Genealogy

Who Are You? (A New Family Question)

Not too long ago, I posted about folks with bad family trees on the interwebs.  Seems that I’m one of those people.  No surprise there.  The one name that I called out explicitly, my 2x great-uncle Lloyd Campbell as having a different set of parents, was wrong.  I’m not sure at all at where I had any parents for him at all.  I think I was mixing him up with Sara Catherine Campbell, his sister.

Here’s my (new and improved) reasoning.  Not long after writing that post I had two new DNA matches.  One was a Y-DNA match, so that meant he had to be related on my paternal side.  It’s also nice that we have the same surname.  But he doesn’t answer my emails, so I guess we’ll never figure it out.

The other match is an atDNA match at Ancestry.   This is with a woman, and only a possible connection with the Campbell line.  However, she does share matches with folks that I know have to be on my Campbell side, so that’s good.  She believes that her great grandmother was a Campbell.  A Catherine Campbell to be exact.  And what was the other name in my tree I was complaining about? Why Sara Catherine Campbell of course. 

Now here’s where I make my confession. It seems that the early census records I have for this lady have her as Catherine.  No Sarah anywhere.  Why did I change her name?  Because I was following a marriage for a Sarah Catherine Campbell, despite the fact that I had a death certificate for this lady with different parents.  I will allow myself a bit of a way out as the listed father’s name was James R. Campbell, the same as my 2x great-grandfather.  Plus, her mother’s name was Ann Story, which is very close to my 2x great-grandmother Ann McCauley.  I know I’ve had this record for quite some time, so I’m thinking that I held on to it hoping it was just an honest mistake.

Then that second DNA match, with the Catherine Campbell name made me go back and look again.  With a bit more research knowledge now, I found the correct family for this Sara Catherine Campbell.  Hint: Not my family. Her parents were James Ray Campbell and Anne Story.  So, I have removed the married family from my tree and returned her to her original name of Catherine Campbell (without the Sarah), under her parents, James Richard Campbell and Anna McCauley.

Obviously, this DNA match answered my email, otherwise how was I to find the Catherine Campbell match?  Funny thing is my previously mis-named Catherine Campbell is a close match to the age and location for Catherine Campbell from my match.  For once, I get to research a family that’s not my own!

It’s been about a week since I’ve started this hunt.  And while it’s been a lot of fun running searches on websites I’ve not used before; it’s also been quite frustrating.  I have not been able to match up anybody in either of our trees yet.  One of the problems is, again the name Catherine and its various spellings.  In this search I find that this couple (Catherine Campbell and her husband, a direct male ancestor of my DNA match) have her name is three different ways.  Catherine, Catharine, and Kate.  There is even a possible Katie involved, but I think I can rule that one out. 

Here’s the deal; The first mention I can find of them together is the 6 January 1893 issue of the Democratic Watchman (Bellefonte, Center County, Pennsylvania newspaper) that lists them as having been issued a marriage license.  Her name there is Kate.  In the 1900 census (the husband died in 1898), she is Catherine living with her two daughters in her mother-in-law’s house, who was also a widow. I have not found her after the 1900 census.  At least not in Pennsylvania.  She is also listed as Kate in one daughters’ birth record (my DNA matches grandmother) and her other daughters’ death certificate.

Needless to say, searching for any marriage records for her under the known names and her husband only finds the newspaper article mentioned above.  So, I can’t link these two fine people together. 

As I’ve mentioned before, the 1890 census was lost in a fire.  However, Centre County used this data to compile a directory of businesses and its citizens.  I can find the husband with his parents not all that far from most of my family, including my Catherine and her family in Milesburg.  But having found that connection be yet another brick wall, I kept looking and found another Campbell family a little east in Millheim and there is a Kate listed!  Could this be the one?  Nope.  As far as I can tell, Kate is the wife of a married son living with his parents.  Kate and her husband (yet another Samuel) do not appear to have any children.  Another dead end.

