AncestryDNA announced last week that it has been able to identify six unique historic populations in West Africa. It’s a breakthrough they call a “finer-resolution genetic ethnicity estimate for individuals with West African ancestry.” They have even used this technology to start connecting the dots between those groups and millions of African-Americans whose ancestral paper trail was annihilated during the era of slavery.
For this latter development, the AncestryDNA team uses the “cluster genealogy” approach: the concept that people from the same location often migrated to the same areas. Of course, slavery forced apart families and other natural migration groups, both in Africa before the crossing and in the U.S. or other destinations. And the few records that remain of many of these folks and their enslaved descendants don’t include full names, place of origin or other data we rely on to make family connections. (Learn more about how to research African-American roots in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 159 with Dr. Deborah Abbott.)
It’s encouraging to read that AncestryDNA has had some success hooking up regional groups of African-Americans with specific areas of Africa. “Though this project is still in its infancy, the science team has made some progress,” AncestryDNA reports. “First, we looked at the birth locations of individuals in the trees of all African Americans. Then, we looked for locations where, relative to all African Americans, there appeared to be an over-representation of birth locations in trees of individuals with a particular West African ancestry. For individuals with Senegalese genetic ethnicity, we found what seems to be an over-representation of birth locations in South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700’s and 1800’s.”
Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 19: Using Family History Centers, Part III
This is the final episode of a series in which we answer all your questions about Family History Centers. My very special guest is Margery Bell, Assistant Director of the Oakland Family History Center in Oakland, California. She has over 35 years of experience working in Family History Centers, and is the perfect choice for our audio guided tour. In our first segment we’re buy prescription medicine online going to talk about the educational opportunities available through the Family History Centers, including the new online Wiki. Then in our second segment, Margery will give you her Top 7 Tips for getting the most out of your visit to a Family History Center (click to the show notes, above, for those tips). Finally, Margery will inspire you with some stories of genealogical serendipity that she has experienced over her many years working at Family History Centers.
Some Family History Centers are now called FamilySearch Centers. Many Centers have opened in public and private libraries in the past few years, not just in meetinghouses of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to find a FamilySearch Center/Family History Center near you.
Studies of college classrooms show that students who sit toward the front of the room and catch the teacher’s eye are more likely to pay attention, which can translate into a better learning experience. Now, that caught my eye, because a better learning experience is what we all want out of conferences.
The report goes on to say that students who sit in front and make eye contact establish a better rapport with teachers and are more likely to be more engaged in the learning process. Of course, a conference isn’t the same as a college class. The instructor isn’t grading you. But presenters are human too, and they appreciate an engaged audience. In any sort of presentation, there is always an energy that flows back and forth between audience and presenter. Both you and the instructor will benefit from rapport and engagement.
Here are my tips for getting the most out of your experience:
Arrive at the lecture as early as possible so you can get a seat where you’ll be able to see and hear everything clearly.
Read the class syllabus ahead of time so you’ll be familiar with the material going into the presentation.
Print out the syllabus (or have it handy on your iPad or tablet) so you don’t waste time writing down ideas and links that have already been written for you.
Keep your attention on the speaker, but jot down any additional ideas the speaker shares that aren’t in the syllabus–as well as any ideas you hope to apply to your own research.
Here’s a final tip that comes from the study report on where you sit. One interviewee for this article says that, “In lecture, students’ attention tends to bottom out about 30 minutes into class, which is just when faculty are getting to the most important information.” She goes on to say that sitting closer to the instructor will help you stay focused during that critical time. The takeaway: 30 minutes into any lecture, if your attention starts to wander, challenge yourself to write down the key concept you learned up to that point, and one key question you hope will be answered. And then re-focus on listening intently for the answer.
Boost your Google search skills with this free video class on Google for genealogy, presented at RootsTech 2016 by Google expert Lisa Louise Cooke.
“Everyone should be using Google to search for their family history!” That’s Lisa Louise Cooke’s mantra. Google reaches deep into so many different kinds of content on the internet. Google search tools help us discover ancestors’ names mentioned online; locate records we need; and discover historical details, images and maps that help us better understand their lives. And Google is FREE.
