Saturday, July 13, 2019

Meeting 7/15 and news with deadlines

Another Genies meeting is rolling around again next Monday 7/15.  Same time, same location.  1:00 meeting start at the Ferndale Library. 

This time of year, typically none of the Genealogical Societies are meeting but the Genies are keeping at it.  You might ask what I have been doing this summer.  I’m doing a cycle of the Research Like a Pro research process.  It has given me a commitment to research in my dad’s colonial line.  Our immigrant ancestor William Hearne was a merchant traveling back and forth between London and the New World.  He and his wife were well-educated in London and settled in Maryland in the 1680’s or so.  It’s written that they were disappointed that there was no education for their children who grew up illiterate in the backwoods of Maryland. 
We have a ­­­­pilot group using Research Like a Pro and I expect we will open a group in the fall sometimes known as a challenge.  In the meantime, there is a book, a podcast and blog posts about the process at  If you’re new to Family Locket, and wondering what Research Like a Pro is all about, you can ready Diana Elder’s original blog posts and try it out for yourself!

This summer we are also continuing with monthly RootsMagic meetings.  On Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 we will be viewing a basic video.  If you intend to come, you will want to download at least the free version of RootsMagic ahead of time from  The next meeting will be on Saturday, September 7.

Ending Monday, June 15… MyHeritage has added a health component to their existing Ancestry DNA component.  At 40% off just $119.  This is a competitive price for this type of combined test.
The Genealogy Jamboree presented by the Southern California has live-streaming available through July 31st.  For just three more weeks there five fee-based DNA classes and twelve completely free classes on non-DNA topics.

2019 NwGC Workshops – August 14, 2019

A choice of three workshops to be held on Wednesday, August 14th, will be available ONLY to those who have registered and paid in full for the 2019 Full Conference prior to workshop registration which opens July 15, 2019, at 12:01 AM PDT.
The workshops will each be three hours long and limited to 30 participants per workshop.  Others will be put on a waiting list.  Workshops are $30 or $40 in addition to the conference registration which must be paid before registering for a Wed. workshop.

Note from Judith:  People will get up at midnight to register.  Last year the DNA class sold out in 9 minutes.  I will be commuting all four days if anyone wants to carpool.

Complete information follows to the end of this blog post: 
2019 NwGC Workshops – August 14, 2019
Greetings to all 2018-2019 registrants:
A choice of three workshops to be held on Wednesday, August 14th, will be available ONLY to those who have registered and paid in full for the 2019 Full Conference prior to workshop registration which opens July 15, 2019, at 12:01 AM PDT.
The workshops will each be three hours long and limited to 30 participants per workshop.  They are as follows:

CONNECTING YOUR MATCHES with AncestryDNA with Angie Bush
Course Fee $40; payable at registration through PayPal

The AncestryDNA interface has seen some exciting changes this year.  All of these innovations are designed to help those who have DNA tested connect their matches to their family trees.  Using AncestryDNA’s new tools to sort and group your matches will lead to new family history discoveries and breaking through more brick walls.  In this workshop we will discuss best practices for using the new matching interface, ThruLines™ and your family tree to make these new discoveries.
     Course Prerequisite:  Attach a family tree (preferably 5+ generations) to your AncestryDNA results BEFORE the event. To get the most out of the workshop a searchable tree (can be public or private) should be attached to the results. Instructions for attaching a tree can be found here:

Course Fee $30; payable at registration through PayPal
In this workshop the following questions will be answered:
Just what is this program called Scrivener that everyone keeps talking about?
How can I use it for my genealogy and family history projects?
Scrivener by Literature and Latte is a combination word processor and project management tool.  This session will teach you how to use Scrivener to plot, organize, and publish your writing.
Prerequisites for this workshop are:
     Bring your laptop and download at least the free trial version of Scrivener for Windows or Scrivener for Mac prior to the workshop.  The download links are available at:
     Note: Using the iOS version (iPad/iPhone) for this workshop is not recommended. Scrivener is not available for Android. Instructor will be demonstrating with Scrivener 3 for Mac and will provide instructions for Windows users to follow.
     Participants should also have a small project (approximately 10-20 pages) in mind and one digital image for the project stored on their computer to practice using the program. Participants are encouraged to review the free Scrivener tutorial beforehand, but it is not necessary to do any work in Scrivener prior to the workshop as we will start by setting up a new project.

