Monday, September 30, 2013

DNA Monday: Mom's full results are back! Let's go find DNA relatives!

I tested with back in January, then Mom tested with them in July. A couple of weeks ago we got her results back and as with mine the health results came first and the ancestry/genealogy results came back later. In January, my health results came on a Sunday and by Tuesday, as I remember, I had all of my results. There was about a week lag time before the ancestry results for Mom came back and that's slightly longer. So let's take a look at Mom's ancestry results, shall we?

Her health results are stellar and just about anyone might want to trade her for them! No inherited conditions to watch out for. The health traits are things she already knew about because she's 95 and in real good shape, and you can read an earlier post about that here.

We're both in the haplogroup H3, which could be expected of mother and daughter. And, oh yeah, 23andMe picked up our relationship right away! No doubt, I'm her kid:) You can read about haplogroup H3 here in a previous post on this blog. Funny, it's one of the most popular posts and is getting more frequent visits, I guess, as more people do DNA testing.

Now here's the thing, Mom's DNA relative matches are a little different than mine, which is to be expected as she shares only 49.9% of her autosomal DNA with me. The rest I got from Dad. So, if we had Dad's DNA to test, and sadly he passed in 2006, then I('d know more and have the other half of "me". But for now, I need a list: a list of Mom's matches and a list of my matches and a table showing where those matches are the same.

Now I want to state right here that I'm no expert on this and learning as I make my way slowly through the forest that is DNA. There's so much I don't know... and I took Ce Ce Moore's wonderful introduction to DNA for genealogy seminar this past spring. My ignorance is not her fault;)

But I'm looking at the two lists of Mom's DNA matches on 23andMe and my matches on 23andMe and wondering why. Are my matches that don't match her because of Dad's DNA? And should I look to those people (if they will answer my inquiry messages and have a nice big tree online) for a match to Dad's surnames? Maybe.

And Mom's matches that don't match me, what about them? Is that indicative of the DNA given her that wasn't passed on down to me? Maybe.

Frankly, I still have a kid's sense of wonderment about this DNA stuff. I love to marvel at the thought of my mitochondrial DNA handed down from women who were mother to my mothers, all the way back in deep time, deeper than I can even think about.

When I look at our family photos I think about that long line of mitochondrial DNA. There's a concept I just learned about called "daughtering out". (Wish I could remember whose blog post that was so I could give credit and a hug.) It means that there are no more women in a line to hand down the mitochondrial DNA. When I look at our line of female mitochondrial DNA and our present family ties I see that our best chance for passing it on is my niece, Molly. Anyone know a nice young man about 30 or slightly less, loves science, smart and funny, and attractive?

Me, about 1947 or 1948.

Mom on her 21st birthday.

Emma Susan Whetstone Williams (1897 - 1956).
Photo from Aunt Betty.

Emma's mother, Catherine Elizabeth House Whetstone (1865 - 1947)

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Whetstone Lots

Mom, who is 95 and still pretty actively doing genealogy, told me a long while back about the Whetstone Lots or Farm marked on some map. I've kept it in mind as I stumble around. It would be pretty cool to find the location of my 4rd great grandfather's military lots awarded after the American Revolution!

His name was Jacob Whetstone Sr. (1738 - 1833) and there's a brief re-cap of his life on an message board for the Whetstone Surname that goes something like this:

He was a Captain and listed in the Blue Book of Schuylkill Co. as Cpt Jacob Weitstein. On Aug 7, 1777 mustered under Colonel Daniel Hunter of Oley and was on duty around Philadelphia, participating in the battle of Germantown under General Washington. The return roster is given as containing 49 men, 8 officers and includes:
1st Co. Captain Jacob Wetstein and also Ens. Henry Wetstein, his brother. It also notes that the descendents of this family spell their name as Whetstone.

You can even read a post from Lois Flyte who is writing a soon to be published book about this family that pretty much sums up the confusion about Jacob's descendant. Ms. Flyte wrote in 2000:

Capt. Jacob Whetstone of Berks Co., Pa., did not have the son who married Elizabeth Studebaker. Jacob Sr.'s son Jacob Jr. married Christina Frantz of Bedford Co., Pa., then returned to Brunswick Twp., had more children there and eventually moved to Allegany Co., Md.
Jacob Whetstone who married Elizabeth Studebaker is most likely the son of Christian Whetstone of Woodbury Twp., Bedford Co., Pa. There has been much confusion over these two men. I am the one writing the book on the Whetstones, have spent over 25 years researching these families, and there are many errors in the ancestry of the various Whetstone lines.

