Monday, January 31, 2011

DNA Results, Part 2

My mother's 23andMe results are now in and within a few hours of discovering her Relative Finder results, I had established a connection.  I found a 7th cousin, once removed through my Hudson line so it isn't a big deal discovery, although it does serve as some confirmation of my connection to our shared ancestors.  I was surprised to establish a match so quickly because in the week since my father's Relative Finder matches were released, I haven't gotten very far.  In fact the only match of his I did find, I discovered off of 23andMe.

As for my mother's mtDNA, she is K1a4a1.  I knew from the FamilyTreeDNA test I took in November that she would be in K but it is nice to discover our sub-clade.  I don't know much about K1a4a1 but I still believe my line was Irish and I haven't seen any information on K1a4a1 that disprove this.

Now that both sets of results are done, I plan on concentrating on 1) educating myself on genetic genealogy and my parents' haplogroups especially, 2) establishing connections with possible genetic matches that cross my path and 3) finding ways to use my raw DNA data to further my results and information independently from 23andMe and whatever future company I might to chose to test through.  I've already amended my list of questions for new cousins to include: "Have you or a shared relative of ours taken a genetic genealogy test?  If so, which company did you/they use?"  I'm also adding my FamilyTreeDNA kit number, member name and a little blurb about my having tested through 23andMe to my e-mail signature as I think having that information there could prove to be a great conversation starter as well as provide information for potential cousins to find me elsewhere.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SNGF - Day You Were Born

Courtesy of Genea-Musings:

"1) What day of the week were you born? Tell us how you found out.
2) What has happened in recorded history on your birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
3) What famous people have been born on your birth date? Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.
4) Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook."

1) I was born on a Monday, just after midnight.  I knew because (this is the story my mother told me) my grandmother was worried my mother would deliver on a Sunday or Tuesday, forcing my grandmother to miss her Bridge games those days.

2)  December 28th in recorded history (from Wikipedia):

1065: Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
1832: John C. Calhoun becomes the first VP to resign.
1836: Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico.
1846: Iowa is admitted as the 29th state.
1895: The Lumiere Bros. introduce cinema to the world.
1945: The US Congress officially recognizes the Pledge of Allegiance.
1958: "Greatest Game Ever Played" – Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York's Yankee Stadium.
2000: Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years.

Dec. 28 is also the 4th day of Christmas in Western Christianity and Feast Day of the Holy Innocents (aka Childermas) in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches.  It is also the 362 (363 during leap years) day of the year.

3) Fellow December 28th birthdays (again via Wikipedia):

1763: John Molson of Molson beer fame.
1856: Woodrow Wilson, 28th President.
1908: Lew Ayres, actor (Dr. Kildare among others)
1922: Stan Lee, comic book author (co-created Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man, the Hulk and many others).
1932: Nichelle Nichols (Uhura in Star Trek)
1934: Maggie Smith, actress
1954: Gayle King, Oprah's BFF; Denzel Washington, actor
1973: Seth Meyers, comedian (from SNL)
1978: John Legend, musician
1979: Noomi Rapace, the original Lisbeth Salander
1981: Elizabeth Carr, first test tube baby; Sienna Miller, actress
1990: David Archuleta, American Idol runner-up

Interestingly several famous ice hockey players also share my birthday: Terry Sawchuck, Ray Bourque, Rob Niedermayer and Harry Howell.
And last but not least: the day after I was born Prozac was released in the US. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DNA Results, Part 1

My father's 23andme results came in the other day and saying I was excited would be the understatement of the century.  The results confirmed a lot of my suspicious but also raised some new ones.  First off, his Y-DNA was in the haplogroup I was expecting it to be in, a sub-clade of R1b1b2, which also happens to be the predominant haplogroup for Allens/Allans (as well as most of Western Europe).  Since his Y-DNA is one of the most common, it came as a shock to learn that his mtDNA (maternal DNA) was one of the most rare, N1a.  His maternal grandparents were from Italy which appears to be outside the traditional N1a area (the Middle East) so some investigation is in order.

One of the first things I did when I got the results was to join and I've already learned quite a bit there.  Another thing I did was to do various Google searches to try and find any relatives.  "r1b1b2a1a2d*+allen," "r1b1b2+allen," "r1b1b2a1a2d*+scotland" were some of the searches I did for my paternal line and I actually managed to find an Allan in the same R1b1b2a1a2d* haplogroup.  I left him a message and we're looking to see how we might connect.  Some searches I did with N1a included "n1a+mtdna+foggia," and "n1a+mtdna+italy," which didn't get me too many results (like I said, it seems to be a rare haplogroup).  Speaking of matches, I was surprised to find that I have over 250 Relative Finder results at 23andme.  I haven't reached out to any of them yet (though some have contacted me) because I'm afraid of the rejection which seems to be pretty common when it comes to asking to share genomes there.  One thing that is interesting is that many of the matches I've been contacted by or have public profiles I've viewed have the surname Baker listed.  As far as I know, I don't have any Bakers in my family tree but since so many of my matches do, I guess I need to start looking into the possibility.

