match Limit. I have no idea how many Relative Finder matches I have at 23andMe. I have 1,005 matches, my mom has 999, my great-aunt has 998 and my uncle has 994. These numbers do not change. When I get new matches, more distant matches are kicked out unless I am sharing genomes with them. Who am I loosing? They might be a distant relative, but they might also be someone with whom I have an easy to find most recent common ancestor.  I have found matches at GedMatch who should show up in my 23andMe matches but who don't, likely because all my spaces are used. This ties into the "hide non-responsive RF matches." If we can hide a non-resposive match, that would open up a space for a new match.
  • Last Login Date. This is a feature that could be integrated into the Relative Finder view that would tell us if a user has logged in during the last months, six months, year, etc. I can only send five sharing invites a day - why waste one on someone who hasn't logged in in six months? They are more than likely not going to respond.
  • Lab Status Updates. It would be great to see some sort of feature that would allow users to see that status of tests in the lab. This could be user specific to each customer's own test - which step is our test in? It could also be more broad, showing the date the the latest completed test was received at the lab. Or even just the estimated "turn-around time" that the lab is currently experiencing. This is important because  the lab often runs at different speeds. I've had results come back in two weeks, while my current test is about to hit six weeks.
  • Enhanced "Family Inheritance: Advanced" Viewer. This is a feature that is still in the "labs" section at 23andMe, which I would guess means it still "beta." It allows you to pick one of your matches and compare them with your three of your own accounts. It would be great if this were switched: if you could compare yourself to three or more of your matches. If you don't have multiple family members on your account, this feature is useless.
  • Projects. Let users create projects or groups in which they can compare their DNA on a larger scale. Allow projects for y-DNA (surname), mtDNA and autosomal DNA. This is a no brainer and I don't understand why this isn't already in place.
  • Y-DNA and mtDNA Matches. This goes along with the Projects idea - it's a no brainer. Right now you can find RF matches that share your Y-DNA and mtDNA, but you don't see a marker by marker comparison. Without that, sharing a haplogroup doesn't really mean much.
  • More Population References in Ancestry Painting. Want to know your ethnicity? 23andMe will tell you how much European, Asian and African you are. Ok, but where in Europe? German or French? Where in Asia and Africa? This is currently a neat tool, but it could be so much more helpful.
     Ok, so that's what I've come up with. There are a lot more ideas, especially concerning expanded DNA testing and results. You can share your input by answering this survey: here.

23 January 2012

Updates from 23andMe, Of Interest to Genealogists

     A recent blog post on the 23andMe blog, The Spittoon, will be of interest to genealogists who subscribe to their service. Here's an excerpt:

  Today we’re announcing the creation of the 23andMe Ancestry Ambassadors group, composed of ancestry enthusiasts in the 23andMe Community. 23andMe customer CeCe Moore and Product Manager Mike Macpherson, PhD will lead the new group...
  This group will help guide and influence product development, but will not replace other key sources of feedback we consider when developing a product.  Building a great product requires us to take into account customer interaction on the site, findings from user research, support request emails, Community posts, social media and traditional media responses. The 23andMe Ancestry Ambassadors add another high-quality source of feedback.
  This is a small group, as it must be in order to be fulfill its purpose. It has been a challenge to select this group from among our Community members, because many of you contribute so frequently and thoughtfully. One of the first tasks of the new Ambassadors group will be to explore ways to recognize a larger number of active Community members for their contributions, and to take advantage of this pool of ancestry knowledge.

     This is a good sign for customers of 23andMe who are primarily interested in Genealogy. Previously, there has been an overwhelming bias towards the Health related aspects of the company. When there was an uproar last month regarding policy and price changes, it seemed to wake 23andMe up to just how many of their customers where interested only/mainly in genealogy. Having spoken personally to customer support and and product mangers at the company, I was surprised to realize that many of the managers seem to have no genealogy experience at all. They seem to have recognized that they haven't connected with their customers and are reaching out to find out what they can do to make their product better. I see this as a step in the right direction, though I hope the Ancestry Ambassadors are being compensated in some way.

18 January 2012

What's Wrong Here?

     I recently saw the following ancestry.com commercial on tv and realized there was a pretty glaring error less than 30 seconds in.  I can't believe I didn't notice it before. It lead me to check out the video on youtube (which is longer than the tv commercial) and see what else I could find. Do you see it?

