Friday, April 27, 2012

Combining maps, biographies, real estate ads to find the house of Elias Alley

 I always like to start from what is known or what can be known, and to move from there to make logical connections. Often very little is known, so researchers have to creatively milk that tiny bit of information for all it is worth.

In tackling the question of where Elias Alley (born 1738 in New Rochelle, New York)  lived in Dutchess County in the late 1700's, I looked first to the family history as written up in Settlers of the Beekman Patent by Frank J. Doherty. A very good description of Alley's property is given. It was located in an area close to Todd Hill Road and Sprout Creek. I looked these places up on a few maps online, and found some good images of Todd Hill Road. I could see the area  that would have been owned by Alley. There is even a road called "Alley Road."

I did an online search for "Alley" at Todd Hill Road, and came up with a beautiful set of pictures of the Alley home, which happens to be for sale. The architecture is shown inside and out in the advertisement, and there is a good historical description as well, with a reference to Doherty's work on the family.

This isn't the first time that I have had such luck. A number of very old homes are for sale around the U.S., and because they are pricy, they get lots of space on a realtor's website, with photos and descriptions. You just have to catch a chance to view the images during the sale time.

The next step--to identify where the neighbors lived and which ones might be related. Since Alley moved away before the 1790 census, leaving son John in charge, according to Doherty, finding John in the census might be the logical next step, but of course it is not as easy as that. Either it wasn't John listed as head of household, or he is not clearly indexed-- more questions than answers there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Admixture models (PLURAL!) will take your data at Gedmatch

I can hardly keep up with the new features that keep appearing at
There are new,  well-designed models for admixture of your genetic heritage available at Gedmatch. Just put in your kit number (assuming you have had your DNA tested), if you have already put your data in the system--and if you haven't, be sure to upload it according to the instructions--it is simple. Then click and wait.

You can choose to have results analyzed by Magnus Ducatus Lituaniae Project feature.. The blog which explains it is available here: Ducatus project. 

Or you can enter your data into the Davidski Eurogenes K12 feature for admixture analysis.

Or you can use the Dienekes Dodecad admixture feature.

Or, of course, try using all three and compare the results. All three provide chromosome painting.

They are all amazing and your results appear immediately.

The results show up in a color pie graph broken down into heritage areas: Paleo Mediterranean, East Eurasian, West Eurasian, Caucasian, South Asian, etc.

 See how your heritage looks according to this model.See

And...there is a new feature at for comparing segments from two people on one chromosome. It is so much easier than piling everything into a chromosome browser and scanning for results in common with someone else.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Genealogy--it's Everywhere! Books, film...

Genealogy allows us a window through which to observe our culture, our history, our family, our traits. It isn't just a science of who begat whom, although I am convinced that it is the best logic puzzle ever discovered. We see politics, traditions, social structures, and much more through the simple framework of the genealogy search. Our ancestors were usually not just our ancestors, but also the ancestors of many others. We can find distant cousins, or choose not to do so, but at the very least we can place our ancestors in the fabric of the life that went  before.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Find the mother-in-law's name in the newspapers!

Well, not all the time. But you can find great information in digital historical newspapers. Today I was looking for the ancestors of Adolph Law Voge, who was a scientist and a genealogist. I'm interested in his ancestry to make some sense of all of the information he collected. There is little information on the internet for the lines he was less interested in. I knew his grandfather was Harvey G. Law, so I looked for Harvey in the newspapers. I tried the Fulton Historical Postcards website first  (a good site for NY newspapers), and saw a lot of hits--over a hundred. I scrolled down the margin, and low and behold, I found the the funeral announcement for his mother-in-law, and learned that the gathering to be held at his home. Her name matched the name I had seen near his in a census listing, so it all made sense. With that name, I was able to search a few family trees and find the mother-in-law's ancestry, thus extending my knowledge of the tree for Adolph Law Voge.See these newspapers at: Old Fulton NY Postcards