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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:17 am    Post subject: Genealogy Reply with quote

I've been fairly absent from the Watch for several months. More than once, I've gone up to four or five days in a row without checking in. Which is more than the total number of days in the previous 13+ year. And the reason is genealogy. My mother's been at it for many years, and it's always been a little interesting. Then my wife started doing it, and it was still a little interesting. The big change came when she ordered the DNA kit for me from ancestry. Getting the results threw a switch in me, and I've been a bit nuts ever since.

Ethnically, as ancestry categorizes things, I am:
61% Europe West
30% Ireland
2% Great Britain
2% Iberian Peninsula
2% Scandanavia
1% Europe East
<1% Italy/Greece
<1% Finland/Northwest Russia

That's all interesting enough, imo. More Irish DNA in me than I expected, but not a big surprise.

Europe West is a crazy mix of everything. I can't blame them for not trying to break it down more. The relatively little I know of European history has so much movement that I can't imagine where you'd find any "pure" DNA.

What really got me going was the DNA matches. You are told who else that's taken the test there is a relative. You need a certain amount of matching DNA to be sure of a relationship of any sort, as opposed to coincidental matches of small lengths. You find people from all over, even around the world, who are related, if only because of a common set of great great great great great great grandparents. Laughing Still, it's great, because you learn a lot about your ancestors from the family trees of these very distant cousins.

What surprised me the most was all the Dutch ancestors I have. Again, no huge surprise, since I'm from New York. It used to be New Amsterdam, eh? Further, I'm from the Hudson Valley. Hudson was sailing for the Dutch East India Company when he sailed up the Hudson River in 1609. And my mother's mother's maiden name was Hagues. Turns out they had been in England for at least a few generations before coming the the US, so not totally Dutch, by any means.

But my father's side was a real surprise. I've learned a lot of names, and history of the area because of them. A boat called De Bonte Koe (The Spotted Cow) sailed from Amsterdam to New Amsterdam at least a couple times. The voyage in 1663 brought a couple families I'm descended from.

One went to Harlem, which was originally named Nieuw Haarlem - New Harlem - after the Dutch city of Haarlem. The other family went to Long Island, then Bergen County, New Jersey. Several generations later, in 1863, the two families joined when one of my sets of great great grandparents got married.

Also on my father's side is a real long story, finally resolved. My father never met his father, and my father changed his name to Kniffin because that was the last name of his mother and much older siblings. Her husband/their father died fifteen years before my father was born, and he did not know about any of it until he was about 11. We've always known the name on my father's birth certificate, but couldn't be entirely sure. But we've long heard that there was another son by this same man. My wife found this half-uncle of mine on fb after seeing an obituary of his half-brother by the same mother (I said it's a real long story), which told us the name he goes by. He took the DNA test, verifying it all. He's a very cool guy, which helps. And he helped me get started on his/my father's father's side of things. Lots of detective work, and I'm back the the Spotted Cow!

So that's why I've been quiet. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a fascinating subject, and it makes me realize how little I know about my family history. I don't know anything about my father's side, though I think they're mainly Irish. I think my mother's side is mainly Czech, and I think I have relatives over there, though I don't know anything about them or even what name they go by. I use my mother's last name, which was shortened a couple of generations ago from something that sounds more Russian than Czech.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plenty of Irish in my family. I know a fair bit up to a couple generations ago, not much before that really.

Interestingly, the family on my mother's side are currently engaged in constructing a family tree. Since they're mostly descended from Irish and Polish Catholics, it's pretty extensive... Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am fascinated by this! I am really blessed in that I know at least one branch of my family history back almost 1000 years. My ancestors came over from Normandy in 1066 and were rewarded for their part in the Norman Conquest with a castle in Scotland which still stands. Coming from Normandy would make them Vikings who settled the area a couple hundred years before. Which explains our blond and red hair and white-as-white-people-get skin. Scots AND Viking. How cool is that.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never been able to get beyond the Early 1700's on my family. I can only get to an ancestor that came over from Europe and settled in the Isle of Wight Virginia. All efforts to trace back further have been dead ends.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my father's side, I haven't been able to go further back the 1830's in the Scottish Highlands. My grandfather used to say we changed our surname after the battle of Culloden in 1745, though I have no way to verify that. On my mother's side I can trace one branch back to 1812, in Germany, and another to a man who was born in 1798 - in either Vermont or Virginia. It appears differently on two different census records. Supposedly, there is a woman who was Cherokee on my mother's side as well, but that is a handed down story. Maybe the DNA test would draw that out.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

