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Showing posts from June, 2020

A Modern Tale

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Once upon a time, in a land right next door, South King County Genealogical Society had regular, person-to-person meetings on the third Saturday of most months of the year.  People got up early and drove to the meeting place, were greeted at the door and received a printed handout provided by the speaker of the day.  People visited with each other and learned new techniques for researching their family trees.  They went home and tried new links from the printed handouts and then saved the paper copy in a file or notebook.Life was routine, predictable.


Then something happened; the people started learning new words—CoronaVirus, Covid-19, pandemic, social distancing, Zoom, Amazon ordering, curbside groceries, webcams, Google Meets. 




People at SKCGS have learned how to conduct virtual meetings and most of their members are able to attend.  And an added benefit is that people who had not been able to attend before are now logging in. We're sharing web space and experience with people fro…

Dating Old Photos--Research the Photographer

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Oh boy, there was William Williams, right age, immigrant from England, working in a mine in southwest Idaho on the 1900 census.  But having chased Bill from England to Michigan then to South Dakota and eventually to Wardner, Idaho, how could I be sure this was the right one?
The picture below was among family photos passed down to Ken Williams, a great grandson of Bill.  In fact there were two copies of the photo, a pretty good indication that there was a family member in it.

Will the real Bill Williams please stand up?  That is, if the real Bill Williams is in this picture.  We'll probably never know which man is Bill but there is enough circumstantial evidence to place him in Owyhee County in 1900.  The clue--the photographer.  C. E. Joy had a photograph studio in Salt Lake City around 1900 and probably made trips to neighboring communities.
Looking for the clues
There are many clues for dating and identifying photos.  Prominent among those is researching the  photographer.
The ten s…

All Those DNA Matches in Ancestry – What to do with them?

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Back when SKCGS Special Interest Groups could still meet in person, I attended the DNA/Genetic Genealogy Group meeting in early February. The subject was using Ancestry tools such as Thru-Lines tool to “group” your DNA ancestors, and was led by our Publicity Chair Valorie Zimmerman. This tutorial only works if you have tested your DNA through Ancestry, and have a tree where you are linked to yourself on that tree. It’s best to have a subscription, so you can follow up on suspected common ancestors. The class was very hands-on and we were immediately getting signed in to Ancestry and clicking on our list of “DNA Matches” at the top of the page under the DNA tab. Other people you share DNA with and have tested with Ancestry will appear on your list.

First on the list will be close relations, and you will most likely recognize the names and know them. From there you will get a longer list of DNA third and fourth, and fifth and sixth cousins. Note that this list seems to grow each ti…

X, Y and Mitchondrial DNA

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It's all about the chromosomes (and mitochondria)
X, Y and Mitochondrial DNA are less well-known and not used by many genealogical researchers. Both Y and MtDNA tests are more expensive than the more common autosomal DNA tests. 

X is always tested in an autosomal DNA test. However X results are less reported (FTDNA, 23andMe) or not reported at all (Ancestry, MyHeritage, LivingDNA), with the exception of Gedmatch.

Rather than covering generations of your ancestry, each of these DNA types cover a smaller portion of your tree, which some see as a weakness. However, because of that restriction, the researcher gets a focused result, which can be powerful, if the test will help you answer your research question. 


Y DNA tests were first offered to the consumer in 2000 by only one company: FamilyTreeDNA. Ancestry also offered Y and mitochondrial tests between 2012 and 2014  but not since then. There are other companies now offering Y DNA tests, but none have the genealogy focus of FTDNA. Fam…

Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going

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Where We Have Been


Back in February 2020, we at SKCGS were proud of ourselves because we had moved our newsletter from a quarterly print publication mailed to our members and friends, to a weekly blog posted on our website and emailed to members and friends.  We had taken the unprecedented step of accepting credit card payments online!
Where We Are
On March 1, news that the novel Corona virus, which up until then was something we had read about or seen a news story about on TV in Wuhan, China, suddenly was here, in our country, in King County, in Kirkland, for heaven’s sake.Just to be safe, the March Board and General Meetings were canceled.Surely this would be under control in just a short time! At about this time, our wise members, Valorie Zimmerman and MaryLynn Strickland realized that our members were not comfortable attending in-person meetings and began investigating online meeting options.
An online platform was selected, and with some trepidation, the DNA Special Interest Group sc…