Saturday, October 20, 2018

DNA Work Group Coming

Announcing…DNA work group. 

Cheryl and I will be trying a limited number of DNA work meetings separate from the monthly Genie meetings.  

We’re thinking about a case study format where someone tells us what they have tried and the group discusses it and works on it.  It’s our first time so we don’t know exactly what it will be like but we are not planning a talk.  We will dive right in.  

Our first meeting will be for people who are already working on their matches.  It is Friday, November 9 in the Ferndale Library small conference room.  Arrival time is 1:00 and we have the room until 3:30.

Space is limited so please reply to ferndalegenies at gmail dot com.  In a few sentences tell us what you are working on.  What have you tried?  Include your phone number.

We are gauging interest so even if you can’t come that day or if you are starting at the very beginning, we would love to hear from you. 

It’s a new adventure for us.  We are ready to dig deeper and hope you will be going with us.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Riveting Conversation at the Genies Meeting

What a great time we had at our monthly Genies meeting last Monday!   Lately we have been having smaller groups and more in-depth conversations.  Just what I envisioned.  A gathering where friends talk about genealogy. 

Our time started with a text from Rick Bell saying “Sorry I will not be able to be there and set up tables and chairs.”  Always a joker, right?  They have been in NC for 30 days and 2 hurricanes.  As for golf…last weekend he met his Chicago guys in French Lick, Indiana and played 5 rounds in 4 days.  I’d say he’s surviving nicely.  We miss you, Rick.

Sylvia has been to the Seattle Public Library and has their Genealogy Resources flyer.  They have online access plus onsite collections of materials from all states and Canadian provinces and general genealogy resources too.  Check it out here:

Also they have Genealogy Appointment Hours from 3-5 pm Tuesday through Friday.  Sylvia said it would be an easy all-day field trip to take the Bolt Bus down and come back in the evening.  Interested?  Let us know

Sylvia is an adoptee from the British Isles.  Her biggest thrill right now is a new DNA cousin match that confirms her mother’s side and will help her separate all her mom’s DNA matches on Ancestry so she can find matches to her dad.  We all have a wonderful feeling when we confirm who we come from.  Like the way I felt when I matched my mom’s brother and my dad’s brother.  I can’t say how important it is to test the oldest generation of your family.  Keep an eye out for holiday DNA sales coming soon.

On the flip side, a member of our group is having the opposite experience with dad’s dad.  There are strong signals that the first-born child had a different father.  Our conversation led to handling of sensitive information, marriage records, DNA and even Y-DNA.  This one makes us eager to hear what happens next.  Elizabeth was reminded of Bill Griffeth’s book The Stranger in My Genes (at the library).

Cheryl is totally devoted to her new role as a Search Angel.  After hours of research she identified the grandparents of her client/subject/ focus person (what do we call them?) but she could go no further due to lack of obituaries or any official documents.  Is she ready to move on to her next case?  I’m sure she will report again next month.  As an aside, Scott Fisher of Extreme Genes podcast had an interview with McKell Keeney, a woman who trains Search Angels, in this week’s broadcast #255.

Several people went to the Whatcom Genealogical Society meeting last week and reported that the speaker on German genealogy was well-received and will probably be asked to return.  I hope we are gaining some German experts in Whatcom because I will need to research in that area in the future.  Next month’s WGS speakers are:

November 12, 2018 - Elizabeth Joffrion from WWU Center for Pacific Northwest Studies and Jannette Gomes from the Washington State Archives will give a presentation on what is available for genealogists at their facilities.

We are eagerly awaiting news from LivingDNA.  This newer UK DNA testing company is promising matches “this fall”.  Even if it doesn’t come in this soon, it could be amazing.  They are offering to provide your ancestors with just your DNA, gender and birth date. No tree provided by you!  Amazing!  How can they do that?  They must be building a universal tree.  David and I tested there and will be sharing our results as soon they show up. 

Elizabeth is eager to find more information from DNA matches.  She has taken up Peggy’s habit of checking her new Ancestry DNA matches frequently.  Maybe not every day like Peggy was.  We miss you, Peggy.  Note: the new matches are the ones with a blue dot on the left of the Match List.

Personally, David and I had our own field trip to the CroatiaFest at Seattle Center.  In addition to singing and dancing, there was a visit from the Croatian Ambassador to the US, help with legal, real estate, and consular matters, wine tasting, spit cooking, and most important…a nationally-known genealogist Robert Jurin.  Robert and his wife have a Facebook group and lead tours to Croatia.  I participate in his FB group which is a good place to post Croatian questions.  I mention this so you will not overlook online and local ethnic groups that may be helpful to your research.  Also Facebook has a wealth of information for genealogists.  You can search for your surname or location plus the word genealogy.  You can get help with DNA or certain software or websites.  When I am frustrated, this is one place I turn.

