Saturday, April 22, 2017

Six Years of Blogging!

This is blog post 392 over the past six years. Although I have slowed down, I hope to continue with at least two to four posts a month.

As I recently noted in a comment on another geneablogger's post about the slowing down of genealogy blogging (see Julie's Genealogy and History Hub), it was easier to blog when I started this blog - sharing census records and some of the many photographs was relatively easy and fun.

Now that I spend my genealogy time exploring my DNA matches and trying to contact them, I don't manage to find as much time to write blog posts, unless I get really excited about a new discovery.

Some of my favorite blog posts from the past year include:

Dad's Pet Goat
From July 2016: Dad's Pet Goat - This is now the fifth top-viewed post of all time on this blog.

From September 2016: David Freeland - 4th Great-Grandfather - I confirmed his burial location this year, as well as expanded the branch of his family tree with more descendants!

A follow-up to my November 2016 post about the Short Snorter with my Dad's signature - one of my brothers purchased it to give to another brother so it is now in the family!

From December 2016: DNA ~ Visual Phasing is one of my favorites of the year (for the DNA geneageeks in my audience). I have almost completed this project for all the chromosomes for me and my two brothers. I hope that known family members who have tested at AncestryDNA will upload their DNA to FamilyTreeDNA or GEDmatch which both have chromosome browsers. This will help me to fully complete this project and help me figure out how I am related to the genetic matches who contact me.

From March 2017: I Found My Great-Grandfather on DeadFred!

Looking ahead, I have taken advantage of the DNA sales going on right now and have purchased DNA tests for my sons. (Son #1 actually asked about it!) With three of their four grandparents having tested, it will be interesting to see how much DNA they share with each grandparent and with their uncles!

Next week I will be at NERGC and I will blog about it. (To get in the mood for NERGC, see my interviews with The Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor and Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard.)

Thank you for continuing to read my blog and I hope to keep sharing family photos, family finds, and educational DNA posts.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Searching for Adsit in The Courier-Journal just updated its collection of issues from The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY). (Click on the image to go right to searching this newspaper. This is a subscription website.) My great-grandmother was born in Kentucky and I have found her in this newspaper in the past. (See Bowmie Ashby's 1890 Wedding.)

The update includes issues into the 21st century with the Plus subscription, but I haven't found any close relatives much past the following 1918 find.

Since I am easily distracted into doing newspaper research, I decided to see what I could find by searching on Adsit, one of my more unusual ancestral surnames.

Friday, March 31, 2017

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities

AncestryDNA released a new feature this past week: Genetic Communities. They have put together a short video at YouTube that introduces this new feature.

Other genealogy bloggers with particular expertise in DNA have shared information about Genetic Communities:
Blaine Bettinger: AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities are Finally Here!
Roberta Estes: Genetic Communities
Kitty Cooper: Genetic Communities at Ancestry are live

When I visit my AncestryDNA page, the page has been slightly reconfigured with part of the page displaying the following image:

When I click on "View Your Genetic Ancestry," I can explore my ethnicity estimate (which I wrote about here and here) and explore my genetic community. (I only have one right now, but hope there will be more.) The ethnicity estimate displays deep ancestral roots, going back thousands of years; genetic communities suggests where ancestors may have come from within the past 200-300 years.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Found My Great-Grandfather on DeadFred!

DeadFred is a "genealogy photo archive," a website where people upload old photos to connect them with family members. Visitors can easily search to see if they recognize anyone and request that a photo of a relative be mailed.

I have known about this website for a long time and every once in a while, will check to see if one of my relatives has a photo there. Last week, I was reminded of the site and entered a few family surnames into the search box. Imagine my surprise when I found one identified with the name Lowell Copeland!

I contacted the person who posted the photo and he mailed it to me. When I asked him where he found the photo, he wrote: "Found 7+ years ago in an antiques mall in Berkeley Springs WV." (I have no idea how it got to West Virginia!)

The photographer is Ritz & Hastings, at 147 Tremont St. in Boston. The website Broadway Photographs has a page about this photographer which helps me narrow down the date of the photo to 1882-1884, when Lowell Copeland was 20-22.

As far as I know, Lowell Copeland did not attend college. His brother, Charles Townsend Copeland (Copey of Harvard), graduated from Harvard College in 1882, so perhaps this photograph was taken on a visit to Boston for his brother's graduation.

On the back, the name is written in distinctive handwriting, but I have not found this handwriting in my other records.

Besides the fact that Lowell Copeland is a relatively uncommon name, I recognized him because of another photograph that I have which was taken a few years earlier.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ Davenport of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

My earliest known Davenport ancestor is Thomas Davenport, who was in Dorchester, Massachusetts, by 1640, when he became a church member. He was married by 1643, as his oldest child was born in December of that year. His wife's name was Mary, but I have not found confirmation of her surname.