Course Fee $30; payable at registration through PayPal

Family historians spend years gathering and compiling records, photographs, and family heirlooms to preserve the past and guide the future. This workshop includes a review of what can happen to our records, discuss ways to ensure that all this hard work isn't lost in any number of potential disasters, and get some hands-on practice with archival materials and techniques. Attendees will receive a "starter kit" of archival materials to take home.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Using ThruLines Part 1 by Sylvia

My purpose in using Thru Lines is to try to determine who is on my unknown father’s side of the tree and separate the known paternal ancestry and DNA matches from the unknown paternal ones if possible. Also, to continue building my mother’s side and verifying known or guessed at ancestors by checking the DNA matches given for a particular ancestor and by researching their trees. Then I correct my or their misinformation.

My Thru Lines would not start at first. I had to unlink what I thought was a linked tree and re-link after rebooting the computer. (Thank you, Cheryl, for your help!!!). Then it gave me only my unknown father and no other information at all. Then it disappeared again altogether???? I finally got my Thru Lines to work by removing the link, removing and reconstructing the family tree, then recreating and linking the reconstructed tree! If you ever lose your link, that might be what works. I only put my mother’s side of the tree up and almost immediately got heaps of connections to dna cousins and family trees! Whoo-hoo! I’m on a roll! So I decided to add a prospective paternal line to my linked tree, to see if any dna cousins come up attached to any names in that potential tree. This could get really interesting! I’m hoping it can help me determine which side of the family the cousin matches are on at least.

A week or more on, I have only links that are distant (5th – 8th) cousin trees and a couple of DNA matches for 3x great grandparents one branch of the tree. No other names or connections come up. On my mother’s side, however, where I have a first cousin and second cousin match and lists of 4th – 6th cousins, there are loads of links to known ancestors and I am having a great time verifying and adding to my mother’s side of the tree!
The way it seems to work is that you get the male/female head shot of each level of your ancestor lines – parents – grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Underneath it might only have their birth/death dates or it might have a “potential ancestor” link. Either way, when you click on the picture you can see where the ancestor is on your tree. If there is a dna match it will show up in the ancestry line that this ancestor belongs to, as will other member tree links, whether or not you share dna with them. If there is a dna link, you should click on the dna symbol and you’ll see both your trees all the way back to your “suggested” (always remember Ancestry uses your and other trees only) common ancestor. Ancestry is helpfully doing the work we all painstakingly did ourselves to find a common link! And best of all they are linking not only other trees but dna matches as well Yippee!!!

So to find more family or verify what you have, you should open up and research both the dna links and the member tree links because they can help you fill in the blanks or give you more information. I like to open up the tree of a dna match or member tree match and look at a particular ancestor profile. In their tree, they may have posted some additional information for that profile – a document you don’t have, a note such as, “They were married at St. Mary’s church” which you don’t have. So scour their trees for information you might be missing. A missing census for a particular decade, for example, can be a mine of information that verifies the ancestor’s scant profile in your own family tree!

Anyway, today – discouraged by the total lack of any information closer than a one-line distant cousin regarding my prospective/possible/suspect father line tree, I decided I’d try to trick Thru Lines! (Remember too, if you are on a similar search, that the further back you go, the more surnames you have to deal with and the more likely you will find common names on both sides of your tree!). In my case, the only ancestor line common to me and the matches I found on this side of the tree were surnames and locations that were on my mother’s side. I haven’t looked for a link between their ancestors and my mother’s ancestors yet, but expect to do so.

I decided to remove the potential paternal tree and replace it with my known father’s first name only and then add a third cousin’s ancestral tree. I have not found a single name in her tree that can be linked with ancestors on my mother’s side, and so I believe she is related to me on my father’s side. There are a number of 4th – 6th cousin matches to names in her tree, so I thought I would start with that generation of ancestors. From my father’s generation through his grandmother I used the placeholder “unknown” for last names. Then I began adding the names of my 3rd cousin tree. My hope is that Ancestry will find me some good dna and family tree links to the names of the great grandparents and beyond, and help me to find out which common ancestor my 3rd cousin and I share. Although it is a “hybrid” tree – with a mix of her and my ancestors…I am hoping Ancestry will do what it has done on my mother’s side to help me find a common ancestor I can trace forward to find my father’s name (or to verify the prospective ancestor I had found).

