Friday, March 14, 2014

My connection to A.J. Jacobs in the global family tree!

Background Info

In case you haven't heard, A.J. Jacobs (author of The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and Drop Dead Healthy) has a new project: connecting himself to as many people as possible in the global family tree! So right now, tonnes of people are working on A.J.'s tree, trying to connect it to their own. All of this is leading up to the Global Family Reunion that will be held in New York on June 6, 2015.

I'm a huge fan of A.J. Jacobs, so I was super excited when I heard about this project! And even more excited when I met A.J. at RootsTech in February!


Yeah, that happened!

WikiTree's Global Family Reunion Project

This whole idea just happens to perfectly match WikiTree's goal of building one worldwide family tree, so it was only natural for us to start a Global Family Reunion Project there. That's been going extremely well, with all sorts of connections being made. You can get updates on our progress in the Google+ Community.

Finding My Connection

I'd been contributing to the tree where I could, and keeping an eye out for any French-souding names in hopes of finding a French Canadian connection. I got my hopes up when I came across a Toussaint family, but that led me back to an immigrant from the Netherlands.

Finally, a connection was found to a French Canadian family. As I expected would happen as soon as a French Canadian popped up, I very quickly connected that tree to mine! Erin had found the path from A.J. to Josiah Rising Raizenne. Josiah's great great grandson's wife is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed!

So, here's the path from me to A.J. Jacobs:

Lianne Lavoie (me) -> my father, Louis Gilbert Lavoie -> his mother, Clemence Wilhelmina Marguerite Richard -> her mother, Marie Alberta "Bertha" Daigneault -> her father, Narcisse Daigneault -> his father, Anselme Daigneault -> his father, Louis Daigneault -> his father, Pierre Deneau -> his father, Jacques Deniau -> his father, Pierre Deniau -> his brother, René Deniau -> his son, Jean-Baptiste Deniau -> his son, Joseph Deniau -> his daughter, Josephe Deniau -> her daughter, Marie Josephe "Angelique" Bissonnette -> her daughter, Angele Andre dit St. Amant -> her husband, Guillaume Seguin -> his father, Guillaume Seguin -> his father, Guillaume Seguin -> his mother, Marie Anne Raizenne -> her father, Josiah Rising Raizenne -> his father, John Rising -> his wife, Mary Claflin Rising -> her brother, Daniel Claflin -> his son, Robert Claflin -> his son, Daniel Claflin-> his daughter Phoebe Claflin Sprague -> her son, Almon Sprague -> his wife, Lucy Bentley Sprague -> her brother, Orlando Bentley -> his wife, Caroline Sears Bentley -> her sister, Elizaette Sears Austin -> her son, Duane S. Austin -> his son, Lloyd Austin -> his daughter, Gertrude Austin English -> her husband, James A. English -> his father, John Royal English -> his mother, Alice Parker Finnell -> her husband Ashford Bartlett Finnell -> his sister, Nora Finnell Ayers -> her husband, Frank C. Ayers -> his father, George Ayers -> his wife, Nancy Morrison Ayers -> her daughter, Nellie Crowley Kuntz -> her husband, Edward Kuntz -> his sister, Emma Kuntz Ferrell -> her daughter, Georgia Ferrell Hirsch Takacs -> her husband, Irwin Hirsch -> his mother, Harriet Friedenheit Hirsch -> her sister, Sophie Friedenheit Kingsbacher (AJ's 2nd great grandmother).

Or, to write that the (slightly) shorter way, I'm A.J.'s 1st cousins 3x removed's wife's uncle's wife's mother's husband's son's wife's brother's wife's grandson's wife's great great aunt's husband's sister's husband's great great great aunt's husband's great great great grandson's wife's 5th cousin 4x removed.

So, basically, we're practically cousins!


As for accuracy, the link from me back through my Deniau ancestors is all from my personal research, which I'm quite confident in. I think most of the path from Josiah Raizenne to A.J. Jacobs was done by members of the Global Family Reunion Project, and from what I've seen that means it's probably pretty solid. The remaining French Canadian bit of the path was already on WikiTree, and not well-sourced, but it does seem to match what's on Nos Origines, which seems to always be right.

So, I'm fairly confident in this path being accurate. But just to be safe, my next task as part of this project will be to go along this line adding all the sources I can, and branching out from it as well to help others connect to the global tree more easily.