"There has been much confusion over these two men", writes Ms. Flyte about the two Jacob Whetstones who eventually inhabited the area near Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The other Jacob Whetstone married an Elizabeth Studebaker, as Ms. Flyte reported. But our guy married Christiana Frantz, to be sure!

Now here comes the real confusion. Some past DAR application had been approved based on a book about the Studebaker family showing Jacob's marriage to Elizabeth Studebaker. Yikes. That clogged up the whole process for anyone who wanted to claim membership based on a connection to our Jacob. Today there were seven members declaring the Studebaker Jacob their Revolutionary War ancestor! What a mess! Strangely, the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution seem to get it right.

But what of the Whetstone Lots? Let's get you caught up. You can read my Surname Saturday post about the Whetstone line here.

Can you see the old map of Military Lots of Garrett County, Maryland, just above? It's dark, I know, but that's how it is in reality. This map was completed about 1874, as marked on the full map which you can see below.
Can you see the nice stream running down through the property? That's Buffalo Run and must have been very good for crops. Then in the lower image above and on the right past Blooming Rose, there is a large river, The Great Youghiogheny. The Yough was dammed up in the last century to work as a reservoir. Towns, villages, cemeteries and old home places are now long gone and under water.
File:USACE Youghiogheny Lake and Dam.jpg
The Youghiogheny River Dam.
(Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons)

There's never been any confusion on our part about which Jacob Whetstone was in the Revolution. We know the geography of this place, where ancestors lived and worked. We know where Blooming Rose is and where Selbysport, Garrett, Maryland is and was.

I think it was this Whetstone Lots taken together as a case study that drove out any and all doubt I might have had about Whetstone confusion and showed me once again how important geography is when researching family history. How could those Steudebaker descendants say they came from Captain Jacob Whetstone? I guess they didn't stop to think of where his land was located.

Garrett County, Maryland, Military Lots Map

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: New-to-me Cousins

My life at the moment is full of new-to-me cousins. Some have been found by connecting through Ancestry Member Trees and to be totally accurate, most found me. It's nice connecting that way because we can look at each other's trees and spot the connection pretty fast. Patti messaged me about a possible connection a week ago wondering about our relationship because we had so many matching people on our trees. I took one look at her tree and spotted a remote connection, went to Mom's GEDCOM on Family Tree Maker and looked at our cousin relationship... and it's so far distant I think it broke FTM. Kidding, of course. We're connected through Meshack Browning and you can read about him here.

Another new-to-me cousin is cousin Norma. We share a great grandfather and found each other on the Facebook group, You Know You're From Frostburg When... after I posted a photo of him in his Frostburg Fire Department uniform and you can see a post about that here. The historian from the FFD is still trying to determine the date range of the photo but meantime, it's hanging in the new Day Room in the fire house! Norma and I have been emailing and it seems we're about the same age and she still lives in Frostburg, as does Mom. They run into each other all the time at the Food Lion, but for the life of me, I don't think I've ever met Norma... or maybe the ol' memory is going:) Yeah, that's probably it.

DNA cousins are dropping in so often it's become an everyday occurrence. Am I becoming jaded about the magic and mystery of my DNA? Not really. It's just that as I come to see how powerful testing is and how important your results can be, I'm more impressed all the time with the marvel of the science of it. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future it will be something every genealogist does automatically at the very start of their quest to find family. Last weekend at a seminar here in San Diego I had the delight of sitting next to a man who found out that his presumed grandpa wasn't. But the next door neighbor's descendants were about as close a match as you'd every want. Now that's impressive. How would you ever know that otherwise?

It makes me super happy when I connect up with a new cousin. And about the happiest I can get is when I can share by email a PDF of their family tree. More and more I see that it's all about sharing your work... and those wonderful old photos!

