Genealogy

Fun With Photos

Yes, I know just yesterday I said I was done with genealogy, I did say I would continue to post family stories. But, then one of the sites I use often added a new feature. Colorize any black and white photo. Normally I am not a fan of colorizing black and white photography or films. But I had to go play around with it just the same.

So I took some old photos from both my family and Wifey’s family and ran them through the process. Some worked better than others, not surprised there.

I will display them with the original on the left, and the “new colorized” version on the right. I’ll start with Wifey’s family, since I was taught ladies go first.

Now, for my family.

And for the last photo I give you my father doing his Clark Gable impersonation. The colors really look good in this one!

As I said, generally I am not a fan of colorizing black and whites, but this last one really came out nice.

These were done with the free tool at My Heritage (Click here). I don’t know if you need an account with My Heritage to use the tool, but it’s free to create an account.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Giving It Up (And It's Not Even Lent)

I’ve written about my trials, tribulations, and even the breakthroughs I’ve experienced with my family search and genealogy. But I’ve come to the realization that I’m not getting anywhere and haven’t for quite some time.

I am still stuck in Pennsylvania in the 1800’s. I have a name for my 2nd great grandfather, James Campbell and his wife, Ann McCauley. But that’s it. I have not been able to find any documentation of this couple other than the census records back to 1850. I have had all the historical societies and libraries that offer genealogical help in every county I can place them in go through all their records. Not a single birth record or even an announcement for either, much less any marriage notices can be found.

I’ve had my Y-DNA tested. As of this writing I have one male match. He has helped but, I’m not sure I can trust his findings. He claims to have been to Pennsylvania and has received help from the same sources that tell me nothing can be found. And despite several requests, he has not provided me with any copies of the information he got from those sources.

I have also had my autosomal DNA (atDNA) tested so that I could hopefully find other family members. As a reminder, Y-DNA is passed only from fathers to sons, while atDNA is passed from both parents to all their offspring. So, a female descendant of this Campbell line will have a portion of the male Campbell line.

Did that help? Not really. While I can find a few women that match and claim to have Campbell heritage, again, there is no documentation. Having found out the hard way to not trust data without sources I cannot use any of the information these folks have. They’re family trees either go through I male line that I have been able to disprove, or they go all the way back to King Arthur. I seriously doubt that my line goes back to a legend. My Y-DNA doesn’t match up any of the main lines of the Campbell’s at all! Chances are my “original Campbell” was nothing more than a farmer on an estate of a Campbell and took that name for his own. Although, I’m hoping that at least of my ancestors married a Campbell lass and then took the name. But I’m not holding my breath.

So, all that to say I’ve spent too much time, energy, and especially my money on this. Since no one in my family wishes to carry this endeavor on, and I can’t afford to hire a genealogist, I’m (again) calling it quits. I will keep my accounts at My Heritage and Ancestry, but only the free versions when my current subscriptions expire. That way someone my just find something that matches and maybe, just maybe that elusive “immigrant ancestor” will be found. With documentation, please. With any luck it will happen before my subscriptions run out late this year. Again, not holding my breath. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I think my male Campbell cousins are afraid of doing a DNA test. They’re worried they’ll be tied back to a cattle raid in the 16th century.

I will continue to post family history. I hope others outside of my immediate family enjoy them. Not that it matters, I’m still going to post what I want. It’s my blog and I can post what I want. 🙂

Rick may never give up, but I am…

Yes, you’ve been RickRolled!

Peace,
B

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Another Anniversary

Last Thursday we celebrated not only Wifey and mine’s 38th wedding anniversary, we also celebrated Samuel & Eleanor Campbell’s (my great grand parents) 137th anniversary. Today we celebrate Samuel & Eleanor’s son.

Herbert J. Campbell & Josephine Melinda Bodle were married 20 January 1909, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This is the grand father I was happy not to follow in his footsteps, and “Nanny”, my grandmother who raised me as much as my parents did. Today marks 111 years.

Wedding register. The happy couple are listed on line 15.
Herbert’s WW1 draft registration dated 12 September 1918. It shows Josie as his wife and has the same address as his death certificate the next February.