deer, my mother has pieced together a tree that has several red flags. People having children eight years after their date of birth; people getting married after their date of death; etc. But it goes back to William the Conqueror, and some other German and Scottish royalty back then. It might be right, or we might go back to those people in another way. I imagine William has quite a few descendants. William's great great great grandfather was Rollo, a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy. William's great great great great grandson was Edward I Longshanks, the evil bastard in Braveheart.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Churches began keeping birth, marriage, and death records in the 1700s, and that is about as good as the digging gets. Much of it is conjecture, I am sure. Someone named "Townsend" lived in Forfar in the 1200s so they must be connected with the Townsends who lived in Forfar in the 1700s when the name shows up in the church records. Maybe, maybe not! Who knows what shenanigans don't show up on those church registries! Oh well. A careful look at my family's faces shows the Viking and Scots genetic makeup, though.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously not a big topic here. Laughing But if anyone is interested, the DNA test at Ancestry is $60 at the moment.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist,

This is a subject upon which I have been dwelling recently. But not exactly in this way.

Several years ago, I returned to my old home town for a funeral, a death in the family. It was an occasion for me to meet a lot of semi-distant relatives that I had never known I had. For me this was fascinating, but sad, but embarrassing. I resolved to come back to town as soon as I could and start mapping out the edges of my family tree.

I never did. Embarrassment won. Now, I regret it. My kids will probably never know about all those people, their relatives too, unless I get my act together.

It leaves me thinking how history fades away. Not the important events. But the family kind. People get old and die, and why at we know about who they knew, who they were related to, fades out of memory. If I don't do something, more of the tree will be lost.

So I'm thinking about my memoirs. Not because I'm special. But because my descendants will maybe feel how I feel, and want to save instead of lose, who they once were related to.

I'll never do a DNA thing. For privacy reasons. But it strikes me as being another way to hang on our even recapture. But in a 21st century way - automated, impersonal. No knocking on estranged relatives doors. No embarrassment. Precise and detailed, but solitary, no connections made or tested. Far reaching, but reaching quietly, no one knows.

Good luck with your quest. Cuz that's what it is.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh! How did I miss this thread?

Your ancestry sounds very interesting Fist, and I suspect so will every other American's, there being the possibility of so many European ancestors.

I started my family history in 1982 and am still doing it, although very soon mine developed into a One Name Study - that is I collect every reference worldwide to anyone with my maiden surname. There are of course several American, Canadian and Australian families, most of which I have been able to connect back with the UK.

I can take my own direct line back to 1604, with certainty, but there the records run out. Deer may be interested to know that in England and Wales parish registers began in 1563 at the instigation of Thomas Cromwell, uncle? of Oliver, bless him, although many early registers are lost. We also have Bishops Transcripts (BTs) which are copies of the parish registers sent to the appropriate Bishop every year, so they are in effect single sheets of parchment for each year, and of course they tend to get lost. These however do generally cover the early years missing by the loss of early parish registers.

I call myself a "Family Historian", rather than a "Genealogist". I find out as much as I can about the people I am researching, which means browsing records that are generally not available on-line, going to different record offices, or, these days, paying someone else to do that and to take photographs of anything they might find. It's cheaper than paying for a several day stay in a B&B then spending half a day trying to find my way around a strange record office.

DNA leaves me cold, I'm afraid. I'm just not interested. All my research on my own family so far has been in England - I have no lines that go anywhere else, although my mother's family has proved difficult - I am still stuck in the 19th century trying to find the right Thomas Newman - there are thousands of possibles.

