Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference: AncestryDNA Ethnicity Reports

At the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Anna Swayne of Ancestry.com presented the session “Utilizing AncestryDNA Matching to Break Through Brick Walls in your Research.” This is the second of three articles about that presentation.

When you get your DNA tested from AncestryDNA, you get two types of results: an ethnicity estimate and a report of matches.

To calculate your ethnicity, AncestryDNA compares your DNA against 26 different global regions and gives you an estimate of your ethnicity. This indicates your ancestors’ locations at about 500 to 1,000 years ago. This is based on population research results as of today. As AncestryDNA improve that research, AncestryDNA reruns your results to get improved results.

AncestryDNA currently classifies ethnicity into 26 regions.

The results can look different between you and your siblings. Remember the alphabet block diagram from my last article? You inherit different DNA from your parents than your siblings, so your ethnicity estimates can look very different.

Next time: DNA Matches.

Monday, September 1, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference: Autosomal DNA

At the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Anna Swayne of Ancestry.com presented the session “Utilizing AncestryDNA Matching to Break Through Brick Walls in your Research.” This is the first in three articles about that presentation.

Swayne gave us a brief introduction to DNA. There are different types of DNA. Y-chromosome DNA is passed down the fathers’ line (the blue line on the fan chart, below) and mitochondrial DNA is passed down the mother’s line (pink line, below). Autosomal DNA is all the other DNA passed down from all of your ancestors (green, below).

On this fan chart Y-DNA is shown in blue, mitochondrial in pink, and autosomal in green.
[Note: My diagram differs from Swayne’s in that I’ve left green off of some ancestral lines to exaggerate one of her next points: An ancestor’s DNA can drop completely out.]

Swayne showed a chart I liked so much, I’ve created one of my own (below). Seeing the chart was a light bulb moment for me. I suddenly saw how the DNA of a set of parents is slowly displaced. In my chart, blue, green, red, and orange show their DNA. Gray is DNA of others. With each successive generation, more of the original parents’ DNA disappears in this line of descent.

In each successive generation, half the DNA of the grandparents is lost.

Swayne showed another chart of alphabet blocks cleverly chosen to illustrate this. I’ve shown part of it, below. Click to see the full image on the Ancestry.com website with both sets of grandparents, parents, and siblings.

Alphabet blocks illustration of inheritance

When you get your DNA tested from AncestryDNA, you get two types of results: an ethnicity estimate and a report of matches. (To be continued…)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#FGS2014 Focus On Societies: Strong Business Strategy

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conferenceWednesday was society day at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) this week. Breaking a bit from the traditional format of opening keynote followed by breakout classes, this year the morning of Society Day followed a seminar format often used in business training. The seminar was titled “Strong Business Strategy = Sound Society Strategy” and was presented tag team by David Rencher and Ed Donakey. Rencher represented genealogy knowhow and Donakey represented business acumen. Rencher is chief genealogical officer at FamilySearch and is FGS secretary. Donakey is a former company CEO, works for Rencher at FamilySearch, and is this year’s FGS national conference chair. Each participant was given a seminar booklet with handouts, work samples, and workbook pages.

Attendees were first asked to think about the question: “Where do you want your society to be five years from now? Ten years? Twenty?” A mission statement and business plan can help you get where you want to be.

A business plan should have two dimensions. One is the written document. The other is in the heart, the way you feel. It is the commitment to the mission of the society. Your plan should include a mission statement. Make certain the mission statement is focused. It shouldn’t include a clause that would allow your society board to do pretty much anything they want. Have measurements from which you can judge the ongoing success of the society.

Write out your financial plan. Manage your sunk costs. A sunk cost is one that has already been incurred and can’t be recovered. Some of these may be office equipment, inventories of publications that are not on sale, maintenance fees for Dropbox, employees, and any regularly scheduled payments. Are they worth continuing?

Formalize how proposals are made to the society board and what information should be included in the proposal.

Utilize social media. Identify your goals. Pick which ones to use. Appoint personnel to administer each one. Establish a policy governing who posts and what they address. Advertise the sites in your publications.

In a later session, Donakey alerted attendees to discounts available to societies and genealogists in general.

