Stats for the year 2021 show I haven’t been as productive as the pre-COVID years, 2019 and 2018, but staying on par with 2020 by writing 35 posts compared to 33 in 2020. Views were much lower at a bit over 34,000 compared to the past three years when they were 40,000+. The number of visitors in 2021 was lower but my followers grew to 577.
By the end of November, I finished writing about half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents. This avenue will not be followed up on any time soon. This was decided at the end of November when I wrote…
I took a break from writing in December hoping to come into the New Year with more energy and enthusiasm. Our lives, however, are often influenced by things we cannot control.
Mom’s husband died unexpectedly early in December. The month was spent helping her get through the first weeks of once again being on her own. I was suddenly made aware of the fact that I need to prepare for my own or my spouse’s death.
Focusing on the American families
Still, with all the behind-the-scenes goings-on in our lives, I hope to do more research and write blog posts on my paternal lines that have been in America for 250 years and longer.
There are no goals, no promises, or any kind of schedule for my blog posts in 2022. With less than usual time for genealogy, I’ve become more conscientious about keeping a log via entries in the Research Manager of Ancestral Quest and noting results that might make interesting reading on my blog.
Amy Johnson Crow started my blogging journey in 2014 with her very first edition of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. I did three years of #52Ancestors (not consecutively). Yesterday, just to get some fresh ideas, I signed up for the 2022 edition and was delighted to read that she is changing things up a bit this year. I may try her new spin on the challenge…
Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the happiness a heart can know. Happy New Year 2022!
The Ancestors series is taking on a new look and perspective.
I finished writing about all of my children’s 5th great-grandparents in January of 2018. Those posts were part of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. I’d planned to continue with the next generation, their 6th great-grandparents, with my series The Ancestors but dropped the ball several times.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
The Ancestors – 9th Generation
The list of 6th great-grandparents is LONG. I’ve spent a lot of time researching a few of them, as seen in the number of posts I’ve written for the maternal ancestors (my side of our children’s tree) at the end of the list. Ancestor numbers in bold indicate those that have been featured on this blog.
Fourteen couples are brick walls, i.e. names are not known, and fifteen couples have already been featured. That leaves 99 known couples who have been looked into (some research done) who still need to be written up.
Blogging has helped me to improve my research skills. As I worked on the posts, I found that I was doing deeper and more thorough research into all couples’ children, siblings, and parents. This was taking up a lot of time as I documented each new piece of evidence. New research questions came up as the records were analyzed. Interesting facts were found and asked to be researched further – taking me down some very interesting rabbit holes.
At a rate of one post a week, it would take two years to get this generation of ancestors done. Researching, analyzing documentation, citing sources, and putting everything together to write the post (as I have been doing them) now takes much longer than a week.
The length of my posts has also become an issue. I need to choose between too much information in one post, writing multiple posts, or trying a new concept.
I’ve decided that for the 3/4 of my children’s tree that is Luxembourgish, I will be featuring the marriage record of each couple and a list of known children. The records will be more easily located for their maternal side as they are from the mid-1700s to about 1800. For their paternal side, these will be records from the early to mid-1700s. If they are non-existent, I will have to use substitutes to “prove” the marriage. The Genealogy Sketch box will be included at the end of each post, bringing together all articles written for the direct line of the ancestral couple to my children.
I’m thinking of working my way up the list from the bottom to the top, starting with ancestors 494 & 495: Sébastian LANSER and Maria Catharina HASTERT. Hopefully, this will get me back to blogging and give me a little more time for the other important things in my life.
In September 2020 I participated in the Research Planning Magic Challenge hosted by Julie Cahill Tarr in a private Facebook group.
Participants ranged from beginners to advanced genealogists. Even though there were a little over 150 members, the group worked well together. Each participant focused on their own research project. The group remained positive as members helped each other by reviewing the day’s assignment, giving suggestions, and useful resources.
During the 5-day genealogy challenge, we learned to craft a research question, evaluate the background information, brainstorm ideas for records (even if non-existent), and set up a research plan.
This is my research question, the background information, and the research plan developed from the brainstorming.