New Price Day Room at the Frostburg Fire Department, in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland.
(Our donated photo is in the upper right by the bulk head.)
Here's the image!
Many thanks to GeneaBlogger's for their blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Thursday Update

 And look! She has a star wand! What does it mean?!
This was my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, and really, I did try to not blather on and on about it:) Then I talked to Mom this morning and she asked me, "Where did you get that picture?" And I told her I got it from her! She knew nothing about it!
This image is so charming that it caught my attention long ago. I've sent it to Mom by email a couple of times but she didn't comment on it and we moved on to other more pressing topics so it fell by the wayside. Until this week when I started reorganizing my photo file... again.
When Mom didn't know a thing about it, we came up with the idea to post it to the Facebook page, You Know You're From Frostburg When.... The group has been very helpful and just about everyone is interested in and passionate about Frostburg history.
Frostburg is the little mountain town in Western Maryland in Allegany County where all of my ancestors in the last three or four generations lived. Gosh, we have some lines that go back to the 1700s there, so Mom and I are always interested in whatever is going on about good old Frostburg. Recently I posted a photo of my great grandfather Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858-1939) in a fire fighter's uniform and you can see it here. In the blog post I explained how the same Frostburg Facebook group had been instrumental in our learning about his work with this important element of the Frostburg community. More recently we found out by way of a connection I made on the Facebook group that Joseph H. and two of his brothers, Peter and Frank, all served on the FFD. During the same time period, their brother-in-law, Enoch Clise was mayor of Frostburg, twice. 
Here's what the Facebook group had to say about this mystery photo:
I posted: BTW, if it helps, Mom's family went to the Congregational Church on Bowery and Dad's family went to St Michael's. That truly is all we know:)
Next came: It looks like a May Day celebration. The steeple of the Methodist Church on Main St. is in the back ground (I think).
Alternately: My guess and it's only a guess is it may have been a Confirmation at St. Mikes.
Here's another good guess: Looks like a Pageant of some sort to me. Some of the children are wearing what looks like adult clothes...note the dragging on the ground of the dresses and oh my the boy to the right's pants are almost coming off:) the Bishop looks to be about 12 or 13. Oh maybe a mock wedding look at the girl in front, she looks like she is wearing a wedding dress and the boys with the pillows could be ring bearers?
Then I posted: A mock wedding! That looks about right... and the kid with falling down pants might be the little groom:) I remember we did those in the 1950s when I was a kid. Always hard to find a groom and it usually turned out to be some one's little brother!
A couple more votes for May Day and a couple more for confirmation.


Am thinking that there could be a little problem with May Day... it's Fburg after all! Here's a photo I took back in 2006 during the second week of May. The foliage in the pageant photo looks a bit heavier, but then again it's black and white. And, this photo was taken on an overcast day, so probably not the best comparison.



May Day, confirmation celebration, or mock wedding. Doesn't really matter to me because it's all cute!

Because Mom knew nothing about the pageant photo I'm wondering if it came from the Kelly side of the family, and that's Dad's people. Looks like something the Kelly people would do:)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vacation Over!

This girl is getting back to work here under the Nut Tree! Summer is over and I woke up this morning ready to write. Was watching Anthony Bourdain's show, Parts Unknown, new season on CNN, and heard him talking about how his basic objective is to tell a good story. Yeah, it is. That's what I love about doing genealogy most, and I've always said it: I'm just in it for the stories.

My first step into the world of genealogy when Mom dragged me into this was to learn all the stories, many of which I'd heard all my life. The story of the Eckhart's land lost to the coal mining company was the first one I remembered. But this time around, and with Mom's research as a platform, I really dug in. My take is that it remains a dandy story and it's no wonder that the ancestors passed it down through five generations and still counting!

Did I tell you the story about my finding out that the Eckharts owned slaves? And before that I believed that none of our ancestors had owned slaves! No? I'll have to write about that and the other slave owners, all on Dad's side.

Now, through DNA testing Mom and I found out that we have .1% Sub-Saharan African DNA in exactly the same location on chromosome 10. There's got to be a story about how that got there. The Eckharts are on Dad's side but this Sub-Saharan African DNA show up through Mom.

And so the stories pile up around me, as I collect the threads that make up their whole cloth. I try to be patient as I hunt for particular records, or for cousins to pop up and share a hidden bit. Cousin Rich, for example, shares our passion for a group of ancestors who lived out on the frontier in the mountains of West Virginia. Now, because of his excellent work, he has evidence that our Hartley ancestors as well as the Biggerstaff ancestors helped supply the Revolutionary War.

A fellow from Australia just contacted Mom about a possible connection on our Williams line. We have been blocked there and not able to find out where my great great grandfather Daniel Williams' family went when they came from Wales to American in about 1870. This is a family of miners and our Daniel was a coal miner in Western Maryland, so that's a clue. But we've never been able to find his family. Perhaps this branch goes all the way to Australia. You can read about our search and the Mystery Photo here.