But Google works best when you follow a well-executed search methodology, just like in other aspects of genealogy research. At RootsTech 2016, Lisa taught a powerful and popular Google search for genealogy methodology class to a packed audience in a session that live-streamed around the world. Watch her dynamic, informative class below for free. Kim wrote in to say that the class “was the best one I’ve seen thru the free streaming [RootsTech]….Thanks for sharing free content with those of us who can’t afford to spend any money on genealogy.”
This class content comes from Lisa’s book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox (2nd edition). In it you’ll find all you need to know to take your hit-and-miss online searches to a powerful, proven search methodology for finding your ancestors online–and everything else you’re looking for! There are step-by-step instructions, screenshots and powerful examples for topics such as basic and advanced Google searching, Google Books, Google Earth, Google Scholar, Google Alerts, Google Translate and even YouTube.
More Google for Genealogy Gems
Keep learning from Lisa! Click below to read more proven Google search methodologies for genealogy.
Throughout time, there have been military veterans all around the world. Military records created during their time of service and subsequent years provide researchers with a wealth of detail. This week in our new and updated genealogical collections, we highlight U.S. military records for the Navy, U.S. Revolutionary War pensioners, New Zealand military veterans, and a variety of Irish military records.
Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to all the brave men and women of the United States who have fought in our armed forces. We salute you and remember those who are living today, those who have passed, and those that gave their lives in the service of our country.
Findmypast is offering free access to their entire military collection between November 10-13, 2016. Not only does Findmypast cover US and Canadian military records, but their records also cover the UK, Ireland, and Australian military.
United States – WWII Military Records
Check out the Findmypast.com collection titled Duty Locations, Naval Group China, World War II, 1942-1945. More than 33,000 records contain the details of military personnel who served overseas with the US Naval Group China. This group was the US Navy’s intelligence unit in China during WWII.
The records are mostly muster roll reports that record names, duty locations and changes made to ranks and rates of pay for naval personnel.
United States – Revolutionary War Military Records
Also at Findmypast, the 1840 U.S. Census, Revolutionary War Veterans database containing over 21,000 records of servicemen and their families may help you in your genealogy search. These records include those who were receiving pensions in 1840 for service in the Revolutionary War.
On the back of the population schedules for the 1840 census, enumerators recorded the living pensioners of the Revolutionary War and other military service. The list also noted an individual’s age and the name of the head-of-household in which the individual lived.
Though this is just a transcript, you can go to Ancestry or FamilySearch to see the digital image.
New Zealand – Military Records
New Zealand Wars, officers and men killed 1860-1870 from Findmypast consists of 193 transcripts of nominal returns of colonial officers and men who were killed in action while fighting in the Maori Wars. Each transcript will list your ancestor’s date of death, rank and corps.
New Zealand, military pensions 1900-1902, also from Findmypast, is a collection of records detailing those eligible for military pensions. This collection is only in transcription form, but may shed further light on your ancestors next of kin. In particular, these records often include your name, rank, service number, name and address of their next of kin, and relationship.
Ireland – Military Records
The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military School History from Findmypast is a 168 page document regarding the history of the Royal Hibernian Military School in Dublin. This collection includes transcriptions from memorial inscriptions, a roll of honor from the First World War, and transcripts from both the 1901 and 1911 census.
The Royal Hibernian Military School was founded in 1765 in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Today, it is the site of St Mary’s Hospital. When the school closed in 1924, all the registers and minute books were taken to Walworth, London. During the World War II, these documents were destroyed in the Blitz. The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military school history provides a valuable substitute for the records that were lost.
Ireland Military Records is the title collection from Findmypast that contains 8 different military publications and over 2,700 records. Among the records, you will find memorial inscriptions and army lists from the 17th and 19th centuries.
Each record is displayed as a PDF. The detail found in each record will vary depending on the publication and the subject.
Each week, we scour the web to bring you the best in what’s new for your genealogical research. Be sure to sign-up for our free Genealogy Gems newsletter so you don’t miss it. While you are at it, how about sharing the good news with your genealogy buddies, after all…it’s nice to share!
For those newbies who are looking for how to begin their own genealogy journey or for the genealogist that needs a little brushing up, take a look at the free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy series. Lisa Louise Cooke offers articles, podcasts, and videos to get you started on the right foot and achieve genealogy success!