Category Archives: Sources

Genealogy Rules

From Genealogy’s Star / by James Tanner

Many thanks to

Go to the great blog for a deeper explanation of these rules.

  • Rule One: When the baby was born, the mother was there.
  • Rule Two: Absence of an obituary or death record does not mean the person is still alive.
  • Rule Three: Every person who ever lived has a unique birth order and a unique set of biological parents.
  • Rule Four: There are always more records.
  • Rule Five: You cannot get blood out of a turnip.
  • Rule Six: Records move.
  • Rule Seven: Water and genealogical information flow downhill
  • Rule Eight: Everything in genealogy is connected (butterfly)
  • Rule Nine: There are patterns everywhere
  • Rule Ten: Read the fine print
  • Rule Eleven: Even a perfect fit can be wrong
  • Rule Twelve: The end is always there
  • Rule Thirteen: Genealogists abhor a blank field

” You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Utah Genealogy Association is having a Virtual Conference

The Utah Genealogy Association is holding a Virtual Conference this September. It will be held September 24-25, 2019. But you know what “virtual” means! The conference is being recorded and made available over the internet. One of the benefits of this virtual conference is unlimited access to the recorded presentations until October 26, 2019–that is a full 30 days to listen again and solidify new concepts. So if you can’t watch “real time”, you can easily watch the sessions later. You could say the conference is being held the whole month of October!

The first day features an exciting evening of DNA presentations from Blaine Bettinger, Kitty Cooper, and Patti Hobbs. Wednesday opens with the keynote address given by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, at 9:00 a.m. MST, followed by a full slate of 5 other expert presentations.

There are fees involved. But the presenters are some of the best in the country in their given fields. They deserve our support and expenses need to be covered! Go to the web site and check it out. It sounds like a great deal to me!

Click here to go to the UGA Virtual Conference web site. While you are there, be sure to look around the Utah Genealogical Association is one of the finest!

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life, rather it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

The Journal of Genetic Genealogy

The Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JoGG) is being resurrected. JoGG is a free open access peer reviewed journal which provides a platform for publication of articles on all aspects of genetic genealogy. This first issue (Volume 8 Number 1) of the newly relaunched “journal” is now available online at

The chapters/articles are separate PDF files that can be viewed or downloaded. Some of the articles were published online as preprints toward the end of last year but this is now the complete issue.

Hopefully this online journal will continue — it is fully supported by volunteers.

Every teacher who used to use the tired old line “You won’t be walking around with a calculator in your pocket, so you better know how to do it by hand.” must feel like a complete idiot now. — Reddit

One idea, then another

Recently, I read a note in one of the genetic genealogy groups that I follow from a person who uses special picture icons to identify persons in their tree that they are triangulated with or have received an Ancestry DNA Leaf.  The special pictures show in their tree view and then they consider it a confirmation if the tree branches continue to show that picture.  If a given branch only shows one special picture and no more, then they begin to question the branch.

That idea triggered an idea in me:  I decided to plug a special picture icon for the full path to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) for my various Ancestry DNA Leaf matches in my own tree.  By doing this for most of my matches, I can begin to see the parts of the tree that I can really trust, and conversely, I can see those parts of the tree where I have little DNA proof of validity.  I may have paper proof, but if the DNA isn’t following, perhaps there is a non-paternity event (NPE) going on.  It can just as easily mean that a family line has died out, or that a given line just prefer golfing to DNA testing.  (I hate to think that perhaps my sources are wrong.)

Likewise, if a branch fills out with many DNA pictures and my paper sources are minimal, I can feel it isn’t a waste of time doing deeper source searching.

I leave the real photos for recent ancestors, letting them remain primary.  I figure I don’t need DNA “proof” for them, I probably knew them!  Here is a snap shot of how a branch of my tree looks with my special “DNA Icon Picture”.how use dna icon

Note the Jacob Fetters in the upper right.  He is the MRCA between another person and myself within Ancestry DNA.  I can see the flow through to my great grandfather Daniel Robeson.

dna-icon-orangeI spent a bit of time looking for an icon that I could use as the primary picture.  I finally picked one that looked a bit like the DNA helix and was bright for easy viewing.

November 6, 2014 – “Update Your Family Tree with Source Citations”, Junel Davidsen, Certified Genealogist

As family historians, we all know that documenting our sources is important to making our work credible. We are responsible for making a record of our findings – not only the names, dates and locations of vital events – but also the type of information and where we found it. Documenting our sources is important to supporting and strengthening our family trees. Sources also help to power our research through evidence analysis.

 Because the process of documenting our sources takes time and pulls us away from research, our binders may be full of unprocessed information. Citing the name of a book or a microfilm roll number is not enough, especially in today’s world. Source variables abound on the internet which require additional references and can further complicate the documenting process.

 This session by Junel Davidsen will cover some helpful tools:

  • Models in Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, the ‘go-to’ book for citing sources;
  • Formats for footnotes and subsequent footnotes; endnotes; and source lists (bibliographies);
  • How to create footnotes in a word program;
  • How to enter sources in a family history software program like LegacyFamilyTree to obtain desired formatting on reports and print-outs.

 Note: Evidence Explained is a new reference book available in the library of the Family History Center.