I'm thrilled that my connection wound up being through my Daigneault line! The more recent part of that line, once they're in Manitoba, is a personal favourite of mine. I've often thought if I ever did a one name study it would probably be on the Daigneaults.

If you're interested in finding your connection to A.J. Jacobs, and you aren't already on WikiTree.com, I highly recommend signing up! It's free, and with so many connections being made to his tree there you're bound to find yours!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why I Love WikiTree


Here's why I love WikiTree! To see why other people love WikiTree (and to share why you do), check out the I Love WikiTree Photo Festival!

Honestly, it was hard to come up with an idea for this picture because there are so many reasons why I love WikiTree, and most of them would be hard to fit on a piece of paper. (They're more inclined to take the form of impassioned speeches.) But I think this captures at least one of those reasons: on WikiTree, you're not doing genealogy alone. People all over the world whose research overlaps are working together to break through their brick walls, and learn about their ancestor's lives. And there are WikiTreers with so many different areas of expertise that you're almost certain to find someone who can help you with a research problem.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Starting a mini one name study

Recently, I've started looking again at my Jackson line. Years ago, I traced it back from my grandpa to John Jackson, born around 1838 in Huddersfield, pretty easily. But as it turns out, finding more information about John Jackson, son of William Jackson, is no easy task. There are a LOT of John Jacksons in West Yorkshire!

Therefore, I've joined the new One Name Studies project on WikiTree. I've started a one name study of all Jacksons in and around Huddersfield. I know focusing on such a small area is a far cry from a full one name study, but even this is no small undertaking.

Basically what I'm doing is creating WikiTree profiles for all the Jacksons I find records for, whether or not I'm related to them. My hope is that this will help me to sort out all the different families. To give you an example of how important this detangling is, right now I'm looking at the records for Joseph Jackson and his wife Martha. I've tried to find their marriage record, and I've discovered that there were three couples named Joseph and Martha Jackson who got married in the 1830s in West Yorkshire. Seriously! So, I think this Martha might be Martha Scargill, based on the location, but she could also theoretically be Martha Moor or Martha Holdroyd, because they weren't too far away.

So wish me luck with this! And if you have Jackson ancestors in the Huddersfield area, let me know! Maybe we can work together to sort them out. Also, I ordered a yDNA test for my grandpa, so soon I might have another source of leads!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tracking Frances Armitage through the censuses

My great great great grandmother, Frances Armitage, was born around 1829 in Lockwood, Yorkshire, which is now part of Huddersfield. On 11 July 1847, she married William Broughton in nearby Almondbury. From her marriage record, I know that her father's name was Joseph Armitage.

With this knowledge, it was easy enough to find Frances and her family in the 1871 census. Once I looked on Ancestry I also quickly found them in the 1861 and 1881 censuses (Ancestry subscription required for those last two links). But I didn't have enough information to find Frances before her marriage.

I've found various records that seem promising based on the name, approximate birth date, and father's name, including a birth record on FamilySearch. They all have a mother named Martha. So I figured, if I could just determine that Frances' mother's name was Martha, it would be a pretty safe assumption that these other records belonged to her as well.

Enter the 1851 census (Ancestry link). The image is nigh unreadable, but looking at that and the transcription together I was able to figure out some things. Frances' family group was transcribed as William Broughton, age 30, head; Frances Broughton, age 23, daughter; Benjamin Wetherhill, age 24, lodger. Now, obviously this is a mistake in relationships, since Frances couldn't be William's daughter when she's only seven years younger than him.

But it all started to make sense when I looked at the people listed right before this family: Martha Armitage, age 61, head; Ann Armitage, age 15, son [weird...]; Richard Armitage, age 13, grandson. And, it appears that this household and the Broughton household are actually all at the same address! So, I figure that Frances Broughton is listed as daughter because she is actually the daughter of the head of the household, Martha Armitage, and for whatever reason William was listed as head instead of son-in-law.

So, the result of all this is that I'm reasonably certain that Frances' mother was named Martha, and therefore I'm reasonably certain that I have the right birth record, meaning I now have Frances' exact birth date! Next step: get her birth record from the parish records. This is a step I haven't taken yet in any of my English lines; I always just get back to the beginning of the civil BMD records and then stop and work on something else. This is because I tend to shy away from things that I can't do online. But eventually I'm going to want my English lines to go back pre-1830s, so this is definitely a skill I need to learn!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The brand-new Society for One-Place Studies

There's a Society for One-Place Studies now! While I'm disappointed that the free listing of one-place studies appears to be gone, at the same time I'm quite excited about the creation of this society, and have already joined and registered my one-place study.

