Sunday, June 28, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #19

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Reads #19
Image from Pixabay.com


For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. When I can,  I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.


DNA




GREAT STORIES

I’m Not Who I Think I Am from the No Stone Unturned blog – fascinating story

Father’s Day – Tracking the Y DNA Line  from the DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog -- great story sketches of the men in her Y DNA line (those with her paternal surname); she is related to some fascinating people!

The Case of the Mysterious Disappearance of Luke Lukes from the blog of the Cousin Detective - new blog and an interesting, well-told tale 


HISTORY



Flight of the Night Witches: World War II’s All-Female Fighting Force from Atlas Obscura - fascinating: story  a Russian all female bomber squadron who terrorized German soldiersin Nazi-occupied Soviet Union with daring night raids.

Veteran ‘Dumbfounded ‘over War Photo found at CNN.com – volunteers identifying people in over 100 photos taken by the Department of Defense of service people and civilians in the Korean War (plus link within article to website displaying all of the photos)

52 Ancestors Week 24: I Wish I Had Their Bango  from the Research Journal Genealogy blog - a disturbing piece of Hawaii's history


INTERESTING ARTICLE

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers, Featured Genealogy Expert of the Week From Family History Daily – an interview of Thomas MacEntee, who is a genuinely nice person, very helpful, and runs the GeneaBloggers site/community of which I am a member (tap on the badge in the right margin to be taken to the Genea-Bloggers website, particularly if you write or want to write a family history blog)



The Story behind This Famous Photograph – remember the iconic photograph taken during the American Great Depression of 11 construction workers on a girder 840 feet above the ground?

Old Dogs, New Tricks from the blog, Parallax View  – He discusses the relationship between evidence, inference, and conjecture. His physics research background informs his genealogical research, and now, his experience with genealogical research is informing his physics research. Very interesting piece.


IRELAND

Irish Famine Archive on Migration to Canada Launched Online from Irishcentral.com – “The Digital Irish Famine Archive shares the stories of the Grey Nuns in Montréal cared for the Irish arrivals, the sick and the dying, and kept annals and correspondence of their experience. The records have since been translated from the original French, digitized and made available in an online archive.”


Index of Free Irish genealogy E-Books, with links to open the books – approximately “4000 free books and journals on the topic Irish, Irish-American, Irish-Australian, and Irish-Canadian genealogy.”


TIPS



Using Funeral Home Records for Genealogy from the Geneosity blog – read the comments too.

Genealogy 201: How to Separate Identities – Two Men with the Same Names from the blog at Colonialroots.com – useful advice, especially if you have a family like mine which has generations of men with the same exact name.

Making Genealogical Connections – Five Ways to Get People to Share  - Not that I've ever found it to be a problem amongst genea-types, some of the generous people in the world.


TOOLS

Using the Bureau of Land Management to find your ancestor’s land:

      Thank You, BLM! from The Legal Genealogist – with instructions and screenshots
  
           and

      Ebenezer Perry Carlisle Webster’s Land Patent from Jana’s Genealogy and Family History blog-       -– with instructions and screenshots, and a bonus

Rail & River Passes from the Freedmen’s Bureau  and Unique Freedmen’s Bureau Records Reflect Rations Given to Whites and Indians from the My Ancestor’s Name blog – transportation records from the Freedmen’s Bureau are a rich source of records for formerly enslaved people. 
  

Black sheep Ancestors Database – “Free genealogical prison and convict records, historical court records, executions, insane asylum records and biographies of famous outlaws, criminals & pirates in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.”



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crestleaf.com’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: June - Russell Andrew Bennett (1896-1969)

I’ve decided to join another blogging challenge, as Crestleaf.com’s new challenge “12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds” caught my eye and interest. I enjoyed the weekly challenge I did last year, but it proved too much for me to continue it. I am excited by the idea of participating in a monthly challenge, and sharing with you the fascinating stories I am able to dig up about my ancestors and their family members.



