Sunday, April 24, 2016

Unexcpected DNA Finding

Last week, I watched the "Watch Geoff Live: DNA" webinar on Legacy Family TreeWebinars. While watching, I followed along by looking at my autosomal DNA results on Ancestry. I had my DNA tested last summer and had studied some of the results but hadn't found the help with 'brick walls' that I had hoped for.

One of the brick walls I've been working on is my James Crawford line. My James Crawford died in Preble County Ohio in 1854. He married Sally Duggins in Garrard County Kentucky in 1799. Sally had previously been married to Alexander Duggins by whom she had two sons: William and Henry. Henry Duggins was married to Jane Sellers, daughter of Nathan Sellers. Nathan A. Sellers was a neighbor of my James Crawford and died in Preble County Ohio in 1824. In early Preble County Ohio, there was a second James Crawford who owned land adjoining my James Crawford. This James Crawford married Martha Knight in 1793 in Lincoln County Kentucky. It is believed that two of the sisters of this James Crawford married brothers to Nathan A. Sellers. Thus, the two Crawfords, the Sellers and the Duggins were all neighbors in Preble County Ohio and loosely related by marriages. However, no proof has been found of any relationship between the two James Crawfords.

As I was watching and following along, I somehow searched my DNA results for the Sellers surname. SURPRISINGLY, I found matches on Nathan Sellers of Pennsylvania! I've found at least two others (enough for a circle of 3) but the generations don't quite match up for Ancestry to create a circle (yet). Thus, I've started trying to document a circle.

A known descendant of James and Martha has his DNA on Gedmatch (but not on Ancestry). When we have compared our two sets of DNA, it said there were 'No Shared DNA segments found'. Thus, we assumed we either weren't related or that it was far enough back that the DNA didn't help.

With my new SELLERS discovery, I decided to re-look at Gedmatch. This time, I had it show the chromosomes. We still didn't have matches on 'centromeres'. However, the chromosomes weren't all red. Thus, I had to study the GedMatch key.

According to the key, the more lime green, the more matches on base pairs (A-T and C-G). When I looked at the chromosome comparison with the descendant of the other James Crawford, I found that we had a lot of yellow and green on chromosomes 21 and 22.

 When I did the same comparison between the descendant of James and Martha Crawford and a descendant of Nathan A. Sellers, there was even more yellow and green on these two chromosomes.

Granted, all results still say 'No shared DNA segments'. However, this is comparing autosomal DNA and not yDNA. I'm also looking at possible relationships at least six generations back. This yellow and green and the fact that SELLERS turns up as a surname match on Ancestry is enough to cause me to re-look at the research I have already done and use the SELLERS research to learn more about my CRAWFORD lineage.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Getting Started (Re-Started) with Cluster / FAN Research

One of my genealogical challenges is identifying the parents and siblings of my ancestor, James Crawford. James marries Sally Duggins in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1799. By 1810, the couple is living in Preble County Ohio.

I've already done some cluster research to try and make headway on this line. In the process, I've identified quite a few potential members of a cluster.

In trying to figure out how to track my research, I created a spreadsheet to show where these people were at various times.

The above spreadsheet provides a visual of what I currently know. Now the struggle is to create a research plan and figure out how best to track this research.

Cluster Surnames
Crawford, Duggins, Smith, Knight, Neal, Finley

Time Period
1770 to 1850
Preble County Ohio
pre-1800 Kentucky


Excel Census Worksheet

Michele Simmons Lewis' post, My Latest Excel Spreadsheet, explained what should be a fairly easy spreadsheet to visualize which census data is needed for individuals in the tree.

In order to quickly create this spreadsheet, I had to review some skills I've yet to master in RootsMagic, one of those being the creation of a named group.

Once I had a named group created for my ancestors, I was able to create a custom report to pull the following fields: Surname, Given Name, Birth Date, Death Date. By saving the report as a text file, I could then open it in Excel.

In the comments section of Michele's blog post, JJT (John J Tierney)stated that he had created a similar spreadsheet that would automatically calculate the age of the person for each census year. His post, Simple Census Age Table, discusses this spreadsheet, which he freely shares.

So, I downloaded the spreadsheet. (Thanks JJT!) After manipulating my data to pull the year out of the birth and death dates, I copied/pasted my data into the census age table. I'm probably going to shade my table to indicate whether I have found the census data.

Thank you Michele and JJT for sharing your expertise and providing the incentive to analyze my data in this way!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cousin Bait Circle

I first became aware of the term 'Cousin Bait' by viewing the 'Mondays with Myrt' hangouts. Even though I've been sharing my genealogy for years, I had not heard the term before. The purpose of 'cousin bait' is to locate 'cousins' so you can share research.

I've had the good fortune to work with several 'cousins' who were truly willing to critique my research and provide hints and even share documentation. In one case, a cousin in Washington (state) and I were working on her CURREY line and trying to document a death place. She had an obituary indicating that her ancestor, James Barnes Currey (Curry) died in Oregon. Neither one of us could find the family in Oregon and were about to decide the obituary was wrong when we realized that he did die in Oregon -- Oregon, Holt County Missouri.

Unfortunately, I often find my research incorporated into someone else's tree without ever contacting me. Many would question how I know it is my research. My reply is because I included the file number in my citation and they are including that citation. While doing a search on one of my New England families on Ancestry, I found a link to a 'Public Member Story' that included my citation:

I can go to my filing cabinet and locate the document numbered WELLS.MI.023. I sincerely doubt that the person who posted this has any clue what WELLS.MI.023 refers to.

Ironically, I don't have much documentation on this New England family and am willing to try and find the records that will prove the dates and relationships. 

Technically, what I found posted on Ancestry is plagiarism. Since I would love to collaborate with this cousin, I'm not going to push the plagiarism button. As I've included my name and email on my site, I would appreciate if cousins would scroll to the bottom to find the email and contact me.