Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013: Is it too late for a glance back?

Oh, dear. It's 2014! Where does the time go? And why do I feel at the end of the year that I could have done more, at least with genealogy? Actually, a lot went on last year, now that I think about it. Maybe it would help me feel better about myself if I took stock and made a list of all the blessings of the year gone by. Yeah, counting blessings always makes me feel better.

1. DNA Test Results

I just love you, 23andMe! It was about this time last year that I sent my $99 for a DNA kit. Back then, 23andMe was also offering health results along with the genealogy results. Lucky me for getting the test done then because I found that I have a rare inborn error of metabolism and can't process medium chain fatty acids. I'm just missing an enzyme to do that. I always knew something was screwy in that regard but good luck finding that particular needle in a haystack without something like 23ndMe to point me in the right direction. So here I am a year later waiting for my appointment with a geneticist and feeling way better because I now have more than a clue as to what is going on with me. Yes, lucky indeed!  What a big blessing right there.

If you still want your health results, go get tested at 23andMe and then upload your raw file to Prometheus. It only cost $5 and it's another way to either double check your health results or get your results if you missed the 23andMe open window. For more on Prometheus visit SNPedia. Cool, huh?

Now for a report on DNA cousins. I really am mystified by folks who say that don't find any matches by DNA testing. I have DNA cousins crawling out of the emails! Maybe I'm just lucky. Having a tree online and a list of surnames matched with places and date ranges speeds things along, I've found.

My favorite DNA cousin story from last year is the guy who is a fourth cousin and whose father was terminally ill. Mom and I were able to send him a packet of all sorts of interesting family tree info including reports, photos, and a story or two. His dad passed but we're still in touch.

Then there's the speedy connection cousin Angel and I made: match found in two emails! Land speed record, at least for both of us. That was a ton of fun.

This year I want to transfer test results to the other major players and see what happens.

2. Going Local

I just love it that my ancestors had the good sense to all congregate around the general vicinity of the little mountain town of Frostburg, in Allegany County, Maryland. The history buffs and genealogy addicts that focus a lot of energy there are wonderful, friendly, and can't do enough to help. Here are some links to a few of the people and organizations that make working there a happy place.

*The Genealogical Society of Allegany County and their newsletter, Old Pike Post. Go to.
I get a warm and cozy feeling when I think of this group and whenever their treasured newsletter arrives in my inbox. It used to arrive strictly by snail mail which meant that Mom got hers before I did and I'd have to listen and not know what she was talking about for three whole days! Harriet Moore keeps it going and runs the newsletter and I'm happy that she does. All that for only $12 a year!
* Our Brick Walls. Go to.
Here's an excellent example of the very best in grass roots genealogy! Run entirely by Genie Ragan, Editor by Default, and her band of merry volunteers, obits are indexed and entered in their entirety, Civil War Draft list form Allegany County is transcribed, and texts of wills and probate posted. What a cozy home-made web site!
* WHILBR, the Western Maryland Historical Library. Go to.
Although they cover Garrett County and Washington County, their resources on Allegany County are great. From the 1936 flood (which Mom remembers well because she had a new green dress for St. Patrick's Day) to African-American history, or even the 1872 tax rolls for Frostburg, It's all there and more.
* The Cumberland Road Project. Go to.
The old history of Allegany County was largely shaped by coal and transportation, and often the two worked hand-in-hand to move people. My Kelly, Williams, and Thomas people came because of the coal. My Eckhart ancestors were part of the National Road (also called the Cumberland Road.) In addition to important history of the area, this web site has lots of old photos, and you can see some of the little town of Eckhart here. Learning about the history of the area has been very important to my understanding of what my ancestors did and why they did it.

3. New to me cousins!

When I started out 2013 one of my goals was to craft more "cousin bait". Surname Saturday did more to further that task than anything else. Here's one post that caught me a Trimble cousin, and another that netted a Porter cousin. I trailed off doing those Surname Saturday posts because I felt it was getting too far out on the tree and back too many generations to be of much further use, but I might just have to get back to it. I have also thought about going around another time with updates on what's been found lately. And corrections. Yeah, there were mistakes. Yikes!

I often make contact with cousins through Mom's Big Tree on when they post a comment or send a message. Sure, it's only reaching the folks who have subscriptions, but for now I'll settle for that.

It's funny but I rarely make contact to anyone through the message boards. Wonder why that is? Are people using other avenues? Hmm, interesting.

4. All the work that Mom has done since the early 1970s. Go to.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that Mom got interested in genealogy and began her quest to link as many people as she could to our family's direct line. It took me a while to discern Mom's objective, but I think I've finally got it. (Sure, you're thinking why didn't I just ask her? That would have been too easy.)
She loves to find people and to that end of doing what she is passionate about, she sought out anyone and everyone that linked up to her tree, no matter how distant. In doing so she linked many of the original settlers of Allegany and Garrett Counties, along with the same in the Hampshire and Morgan Counties in West Virginia. Standing at over 70,000 individuals, it's a true Magnum Opus. It's not done and it's not perfect, as Mom will readily tell you, but as a distant cousin who is a genealogist with solid and thorough skills said to me, Mom has made an important contribution to the history of these families.

Well, yes, I do have a lot to be thankful about! Now I feel pretty good. Time to start 2014 in earnest.

Congregational Church Ladies' Aid Society Picnic.
Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. About 1938.

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