Russell Andrew Bennett, 1896-1969, My Grand Uncle

I never met my grand uncle (any of them), and I don’t know much about Russell Andrew Bennett, my grandmother Anna Mae Bennett Henn’s next oldest brother, but I know that he’s the author of at least one book, and I found it! True, I found it more by luck than skill, but it is still a fantastic family find.
I had heard mention, once or twice, that one of grandma’s brothers had written a book, but as I’ve been doing this family research I found that not all family rumors are factual, so the first thing I did when I decided I wanted to look for it, was to start looking for a copyright registration. I found one in a 1956 catalog of copyright entries, for “The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseud, of Russell Bennett, Greenwich Book Publishers.”

Climbing My Family Tree: Copyright registration for The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseud of Russell Bennett
Copyright registration for The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseud of Russell Bennett
Click to Make Bigger


After that, I found “The Passing Parade” listed in the Library of Congress online catalog:

Climbing My Family Tree: Screenshot of Library of Congress entry for The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseudonym of Russell Bennett
Screenshot of Library of Congress entry for The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseudonym of Russell Bennett
Click to Make Bigger


About that time, my Dad’s sister told me that she had a copy of the book and asked if I would like a copy (YES!). My aunt was in the process of moving from Alaska to Tennessee, and it took a while to find things and get a copy made. I was impatient to see it and decided to check with AbeBooks.com (a great site for hard to find books) to see if I could find a copy. I did! I bought it! Ironically, the photocopied pages from my aunt and my purchased copy arrived on the same day.

The picture below is of the copy my aunt sent:

Climbing My Family Tree: Photocopy of The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett cover, sent me by my Aunt
Photocopy of The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett cover, sent me by my Aunt
Climbing My Family Tree: Photocopy of The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett cover, with inscription to my grandmother, sent me by my Aunt
Photocopy of The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett cover, with inscription to my grandmother, sent me by my Aunt
Click to Make Bigger


The copy my aunt sent, was inscribed to my grandma and grandpa, “Dear Ann, Carl & family, I hope that you will enjoy reading this my first book although I’ve had several short stories published. Of course some of these stories are fictitious but most all are true stories. It has been many years since I have seen you and I’ve really missed all of you. It was not that easy to be so far away when Blanche and Margaret passed away but the years have a way of healing one’s life. Would so much like to see you and your growing family. May God bless all of you. Love, Russell. Gordon is my pen name.”

This is the book I bought; it is inscribed “To my brother Thomas, Russell”:

Climbing My Family Tree: The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseudonym of Russell Bennett
The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett, pseudonym of Russell Bennett
Thank you Dad for taking the picture and for learning how to email Iphone pictures to send it to me
(I had loaned the book to my Dad & asked him to send me pictures when I decided to write this.)
Click to Make Bigger
Climbing My Family Tree: The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett pseud Russell Bennett) inside inscription and part of flyleaf
The Passing Parade by Gordon Bennett pseud Russell Bennett) inside inscription and part of flyleaf
Thank you Dad for taking the picture and for learning how to email Iphone pictures to send it to me
Click to Make Bigger



Thomas was the youngest child in the family. Yes, the copy I found and bought also used to belong to my family! An amazing coincidence! The Passing Parade is a book of short essays, mainly character sketches and/or inspirational pieces, many of them touched with his faith in God’s mercy. It is written in the style of the time, which is a bit flowery for today; but they are nice, well-told vignettes, and many of them are or seem to be based on incidents in the author’s life.  

The transcription of the inner flyleaf is as follows:

The Passing Parade
By
Gordon Bennett

For those who are familiar with Gordon Bennett’s national magazine articles, no introduction is necessary to this heartwarming book. THE PASSING PARADE is a collection of some of Mr. Bennett’s most popular essays, together with many new stories written in the same gratifying spirit.

From the cab of a locomotive, on the stormy North Atlantic and in lonely desert settlements, in historic New England villages and on the moiling streets of San Francisco and New York, Gordon Bennett has watched the Passing Parade – the surging stream of humanity. He has met Warren G Harding, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison; several presidents and commercial magnets. And other, unknown men, like Silas Benson of East Berlin Iowa. He has seen the boys go away to three distant wars – often to return on the same train in flag-draped coffins, their supreme sacrifice performed. He has known isolated sheepherders who embodied the teachings of Jesus, and obscure recluses whose days were spent in conducting missions for the lost souls of the waterfront districts. Everywhere he has sensed the Divine Spark, a friendliness and compassion in the hearts of his fellow men that needs only to be tapped. In the most unexpected places and at the strangest of times, Gordon Bennett has found striking evidence that we live in a world where God’s mercy is never absent. At bottom, the humblest and mightiest of men are alike God’s children, and never forget there is central humanity. We are all, truly, a part of one another.

