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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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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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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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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