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Monday, January 30, 2017

My DNA Journey (part 3)

So Im adopted (part 3)

I told my dad's sister about my thoughts of Lee being my real dad, and she stated, he was so happy when I came home from the hospital, and she had never seen him so happy.  It helped to add and bolster my idea of him being my real father.

I talked her into taking the DNA test.  I am the manager of her test and after 8 weeks at Ancestry, the results were in...

She and I were NOT related...Lee was just my adopted dad, and not my blood... square one again.

Now,  I've been doing genealogy since I was 17.   I have always loved puzzles and mysteries, and I was going to solve them. At 17 I had a few mysteries to find

1.  Who was my real parents
2.  Where are my adopted mom's girls (4 in all)

All I could research was my adopted line, and so I poured my heart and soul into it.  I used FTM, back when Broderband owned it.  I had all the disks, I used ancestry, roots web, message boards, etc.

I had a good tree at this point, and I had a major brick wall.  It was Margaret Schneider, wife of my 2nd great grand father.  Her marriage certificate had her name and my 2nd great grand father Jacob Debe on it. That was it.  No parents names no siblings, nothing.

So I searched, and searched and searched.  I looked through every single page of every census in Massillon, Ohio and there was no Margaret Schneider. This woman was my brick wall.

This became #3 on my list of mysteries.  I figured I would never find out about her or her family.  The line had stopped.  I searched for over 20 years and nothing.


Remember my dad's sister who took the DNA test?  Well I got an email in 2016 from a DNA match on her DNA.  I looked at the DNA matches on ancestry, and found the only name they matched on was Schneider.  Schneider?  My 2nd Great grandma on my adopted tree?  So I looked further and all she had on her tree was a Philip Schneider, no Margaret.

We emailed back and forth, and I told her I had a Margaret Schneider, and that her last name was where the DNA matched.  She stated Philip had a sister named Margaret.  OK, my hope is building...

She looks through her handwritten papers given to her from a family member, and a few days later she tells me she has found an entry stating Philip's sister Margaret married a man named Jacob Debe.

The brick wall came tumbling down...I found my Margaret's family (adopted or not) I had been searching for her for 30 years, she was my family.

I only wish my dad were alive to know I broke down the brick wall.

So I continue researching in 2017, with a new found hope to break down more brick walls, as I build a list of other relatives to test to move further in my research.

will be linked after articles post

part 1
part 2

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Acronyms of the Genealogy world


I'm compiling a list of Genealogy acronyms.  Some may be familiar to you, others you may exclaim "SAY WHAT?"

When working on your genealogy, it is best to stick with known acronyms and not make up your own.  One should also spell out the abbreviations in the notes in case others don't know what it means, and in case you, yourself forget what the abbreviation means.

So take this test short quiz (don't worry its not graded) to see which ones you know.  I'll explain them all below the quiz.  There is a longer list of acronyms at this website:


answers are below


AFNAncestral File Number
BSOBright Shiny ObjectA distraction
CODCodicil of a willor is it cash on delivery
COLCOLoredor is it collections
COLLCOLLegeor is it collage
DOBdate of birth
DODdate of death
DOMdate of marriage
GEDGedcomor General education diploma
NEEmaiden name
NMNNo middle nameno married name
SICthus, as writtenill

Now this list is not all inclusive, nor may the acronyms mean what I have here, remeber I took it all from one website.

The one that really bugs me is the NMN, as many use that for maiden name, but I grew up with a parent who didn't have a middle name and  they always put NMN for her middle name.  Am I right? It depends on who you ask.

What this tells us, is depending on your education, where you grew up, how old you are, etc, etc, different abbreviations mean different things to everyone.  So, rather than have your ancestor guessing at what you meant, take a few extra moments and spell it out, or at lease leave a key to decipher your "shorthand".

How many times do we read old census records or wills and say to our self "SAY WHAT??"

Monday, January 23, 2017

My DNA journey (part 2)

So I'm adopted (part 2)

Last week I talked bout being adopted and taking the ancestry test.

Here's the back story:

My adopted mom had been married prior to marrying my adopted father.  according to her (remember there are 3 sides to every story (his side, her side and the truth)  All I had was her side...

Her ex was powerful, and threatened her with all kinds of things, and to a young 22 year old, she was scared, so she let him take her girls (2 of them) and she never saw them again.  She would tell me stories all the time abut the girls and how she wanted to find them, well this was back in the 70s and 80s and searching for people was harder then than it is now.  But that didn't stop me.

While I looked for my real parents, I also looked secretly for her girls.  I had a few leads, but they were dead ends... My mom died in 1989, and I continued to look, scouring message boards on Ancestry, and roots web.  sending emails, and looking through records...NOTHING....

Fast forward to 2005 or so, and I get an email form a cousin who states she found the girls.  So I tell my older "sister" remember she is my adopted mom's daughter an probably no blood relation to me unless.....

Well in 2012 she offers to have us all (her, her sister and me) take a DNA test and she is going to pay for it.  This will prove if I am really part of the family or if I am just the "adopted daughter" of Jean.

So the DNA test was sent in, and 6-8 weeks later,  the results are DNA match to my 2 sisters from my adopted mom.  So there goes the theory that I belongs to one of Jean's sisters.  But my "sisters" both said, we don't care what the DNA says, you are still our sister. 

I questioned my father, Lee, many times and he would just say I don't know, your mother handled the whole thing.  I believed him, as she was the one who handled everything in the family.

I questioned aunts on both sides, and every claimed to know nothing, so I was back to square one.