According to the Dawes-Gates genealogy, Thomas Davenport appears in plenty of early records, including several land purchases, in 1653, 1659, and 1665. Records also indicate that he served as a fence viewer, assisted in laying out a "highway" in 1677, and served as a constable for a few years.

His property was near Mount Bowdoin, seen in the middle of the map at right (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Thomas Davenport and his wife Mary had ten children: Sarah, Thomas, Mary, Anna, Charles, Abigail, Mehitable, Jonathan, Ebenezer, and John. His oldest son Thomas died on December 19, 1675 fighting in King Philip's War.

He died on November 9, 1685. His will was proved on February 4, 1685/86, but his estate wasn't settled for another 35 years, after the death of his administrator, his son, Charles.

I descend from his eighth child and third son, Jonathan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday's Tip ~ Massachusetts Town and Vital Records at

I have been researching my Davenport ancestry and have gotten back to 17th century Dorchester, Massachusetts. has a very useful database called the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988. From the description of the database:
Massachusetts boasts some of the oldest and most extensive records in the United States, and some documents in this database go back to the colony’s earliest days. They were made more readily accessible through the efforts of Jay and DeLene Holbrook. About 30 years ago, the Holbrooks began filming vital and town records in Massachusetts. To date, the Holbrooks have visited 315 of the state's 351 towns and cities and filmed their records collections.
I am looking for the marriage record for my 7th great-grandparents, Jonathan Davenport and his wife Hannah. I found four versions of their marriage record in this database because it had been copied several times. I am guessing that the first image is the original. The last one was obviously created in the 20th century.

Dorchester Births Marriages, Deaths, 1646-1682

Monday, February 6, 2017

NERGC Interview ~ Diahan Southard

The 14th biennial New England Regional Genealogical Consortium will be held in Springfield, Massachusetts from April 26-29. Visit the website for all the conference information and register before February 28 to get the early bird discount!

Several New England Geneabloggers were invited to interview some of the speakers and I have the pleasure of sharing my interview with Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard.

Following are the questions I posed and her answers:

Elizabeth Handler: What got you interested in genealogy and how long have you been doing it?

Diahan Southard: Genetics actually got me interested in genealogy. It started back in college in 1998 when I first heard the idea that we could create a database of genetics and genealogy that would help us identify how we were related to others, and help us find out where in the world we came from. That project eventually became the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), the first of its kind.

EH: Your bio says you have spent 15 years in the genetic genealogy industry. I didn’t realize that genetic genealogy was even a “thing” in 2002. What did you do in the early years?

DS: In the early years I worked for SMGF in various capacities. I spent a good deal of time working for their for-profit arm, called Relative Genetics. I did everything from the actual lab work, to the computer analysis, to sales and marketing, to training the executive team (a bunch of business guys) on what exactly DNA had to do with genealogy.

EH: One of your sessions at NERGC is “Your DNA in Action: Real Time, Hands-On Fun” (a great title). Can you share anything about this session?

DS: I am always excited to break out of the traditional lecture mode. It is so much more fun to have hands-on, real life experiences. I find that even if you pay very close attention in a lecture and take copious notes, when you get home and look at your computer and your actual results, things just look different. So here is a chance for you to sit down with your own results and do as I am doing - and ask all of your questions along the way.

EH: Many genealogists will recognize you from Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems podcast, where you explain various DNA concepts in easy-to-understand segments (pardon the pun). When and how did you start participating in her podcasts?

DS: Isn't Lisa the best!! She and I are so similar in our style, enthusiasm and passion that when we first met at the Florida Genealogical Societies Conference in the spring of 2014 we knew we were meant to work together. That very day, when the conference was over, I sat down with Lisa and Sunny and we talked about all the fun ways we could combine our talents to create fun and easy to understand content for other genealogists. We decided right away that I would blog and podcast for her, and that I would write DNA quick sheets that she would publish. This partnership has far exceeded my expectations and I continue to learn and benefit from Lisa's knowledge and expertise. When I grow up, I want to be just like her!

EH: Have you attended NERGC in the past? What are you most looking forward to at NERGC 2017 (besides enjoying the company of hundreds of other genealogists)?

DS: I have, actually! It was many many moons ago. It was when I was working for Relative Genetics, I believe, and I came to NERGC to man a booth and talk to genealogists about this new thing called Genetic Genealogy. I just love the northeast and its natural beauty. I am excited to see real Spring, since here in Florida we kind of skip over that season.