THE PASSING PARADE sums up the wise, sincere reflections of a long and productive life. Here is a book rich in incident, rewarding in its deep insight into human nature. It will go far to bolster your faith in God and in the essential goodness of your fellow Americans everywhere.

__________________________________
Greenwich Book Publishers
489 Fifth Avenue, New York 11

Since Russell told my grandmother in his note to her that most of the stories in the book were true, despite the disclaimer at the front of the book which states “the names of all the characters in this book, with certain obvious exceptions, are fictitious. Any resemblance suggested by their names between these characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental,” the potential for family history clues in this book is good – if only I can sort out what is fiction and what isn’t.

I don’t know whether the “About the Author” piece on the end flyleaf for The Passing Parade is accurate for Russell Bennett or whether it is fictionalized for “Gordon Bennett”. If it is true, it could provide clues to fill in a number of missing years I have for him, if I could figure out how to search to confirm the details given (I’ve not had a lot of luck with that yet; but have not given it much time to date).

Climbing My Family Tree: 'About the Author' flyleaf for The Passing Parade by Gordon Russell (pseud of Russell Bennett)
'About the Author' flyleaf for The Passing Parade by Gordon Russell (pseud of Russell Bennett)


The “About the Author” flyleaf reads as follows: “Gordon Bennett was born in Michigan at the turn-of-the-century. His people were pioneers, and when they came to the Midwest they reversed the procedure and arrived in a covered two-horse sleigh instead of the proverbial covered wagon. His first schoolteacher was a Civil War veteran who told him thrilling stories of the original settlers in that area.

At an early age Mr. Bennett became a railroad man, and a major portion of his life has been spent in the cab of a locomotive. He has also been the chairman of his union, has served as a labor conciliator, has produced and directed one of his plays on the radio, has written a human-interest column for a West Coast newspaper, has had many articles published by national magazines, and is an elder of the church where he and his family worship.

Mr. Bennett describes his personal creed as follows: “I believe that all men are born in the image of God.… I have sympathy for my fellow man, for the reason that when sorrow has visited me my fellow men have been sympathetic to me. I have faith in my fellow men, for even the Almighty gives evidence of His faith every time a new born baby comes into the world. I believe that nothing can be accomplished of lasting importance without a sincere belief in God and love of one’s country.”


*******************
I don’t know that much about my grand uncle Russell Andrew Bennett. In fact, I have a gaping hole of about 20 years in the middle of his life. Let me tell you what I do know, in case anyone who knows more than me is reading this, and might be willing to help fill in the blanks, or perhaps read the book, and help me figure out which parts are real.

Russell was born on January 26, 1896 in Brown City, Sanilac County, Michigan to Andrew Bennett (1858-1925) and Anna Gregor Bennett (1858-1929). He was their fifth child and third son. His siblings (all born in Brown City, Michigan) were: Benjamin Gregor Bennett (1886-1970, m. Florence Catherine Short), William John Bennett (1889-1960, m. Mary Kalbfleisch), Elizabeth Grace Bennett (1891-1920, m. Arthur Bernard Martin), Blanche Maude Bennett Huston (1894-?, m/dv. William John Huston), Anna Mae Bennett Henn (1898-1977, m. Owen Carl Henn), Margaret MacFarlane Bennett (1900-1935), and Thomas Edison Bennett (1906-1969, m. Lenore M Griffen).

He left home at about 20 years old to begin a career working on the railroad. For the first few years, he worked as a locomotive fireman on a line that ran from the United States into Canada, and there are several border crossing records for him between 1916 and about 1920, which reference him working on the railroad. Shortly after President. Woodrow Wilson signed the selective service act requiring all men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the military in May 1917, Russell registered for the draft for World War I at age 21. On his registration card he stated that he was a locomotive fireman for the Ann Arbor Railroad Company, and was employed out of Owosso Michigan. He claimed exemption from the draft for “stomach trouble”. He was single and no one depended on him. He was of medium height and build, and had auburn hair and blue eyes.

