Episode 217 – The Golden State Killer and Your Genealogy and DNA

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 217

with Lisa Louise Cooke

In this special episode, host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke takes a look at the Golden State killer, one of the most notorious crime sprees in recent memory. She’ll talk about the role that DNA testing played in an ultimate arrest, and the impact that these events are having on genealogists and the use of DNA in genealogy.

The Golden State Killer

Golden State Killer: It’s Not Overdocuseries. (As an Amazon Associate, Genealogy Gems earns from qualifying purchases)
“The Golden State Killer,” 48 Hours episode on CBSNews.com (44-minute episode)

Between 1974 and 1986, activities attributed to the Golden State Killer include at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries in California from 1974 through 1986.
The criminal’s methods led some investigators to believe that these differently-labeled criminals were very likely one in the same.
In 2001, DNA definitively linked several rapes in Contra Costa County believed to have been part of the East Area Rapist series, a series of murders in Southern California.
In 2011, DNA evidence proved that the Domingo?Sanchez murders were committed by the same man, known as the Golden State Killer.

BONUS CONTENT for Genealogy Gems App Users

If you’re listening through the Genealogy Gems app, don’t forget to check out your bonus content for this episode! The Genealogy Gems app is FREE in Google Play and is only $2.99 for Windows, iPhone and iPad users

MyHeritage

MyHeritage.com is the place to make connections with relatives overseas, particularly with those who may still live in your ancestral homelandClick here to see what MyHeritage can do for you: it’s free to get started.

StoryWorth makes it easy and fun for Mom to share stories with loved ones every week. At the end of the year, she’ll get them all bound in a beautiful hardcover book. Strengthen your bond as you get to know her in a whole new way! Go to http://www.storyworth.com/lisa for $20 off when you subscribe. Give a gift for Mother’s Day that is actually a gift for you, too!

Help solve DNA mysteries with these resources:

Caution: In this episode, Lisa shares her personal opinions on the use of technology for crime fighting and the implications for DNA testing for genealogy. She encourages everyone to do their own homework and make informed decisions in line with their own values, opinions, and objectives.

Reality check: “The only way to ensure privacy is to never put anything of any kind online. Just like the only way to ensure you will never be in a car accident is to never, under any circumstances, get in a car.”

Read more about DNA testing company partnerships:
Another personal genetics company is sharing client data,” Wired.com article by Katie M. Palmer, published 21 July 2015, on Ancestry.com’s partnership with Google-owned Calico biotech firm
23andMe teams with Big Pharma to find treatments hidden in our DNA,” Wired.com article by Davey Alba, published 12 January 2015, on 23andMe’s partnership with Pfizer

Several ways we already use DNA matches:

  • Genealogists use to build family trees
  • Adoptees use to identify birth parents (or other biological relatives)
  • Orphans trying to find long lost siblings and relatives
  • Anyone looking for estranged family members
  • Researchers identifying unidentified human remains, including POW/MIAs

Lisa Louise Cooke uses and recommends RootsMagic family history software. From within RootsMagic, you can search historical records on FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.com.

Keep your family history research, photos, tree software files, videos and all other computer files safely backed up with Backblaze, the official cloud-based computer backup system for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. Learn more at https://www.backblaze.com/Lisa.

More information on DNA testing

How to download, transfer and upload your DNA with various testing companies by Diahan Southard
How DIY genetic testing kits can be used against you,” News.com.au article by Gavin Fernando, published 3 May, 2018.

“When you test, you are also making a decision on behalf of your parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and future descendants. Regardless of good intentions or stated ethics codes in the genealogy community, it isn’t possible to write and get the express permission of everyone who could be affected by you having your DNA tested.” ?Lisa Louise Cooke

Genealogy Gems can help you whether you test or not!

Keep listening to the Genealogy Gems Podcast for genealogy news, tips, inspiration and strategies (DNA is one of many tools talked about!)

Read free online articles at GenealogyGems.com. Click here to read dozens of articles on DNA.

Click here to view our complete line of DNA quick reference guides

Become a Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning Member, to get access to all the Premium video classes and the entire Premium Podcast: new monthly episodes plus the full archive of more than 150 previous ones.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Lisa Louise Cooke, Host and Producer
Sunny Morton, Editor
Diahan Southard, DNA Content Contributor
Hannah Fullerton, Audio Editor
Lacey Cooke, Service Manager

Disclosure: This document 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 this free podcast and blog!

