Coming back from the wedding, I had a ton of real mail and email to go through. The email that caught my eye was the one from Genes for Good. They have received my spit kit and I should have results in approximately 8 weeks! I cannot express how very excited I am about that!
I am still active on their Facebook page, and I urge all of you to do it as well. Genes for Good is being administered by the University of Michigan and it is FREE to participate. I cannot beg all of you hard enough to do this!
That will give me another set of DNA to throw out there and try to find my paternal matches to. I am looking forward to that and I will keep everyone posted as to what I find out.
Please leave me an email and share if you decide to participate in Genes for Good!
Here is a Halloween Eve Challenge for all of you.
Think of all of the "skeletons in your closet". You know, the black sheep, the convicts, the spicy ones. Do you have those in mind?
Let me help with some examples.
Anyone that was arrested, fined, jailed, did any time at all. They should be on your list.
Anyone who had babies that they placed for adoption. Anyone that was placed for adoption. (Nothing wrong with adoption, I am in that triangle at all sides, but there was a time when there was a lot of shame going on.)
Anyone who was a ward of the state, the court, the city. Anyone who resided in an orphanage, a county home or anything that was not a familial home.
Anyone who had children out of wedlock and parented them.
Anyone who died from anything unusual. (gunshot wounds, knife wounds, abortions, unusual injuries.)
Anyone who was involved in unusual car accidents. (Car versus train. Car versus river or bed of water, car versus horse, etc.)
Anyone who was committed to a sanitarium or asylum.
Anyone who was a fugitive of justice.
Anyone who left their country on the run and came to a different country.
Anyone who was in a debtors prison.
These are only some of the reasons that a person might have a record for you to look for. If you have heard stories, see if looking them up online is something that you are available to do. You could uncover amazing amounts of information about a person who is a relative. I found a grandparent's records for when he was in prison. It listed his physical appearance, home address, next of kin, what his charges were and how he behaved in prison as well as accounts of money coming in and going out of his bank account there in prison.
Additionally, when he was deceased, that was also listed, as well as the exact date and what he died of. Those records were very valuable for breaking down a brick wall in research. Share your brick wall stories with me at PirateDixie@gmail.com
Hello to all of my readers! The wedding was beautiful, and I left single and came back with a boyfriend in my life. How wonderful is that?!?
I wish that the wedding would have been closer to my home because of the drive time, but then again, I would not have met the gentleman that has me swooning.
While I was getting back here, there was a death in my extended family of a baby who was just shy of three months of age. Of course, that is tragic, I won't downplay that. It is presumed that the baby passed of SIDS. As soon as I know, I will share here.
The passing of this infant got me to thinking about the importance of DNA testing. You never know when life will end. You never know when the person you were just speaking to yesterday will not be here. My grandmother passed away last year in December. The one thing that everyone in the family has lamented has been the fact that we did not get a DNA test done on her. That chance is gone forever to us.
If you are considering getting DNA done in your family, please start with the oldest or the weakest members of your family first. My grandfather was gone long before DNA testing was available to the public. The thought of getting him tested is just a tragedy as it wasn't there at the time. With my grandmother it was, and I don't want my family's regret to be your family's regret. Please, get DNA testing done on your older relatives now.
We are about to get into the big time of the year when families are all going to be seeing a lot more of one another. I thought that it would be a lot of fun to create a list of questions and answers to send out to all of the members of my family, as well as requests for photos and things like that.
I want to get some simple family tree items taken care of, but I am also wanting to really flesh out the people who are doing the project for me.
In thinking about this, I decided to ask about them, their kids, parents and grandparents for starters.
Then, I am going to ask questions that I will be getting from various dating sites that are meant to elicit good responses that are not simply yes and no answers.
I am looking forward to this and I think that it will be so much fun to see what everyone writes. I will be sending this to people close to me in terms of knowing them and not so close.
