It’s the last day of March, so it must be time to start thinking about Christmas, right?
OK, so you may not be thinking about your next Christmas craft project or gift-giving. But March has been Women’s History month and I’ve got a fun and easy craft project for you that will honor your female ancestors, help you do a bit of Spring cleaning of your stashes of left over fabric, and put you well ahead of the game when it comes to holiday prep.
Follow along with me in the video below as I piece together a crazy quilt Christmas stocking.
Familiar Female Faces
This stocking not only possesses a nostalgic flare with its Victorian-era crazy quilt design and embroidery, but it’s also brimming with familiar female faces from my family tree. Gathering together as many photos as I could of the women that I directly descend from was a fun challenge. I scoured old photo albums, searched online family trees, and put the word out to family members to make sure I had every available image. I was pleasantly surprised at how many I came up with.
Not Just for Stockings
This crafty idea certainly isn’t limited to Christmas stockings. You could translate this into a wall hanging, or even a full-size bed quilt. Make one as a gift, and it will surely be handed down the family lines for generations as a treasured heirloom.
Create a Video Story of Your Creation
I made this video with Animoto, a web and mobile app that makes this job of video creation oh, so easy! And it got me to thinking how lovely it would be to give a “bonus” gift of video to the recipient of this family history present.
Re-purpose the Photos – since you’ve already pulled out the photos to create the transfer images, why not drop them into Animoto? Add your memories, poems they wrote, and any other tidbits that help their legacy shine through. Sprinkle with a bit of music (Animoto has loads of songs to choose from), and in minutes you can create a short tribute video to the women in your tree.
Document the Project– Grab your smartphone and snap pictures and videos during the process of creating the stocking (or other form of this project). Toss your photos and videos into Animoto, add personalized comments, and you’ll have a sweet video to accompany the gift. It will show how you poured love into every stitch! (Ah! What I wouldn’t give for such a video of my Grandma sewing the lovely items I treasure today!)
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One of the best kept secrets about #RootsTech is the fact that free sessions are held all day in the Demo Theater in the Exhibit Hall! At first glance it looks like a lounge full of comfy chairs. But don’t let that fool you. (Image right: My friend Janet Hovorka, talking about her new book Zap the Grandma Gap in the demo theater 2013. That’s my finger on the right!)
Folks in the genealogy industry will be presenting informative 15 minute segments that anyone can sit in on.
My sessions are less demo, and more crash course classes. You’re guaranteed to learn tips you can use:
FRIDAY Feb. 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm: Evernote Quick Tips for Genealogists
SATURDAY Feb. 8, 2014 at 12:40: Time Travel Using Google Earth
And if comfy chairs and usable tips aren’t enough incentive, how about a chance to win prizes! Every person in attendance at the demo is eligible.
Limited Seating and we start right on time (there’s only 5 minutes between these speed sessions!) so arrive early. And if you need a reminder, stop by the Genealogy Gems Booth #830 and pick up a demo flyer with the dates and times.
Do you need help solving your family migration patterns? A groundbreaking new scientific study uses DNA and family trees to map migration routes across North America.
Family Migration Patterns Revealed in Genomes
A new study published in Nature Communications represents a ground-breaking development in using DNA for genealogy. The article from the AncestryDNA Scientific Team is titled Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America. Or, in more understandable terms, “Your DNA can tell us where you came from in America in the last 500 years.”
Wow, right? So, how did they do this?
The power really is in the numbers. In this particular paper, they started with using their autosomal DNA test on 770,000 people. Some of them were AncestryDNA customers who had consented to be part of the research. From these 770,000, they learned quite a bit about the migration patterns of early Americans. As Ancestry analyzes more individuals using these same principles of correlating genetics and genealogy, this data will improve and be able to tell us even more about our heritage. Even though it takes a large data set to figure out the relationship between our DNA and migration patterns, it really comes down to the relationship of two people.
To start, Ancestry determines how just two people are genetically related. Then, they find how those two are related to a third person, again, looking only at pairs of people. This goes on and on until everyone in the group as been compared. They use a graph to plot those relationships, with those more closely related clustering around each other. And then it happens. The point where we see the marriage of genetics and genealogy suddenly appear by adding in the family history information for each of these individuals in the cluster.
What they found was astounding. They have displayed the data in Figure 3 shown below. It is a map of the United States with colored dots scattered across the landscape. The location of the dots corresponds to the genealogy of those tested, while the color of the dots relates to their genetic clustering. Those who cluster closest together are the same color. The result is a nearly perfect rainbow, with buy anti anxiety medication online uk each color holding its respective spot on the map, with very little overlap between groups.
Distribution of ancestral birth locations in North America. Summary map from Nature Communications; click to see article with full explanation of map data. Image used with permission of Ancestry.com.
We might be tempted when looking at the map to think, oh, well, of course there is a large population of European Jews in New York, everyone knows that. But this isn’t their family history, their accent, or their culture telling us this – it is their genetics!
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the scientists describe how we can trace family migration patterns of different groups over just a few generations. They specifically mention French Canadians and Cajuns/Acadians, but the same principle can theoretically be applied to dozens of other groups.
Family Migration Patterns and Applying these Findings
So what does this mean for you as a genealogist?
It means we are getting closer than ever to being able to tell who you are and where you came from using your DNA.
For example, let’s say you have an ancestor in Texas about 4 generations ago, but you aren’t sure where she came from. Your DNA could tell you that you fit into the Lower South group, meaning that your ancestor likely hails from the south. Or, maybe your genetics identify with the Upland South, which means you need to explore records from Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
This is just a glimpse into the advances that genetics are bringing to your genealogy toolbox these days. So it’s high time to go “all in” to learn about genetic genealogy! We recommend The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogyby Blaine Bettinger. You’ll love this book if:
You’ve got brick walls that traditional research methods haven’t been able to break down
You want to take advantage of the hottest tool in genealogy
You’ve already taken a DNA test and want to know what comes next
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!