     That's not a World War One Draft Card - it's a World War Two Draft Card, specifically from California.  Also incorrect? That's not a 1910 census record - I think it might be 1870, when Mr George Littlewood wasn't even alive.  And it looks like the family tree is wrong too. A quick search turns up George's death records and his mother's maiden name was Owen, not whatever 'P' name is in the video. 

     As I said, this is a longer version of the commercial they show on tv, and I'm sure there are more errors. But does this really matter? Yes and No. I would think that Ancestry.com would want to represent themselves accurately. There are probably a ton of people who recognized the draft card error  long ago. I know I won't see this ad again without being distracted by it. But for those that don't see it? All they need to know is that these types of records are available. 

     I don't know, I just kind of feel bad for George Littlewood. He's stuck in a bad family tree which isn't just online, it's on national television (only half joking here). 

16 January 2012

The FGS Piggy Bank

     I really want to go to the 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Birmingham, Alabama this year, but I've been concerned about the price and if I could afford the trip.  August 29th is a long way off and it can be difficult to plan so far in advance.  However, compared to other national conferences, this is probably the most affordable opportunity. I'm only a three hour drive from Birmingham - I've driven longer on day trips just to visit a library!

     I have decided that I'm going to try my hardest to attend. I can afford the registration ($195 if purchased by July 1st), but the hotel rate concerns me. If I attend Wednesday through Saturday, I'll need to pay for four nights. The conference hotel is $138 a night ($552 total), which I don't think I can afford. I'm sure it's an awesome hotel and it would be great to stay with the other attendees, but I'd have to find a cheaper option and save money. My mom and sister are thinking about tagging along and seeing the sights, so that would help with the cost. But their schedules are even more uncertain than mine and they might not be able to go.

     But like I said, I'm going to try my hardest to attend FGS this year. I'm starting by saving money. Today I made a piggy bank to save my money in. I plan to put in a certain amount each paycheck and drop in my random change.  When I made my piggy bank I wanted to make something that would be eye catching; I wanted a constant reminder of my goal. Here's what I came up with:

14 January 2012

The ConnectMyDNA Kit

     On the 10th I ordered my ConnectMyDNA kit with a discounted coupon I bought through living social. Yesterday, the 13th, I received my kit in the mail. Here's what it looked like:

      The kit included two cheek swabs and an envelope to send them back in. I swabbed both cheeks and put the swabs into the envelope and had the kit back in the mailbox about 20 minutes after I originally retrieved it from the mailbox.  I was a bit concerned about my samples. They went into an envelope, not a plastic tube or anything. I noticed that the envelopes quickly became damp from the swabs - was my DNA soaking into the envelopes?

     It seems that once my samples are in the lab, it will only take a week for my test to be processed. This is very fast compared to 23andMe and ftDNA's 6-8 week wait (btw: it's been exactly one month since my two tests were received at those companies).  I'm curious about the results I'll get back from this test, which is not intended for genealogical use. But I do wonder if this test would be of interest to adoptees?

Update: My Results

12 January 2012

In the Kitchen: Apple Cobbler

     This is my Dad's super simple recipe for Apple Cobbler. You can pretty much make any kind of fruit cobbler with this recipe.

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 can pie filling
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter/margarine
sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 375ยบ. Melt a stick a butter or margarine in a casserole dish. Mix flour in sugar into a bowl and then mix in the milk, finally mix in the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into the casserole dish. Spoon the pie filling evenly on top of the batter. Don't spread or compress. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Serve and eat with vanilla ice cream.

09 January 2012

What is ConnectMyDNA?

     I saw a tweet about a "DNA Self-Discovery Kit" and was curious enough to click on the link. It took me to a livingsocial deal for a DNA test for $29 (you buy a coupon to redeem elsewhere).  I'd never heard of the company before: ConnectMyDNA.

     From checking out their website and facebook page, it looks like this is a brand new DNA testing company that gives you a "Gene Ring," a sort of DNA fingerprint.  They say:
"Using cutting-edge science, ConnectMyDNA ™ looks at a tiny fragment (the 1%) of your DNA that makes you unique and creates your very own personal DNA signature. We then compare it to a database of over half a million samples of DNA collected from all over the world, revealing the most amazing story and giving you a snap shot of where you fit in this new world."
      Normally priced at $90, this test provides you with a visual representation of that 1% of your DNA and "connects" you to the populations reflected in your DNA. You use the website to explore your results.  Their references are from "current population groups from over 60 countries and identify which country your DNA profile most closely connects to." This is very different from tests provided from other genealogy minded DNA companies, which usually strive to find historic or ancient populations to test against. As you can guess, this test probably won't be helpful to your genealogy as those other tests are.