For the more distant relatives that I don't know, such as those that I will be contacting from online matches via DNA, I have decided that I will have an online family tree where I omit the names of the living relatives (except me) and show the tree as far back as I can go. That will help my more distant matches see if they match me at all, or if we cannot find a common person to be matched through. It is my hope that by doing this project, I will have an idea of my paternal matches, too! Plus, how fun will it be to get to know more about my family?
If you can think of any good questions, use the contact form below or email me. PirateDixie@gmail.com I will respond as soon as I get back here.
As you may have read on my blog, I am a participant in the GenesForGood project. After only a week of participation, I reached the point where I was able to request the spit kit/they automatically send it.
I got the email today that says the kit is in the mail, it can take 2 weeks to get here, please make sure that you sign everything when the kit arrives.
I followed everything that was asked of me to do up until this email, which is answer some questionnaires and fill out some items every day so that they know whether or not I will be a good participant once they mail the kit to me.
I am really excited and will continue to update everyone of my progress as it happens. Very cool and so happy to be a part of this project!
Genesforgood will let me download a copy of my DNA, which I will be uploading to various sites along with my FTDNA.
Here's hoping to many matches!
I have been talking to a lot of my genealogy friends in the United States about what software that they use for keeping all of their family tree information in one place. I now know that I need to be a lot more specific about what I need, so I am going to list off a few things here and hope that it makes some sense before I go to bed. Tomorrow is my last day here at home before I go on a long trip and I am both looking forward and not looking forward to leaving.
Back to the software.
A lot of people referred me to the software known as GRAMPS. I hated it. No matter what, it was always running in the background, sucking down my limited resources like an old gas guzzler car. The software was very counter intuitive, it took me forever to create myself in there, and then I am still not sure if I entered my mother correctly. Yes, I get that it is open source, feature packed and free. I get that it is wonderful for all of the people out there that made it work. I am not one of them, so please leave me alone. GRAMPS sucked hard on my machine and caused me to force restart twice, as well as go through some intense cursing at it. Apparently, if you can get it to work, it is awesome. I could not, so, there you go.
I need software that is drag and drop, WYSIWYG, easy and simple to use. I don't want to read chapters and chapters of books to be able to figure out how to add a person. With this software, I felt stupid and I don't like feeling that way. I used CCleaner to make sure that the uninstall was a good one. Additionally, CCleaner has a free version and a more feature rich version. Google it to see what that is all about. Pretty cool.
Since I am going to be out of town for a week, I will be looking at several different pieces of software and reviewing them here. It looks like the next two that I have slated are RootsMagic and Ancestris. I have read a lot good and bad about RootsMagic, but I have read nothing about Ancestris until I found it online, and people seem to like it a lot. As soon as I have completed my review, I will write my findings here.
I will also be going through my records to note the other software that I uninstalled because it kept running in the background. To say that I was unhappy is an understatement.
I created a rookie mistake yesterday and today, and I should have known better. I am going to blog about it to share it with you so that you don't make the same mistake.
I began adding a lot of information to some online family tree websites. A friend called me and I took the call. I began chatting with this friend when was adding the information, and I kept on performing the editing. That was my first mistake.
Finally I realized that I was distracted.
I set the laptop down and had the conversation with the friend. We talked for over an hour. I lost track of where I was in my tree and lost my momentum. That was mistake number two.
I then tried to pick up where I left off without backtracking. Mistake number three.
I went to bed last night, not knowing that I had created this terrible mistake of adding people to the wrong family line. Went back to adding names in the wrong place. Realized it after I was several hours into the mistake. Called the company where I made the mistake at. They are unable to help, understandably. I will have to hand enter all of the information again but attach it to the correct person.
The frustrating part of all of this is that I know better. I have been doing this for many years, and apparently, I got lazy and cocky.
I am now going to be adding everything to one place, creating a GEDCOM and going forward from there, which is what I should have done anyway. Lesson learned. Family research deserves your full attention.
Getting ready to go on this really big trip out of town for the wedding, I have already scheduled some time for myself to do some family research. That brought me to a point that I would like to address here.