I won't bore you any more, I could go on all day! Keep going, Fist, you never know what you might find.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iolanthe wrote:
Gosh! How did I miss this thread?

Your ancestry sounds very interesting Fist, and I suspect so will every other American's, there being the possibility of so many European ancestors.

I started my family history in 1982 and am still doing it, although very soon mine developed into a One Name Study - that is I collect every reference worldwide to anyone with my maiden surname. There are of course several American, Canadian and Australian families, most of which I have been able to connect back with the UK.

I can take my own direct line back to 1604, with certainty, but there the records run out. Deer may be interested to know that in England and Wales parish registers began in 1563 at the instigation of Thomas Cromwell, uncle? of Oliver, bless him, although many early registers are lost. We also have Bishops Transcripts (BTs) which are copies of the parish registers sent to the appropriate Bishop every year, so they are in effect single sheets of parchment for each year, and of course they tend to get lost. These however do generally cover the early years missing by the loss of early parish registers.

I call myself a "Family Historian", rather than a "Genealogist". I find out as much as I can about the people I am researching, which means browsing records that are generally not available on-line, going to different record offices, or, these days, paying someone else to do that and to take photographs of anything they might find. It's cheaper than paying for a several day stay in a B&B then spending half a day trying to find my way around a strange record office.

DNA leaves me cold, I'm afraid. I'm just not interested. All my research on my own family so far has been in England - I have no lines that go anywhere else, although my mother's family has proved difficult - I am still stuck in the 19th century trying to find the right Thomas Newman - there are thousands of possibles.

I won't bore you any more, I could go on all day! Keep going, Fist, you never know what you might find.


😮😲 .. wow!!!! Iolanthe that is fascinating!!! Not even remotely boring!

That research will make one hell of an awesome family legacy/gift.

My hubby's aunt did a family tree for his family but - not as far back as you have. It was great though she gave every family a copy - she had copied historical documents, photos of individuals where they existed and it's a real treasure!!!

We met with a new client a few weeks back - a retired ex-serviceman (DOF) and librarian/archivist and they do military research for members of their family who served in WWI & WWII. I assume they'd do any military service though.

They produce a glossy printed book - filled with pics, letters, information about the campaigns they fought, maps, you name it!!! It's just fabulous!!!!

I love family history - bringing the past into the present. Reading Ng about the lives of individuals and their life challenges through different ages!

I'd LOVE to hear more .. see what you have come up with, tales you have discovered, pics, documents etc!!

Outstanding! Just outstanding 😁
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Fist,

This is a subject upon which I have been dwelling recently. But not exactly in this way.

Several years ago, I returned to my old home town for a funeral, a death in the family. It was an occasion for me to meet a lot of semi-distant relatives that I had never known I had. For me this was fascinating, but sad, but embarrassing. I resolved to come back to town as soon as I could and start mapping out the edges of my family tree.

I never did. Embarrassment won. Now, I regret it. My kids will probably never know about all those people, their relatives too, unless I get my act together.

It leaves me thinking how history fades away. Not the important events. But the family kind. People get old and die, and why at we know about who they knew, who they were related to, fades out of memory. If I don't do something, more of the tree will be lost.

So I'm thinking about my memoirs. Not because I'm special. But because my descendants will maybe feel how I feel, and want to save instead of lose, who they once were related to.

I'll never do a DNA thing. For privacy reasons. But it strikes me as being another way to hang on our even recapture. But in a 21st century way - automated, impersonal. No knocking on estranged relatives doors. No embarrassment. Precise and detailed, but solitary, no connections made or tested. Far reaching, but reaching quietly, no one knows.

Good luck with your quest. Cuz that's what it is.


This an awesome initiative Wayfriend! Imagine putting together your memoirs and in 300 years from now .. it being read by a family member.

I am putting this on my to-do / bucket list!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:
We met with a new client a few weeks back - a retired ex-serviceman (DOF) and librarian/archivist and they do military research for members of their family who served in WWI & WWII. I assume they'd do any military service though.


