Thursday, June 1, 2017

DNA Matches and Spreadsheets

I've seen a lot of people on Facebook asking for spreadsheet help and tracking aDNA results so I thought I'd throw my method into the mix. This is not for everyone. I am all about having what I need in one place. And everything has turned into a monster of data entry. You've been warned.

Unfortunately I can't give credit for the original idea. Windows 10 ate the first sheet I downloaded and I have recreated parts from memory. If anyone remembers who started this method, please let me know. I searched Facebook and couldn't find the post.

The original spreadsheet was a list of matches with an x down and across if a person was a shared match with another on Ancestry. Don't you just love my expert command of spreadsheet terminology? I've expanded it to include data from all the major sites, Ancestry, GEDmatch, MyHeritage, and FTDNA

Since I can't leave well enough alone, this has morphed into what I use today. And I'm still adding columns as something pops into my mind. The sheet is heavy on color coding and external links.
And a lot of privacy scribbling for this post.

I keep all the identified matches at the top in ascending order of cousinship. It's a helpful reminder of the randomness of DNA inheritance and lets me see just how "off" some of the test company predictions are.

At the top are my test IDs and color keys for each suspected/proven line.

A - match #. Number them however you please. Mine are a bit wonky since I insert people here and there and I haven't renumbered lately.  Color coded pink and blue for maternal and paternal lines if I'm sure.

B - GC. This stands for Genetic Community, a new Ancestry feature. It helps me see at a glance the "buckets" that my unknowns fall into. Use with caution. I have a proven match on one of my German lines that shows as Irish.

C - the name, easy enough. But... I link the name to the Ancestry match page so I can get there quickly.

D - Email  I just added this the other day. I use Genome Mate pro as well but I got tired of toggling back and forth. And of course a link that opens a new email.

E - Message. The date I sent an email or message through Ancestry or My Heritage message system, I haven't found this too helpful, probably an unnecessary field since I try to keep a message copy in Genome Mate Pro

F - Legacy #. This is very helpful. This is the RIN (person number) in my Legacy Family Tree software. Even if I can't prove a relationship I've started adding the person to my tree as an unlinked person.

G - Notes. More extensive research notes are entered in Genome Mate Pro.

H - MRCA - Most recent common ancestor along with the RIN

I - What the relationship is if I know it. If not I put an "*". This reminds me that I need to highlight the Ancestry star. I star all my matches so I don't keep checking them when I'm in Ancestry.

J - cousinship.

K-AG - test results along with links to trees if posted. Ancestry has changed the linking to their trees so I link to the person's profile page, which you can't see for privacy reasons

AH-end - The shared matches. You can really see at a glance which family group my matches belong to. There are probably errors here, but I look at it as a start. I use the Gedmatch abbreviations to identify a match, A for Ancestry, T for FTDNA, H for MyHeritage and G for Gedmatch, S is for self.

This is another match cluster of some Irish matches

Now if I just knew how they connected.

Finally, I have a sheet for each test I administer.

I realize that this is lot of information and most people won't go to these extremes but it works for me.

I mentioned that I also use Genome Mate Pro. Here's the link to their Facebook page where you will find links to downloads.This is where I put my more extensive research notes on each match. Warning, again a learning curve which I haven't mastered.

Any suggestions, or questions. I'd love to hear them, especially those from the spelling and grammar police.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journals

Thanks to Dear Myrtle’s excellent Wacky Wednesday-Bullet Journaling hangout with Tami Mize I’m jumping in. The older I get, the more I find myself forgetting the little things or even worse, duplicating my research. Not good.

I decided to incorporate my research into the journal. So much more fun than tracking if I exercised on a given day.

I’m hot on the trail of my maternal great-grandmother’s family in Sweden, thanks to DNA. The only problem is I don’t know where she was born. So now it becomes tedious.

Arkivdigital is my main source for Swedish church books. There is a fee but it’s pretty reasonable for a short amount of time. I only subscribe for a week at a time; around $15 depending on the exchange rate.  After a week of trying to read Swedish, I’m ready for something a little easier. You can also access their site from many Family History Centers. 

Since I confuse easily. I get lost in in a sea of patronymics and forget where I am from day to day. Enter my brand spankin’ new bullet journal.

Isn't she pretty?

I set up a worksheet to track each family group on the DNA matches tree. Small bites, right? And I build the tree out to around 6 generations, easy to do with the household books.