The funny thing (funny as in strange, not ha-ha funny) is that Catherine/Kate’s husband was adopted.  This was well known by the family, and I can find all kinds of records on his adopted family.  I’m hoping that we match through this Catherine/Kate and not through the husband’s biological family.  I have never done any adoption family tree work.  And quite honestly, I’m a bit a’scared to even start.

I’m not giving up, just calling it a day.  The single malt is calling my name.

Here’s a somewhat related video – because I feel very lost and can’t find my way home.

Enjoy!

Remember, genealogy isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult than that!

Peace,
B

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Random Randomess

Just keeping the blog name relevant here..

Seems to me that Mars (AKA the red planet) is turning into an interplanetary Club Med.  The UAE, China, and now NASA have all sent rockets out that way.  I’m thinking that a Motel 8 with an attached Denny’s will be built soon.  But we all know that it all comes crashing down on 5 April 2385.  What, you don’t watch Star Trek: Picard?  Shame on you.


Seems mother nature is at it again.  #Floriduh is once again in her sights as a tropical storm is bearing down on us.

But it’s only a tropical storm so us natives don’t get too excited. We just check the battery cabinet, grab another adult beverage and call it a day.  Besides this is, as of now, a rather disorganized storm. Not to mention it is expected to cross over Hispaniola and its rather tall mountain range, a known storm killer.  As the image show, the current track takes it east of us which means the strongest part of the storm will be on the other side, out in the Atlantic.  I am so very happy that I am not working my last job anymore.  I would be getting ready for another stay in the lovely EOC if the storm does hit.  Tropical storms are anything but predictable, so this may change.  Watch this space!


On the genealogy side, I found two cousins that appear to be on the Campbell side!  This is most unusual, as I’ve always maintained that my Campbells won’t do a DNA test lest we be connected to a 15th century cattle raid.  We Campbells’ aren’t the most trustworthy lot, after all.  As both these matches are just beginning their family trees, I can’t yet place them on my tree.  Hopefully, they will take my offer to help them get going and we can find our common ancestors.  Only time will tell.


I did enjoy the way many of our news outlets stated the testimony of several of our big tech companies had before members of congress yesterday.  To paraphrase “Congress to grill tech CEOs”.  I offered to bring the charcoal, but nobody took me up on the offer.  Their loss.


Things here at the house are changing.  Seems that our granddaughters will be here full time.  Meaning my thoughts of a “quiet retirement” have been changed.  Not that it bothers me.  I look forward to having them here to do their remote schoolwork.  The tech available at our house is much better than what is available at other family members homes.  I will have to get at least a part time job to offset the additional costs that are associated with having two more folks here full time, but in all honesty, I was already looking. 


Remember this meme from before the 2016 election?

It’s becoming more and more true.  Our “Dear Leader” will not say if he will accept the November election results if he loses, and today floated the idea that the election should be delayed “…until people can properly, securely, and safely vote???”.   The “last president” indeed.  I do fear a civil war is brewing.


For those of us here in #Floriduh (and I can call it that as a native-born son), our “Dear Leader” Governor Ron DeSantis has spawned several new memes.

I have long referred to him #GovRonDeMoron or #GovRonDeVirus, but #DeathSantis fits so much better.  Once we can get rid of him we can go back to being #Florida.  Yes, #FloridaMan and #FloridaWoman will still help keep us #Floriduh, provided of course that they survive.


Seems that beers sales are bouncing back.  Well, I had nothing to do with that for once.  I’ve been avoiding beer as of late, although the growler of Pale Ale son-the-younger brought home from his work last night was very tasty.  The main reason I’ve been avoiding beer is the carbohydrates.  I am trying to lose weight although at my age that’s neigh on impossible.   I’m hoping that even a part time job will get me out of the house enough removing me from the snack box.  Whisky on the other hand is a genuinely nice substitute.


Wifey and I are ready to go back to Scotland. Who’s with us??