In 2011,  I lost my father.  He was my last hope of getting any info on my birth family.  But his determination to not tell me anything, made me question (at 48 years old) if he was really my birth father, and one of my childhood fantasies were really true.

Next week the continuation of my DNA story and what I find...

will be linked after articles post

part 1
part 3

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A genealogist is born

Can you help me find out about my Grandfather?

The following story is true, but the names are changed to protect the living.

One night, I was at work, and it was slow, so I was doing some genealogy work on my pc (shhh don't tell the boss)

Well the boss (let's call him Leroy), walks by, and we start talking about genealogy, and how I found my birth family last year.  Well he starts telling me about his family, and how he has all this info on his mom's side, as he grew up knowing her family. Then we get to his father, and well his dad (Lucas), didn't really know his dad (my boss's grandfather).  He asked if I thought I could find out anything about his grandfather.

I was up- to the task, so I asked for his dad's name and date/place of birth and his grandmother's name (his dad's mom).  He wrote it down and away I went.

Within minutes, I had Leroy's dad's birth information, including Leroy's grandfather's name (Charlie). I found both Leroy's grandfather Charlie and his brother, Clifton (with same parents) had ww2 draft records. I then looked on the census records, and found Charlie and Clifton with their parents, Moses and Jane.

Marriage records were searched, more census records, and more names, Frank, Henry, Paul, Lewis, George and Peter.

Within a few hours, and of course between doing my work, I had my boss's family back 10 generations. His family owned property back then, and most all had served in some war, from WWII  back to the civil war and the revolutionary war.  

I took the info to my boss, and he was floored!!!  He asked "you got all that from my dad's name and date of birth?  I told him yes, and while I didn't create a tree for him, I only had my paper notes, I did share the documents I found with him.

Leroy is going to talk to his dad, to see if he is at all interested and may get me to help him further if he needs it.

  Below is the line from Leroy to his 7x great grandfather...

Charlie  ----- Clifton


I hope Leroy continues the search, and not only shares it with his father, but also his children, so they can know their heritage and that they come from a long line of men, who fought for the country they call home.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My DNA journey

So I'm adopted.  I've known it since I was 7 years old.

The story was this:

My mom got pregnant on her wedding night, and my father said I wasn't his, and he left her.  She had another child who needed her more and she didn't want to see me go with out, so she gave me away.

My adopted mom never (or so she thought) gave me any inkling as to the identity of my father, and I only got tidbits of info on my adopted mother. So my brain went on wild fantasy ideas of where I came from.

I had the idea I was really a child of one of my aunts (adopted mom's sisters),
I was really my adopted father's child who he had with another woman, as my adopted mom couldn't have kids,
I fell from outer space,
I was stolen as a child,

You name it I thought of it.  I had an active imagination.

Fast forward to 2015, and the DNA explosion...

I took the test, and well I didn't belong to my adopted mom's side of the family...dang

Now to find out where I did come from....

And this began my DNA search for my family....

Watch my blog for everything I found from a little bit of spit....

Until next time

will be linked after articles post

part 2
part 3

Thursday, January 12, 2017


I belong to a few DNA face book pages, and I see the same questions posted over and over.
So I decided to write a blog on DNA basics to help out some one new to DNA and to refresh everyone else on how it works

First some biology basics

a woman gets an X from mom and an X from dad
a man gets an X from mom and a Y from dad

There are 3 types of tests

  • autosomal
  • MTDNA (traces mitochondrial dna)
  • Y DNA (trances a Man's Y--his father's father's father etc)
Anyone can take the autosomal DNA test, which is the least expensive and should be the first test taken if looking for a blood relative.
  • A woman or man can take the MT Dna test to determine things about their mitochondrial dna 
  • A man can take the Y Dna test to determine things about his father's line 
  • A woman should never take the Y DNA test as she doesn't carry a Y chromosome

Places to test:

There are 3 major sites to test your DNA 
  • Ancestry
    • cost varies between $69 on sale and $99, one Facebook group has an ongoing sale for $79
    • Autosomal only

  • 23 and Me
    • Autosomal test costs $99, or $199 for test and health history

  • FT DNA
    • Autosomal test $79
    • MT DNA $79-$199
    • Y DNA $169-$359

Some important information to know:

Ancestry by DNA is not a good place to test. They advertise on Groupon and have been reported by many to be a scam on the info they give you.  Steer clear unless you want to give away your hard earned money.

Gedmatch is a FREE service that you can upload your autosomal DNA results from any of the 3 sites, and you can see matches from anyone else who uploaded no matter what site they tested on.

For example:
I test on Ancestry and upload my results
My long lost sister tests on 23 and me and uploads hers
My father tests at FT Dna and uploads his results

I can see both my sister and my father's results and compare to mine.   So you don't have to test at all 3 sites. Especially if you are just starting out.  Start with Ancestry first. (the largest database)

 Promethease is a website that will take your DNA results and give you medical information for a mere $5.  It sure beats the additional $100 that 23 and me is charging.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 A new year and new stories

Where did the past year go?

2016 came and went fairly quickly it seems, as it is now 2017 (nine days in)

I didn't reach all of my goals, but that's o.k. as it is a new year, so I get to try and complete them.

I'm going to try harder this year to blog on a more consistent basis. At least once a month.

I'm back researching my genealogy and several family lines (adopted and biological lines) as I help my daughter trace her dad's biological lines and his step father's lines.

So I plan on being fairly busy this year.

please leave me a message if there is any topic you want me to talk about.  I have been researching for over 30 years, so I do have some tricks and tips.

also pop over to my you tube channel, where you will find videos I have done to help with tips and tricks on using tools with in your pc.