  • FindMyPast (www.findmypast.com/articles/work-with-us/partnering-with-societies) – With the FindMyPast
    society membership program, society members can buy a 12-month world subscription on FindMyPast.com with a discount equal to the cost of society membership. FindMyPast also has a Society Data Initiative in which societies and FindMyPast partner to “preserve, digitize, and provide access to society publications.”
  • Dell (www.dell.com/mpp/fgs) – This website has opportunity to buy cameras, monitors, and computers. Any genealogist can buy from this website and get the discounts offered there. If certain amounts purchased, there is a possibility of a return in a small percentage coming back to FGS.
  • Lexmark (http://shop.lexmark.com/familysearch) – At this website anyone can buy a printer/scanner that is capable of logging into FamilySearch.org and scanning directly from the printer/scanner. This is the same technology available in the commercial sized printers in FamilySearch family history centers.

A member of the class pointed out that TechSoup.org is another great resource offering special deals for non-profit organizations.

So if you are an officer of a genealogical society, ask yourself,”Where do I want my society to be twenty years from now?”

Friday, August 29, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference: Riders on the Orphan Train

Riders on the Orphan TrainOver a quarter million orphans and unwanted children from the streets of New York were loaded up on trains and sent out all over the country to be given away. That’s right; you heard what I said. Stop after stop, perspective adopters inspected their teeth and squeezed their muscles to see how well they could work the fields.

This chapter in American history is largely untold and largely unknown.

The “Riders on the Orphan Train” FGS Conference keynote was created and presented by Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore to tell their stories. Lancaster is a singer-songwriter and Moore is an author and humanities scholar. To tell the stories, the two sang and played guitars while we viewed historical photographs and interviews of two survivors. Alison painted a word picture allowing us to see into the minds of the fearful children.

Phil Lancaster and Alison MoorePhil and Alison are the official outreach coordinators for the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center in Concordia, Kansas.You can read more about the presentation on their website.

Prior to the keynote address, Josh Taylor, FGS president, announced locations for upcoming conferences:

  • 2015 annual conference: I think most everyone knows this will be co-located with RootsTech, 11-14 February 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Josh Taylor says it will be the perfect Valentine’s Day date. Bring your significant other to run the copy machine.)
  • 2015 Alaskan cruise: If you can’t stand the thought of an August without an FGS conference, consider the 28 August 2015 FGS cruise. Speakers are Elizabeth Shown Mills, David Rencher, Judy Russell, and Josh Taylor. More information is available at https://www.fgsconference.org/cruise.
  • 2015 regional conference: In conjunction with the New York State Family History Conference, 17-19 September 2015, FGS is providing topics and events for genealogical society leaders.
  • 2016 annual conference: FGS is returning to Springfield, Illinois.
  • 2017 annual conference: the location of this conference is still to be announced.
  • 2018 annual conference: FGS is returning to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

And it’s not too late for you to join us for the weekend.

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 Conference: Finding Female Ancestors

Anne Gillespie MitchellAt the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Anne Gillespie Mitchell presented the session “How to Use Ancestry.com Records to Reveal Your Female Ancestors’ Stories.” Mitchell is a senior product manager at Ancestry.com.

Mostly records were left by men about men, but there are places where you can find women. The key to understanding the lives of women is cluster research. Elizabeth Shown Mills calls it FAN research: Family, Associates, and Neighbors. It’s important to formulate a good research question and a research plan that will answer that question.

Start with basic information. Understand and map your female ancestor out in terms of time and place. Gather enough information about them to differentiate them from other people.

Mitchell walked us through a couple of case studies. In the first case she identified the parents of Georgia Eva Baxter Payne. She started with census and vital records. She created a time line. She consulted Google maps. Using known information, she estimated where and when particular events might have occurred and what records might exist. She relied upon a wide array of record types, including estate inventories, guardianship records, city directories, and obituaries. She found records for male siblings. She utilized ancillary information such as witnesses and informants. Using this information she was able to answer her research question. (For more information about this case study, see Mitchell’s web post, “…The Hunt for…Georgia Eva Baxter’s Parents,” at http://finding-forgotten-stories.com, posted 30 January 2014.)