Was William DEMPSEY (b. abt. 1779) who married Martha LANDRUM in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799, the same man as William DEMPSEY (b. bet. 1771-1780 per 1840 census) who married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831 and found on the 1840 census for Noble County, Indiana, where he died in 1845?
William(1) DEMPSEY, son of Susannah (maiden name unknown) DEMPSEY and an unknown father, was born about 1779 in Virginia. He married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM in 1799 in Amherst VA with his mother’s permission.
They had 6 children who lived to adulthood as seen in probate and chancery records. He was named on the 1820 census; no tick was made for his age group. His wife was named in the 1830 census. After his wife died in 1834, newspapers in Ohio were “requested to publish the foregoing (wife’s death), for the information of Mr. William Dempsey, the husband of the deceased, who is supposed to be somewhere in that State.”
William(2) DEMPSEY born bet. 1771-1780 married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831. They were the parents of 6 children mentioned in an affidavit relative to his will. His children’s places of birth show he moved from Ohio to Indiana about 1833-1835 (a coincidence that this overlaps with the published death notice of Martha in the Ohio newspapers?). He died in Noble County, Indiana in 1845. No records have been found for him before 1831 although a son was born about 1822 in Gallia County, Ohio.
I’ve known for 20 years that William(1) of Amherst went to Ohio and never returned.
Shared Clustering of my AncestryDNA turned up a match who descends from William(2) of Indiana. The match is in a cluster that goes back further than William(1) of Amherst has been traced – to Barnett Dempsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina. I have 2 clusters for this potential ancestor – possibly for him and his wife OR for his parents. I was trying to find the connection between William(2) of Noble and Barnett of SC when I ran into the brick wall. William(2) “appears” in Gallia OH for his 1831 marriage with no records found prior. I wondered if he might be my 4th great-grandfather who “disappeared” in Ohio after 1820 and before his wife died in 1834.
At this time no records have been found that would definitely prove William(1) and William(2) are two persons – no records placing both men in different places at the same time.
Originally formatted to include a column for Date (search performed) on the left and a column for Notes at the right, the table was not WordPress friendly.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
1800-1958 – Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958 at FamilySearch Historical Records – free; Index. Name index to marriage records from the state of Ohio. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and some FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Chancery Records: Amherst Co., VA
Chancery records have recently gone online for this county. Do they cover the period following William(1)’s wife’s death? The probate, chancery, land deeds, etc. from a cousin who did courthouse research includes photocopies of records found. But were all records found and/or copied?
Case files (digitized) for Amherst are presently only available up to about 1836.
NOTE: This was checked when the records for Amherst were added. The file is indexed (as of Sept 2020) but not yet digitized.1848-03 Original Case No. 024. Now available. Needs to be transcribed.
Presumption of death – law in Virginia for the 1830s period?
Would there be records other than the administrator’s bond, inventory of the estate, sale of land that would indicate William(1) was deceased when his estate was administered?
DNA matches(1) Re-new contact with the match on AncestryDNA that lead to William(2). Would he consider sharing his paternal ICW matches for research purposes? At this time only two matches have been proven to be descendants of William(2). Other cousins may have matches I am not seeing.
Analysis of DNA data in Genome Mate Pro, master repository.
War of 1812 Pension Record
Pension records need to be checked as William(2) is seen on Find A Grave as a veteran of the War of 1812. If this was the case, his widow might have tried to obtain a pension.
War of 1812 Veteran
William(2) DEMPSEY is on a list of veterans for the War of 1812 (see photo on Find A Grave)Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 September 2020), memorial page for William Dempsey (15 Feb 1770–17 Aug 1845), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46143160, citing Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Kay Cynova (contributor 47064119).
Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana
Collection not loading 21/9/20. Still not loading 9/1/21: We’re sorry, this page is temporarily unavailable.
Following the Research Plan
After setting up the research question, reviewing the known information, and drawing up the research plan, I set everything aside.
Since the preliminary work has been done and recorded in writing, I can always come back to the research question to work on as I have time.
As the Amherst County Chancery record I mentioned above is now available, it will be the first thing I’ll pursue in more detail. I’ve skimmed through the 36 images but a transcription of the pages needs to be done to save time and get all pertinent information recorded.