We touched on a number of other topics:  breaking news of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage, how slavery has touched some us, Census tips, and more. 

Until next time, mark your calendars for the next Genies Meeting on November 19.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Genies Meeting Monday and Education Galore

October is Family History Month and a popular time for genealogy seminars and workshops. 

Ferndale Genies next meetings are this Monday, October 15 and November 19.  We’ll be asking how the Genies can help you with your family search. And my other favorite topic…Education.  Bring questions or topics that would be useful for you.  As usual, 1:00 at the Ferndale Library.

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society has two Saturday sessions remaining in their Intermediate Genealogy Workshop.  I would call to see if there are openings: 360-770-0762.
Oct 13    Exploring Online Family Tree Sites
Oct 20    What to Do with the Data You’ve Found and Recordkeeping

Sessions are $15 each, at 10 AM to Noon at the Burlington Public Library, 820 E Washington Ave.
Don’t let the word “Intermediate” scare you.

On Monday, November 12, 2018 the Whatcom Genealogical Society welcomes Elizabeth Joffrion from WWU Center for Pacific Northwest Studies and Jannette Gomes from the Washington State Archives for a presentation on what is available for genealogists at their facilities.  Meeting is at 2:00 at the Elks at 710 Samish Way.  Everyone welcome.

A few months ago I joined the newly-formed Virtual Genealogy Association.  From their members Facebook page I have received notices of two free courses appropriate for beginners thru intermediate.  I haven’t seen this type of free multi-session classes before.  

The first, from VGA member Tracy Kennedy, is the North Carolina Government & Heritage Library offering, "RootsMOOC: Intro to Genealogy and Family History Research". This 10-week class starts October 22, 2018, and is open to all - there is no experience necessary, no cost to participate, and no required textbook.  What more could we ask?  The course schedule is as follows: 

Orientation Module - Begins October 22 
Module 1: Getting Started - Begins October 29 
Module 2: US Census - Begins November 5 
Module 3: State & Local Resources - Begins November 12 
Module 4: Online Sources & Strategies - Begins November 19 

Materials and discussion boards will be available in Canvas through December 31, 2018. 

To join, visit

Second, from VGA member Sue Draper, is the University of Strathclyde-Glasgow online course, "Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree." This free course begins on 05 November 2018 and runs for 6 weeks. It will cover (among many other things): 
- differences between primary, derived primary and secondary sources. 
- the importance of knowing who made a document and why and how they were created. 
- lateral ways to approach research including the FAN/cluster technique and mind mapping. 
- primary source databases including searching techniques 
- an introduction to main source types including civil, church, census and military records 
- review of major databases 
- the principles of the Genealogical Proof Standard 
- the use of DNA testing in genealogical research 

For more information or to register, visit

This course is freemium. This is a new word coined to mean free with a paid premium upgrade available.  For a course it may mean access to handouts.  For a website it may mean some free content with access to exclusive content behind a membership wall.  Many websites have enough free material that a paid membership is not necessary.  Be sure what you are buying.  Ask at the Genies.

Also we have this reminder that Ancestry has free data bases.  “We have hundreds of free databases that you can access without a subscription, and offer the option to save information to your tree online through your internet browser.  We've included a link to these databases below.“

Knowing specifically what you are working on drives the Genies’ meetings and blogposts.  Come talk with us next Monday!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Participants and Helpers Needed for Getting Started Class this coming Monday

That doesn’t give us much time but we can do it.  Contact me right away at ferndalegenies at gmail dot com.

A Getting Started class is good for beginners and people wanting a refresher or a kickstart.  Helpers are also welcome. 

I’m looking for one or two people who can come to the Ferndale Library on this coming Monday, Oct 8 from 1-3:30.  I will be covering some basic ideas about genealogy as a hobby.  I have been known to talk about genealogy up to an hour and then turn it over to you to start using the tools. 

I will mention DNA but that is NOT the focus of this class.

Bring whatever family info you have.  Bring a computing device or borrow a library laptop.  Bring your passwords (esp. email and any genealogy sites).

One thing you can do ahead of time is sign up for a free account at

Directions:  The address is 2125 Main Street.  Use the Main Street exit off I-5 (exit 262).  Drive through downtown Ferndale.  On the left after 4th street are the city hall, the old pizza place, then the Library.  You turn into the parking lot before the building.  When you walk up the entrance ramp, go through 2 sets of double doors.  We are in the Conference room on the right.