28 November 2013

Doebel/Debler/Doebler from Schwäbisch Gmünd to Baltimore

Last July I wrote "I forgot to look for my great grandmom." That was a post about reviewing my genealogy, and finding a couple lines that I had overlooked, ripe for further research. I said I would write again about it, and so here I go.

On one of those lines, my research has been very successful.

My 5th great grandmother Barbara Doebel was born in 1829 and immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland from Nandlstadt, Oberbayern, Bavaria (Germany). When I found some of her relatives on some microfilms of Baltimore church records, I got her parents names. I think I got one more generation off of FamilySearch.org because of names someone else shared on the tree. Anyhow, that is where I was in researching that family until this year. Between July and now, we were able to extend several of Barbara's lines a few more generations in microfilmed Nandlstadt town/family-book records. 

It took a few months because I ordered the microfilms I needed through the FamilySearch Catalog to be sent from their library in Utah to a local branch where I live. A few times I had the wrong film because the books spanned multiple films and it was not clear which one had which families.  

When the films arrived each time I got an email letting me know, and I drove to the library to look at them. I photocopied and then scanned into the FamilySearch Family Tree all the relevant records, as I typed in the new names that I was finding.

After going through all the relevant records for Nandlstadt, I analyzed the records for next steps. The Nandlstadt records only took the families to a certain point. The Doebler surname had various spellings in the original records, and I will use various spellings too. The earliest Doebler in my line, in Nandlstadt records, had listed the town that this earliest Doebler was from: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Niederbayern, Bayern, Germany

See that record [click here].

Using the same kinds of microfilmed town/family-books for Schwäbisch Gmünd, the line could be traced all the way into the 1500's before the paper trail ran out. Now, that is a good example of having research success after overlooking clues on my tree for a few years.

26 November 2013

My FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder results and my Ancestry.comDNA

Yesterday I wrote about my early attempts at DNA testing in "An intro to my DNA and the tests I've been taking." That post introduced my Y-DNA and mtDNA, using testing I took from Ancestry.com in 2008 and 2010.

Those were the only genealogical types of DNA tests I was aware of up till that time, but then in 2010 Family Tree DNA brought autosomal DNA testing to the market. It totally supercharged the value of DNA testing for genealogists. Instead of following only the direct paternal line (Y-DNA) or the direct maternal line (mtDNA), this test covers all ancestors DNA as inherited within the last 5-7 generations. Ancestors who were farther back than that may not have passed any measurable amount of their DNA on to you.

I ordered the "Family Finder" test in late 2010, and received my results in February 2011. I got some DNA matches and an ethnicity estimate. Unfortunately, I haven't taken the required time to learn how to use all the match tools they provide. There are plenty of other bloggers who explain this all much better than I will even attempt.

Ancestry.com released a similar test in 2012 and I took it too. Ancestry.com's user interface doesn't have so many tools to analyze matches, but Ancestry.com's test is more beginner friendly. My closest matches on F.T.DNA's Family Finder are five matches that apparently fall into the range of 2nd-4th cousin. Then there are pages more in the 3rd-5th cousin range. My closest matches on Ancestry.com's autosomal test are a few relatives who took the test for me, and sixteen in the 4th-6th cousin range at a 96% confidence. Then there is like another page full of the same range at 95% confidence before the rest which are all "distant" cousins with only a 50% or less chance of being related within any historically documentable range. With this review, it looks like there may be more matches on Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA may have more analysis tools, but in reviewing my own matches I have seen that the users are less likely to connect their tree to their results. Overall, I'd probably recommend starting out with Ancestry.com's test.

If you decide to get deeper into DNA testing, Family Tree DNA allows you to transfer your results in for less than purchasing the test again--although it does not work the other direction. For that matter, they have more specialized testing too (such as more detailed Y-DNA and mtDNA, as well as specific DNA marker tests).

These are just some general observations and I will forgo revealing any specifics about matches. Suffice it to say that out of all the suggested matches, we've been able to document the connections to only a few of them thusfar. More often I can see that we match a certain area or surname, but in many cases I can't find a surname that matches my tree either. It may take more research to document many of the suggested cousins.

One more interesting thing about my matches: Both of my grandmothers took the AncestryDNA test for me. One of them shows up in my matches as "Close family" (2-4 degrees of separation) and the other grandmother shows up as "1st cousin" (3-5 degrees of separation). A grandparents is actually 2 degrees of separation. Looks like I inherited less DNA from one of them than the other, which is totally believable and scientifically possible, though you can research that more elsewhere. For us, it is just a potential conversation piece to say I am more genetically like one side of the family than the other. If we are fortunate to know some of our ancestors, we can often identify a physical or personality trait we have inherited without a DNA test--although taking the test can sometimes be an interesting confirmation of things like this.

DNA ethnicity estimates are a fun conversational piece. I'll attach mine below.

Family Tree DNA

These percentages fairly well follow what I know about my ancestors from research, except for a few major discrepancies. I do not have any documented ancestors from the Middle East or Scandinavia. My own research suggests I have several more lines from Western Europe than from Ireland. There are several reasons why these kinds of percentages cannot be exact, although many in the genetic genealogy community believe the results will get more reliable with future developments. Again, I leave many questions unanswered. If you're curious to know more about genetic genealogy and don't know where to look, I'd be happy to point out some resources. Just leave a comment below.

