Category Archives: How To

1950 Census and AI

I am amazed — the Artificial Intelligence extraction of names from the 1950 census is really working!!! Already !!! Go to the National Archives at https://1950census.archives.gov/ and get into the 1950 census search page at https://1950census.archives.gov/search/?page=1&state=IA and put in your state, county, AND try a name search. It is working already for most!!

One hint, I wasted an hour trying to find the correct pages for my home town. I followed instructions and put in State and the County. It just would NOT find my address. Finally, I put in City first, and then it came up correctly!! Someone made a typo for my city, it is Waterloo, Black Hawk instead of Black Hawk, Waterloo.

The National Archives is open, working, and FREE !!


BTW, if you want to correct some of the data, select the “Help Us Transcribe Names” tab above the image and then check your SPAM folder if the security code does not quickly appear.

Membership Renewal Time is Here!!

Spring has come and it is time to remind everyone that MoCoGenSo memberships will expire soon, and it is time to renew. The dues will remain the same at $20.00 for individuals and $25.00 for families (add $7.50 for paper copy).

An important way to learn more about your ancestors and their lives is to join a genealogy society that focuses on the area in which your ancestors lived. Genealogy societies conduct research and preserve information about a specific area, and most publish some sort of newsletter, journal, or other periodical. The articles offer insight into the area and the people, and can provide help in conducting your research in an area. There are genealogy societies at the national, state, county, parish, province, and other levels. Annual membership fees are reasonable and the benefits are considerable.

The Monterey County Genealogy Society is one of these organizations right here in your own back yard. It serves its members in many ways. The board of directors is made up of members just like you.

Remember our society is only as strong as our membership, and those who get involved.

OUR MEMBERSHIP YEAR RUNS FROM APRIL 1 TO MARCH 31 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. For renewing members, you can renew using the membership form in your recently received newsletter. New or renewing members can download and print a copy of the Membership Application by CLICKING HERE. There will always be copies of this form at our monthly meetings.

Join me by staying with MoCoGenSo and getting the E-Newsletter.

Thank you for being a supporter!

Rootstech 2022 and the DNA Discussions Group

Rootstech 2022 is happening now.  There are many excellent presentations happening every day covering almost every possible topic relating to genealogy.  The recorded presentations, called Sessions, will be viewable throughout the year. 

The good news is that many of the Sessions from 2021 are still available, the new ones in 2022 are being added to the list!  So you can see last years and this years.

Rootstech has a “Playlist” which are Sessions you have tagged for yourself to watch later.  All you need to do is build the Playlist, and then view them at your leisure.  You still need to sign in to Rootstech to see your Playlist.  Some of the Sessions are in Youtube, you can build a list for yourself to watch later outside of Rootstech, if you wish.

The following description is oriented towards DNA but applies to ANY topic in Rootstech.  

Step 1 – Sign in to Rootstech and Click on Sessions.

Step 2 – Select your topic and select your year. DNA is one of the topics. There are 169 DNA Sessions from 2022, 88 left from 2021, 257 in total.

Step 3 – The list of presentations will be populated on the right. Go through the list and Click on the PLUS sign for those you want added to your Playlist. The Plus sign changes to an X. If you change your mind or after you have watched it, click the X.   This process can take a while! 

Step 4 – Watch the presentations.  Come back whenever, sign in to Rootstech, and Click on the Menu in the top right, then Click on My Playlist at the bottom and “watch on” ! 

I use a laptop with headphones so I can multitask in front of the T-V.  One could use a tablet to watch the videos while using your laptop to follow along in FTDNA or MyHeritage or whatever.

The DNA Discussion group could just watch these all year!  🙂

Membership Renewal Time is Here!

Spring has come and it is time to remind everyone that MoCoGenSo memberships will expire soon, and it is time to renew. The dues will remain the same at $20.00 for individuals and $25.00 for families (add $7.50 for paper copy).

An important way to learn more about your ancestors and their lives is to join a genealogy society that focuses on the area in which your ancestors lived. Genealogy societies conduct research and preserve information about a specific area, and most publish some sort of newsletter, journal, or other periodical. The articles offer insight into the area and the people, and can provide help in conducting your research in an area. There are genealogy societies at the national, state, county, parish, province, and other levels. Annual membership fees are reasonable and the benefits are considerable.