Good luck with your own searches and do make use of Thru Lines as it is a fantastic tool for all of the above reasons.

As to my own sleuthing, stay tuned – same Bat time, same Bat channel!!!
Sylvia Willis

DNA News: Second Try

Technical Difficulty:  Maybe you already received this but I didn't get my copy.  Please forgive if this is a duplicate. 

ThruLines at AncestryDNA   Warning:  Some of this requires prior knowledge.  Come to our meeting to ask questions.

In February AncestryDNA announced the ThruLines feature in beta.  This means they are still testing and they would like your input.  Many people responded with fixes and suggestions.  There was a big problem with adoptions and stepparents so some people got turned off right away.

A big change they made is that “What is in your tree takes priority”.  So if you see something wrong, try adding to or changing your tree and that may set your ThruLines straight.  You can also change your tree to explore new possibilities. 

Sylvia has written a separate guest post about her experiences with ThruLines that will appear today also. 

I have been telling people that one of the best new features in ThruLines is that you can see inside private trees. They have been having trouble finding the information.  Here’s how that works.   

If you have a ThruLines card that says Private rather than a name, click on it and you will see this:

Click on the Private box and you will see this:

You can’t see inside the private tree but you can do your own research on this new name or you can contact the person knowing that there are 9 attached records.  Try this out.  It’s amazing!!

Sylvia writes: There's a fascinating article in the Bellingham Herald about a very cold case in which CeCe Moore used dna to find a killer from 1967 in Seattle. She describes how she was able to use dna from the suspect's clothes that were kept, found two very distant cousins (less than 2%) who both shared dna with the suspect dna, traced their trees back to common ancestors then forward all the way to the 20th century. She used both common family names and ethnic estimates as clues. It gives me hope! I have smart matches with common names and locations, and with far more dna shared with me. If she can do it with so little, so can I with much more to go on!

At the Herald you can search on CeCe Moore and get five hits.  Also there are many articles nationwide about DNA and Law Enforcement. 

Claudia Breland is regular speaker at the Whatcom Genealogical Society so some of us subscribe to her short blog which arrives about once a month.  Her archived blogposts here: 

This month she mentions the GedMatch recent opt-in changes that we talked about at our meeting.  She has links to a few blogs and also published this statement from CeCe Moore:

I am not interested in debating GEDmatch's decision to go to opt-in and the reasons behind it. I will say that it is easy to sit on one's high horse and pass judgment, arguing semantics, very narrow interpretations, and privacy extremism, when it is not you and your family who are victimized. There are no real victims created by GEDmatch. As always, my focus is on the families who are searching for answers. "Whatever one thinks about this decision, it is inarguable that it is a setback for justice and victims and their families."

You can see discussion the Law Enforcement use of GedMatch has really heated up and divided our community.  The significance of this to those of us who use GedMatch is this:  If you want your DNA to be used by Law Enforcement to catch perpetrators of violent crimes, you need to go to GedMatch and opt-in.

It’s a topic I didn’t want to talk about it sure keeps coming back.

My position about DNA and Law Enforcement:  Cheryl and I both agree that the use of DNA by Law Enforcement serves an important public service to provide clues to violent offenders and unidentified victims.  Know that no one is convicted by the use of our DNA data; just identified as a possible suspect.  Our responsibility is to read the Terms of Service at the websites we use and to opt-out or remove our DNA data if necessary.  Currently when you log on to GedMatch you will be sent to the page to opt-in for Law Enforcement use.  Please consider this. 
Lastly, Sylvia sends this article about ethnicity estimates which reinforces the caveats we have discussed about ethnicities. 

Last spring, Marketplace host Charlsie Agro and her identical twin sister, Carly, bought DNA ancestry kits from five of the most popular companies in the industry. Find out why some of the results they received left a team of computational biologists at Yale University baffled.

The End.