Friday, November 25, 2011

How is FTDNA Family Finder doing these days?

Family Finder at FTDNA is doing very well lately. Most customers have many matches, and can get at least some sense of their family history. Customers correspond with their matches who help to narrow down who might be those elusive ancestors in the family tree, or at least where they might they have come from, and so on. It is not yet easy to find a new ancestor, but it is clear that as the matches increase (more customers) that those family trees will become easier to define.
And the FTDNA forums always have good posts, with up-to-date information and discussions about all of the aspects of finding matches, communicating with matches, and making sense of the genetics behind it all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abstracts of wills don't tell the whole story

Will abstracts are great, but the material is incomplete. Sometimes inferences are made by researchers that cause all sorts of complicated confusion on family trees online.
I find the will of Lucas Teeple to be a good example.

Just one of the problems in putting together the Teeple/Vosseller connection of Somerset, New Jersey, has been the confusion caused by misinterpreting the will abstract.
The  abstract indicates that "Peggy" is a daughter. But somehow this daughter "Peggy" has been identified by researchers as the wife.  She is actually a granddaughter of Lucas.  Mary is the wife. Peggy is the granddaughter.
Sometimes we can't get hold of the wording of a will, and thus we have to rely on an abstract. But the will transcription, or even better, the will scanned,  is always the best option.
Even with the will transcription, I have found two versions. One has Lucas giving guns to his grandsons, and the other has him giving guns and animals to his grandsons.

The abstract:
Lucas Teeple, of Bridgewater, whose will, dated 20 Aug 1764 (codicil, 16 Nov 1773), prob. 26 Jan 1774, names wife Mary and ch.:
      I John and his son, Luke
     II Christopher and his eldest son, Luke
     III Peter and his son, Luke
     IV Ursula, m. John Appleman
      V Peggy and her sons. Sons-in-law John Meyer and Jacob Fusler, and the latter's son, Luke

The will itself, as transcribed:

New Jersey Calendar of Wills, 1771-1780
New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol 34, 1931

p. 144 (from Lib. L, p. 85)
     1764, Aug 20. Dieppel, Lucas, of Bridgewater Township, Somerset Co.; will of. The 120 acres of land where I live to be sold, and my wife to have 1/3 the amount and £100 more. Eldest son, John, the land where he lives that joins William Graham, and contains 50 acres. After my wife, Mary, has been paid, then the rest to be given to my sons, Christopher Teaple and Peter Teaple, and my son-in-laws, Jacob Fusler and John Meyer. Daughter, Ursula, wife of John Appleman, a silver tankard. Executors - son, Christopher Teaple and John Appleman. Witnesses - Andrew Leake, Daniel Castner, Sidney Berry.

     1773, Nov 16. Codicil. My wife, Mary may live on the place, and my son's daughter, Peggy, who lives with us, to have a good outset when 18. My son, Christopher's eldest son, Luke, to have my gun. My son, Peter's son, Luke, a gun, and my son John's son, Luke, £3. My son-in-law Jacob Fusler's son, Luke, £3. Witnesses - Daniel Castner, Jacob Castner, Philip King. Proved Jan. 26, 1774.

     1774, Jan 19. Inventory, made by John Haas and Daniel Castner. Bond due from John Teeple, Jacob Lang and George Teeple for £70

Journal articles online for Keuka Lake/Crooked Lake

A great find for the Finger Lakes researcher:
If you have an interest in the Keuka Lake/ Crooked Lake region of New York, there is an excellent resource for the history of the area and of specific individuals who lived there. It is called The Crooked Lake Review. There are also articles about the Seneca Indians, and cultural matters such as the introduction of Christianity. I found a scanned diary for a settler in the area, and many other fascinating works. The authors know how to write, and have done their research.
While many historical organizations ask for fees for articles, and do not put the articles online, this organization has put all the articles online for free. Just click on a date and see what was published. Or search for any term in the search box.
Article title examples include: "Counterfeiting: a Rochester Way to Wealth," "The Pioneer Settler upon the Holland Purchase, and his Progress," "Welcome to Iroquoia: A Review of the Literature," "St. George, the Serpent, and the Seneca Indians."
Image from:

Friday, November 11, 2011

When jumping over the pond, look to rootschat!

Rootschat is an amazing website for searching for ancestors in the United Kingdom. The site is extremely well organized, and searches are very easily done. You can look in an area, or by surname. Beyond that, it is a very convivial place to exchange information. Researchers help each other with a very high level of expertise. I have had some excellent help in breaking through brick walls. And even beyond that, there is an element of camaraderie. When you register, you get a simple profile, and if you take a look at the posts, you will find people helping people and having fun doing that. If you are going to research any ancestor in the UK, and you can't find all that you need, this is a site to be sure to check in to. It is free.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

HIR search

A very simple website for comparing autosomal DNA results against those of many other individuals is Leon Kull's HIRsearch. You submit your data from the testing company, and you are welcome to use a pseudonym. You can compare your results on any chromosome or you can see overall the names of your best matches, and to what degree there is a match.
Strangely, the website seems to be falling off of the general radar for search engines, yet can still be accessed through links on other websites.


Update December 2011: HirSearch is once again easily found with search engines. Thank goodness!