I’m hoping that other DEMPSEY cousins will become interested in this research question.
I’d love to hear from any DEMPSEY cousins who have DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas as this is where the descendants of Barnett DEMPSEY were found. Also, DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines coming out of Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri where descendants of William(2) DEMPSEY lived. It is always possible that the matches share DNA from an as yet unknown distant “common” ancestor.
What did I miss in the brainstorming part? Any suggestions as to other resources that might help bring me closer to the answer. Were William(1) DEMPSEY and William(2) DEMPSEY the same person or two different individuals?
The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.
A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.
Posts, Views, and Viewers
As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.
Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.
Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.
I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.
I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.
And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.
What’s coming in 2021
Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.
With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.
One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.
These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.
Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.
WordPress would like us to believe that footnotes are not as popular as they once were and that linking directly to the source is much easier. This might be the case for many blogs but serious writers, including genealogists, need to cite their sources, i.e. include citations in their blog posts.
There are several ways to integrate citations into our writing. In-text or parenthetical citations interrupt the flow of our writing and our followers’ reading. On the other hand, a reference outside the main text to the source of information (or even a comment for consideration) adds professionalism to our research and writing. These references are footnotes.
Cathy, I learned a new trick you might like. It’s a little bit faster than how you have been doing it.
Amberly pointed me to an article on Markdown and a footnote cheat on the Markdown Quick Reference Cheat Sheet. After adding [^1] where the footnote number should be, a new line starting with [^1]:followed by the source citation is added below the line or paragraph. When published the Markdown functions are converted to HTML code. All of the [^#] become superscript numbers with links to the footnotes. The [^#]: with citations are listed at the bottom of the post as footnotes with a link back to the original reference. Quick and easy.
The New WordPress Editor: Block Editor
In the last few years, WordPress has been working on and promoting the Block Editor on its platform. The Classic Editor is still available although accessing it is a bit tricky. We’ve been told that the Classic Block in Block Editor can be used instead of the Classic Editor. But will the Classic Block also one day disappear?
In the past few days, my friend Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog has been talking to the support people at WordPress about the problems she is having with footnotes in the Block Editor. What she came away with was that footnote functionality is not a top priority at WordPress and the ability to use Markdown is also disappearing. This is hard to believe as the Block Editor includes a Markdown Block.
If you search online for articles on how to add footnotes to blog posts you will find either how-to’s on adding and using footnote plugins or creating footnotes with HTML code. Plugins are out of the question for the free-plan users on WordPress and HTML code is, for most people, too complicated.
Preparing for the unavoidable
The fate of the Classic Editor, now only available on the WP-Admin page, is at this time unknown. We need to prepare for the day we can no longer use it.
Presently, Markdown is a standard feature of the built-in plugins on WordPress.com sites with the free plan. Even if WordPress doesn’t get rid of Markdown on the free-plan sites, it isn’t compatible with the new WordPress Editor. This is one of the reasons Amy got in touch with support.
Until two days ago, I had not bothered to look at the Block Editor. I’ve been using the Classic Editor for nearly seven years and have finally developed a routine that works for me. Learning how to use the blocks is not as easy as the young ones at WordPress would like us to believe. This is my first post written in the new editor.
Adding Footnotes in the Block Editor
After a bit of searching, reading, and experimenting, I worked out this routine to add footnotes to a post in the new editor.
The main function needed is Page Jumps, the term WordPress uses for the advanced HTML anchor. This is the same function as bookmarks in Microsoft Word. Although the feature is called HTML anchor, we won’t be working with HTML code.
To make this simple, let’s pretend we have a post in the Block Editor ready to publish and all it’s missing is the footnotes. We want to make it easy for our readers who want to consult the citations while reading our post to switch between the post and the list of sources. This requires linking to and from the list.
The routine to add footnotes and sources to the post
Add footnote numbers to your post. This can be a 1 or , in regular font or smaller text slightly above the normal line of type (superscript) – whichever format you prefer. For superscript, highlight your footnote number, click on the down arrow in the top toolbar, and choose superscript. Do this with all footnote numbers.