Meanwhile, I'm working putting together some stories Mom wrote about growing up in the town of Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. She's 95 now and sharp as a tack, aren't you Mom! And still writing. Got some of the pages laid out and realized that every time I needed to insert a photo, it was hiding from me! So I'm re-organizing my photo file... again. Now it will be easier to make blog posts that include pictures of Mom's aunts and uncles.

I do hope that your own summer was fun and that you enjoyed your time with family... and took lots of photos that you'll organize very well;)

Mom's Aunt Grace Whetstone Knowles (1893 - 1959), Uncle "Tad" Clarence Whetstone (1891-1976), and their mother Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" House Whetstone (1865-1947).

Aunt Zoe Whetstone Powell (1864-1948), Christmas morning, 1942. She was sister to Mom's grandfather Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858-1939).

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Sunday, September 8, 2013


I have been slacking off lately and not posting to the blog much. It's the end of summer and my summer slump, along with allergy stuff in my head, has made me feel like sometimes the last thing I want to do is write.

There are no end of excuses about why I haven't been posting to this blog, and I really could list them, from my dog passed away to I need to buy a sofa and did but the delivery got all screwed up and we cancelled the order so I have to start over again. But deep inside I know that it's simply the end of summer slump. Hey, man, it's too hot!

In a week or two I'll get going again and finish up the Surname Saturday from two weeks ago as well as the report on Mom's DNA relatives and her haplogroup and what percent Neanderthal she is. There's a bunch of fun stuff to write about... in a minute or a little while.

So my friends, let me say that I hope you had a wonderful summer, that the kids in your life are peacefully and blessedly back in school, and that we will soon all be thinking about pots of hot soup bubbling on the stove or in the crockpot while we keep our faces attuned to the glowing light of the computer screen in search of lost ancestors.

Now for one last nap in the hammock, and a cold beverage. Pass the chips, please!

Mom and her mother, left, Emma Susan Whetstone Williams (1897 - 1956).
I believe they are at the Potomac River in summer and that's Mom on the left with her hand in front of her face.
Summer: wonderful and magical summers of past: gone too soon.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: And sometimes you get worse than nothing

I like making contact with distant cousins through, or at least other people looking to connect about shared relatives. There's probably not a week that goes by when I don't get one of these messages. Sometimes it's a correction or update. Sometimes it's just reaching out with a "Hey, cousin!" message. Either way, it's all fun.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message with a correction and elaboration, asking how I was related to one particular individual on the Big Tree. Well, I had to stop and think but I was able to trace the lines back and over a bump or two and make the connection. Then we emailed back and forth a bit. She (the person on the other end of the emails) sent really long and friendly messages with a lot of personal details about her life. Lots of troubles, lots of grief... you know, the usual life lived hard. I sent back some encouraging words.

At some point she started telling me how she loved the detective work of genealogy and gave a couple of very long and elaborate examples of her sleuthing. She also wrote that she was thinking about going pro and charging for her services and had done so for some people. I sent back some encouraging words.

Now, I do like to write here on the blog, but after I do that and then some writing for Mom and her stories, I'm pretty much done, so I wasn't keeping up my end of the conversation with this new pen-pal, and I felt kinda' bad. So I told her as much... and she wrote back that I was not to worry because she could tell I was "so much fun." OK, I'm fun now and again. But not at the moment because it's allergy season and my head is stuffed up. But it was nice of her to say so.

At one point when she was saying how much she loved to help people with their genealogy problems and loved a good mystery I thought to ask her if she had any observations off the top of her head about that Mystery Photo of ours depicting the entire family of my GGF, Daniel Williams. Here's a link to a previous post about that. This link, which I gave to my new friend, explains about the photo and my research plan that yielded nothing. So I thought if this gal was loving the sleuthing maybe she might have an observation from a different perspective. So I asked her, if she wanted and had a spare moment, to read the post and please point out the errors of my ways:)

Off she went like a bull out of the shoot, covering ground we'd all covered long ago, well and good! I tried to slow her down but she was on it. Finally the other shoe fell: she sent me her rates!!!

Yikes! I told her to STOP NOW. That was not what I had asked for. I did not want to hire a professional. Mom and I like doing it ourselves. It's our tree done our way. I just wanted a fresh eye on a big problem. Mom and I would do the real work.

Is this a new marketing and sales strategy I don't know about? Are there people out there trolling trees looking for clients?

Anyone know anything about this approach?

Lois Williams Hedrick on left and Virginia Williams Kelly on right.
Ca. 1930s.

Many thanks to GeneaBlogger's for their blogging prompt called Wisdom Wednesdays.

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