Have to figure out where all the coffee is going. It seems we are buying bags and bags of beans every week. You don’t think my being home all day has anything to do with it, do you? Nah…


Finally, get out and #VOTE.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, nor ask you who you did vote for.  I will ask you if you plan on voting.  I will vote via mail this year.  Having been in the military for so long it seems second nature to me.  Plus, I hate standing in line for anything!


Here is a totally unrelated video for you.  Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Who Are You?

Let’s take a break from the music posts for today and take a look at my genealogy again.  Yes, I did say some time ago that I was not going to pursue this much longer, but my subscriptions haven’t expired yet – so I’m still at it.  It may also be due to that fact that I’ve been reading a series of novels about a forensic genealogist that has kept me interested.

The novels by Nathan Dylan Goodwin take place in England mostly.  The main character, Morton Ferrier, has more interesting cases than I expect any real genealogist would have.  His house is blown up, he’s kidnapped (more than once) for example. If you like mysteries and want to read about specific events in British history, then I recommend these books. There are a total of 10 stories, but they do not have to be read in any order. I’m currently about a third of the way through the 10th in the series.

But here’s the thing.  His cases all seem to take place within a few hours drive from his home in the southeast of England.  I don’t have that luxury.  Morton can visit local libraries, the national archives, and even churches to find records that are not online.  Me?  I’m still stuck in Pennsylvania.  That’s more than a few hours away even if travel wasn’t impacted by this virus. As I have more than one “high risk” category staring me in the face, I don’t even like going to grocery store – much less getting on a packed airplane with folks like Ted Cruz not wearing a mask. 

I did have a genealogist in Pennsylvania do some research for me.  Sadly, she couldn’t give me much that I didn’t already know.  Between her recommendations and, surprisingly, some tips I picked up from the novels, I’m carrying on with some new searches.

Let’s recap, shall we?  I’m looking for my 2x great grandparents, James Campbell and his wife Ann Elizabeth McCauley.   Here’s my tree back to the individuals in question;

The Family Tree, such as it is..

Looking at this image you would think that it looks rather complete.  Sadly, it isn’t.  There are many blanks in the next generations that aren’t in that image. I have many matches on my paternal grandmother’s side (Josephine Melinda Bodle or “Nanny”) and quite a few on my maternal grandfather’s side (Talmadge Whitaker Hicks).  I haven’t really started into my maternal grandmother’s (Dora Calder) side all the much, yet.  It’s that damnable Campbell line that’s killing me.

Check here for information on James’ middle name, the junior and possibile parents. I won’t repeat it all here.

My great grandfather, Samuel W. Campbell, had as far as I know, only three children.  His eldest was my grandfather, Herbert J. Campbell (I still don’t know what the “J” is for, nor Samuel’s middle initial “W”). Next was a daughter, Florence I., then another son Lester Lyman Campbell (Oh look!  A middle name!). 

Most of my genealogy is on Ancestry.  I do also have trees and DNA at other places around the web, but Ancestry is my main holding place.  I had an account there for over 20 years now, and it’s too much trouble to move to a new web server. 

Ancestry has a service called ThruLines.  It can be helpful, or it can be trouble.  What is does is take your DNA results (you must have an Ancestry DNA test – they do not allow uploads of DNA results from other companies), and your family tree and tries to match you with other folks that may have common ancestors.  My Heritage has a similar service called “Theory of Relativity”.

The problem with any online tree is that not everyone takes the time to verify the names that are added to their respective trees.  Some folks refuse to believe any findings that don’t match family stories.  So that child born out of wedlock, or that family member that went to jail are either completely left out or added even if the data doesn’t match the story simply because “it can’t be true – (insert family member that’s telling the story) said that wasn’t how it happened.”  I really enjoy seeing trees that link back to “royalty” from folks primarily here in the USA.  It seems that while our country’s founding fathers wanted nothing to do with the British aristocracy, now everyone want’s to be related to some prince or princess.  I even saw one tree go back to King Arthur! Sigh..  And I have gone off on another tangent, haven’t I?

