Category Archives: surname

Wrong Dad

In genealogy, we spend a lot of time trying to identify the unknown father of an ancestor. To celebrate Father’s Day this month, I thought I’d pick a dad from my tree and chat about how I got him wrong. 

I have some friends who became interested in family history and immediately looked for education on how to do it right, before they actually dug in. And then there are folks like me, who spent years working on our pedigree charts, more or less self-taught. Eventually, I discovered classes and conferences and webinars too, and I’ve learned a lot about genealogy best practices since those early days. I apply those standards to my research now, when I work to fill in more blanks in my family tree. But it seems I really ought to revisit some of the conclusions I came to years ago.

Case in point: the father of Magdalena Dorothea Grahling, who was born 19 Feb 1832 in Buffalo, Erie County, New York, married Michael Miller in 1848, and died there in 1883. (Hereinafter, I’ll call her Maggie to save space, though she appeared in records by several other variants.)

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Thanks Mom

Every month, I pick a new genealogy project to focus on. Mother’s Day is celebrated in May here in the US, so I’ve decided this month I’ll work on the origins of my matrilineal line. It’s a quest that starts with family lore, searches for historical documents to support that story, and will end up exploring DNA evidence in order to draw a conclusion. 

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Applying DNA to a genealogy brick wall: getting started


Happy Birthday, Nancy Agness Ann Jameson, born 10 Oct 1810!

birthday-cake-public domain

That’s a fun date to remember—and a lot of given names for a little lass born in Kentucky so long ago. I wish I knew more about her. She appeared seemingly out of nowhere in Greene County Ohio in the summer of 1832, when she married James Hammond. By 1840, they had relocated to Holmes County Ohio, and around 1850 their growing family moved to DeKalb County Indiana. Nancy spent the rest of her life there and died a widow in 1888. My search for her parents reached a dead end pretty quickly.

Could DNA help me find her mom or dad?

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