Mitchell walked through the process of fleshing out the life of Sarah “Sudie” Hamrick. She looked at the records of Sarah’s husband and other family members. (For more information about this case study, on Mitchell’s blog, see “I Think My Great Grandmother was a Muse…Sarah Sudie Hamrick,” posted 29 January 2014.)

In closing, I have to say, this was one of the best Ancestry.com presentations I have ever attended. Her case-study format was extremely effective. We learned how to “…reveal [our] female ancestors’ stories.” We weren’t told Ancestry.com was extremely valuable in doing so, we saw it was so. I also appreciated that she mentioned searching microfilms. She demonstrated the genealogy proof standard without actually mentioning it. She presented a well crafted proof argument without calling it such. Thank you, Anne.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference For Free

If you’re within striking distance of San Antonio, Texas, now’s the time to think about taking advantage of the free offerings at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

The exhibit hall is the place to go for free offerings and is open to the general public. The conference is hosting many free presentations. I’ve published a list in a separate article. Vendors and expert genealogists host presentations in their own booths. I’ve published schedules for one or more of those. Look for them in separate articles.

Discounts are often offered by vendors at the conference. At the FamilySearch booth you can get a free subscription to FamilySearch.org. (Wink, wink.) FindMyPast is offering a free, one month subscription worth $19.95. Stop by their booth to get that offer. JSTOR is offering a free trial. You can get $10 off society memberships for several societies. You can buy AncestryDNA kits for a 10% discount.

Of course, if you can spend a little money, that opens up your possibilities even more. See “FGS Conference for $49 Saturday – #FGS2014.”

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 #Genealogy Conference Free Presentations on Main Stage

The Texas State Genealogical Society, a co-host of this year’s Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, is hosting several free presentations at the conference. These are open to the general public in an exhibit hall of the San Antonio Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. If you’re in the area, come on down.

Here is the schedule for the main presentations given on a stage at the rear of the exhibit hall:

EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, THURSDAY, AUGUST 28

  • 10:45-11:15, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 11:30 – 12 PM, Lisa Louise Cooke - Evernote Extravaganza for Genealogists: Laying the Foundation
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Jen Baldwin - Top 10 things you need to know about “crossing the pond”
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Julia George, PhD - Top Ten Reasons to Join Your Local Genealogical Society
  • 2:45 – 3:15, Maureen A. Taylor - Eight Things to Know about the Civil War and Your Family Pictures
  • 3:30 – 4:00, Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG - Pension Research: The Short Course
  • 4:15 – 4:45, Randy Whited - A Quick Guide to Going Paperless


EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

  • 9:30 – 10:00, Mic Barnette - Free People of Color in Texas before the Civil War
  • 10:15 – 10:45,  Jen Baldwin - Exploring PERSI with Findmypast
  • 11:00 – 11:30, Order of Granaderos y Damas de Gálvez: San Antonio Chapter - Living History Presentation
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Barbara Brixey Wylie - Habits that Breakdown Brick Walls
  • 2:45 – 3:15,  Thomas MacEntee - Google Books for Genealogists
  • 3:30 – 4:00,  Caroline Pointer - German-Texan Research Tips
  • 4:15 – 4:45, Los Bexareños Genealogical and Historical Society - Roadblocks and Wrong Turns in Researching Hispanic Families (English)


EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

  • 9:30 – 10:00, Tony Hanson - No Scanner? Use Your Camera!
  • 10:15 – 10:45, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 11:00 – 11:45, Los Bexareños Genealogical and Historical Society - Roadblocks and Wrong Turns in Researching Hispanic Families (Spanish)
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Jen Baldwin - Connecting to Ireland
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Sara Gredler, MS - Beginner Genealogy Strategies


For descriptions of these presentations, see “Exhibit Hall Presentations” on the FGS Conference Website.

Many vendors offer presentations as well, right in their booths. I’ve published the schedules for one or more of these in separate articles today.

See you in San Antonio!