25 November 2013

An intro to my DNA and the tests I've been taking

DNA testing has been around for a long time and the general public probably thinks of uses such as: paternity testing, ancient anthropology, and forensic science.

In about the year 2000, DNA testing for genealogy began to be popularized when Family Tree DNA began offering tests specifically for that market. Then in perhaps 2007 Ancestry.com either began or improved their DNA test marketing. At that early stage they were offering Y-DNA tests. To understand all this it is important to understand there are 3 main types of genealogy DNA tests. Y-DNA (usually you must choose STR or SNP markers though STR is more common for genealogy purposes), mtDNA, and autosomal DNA.

In 2008, I took my first DNA test, the Ancestry.com Y-DNA 33 STR marker test. I came up with 2 close matches that were both surnamed McCormick just like me. Because Y-DNA goes father to son only, it follows the straight paternal line and having a McCormick match is precisely the surname match I would have expected. We began to email each other, but because of the difficulties of Irish genealogy we have not been able to document our cousin relationship. I also found out that my paternal line is in haplogroup R1b.

mtDNA was not quite as developed as Y-DNA at first for genealogy, but in 2010 I ordered my first mtDNA test. My matches with that were not particularly useful for anything, but I found it interesting to know that my straight maternal line is in the H haplogroup.

That same year I also got Ancestry.com's upgrade from 33 STR markers to 46 markers for my Y-DNA test. I still matched the other two McCormicks on my list exactly, except for one marker.

So far you may be thinking, "Why would anyone take a DNA test when all they get is this?" Well, some people don't think it is worth the money. That is up to you, but I am all for using DNA to help with genealogy. I look at is as a long term investment for a few reasons. 1) As more people test, more matches may appear. 2) The money we spend on DNA testing helps these companies stay in business and therefore funds progress in the science. 3) This may help others who are adopted or otherwise will benefit by seeing you as a match when they test.

The next tests I took were the autosomal DNA tests with Family Tree DNA and Ancestry.com. I will discuss those next.

24 November 2013

Visa overstay and marriage, Is it lawful to do well?

I usually post about genealogy on this blog, but as any genealogist understands... it is all about families.

We fell in love and she looked at me with sadness in her eyes. Then came her warning: "I'm here on a tourist visa, and have overstayed: we will have a rough road ahead." She questioned whether I would still love her after seeing the difficulties of immigration, and I assured her that I would stand by her always. Neither of us believe in breaking the law. I pondered what it was that brought her to her decision to overstay her visa. She was serving a faith-based mission in the United States for more than a year and had no practical option to travel to her home country as required. She also was not successful in getting any other type of visa, so here she was in the USA doing faith-based service work, and because of the overstay many would consider her an "illegal." She completed her mission honorably and we both ended up in the same church congregation where we served in various assignments and became fast friends. We married, and now we live in two different countries due to problems with waiver law. We need American Families United. We need H.R.3431.

Action point: Contact your representative today and ask them to COSPONSOR H.R.3431.

The title for this post is a play on the New Testament book of Matthew 12:12.

Ancestry.com: Content Publisher Beta, Sharing your records collections online

I thought that I remembered Ancestry.com announcing a records collections online publishing service at a RootsTech conference a couple years ago, but I can't find any place on my blog where I mentioned it. It is one of those things that interested me and was newsworthy, but sort of disappeared.

This last week I was looking at a comment on some website that asked what is the best way to upload clipped obituary collections or other collections in custody of a small genealogical society or family history center. There were several good comments, but the best solution in my opinion was when someone shared the link to Ancestry.com: Content Publisher Beta. I read that, followed the link and it clicked! This was that one thing I had heard about long ago. I haven't had the occasion to use it up until now, but I wanted you all to know about this exciting tool.

Please leave a comment to share your own experiences with it. I'd love to know if it has been useful for your society.

16 November 2013

FamilySearch Site Map: What's missing?

I noticed a new link at the bottom of FamilySearch.org not long ago, called "Site Map."

This page attempts to list all the pages in the website or at least each product. Examples: It lists the Research Wiki, but not all 75,000 articles. It lists Family Tree, but not each person page in the tree... etc. etc.

This is an exciting development, because among avid FamilySearch.org users, many of us notice that certain pages seem hidden... and frequent website upgrades sometimes move the links to new locations.

Some die-hard users may even decide to use the Site Map page as their first stop instead of the prettier home screen. This would drop the number of clicks required to get to some of the obscure products.

In fact, some of these products don't even have links except for from here. Examples would be "Featured Pages." Pages like those have traditionally been linked to temporarily on the home screen as a highlighted item and then disappear. If you are particularly interested in one of the feature page topics you might still enjoy using them.

Even with the advent of the "Site Map" there are still several pages missing from the list. Can you help me identify them by leaving a page title and link in the comments?

Click for full size. Captured 16 Nov 2013.
List of products or website sections/features not included in Site Map:
External sites hosted/owned/managed/co-built/enabled by FamilySearch (a.k.a. Family History Department):
Note: Some FamilySearch collections are available on other websites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and findmypast.com

Social media presence: