Thursday, June 30, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
Case Studies Demonstrating the Use of Mitochondrial DNA in Genealogical Research
Then I made a comment that in some very specific situations a mitochondrial DNA test might be useful. The other commenter thought mitochondrial DNA tests were a total waste of time. I reiterated that it is quite useful under very specific circumstance. I did, of course, mention my own reason for doing a mitochondrial test. Initially I wanted to learn the mitochondrial haplogroup to put to rest one of those full-blooded Indian rumors in my line. The haplogroup came back Western European so my goal was achieved. I also hoped it would help identify my 3g-grandmother's mother. That result is currently on hold as I need to work much more with the results to achieve it.
However, the discussion made me realize I needed some good examples of how mitochondrial DNA solved genealogical problems. My mind immediately went to Elizabeth Shown Mills' great article, "Testing the FAN Principle Against DNA: Zilphy (Watts) Price Cooksey Cooksey of Georgia and Mississippi," which first appeared in National Genealogical Society Quarterly in June 2014 and is now available on the author's Historic Pathways site. This case used all types of DNA, providing genealogists a great model for DNA research. I am sure I saw another published case study demonstrating mitochondrial DNA as a genealogical tool, but I could not remember it.
However, I did find a blog post by Roberta Estes, "Mitochondrial -- the Maligned DNA," which shows how mitochondrial DNA was used to resolve of which wife of a male ancestor the tester was a descendant.
I also found a somewhat technical but useful post by Blaine Bettinger, "An mtDNA Journey -- Discovering My mtDNA in a Research Paper," describing some of the surprises discovered in his own mitochondrial DNA and how he discovered his mtDNA in a research study defining his haplogroup.
I thought I'd toss the question out for others. Do you know of another example of a published case study involving mitochondrial DNA in DNA research? Has mitochondrial DNA been useful in your own line?
Friday, June 24, 2016
I replied back that now it was stuck in the heads of all her friends except that I was singing a slightly different variation.
My brother's wife died, leaving behind an 18-month old son. For several years, I picked up my nephew from the babysitter's house after school let out and kept him until my brother returned home from work at Walmart, which was often late since he received a promotion to assistant manager and transferred to a store about 45 miles away. I would often play the radio, and sometimes it would be on as we were eating. I can still picture my nephew, sitting in his booster seat singing along with that song. He really only sang one phrase -- the phrase that was repeated often throughout the song and bore the title words. The problem was his vocabulary did not include the word "rhinestone" so he sang what he thought he heard. Yes, that song will forever be etched in my brain as "Macaroni on a Cowboy."
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
One More Quick Post - Mount Rainier
I leave for home tonight, arriving in the morning. I suspect the kittens (10 months old so almost officially cats) intend to keep me occupied tomorrow, but I should have time to think through a blog post the following day and get back to my blogging schedule.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Having Too Much Fun to Remember to Post
Because I don't have lots of time at the moment for a long post, I'll leave you with a photo I took last Sunday afternoon at the Portland Japanese Gardens showing Mount Hood.
|Mount Hood as seen from Portland Japanese Garden. Photograph by Lori Thornton, 12 Jun 2016.|
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Civil War Weapons
|Springfield Model 1842. Photograph provided by "Older Firearms." Flickr Creative Commons (https://www.flickr.com/photos/35513864@N05/3292174456 : accessed 9 Jun 2016). Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).|
I'm not exactly an expert on firearms, but my nephew knows much more about them. He served with the Army National Guard for two tours of duty in Iraq and is much more interested in them than I am. I put the "fourth cousins" in touch with one another in such a manner that I was copied on the messages.
After what seemed like a live Internet version of Antiques Roadshow, it was concluded that the gun was a Springfield Model 1842 and that it was one of the guns used in the war and issued with a modification that was present on the one in the family. When Union soldiers mustered out, they were given an option of purchasing their weapon. While we cannot guarantee this was the rifle issued to James M. Thornton, it seems likely that it was.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Just the Facts, Please
It wasn't long before other genealogists were chiming in. Concern was voiced about the undocumented nature of much of the information being supplied. Many also knew of incorrect family connections. (I know someone had my maternal great-grandmother attached to the wrong man once even though they were in cemeteries in completely different parts of the state. Fortunately I was able to get this corrected.)
In the past I found instances where someone provided a citation for a grave recorded when the WPA inventories were made which is no longer marked. I appreciated the information.
However, I agree that much information being added is not useful. Some is completely erroneous. The contributors think they are being helpful, but they are likely being harmful. I know cousins who contact me about a person in my tree who "jumped" at the first match they found, making an incorrect conclusion concerning a person's identity based on a same name. The "reasonably exhaustive search" requirement was not met. This information gets propagated and sometimes creates situations where more incorrect information is available than correct. I spent a great amount of time trying to track down the source of erroneous information in one case so I could really address the error in a proof statement providing the correct analysis.
For the most part, I use the grave marker photograph as my source with Find A Grave. I make a note in my citation as to whether or not an accompanying photograph documents the evidence or not. In some cases, the accompanying photograph provides alternate information than the transcription. In those cases, I go with the photograph.