There are things that I take with me when I go anywhere. Yes. Anywhere. I have a bag that looks like a small messenger bag that holds a 10 inch tablet, a few composition notebooks and other odds and ends. It is stuffed with pockets and has a great strap, too. I carry a ginormous purse because life is easier when I have that with me. So, if I am going somewhere, I drop the research bag into my purse.
What all is in the research bag?
2 pens. I like Pilot ultra-fines. They don't smear, the ink seems to last a long time and they get the job done. As a lefty, I have to be careful of smears. My hand will drag through ink like nobody's business. It can ruin a beautiful document.
2 pencils. Automatic pencils so that I don't have to hunt down a sharpener and the point size is consistent. No brand preference.
2 composition notebooks. Why 2? One is for facts to relist online when I get a chance, and the other is for ideas, leads, information to look up and random things that make sense to me, like web addresses to look at later. This keeps my fact book straight and my ramble book can have anything and everything in it.
1 tablet. I am using the Samsung Galaxy E. I think it has a 9.7 inch display. It runs great, nice battery life and gets done all of the things that I want to do with a tablet. When I am doing research at a library and don't want to take the laptop because I am going to be in the stacks, this tablet is perfect. I can take a million pictures, add notes and more, and because I do it on Google Docs, the whole thing is on my laptop when I get home.
Power charger. Sometimes, I do run the tablet dry of juice.
Business cards. I hand them out all the time. I will do an article on my business cards later this month, because my cards get results and yours can, too!
Highlighters. Bold and fine line. This helps to be organized. If there is something that I need to make sure and pay attention to, I will put a star to the side in the margin if it is on paper. I will also underline. If there is a special fact I need to pay attention to, I will highlight it so that I don't have to search through a bunch of stuff. Highlighting in my facts book, all men's names are highlighted in blue, ladies in pink. Sexist? Perhaps, but at a glance, I know who is who without having to look it up. Not all names are easily determined of gender, so that little action has saved me a lot of aggravation.
Tape. Paper tears, things happen. Repair it on the spot if it is yours.
Paper clips. Keep all of those copies you just paid for together so that they remain grouped the way you want. I use colored ones for easy sorting.
Ziploc bags. Office in a bag? Yes. I have rubber bands, paper clips and miscellaneous stuff in one. I carry empties in case I get something that needs to be kept safe. I also like to carry those bags in case someone gives me documents that need to be returned, but they are small. The bag lets me know that it does not belong to me.
Flashlight. There are plenty of places that I have done research where either the light is dim or the printing on the page is so faded that the only way I have been able to see what I am looking at is with a flashlight. Same for going down stairs in dim hallways, and for reading fine print.
Magnifying glass. I do not know how people in the 1800's read at the font size that some things were printed in. I have to read these articles with a magnifying glass. If I am going to be reading a lot of these micro size articles and I cannot bump up the font because it is an actual book, I wear a stronger strength reading glasses so I don't have to hold the magnifying glass.
Snack bar. I bring a granola bar or similar with me. Why? Because some places that I go don't have a vending machine, and I don't want to lose momentum on something that I am doing, or hunger hits me and I don't want to have a headache.
Aspirin/pain relief tablets. Migraine? Headache? Whack your leg on a table? Continue with your research.
Adhesive bandage. Paper cut. I am told that Super Glue is fabulous, but I am told it is miserable if you don't do it right. So, I carry about 5 or six bandages of various sizes.
Bag of mixed change with no pennies. Some places only take cash for copies. Some places only take cash for the parking meter. If you take some out, replace it.
Baby Wipes. I once was looking something up at a small library. As I turned the page, my hand hit something wet. I don't know what it was, but I brought the book to the desk and I washed my hands like I had touched MRSA. Wipes are good for a multitude of sins.
Empty Water Bottle. (Full if they allow it.) Refill at fountain. Save money.
Lozenges. Libraries make me cough sometimes.
Any medicines that you need to take on a regular, timed basis. Don't miss your pill because you are looking up dead people!