You may want to print out a few reports to help you keep on track. 

I created a full fan chart of my match’s tree using Legacy Family Tree
Then I printed out each quarter of the tree and added it to my notebook. 

Looking at a tree section helps me remember where I am in the elimination process. Since I’m looking for my maternal great grandmother I check to see if I have an X match. If so, I would have just done an X chart. So much easier when you can eliminate half of the prospects.

Print out a descendant report for each family in the outer ring . Cross off each family group as they are eliminated.

I track the research using my 4 Ws form. I set this up in Word and sized it to print half size and duplex. Then I just cut in half and insert in the journal.

Who is each child. 
Who's Who is a list of Who's children. If the children have children, start another Who sheet.
When & Where is my mini research log. I list the titles of the Swedish church books I’ve used. 
What’s Next has conclusions, dead ends, and next steps.

Since I know my grandmother’s approximate date of birth, immigration, marriage, and possibly her parents' names I can eliminate lines that don't fit the profile. I cross people off the descendant report 6 generation pedigree chart I created and move on to the next group.

Wish me luck, fingers crossed. I hope this will help me find Grandma. I’d really hate to have to start tracking fitness days. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2016

It's Memorial Day again, the official beginning of summer. But before we rush out to start the grill or head out on a camping trip we need to remember the defenders of our freedom. 

My father was a B-26 pilot during World War II. He flew 65 missions over France and Germany. And he told stories of the hell he experienced. One in particular was heartbreaking. He would sob as he tried to tell me about being the only man in his dorm after a mission to bomb the railroad bridge at Nogent-sur-Seine in France. The notation he made in his copy of Bridge Busters says it all. "Me-alone in dorm." I think the reason this particular mission weighed so heavily on him was that he was on "lucky two weeks leave" at the time and didn't fly. The guilt of surviving must have been crushing.

Fifteen men from three crews were killed, five more were either taken prisoner or managed to return to England. These are the men who died. Each is linked to a memorial page at the Find A Grave website. Please consider visiting and leaving a virtual flower. We need to remember. I'm sure Dad did until the day he died. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is For Pribyl

P is for Josef Pribyl (1839-1911)

Josef Pribyl is another brick wall of mine. His daughter Marie married John Benert #3. He's not a brick wall in the real sense, just one I haven't pursued back to Bohemia.

Josef was probably 39 years when he immigrated to the United States with his wife Frantiska Vana or Frances as she was known here. At first they lived on East 38th street, near the cigar factories. At the time a cigar manufacturer would rent tenement rooms to his workers where they would make cigars under deplorable conditions. The following is an excerpt from How the Other Half Lives, Studies Among the Tenements of New York by Jacob A Riis (1890). The photo also appeared in the book.
"The manufacturer who owns, say, from three or four to a dozen or more tenements contiguous to his shop, fills them up with these people, charging them outrageous rents, and demanding often even a preliminary deposit of five dollars “key money;” deals them out tobacco by the week, and devotes the rest of his energies to the paring down of wages to within a peg or two of the point where the tenant rebels in desperation."

By 1900 the family had managed to save enough money to move to  East 97th street, still in a Bohemian neighborhood, still making cigars. Josef had retired by 1910 and his sons had found work in the building trades. Son Joseph was a carpenter, and later joined the police force, retiring as a lieutenant. Both Fred and Stanley were plumbers.  Daughter Marie was still working as a cigarmaker but then again, I'm sure the thinking was she was a just a girl and would marry one day. She did just that in 1913. The beginnings of an American success story. 

Frances died in March 1911 and Josef followed in December of the same year. They are buried in St Michael's Cemetery in Queens, New York. Click here for the Find A Grave page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O is For Ottilie Wilkowski Buending

O is for Ottilie Wilkowski (1850-1930)

Sophia Etscheid Wilkowski (l) and Ottilie Wilkowski Buending (r). This is the only photo I have of Ottilie, date unknown.

Ottilie Wilkowski was born Jan 13, 1850 in the village of Mrotschen in Prussia. When she was 5 years old the family decided to move to the United States where a cousin was already farming. They journied by ship from Hamburg, arriving in New York in May, 1855. They made their way to Wisconsin by way of train and steamship where the family settled in Watertown.  Gottlieb Wilkowski, Ottilie's father was a shoemaker and probably not eager to take up the life of a farmer.

When she was 19, she married Ernst Franz Buending, another Prussian immigrant. Ernst was a carpenter and millright. and died in 1916 from a stroke. 