Climbing My Family Tree: Draft Registration, Russell Bennett, WW1
Draft Registration, Russell A. Bennett, WW1

In 1925, his father died. In a 1928 border crossing record, Russell indicated that his occupation was “air man”, so he might have switched industries by then (by the 1920s, airmail existed and was cutting into the profits of the railroad industry, and, in 1927 Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic). About two weeks after he had gone to Canada, the his mother died. At this point, I lost him for about 20 years.

I do wish to note that during my black hole period, certain trees on ancestry.com indicate that Russell married Edith Guesman or Guseman on June 26, 1928 and that they divorced in 1931 (unsourced). I haven’t been able to verify that, so it is not included in my tree. (I found that she had taken out a marriage license with Frank Rathmell in 1925, and was married to Harry Craig by 1940. She remained with Harry Craig until he died and remained single thereafter.) If anyone can point me to proof that she married him, I'd appreciate it greatly.

Russell Bennett moved to California in approximately 1941, according to his death certificate.
On December 30, 1950, at age 54, he married Olive Gertrude Ranney Glover (1924-1992) in San Mateo California. In 1955, a city directory for Sacramento, California, shows that he and his wife Olive lived on 2239 Marconi Ave., and that he was a technician for KFBK, a radio station in Sacramento. In 1956, his book, The Passing Parade, was published under the pen name Gordon Bennett through the Greenwich Book Publishers; he registered the copyright on February 7, 1956. The Greenwich Book Publishers were a small press in New York City that advertised for submissions in the back page classifieds of such magazines as Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, and the Rotarian, in ads such as those below.

Climbing My Family Tree: Greenwich Book Publishers ad, Popular Science magazine, 1955 p 85
Greenwich Book Publishers ad, Popular Science magazine, 1955 p 85
Click to Make Bigger

Climbing My Family Tree: Greenwich Publishers ad The Rotarian 1957 p 62
Greenwich Book Publishers ad
The Rotarian 1957 p 62
Click to Make Bigger
Climbing My Family Tree: Greenwich Book Publishers ad Popular Mechanics 1955 p 67
Greenwich Book Publishers ad
Popular Mechanics 1955 p 67
Click to Make Bigger



I then lost him again until he died on July 23, 1969, at 3:45 AM, in San Francisco, California. I found a detailed certificate of death from the California San Francisco Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, records collection at Ancestry.com. I knew it was my Russell Bennett because his birthplace was indicated as Brown City, Michigan; birthdate January 26, 1896; age 73; father: Andrew Bennett, born in Canada; mother: Anna Gregor, born in Canada; citizen of the USA; and the name of surviving spouse was Olive Gertrude Glover. The death certificate further stated that he and his wife Olive lived at 2241 Lincoln Way, San Francisco, CA prior to his death. His last occupation was as a longshoreman for the Pacific Maritime Association, a shipping company, and he had held this position for 21 years. He had lived in California for 28 years. He died in St. Joseph’s Hospital, at Park Hill and Buena Vista Ave., East, San Francisco. Dr. J. A. Driscoll, of Fox Plaza, indicated that he had died of acute myocardial failure as a consequence of [?] Myocarditis due to ASHD [arteriosclerotic heart disease]. There was an autopsy performed which confirmed the cause of death. He was buried on July 25, 1969 at Skyline Cemetery in San Mateo California; the funeral director was N. Gray & Co.

Climbing My Family Tree: Death Certificate for Russell Andrew Bennett, dd. 23 July 1969
Death Certificate for Russell Andrew Bennett, dd. 23 July 1969
Click to Make Bigger


I'd love to hear from anyone with knowledge of Russell Andrew Bennett’s missing years who would be willing to share it, or just more about him in general. You may contact me through the email address in my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below this post. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can



---------------------------------

U.S. Census for 1900  and 1910; 6 documented border crossings from the Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 database at Ancestry; WW1 U.S. draft registration card; 1955 Sacramento City DirectoryCatalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series 1956, Vol. 10, Pt.1, "Books and Pamplets, Including Serials and Contributions to Serials", Jan - June 1956;Library of Congress Online Catalog (http://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=6936&recCount=25&recPointer=5&bibId=10272635); California Marriage Index 1949-1969; California Death Certificate, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985;California Death Index, 1940-1997; Social Security Death Index [ & for Edith Guseman: U.S. Census for 1910, 1920, & 1940; PA County Marriages 1885-1950 database, FamilySearch.org; Rootsweb Obituary Daily Times Index; Ohio, deaths, 1958 - 2007; USA & PA Find-a-Grave memorials ]

Sunday, June 21, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #18

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Reads #18
Image from Pixabay.com


For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. At the end of each trimester I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.