Sadly, I have no pictures of them together.

Peace,
B

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How Did I Miss This?

I have been doing my family genealogy on and off since 1999 or so. That’s about 20 years of research. And just last week I realized that one set of my paternal great grandparents were married on the same date as Wifey and I were! Just many, many, years apart. Ninety nine years apart to be exact.

Church record showing Samuel W. Campbell and Ada E. Taylor marriage.
A blow up of the happy couple’s registration with the date.

I have no idea when I found that church record. It may have been tucked away in my software for years. I have asked the local genealogy society for help in determining the church, and if it’s still standing. My guess it would have been the Methodist church, as Samuel’s obituary mentions he was a member there.

I should also note that Miss Taylor’s legal name is most likely Eleanor Adaline. I have her in census records as Ada E. several times as well as Elner A. But the gravestone shows Eleanor.

In my defense, I originally had a different date for this marriage.

CENTRE DEMOCRAT – Thursday, January 25, 1883

Milesburg Items:

    ……  The day following (Jan. 17, 1883), Mr. Samuel Campbell and Miss Ada Taylor, both of this place were made one by Rev. Woodcock ……

This newspaper article seems to say the marriage took place on 17 January. But seeing as to how it wasn’t published until the 25th, I’m going with the church record. Besides, I think the church would have a better record of what when on in the church than some entry level copy editor that’s just reading a news ticker, or whatever served as a news ticker in 1883. Probably some even lower wage worker making a hand written list.

The newspaper, Centre Democrat, was published out of Bellefonte, PA. The wedding, as indeed most of what I’m finding on all my Campbell’s, is in the Milesburg, PA area. Both are in Center county, but back then Milesburg was a small area split into several townships. Bellefonte is the county seat.

I’m thinking that way back when, I entered the 17 January date first. Then when I found the better church record, I just changed the date not seeing the fact that it was my wedding anniversary as well. Could have been one of those 0400 insomnia mornings…

The weird thing to me is that this is the line I’m most actively researching. My family name – Campbell. Yet somehow this just slipped by, unnoticed.

Who else is working on family history? Let me know how it’s going!

Peace,
B

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Continuing That Thought

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post on ethnicity estimates using DNA. (YAWN!)

To finish up this topic (for now) let’s look at the ethnicity estimates of two of my siblings against mine.

From left to right we have my eldest sister, my brother, and my estimates. They are arranged by age, eldest to youngest.

It’s interesting to see the differences. Take the left hand image, my eldest sister. Less of England, Wales & NE Europe (hereby “British” – easier to type), by 10 points with me, but only one point with our brother. Both my siblings show more Africa than I do, as well as more Germanic Europe. My brother shows none of the European Jewish that my sister and I have. My sister’s estimate also shows Pennsylvania Settlers, that neither of us boys show. And that is very interesting; our paternal lines (both grandfather and grandmother) are well established in Pennsylvania.

How can that be? Well, “luck of the draw” is as good an explanation as any. All the results shown are from an Ancestry DNA tests, so they are autosomal (atDNA) tests. If you read yesterday’s post (and didn’t fall asleep), you will remember that atDNA tests looks at the first 22 pairs of chromosomes. This type of DNA is made up of about a 50/50 mix of the genes passed down from both parents.

But how much of your parents genes get handed down to each child? That’s where the “luck of the draw” comes in. Pick one of your parents, doesn’t matter which. They have their own 22 chromosomes, made of a 50/50 combo of their parents , which is made of a 50/50 combo of those parents.

It’s rather clear that you’re not getting all the genes from either parent. They can’t give you 100% of their genetic makeup and have it fit into 50% of your DNA. So which parts do you actually get from each parent? It’s totally random. The genes I inherited from my parents are not going to be the same as any of my siblings have inherited. Hence, different estimates. My sister received more the Africa DNA than I did, while I received more of the “British” genes. Guess that’s why I like IPAs?