Let’s get back to Samuel for a moment. Using the ThruLines I mentioned above, the only DNA matches I have from Sam ,ueland his wife, are my siblings and a niece and nephew.  I knew that we would be the only matches from Herbert and Josephine, as our dad was an only child.  But this lack of first cousins severely hampers my search. 

Let’s look at census records for a moment, as these are a good way to follow the family over time.  Starting with Samuel, here’s what I can find;

  • 1870:  Snyder, Blair, PA
  • 1880:  Boggs, Centre, PA
  • 1890:  Boggs, Centre, PA (from Centre Lines – first record with wife and two oldest children)
  • 1900:  Boggs, Centre, PA
  • 1910:  Milesburg, Centre, PA
  • 1920:  Milesburg, Centre, PA

From Samuel’s death certificate (the ONLY documentation I can find for him), I find his father is James Campbell, no middle initial or “Junior” that seems to pop up on some trees.  His mother is listed as Ann Colley or Calley, it’s hard to read.  I have not found any birth or baptism records for Samuel.  I will have to go to Pennsylvania for research.  I have asked several of the regional libraries and genealogy societies for help, but they couldn’t find anything either.

Samuel Campbell’s Death Certificate

The 1870 and 1880 census show Samuel, at the approximately correct age with James as the father, and the mother is an Anna or Annie E.  However, the 1870 census is troublesome.  It has children that don’t seem to fit with the rest of the family.  Since the 1880 census is the first to list the relationship to the head of the household, I’m thinking that these names that are listed on the 1850 – 1870 censuses are not full brothers and sisters, but maybe cousins that are living with my 2x great grandparents.  This is quite possible as the death certificate for two of the problematic names lists parents as W.R. Campbell and Fleita Benjamin as parents, and their gravesite is not very far from Samuel’s.

However, on ThruLines I have a DNA match with someone claiming to be from one of the troublesome names.  This is where not doing good research comes in.  Whoever it was that started their family tree from this Lloyd Campbell and seeing him listed in the census records under James & Anna just assumed that they were his parents.  Hey – it’s a very common issue.  I’ve done it as well. 

Samuel’s obituary lists two siblings, same as I have them (Hiram J. and Florence) and my grandmother as surviving.  If this Lloyd was a brother (not likely) he would have already passed by the time Samuel died. The other male listed that I don’t believe is a brother, Martin, would have still been alive so he should have been listed in the obituary as well.  I believe that the reason that Samuel’s mother is listed as Ann Colley or Calley on his death certificate is due to fact that his wife, as the informant, had suffered a stroke some time prior to Samuel’s passing and either could not recall the full name of McCauley, or couldn’t pronounce it clearly.  Samuel’s brother, listed in his obituary and found on the census records, Hiram, lists Ann McCauley as his mother.  This is why I feel that the census records I have are the correct ones for this family. There is a Henry McCauley listed in 1850 and 1860 as living with them, which I believe is Ann Eliza’s father.

But James!  Just who the hell are you?  All I can tell is he worked in the various iron mills in central Pennsylvania.  I have possible records for service in the Civil War, but I can’t say for sure which one is his record.  You have to imagine just how many James Campbells were in Pennsylvania during the 1800’s.  If I run a search on Ancestry for James Campbell with a birth about 1827 in Pennsylvania, I get 192,101 records back.  Not helpful at all. 

The 1890 census was mostly destroyed in a fire, so I can’t search that time frame.  Fortunately, Centre County Pennsylvania used that census (before it was destroyed of course) and created a document called the “1890 Centre Co., PA. Business Directory”.  From that another document “Centre Lines” was created.  This lists a basic census of the county for 1890.  I can find my grandfather, Herbert, with his parents, Samuel and Ada and his sister Florence, in Boggs Township.  His mother, Anna E. with his brother Hiram and a Catherine S. (one of those troublesome names from the census records) in Milesburg.  But not James.  Was he dead, did he run away, was he working elsewhere in the state or out of state?  I have no idea.