     But for only $30? I couldn't resist. It looks neat.

     If you're worried about your privacy, check out their policy.  They don't sell any of your data and they destroy your sample when they're done with the test.

     This deal is available for the next six days. If you are interested check it out.

Update: My Results

[Please note that the links provided to livingsocial are affiliate links. If three people buy through these links I get my money back. I cannot endorse this test because I haven't tried it before - I'm just willing to spend the money and take a chance.]

The 1940 Census: A Webinar from the Friends of the National Archive Southeast Region

Image used during the webinar
     I just finished watching a webinar about the 1940 Census by the Friends of the National Archives Southeast Region and Constance Potter of the National Archives. This is was a great webinar that covered a lot of information. Here's a breakdown of some of what I came away with, much of which I tweeted during the webinar:
  • There will be a new website/landing page for the 1940 census on the NARA website. I'm not sure, but I got the feeling it could be live very soon. There will be a notification when the website is up.
  • On top of videos available on YouTube about the 1940 census, NARA will be releasing radio public service announcements called "Uncle Sam Calling." You can already find transcriptions of these at Steve Morse's site [here]. (Not sure if these will be on YouTube or the new 1940 website)
  • The 1940 census does not (yet!) have a person index, but is indexed by State, County, Civil District and Enumerated District.
  • Aside from the questions that were asked of the population, a number of questions were proposed but not asked. Ex: Do you dye your hair and if so, what color; who was over 6 feet tall; do you own a waffle iron and a bible.
  • Those in a jail and penitentiary were not recorded as "inmates," but were recorded by their prison number. This could be very helpful!
  • The census requires that the person providing the information for each family be marked with an X. Unfortunately, from what archivists have seen, it seems like this was rarely done. 
  • The census asks where each person lived five years ago on 1 Apr 1935. They even note if it's the "same house."
  • Military veterans are listed with the war they fought in. 
  • If a person is receiving social security benefits this is listed, though social security numbers were not recorded.
  • Women were asked about the number of marriages they'd had, when they were married and how many children they had. Stillbirths were not supposed to be counted - but like many other questions this rule wasn't always followed.
  • A census of housing and a census of agriculture were taken, but have since been destroyed. Only statistical data remains.
  • The Enumeration District Descriptions are available on OPA (Online Public Access: http://www.archives.gov/research/search) and give details about each district, including schools and other institutions included within, as well as streets.  You can see the best way to search for these here: http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/start-research.html
  • NARA recommends using the 1940 Census tools by Steve Morse to help plan your research ( http://stevemorse.org/census)
     The webinar was apparently extremely popular - more than expected it seems.  A lot of attendees had trouble with sound or even getting into the webinar.  There will be an archived copy available, but only to members of the Friends of the National Archives Southeast Region. This is a $25 a year fee and you can find more information here: http://friendsnas.org/membership.htm.

     Can you believe we're only 83 days away from 1940 census access?

08 January 2012

23andMe Resolution

     I've been writing a lot about DNA lately - hopefully I'm not boring people, but there's some great news today out of 23andMe.  If you have been reading my latest blog posts, you'll know that 23andMe made some policy changes that upset their customers. In short: they took away and limited features to non-subscribing customers that had been previously promised to them. In response, the genealogy community at 23andMe reacted with emails, tweets, facebook posts and even a petition.

     And guess what? It worked!

     Today Anne Wojcicki (CEO of 23andMe) wrote on their blog, apologizing and outlining their new and improved policies. The newly announced changes are exactly what the community was asking for.  I am very proud of what genealogists accomplished when they stood up for themselves and worked together to protect the investments they made with 23andMe. I'm also happy to see that 23andMe is a company that can admit when they make mistakes and acknowledge the value of their customers.

Census Sunday - The Paternal Great-Great Grandparents in 1910

     This is a breakdown of my Paternal Great-Great Grandparents in the 1910 census. Also seen are my Great-Grandparents, who were young children living with their parents. You can click each image to see a larger size.

     In 1910 my Great-Great Grandparents, George Robert Craft and his wife, Effie Verona Powell, were living on Sanders-Ferry Road in Gains, Militia District 199, Elbert County, Georgia.  "Bob," as he was called, was a general farmer working rented land on his "own account." The couple had been married for 19 years and had seven children. Both could read and write. My Great Grandfather, Bennie E Craft, was a 14 year old boy living with his parents. He was attending school at this time.