The Monterey County Genealogy Society is one of these organizations right here in your own back yard. It serves its members in many ways. The board of directors is made up of members just like you.

Remember our society is only as strong as our membership, and those who get involved.

OUR MEMBERSHIP YEAR RUNS FROM APRIL 1 TO MARCH 31 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. For renewing members, you can renew using the membership form in your recently received newsletter. New or renewing members can download and print a copy of the Membership Application by CLICKING HERE. There will always be copies of this form at our monthly meetings.

Join me by staying with MoCoGenSo and getting the E-Newsletter.

Thank you for being a supporter!

Download DNA Matches from Ancestry . com

Jim Bartlett is a genetic genealogist who loves to work with spreadsheets. I too like spreadsheets, but he is way beyond me. I follow his blog and always wonder if I should try my hand at building the “master sheet”!

Meanwhile, “clustering” is all the rage now. There are automated methods to build clusters and kindship charts for FTDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe and Gedmatch. But Ancestry.com has decided to not provide a cluster option and as even blocked others from doing so.

The other day, Jim Bartlett posted a method to manually create a clustering spreadsheet for Ancestry! Manually!? I read the post and decided he was a bit crazy. It would take forever to type all those DNA matches I have in Ancestry! Then I remembered that he has a “master sheet” somewhere, and it is probably easy for him to add the cluster-logic.

You can read his article here. This is a must read if you plan to try this. You don’t have to read all of it.

https://segmentology.org/2022/02/26/manual-clustering-to-find-ancestors/

So, I consulted Google and went searching for a method to download all my DNA matches from Ancestry. Google didn’t fail me, I found a spreadsheet that you can copy screens of matches into. It is a special spreadsheet that is loaded with code to scrape data from the DNA match list screens that only works in the Google Docs arena. It helps to have prepared your Ancestry matches ahead of time. It still requires a few hours of work to identify clusters. But it works! I now have 179 matches split into 10 different clusters. Each match has hot links into Ancestry to review trees and add notes.

Using this special spreadsheet is a bit complicated and I am not going to even try to tell you how. The following links do a good job explaining it, good enough for me to make it work. The YouTube is a real how-to video.

I read this but did not use the links here.

https://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/download-ancestrydna-matches-hack

This is the YouTube with the instructions that I used. The link to download the spreadsheet can be found in the comment section after the video, click “show more” to see it. But do watch the video first. Click Watch on YouTube below.

Hint: download the sheet, but don’t open it. Just upload it to your Google Docs area and use it there.

Place of birth vs. Ethnicity

One of the reasons people take a DNA test is to figure out their ethnicity. That is fine, I have no problem with that. In fact, I have tested my DNA at 6-7 different places! But did you know that FamilySearch.org has a tree display option that will show you the country of birth of your direct ancestors? Yes, country of birth really is not ethnicity at all (or is it), but the price is right, and some of my grandkids think it is a great show-n-tell chart! All you need is to have built out your ancestral tree at FamilySearch to where you connect to the already-existing folks in the “one world tree”. Here is how:

Sign into FamilySearch and then open your tree. The default display mode is Landscape as shown in the upper left corner of your tree screen. Presumably you will be the focus of your tree. You can change the focus to someone else, if you wish.

Then, first click where the word Landscape originally showed and select Fan Chart. Then a drop down will appear and select Birthplace. Bingo — a colorized fan will display with a color code table signifying the Country where the ancestors were born. You can select how many generations to show.

Oh ya, you need to have filled in the Country of Birth for the ancestors that you add to the tree! That is where the genealogy research come in. I don’t have a good display for that!

Try it, you just might like it. While you are there, try the other fan chart options.

Using Spreadsheets

The ultimate spreadsheet master is Jim Bartlett, master of the segment-ology blog. He uses them for keeping track of his ancestors. Jim has become a huge fan of the Triangulation process and chromosome mapping – the ultimate human puzzle. The above spreadsheet is mine that I use when playing with AHNENTAFELs.