Resources

Download this episode

Download the show notes

Countdown to #RootsTech 2014!

RT-Blogger-badge-200sqRootsTech 2014 is next week! If you can get to Salt Lake for it but haven’t registered yet, don’t forget to enter to win a FREE full-access pass from the Genealogy Gems podcast!

Here’s some countdown information from the planners to help you find your way around:

To get your RootsTech name badge and conference materials, stop by Registration Check-In located in the South foyer of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Be sure to bring photo ID. Avoid the lines and check in at your earliest convenience! Registration Check-In is open at the following times:

      • Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Innovator Summit) and 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
      • Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
      • Friday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
      • Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Family History Library at NightFriday Night Fun at the Library

The Family History Library is the place for a Friday Night Pizza Party.  The largest library of its kind in the world is staying open late for you. Come do some research, find a name, and grab a slice of pizza. There will be an “Open Mic Night” for five-minute story sharing and then catch an episode of The Story Trek, hosted by Todd Hansen, who will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech Saturday morning. Tickets for the pizza are nearly gone, but the library is open late that night for everyone!

Interactive and Hands-on

Be sure to check out the new Family Discovery Exhibit, sponsored by FamilySearch, in the RootsTech Expo Hall. It includes:

  • Photo Scanning Area. Make digital copies of family photos that you can preserve, share, and even upload directly to your FamilySearch Family Tree. There are also plenty of high-capacity scanners that make great digital copies quickly. What to do: Bring the photos you want to scan and a flash drive.
  • Recording Booth – Record Your Story. Video or audio record your favorite family story in one of our enclosed sound booths. Your private recording session includes ten minutes of recording time and you’ll get a copy of it on a flash drive. Enjoy sharing the memory for many years to come. What to do: Think of a family story or memory that you want to capture and preserve. Story helps will be provided on-site.
  • Record a Call – With Someone Who Inspires You. Make a phone call that will last a lifetime. Simply call a parent, grandparent, or someone who inspires you and find out more about their life. Our app will record the conversation and you can take it and treasure the memory for years. What to do: Bring a phone number of a person you want to call and interview, as well as an email address you’d like to send the recorded file to.
  • See Yourself in History. How would you look as a cowboy or as one of the pretty maids all in a row? Have your face (and the faces of your friends) added to one of several fun antique photos and e-mail yourself a digital copy you can share. What to do: Have an email address to send your new photo to.
  • FamilySearch Book Scanning Booth. Get your family book scanned for free. We’ll make a digital copy, you keep the original and a searchable PDF copy for yourself. You can also donate personal works, books that are copyright protected, and books that are in the public domain. Questions? Email bookdonations@familysearch.org.

American Slave Records in New and Updated Genealogical Collections

American slave records contained in the Digital Library on American Slavery at the University of North Carolina Greensboro have recently been updated. Also in new and updated genealogical record collections this week, records from Australia, United States, and Ireland.

dig these new record collections

United States – North Carolina – American Slave Records

An expansion of the University of North Carolina Greensboro University Libraries’ Digital Library on American Slavery has added bills of sales. These records index the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina. When complete the project will include high resolution images and full-text searchable transcripts. This digital library also includes other important record projects such as:

Race and Slavery Petitions Project – A searchable database of detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color. The site provides access to information gathered over an eighteen-year period from petitions to southern legislatures and country courts filed between 1775 and 1867 in the fifteen slave-holding states in the United States and the District of Columbia.

North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisements, 1750-1840 Project – Online access to all known runaway slave advertisements (more than 2300 items) published in North Carolina newspapers from 1751 to 1840. Digital images, full-text transcripts, and descriptive metadata, are included in this searchable database.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database – Among other things, this database identifies 91,491 Africans taken from captured slave ships or from African trading sites. It includes the African name, age, gender, origin, country, and places of embarkation and disembarkation of each individual.

People Not Property – Slave Deeds of North Carolina – When complete, People Not Property – Slave Deeds of North Carolina will include high resolution images, and full-text searchable transcripts. Though still in the working stages, they hope to open the project to states beyond North Carolina, creating a central location for accessing and researching slave deeds from across the Southern United States. Keep a watchful eye on this exciting endeavor!