In 1910 my Great-Great Grandparents, John H Evans and his wife, Leila Frances Craft, were living on an unnamed road in Gaines, Militia District 199, Elbert County, Georgia.  John was a general farmer working rented land on his "own account." The couple had been married for 12 years and had five living children (and one deceased). Both could read and write. My Great Grandmother, Sallie Ruth Evans, was an eight year old girl living with her parents. She was attending school, but whether or not she could read and write is marked through.

In 1910 my Great-Great Grandmother, Amelia Permelia Parrish, third wife and widow of William Britt, was living on Stillmore Rural Route #1, 55th District, Emanuel County, Georgia. She was living with her daughter, Rosa, and son-in-law, Damascus Hayes. Amelia had given birth to 10 children, seven of which were still living and four of whom still lived with her. Among them was my Great-Grandfather, Nathan Britt, a nine year old boy. He was attending school but they did not record if he could read or write.

In 1910 my Great-Great Grandparents, William L Barfield and his wife, Susan F Boatright, were living in the 59th District of Emanuel County, Georgia.  "Bill" was a farmer laborer, hiring out his services to others. The couple had been married for seven years and had three children, including my Great-Grandmother, Ledora Barfield was a three year old girl living with her parents.

07 January 2012

Surname Saturday - Evans

     My Evans family line is somewhat short, only tracing back to 1850 and my Great-Great-Great Grandfather.  Here's the line:

1. Sally Ruth Evans [Great-Grandmother]
--- born: 17 Aug 1902, Hart County, Georgia
--- died: 20 Jun 1999, Hartwell, Hart County, Georgia
--- married: Bennie E Craft, abt 1918

2. John H Evans [Great-Great Grandfather]
--- born: 28 May 1879, Elbert County, Georgia
--- died: 9 Jul 1911, Gaines, Elbert, Georgia
--- married: Leila Frances Craft, abt 1897

3. William A Evans [Great-Great-Great Grandfather]
--- born: 18 Sep 1850, Hart County, Georgia
--- died: 2 Oct 1917, Ira, Anderson, South Carolina
--- married: Harriett Ann Partain, abt 1872

4. Unknown Evans
--- born: ?
--- died: bef 1860
--- married: Bedie / Beady

     Having written that out, I see that not only does this line go back very far, but it has been elusive regarding marriage licenses!

     The initial problem with this line is that I can't find the family in the 1850 census. William's parents should have been married, perhaps just starting out together. I also haven't found a marriage record for a Mr Evans to a Bedie / Beady in Georgia.  It's likely they were both from South Carolina, which doesn't have as many available records. I don't see this line a brick wall, so much as a temporary road block.  I need to spend (a lot of) time going through records to find GGGG Grandpa Evans. I'm sure there's some record of him somewhere. There are a few online trees, that do not give sources, that say he was Powell Evans from Cherokee County, South Carolina.  But without sources, I have no idea where this idea comes from and have yet to come across any substantiating evidence myself.

     Interestingly, this is a family line that I have confirmed via DNA.  My dad and I match two sisters, who are descendants of Mr Evans and Bedie's son James L Evans. You can see where they show up on my dad's DNA on chromosome 6.

06 January 2012

Handwriting Help - What's the Maiden Name?

     Can anyone help with the maiden name of the groom's mother on this document? I've uploaded the entire document for hand writing comparison. You can see a larger version by clicking on the image.

03 January 2012

Petitioning 23andMe

     It's been at least 12 days since 23andMe changed their Frequently Asked Questions without notice, taking away previously promised data access to non-subscribing customers.  Despite almost two weeks of complaints and questions from customers on message boards, Twitter, Facebook and via email, 23andMe has yet to respond or even notify the rest of their customers of the changes.

     As a whole, we want them to reverse the changes. Personally, I want some customer service from a company that I've spent hundreds of dollars with.

     To put more pressure on 23andMe, genealogist Larry Vick (who has been featured on 23andMe's blog, The Spittoon) has started a petition. It's short and to the point:
"23andMe Don't Take Away Our Relative Finder Matches  --  I am asking 23andMe to stick to its previous commitment to let customers who discontinue its Personal Genome Service (PGS) to retain their existing Relative Finder matches as long as the customers fulfilled their PGS commitment."
     I have signed, as have 225 others. Please take a moment and sign it too.


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