07 January 2013

In Memory of Joan Miller

Joan Miller
The genealogy world is mourning the loss of Joan Miller (respected Canadian family historian and geneablogger, and my 'Genealogists for Families' co-captain). Joan passed away peacefully on January 4th after a year-long battle with cancer. I am sad that I never met Joan in person because we were on opposite sides of the world, but I treasured our on-line friendship. My heart goes out to her family.

Joan's daughter Heather has asked that commemorative loans or donations in memory of her mother should be made through Kiva and the 'Genealogists for Families' project. You can either:

(1) Make an ordinary Kiva loan (our team calls it a 'commemorative loan'), with repayments going to you so that you can re-lend the money over and over again as it is repaid.


(2) Make what Kiva calls a 'dedicated loan'. During the checkout process, in 'My Basket', select the option 'Dedicate this loan'. With a Dedicated Loan, repayments will be donated to Kiva instead of being returned to you.

In her 'Meet the Team' profile, Joan said that she chose field partners with at least a 3-star rating and a low delinquency rate. Several of her loans were to women in the Philippines. For my commemorative loan I therefore followed Joan's example by choosing Luna in the Philippines, who supports her family by making crafts with shells.

Please join me in supporting this non-profit organisation about which Joan was so passionate. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on.
~ ~ ~

05 January 2013

Update on my family's DNA Testing

Last month I wrote about my plans to use DNA testing as a genealogy tool. Kerry Farmer subsequently reminded me of two important points that I forgot to mention (see Postscript no.1 on 'DNA Testing for My Family History').

My uncle's autosomal DNA ('Family Finder') test results have arrived! He already has six matches in the '2nd-4th cousin' predicted range and ten in '3rd-5th cousin'. I am hoping for closer matches in the future when more genealogists with known English and Scottish ancestry do tests through FamilyTreeDNA. I am also hoping that some of my second-cousins will agree be tested.

The best match so far is 'shared cM 49.22, longest block 32.05'... but I have not yet learned how to interpret all this. I was not expecting the test results until mid-January, so I got caught short and hadn't done my homework!

I have already started contacting people who match my uncle's autosomal DNA. I soon realised that I need to send them a list of all names (except living people), not just a pedigree chart - because the name they might recognise won't necessarily be my direct ancestor. As Gedmatch points out, "siblings (and descendants of siblings) of one family often turn up as 'spouses' (with no recorded ancestors) in another family." There is a diagram that illustrates this clearly.

If you have advice to share with DNA newbies like myself, please add a comment below. It will be very welcome.

03 January 2013

'Accentuate the Positive' 2012 Geneameme

Glenelg jetty at sunset
Glenelg jetty at sunset
With the 'Accentuate the Positive' 2012 Geneameme, Jill (Geniaus) encourages us to focus on our recent genealogical achievements, not the things that are still on our To-Do list. If you want to join in, Jill's blog has the full list of 20 questions. Some were not relevant to me, so my list is shorter.

  • An elusive ancestor I found was Mary PEACOCK (nee HUGILL, born c.1813 Hull, Yorkshire, England) whom I finally found in the 1881 British census... incorrectly listed as UPRIGHT, her son-in-law's surname!

  • An important vital record I found was the 1841 death certificate of my gr-gr-gr-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Harley WEBSTER nee PORTER (widow of William WEBSTER, a dyer). She died at 5 Lawson Street, Great Dover Road (St Mary Newington, Surrey, England). The informant was Cecelia RUSHWORTH of Lambeth.

  • A geneasurprise I received was finding out (via FamilySearch) that Charles Peacock BOWSER (born in Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, England) died in Ontario, Canada. His mother Rebecca was a sister of my great-grandmother, Mary HUDSON nee PEACOCK.

  • My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was... hmmm... either B is for Birth Place (a long list of sources that may mention an exact place of birth) or Year 1: Genealogy Benefits and Team Achievements (about the Genealogists for Families project).

  • My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits was J is for Jurors and Justice Department (part of the Family History through the Alphabet series).

  • A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Twitter.

  • A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new... My top three for 2012 were the webinar Plan Your Way to Research Success by Marian Pierre-Louis; the Society of Australian Genealogists' 'Lost in England' seminar in Sydney; and the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Adelaide.

  • I am proud of the presentation I gave to Coffs Harbour Family History Society (Nov 2012). It was the first time I'd done an all-day seminar on my own; and I was pleased to find that many of the sources and research strategies I described were new to my audience.

  • I taught a friend how to make the most of a one-day visit to Queensland State Archives.

  • A genealogy book that taught me something new was My Ancestor was a Bastard: A Family Historian's Guide to Sources for Illegitimacy in England and Wales (Ruth Paley, 2008).

  • A great repository I visited was Queensland State Archives - but I often go there, so 2012 was less exciting than 2011 when I made my first trip to the Borthwick Institute in York, England.

  • A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was The New Findmypast.com.au: Gateway to the World Collection (Rosemary Kopittke, 2012).

  • It was exciting to finally meet many members of the 'Genealogists for Families' Kiva team. We held get-togethers for local and interstate members in Brisbane and Adelaide, and I also spent a very pleasant afternoon in Sydney with Julie Goucher before she flew home to the UK.

  • A geneadventure I enjoyed was a 'tourist day' after the Australasian Congress, when Sharn White, Helen Smith and I explored the historic town of Hahndorf near Adelaide. Afterwards Sharn and I caught a tram to Glenelg, arriving just in time to see a spectacular sunset. (My biggest genealogy adventure in a long time was in 2011, when I attended Yorksgen - something that I hope to do again in the future.)

  • Another positive I would like to share is that more than 16,000 names from three of my indexes to Archives sources will soon be included in the collection at FindMyPast.com.au.