You also have to consider that;

Almost all – 99.9% – of the DNA of any two people on earth is exactly the same. Accordingly, genetic genealogy tests are only interested in the 0.01% of DNA that can vary from one person to the next.

Genetic Genealogy in Practice, Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne.

An interesting site I didn’t mention in the last post, GEDMatch, allows you to upload the raw data from most of the popular testing sites for comparison with others. They also have ancient samples you can compare your DNA against. It helps if you’re interested in how much Neanderthal DNA you’re carrying around (current thought is everybody has 1% – 2%). You can also compare yourself to several archeological finds such as “Cheddar Man“. However, those examples are all mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA). mtDNA is the most common DNA that can be extracted from ancient finds. But is only passed down by the female line. So you can only know if your mother was related. But if she is related then you will be too.

Genealogy tidbit:
If your parents don’t have any children, there is a very high probability you won’t either.

And yes, we are full siblings. This image (with their names removed for privacy) shows the results. I didn’t ask the sister in the middle for her estimate, not that I don’t want it, I already had two good examples to use. And that image is hard enough to see!

Full siblings usually have around 2500 cM shared. We are well above that threshold.

I have used my beautiful and wonderful siblings data with their permissions. Of course, I did pay for all the tests, but the data is theirs, not mine. I thank them very much for allowing me to use it.

So, how many questions has this opened up? Has it intrigued you enough to do your own DNA test? If so, please research all the options including data privacy. Law enforcement is increasingly asking for DNA matches from all the companies out there. Where each company is headquartered greatly effects how much they share and the requirements of local and national law enforcement requests.

Peace,
B

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Where I Come From

… Is really up in the air! Genealogically speaking, I’m a mutt (and chances are you are too!)

One of the biggest reasons people, lots of people, do any DNA tests is to see where their family came from. Unlike myself, they really don’t care to find some long lost family member, or try to prove they’re related to some royal family, now long forgotten (as in the family tree I found that links my Campbell line back to King Arthur!!).

But just how accurate are those ethnicity results? Well even according to the companies providing them, not really all that accurate. Well, that’s not an accurate statement either. It’s not that the estimates aren’t accurate, it’s that one, they are exactly what they say – estimates – and two the results can change. Your DNA doesn’t change, but as more people test, your estimate can change greatly. Here are my results from Ancestry.

This is dated July of 2018.
This is dated November of 2019.

The first thing that jumps out is the change in the UK results. I can document my family back to Scotland, so why did the numbers change? One reason is that more folks from the south end of the island (England & Wales) along with more people from the continent have tested. Thus skewing the results that way since there are more matches. Also, Ancestry has broken up the results to be a bit more specific. So the high number in 2018 for Ireland/Scotland/Wales will be diluted as those results are moved to a different locality, and the Scandinavian numbers have been combined with Northwestern Europe.

What about estimates from different companies? Well fear not faithful reader, I have tested at more than one place. My first test, way back in 2008, was strictly on the “Y-DNA” (male) line. As I am one of those guys looking from those long lost ancestors (but not mythical kings).

I should stop real quick and give a very brief overview of the 3 main DNA tests.

  • Y-DNA (yDNA) – This is a male only test. It follows the male sex chromosome from father to father. Remember your high school biology, males have both Y and X chromosomes, and females two X chromosomes.
  • Autosomal DNA (atDNA) – Everyone can do this test. This test looks at the first 22 pairs of chromosomes. These are passed down from both biological parents to the child, regardless of gender. This is test that Ancestry and My Heritage offer, at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) they call it the “Family Finder” test. 23andMe also now offers this type of test, but remember that 23andMe started out doing DNA for health screening, so their genealogy offerings are still being developed.
  • Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – Everyone can do this test as well, and it is highly recommended if your goal is to find your mother’s line. mtDNA is passed on to all children, regardless of gender, by the mother only. So this test will follow your mother, to her mother, to her mother and so on.

So, let’s look at the estimates of my atDNA from two other companies, FTDNA and My Heritage.

FTDNA, July of 2018

Well, that’s certainly more detailed, yet still has larger groups (i.e. “British Isles”) than the latest estimate from Ancestry.