Australia – Victoria – Court Session Records

Over 3 million Victoria Petty Sessions Registers records have just been released in association with Public Records Office Victoria to coincide with Australia Day (January 26th) 2017. This collection includes both transcripts and scanned images of original court registers. If your ancestors had a run-in with the law, you may find them here.

Victoria petty records and american slavery records

Snapshot of Victoria Petty Sessions Record from Findmypast.

This collection covers both civil and minor criminal cases. The Court of Petty Sessions’ brief was wide, making these records a powerful resource for those with Australian ancestors. Your ancestors may appear as a witnesses, defendants, complainants, or even as a Justice of the Peace. Cases include merchants who had not paid duty on their goods, to workers suing for unpaid wages. Debts were also collected and disputes settled. Public drunkenness was a common offence, as was assault and general rowdiness.

The registers available in this collection cover the years between 1854 and 1985. Transcripts will list the event date, your ancestor’s role (whether plaintiff, defendant, etc.), cause or reason for the case, the court it was held at, the date, and a brief description. Images may provide additional details.

Australia – Queensland – Passenger Lists

Also at Findmypast, Queensland Custom House Shipping 1852-1885 passengers and crew with over 107,000 records of passengers and crew that made voyages between 1852 to 1885.

These transcripts list information taken from original documents held by the National Archives of Australia and will allow you to discover your ancestor’s age, nationality, occupation, date and port of arrival, date and port of departure, and the name of the ship they sailed on.

United States – New York – Passenger Lists

The collection New York, Book Indexes to Passenger Lists, 1906-1942 at FamilySearch consists of images of the indexes to passenger manifests for the port of New York. The indexes are grouped by shipping line and arranged chronologically by date of arrival. Additional images will be added as they become available.

United States – Ohio – Tax Records

The records included in the Ohio Tax Records, 1800- 1850 at FamilySearch contain both the index and images to taxation records as recorded with the County Auditor of each county. The records in this collection cover the years 1800 to 1850. However, the majority are from the years 1816 through 1838. Entries are recorded in voucher books and one person per page. Included are the following Ohio counties:

  • Ashtabula
  • Belmont
  • Carroll
  • Columbiana
  • Guernsey
  • Harrison
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Monroe
  • Trumbull
  • Washington
tax records and american slave records

Snapshot of an Ohio Tax Record via FamilySearch.org

Governments created tax records that vary in content according to the purpose of the assessment. Most are based on personal property, real estate, and income. They are particularly useful for placing your ancestor in a particular area year after year, hopefully leading you to other helpful records.

United States – Massachusetts – Revolutionary War Index Cards

FamilySearch has updated the Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783 collection this week. These index card abstracts are of accounts, muster and pay rolls, and descriptive lists and accounts, of soldiers who served in Massachusetts companies and regiments during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.

Examples of Card Abstract Types

  • An Account -Mass. Archives Depreciation Rolls
  • Company Return – Coat Rolls Eight Months Service
  • Continental Army Pay Accounts – Continental Army Books
  • A Descriptive List – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • Lexington Alarm Roll – Lexington Alarms
  • List of Men Mustered – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • List of Men Raised to Serve in the Continental Army
  • Muster and Pay Roll
  • Muster
  • Order for Bounty Coat – Coat Rolls Eight Months Service Order
  • Order – Mass. Muster And Pay Rolls
  • Pay Abstract – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • Pay Roll
  • Receipt for Bounty – Mass. Muster and Pay Rolls
  • A Return
  • Statement of Continental Balances

Ireland – Newspapers

This month’s enormous Irish Newspapers update at Findmypast contains over 1.2 million articles. Seven brand new titles have also been added including the Leinster Leader, Donegal Independent, Kildare Observer & Eastern Counties Advertiser, Wicklow News-Letter & County Advertiser, Longford Journal Wicklow People, and the Ballyshannon Herald.

Newspapers are a great source for vital information when records cannot be found. To learn more about using newspapers for genealogy research, read Lisa Louise Cooke’s top-notch tips in Everything You Need to Know About How to Find Your History in Newspapers.

New and Updated Genealogy Records Come in All Shapes and Sizes

New records at genealogy websites can come in all shapes and sizes. They may include new or updated indexes, digitized records, or improvements to the search function. It all adds up to new opportunities for you to find more information on your family history. Here’s the latest from some of the most popular genealogy records sites. 

new genealogy records

New at MyHeritage 

Here’s the latest on new records from MyHeritage:

1801 Norway Census Index

“The 1801 census was carried out on Sunday, February 1, 1801, and is based on complete lists of individuals.

