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# Monday, 24 April 2017
National DNA Day 2017: What It Is & Genetic Genealogy Sales To Look For
Posted by Diane


National Human Genome Research Institute

If you follow genealogy folks on Facebook, Twitter or blogs, you might've seen mention DNA Day. What, you wonder, is DNA Day?

National DNA Day is April 25. It commemorates two landmark events in human genetic research that happened in April:
The US Senate and House of Representatives officially proclaimed April 25, 2003, DNA Day. No formal proclamation has taken place since, but the National Human Genome Research Institute organizes annual DNA Day commemorations.

In ShopFamilyTree.com, we're having a sale on our webinar, DNA and the Paper Trail: Putting It All Together, on Tuesday, April 25. Use coupon code DNADAY10 to save $10 on your registration, and learn how to combine DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to discover your ancestors.

You also can save 81% on our Genetic Genealogy Mega Collection, which gathers educational tools like our Family Tree Guide to Genetic Genealogy and DNA Testing book, our Using DNA to Solve Family Mysteries video download and many more.

You'll also find sales at DNA testing companies, too. Here's a roundup of DNA testing sales for DNA Day 2017.

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Genetic Genealogy
Monday, 24 April 2017 13:29:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Find Ancestors in Free Probate Records on AmericanAncestors!
Posted by Diane




AmericanAncestors.org, the database website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is offering you free access to 32 of its probate records-related databases through next Tuesday, April 25.

You must register as a free guest member with AmericanAncestors.org in order to access the probate databases, which mostly come from New York and New England.

Click here to start searching.

Probate records, which relate to the distribution of a deceased person's estate, may include wills, estate inventories, guardianship papers and more. They often identify heirs and provide clues to family relationships—especially valuable in the time before birth and death records.

To help you decipher unfamiliar terms in your ancestor's probate records, here's our free Will & Probate glossary on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.

You can get help researching and understanding your ancestors' probate records in our on-demand video class Using Probate Records, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.

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court records
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 15:13:29 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Q&A With Randy Majors, Creator of Online Map & Search Tools Genealogists Love
Posted by Diane

Randy Majors is the inventor of the Historical US County Boundary Maps tool genealogists use to trace their ancestors' county boundary changes (we at Family Tree Magazine think it's so useful that we made it one of our 101 Best Websites for 2016).



AncestorSearch, which lets you run genealogy-specific advanced Google searches, is another one of his creations. Our intrepid reporter Sunny Morton tracked him down to ask a few questions about maps and genealogy.

Q. What inspired you to develop the county boundaries tool and AncestorSearch?
A. Both were born out of my own genealogy research: thinking there have got to be better, quicker, more efficient ways of performing tasks I do repeatedly.

Q. What’s your professional background?
A. In college, I got degrees in geography and GIS (geographic information systems) just as that technology was moving mainstream. I spent much of my early career developing interactive, computerized mapping tools for the energy industry. When I became interested in family history more than 10 years ago, I just applied my skill sets and interests in mapping and programming.

 
Q. So you love maps?
A.
I’ve been interested in maps forever. You know how other kids have lemonade stands? I had a map stand in third grade.

Q. Have you had personal research success success using your tools for genealogy?
A.
The county boundaries tool has mainly helped me overcome mistakes. How many of us have discovered we haven’t found something because we were looking in the wrong place?

With AncestorSearch, I’ve taken six or seven family lines back at least another generation. Despite how much is available on the big genealogy websites, it’s funny how often something is buried on a site you don’t expect. And a lot of people have messaged me about people they’ve found using AncestorSearch, including living lost cousins.

 
Q. What’s the Let’sWalkTo tool on your site?
A.
That one is not related to genealogy. It’s literally just another example of something I was interested in. My wife and I like to walk everywhere. When we go out to dinner we rarely drive, either where we used to live in Manhattan, NY, or now in Denver, Colo.

When I’m traveling, I use this tool, too. You enter your preferred walking distance and the address, and get a list of restaurants and bars to click on. You can filter for a specific type of food or entertainment and by price point. This is just a mash-up of walking distances and restaurant information on Google Maps, but it’s so useful.



Q. Tell us about a map hanging on your wall right now.
A.
Manhattan in 1836. Only the southern tip was populated and there was only forest land where Central Park is. I can see that a building that’s now several blocks in from the water was actually on the shoreline; so many of the old rivers are now partly filled in. This map reminds me how this island has been so hugely transformed.