My Heritage

I have to disclose that the My Heritage results are from the same data file as FTDNA. I did not test with MH, just uploaded my raw data from FTDNA. And this shows the difference in the databases that each company has.

FTDNA is an American company, and MH is located in Israel. This is why I have higher percentages of Ashkenazi Jewish, African, and Middle Eastern that doesn’t show up elsewhere.

I readily admit that I am not an expert on DNA (nor anything else for that matter). I try and read about the process and how best to interpret the raw data. But, like most folks, my eyes glaze over and I’m reduced to a puddle of goo after about two chapters. Even with my years of medical training, I get confused with all the terms and diagrams. So, let me give you some resources for both testing and education.

Testing:

  • Ancestry – has the biggest database if you also want to do genealogy, also now has health tests.
  • Family Tree DNA – offers the most separate tests (including several yDNA tests).
  • My Heritage – best for European genealogy – also now has health tests.
  • 23 and Me – best for health tests – just starting to offer genealogy.
  • LivingDNA – one the original DNA testers.
  • Dante Labs – offers Whole Gene Sequencing.

Education:

  • FaceBook – as much as I hate to use FB as a source for anything (other than frustration), there are many DNA and genealogy groups that can help.
  • DNAeXplained – A great blog with so much data my eyes started to glaze over while typing this!
  • Roots Tech – while primarily a genealogy site, they have lots of DNA help as well.
  • Cyndi’s List – Cyndi’s list has been around from decades! She has lists for anything family history related. The link goes to the DNA page, but have a look around, you’ll find something to help your family search.

Obviously, this is not a very comprehensive list. I find new websites and books almost every day. Remember, “Google is your friend”. OK, not really, Google keeps way too much data on everyone, but it is helpful. If you’re a book person, Amazon is very helpful.

As much as I would like to think that I maybe answered a question or two, I know that all this did was give you more questions. And that is the way of genealogy. You find one “answer” only to realize that it creates more questions! Feel free to ask your questions in a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer or at least point you to a good resource.

I will leave you with this tidbit; almost all of the DNA testing companies are running “Thanksgiving/Black Friday” sales now. It’s a good time to buy that test if you’re interested. I can’t give a blanket recommendation as to which company to test with, that will depend on what your goal is. Ask me!

Peace,
B

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What’s In A Name?

Now that I’m “retired” I have time to get back into my genealogy. My loyal readers (I do have loyal readers, right?) know the problems I’ve encountered researching my Campbell line. I have spent untold dollars on DNA tests for all three aspects for using DNA with genealogy (as in not for medical reasons). While I have found many cousins on my mother’s side, and on my paternal grandmother’s side, not many Campbell’s. My joke is that my male Campbell cousins won’t do a DNA test for fear of being tied to a cattle raid in the 1500’s! Not true of course, but I find it funny.

So let’s take a look at the typical naming conventions used in Scotland over time.

According to “The Scottish Onomastic Child-naming Pattern,” by John Barrett Robb, another naming system called the “ancestral pattern,” generally went as follows:

The first son was named for his father’s father.

The second son was named for his mother’s father.

The third son was named for his father’s father’s father.

The fourth son was named for his mother’s mother’s father.

The fifth son was named for his father’s mother’s father.

The sixth son was named for his mother’s father’s father.

The seventh through tenth sons were named for their father’s four great-grandfathers.

The eleventh through fourteenth sons were named for their mother’s four great-grandfathers.

The first daughter was named for her mother’s mother.

The second daughter was named for her father’s mother.

The third daughter was named for her mother’s father’s mother.

The fourth daughter was named for her father’s father’s mother.

The fifth daughter was named for her mother’s mother’s mother.

The sixth daughter was named for her father’s mother’s mother.

The seventh through tenth daughters were named for their mother’s four great-grandmothers.

The eleventh through fourteenth daughters were named for their father’s four great-grandmothers.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Names_Personal

First, we’ll generally ignore the “eleventh though fourteenth” parts. Not only is that way too many children, I don’t have any families on the Campbell side with more than 9 offspring. Still, 12 kids running around the house? No thanks! Of course that does mean more farm hands are available.