For only £10 (currently about $16.37 Canadian) a year, plus a one-time registration fee of £10 for each study registered, you get access to the forum, a regular e-newsletter, an email alias (mine's lianne.lavoie@one-place-studies.org), and a page for your one-place study in the listing.

If you have a one-place study, you should consider joining. And if you don't have a one place study, you should consider starting one! They're a great way to add local context to your genealogy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My mtDNA results!

A few days ago, I got the results back from my Family Tree DNA mtFullSequence test, the most detailed mtDNA test available. It turns out I'm in haplogroup H1c1.

So, I guess the next step is to start contacting matches and seeing if we have any common names in our maternal lines. A few matches contacted me as soon as my results were ready, but sadly we haven't found any connections yet. But there are plenty left to try; I have 144 matches that match in HVR1, HVR2, and the coding region, and 45 of them are exact matches! Since apparently those have a 50% chance of being related to me within 6 generations, surely I must find something.

What I'd really like would be if everyone in my haplogroup had their maternal lines on WikiTree, so we could all easily compare and connect our trees together! I think I'll mention that idea to the people I talk to, and see if they'll either join and put up their tree, or give me a GEDCOM of their maternal lines that I could manage on WikiTree for them. A DNA project like that could be really interesting!

In the meantime, for the sake of anyone who finds this post when googling H1c1 because it's also their haplogroup, here's my direct maternal line. Do let me know if you see any names from your tree here!


updated live from WikiTree

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trying out FamilySearch's Family Tree

Note: I work for WikiTree, but this blog is my personal space and any opinions expressed here are not the official opinions of WikiTree. I am not paid to blog here. Obviously I have a bit of a bias caused by my undying love for WikiTree, but I have tried to keep an open mind when trying out new things.

After hearing a whole lot about Family Tree while at RootsTech, I decided to try it out. I figured I at least should have more experience with which to answer people who ask me "Why should I use WikiTree when Family Tree does the same thing?" (Spoiler alert: The answer is "Because they don't do the same thing.")

One of my great grandparents was already in the tree, so I started by adding just enough of my tree to connect to him.

Positive first impressions at this point include the fact that a whole line of my tree, from my great grandfather all the way back to my immigrant ancestor, was already on the site. Also, the graphical tree that you can drag around and expand pieces of is really nice.

Negative first impressions include the fact that the immigrant ancestor had all kinds of incorrect parents and spouses attached to him, and there are duplicates coming out of my ears. (To be fair, that family was just as bad on WikiTree before I got my hands on it. But people keep talking about how Family Tree is "source-based", and therefore more accurate, and I'm just not seeing it.) Also, I don't really like how couples are grouped into one box in the pedigree chart. It means that when I look at my pedigree, only half of it is used, because the other half is reserved for my husband.


So, I started merging duplicates. It's what I do best, after all! Right away I ran into problems. Some of my 2x great grandparents' daughters were duplicated, with one copy of each being male. I quickly learned that you can't merge a male and a female. You also can't change the gender. Or delete a person. So, all you can do is disconnect the incorrect person from the tree, and leave it to float around forever, with no accurate information in it. I don't much like the thought of that.

The processes of editing and merging are pretty nice. When editing, you're asked to provide a reason why you think your info is true, which I quite like. When merging, you select data to save from the person that will be deleted, and it slides over to the other side, clearly showing you what will be kept. There's an annoying issue where some people cannot be merged, but apparently that will become less common when New FamilySearch is gone. In the meantime, it means there are duplicates out there that we can't do anything about.

Overall, I think once the kinks are worked out Family Tree will be a pretty good collaborative tree. But keep in mind that that's all it is. There is nothing but the bare bones here. There are no biographies. There are no pages for cemeteries, towns, buildings, etc. Right now, it appears that you can't even add photos. This is strictly names, dates, places, and relationships.

So, while I will try to improve the pages for my ancestors on Family Tree, because I hate to see mistakes in my tree anywhere, it's not something that will absorb a lot of my time. For me, there's a lot more to genealogy than raw data, so I prefer sites/apps that allow for that richer content.