 


Randy and Sunny teamed up on a May/June 2017 Family Tree Magazine article about using old maps to solve genealogy research problems. Get your copy of this issue today in ShopFamilyTree.com: It's available both as a PDF download or a print magazine!

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5 Questions Plus | Genealogy Web Sites | Maps
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 14:44:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 11 April 2017
23andMe Authorized to Provide 10 New Genetic Health Reports to DNA Customers
Posted by Diane


Genetic genealogy and health testing company 23andMe announced that the FDA has authorized the company to issue 10 new genetic health risk reports to customers. Those include Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Hereditary Thrombophilia, Celiac Disease and others (see the rest of the authorized report and a description of each condition in this 23andMe blog post).

The FDA in 2013 ordered 23andMe to stop offering its health analysis, which informed test-takers about their risks for 254 diseases and conditions, because the company hadn't proven its tests were "analytically or clinically validated." After negotiations with the FDA, 23andMe began offering more-limited health-related reports in 2015.

To obtain the FDA's authorization for the new reports, 23andMe "conducted extensive validation studies for accuracy and user comprehension that met FDA standards," according to its blog. The FDA also established a new authorization pathway for future 23andMe reports that are "substantially equivalent" to those already approved, which should facilitate reports on additional conditions.

The company will release the new set of genetic health risk reports in April. New customers will receive the reports when they're available. Customers who've already tested should look for an email from 23andMe about their eligibility to receive the new reports (this has to do with your geographic location and the genotyping "chip" used for your original test). See more details on the 23andMe blog.

Learn how to use DNA testing in your genealogy research from our guidebook, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.

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Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 11:15:21 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 05 April 2017
6 Records to Trace Ancestors Who Served in World War I
Posted by Diane

The United States declared war on Germany 100 years ago this month, on April 6, 1917, joining the side of the Allies in the Great War. See all the countries caught up in the conflict in our timeline of World War I war declarations.

More than 650,000 from Canada and Newfoundland and about 4 million from the United States served in the military. These are two of the US Expeditionary Force soldiers in my family:

 

On the left is Joe Seeger, who enlisted September 1917; and on the right is his brother Norbert (with their father), who enlisted July 1918.

Loss of WWI Service Records in NPRC Fire
When you go to research your WWI ancestors' military service, you'll make a sad discovery: More than 80 percent of US Army service records for those discharged between Nov. 1, 1912 and Jan. 1, 1960 (which includes WWI soldiers) were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Archives' National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. (You can request surviving WWI service records following these instructions.)

But there are other ways to trace your ancestor's WWI service, including:

1. Draft Registration Cards
More than 24 million men (including immigrants who hadn't naturalized) registered for the draft in 1917 and 1918, although not all of them served. These are widely available on genealogy websites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.

2. State Adjutant General Rosters
Most states issued a roster of soldiers in World War I. Both Joe and Norbert are listed in The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the World War, 1917-18, on Ancestry.com as Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918. 



3. WWI Transport Service Records
Fold3 just published this collection of passenger lists of military transport ships. Norbert was listed with Supply Co. 336, leaving New York City Oct 27, 1918, and arriving in Liverpool Nov. 8. I had to scroll through the records to find a page with a date and ports.



He was on another ship Nov. 11, but I can't find a page noting where it took him. His last transport took him home: The USS Orizaba departed Brest, France, July 29, 1919, and arrived at Newport News, Va., Aug. 6.

4. Discharge Papers
Most discharged service members registered with their local courthouses on return to their communities. I can't find my WWI servicemen among the veteran discharges in FamilySearch's records for Hamilton County, Ohio, so here's the record for another man:



5. Veterans Surveys
Many communities asked local veterans to complete surveys about their service in the World War. My cousin three times removed Louis E. Thoss filled out this one for the Kentucky Council of Defense (it's now part of the Kenton County Public Library's genealogy database).



The US Army Military History Institute also has a collection of WWI veterans questionnaires completed in the late 1970s, along with photos, letters, memoirs and other materials.

6. Military Headstone Application
When Joe died in 1941, his sister applied for a military headstone based on his WWI service. These are on National Archives microfilm, and digitized on Ancestry.com.



You'll find more ways to research your World War I ancestors in these articles:
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Ancestry.com | FamilySearch | Fold3 | Military records | World War One Genealogy
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 14:54:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]