Add the citation list. For our list of citations, we need a List block. Add it below the first paragraph with a footnote. In the top toolbar choose a numbered list.
With your cursor in the List block, scroll to the bottom of the right sidebar, click the down arrow open the Advanced option. In the HTML anchor box enter fn. This will be your anchor or bookmark for the footnote list. The List block is now ready for citations to be added.
Add the source citations to the list. With your List block below the paragraph with the first footnote, click into the List block and add the citation for footnote . At the end of the citation, leave a space and add a return arrow symbol – ↩
Using the down button on your toolbar, move the List block down below the next paragraph with a footnote. Add the citation. Repeat to the end of the article.
Add the link to the source list to all footnote numbers. Highlight the footnote number (including brackets if used), click on the Link symbol in the top toolbar or Ctrl+K, type #fn in the pop-up and return. Repeat with each footnote number.
Add an anchor to the text with a footnote. Each paragraph with a footnote requires an anchor to jump from the citation list back to the text. Go to the first paragraph with a footnote, add fnref-1 as an anchor (same procedure as with the fn anchor in List block). Repeat with each footnote changing only the number.
Recap of what we’ve done so far. All footnote numbers are formatted and linked (#fn) to the List block (anchor fn). The citation list is complete, anchors back to the text are in place (fnref-1, etc.), and we can now add links back to the text with the footnotes.
Add links to the end of each citation in the source list. At the end of the first citation, highlight the return arrow symbol ↩, add the link #fnref-1 back to the anchor. Repeat with each citation. #fnref-2, #fnref-3, etc.
Add a Separator block above the List block. Place the List block with the citations at the end of your post. To separate it from your post, add a Separator block. Choose Wide Line as the style and choose a color. (I believe white may be the default color and if your background is white, no line will be seen in your Separator block) Following the Separator line, you could also add a heading or paragraph titled sources, references, etc.
What this looks like when published
Caveat. There are some limitations to this procedure. Only one anchor can be used per block. If more than one footnote is in a paragraph, you can only use one anchor. Example: If , , and  are the footnotes in one paragraph, I would suggest always using the lowest or highest number consistently (fnref-5 or fnref-7) as an anchor.
Speeding up the process
Once you understand the routine, there are some things you can do to speed up the process.
If you write directly in the WordPress editor, footnote numbers can be added and formatted to superscript while you write.
You can place the anchors for the footnote reference number (fnref-1) in the paragraph block while writing.
The List block can be positioned below your writing area and citations added as you write.
Consider creating a Reusable block for the source list including links to each anchor for the return arrows to take the reader back to the text. If you average 3 or 20 footnotes and citations per post, create a List block (1. Source. ↩) with your average number of footnotes and save it as Sources.
You can also group blocks. I’m going to try grouping the Separator block, a title for the source list, and the List block for the sources. Then after the three are grouped as one block, I will make it a reusable block. I’ve already tried this with my signature image and my copyright line that I use at the end of each post.
Getting over the fear of using the Block Editor
While writing this post I had to learn how to use the Block Editor. There are things that frustrated me. For example, I was unable to copy/paste snippets of text from one block to another. This was very annoying as I ended up re-typing things I wanted to copy. Adding images to the media gallery while in the Block Editor failed every time today and I hope it was only due to the servers being busy. On the positive side, I like that blocks can be moved around so easily.
The routine I described above is my first attempt at footnotes in the Block Editor. It may seem like a lot of work but once you get used to the routine of placing anchors and links, it becomes easier and quicker to do.
If there is a better way or if you can think of anything that would improve my routine, I’d be happy to hear from you. Feel free to ask for help if anything is unclear. Good luck with your footnotes and using the Block Editor.
I’ve been flying with WordPress for six years! Hundreds of thousands of words have been written, deleted, and rearranged into, hopefully, interesting articles. It’s been an amazing journey – this blogging thing.
I wrote about all of my children’s ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents. I began working on the 6th great-grandparents last April. Now I’m picking an ancestral couple on a whim and without a strict schedule. It’ll probably take several years to get this generation done.