Thanks Skyweir, I have enough for 20 books, a lot of it is posted to a FB Group that I host for people with an interest in the surname, most of them from the US!

Well, I have a graverobber on my mother's side - he was caught sending bits of bodies off in parcels by coach to medical researchers and died in prison. Mum wasn't very enamoured by that one Very Happy

I also have a petition written by a possible ancestor in the 1480s (not dated but addressed to Edward IV and Edward V), and I have a photograph of the earliest reference found so far, 1385. These two in Cheshire where all my Dad's ancestors came from.

During the early 1700s my direct ancestors got up to all sorts of things - getting drunk in an alehouse and fighting (1699), stealing geese and cheese, hitting people with pikes - all this from browsing the Quarter Sessions records. One was even up in court for shouting "Down with the Rump" outside the gates of Cholmondeley Castle in the 1740s - something to do with George 1 and the Jacobites.

Yes, it can be a very interesting hobby if you don't just collect names and dates.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wf, I know how you feel about the memoirs. My brother interviewed my grandmother back in the 80s. Some kit designed for this exact purpose was in vogue back then. It's amazing to have these stories in her own words. Because she was so important to us, and because it gives us glimpses of life decades before we were born.

And you're not the first computer person to tell me that about DNA. Some to different degrees. I have a half-first cousin once removed who did the test at Ancestry. But she will not upload her raw data to a different site, gedmatch, because they are not as secure as Ancestry.


Iolanthe, the whole DNA things is very different with me. I've confirmed the identity of my father's father. We've met several times, although he's in Virginia and I'm in New York. We even met in NYC once, and took the train to Brooklyn to check out the cemetery where a couple dozen of our ancestors are.

I've e-met several cousins. The best story is long. Laughing I was looking at the family tree of a DNA match, trying to see where our connection is. One of her great grandmothers is Malvenia Berin, which could be a misspelling of my father's mother's name, Berean. Much searching, but I couldn't find any proof that my guess was correct. Still, I assumed it was. I've seen Berean spelled all kinds of ways on the many records from a hundred+ years ago, and it would explain the genetic connection. A quick look through the old censuses revealed that my great grandfather, Jacob Berean, had a sister named Malvenia.

Months later, a DNA match popped up who has the same woman on his tree, but spelled Berean. Excited to find his source, I wrote to him. Turns out he's in Minneapolis, which is 1,200 miles away. He told me the very long search he undertook to find records of this woman. Like me, he came up empty. BUT, the couple of assumptions he made lead him to this same woman - my great grandfather's sister. Before he took the DNA test, he guessed, based on a lot of research, this this woman was a Berean. Because of the DNA connections, I had guessed this woman was a Berean. We ended up writing a joint article for the September issue of the Genealogical Society of Rockland County, explaining the whole thing, and how the two different methods arrived in the same place, which we think proves this woman's identity.

Another cousin I've met through DNA is a half-first cousin once removed that I likely met as a child. They moved away long ago. But when a close DNA match pops up, I always send a quick message. We got talking, found out she's been in touch with another cousin who lives nearby, yadda yadda. So now we're in touch on fb all the time.

Another cousin who is more genetically distant is much closer physically. This one I never heard of. My father's uncle moved to the area where she lives before my father was born. Dad knew him, but he (his uncle) died before I was born. Well, three generations later, through one of his daughters, a woman was born who took the DNA test, and popped up on my list of matches. So we're in touch, and will meet fairly soon.

There's a lawyer in California who is even more distant. Fact is, we're only assuming we know exactly where our lines meet. We know the family, but the records aren't yet revealing if our great great grandfathers were brothers, which is hinted at. Anyway, he's a world traveler, posts many pictures on FB of his trips, and started a group there for a few of his family names. Turns out he was about 15 miles from me, in the town our common ancestors were, two years ago, helping restore the cemetery.