Some sites I've come across that have been helpful include:  Google Scholar (for researching specific SNPs especially), PhyloTree (specific to mtDNA), and the aforementioned  Obviously, the well known staples of the Genetic Genealogist and ISOGG have been helpful to me as well and I'd be remiss not to mention them.  If any one out there has any experience/knowledge of genetic genealogy and can recommend some more websites or pieces of literature (keep in mind that I'm a total newbie so nothing too technical please), I'd love it!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SNGF - Gertrude Pugh

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, courtesy of Genea-Musings was too much fun to pass up!  So here goes:

"1. Go to The Random Name Generator and click the red “Generate Name” button at the top of the screen
2. Go to and enter your generated name in the search box on the main search page. [Randy's add: If you don't have, go to and do it there - it's free.]
3. From the results, your research target will be the first census result for your generated name.
4. Using whatever online resources are at your disposal, see what else you can discover about your random person and write about it. It can be a formal report complete with footnotes, or just a “research story” about what you tried, problems you overcame, or success you had. Maybe you want to create a research plan for practice?
5. Post about it on your blog or wherever you wish, and link here to tell Chris about it. Tell Randy about it too as a comment here or a comment on Facebook or Twitter."

The name I drew was 'Gertrude Pugh' and the first hit I found was for a widow of this name in Atlanta in the 1920 Census.  Gertrude Pugh (b. circa 1880, New York; widowed) was living with her daughter Edna Pugh (b. circa 1894, New Orleans; single) and daughter Frances Pugh Kraft (b. circa 1897, New Orleans; married) and Frances' husband Harry Kraft (b. circa 1886, Maryland; married) and granddaughter, Frances Kraft (b. circa 1920, Georgia; single).  They were living at 810 West Peachtree Street.  I then began to track backwards with Gertrude to the 1910 Census.  She was still living in Atlanta on Peachtree Street but for some reason only Gertrude and Edna were enumerated.  Gertrude is listed as being born in New York around 1866 and Edna is listed as being born in Louisiana around 1896.  In 1900 Gertrude is enumerated as 'Gerdrue' and she and her family are still in Atlanta, living at 266 Jackson Street.  Gertrude's husband is still alive at this time, Edgar Pugh is listed as being born in January of 1861 in Virginia.  Gertude is listed as being born in November of 1867 in New York.  Their marriage year is listed as 1885.  Along with Edna and Frances is another daughter, Marjorie G. born in March of 1886 in Louisiana.  Edna is listed as being born in October of 1888 and Frances in September of 1894, both in Louisiana.
Since all three of Gertrude's children were born in Louisiana, I decided to look for her and her husband there in the hopes of finding her maiden name.  Sure enough, in 'Orleans' on 18 June 1885, E. Gertrude Gregory married a Edgar R. Pugh (after a little more digging which I'll go into later I was sure this was "my" Gertrude).
I had no luck finding her in 1880 in Louisiana but I do believe I've found her for that census year.  An E. Gertrude Gregory, born circa 1860 in New York was living in Huntington, Huntington, Indiana.  She was living with her father, James G. Gregory (b. circa 1837 in Connecticut), mother, Emma B. Gregory (b. circa 1837 in New York) and brothers, Francis W. (b. circa 1861, New York) and Charles H. (b. circa 1863, New York).  One of the reasons I believe this is the Gertrude I'm looking for is because the birthplaces of the parents are the same as the birthplaces Gertrude Pugh lists in later census records.
I also believe I've found Gertrude in the 1870 census.  She is enumerated as 'Emma G. Gregory', born circa 1860 in New York and is living with her brothers, Francis W. and Charles H. as well as their parents, James G. and Emma B. in Brooklyn.  From here the trail goes kind of cold and I turned my focus back to Gertrude Pugh in Atlanta after 1900.
In 1930, I found her living with her daughter, Edna at 24 Westminster Drive, Atlanta.  For some reason she is enumerated as Gertrude G. Bem and is listed as being born in New York around 1865.  The next record for Gertrude is for her death on 25 April 1932 in Fulton Co., Georgia.  I had hoped to find an obituary for Gertrude but had no luck.
I was, however, able to find quite a bit on her husband and children.  In summation, Edgar Reeves/Rieves Pugh was apparently born in Richmond, Virginia and died on 28 June 1903 in Atlanta.  Daughter Marjorie Gregory Pugh married Douglas Guinness Gwynne Levick in 1907 and moved to New Jersey.  Daughter Edna Pugh married Dr. Ernest Stuart Colvin in 1920.  Daughter Frances Pugh married Dr. Harry Nelson Kraft in 1918.
Sources and further information available upon request.  Thanks for a ton of genealogy fun, Randy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January To-Dos