Visitors to my blog have been more interested in content that was non-related to The Ancestors.
It’s understandable that DNA posts draw more readers. My ancestors aren’t shared with everyone while DNA is of interest to people using this genetic genealogy tool to prove their ancestry. I might do a few DNA related posts this year but genealogy research and writing about The Ancestors will remain the top priority on this blog.
This is post #609. Over 115,000 visitors have dropped in and viewed my posts nearly 212,000 times during these six years.
Happy 6th Blogiversary to Opening Doors in Brick Walls. Thanks to all of you for making this such an enjoyable journey.
With the questions on the CLONCH line answered, I realized I needed to formulate a research plan and/or schedule. Which families or geographical areas did I want to work on while leaving me time to keep up with new matches on my brother’s AncestryDNA test?
My children’s ancestors had been covered from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents during three rounds of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors. The 6th great-grandparents were waiting to be reviewed, researched, and written about. The posts were supposed to be short and informative but the couples I started with were a bit more complicated than expected.
In December, wanting to get back to blogging regularly, I wrote about Holiday Traditions. These short posts about the season reminded me that genealogy also means saving the stories of the present and not only the past.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the content I added to my blog this year and the stats look good.
A Milestone in 2019
On the 4th of December, the total blog followers reached 500!
Posts, Views, and Viewers
During 2019 I wrote less than one post a week. This will be the 50th post, one less than last year. In comparison, I wrote 88 in 2017 and 129 in 2016. Views will be a little below 2018 while visitors remained the same.
Google Search brought the most visitors and views to my blog followed by Facebook, WordPress Android App, and WordPress Reader. Number five referrer was Linda Stufflebean’s Friday’s Family History Finds on Empty Branches on the Family Tree. Thank you, Linda, for the mentions.
I Published a Book
One of my proudest moments in 2019 was when I received my first blog book. Now I need to find time to get the rest of the content of my blog ready to print.
What’s Coming in 2020?
I want to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set.
I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
The Slave Name Roll Project will come back monthly.
Several updates on older posts are in the works.
The Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can series’ final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about over 150 photos, still needs to be written. This was promised back in March 2017 and I never got around to working on it.
Happy New Year 2020. May it bring peace and hope for a better world and new keys to open the doors in your brick walls!
Last week was an exciting week for many genealogists who attended the RootsTech conference or, like me, who followed the live stream from home. My interest was focused on DNA related news. Ancestry added MyTreeTags™, New & Improved DNA Matches, and ThruLines™to their site. The most talked about is ThruLines™ which is available to customers without an Ancestry subscription for a limited time.
I found a few things about ThruLines™ which were helpful but there was something which upset me so much that I stopped checking. I took a few days to calm down before I gave feedback to Ancestry on their new ThruLines™ tool. First the good and the bad, then my feedback.
TrueLines or TrueLies?
There are several reasons for my snarky title. I may know and you may know that ThruLines™ is not the same as true lines or true lies. But do all users, especially those who are very new to family history research, realize this new feature is like the Ancestry Hints and Shared Ancestors Hints? It isn’t a fast and easy fix. We still need to do research.
ThruLines™ has helped me to find two cousins descended from my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM’s half-sister Ocie Ola INGRAM. Ocie has been ignored by many in their trees. The marriage of her mother to my great-great-grandfather Irvin Lewis INGRAM took place in 1888 and no 1900 census listing has been found to show the family group. As far as we know, they had only this one daughter. The marriage ended in divorce in 1904. I have tried to follow Ocie’s children and grandchildren but I would probably not have found these DNA cousins without looking through thousands of matches. ThruLines™ pulled them right up and with the correct connection even though the matches did not have public trees back to the INGRAM common ancestor.
I’m now seeing 63 of my 64 maternal 5th great-grandparents in the ThruLines™. The missing ancestor, Gerard MALAMBRE, was found in other trees with a different surname spelling. It wasn’t a surprise to find all maternal ancestors except this one listed. Not many people who have worked on these lines have their trees on Ancestry. I have very few maternal matches, mostly 5c and 6C, from clusters of descendants of a few immigrant families in America.