The census contains the names of farms (in rural areas), the full names of inhabitants, the familial ties between household members, their age, marital status, and occupation.

For married and previously married people, it was recorded how many times they had been married or widowed.

The age listed was the age on the next birthday.

The names of smallholdings are typically not included. People were registered in the regions where they belonged. Those who were absent, e.g. sailors, should be listed in their hometowns.

The department of statistics of the Exchequer in Copenhagen prepared the census and processed its results. In the rural districts, the census was carried out by parsons with the assistance of precentors and school teachers. In the towns the efforts were supervised by the Town Administration and carried out by the Subdivision Heads of each conscription district. The town lists are arranged by building numbers. This collection is provided through cooperation with the National Archives of Norway.”

Genealogy Records for Norway

1865 Norway Census Index

“This collection of over 1.68 million records is the first national census to list a place of birth for all persons recorded. This census contains the person’s name, residence, status in the family, occupation, sex, marital status, age, place of birth, religion if not a member of the state church, and other miscellaneous information.

Censuses have been taken by the Norwegian government and by ecclesiastical officials for population studies and taxation purposes.

Census and census-like records are found from the 1500s to 2000. After 1900, a national census was taken every 10 years until 2000. Access to the national census records is restricted for a period of 100 years after the date of enumeration.

Generally, you will find more detailed family information in more recent censuses.

Some known deficiencies in the 1865 original census material include records from Gol parish in Buskerud county, Holtålen Parish in Sør-Trøndelag county, Bjerke parish in the Nannestad dioceses in Akershus county, and at least 106 special lists in Kristiania (Old name for Oslo). This collection is provided through cooperation with the National Archives of Norway.”

United Kingdom, War Memorials, 1914–1949 Index

“This free collection of 1.1 million records provides details on soldiers from the United Kingdom that died during the wars in the early to mid 20th century.

During the first World War, alone, there was an average of over 450 British casualties per day. Information listed on these records may include: name, date of death or burial, burial place, and age at death. These records might also include rank, service and unit of the military as well as any honors earned during service.

The records primarily consist of soldiers from the First and Second World Wars with a few records from different wars. The number of British casualties was smaller in wars following World War II, and the number of records from other conflicts is consequently low.

This collection content is copyright of the Imperial War Museums and the index is provided by MyHeritage free of charge as a beneficial service to the genealogy community.”

Estonia, Gravestones, 1812–2019 Index

“This collection includes information from Estonia cemeteries and consists of records from 1812-2019. These include the name of the deceased, birth date when available, death date when available, date of burial when available, and the name of the cemetery.

Cemeteries can help you trace the burial and or death place of an Estonian relative. Cemetery records may also help identify ancestors when access to church records and census records is limited, or the death was not recorded in other records.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Birth Index, 1913–2019 Index

“This collection is an index of birth records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the first name, middle name, last name, gender, and date of birth of the individual. Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Marriage Index, 1884–2019 Index

“This free collection is an index of marriage records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the following searchable information: first name, middle name, and last name of the bride and groom, and the marriage date of the couple. Records may also contain the marriage license number and the date of the application.

Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.

Most records in this collection are from the 20th century or later, with just three percent from before the year 1900. However, there is a select amount of records dated from before 1884, with approximately one percent of the collection falling under this category.”

North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Death Index, 1916–2019 Index

“This free collection is an index of death records from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The records may contain the following searchable information: first name, middle name, last name, gender, and death date of the individual. Records may also contain the certificate number for the death. Mecklenburg County is the largest county in North Carolina by population, and its county seat is Charlotte.

In some cases, the gender is given as unknown along with a missing given name. This usually means the record is for a still-born baby. All records in this collection are from the 20th century or later. However, there is a select amount of records dated before 1916, with the earliest from 1908.”

Pennsylvania, Lawrence County Index of Obituaries, 1871–2016 Index

“This collection includes an index of obituaries and death records from Lawrence County Pennsylvania for the years 1871-2016. A record may include the first and last name of the deceased, death date, date of death announcement, name of spouse, name of parent(s), and the name of the newspaper that published the information.

Obituaries can be a good source of information about a person and may also include information about the deceased’s family members. Often an obituary will include information such as the birth date, marriage date, children, occupation, education, and the location of living family members at the time the obituary was written.”