I shelved this because with the holidays approaching I wasn't getting any genealogy work done.  Hopefully, now that things have settled a bit I can get back to it -

Writing and this blog:
Try and write at least six posts this month (minimum).  Do more work on the Berger book and begin work on the Shinn journal project I've had percolating in my mind for a long time now.  Also, see 2011 goal below.

Try and actually do some this month!  Also, see 2011 goal below.

File and purge the leftover piles from last year.  Go through flash drives and clean off ones that have information that isn't worth keeping then repurpose (for use when going to the FHC or research trips).

I've been inspired by We Tree and Family Curator and their goals.  So, here are mine for 2011:
  • Research Goal: Find my great-grandmother's parents.  I know my great-grandmother's last name (or at the very least have an idea as to what it is) and where in Italy she was NOT from so that is something, I guess.  
  • Writing Goal:  I have many but the main one is to create a family record (like the ones found in Bibles).  I'd like to have both a hard copy version and digital version.  I'm not a scrapbooker (I have neither the patience nor creativity for it) so this won't be anything fancy, but I do want to get into the habit or recording events as they happen.  Since this is something I hope to keep at for many years, the goal for this year is just to get into the rhythm of recording and organizing.  Hopefully, creating these good habits will keep me invested in the project for years to come.  I can't claim this idea as my own since the inspiration for this project came from the latest issue of Shades of the Departed Magazine (see The Future of Memories article on page 22).
  • Organizational Goal:  PURGE!  Purge!  Purge!  I have a box, two drawers and a paper bag full of notes and scribbles and rudimentary family trees and who knows what else.  I haven't touched any of it in years so I'm both dreading and excited to see what might be lurking in the recesses of that mess.  My ultimate goal is to cut my paper files in half and only keep what I look at the most.
Considering January is almost half over, I better get a move on it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Other mtDNA Carriers

I'm in the midst of the worst part of DNA testing: the waiting.  I expect my results to come in February so in the meantime, I have to amuse myself by analyzing my family tree to see which other carriers there are/were in each generation.  Starting with my mtDNA, my furthest back definite ancestor is Priscilla Mason (whose mother is generally considered to be Nancy Moore but I'd still like some more sources to support it), born in 1822 in Lawrence Co., Indiana.  The first number in parenthesis denotes the total number of people with that mtDNA in that generation, the second number denotes the number of females who carry that mtDNA in that generation.

Priscilla's descendants (aka people who share my mtDNA):
  • Generation 1.  She married Andrew Webb and had ten children, five of which were female: Nancy Ann, Sarah Elizabeth, Martha Maranda ("Matt"), Mary Anna. (10, 5)
  • Generation 2.  Of these, only Nancy Ann and Mary Anna are known to have had children. Nancy married Elijah Wiley and had three children; Mary Anna married George Washington Wellons and had eight children.  (11, 6)
  • Generation 3.  Nancy only had one daughter, Cora Wiley and I don't know if she ever had children or not.  Mary Anna's daughters Hermosa Florita ("Flo") and Fleeda Leone did not have children.  Mary Anna's daughter Sarah Elizabeth ("Sadie") married Charles Andrew Benson and had two children.  Mary Anna's daughter Edna Mae married William B. Thomas and had four children.  Mary Anna's daughter Georgiana married Gideon Gottlieb Berger and had three children.  (9, 5)
  • Generation 4.  Sadie's daughter Elizabeth ("Sister") married William Lax and had three children.  Edna's three daughters (who are still living) had collectively eight children.  Georgiana's daughter (my grandmother) had two children.  (13, 7)
  • Generation 5.  I met "Sister's" daughter and know she has children and grandchildren but have no idea how many or if she had any daughters, likewise with Edna's five granddaughters.  I am the only one of Georgiana's descendants who carries her mtDNA in generation 6.
As far as I know, I am the only carrier of Priscilla's mtDNA to be tested.  I am in haplogroup K and am awaiting the results of the 23andme test my mother took which will refine and expand upon my previous results (I only did the HVR1 test).

I plan on doing this same sort of thing for my Y-DNA (or more correctly, my father's Y-DNA).  But, there are so many mysteries on that side that I fear I'll be trying to figure it all out for awhile.