Ancestry’s New & Improved DNA Matches and ThruLines™ are ignoring my 2nd great-grandparents William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as the parents of my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY. In the case of this family line, ThruLines™ resembles quick & dirty tree work which shouldn’t be public or searchable unless it has been proven.
Don’t get me wrong. They haven’t changed my tree. People who are new to genealogy research and those who do not know how to use this tool will take this seriously. They will accept these errors without bothering to verify.
The white boxes are actual entries in my tree while the dashed boxes are from information they have knitted in from other trees. The third cousin match has a private tree which likely includes William A. W. DEMPSEY as he is showing up on the match’s side. Why, if we both have this name in our trees, does the common ancestor show up as a Private person three generations further back? Why not William A. W. DEMPSEY?
ThruLines™ shows Emmanuel DEMPSEY of Logan County, West Virginia, as the father of my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY and this is reflected in the Common Ancestor match above.
I was hoping this new feature would help with my great-grandfather’s father William A. W. DEMPSEY’s brick wall. I was able to get the error above fixed. A person with a large tree likely accepted a Potential Father and Potential Mother and attached the wrong parents to my great-grandfather. The owner is not a direct descendant. The tree is so large I could not figure out how or if he is related.
I placed a comment on the tree with the wrong father for William Henderson DEMPSEY. The tree owner was quick to thank me for the help. He unlinked him and added the correct parents. There are still a few issues which I have further commented on. The owner appears to be willing to work on fixing his tree.
In ThruLines™ Emanuel DEMPSEY, his parents James DEMPSEY and Dorcas HAGER, his grandparents John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON, as well as the HAGER and VANNATER grandparents, have disappeared as potential ancestors. On a positive note, I was surprised to see this happen overnight.
I’m very disappointed I’m not seeing my 2nd great-grandparents William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as ancestors. There are hundreds of matches who descend from Sarah’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents (WOOD, McGRAW, HONAKER, HONEGGER, WISEMAN, and DAVIS) and they are not being found with the ThruLines™ tool. Matches I need to sift out of the rest to be able to find fourth cousins who descend from William’s unknown parents or more distant cousins who descend from his parents’ ancestors.
This is not the only 2nd great-grandparent who is missing. My Gordon Washington ROOP was married twice and there are DNA matches coming from both wives. However, ThruLines™ is only recognizing his second wife, the step-mother of my great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP. This means I have the wrong potential 3rd, 4th, and 5th great-grandparents. Once again this is a branch of the family which has hundreds of matches, descendants of PETERS, LIVELY, CASH, PROFFITT, ROBERTSON, and COCKRAM. The branch and all other matches are missing. Yes, they are still there but difficult to ferret out.
What I Am Doing to Make this a Good Experience
This could be a good feature when used correctly. When we find cousins who are DNA matches and fit into our tree we cannot accept the connection without following the records to prove the relationship. I’m worried about the people who accept shaky leaves, potential parents, and now a line back to a potential common ancestor using 2, 3, or 4 trees. I don’t want to throw away the good with the bad. I’ll take a close look at each ancestor and the matches they are supposedly coming from.
I’ve had a public tree with only ancestors linked to the DNA test I manage. I don’t have any other public tree on Ancestry. In the past days, I’ve added known and proven matches to fix some ancestors on the ThruLines.
It’s strange that the lines with the most descendants are not showing up correctly. I’m hoping this might turn out to be more positive – with people cleaning up their trees so that the correct connections get noticed.
My Feedback to Ancestry
I’m finding ThruLines useful in that it pulls up distant matches which would not have been found due to the thousands of matches which are impossible to sift through.
I would not say that it adds value to my Ancestry experience. It only reminds me of the many errors in trees. Mine is not perfect and the reason I attached a public tree to DNA with only ancestors. In hopes this will help improve ThruLines, I have started to add the siblings of ancestors with DNA connections and the descendants who are DNA matches.
Since the public tree I’m using is based on well-researched work on my part, I hope it is being managed appropriately by Ancestry and not being used to suggest false potential ancestors as I am seeing up to 4 different trees are being used to show a line down from a potential to a match.