You can see Jim Bartlett’s blog here:

https://segmentology.org/


AHNENTAFEL

Some of the old methods are still worthwhile in this new “modern” internet age.  Genealogists come in two sizes: experienced and newcomers.  The experienced folk (I decided not to say old-timers) came to genealogy back in days when we printed our family trees on paper.  Perhaps we did it by hand using tree templates or we had a computer and software like PAF.  In either case, we hated to re-print the same charts and we needed a way to place our charts in some order that allowed us to insert newly researched ancestors in place. Alpha sorting didn’t work well. A numeric scheme called AHNENTAFEL was developed that ordered our research by generation.

Time marched on and the Internet arrived. And then web sites began that allowed us to keep our trees “on-line” which protected us from computers that stopped working or fires or tornadoes and floods. Well respected sites like FamilySearch . org and Ancestry . com were developed and we slowly moved our research to these places. Sorting schemes were no longer needed because one could just “search”. Things were automatically in order.

Newcomers to the field only use the online sites, they have never used nor heard of “old fashioned” methods to order things. Newcomers generally don’t know about AHNENTAFEL. And old timers (oops, I did it) generally have stopped using AHNENTAFEL too because they have switched to using the new methods.

But, spreadsheets are good. And locating the most-recent-common-ancestors (MRCA) is one of the big challenges in DNA cousin hunting like cluster analysis. Using AHNENTAFEL numbers to order ancestors and a similar number for families can be very helpful.

An AHNENTAFEL (German for “ancestor table”) is a genealogical numbering system for listing a person’s direct ancestors in a fixed sequence of ascent. The subject of the ahnentafel is listed as No. 1, the subject’s father as No. 2 and the mother as No. 3, the paternal grandparents as No. 4 and No. 5 and the maternal grandparents as No. 6 and No. 7, and so on, back through the generations. Apart from No. 1, who can be male or female, all even-numbered persons are male, and all odd-numbered persons are female. In this schema, the number of any person’s father is double the person’s number, and a person’s mother is double the person’s number plus one.

Simply put, imagine a horizontal pedigree chart of ancestors. Number them starting with you as 1, father as 2, mother as 3, etc..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahnentafel

We need to teach AHNENTAFEL to newcomers and refresh the memories of oldcomers. Who wants to create a presentation for one of our next MoCoGenSo meetings? 😊


How to catch a killer OR learn more about your ancestry!

Last month, the New Yorker magazine had an article about Ce Ce Moore and the process they use at DNA Adoption to help adoptees find their family.

You can read the article here:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/11/22/how-your-family-tree-could-catch-a-killer

I have extracted the basic process and have listed it here:

“The first step was to establish a DNA profile for the adoptee in a database like GEDmatch, to look for partial genetic matches with other users. The people linked with those matches were not always easy to identify; some users logged on without any personal information or, worse, under aliases. But, when the genealogists succeeded, they could trace back family trees until they identified common ancestors. Then they would reverse the process: starting from the common ancestors, they would build a complete tree of all the descendants, knowing that the adoptee’s parents had to be among them. The amount of DNA that the adoptee shared with matches in the database was a key clue to where he or she belonged in the larger tree; personal details, like birth dates and geography, could also provide clues.”

The Methodology:

  • Establish DNA profile in a database
    • Look for genetic matches with other people
      • <look for those with family trees>
    • Trace back family trees until they find common ancestors

Then reverse the process,

  • Starting from the common ancestors,
    • Build a complete tree of all the descendants
    • The adoptee’s parents or the killer or yourself has to be among them

Gail’s Guide to Doing Genealogy Research

At the December 2021 MoCoGenSo General Meeting, Gail Burk gave a presentation via Zoom. A handout was distributed to those in attendance. The handout is an excellent guide of general steps to take in using traditional genealogical Research and DNA analysis to break through brick walls.

Having this file as a guide is almost as good as having been at the meeting! This is a very useful tool for newbies and a great refresher for old timers. Download a copy now.

To get the file, Click here.

If you see Gail or talk to her, give her a big thanks.