Friday, June 29, 2012

Genetic Genealogy – Tapley DNA

I am taking the ProGen (Professional Genealogy) course and our first assignment was to craft a mission statement. I decided to focus on using genetic genealogy to take your family tree to the next level. With this in mind I have found my first guinnae pig – I mean “client” J My friend Keith decided to take the Family Finder autosomal test with ftDNA to learn more about his ancestry. His paper trail is like swiss cheese with lots of holes in it. Throw in some affairs and unwed mothers who gave their sons their surnames into the mix and you have a good candidate for DNA.

We opted out of taking a Y-DNA test because he knew that his surname is not really his direct paternal line surname as it actually came from a female ancestor and not a male. We have an idea of what his direct line male surname might be, but would like to use the autosomal test to see if we can determine this before taking the Y-DNA test. Also, there are no working surname projects at this time to support either of these surnames. Although a Y-DNA test will provide you with a list of matches, it is more beneficial when there is a surname project to support and manage the results data of you and your matches for comparison and interpretation.

I ordered Keith a Family Finder test from ftDNA. He collected the cheek swab samples and mailed them back to ftDNA. He received a kit number and a password for access to his account and home page. I put his account under both his name and my own so I will have access to his home page and be able to help him navigate through his matches and results. While we wait for his test to be analyzed, I have asked him to write down the last names of his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and 2nd great-grandparents. This is a good starting point for comparing surnames with his matches.

Keith sent me some pedigree charts along with some notes he has made for his own files. He also sent me an Ahnentafel report that his cousin (I presume) made up for him. From all of these files combined, I was able to compile a list of surnames for the ancestors listed above. If you are doing this for someone else, make sure you are clear that you need the names of the biological parents of each ancestor, not the spouses’ names. Here is a list of his surnames:

I then logged into his account and added each surname one by one. This is an important step that many testers don’t bother to do leading to a lot of frustration from their matches. Now we wait until his results come back.

Learn more about Keith's results in my post of Part 2

Photo of DNA kit from ftDNA website.

To Cite This Post:
Ginger R. Smith, "Genetic Genealogy - Tapley DNA," Genealogy By Ginger, 29 June 2012, ( : accessed [date])

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My First Family Reunion

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much in the month of June. This is because the weather here in North Carolina has been absolutely wonderful! Usually we are in the upper 90s by now, however, this year we’ve been straddling the lower 80s with only a few hot days. I’ve been taking advantage of these beautiful days by kayaking, hiking, white water rafting, and camping; anything to do with the outdoors. I even got some more work done on my deck! Almost done, just have to figure the logistics of getting more boards home from the store. Here is a photo of me at Pilot Mountain, North Carolina (June 24, 2012).

Genealogy has kind of gone on the back burner. However I have been responding to emails that my blog readers have been sending me. And there is finally in the works a Fox and Sutton family reunion being planned for the end of September. I have heard rumors of such a reunion being held for the past 10 years or so, but nothing ever came of them that I know of. I’m very excited about this for two reasons: 1) we are using Facebook to promote it. A goal is to get family members together and for them to get to know each other. Our closed group is also a venue by which we can share photos and stories. 2) Because we are including the Sutton line in addition to the Fox line, I will get the opportunity to learn about my 2nd great-grandmother, Melvina West’s “first” family – the Suttons.

This will be my first ever family reunion! I know this may seem strange to some folks, but it’s the honest truth. I might have attended one when I was really young, but too young to remember. The last one I remember that was planned was in 2000 and I missed it. I’m excited to meet everyone. I visited with my great-grandmother and her 4 sisters often as a child, but I never visited with their individual families, including my grandfather’s own siblings and their children. Although I have “met” quite a few on Facebook, it will be a treat to meet them in person finally.

I will probably be asking around for suggestions on what a genealogist does at a family reunion. Because this will be a time for me to meet and get to know people, I will probably want as little hands on as possible with the genealogy aspect. I can collect information via email and Facebook correspondence after all. But I can only have this kind of face to face experience once.

How do you prepare for your family reunions?

To Cite This Post: 
Ginger R. Smith, "My First Family Reunion," Genealogy By Ginger, 27 June 2012, ( : accessed [date])

Friday, June 1, 2012

Follow Friday - June 1, 2012

I am really enjoying this being off for the summer from school break! I actually get to read blogs and pick and choose my favorite posts and then share them with you here on my blog! So here are some interesting finds I had this week. Oh and the photo of the ducks. I pulled it off of Google Images. I'm sure it belongs to a business who sells ducks. But when I fed the image back into the Google Images site, it was being used by so many different websites, including blogs, that I couldn't drill down to the original owner. So if you own it, let me know and I will attribute! I promise!

First up is from Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist. She wrote a post "Mind Mapping for Genealogists." I have heard of using Mind Mapping software for genealogy before, but I had always thought it required the fancy expensive versions of the software. Lynn reminds us that the free versions work just as well. And she included a simple graphic of it to illustrate what it may look like.

Next up is the Genealogics  blog by Matthew. I actually came across him on Twitter. I received an email that he had started following me. I promptly checked out his Twitter profile (@genealogics) and saw he was an avid genealogist and active tweeter and new to blogging. I then checked out his blog which I found to be nicely laid out and well-written. He had already posted photos and research "problems;" though he saw them also as "opportunities" so there is an optimist in there as well. I loved his by-line of "a tree-lific journey into family history." So please check out his tweets and his new blog and make sure to leave a comment and say hello.

I answered a prompt on LinkedIn which asked which of your blog posts were the most popular and what topics did they cover. My answer was this: One post "Am I an Evidence-based or Conclusion Based Genealogist?" and "How I use my Genealogy Software." What do these two posts have in common? They talk about SOURCES. This is a HUGE topic in genealogy circles these days. Well another reader posted her response from her blog, Essex Voices Past, as "Tuesday’s Tip – Interpreting primary sources – the 6 ‘w’s." I can totally see why this post has been so popular. Recreated from tips learned from the author's tutors at the UK's Open University lecture series, this article discusses how to interpret primary sources and go beyond just pulling names from them. If you've ever wondered if there was more out there, then read this post and you won't be disappointed!

Randy from Genea-Musings shared his experiences with the online family trees in his post "Adding a Story to my Ancestry Member Tree."  In this post he showed how extended notes and descriptions can be included in your online tree by using the "Stories" feature. He warned, however, that your Stories can be easily copied to other trees, as well as information posted to websites. If you are sensitive to the information you post on your personal websites being copied to others' online family trees, then you might want to keep on eye on these stories in, or keep your information off the internet. will alert you to other members who are researching the same lines as you.