Diahan will be teaching the following sessions at the conference:
Your DNA in Action: Real Time, Hands-On Fun (Saturday 10:00-11:00 a.m.)
Your DNA and Your Origins (Saturday 3:15 - 4:15 p.m.)

She is also teaching "Five Tips to Make Sense of Your DNA Testing" at the Pre-Conference Beginning DNA Day, which will be on Wednesday, April 26, and requires an additional registration. The conference brochure suggests that you register early for this Beginning DNA Day because seats are limited.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

NERGC Interview ~ Maureen Taylor

The 14th biennial New England Regional Genealogical Consortium will be held in Springfield, Massachusetts from April 26-29. Visit the website for all the conference information and register before February 28 to get the early bird discount!

Several New England Geneabloggers were invited to interview some of the speakers and I have the pleasure of sharing my interview with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.

Following are the questions I posed and her answers:

Elizabeth Handler: Please share some of your background that has given you the experience of being able to analyze family photographs.
Maureen Taylor: I began my career in the Graphics Department of the Rhode Island Historical Society. The collection consisted of all sorts of non-print materials including photographs. Advanced study through workshops increased my knowledge of pictures. Genealogists would come to the library to research their family but never asked about any possible pictures of their ancestors. I worked to change that.

I’m always reading about old photos, attending conferences and talking to colleagues. Plus I seem to be addicted to collecting images as well. <LOL> There is no end to the fascinating details present in pictures. Everyday is a new experience. Every new picture brings a piece of history to light.

EH: You have written many books, including two books with photographs of Revolutionary War Solders: The Last Muster, volumes 1 and 2. Are you still receiving more photos of these 18th century individuals? Is a volume 3 in the works?
MT: When I began searching for these photos I thought there couldn’t be too many of them in the world. Was I wrong! Yes, I’m planning on a volume three. A big thank you to everyone that brings these images to my attention. So far I’ve found more than 200 pictures (photographs and engravings based on pictures).

EH: I love your books that include pages upon pages of old photos. Are most of the photos yours or have you had success with getting people to share photos with you (like I did in your Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats book)? [Note: I shared two photos with Maureen for this book. I recently blogged about them here and here.]
MT: I’ve been collecting images for about 20 years. Occasionally a collector will share images with me for a book when I don’t have a suitable picture in my collection. That happened with Bonnets and Hats. A collector I know shared several pictures of men in interesting hats! I have a file on wedding images and over the years many people have sent me pictures for that project. Now all I need is more time to put it together.

EH: How long do you spend working with a client on analyzing an old family photograph? Or is it completely different for every client?
MT: Clients that sign up for consults receive my expertise in a fifteen minute conversation. What’s not covered it that short block is the time I’ve spent getting ready for the call researching details and verifying the details in their family history. The amount of time I spend on each picture depends on the images.

EH: How many times have you attended NERGC?
MT: I think I’ve only missed one!

EH: What are you most looking forward to at NERGC 2017 (besides enjoying the company of hundreds of other genealogists)?
MT: I love reconnecting with all the people I’ve met over the years. There is a nice energy to regional conferences. It’s like a big family reunion! Can’t wait for it.

In addition to having a booth at the Exhibit Hall, Maureen will be teaching the following sessions at the conference:
Fashion Clues to Understanding Who Your Ancestors Really Were (Friday 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.)
Workshop: Photo Detecting 101: Photo Identification Tips and Techniques (Friday 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wordless Wednesday ~ Two Unknown Men, Tintype

This tintype is about 3" x 4.25". I know it came from my mother's family, but I don't know for sure which grandparent it came from, so he could be a relative on the Copeland or Greeley line (my grandfather) or the Hunter or Lysle line (my grandmother).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wordless Wednesday ~ Unknown Man, Tintype

This framed tintype is about 2" by 2.5". I know it came from my mother's family, but I don't know for sure which grandparent it came from, so he could be a relative on the Copeland or Greeley line (my grandfather) or the Hunter or Lysle line (my grandmother).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday ~ M. B. Adsit and C. C. Adsit Jr. Circa 1893

The back has my grandmother's distinctive handwriting:

M. B. Adsit (Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit)
C. C. Adsit Jr. (Charles Chapin Adsit, Jr.)

(The very light penciled handwriting in the upper right-hand corner is my handwriting, clarifying that this is Mary B. A. Adsit (1866-1956), though since I wrote that, I learned that she was older than she said. See Matrilineal Monday ~ My Kentucky Great Grandmother.)

This is the older brother and mother of Elizabeth Adsit (1897-1983), my paternal grandmother. Charles, Jr. was born in July 1892, so this photograph was taken before his younger sister was born, likely in late 1893.

Max Platz was a well-known Chicago photographer in the late 19th century. He died in early 1894 and his studio was continued by a business associate, according to his obituary.