Pennsylvania, Lawrence County Index of Marriage Announcement, 1858–2006 Index

“This collection includes marriage announcements from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania for the years 1858-2006. Records may include the first and last name of the bride and groom, the names of parent(s), the title of the newspaper that published the announcement, the page on which the announcement is located, the date of the marriage announcement, and the year of the marriage.

Marriage records are a valuable source of information. Marriage records found in newspapers are not limited to a specific form, like most government marriage records, therefore newspapers may contain details about a marriage not found elsewhere, such as names of siblings or other relatives.

Newspapers can report marriages of people who no longer live in the area but who still have friends or family there.”

Chile, Electoral Rolls, 2013 Index

“This collection of over 12 million records contains information about Chilean voters during the November 17, 2013 elections. Records include the names of voters and the location of the vote. The collection also includes records about canceled voters, mostly because of the death of the voter, and disqualified voters.

Search these collections at MyHeritage here.

All of the above newly updated collections are now available through MyHeritage SuperSearch™. Searching these records is free, but a Data or Complete subscription is required to view the records, save them to your family tree, and access Record Matches. Our Record Matching technology will get to work and notify you automatically if any of these records mention a member of your family tree. You’ll then have the ability to review the record and decide if you’d like to add the new information to your family tree.”

New Newspaper Content at GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank is one of the leading providers of digitized newspapers, and they’ve recently added new content for 152 newspaper titles from across 35 states including:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Search GenealogyBank here.

Here’s a short video about another historic newspaper resource (click for sound):

 

More New Newspaper Content at the British Newspaper Archive

One of my favorite websites, the British Newspaper Archive celebrated its 8th birthday this week (the Archive was launched on 29th November 2011)  and also reached the milestone of 35 million searchable pages. Here’s ta brief overview of the 128,362 new pages recently added.

New title added:

  • Sporting Gazette

Updated:

  • Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser (Scotland, 1863-1905)
  • The Reading Evening Post
  • Wells Journal and the Bristol Times and Mirror (West country area)

Search or start a free trial here.

 

New at Ancestry

Here’s the latest from Ancestry:

Finland, Pre-Confirmation Books, 1670-1918

Pre-Confirmation Books

“Pre-Confirmation books, otherwise known as Childrens’ Books, were used to record the names of children who had not yet been confirmed into the Lutheran church. These records are extremely valuable as they record family groups and provide dates of birth and sometimes a place of birth as well. Death dates may also occasionally be included. Once the child became eligible for Communion, they were then recorded in the Communion books.

Pre-Confirmation books were organised by villages and then by farm and household.

This Collection

Users may find the following details for individuals found in the communion books (where available):

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Relation to Head
  • Birth Date
  • Birth Place
  • Burial Date
  • Death Date
  • Residence”

Search the collection here.  

On November 14, 2019 changes were made to improve the performance of this collection, so if you’ve ever searched it and not found what you were looking for, it might be worth another try. Note: no new records were added.

Search the collection here. 

Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013

On May 20 Ancestry added 1,388,625 new records to this collection.

Marriage Records

Marriage Records

“This database contains both images of and indexes extracted from various records of marriages in Washington.

Marriage records can offer a wide range of details. While the indexes in this database may provide the basic facts surrounding a wedding—bride, groom, date, and place—images of marriage certificates may also include additional information such as

  • addresses
  • ages
  • race
  • birthplaces
  • occupations
  • marital status (single, divorced)
  • whether a first marriage
  • fathers’ names and birthplaces
  • mothers’ names, maiden names, and birthplaces

This database does not contain an image for every document included in the index.”

Search the newly update collection here.

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

WWII draft records genealogy

Military Records

On Nov 7 Ancestry added 4,651,830 new records from the following states to the U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 collection:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. North Dakota
  4. Vermont
  5. Illinois
  6. Kentucky 
  7. New Hampshire

Search the updated collection here.

What Did You Find in the New Online Records?

We’ve got our fingers crossed that you are able to unearth some new genealogy gems from these new updates. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know, and then share this post with your friends. 

MyHeritage LIVE 2019

Genealogists from all over the world – get ready to have some fun! MyHeritage has just announced the second annual MyHeritage Live! Conference. A brand new location, new speakers, and the hottest topics on all things family history makes this a...

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