Ottilie and Ernst had 8 children, Emma Elfriede who died when she was two months old, Emma Bertha, Fredrich William, Adela Ottilie, Ernst Franck, Carl Louis, Johanna Meta, and Selma.

Ottilie died in 1830 at the age of 80 at the home of her daughter Adela. Her obituary was published in The Watertown Daily times.
Mrs Buending, 80, taken By Death 
 Mrs. Ottilia Buending, 508 Lincoln street, widow of Ernest Buending, died Wednesday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs Frank Terwedow, 109 Herman street. She had been in failing health for a long time. In February she suffered a paralytic stroke and this was followed by complications which resulted in her death yesterday afternoon.
 Mrs Buending was a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Gottlieb Wilkowski and was born in Germany on January 13, 1850, coming to this country at the age of five years. Her marriage here to Mr. Buending took place November 25, 1869. Mr Buending died in 1916.
 Surviving are the following seven children: Mrs R. E. Smeiska of Milwaukee, Mrs. Frank Terwedow of this city, Mrs William Krebs of Lebanon, Mrs William Otto of this city, Fred Buending of Milwaukee, Ernest Buending of Fort Atkinson and Carl Buending of this city. There are 18 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
 Mrs. Buending was a member of the Reformed church. The funeral is to take place Saturday afternoon with services at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Terwedow at 1:30 o'clock followed by services at 2 o'clock in the church. The Rev F. W. Lemke will officiate and interment will be in the Lutheran cemetery. Friends may call at the residence beginning Friday noon to pay their respects.

Both Ernst and Ottilie are buried in the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Watertown, Wisconsin. Her Find A Grave memorial page is here.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Nels P Nelson

N is for Nels P Nelson (1851-1831)

Today's brick wall is brought to you by Nels Petr Nelson.

Nels Nelson was my mother's grandfather. She was only able to tell me a bit about him since he died when she was only 10 years old. She knew his name and occupation  He was the first Swedish policeman on the Duluth, Minnesota police department. Prior to that he had worked as a hostler for the street railroad and later as a conductor before joining the police.

Now, according to his police department employment record and his death certificate, Nels was born September 23, 1851 in Sweden. No parish, no county, just Sweden. His parents are listed as unknown. He's going to be a bit of a problem.

But this is nothing new. I am convinced that Nels has been putting up roadblocks to my search from the beginning. Strange things would happen whenever I would research him. My computer would freeze, the power would go out or the internet would slow to a crawl. A website I wanted to search would go down. I finally told him to stop fooling around as I would find him.

So he did. Things went smoothly for a while. The Northeast Minnesota Historical Center was able to provide me with his police employment record. I found newspaper clipping with his photograph and I started to think about Swedish research.

First stop was the naturalization papers and the passenger list. No new information. I checked the index of Swedish church books on MyHeritage. The only 2 possibilities I found both died in Sweden. Roadblocks everywhere.

I think it's time for another talk with Nels. He should know by now that resistance is futile.

Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for The Mais Family

M is for the Mais family

When I first caught the genealogy bug I asked my mother-in-law about her family. She had a few vague memories but she always came back to "Willie Mace." She remembered visiting him in Scranton, Pennsylvania when she was a child. But she didn't know who he was. Years later, I sat down with an old address book that had been in her house. I know, rule # 1, start with what you have. And look who jumped off the page. Mr John Mais, 632 Willow St, Scranton, PA. Mais not Mace.

Address book of Margaretha Bender Benert
I had them. John Mais, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Emma and son William. Willie Mace, finally. After that it was easy enough to fill in the blanks.

John was a stationery engineer and worked for several breweries in the city of Scranton. This drawing of John appeared in the Scranton Republican newspaper, Jan 27, 1891.

John Mais

Elisabeth was a sister of Margaretha Bender, the wife of John Benert #2. And I found this in Margaretha's photo album. This is a a photo postcard that Elisabeth had sent to Margaret in 1911.

Elisabeth Bender Mais

John and Elisabeth had five children, John, Emma, Louisa, Minnie, and William. Only two lived to adulthood, Emma who married Jacob Barke and William. William was an accomplished violinist and music teacher in Scranton.  As far as I can tell, he never married. John died in 1943 and Elisabeth in 1944. Both are buried in Pittston Avenue Cemetery in Scranton. You can see a photo of the plot here on Find A Grave.