Any emergency medicines that you may need. Insulin. Asthma medicine and so forth. Rescue inhalers.
I love to do stuff for science when I can. Especially when it benefits me as well. (Selfish? Perhaps.)
Anyway, since becoming a DNA hound, I got an email from a friend of mine that is doing the Genes for Good project. This is through the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
To participate, you must go through Facebook. Participation is pretty easy. You fill out some quick and easy questionnaires about your health. Go back every day for the daily ones. After a week or less of doing this, you can qualify for a spit kit, so that they can have a look at your DNA. You test for free. They let you have your raw data via download, so you can do what you want with it. They will share information with you such as your personal ethnic/geographic range of descendants with you as a thank you for helping. If I did not term that well, hopefully, you know what I mean. They will give you an idea of where you came from.
I hope that if you are on Facebook, you will consider helping out with this project. I think it is awesome, and I am doing it.
The first I heard about it, I went to the link above, read all of the information and from there, followed the link to Facebook. You must give Facebook the permission to run the app. I said yes to everything and begin to answer the questions, it was fun, truthfully. After that, I did the dailies for a few days, and the I qualified for the spit kit, where they send the kit for your precious DNA. According to the site, it could be between 2-4 weeks to get here in the mail, but I will keep everyone updated. If I am not too excited, I will try and remember to make a video or at least take photos of the kit when it gets here.
If you do this, please let me know in the comments below!
This coming weekend, I will be going to the wedding of someone that I love very much. I am really excited to be going and getting to see a lot of people that I care about.
I am also excited because one of the cities that I will be near has a National Archives research center. I don't know if they will be open when I am there, but all of the family research has me making a huge list of questions to ask them when they are open. I thought of almost all of these questions today, a Federal Holiday that I don't observe. (National Oppress Native American Land and Asset day.)
I don't think Columbus and that Spanish Queen were cool. A lot of really crap stuff happened to the Native Americans in the United States, and I really wish that we had a holiday to celebrate Native Americans. I am not Native American, but I think that for a long time, they have gotten the bad end of the stick.
Which brings me to the wedding. Since the DNA test that has been done, I have been the list maker. Lists of various things to do and look up and find. Lists of things to compare and contrast. I feel like I need to not sleep in order to get all of the updating done that I want to do. I have a long list of relatives that I need to remove from my tree. Which brought me to a problem that I finally decided on a solution for.
I now have a problem with my family tree. Years of research is invalid as it is no longer relevant to me. Do I delete all of that information? Do I give it to others? I finally decided that my family tree will remain intact, but I will build a second tree that is DNA accurate. I have named them 2 different things so that there are no mistakes. That way, people who are benefiting from the research I did on a couple of lines that are not mine are still able to access that. I merely pulled the connection to me away.
The second tree is my little tree. All me. All DNA locked down. It is tiny. For now. But it is good because it is accurate.
Going to this wedding, I will be encouraging a few of my friends to get their DNA done because we have a few surnames in common. I am convinced that 2 of my friends and I are actually distant cousins. I am excited about this, because if they do test, if we are related, that will fill in a missing line that was lost around the turn of the 20th century. If we are not related, then they will have the fun that I am having with all of this.
If this was a wedding of a family member, I would be encouraging every single person there to get testing done. Because why not?
I think back to all of the family members that are gone, and I wish that I had gotten some DNA from several people, so that there were no unanswered questions. Too late. Don't regret asking someone to test. I will be putting a page up by Halloween of this year with all sorts of fun links and things to do when you get your test results as well as my reviews of DNA testing.
Have a fun week and tell your family that you love them.
If you or anyone in your life wants to get DNA testing done, please use my link listed in my LINKS tab above. I get a small commission, and every little bit helps. Additionally, if you shop Amazon, please shop through my link. Again, commission, sales, etcetera. Using my links don't cost a single cent more.
I write a lot about genetic genealogy, family trees, DNA, and home life as well as the occasional product review. Comments? Email me at CocktailsAndSwagger@Hotmail.com