Happy New Year! And happy 6-year anniversary to DNAsleuth, too!
Last month I blogged about my genealogy goals, and one is to continue this blog. But look for changes this year.
My original target was to post new content on the 1st of every month—nearly always DNA-related. I’m ready to adjust my expectations now.
For starters, I’m not going to aim for the 1st any more.
And some months I may post more than once. Other months, I may skip. I still have DNA topics I want to explore and share. (I’ve already started drafting a post about Visual Phasing. And then there’s the surprises discovered when I tested a grandchild that I think you’ll find a little amazing!)
But I may post more often about genealogy that doesn’t involve biology, too. Meanwhile, the calendar in the sidebar of upcoming Central Indiana DNA Interest Group programs should still be current.
But sometimes I wish they had labeled those old photos better, taken more pictures, left behind letters or diaries…. Wouldn’t those be treasures?
This month, it occurs to me to blog about genealogy for present and future generations. After all, I want to make memories with the family that’s here and now too. And I realize that I might do future generations a favor by preserving those memories.
So, in October 2021 (after multiple Covid delays), our family finally took a long-awaited trip together to Sedona, Arizona. Here are my five grandkids on Submarine Rock at the end of the Broken Arrow Trail.
It’s the genealogist in me that’s now considering how to produce something tangible and lasting. A photo book with narrative text that tells our story? A video or slideshow, with audio? Will a digitized version of whatever make it more accessible in years to come? Is there some way to engage the grandkids in the creation?
Like our ancestors, we are more than just birth, marriage, and death dates and places. While you’re trying to recapture your ancestors’ stories, don’t forget to create (and preserve) your own! (And please, feel free to tell me about how you chose to do it!)
Many of us use DNA for clues in our genealogy. A DNA match may connect us to a cousin or a location where sources exist with the answer to our kinship mystery. Yay! But what about those times when we don’t find a document with the direct evidence; maybe we find more pieces to the puzzle, and we want to use the DNA as part of the solution. If you ever want to say that you’re confident that A is the child of B because of one or more DNA matches, I’ve got a website recommendation for you!
There are a lot of reasons to be glad 2020 is in our rear-view mirror now, but there were some things to celebrate too. Every January I like to look over how I did on my genealogy/DNA goals for the past year. Here are my top 3 DNA achievements for 2020.
Most of us, I suspect, have an adoption story somewhere in our family trees. It could be recent—or maybe it’s on a more distant branch that we haven’t identified yet. It might be a formal adoption, or informal. Sometimes openly acknowledged, other times in secret.
The advent of DNA testing means we may discover that a relative was not the biological child of the parents that raised him or her. Our matches may also provide evidence to identify someone’s birth mother or father.
For each of my DNA matches who are my third cousins or closer, I’ve identified our Most Recent Common Ancestor. Several of them had adoption stories, and this month, I’ve invited one of them to tell her story.
This month I would like to shine a spotlight on a highly valued member of our local genealogy community: Charles Kenneth Barker. Charles has been a frequent participant at our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group [CIDIG] meetings, and I soon learned that he had founded a DNA Discussion Group himself. Seeing a need within the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, he kicked off monthly knowledge sharing sessions “to help our members and others to learn about the use of DNA testing and analysis.”
Our two DNA groups complement each other. Many individuals have attended programs at both locations, including some of our CIDIG team leaders.
I asked Charles if I could share some of his fascinating genealogy journey with readers on my blog, and he agreed.
Curbside recycling is a wonderful thing… but it’s not where I want my decades of family history research to end up when I’m gone.
Genealogist Alice Hoyt Veen once described her work like this: “I ‘reconstruct forgotten lives.’ Nothing is more satisfying than the knowledge that a life, long lost to time, can be rediscovered and understood. Every life has purpose and significance. My goal is to honor those disappeared lives by recreating, preserving and sharing their memories.”.”1
I aspire to the same goals—and that means that I need to include “preserving and sharing” in my genealogy efforts. Like so many of us, I am staying at home during this pandemic crisis. Why not use some of this time to develop plans to make sure my research, discoveries, and family treasures don’t end up sitting abandoned on the curb one day?
DNA is just one part of the bigger genealogy puzzle—genetic results can help with brick walls, but documentary evidence is essential. If you read this monthly blog for the DNA content, you may want to come back next month, because today I want to digress to talk about my recent experience with a guided research trip.
In the U.S., we celebrate Memorial Day near the end of May, honoring the men and women who died in the service of our country. With that in mind, I’m running my June 1st blog post a few days early, to feature an interview with Emma Compton, a genealogy professional who can tell us about her role bridging genealogy and DNA to bring some of our lost heroes home.