A simpler version is like this.

The Scottish, for the most part, had a naming pattern which can be seen in many families. The pattern generally went as follows:

The first son was named after the father’s father.

The second son after the mother’s father.

The third son after the father.

The first daughter after the mother’s mother.

The second daughter after the father’s mother.

The third daughter after the mother.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Names_Personal

My one and only male Campbell DNA match is with my my 3rd great grandfather’s generation, James Richard Campbell Jr. My cousin’s line stems from James Jr’s. brother Richard Campbell. I was very lucky finding my cousin as he had paperwork from the area of Pennsylvania that our family lived in the 1790’s or so. With paperwork to back up the DNA match I knew that I had a very reliable match.

But the names I have are not following the pattern I mentioned earlier. Since I had a Junior, it is reasonable to assume that his father would be a Senior. Good to go there?

Let’s follow the naming pattern starting with my grandfather, Herbert. As the first male child, he should have been named for his paternal grandfather. But he wasn’t. I can find no other Herbert’s in earlier generations.

Next we have Herbert’s father (my great grandfather), Samuel. Following tradition, my father should have been named Samuel. He wasn’t (Donald). And Samuel, being the third male child should have been named for his father’s father’s father (his great grandfather). Nope, he was James Sr. Again, the James Sr. is somewhat speculative. I can only assume that I have the “Senior” correct since, I know that his son was a “Junior”.

The pattern isn’t holding here. Is it due to becoming “Americanized” and the traditions have faded or am I missing children of my earliest ancestors that have come to America? James Jr. is actually the fifth son born to James Sr. That would mean he would have been named for his father’s mother’s father. And that information I do not possess.

James Sr. is where I am currently brick walled. I have a lead for his parents, John Campbell, Jr., and Jean Ralston. Here we go with the Junior again! I have this John Jr. born in Scotland and dying in Pennsylvania. If the naming convention holds true that would make him the third son of a John Sr. Alas, according to what I have found he is the eldest son. I will readily admit that the two Johns are best guesses. Even James Sr. is unverified.

To further ignore the naming, my eldest sister should have been named Dora (mother’s mother), my brother Herbert (father’s father), my elder sister Josephine (father’s mother), and me Talmadge (mother’s father). Not a single one. I cannot find any ancestors with our given names at all!

I didn’t know of this pattern when my sons were born. But in a way we followed it. Son-the-eldest is not named the same as my father but they have the same initials (DSC). Son-the-younger is named for his mother’s father, we just switched the first and middle names.

Peace,
B

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Another Post Bites The Dust

I had a really cool idea for a post, even had Wifey on board to help me, just to find out my entire premise was wrong… So what’s a ramblin’ blog writer to do?

Well, I guess I could write about genealogy. How I had a cousin (not on the Campbell side, of course) that I had not heard from in many years contact me. Now she did send me the message on a website I very seldom use back in August and I just saw it yesterday. But we’ve had a good conversation via email since then.

I could post about the ongoing home repairs, but all we’ve really done since the last post is hang a few pictures. I did finish painting one set of closet doors. But that’s it. It was while we were going through the many boxes of photos we have to see if we want to put new pictures on the wall that made me go to the genealogy site where I found that message board post. Funny how things tie together like that.

Also there was the little fair we went to Friday night. We all took the girls to see the newest Aladdin movie “under the stars”. I didn’t stay long as my back and legs were acting up in a very bad way. Plus even though there were two beer tents they weren’t selling any beer that night. What a waste.

Maybe I could use how our contracted garbage company (contracted by the county, not us personally), won’t pick up some wood that’s in a garbage can. I realize that when they came by for their usual pick up they thought that it was construction waste. It does look like that. This is wood from some old chairs that son-the-younger broke apart so we could stash them away when the last hurricane was headed our way. But when I called and explained what it was, I was told I had to take it out of the can and “bundle” it. WTF?? They won’t take loose pieces. This is the same company that doesn’t have a claw truck to pick up tree branches and such. We live in a very hurricane prone state, and trees not only get blown down in these storms, folks have to cut them back on a regular basis for safety.