A GOOD THING

New: DiscoverFreedmen  from the blog of The Legal Genealogist – discusses the amazing records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [the Freedmen’s Bureau] and encourages us to join the project to index those records to make it easier for other family historians and genealogists to find their family.


CANADA





DNA

Why upload to GEDmatch or FTDNA? from Segment-ology  – the author’s top 10 reasons.

X-DNA’s Helpful Inheritance Patterns from the Genie1 blog - explains it very well. I want to keep this around to refer back to.


GREAT STORIES

WHAT KILLED GREAT GRANDDAD… A Curious Mystery Solved on TROVE… Part One  from the Family History 4 U blog – a fun account of tracking down whether a family story was accurate.

A Letter from the Shipyards from the blog at Homestead Genealogical Research  – I love old letters.

A Son Finds His Father on Guadalcanal from The Daily Beast - long, but worth it & very moving (I just finished an excellent audio course - WWII: A Military and Social History, that I got from my local library, which likely enhanced the impact this story had on me, but it really is worth reading.)


HISTORY


Leiden Gunpowder Disaster Memorial from Atlas Obscura – if you’re of Dutch extraction, this could be why your ancestor disappeared from records as of 1807.




INTERESTING ARTICLE







TIPS








TOOLS



Evernote for Genealogy: Research Logs and Note Links and Evernote for Genealogy: Creating a Linked Research Blog Index from Colleengreene.com – read the comments too. [Posting this is aspirational and inspirational; I don't - yet - use Evernote as I should.] 

Legacy Family Tree Announcement from the Ancestoring blog – I’ve joined. It looks to be very helpful!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #17

image from Pixabay.com


For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. When I can, I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.


CANADA

Canadian Resources I Use from the Life from the Roots blog - gathered over the course of her 19 years of research in the Eastern Townships in Quebec

Baptist Churches in Québec 1794-1967 from the Genealogy Ensemble blog - this will be helpful for me.


DNA 

DNA Research Links Irish and Scots to Northwestern Spain from Celt-Iberia Traders blog – well, that would most likely explain how the Iberian Peninsula got into my DNA


The Wonders of DNA from The Huffington Post  (Now, I understand What those DNA Circles are meant to be used for)


ENGLAND
  



GERMANY



GREAT STORIES

Ghosts of a Colonial Past  from Borders Ancestry blog – a great story built from "junk room" treasures.

  

  
HISTORY


Find: War Dogs of World War II  at the Fold3.com blog - I can't imagine voluntarily sending my pet to war



IMAGES – FOR BLOGGING 

Resources for Free Images from the Pixabay.com blog - resources other than Pixabay


INTERESTING ARTICLE

Teaching Your Genealogical Dog a New Trick: Research Plans from The Advancing Genealogist blog – a fun analogy and good explanation of why and how

Chasing That Probate from The Legal Genealogist’s blog – the best records may not always be where you expect them to be.

Mystery Monday – Beware of Those Bible Pages!  from The Sum of All My Research blog – oh what a twisted trail that led her on!
  
Why You Should Consider Applying to a Lineage Society from AmyJohnsonCrow.com – it’s not elitism, it’s research, Mom.

And here are four variations on a necessary theme.  All worth the read.
                                                                                                              

             Genealogy & Cooking – What Do They Have in Common?  from the blog for the National Genealogical Society, Upfront with NGS

            On Certainty in Genealogy from Schoenblog.com

             Bullying and Elitism from the blog, Parallax View

[By the way, if/when I ever do hire a genealogist to help me when I'm stuck, or just too far away to get to the sources, it will be someone who is nice to beginners.]