One person commenting on Neill's post said she likes to add death certificates, where available.
Of course, many persons are violating copyright when posting obituaries at Find A Grave. That has been a source of discussion among genealogists for a long time. That problem was around even before Find A Grave when persons would post every obituary in the local paper to Rootsweb Mailing Lists. At one time I was administrator for some of the boards. I contacted the papers involved to see if they claimed copyright on the obituaries or not. In one case, they did and wanted them removed. In another, the paper said they were created from form sheets filled in by the families so they did not. The question then became whether the family owned the copyright or if it was just "facts." After consultation with others, the decision was to remove those as requested by families only. Generally speaking, newspapers do claim the copyright to obituaries so they should not be posted.
One person said he did not mind the extra information. It placed it in one place, and he could evaluate it himself, much the same as he does with trees.
One person suggested Find A Grave needs to provide a section for the extra information that is separate from the main memorial.
I tend to agree Find A Grave is becoming too cluttered with all the extras. I do like the suggestion of a separate section for the additional information. I would also support requiring additional information to be cited. When an edit to that section is made, a box for a free-form citation could appear and not be accepted unless the citation was entered. Am I dreaming?
What are your thoughts?
Thursday, June 09, 2016
Cumberland Gap Genealogy Jamboree
I won't be attending today's festivities as I'm using the time to do laundry and pack. I have a work-related conference for which I'm leaving as soon as I finish speaking Saturday. Because I plan to attend most of Friday and Saturday, I needed today to get ready (and to spend a little time with my kittens who are quickly becoming full-grown cats).
I'm looking forward to visiting with many friends at the event, but this year's event will be a little sad as Connie won't be there. Connie was from the Evansville, Indiana area and always came. I always enjoyed visiting with her and Lyn at the booth they set up to sell "extra copies" of genealogy books to benefit the Willard Library. A distant "cousin" Mary also usually came and visited. [I say she's a "cousin" even though the connection is not proven. We know it will be there once we discover from which line my ancestor descends. Regardless of the line, we'll end up being related.]
Things will be different, but are things ever "the same" again?
Monday, June 06, 2016
Handy Mississippi Genealogy Handbook
Morris, Gary L. Handy Mississippi Genealogy Handbook. s.l.: s.n., 2015.
As I was browsing at Amazon this week, I discovered an entry for a book on Mississippi genealogical research previously unknown to me. Even though the book was described as being 38 pages and costing $5.99, I decided to purchase it. When the book arrived, it really only had 36 pages. The book relies heavily upon Access Genealogy resources. Most other information is a listing of URLs or addresses.
The layout and formatting is confusing. The author uses the same heading style for sections as for the actual resource, making much of the information seem duplicated. Descriptions are not very useful and information provided is not complete enough to be useful at even a basic level.
The final section of the book provides a listing of common Mississippi surnames -- or what is SUPPOSED to be a listing of common Mississippi surnames. Instead, it is a listing of counties.
Don't waste your money on this volume! What little useful information included can be found easily on the Internet. Those wanting a book on Mississippi research are better off purchasing the dated Tracing Your Mississippi Ancestors by Anne S. Lipscomb and Kathleen Hutchison.
Friday, June 03, 2016
Genealogical Filing Systems Over the Years
I quickly discovered that didn't work very well and broke them into smaller groups and into counties and such.
I think I visited a cousin who was into scrapbooking and saw the merits of notebooks. I created notebooks for most of the families. I made individual and/or family group sheets for each person. I filed documents pertaining to each behind the sheet. Unfortunately that didn't really work either, but for a long time I really didn't know a better way to do it. I still had a lot of stuff in folders that never made it to the new system. I probably began filing in either the notebook or a folder.
When talking with another genealogist, I learned his system was filing by the record. So if it was Monroe County, Mississippi Deeds, with his system, I'd put them in a folder (or folders) arranged so book 1 deeds were inserted by pages, then book 2, then book 3, etc. This meant that as long as I had my citation, I could find them. Correspondence folders could be arranged by the correspondent instead of by the family or families to which they pertained, which really helped when it came to e-mails that covered multiple families. Although I've begun rearranging my folders, I've got a long way to go on the project.
You may wonder why I chose to post on this topic. It's really simple. I planned a post to discuss evidence and reach a conclusion based on the genealogical proof standard. Additional information came to my attention tonight. It doesn't seem all that reliable on the surface, but it adds a new twist, and I need to look at documents again that are under multiple filing systems in my house. I cannot even remember which records are in some of those older files that may not be in my database. If certain ones are not present, I need to retrieve those from several locations before the reasonable exhaustive search has been made. Most of the documents I need will be in Monroe or Itawamba County, Mississippi or Fayette County, Alabama. Some may not exist, but I need to be certain of that and make sure that my search has been written up so I don't forget what I've done. It's been a long time since I really worked on this line (until recently), and it is finally being written up as it should have been 20 years ago.
We all need to revisit our old research and make sure it meets standards. I find that too much reliance on a database is not good for me. I do use one, but I need to write research reports to myself and then write a documented narrative. That is what works best for me!