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

#FGS2014 #Ancestry.com Free Presentations

Ancestry.comI’ve seen people pay a couple dozen bucks to attend an “Ancestry Day” of sessions about Ancestry.com. If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas area this week, you may wish to come down to the convention center and attend their presentations for free. Ancestry.com is offering classes in its booth in the exhibit hall of the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Here’s the Ancestry.com booth presentation schedule:

Thursday, August 28th

10:00am

Search Tips & Tricks

Anna Fechter

12:00pm

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Research

Juliana Smith

12:30pm

Intro to AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

1:00pm

Making the Most of Your AncestryDNA Matches

Anna Swayne

2:00-2:45pm

FGS Conference Demo: Getting the Most from Your Discoveries on Ancestry.com

Juliana Smith

2:30pm

Family Tree Maker

Kendall Lovett

4:00pm

Using the Ancestry Mobile App

Kendall Jefferson

Friday, August 29th

9:30am

Using Ancestry Trees

Anna Fechter

11:00-11:45am

FGS Conference Demo: AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

11:30am

Using Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:00pm

Fixing Data Errors in Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:30pm

Discover Everything about the Soldiers in your Tree with Fold3 and Ancestry.com

Anne Mitchell

1:00pm

Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com

Anne Mitchell

2:30pm

Overlooked Secrets in Census Records

Juliana Smith

4:00pm

Using AncestryDNA in your Research

Anna Swayne

Saturday, August 30th

9:30am

Charts and Reports in Family Tree Maker

Kendall Lovett

11:30am

Finding Your Ancestor’s Arrival on Ancestry.com

Juliana Smith

12:00pm

Search Tips & Tricks

Anna Fechter

12:00-12:45pm

FGS Conference Demo: Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:30pm

Getting the Most from AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

1:00pm

How You Can Get Involved with Indexing and the World Archives Project

Anna Fechter

2:30pm

Using the Ancestry Mobile App

Kendall Jefferson

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 Free Outside the Box #Genealogy Presentations

If you’re near San Antonio this week, heads up. Four respected experts have teamed up to do some free presentations at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You’ll find them in the exhibit hall in booth #218. That’s a pretty small space, so come early to get a seat:

OUTSIDE THE BOX, THURSDAY, AUGUST 28

  • 12:00 – 12:30, Maureen Taylor – 5 Things You Need to Know About Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes & Tintypes
  • 12:35 – 1:05, Janet Hovorka – 10 Simple Ways to Zap the Grandma Gap and Engage Your Family
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Lisa Louise Cooke – Ultimate Google Search Strategies
  • 4:30 – 5:30, Lisa Louise Cooke - Become an iPad Power User (60 minute class)




OUTSIDE THE BOX, FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

  • 9:40 – 10:10, Maureen Taylor – Your Perfect P.O.P—Photo Organizing Practices
  • 11:30 – 12:00, Maureen Taylor – Preserve Your Family Photos on a Budget
  • 12:15 – 12:45, Lisa Louise Cooke – Evernote Tips and Tricks for Genealogists
  • 12:50 – 1:10, Janet Hovorka – Beautiful Charts to Show off Your Family History
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Janet Hovorka – Earn Prizes—Genealogy Game Show and Pedigree Challenge




OUTSIDE THE BOX, SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

  • 9:40 – 10:10, Diahan Southard – Understanding my DNA Results in 15 Minutes or Less
  • 11:30 – 12:00, Lisa Louise Cooke – Google Earth Time travel for Genealogists
  • 12:05 – 1:10, Maureen Taylor - Google Images and Beyond (60 minute class)
  • 1:15 – 2:15, Lisa Louise Cooke – Tech Tools for Newspapers (60 minute class)
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Diahan Southard – Three Critical Techniques for Understanding Your Autosomal Test Results

Other vendors also give scheduled or ad hoc presentations about their products. Come by and see what you can learn at the free exhibit hall.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

#FGS2014 #FamilySearch Free Presentations

FamilySearchThere are presentations at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies that you don’t have to pay to see. If you are in San Antonio, visit the FamilySearch booth in the exhibit hall to see these:

THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:30

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

12:00

Lynn Turner

Historical Records

1:00

Mike Provard

Uploading, Tagging, and Attaching Photos

2:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

3:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

4:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

FRIDAY, 29 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

12:00

Lynn Turner

Historical Records

1:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

2:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

3:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

4:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

SATURDAY, 30 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

12:00

Danielle Batson

Wiki, Help

1:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

2:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

In my experience, don’t be surprised if these presentations start a little late.

Other vendors also give scheduled or ad hoc presentations about their products. Come by and see what you can learn at the free exhibit hall.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

See you in San Antonio!