TIPS

Potential Problems with Records from genealogy.com – points out the potential problems associated with various sorts of records that we must keep in mind when evaluating the information therein


Genealogy 101: Genealogical Assumptions from colonialroots.com – some incorrect genealogical assumptions to beware of.




How to Decode a World War II US Army Serial Number from AmyJohnsonCrow.com - ah, this will be helpful!


TOOLS

Using a Semantic Engine for Better Understanding from Many-roads.com – he explains it better than I can, just read it


USA
NEW YORK


New York Heritage Digital Collections from NewYorkHeritage.org an absolutely amazing list of links to a wide variety of digitized historical collections for New York State, from libraries, from museums, from businesses, from law schools, from colleges, historical societies, hospitals, etc.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My DNA Test Results Are In!


DNA - from Pixabay.com


Before I started my family history research, if anyone had asked me what my family’s roots were, I would have recited (from about Junior High on): “German, English, Irish, Scottish, and Cherokee.” (My parents always corrected me to say we had no Cherokee, but I believed it anyway.) I also thought I was primarily German. I knew Henn was German based on family history stories from my father and grandfather, and, my mother’s maiden name was Snyder, and that’s German. So, of course, I believed I was mostly of German stock.

After I started this family research, I discovered that I have a lot more Scottish and Irish than I'd previously believed. I haven’t found any English yet, and no Cherokee either. I moved to believing that I would turn out to be perhaps equal amounts Scottish and German, with a bit of Irish thrown in for spice.

In April I ordered several DNA test kits from AncestryDNA, and as a birthday present to me, when my parents visited, we spent one evening spitting into the little tubes provided by the company. I wish I had thought to take pictures. Anyway, you spit into this little tube until your saliva reaches a little line marked on the tube (the frothy stuff doesn’t count). Then you attach the supplied cap and tighten it just enough to release the blue stabilizing liquid which is stored in the cap. Next I set up free AncestryDNA accounts for each of my parents so that I could activate their tests and mine. And, right away, we signed their accounts over to my administration, and connected them to my tree, as they were glad to contribute, curious about the results, and not interested in doing any of the research to figure out through which relative/ancestor they might connect with someone else. Finally, I put the samples in their individual collection bags, sealed the bag(s), placed each in their own prepaid mailing box, and, later that week, dropped them in the mail. AncestryDNA says it will take 6 to 8 weeks to process, but I think it was only four weeks beforeI received the emails from AncestryDNA telling me our results were in.

Here is me:


Climbing My Family Tree: Jo Henn AncestryDNA results (picture copyrights to Ancestry DNA)
Jo Henn AncestryDNA results Copyrights to Ancestry DNA
Click to make Bigger

Jo Henn AncestryDNA results Map (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Jo Henn AncestryDNA results Map
 (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Click to make Bigger

That's a pretty circle, isn’t it? But I'm sure not "mainly German." I'm only 11% Europe West (AncestryDNA includes Germany in “Europe West”). My ethnicity seems to be largely from Great Britain, which, since I haven't found anyone from England yet, probably means Scotland. I have 10% Scandinavian – probably Vikings to Scotland. 9% Ireland, 8% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)? 6% Italy/Greece? 6% Europe East? 1% Finland/Northwest Russia? And a trace amount of Middle Eastern? Well, that’s intriguing. Trade routes, do you think? In AncestryDNA, I can click on any one of those percentage ethnicity buttons and it will expand out and give me a long explanation of that country or area’s population history (who invaded whom and when, trade routes, empires, etc.).

Now, to my current understanding, while my DNA contains a record of my ancestors, I’m not a carbon copy of any one of them of them. I received 50% of my DNA from each of my parents, as do each of my brothers, but we don’t necessarily receive the same combination of DNA, because it’s randomly distributed, so if I talked my brothers into taking their own DNA test, their ethnicity charts could look significantly different from mine. Further, my parents each received 50% of their DNA, randomly, from each of their parents. And their siblings would also have randomly received 50% of their DNA from each of their parents, and not necessarily the same pieces of DNA that my parents received. This is why Ancestry keeps stressing that the more people you can get tested in your family, the more you can learn about your historical ethnicity.

Now, let me show you my father’s and mother’s ethnicity reports.

