Research Your Civil War Ancestors

Many Americans have ancestors who lived through the Civil War: many have roots in both the North and South. Few families, whether they sent soldiers away or not, were untouched by this conflict that claimed an estimated 620,000 lives and freed millions of American men, women and children from slavery.

Ancestry.com recently posted a new video webinar to help you begin tracing buy thrush medication your Civil War ancestors. It’s given by noted genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. Check it out:

Here are some more great online resources for Civil War research:

Do You have a friend who would enjoy this article?
Copy & Paste this address into your email to them:

https://lisalouisecooke.com/2014/02/research-civil-war-ancestors/

Evernote for Genealogy: Use a Research Checklist Template Like This One for Australian Family History

australia_400_wht_12238Do you use Evernote for genealogy, or are you planning to? Why not try a research checklist template?

Genealogy Gems listener Michelle Patient sent us a link to her Evernote template for family history research in Australia and New Zealand. Better yet, she gave us permission to share it with all of you!

This template is a blank checklist you can use for every ancestor you research. On the checklist are all the different record types you might check: each type of vital record, census, land record, electoral roll, etc.l, along with the various repositories that should be visited or contacted. Why not create a similar temple for the countries you research, if you don’t have Aussie or Kiwi roots?

Resources

This is just one way Evernote helps you track your family history research. Learn more with these resources:

Genealogy Gems Premium members can enjoy a year’s worth of unlimited access to my complete series of genealogy how-to videos, which includes these full-length classes on using Evernote for genealogy:

  • Making Evernote effortlessHow the Genealogist can Remember Everything with Evernote (Beginner)
  • How to Organize Your Research with Evernote (Intermediate)
  • Making Evernote Effortless (Intermediate)
  • Collaborative Genealogy with Evernote
    (Intermediate) 
  • Using Evernote to Create a Research Plan
    (Advanced)

That’s just a peek at what Genealogy Gems Premium membership offers: click here to learn more!

23andMe Genetic Testing Kits Under Fire: FDA Compliance and ‘Designer Babies’

There’s been a lot of buzz lately over 23andMe’s genetic testing products and services. The company has ongoing issues with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires paperwork and data they say 23andMe hasn’t provided. A class-action lawsuit is in the works. But the second issue is creating most of the buzz outside of genealogy circles: the idea that 23andMe’s genetic tests could be used to create “designer babies.”

First: FDA

scientist_looking_observing_300_wht_13354So why does the FDA, a U.S. regulatory agency, care about genetic genealogy kits? Because they’re marketed as more than that. 23andMe describes their kits as tools for helping users make more informed decisions about their personal health. (See the letter sent by the FDA for more details.)

Bottom line? “FDA is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS [Personal Genome Service] device; the main purpose of compliance with FDA’s regulatory requirements is to ensure that the tests work….Therefore, 23andMe must immediately discontinue marketing the PGS until such time as it receives FDA marketing authorization for the device.(emphasis added)

news reporter describes his experience with 23andMe as very much about health information, not just ancestry: “I apparently have a higher risk of thromboembolism, Alzheimer’s, age-related macular degeneration, type 1 diabetes, melanoma, rheumatoid arthritis, restless leg syndrome, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and a number of other conditions I’d never even heard of,” he writes. He adds that the 23andMe site “provides recommendations for lifestyle adjustments and links to medical websites all in the interest of giving me, and others, a chance to review built-in genetic health risks.”

FYI, 23andMe immediately responded to the FDA’s letter with a public statement. “We recognize that we have not met the FDA’s expectations regarding timeline and communication regarding our submission. Our relationship with the FDA is extremely important to us and we are committed to fully engaging with them to address their concerns.”

Many genealogists are wondering what happens next for current 23andMe customers and the products under fire. Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell’s blog  offers suggestions for customers and an interesting legal perspective. The most recent development is a class action law suit that has been filed against 23andMe (read about it on Forbes).

Designer babies?

mom_holding_baby_girl_400_wht_3455But a bigger story has been unfolding, too: the idea that 23andMe’s genetic testing could be used to select (or de-select) genes in unborn babies. Wired recently reported that “23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. Put another way, it’s a designer baby-making system.”

The story explores existing technologies for pre-selecting genes for babies. Wired quotes 23andMe as saying they have no current plans for using their data this way because there’s no existing demand for it. The issue raises strong feelings on many sides of the question.  The idea that future generations could sidestep serious genetic medical conditions appeals to many. But a lot of other ethical and social questions come up.

These stories remind me that genealogy–gene-ealogy–is about so much more than the past! It’s also about what we do with our lives now and the fate of future generations.

What do you think? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.

Pin It on Pinterest

MENU