Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bonus Birthplaces in the 1865 Massachusetts State Census

The availability of state censuses varies tremendously. They were usually taken in between federal censuses. State censuses for 1855 and 1865 are the only ones that survive for Massachusetts.

While working on the last assignment for my ProGen Study group, I realized that I had never looked for my Willis and Wells family in these state censuses. It turns out that the family didn't move from New Hampshire to Massachusetts until after the 1855 Massachusetts census enumeration.

But here they are in 1865, living in Brookline.

1865 Massachusetts State Census, Norfolk County, population schedule, Brookline, p. 88, dwelling 499, family 620, Benjamin Willis; image, Ancestry ( : accessed 15 May 2019).

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

AncestryDNA Ethnicity

Reading a blog post from Dick Eastman referencing an update to Ancestry's ethnicity results prompted me to take a look at mine this morning. And yes, my ethnicity, according to AncestryDNA, has changed yet again. (Update: In a later post, Dick Eastman notes that Ancestry updated many users' ethnicity estimates in the fall 2018 but some users are still being transitioned into the new estimates and if you want to save your old ones, you have just a few weeks to do so.)

Don't be surprised. AncestryDNA has added more regions, and more importantly for my changes, more reference samples (i.e. the number of tested people from around the world whose ancestors have lived in the same place for generations).

Following is a history of my ethnicity estimates according to AncestryDNA.

I first tested in November 2011, when Ancestry was offering DNA tests to subscribers for the cost of shipping. I blogged about my initial results in April 2012 and shared this screenshot:

My genetic ethnicity (according to April 2012 AncestryDNA results)


By October 2013, Ancestry had updated its ethnicity estimates.

My updated genetic ethnicity (according to October 2013 AncestryDNA)


In March 2017, Ancestry added Genetic Communities, but my ethnicity estimates were still the same.


And today, my ethnicity estimates look only a little different.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Eight Years of Blogging!

I started From Maine to Kentucky eight years ago. No real excuse for not blogging much recently, but I have been busy participating in the online ProGen Study Group, working my way through Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

As I look back on what I shared since last April, I see that I did participate in quite a few 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts (writing prompts courtesy of Amy Johnson Crow). Some of my favorite blog posts of the past year include:

Aunt Mary Fights Standard Oil, where I corroborated a family story about my maternal grandmother's sisters with newspaper articles from 1952.

Ogontz School Yearbook 1926, where I shared my grandmother's yearbook page and included the names of her 41 classmates in hopes that someone searching for their ancestor's name will find it.

Paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Adsit
Grandparents of my Grandparents, where I shared childhood photographs of each of my grandparents and reported on which of their grandparents I believe that they knew. (See Libby's photo at right.)

Great-Grandmother was a Golfer, where again I corroborated a family story about Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit with newspaper reports from between 1898 and 1903 (where she is named as Mrs. C. C. Adsit).

And of course all my NERGC posts: I interviewed three genealogists who lectured at the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium Conference: Elissa Scalise Powell, Shellee Morehead, and Lindsay Fulton.

I also blogged about my three days at the conference: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

I do have more family stories and photographs that I hope to share in the coming months. Thank you to those who continue to follow my blog.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

NERGC 2019 ~ Day 3

This last day of NERGC was again, a very busy day. (See NERGC Day 1 and NERGC Day 2.)

I heard Ann G. Lawthers speak about Colonial Migration Patterns which is inspiring me to think about researching some of my more distant ancestors in New England, as well as those ancestors who migrated from Virginia to Kentucky after the Revolution. An interesting takeaway is that, before the Revolution, it was the German and Scots-Irish immigrants who tended to be farmers with pioneering skills, willing to venture further inland.

I then got to meet and introduce D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NY&GB) before he spoke about Pathways from New England to New York. This is one of those subjects I need to explore in order to understand hows and whys of the migration of some of my ancestors who moved from New England into or through New York on their way to places further west. For example, the Adsits, Chapins (paternal side) and Greeley (maternal side) went to Chicago, Illinois. Some family lines continued further west.

D. Joshua Taylor
Saturday's luncheon had another great speaker, Robert Charles Anderson of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), speaking about the Great Migration Study Project that he has managed for thirty years.

Friday, April 5, 2019

NERGC 2019 ~ Day 2

Today at the NERGC conference, I was extremely busy with learning and connecting with genealogists.

Donna Moughty
I started with Seeking Your Scots-Irish Ancestors with Donna Moughty, an experienced Irish genealogist. I believe I have some Scots-Irish ancestors (James McAlpin and Jane Hunter on my paternal side and Samuel Hunter on my maternal side) and wanted to learn more about this group of people who initially came from Scotland into Northern Ireland, then to America.

Donna is a fabulous speaker who really knows her stuff. She provided lots of resources.

I volunteered for an hour in the exhibit hall at the booth for NEAPG, the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. (I forgot to take a photo of this booth.) Are you looking for a professional genealogist to help you with your New England research? Are you looking for a speaker or a teacher in genealogy? Or are you a longtime professional genealogist or an aspiring professional genealogist looking for camaraderie and support? Check out their website.

Jenifer Bakkala, president of NEAPG
The luncheon, hosted by NEAPG, was their "Table Talk" luncheon and I hosted a table for those interested in discussing Jewish Genealogy. If you don't know, my husband has Jewish ancestry and my other blog, A Jewish Genealogy Journey, shares some of the stories and interesting finds that I have made while researching his ancestry.

After lunch, I volunteered again in the exhibit hall, this time for MSOG, the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, for which I am the current recording secretary. It's great to meet other genealogists and encourage them to take advantage of what MSOG can offer.

MSOG booth in Exhibit Hall
If you have Massachusetts ancestors or if you live in Massachusetts, you're a member, right? I hope to see you at a MSOG chapter meeting soon!

Next, I heard Kathryn Lake Hogan, a well-known Canadian genealogist, speak about I've Got a Loyalist in the Family?! She provided a good history of what happened to those who were not Patriots at the end of the Revolutionary War as well as provided useful research resources - both online and on the ground. (I need to visit Nova Scotia one of these days...)

I then attended Proving It! Arguing Conclusions Without Direct Evidence with Nora Galvin. She walked through one example of resolving several items of conflicting direct evidence to come to a conclusion about a woman's maiden name and her marriage date. Her other case study was an example of using several items of indirect evidence to solve a research question about the parents of a Connecticut-born woman who died in 1941. That was a tricky one, but she did a great job of explaining the use of indirect evidence to come to a conclusion.

The Friday Banquet speaker was Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, whose topic was The Helen Marley Story, a case study using indirect evidence, along with mtDNA and atDNA to help identify the mother of his adopted great-grandmother. It took many years for all the evidence to come together, showing that sometimes genealogists need patience and time to solve some of our research questions.

Whew! An exhausting, but very interesting day!
(See NERGC Day 1 and NERGC Day 3.)