Here’s Dad:


Climbing My Family Tree: Dad AncestryDNA results  (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Dad AncestryDNA results
 (Copyright to Ancestry DNA, fair use)
Click to make Bigger


Climbing My Family Tree: Dad AncestryDNA results Map  (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Dad AncestryDNA results Map
 (Copyright to Ancestry DNA, fair use)
Click to make Bigger


Well, he’s definitely not mainly German either. 67% Great Britain (based on what I’m seeing in his family so far, mainly Scottish) and 18% Ireland. 5% Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Only 3% Europe West (even though I have managed to trace his paternal line back to Doerlesburg, Baden, Germany)! 3% Scandinavia – Vikings? 2% Europe East? 1% European Jewish? And a trace amount of Italy/Greece? I will say that that is not entirely what I was expecting; but after I’ve had time to think about it, I probably should have anticipated the more significant amounts to be in Great Britain and Ireland.

And here’s my Mom:


Climbing My Family Tree: Mom AncestryDNA results  (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Mom AncestryDNA results
 (Copyright to Ancestry DNA, fair use)
Click to make Bigger

Climbing My Family Tree: Mom AncestryDNA results Map  (Copyright to Ancestry DNA)
Mom AncestryDNA results Map
 (Copyright to Ancestry DNA, fair use)
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That's where those German roots got to! Europe West 74%. Ireland 13%. Scandinavia 3%. Iberian Peninsula 3%? Africa North (primarily found in Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, and Libya. Also found in Spain, Portugal, and the Middle East)?! Italy/Greece 2%? And trace amounts of Finland/Northwest Russia, Europe East, Great Britain, ... and the Middle East! Well, that is certainly intriguing! Looks like ancient trade routes, perhaps.

Now I’d really like to test all of my aunts and uncles to see what their portion(s) of the random DNA shakeout would reveal! (And brothers, and cousins…)

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In another section, AncestryDNA gave me DNA matches that were found among others who have submitted DNA to be tested by AncestryDNA. By clicking on “view all DNA matches” button, I see a list of people divided into first cousin (actually I don’t have any first cousins on the list yet), second cousin, third cousin, 4th-6 cousin. I can click “view match” for any of the names, and, if that person has a public tree on ancestry, I can see the common ancestor and a line of descent to that person and a link at which to contact them, or, if their tree is private, or they don't have one online, it just gives me a link at which to contact them.

AncestryDNA has given me a list of 132 people who it says are fourth cousins or closer. There is a list of 84 people for Dad who it says are fourth cousins or closer, and 189 people for my mom who are supposedly fourth cousins or closer. That’s a lot of people!  Yes, I can tell there is some duplication between my list and that of each of my parents but there are also people on the lists who are not duplicates. It is going to take me a good while to get through these lists and compare them to my tree.

In a third section, AncestryDNA may give what it describes as ”New Ancestor Discoveries” a section still in beta form which, it says, gives me “potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already in your family tree”. There are none listed for Mom and me. There is one listed for Dad, but upon looking at her, it’s not someone new; I have her on my tree but under a different spelling of the last name. I’ll check it out to see if they’ve got anything more on her this way.

Lastly, there is a section titled “DNA Circles,” also still in beta. These are my DNA circles:


Climbing My Family Tree: My DNA Circles (Copyright to AncestryDNA)
My DNA Circles
(Copyright to AncestryDNA, fair use)
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It appears to be a separate listing of people who are also related to people you already have in your family tree, and therefore are probably related to you. It lists the ancestor, with a graphic, and tells you how many people in your list of matches also have this person in their family tree. If you click on it, inside then gives you their screen names and the same ability to view an abbreviated connection tree and their contact information as found on the DNA match list, described above. Since the same information is on the DNA match list, I’m not really certain of the purpose of the DNA Circles yet, other than to make it easier to find these particular persons.

In looking at the circles given for my Dad, my Mom, and me brings home the random distribution of DNA and makes me glad that I got both my parents tested when I did. I have all the same people in my list of circles as my mom does, but Dad has five ancestors with circles and I only have four of them. I guess I didn’t get the segments of DNA that connected me with that extra person on Dad’s circle list, James McFarlane (my second great-grandfather), in my 50% of his DNA.

So … anyone else in my family intrigued enough to take a DNA test?