Category Archives: misc

Prove 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!

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an adoption story

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.

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Meet Charles Barker of IAAGG

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.

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Leaving a legacy

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?

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boots on the ground

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.

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A Day of Remembrance

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.

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See you there?

Genealogy Standards, a book by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, identifies dozens of standards, i.e. best practices, for anyone serious about genealogy. The last standard is “Regular Engagement” described thus: “Formal development activities include attending conference, seminar, and workshop presentations in person or via electronic media….” [etc.]

Here in the U.S. Midwest, we have some terrific options for in-person DNA classes. Of course, not everyone can take advantage of them: health issues, budgets, scheduling conflicts, or travel limitations may rule them out for now. But if you can attend one of these opportunities, you’ll find it an enriching experience.

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news from Central Indiana

This month’s blog post is a short, local DNA/genealogy news byte! *Big* news, to me—but not a lot of words needed.

First of all, our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group (CIDIG) has a new website!

CIDIG logo

Check us out at A few features are still under construction, but it’s the place to go to register for a free one-on-one consultation with one of our team leaders this month (on November 17 2018), and discover what other events are coming up soon! Our group can also be found on Facebook here.

(I’ll continue to have a static Central Indiana DNA Interest Group page on my DNAsleuth website too; it contains a map to our ‘home’ base location at the public library in Fishers, Indiana, and a general overview of our local DNA group. You can find our calendar of events on both sites.)

Want to know more about our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group? Erin Harris, the blogger at, featured our organization this week. Take a look here!

Finally, I am proud to announce that I now hold a Certified Genealogist® credential. After several years of dedicated work and education, and submission of a 144-page portfolio, I have been certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can read more about that organization and process here:

All cause for Thanksgiving around here!

Ann Raymont © November 2018