My father's aunt had a son who I never met, but knew of. Well, his granddaughter's DNA results popped up a few months ago. I looked at her family tree and saw his name. I sent out a more enthusiastic greeting than usual, because of him on her tree. She's in Brooklyn, not far from the cemetery my uncle and I went to. (My uncle is on my father's father's side, while this newly found cousin is on my father's mother's side. And she only got there because her family moved to Brooklyn before she was born. Just a big coincidence that she's near the cemetery.) She spoke with her mother, who said she used to come up my direction to visit people whose son is an older cousin of mine who I see sitting on his porch frequently as I drive by.

And I've had quick, brief correspondence with a several others.

All because of DNA! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I know that DNA can be very useful for identifying unknown relatives etc. and many of my fellow One-Namers have done the tests, but I just can't dredge up any interest in it myself. I've traced all my close relatives and am in touch with most of their descendants.

There is, however, a chap in Canada who doesn't know whether he's a Duncalf (my maiden name) descendant or not. If he is I know his ancestors back in Yorkshire to the 1600s, but his known link, William Duncalf, was born before his mother and father were married, and we don't know whether William was his father or not. I put him in touch with his possible distant relatives in Yorkshire but they would not play ball. This is unfortunate, and there is nothing I can to do help as I can't connect with this particular family. If there is a connection it is somewhere in the 16th or 17th centuries, and so far I've not been able to find any records that will link the families. Unfortunately there are no bastardy records for the parish where they were living, and I've had the Quarter Sessions records searched but no luck. I suspect Margaret Cole (the mother) was housekeeper to William and they didn't bother to get married until after they'd had two children, but cannot prove it.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iolanthe wrote:
Duncalf (my maiden name)

How now, Brown Cow?

... Sorry. Carry on. Big Grin
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Iolanthe
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a nick name. An Adam Duncalf in 1345, just after the black death, was fined a shilling for selling his shoes at too high a price. Many people took advantage of the fact that over a third of the population had died, and it was a sellers' market. Edward III instigated the Statutes of Labours that held the price of commodities to pre black death prices - hence Adam's prosecution.

This was about the time that surnames were becoming common. Adam lived in Macclesfield, Cheshire. There was a row of shops in Macclesfield at the time "Sutor's Row" - "Sutor" is Latin for Shoemaker. So, it is likely that there was a row of Shoemakers' shops, all with signs outside. A later record shows that Adam Duncalf, or perhaps his son, was a shoemaker and tanner. Perhaps his shop sign showed a dun coloured calf?

It's only a theory, but I rather like it. Adam's surname, incidentally, is spelt exactly the same as my maiden name.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's fascinating. I do wish I knew more about my family's history, but there isn't anyone I can ask, and I wouldn't even know how to get started researching. I know I still have relatives living in the old country, but I don't even know what name they go by.

I've never really felt like I had an actual membership in the other side of my family. My father and I went for 20 years or so without speaking to one another, starting when I was 12, so he's basically a stranger to me. We exchange letters a couple of times a year, but don't really have any idea what to say to one another. I got a letter from him last week. Didn't say much. He enclosed a photograph with no mention or description. I don't know what to say in return. I feel like I should acknowledge it in some way, but I am wary of what doors I might be opening. My best guess is that it's a picture of my sister when she was 7-8 years old. She'd be in her early 30s now. We've never met. The whole thing is weird and out of character, and I wish he'd just say something if he has something to say.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
I wish he'd just say something if he has something to say.
It doesn't seem that he has any more of an idea how to go about it than you do. But he continues to exchange letters. He doesn't have to, which means he wants to. So call or write, and ask, "What's this picture?"

A DNA test will reveal some relatives. I've never seen a DNA match outside the US in my Ancestry results. But I've read the site is of limited value outside the US. I uploaded the raw data to familytreedna.com and myheritage.com, and have found matches in the Netherlands, England, and Ireland. Sounds like you have closer relatives overseas than I do? So they might show up more easily if you take a DNA test at one of them. FTDNA would be my recommendation, if you're interested. And their test is currently on sale for $50!
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