I guess I don’t really have anything to post about after all. So here’s a video. Enjoy!

You saw this one coming, didn’t ya??

Peace,
B

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The End Of The Line…

(Genealogicaly speaking..)

Faithful readers of this blog (both of you) probably have noticed my love-hate relationship with genealogy.  But after almost 20 years and way too much money, I think I’m calling it quits.

I am still stuck in Pennsylvania in the early to mid-1800’s.  Every lead I get on that ever elusive “immigrant ancestor” just seems to fall away after more digging. Even more importantly, no one in my family has any desire to keep the research going.  

But I did have some wonderful finds along the way. The time I found my oldest sister’s baby book in a box in our mother’s shed. It gave me the name (which I later confirmed via census records) of our paternal great grandfather, Samuel W. Campbell.  The one and only Campbell DNA match, that gave me the next male Campbell in that line, James Campbell. Do you have any idea just how many James Campbell’s there are in that time and place? It’s maddening!

My favorite find was identifying my father’s first wife, Gertrude Mary (Trudie) Lyman.  That was just some good detective work and lots of help from the wonderful folks on the Blair County (Pennsylvania) Genealogical Society. 

So, for now, I have suspended my various genealogy and DNA service accounts.  I have not removed my data from any of the services (Ancestry, My Heritage, GEDMatch, Family Tree DNA, etc.. etc..), but I am no longer paying for the services.  Since my data (DNA and Family Trees) are still fully searchable there is a hope that down the road, someone, somewhere will make that connection that I can’t find.  And maybe, just maybe, when I do finally retire, I will head up to Pennsylvania and do some hands-on research. You never know.  But for now, I’m tired. And broke.

For anyone that would like to see my various family trees, compare YDna, mtDNA or atDNA, leave a comment and a way to connect with you and I’ll answer. You will also find my various social media links at the bottom of this and every post, as well as in the side bar.  Twitter is best contact method after email.

I’ll leave you with End Of The Line by The Traveling Wilburys.  And that’s what we want to become, The Traveling Campbells.  In fact, the First Annual Campbell Christmas Vacation is in high planning mode as I type this. Well, not as I really type this, everyone else is still asleep. But you get the picture.

Peace,
B

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Closing A Genealogy Door

I’ve mentioned my father’s first wife, Trudie, before. It’s taken close to eight months of research and hard work but I am ready to close this door. (You can read the other posts here and here.)

As a quick recap, dad didn’t speak much about Trudie. In fact all I knew of her was her name. Even then, was Trudie her given name or a nickname? Doing searches in every genealogy database I had access to for both Trudie and Gertrude (hoping that was a good guess for a given name), and in all the pre World War II locations that I knew dad lived in, turned up next to nothing. The first link above gives more detail, but it wasn’t until I found the 1940 census records that things started to fall into place.

With a little luck, and some help from the Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, I found the marriage license (that’s the second post above). All that was left, as far as unanswered questions, was what was the cause of death?

One of the resources I have used for many years is VitalChek. This organization has found birth and death certificates for many of my ancestors over the years. I hoped they could help me again.

I won’t go into all the problems that occured with this request. Just know that it took about two and a half months to get my request filled. It wasn’t VitalChek’s fault. They were helping me the entire time. The Vital Records folks in D.C. were the problem. But in the end, I got what I needed.

Gertrude Campbell’s death certificate

The cause of death is listed as Uremia, secondary to Nephritis. Basically, she died of kidney failure. Now I can close this line of inquiry and go back to my “regular” genealogy quests.

Several folks on other social media have questioned why I have spent the time and energy on researching someone that I’m not related to. In my mind it wasn’t about adding another branch to the family tree. Dad would not let my mother buy him a wedding ring. He wore Trudie’s ring until the day he lost it doing yard work. He and I (and I think my brother) spent hours going blade by blade of grass looking for that ring. We never found it. He never wore another ring either. If she meant that much to him, it was worth my meager time, energy and money.

Don and Trudie

Peace,
B

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