I DO NOT want a quick and easy way to add an ancestor or a match to my tree or anyone else’s tree. I believe people should take time to analyze and then add to the tree. Any trees with quick & dirty work should be made private and unsearchable.
I strongly disagree that having a common ancestor with a match is proof that the DNA is coming from this ancestor. The only way this can be proven is by using a chromosome browser for comparing with other matches with the common ancestor.
Although I am not overall happy with ThruLines at this early time, I strongly agree that we should check back often as more people take the test.
New & Improved DNA Matches gives us the ability to sort matches using colored groups. MyTreeTagsTM should help eliminate the need for strange ancestor names and keep our research and connections to new matches more organized. The lists of matches who descend from common ancestors seen in ThruLines™ will help both our research and proving of ancestors.
Will all the hoopla about these recent additions to the Ancestry experience distract us from the lack of a chromosome browser? Perhaps for a while but I’m still referring matches to my Dear Cousin post.
What brings traffic to my blog if they didn’t drop in by clicking a link shared on social media? Search terms are no longer a precise way of determining what people are searching for as they are often encrypted on the search engines. But the ones which do make the list are fun to look at.
The top search term over the years has been the blog name followed by Johnny Cash family tree. Number 3 was Verwurelter. If you don’t know what Verwurelter are then take a moment to read the only recipe post I’ve written: Family Tradition: Berliner and Verwurelter.
Luxembourg and German towns names, as well as all those surnames of ancestors, have drawn readers to my blog. One search might not have helped the person interested in a dempsey in prison in beckley wv. It makes me want to do the same search just to find out if there was a Dempsey in prison in Beckley. I’m always willing to solve a puzzle.
As I mentioned in my first post in 2019, I’m taking things as they come this year. I’ll be working on whatever needs to be researched, reviewed, or updated. No resolutions and no promises.
Not all of my time is spent researching and writing for my blog. Three years ago the president of my genealogy society, Luxracines, asked if I would be interested in joining the committee. It’s not much work, he said. It was more time consuming than I had thought but I will be offering my candidature for another three years when our annual meeting is held in March.
Along with spending time with family and friends, I also have a retired husband who wants to share his passion for cycling with me. He keeps me healthy since research and blogging are sedentary tasks. Riding 5,300 kilometers (3,293 miles) last year took 210 hours and that doesn’t include preparations time and after ride clean-up. And I get my eight hours of sleep at night.
Posts on Opening Doors in Brick Walls were suspended during the second half of March and the first week of April.
Genealogy research and blogging took a back seat while my husband and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We flew off to Majorca for eleven days of “just the two of us” time. No genealogy and no bikes.
In 2018 the bride was wearing white and the tradition “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” was also kept. My tiny bit older husband wore a new hat he borrowed from one of the souvenirs shops while I wore a blue scarf with my white windbreaker. He’s still as much fun as he was on our wedding day. Surprisingly, our re-enactment of the 1978 photo took on the first shot.
My photographer/husband, drilled in taking pictures of doors and anything useful for my blog, had a great time with his camera. We visited all corners of the beautiful island and came home with over 1200 photos.
Back home, I had to get caught up with emails and genealogy society business before getting back to researching and blogging. Since I was already on a break I extended it a bit.
I took time to focus on getting Genome Mate Pro (GMP) updated with matches and chromosome data from AncestryDNA, FTDNA, and GEDmatch. Becky Mason Walker, the developer of GMP, added MyHeritage as a source for DNA segments in the latest version but will not be supporting templates for import as she does not use MyHeritage at this time. There are others who are working on templates to do all-in-one imports from the site but as MyHeritage is still adding tools I thought it best to take it slowly. I used Eric Siemmoto’s template (in the files of the GMP FB group) to import MyHeritage chromosome data one match at a time for my top 150 matches.
Having had time to get a bit more familiar with the complex software, I am learning how to better use Genome Mate Pro. I had several very enlighting moments while reviewing matches as there are so many different ways to sort the data. They don’t tell you to watch the videos and read the user guide for nothing!
And now I can get back to opening doors in brick walls.