I believe that this Catherine S. is who I have listed as Sara Catherine in my tree.  Her death certificate lists a James Campbell as father, but the mother is Ann Storey.  I can find a gravestone for this couple (he’s listed as James Ray Campbell).  So, is this another cousin that my ancestors took in? Maybe, maybe not.  In the 1880 census she is shown as a daughter.  She should have been alive when Samuel died but she is not mentioned in his obituary.  The informant on her death certificate is her son, so maybe he just got her mother’s name wrong? 

Interestingly, I find a James Campbell in the 1900 census in Allegheny County (near Pittsburgh) in the Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.  Naturally, there is no other information on this record other than the name.  No place of birth, parental information, or occupation.  Only that he can speak English.  Is this him?  Could very well be.  See what I said above about things not being entered due to not fitting a family story.  But it could just as well not be him.  I have no clue.  See for yourself;

Hehehe… Did James lose it?

There are also many death records for James Campbell with dates between 1880 and 1890.  Most are in the Philadelphia area, and I have no reason to think that he would have been in that area, but I can’t discard it either.

I guess that once this virus stuff is beat down enough that travel can happen, I will need to make a trip to central Pennsylvania.  In the meantime, I will see if I can find out just those troublesome names in the census records belong to.

Remember, genealogy isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult than that!

Peace,
B

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Crazy Busy Birthday Week

Well, it’s not all that busy. We are still doing our voluntary self-isolation, and all these folks have long passed on.

I’ve posted about this grouping of birthdays before, however, I left one out.  It wasn’t until I made a “Family Birthday” calendar (using Google Calendar) that this terrible omission was discovered.  I had not added my paternal great grandfather to this group.  Here are they chronologically, by birth year:

All these folks are on my paternal (father’s) side.  Starting with Great Granddad (not to be confused with Old Granddad which is a whole different thing…)

Samuel W. Campbell, 26 March 1861 – 8 February 1924.  This is the 159th anniversary of his birth.  I have no idea what the “W” stands for.  I have not been able to find much documentation of this gentleman.  I do have two obituaries and his death certificate for him but that’s all.  Worst of all is no pictures.  My grandmother (just down this list) had pictures of her dad, and of Herbert, and even lots of my dad as a child, but none that I can say is Samuel. 

But I do have his death certificate which gave me his parent’s names.

Then we have his son, my Grandfather.

Herbert J. Campbell, 31 March 1884 – 5 February 1919.  So, 136th anniversary. As with his father, I have no idea what the middle initial “J” is for.  My best guess is James, as that was his grandfathers name. That would be close to a traditional Scottish naming convention.  Had Samuel followed that tradition then James would have been his given name, not his middle name. I can find other Herbert’s across several branches of this line, so maybe he was named for an uncle or such.

Guess he played trombone. I would imagine that Nanny told me who the little girl was, but I don’t remember.

Next, we have Herbert’s wife, my Grandmother (or Nanny as I knew her)

Josephine Melinda (nee Bodle) Campbell, 27 March 1885 – 21 July 1975.  Happy 135th Nanny!  I have posted about Nanny several times. As she lived with us for most of my childhood, she was very instrumental in my upbringing. 

Nanny in front of the “Friends Union” (a Quaker meetinghouse) in State College, PA. She ran the kitchen there. I just love the hat and corsage.

Finally, dear old dad.

Donald Sherwood Campbell, 28 March 1912 – 19 February 1985. Wow!  108th for pops! If you look up “character” in the dictionary, my dad’s picture will be there. He is the main reason, along with my brother, that I have a warped sense of humor. And I’m proud to say that I have passed that on to my two sons! Hey – a legacy is a legacy. Even if it’s silly.

Sadly, no place or date for this photo of dad.

I can only imagine how this week was celebrated during the short time (1912 – 1919) when all four of these people could be together.

Peace,
B

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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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