Friday, September 14, 2018 updates DNA Ethnicity Estimates

For those of you who, like me, have done a DNA test with, there is some interesting, and welcome, news. 

AncestryDNA has updated its ethnicity estimates, and the results are rolling out for all 10 million plus people who’ve tested with the company.  So if you haven't visited your DNA ethnicity data recently, now might be a good time to take another look.  I have included my new ethnicity results below.

There were two changes in the update:  firstly, more people have been added to the reference populations (the groups of people with well-documented pedigrees to whom our DNA is compared to make conclusions about ethnic origins) and secondly, the method of making the comparisons has changed.

In the last update, there were roughly 3000 reference samples assigned to 353 regions of the world. In this update, there are 16,000 reference samples assigned to 380 possible regions. This helps screen out less-likely regions and make more nuanced estimates between, say, Scandinavian and Norwegian or Swedish.

On the methodology side, in the last version, the bits and pieces of DNA were compared bit by bit, while the new update looks at longer stretches of DNA at a time. That also helps minimize the chances of misreading a person’s ethnic origins.

All of which is exciting for those of us who have found our DNA ethnicity results to be a little vague, and possibly not quite what we were expecting.  Mine are pretty much in line with my research - mostly English, with a bit of Irish, Scottish and German.  Although I'd love to know just where in my family history that Ivory Coast/Ghana 2% came from.  Any relatives out there with a clue, please contact me - I'd love to know!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Week 34 - Non-Population - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 34 has a prompt of "Non-Population", which is a prompt that initially didn't make much sense to me until I discovered that several of the United States censuses had additional schedules which are referred to as non-population schedules.  A mystery solved.

As I have no US ancestors, I've decided to take a slightly different approach.

Several of my ancestors, when they first came to Australia, took up land and settled down to farm, several in quite isolated areas, distant from towns and even nearest neighbours.  What must their lives have been like, in the days before the easy transport of motor vehicles and the instant communication of telephones and internet.  We take such things for much for granted today, but before they existed the isolation must have had a profound impact on the lives of our ancestors.

For those who were the first generation of my family to arrive in Australia, the distances must have seemed vast, and the isolation even more extreme in such an alien landscape.  No easy access to things like medicine, no popping down the street to the local shops when supplies of something ran out.  For several, the nearest store was several hours away, and a visit to town might be only a once-a-month event.  Several of my ancestors came from big families, and suddenly found themselves on the other side of the world, establishing themselves in a strange land on a farm hours from other people, with no easy means of transport.

Communicating to family in the old country - even for those who were literate and had the means to send letters - would have taken months, and yet more months for a reply to arrive.  The isolation would have been extreme.  Non-Population indeed.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Week 33 - Family Legend - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 33 is "Family Legend" and they are something we all have.  Finding evidence that proves a family legend is always hugely exciting - and finding evidence that disproves a family legend is so disappointing, but it all adds to the overall story of our family.

One family legend that had always fascinated me was a tale of an illegitimate child born in my father's family in the 1880's.  While not actually providing proof of an illegitimate child, a series of newspaper reports from 1888 were a fascinating find that built on the original story.

My great great grandfather, Walter Proctor Green, took a newspaper editor to court and sued him for libel after he published innuendo that suggested Walter's wife Isabella had been having an affair.  The case excited considerable local interest and was reported in several local newspapers.
From the Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday 5 October 1888
 The entire court case was reported in the papers, and finally came to a close later in the year.  After hearing all the evidence the jury retired to consider their verdict, and after only 23 minutes found editor Ernest Brown guilty on all counts.  He was sentenced to prison for three calendar months without hard labour.
The final paragraph in a lengthy report on the case
A final article appeared about the case at the end of the year, when it was reported that a committee had been formed to start a subscription to recompense Walter Green for the cost of the prosecution, which clearly showed where public sympathy lay.
From the Essex Standard, Saturday 22 December 1888

Monday, September 3, 2018

Portrait Detective

Do you have treasured family photos whose date your do not know?  Portrait Detective is a unique image-dating tool developed by Inside History and the State Library of New South Wales to help you accurately interpret and decode historic images, dating your photos and helping you solve the mystery of who they feature.

Drawing on the research of historian and portrait-dating expert Margot Riley, Portrait Detective brings together a selection of 100 images of Australian people sourced from the Library’s collections, dating from 1788 to 1955.  They cover a range of media such as oil paintings, water colours, drawings, miniatures, silhouettes, engravings and photographs, and all depict Australians from a variety of eras, classes, social contexts and walks of life.

Each image in the timeline has been chosen because its date and provenance is known, so you can see at a glance the changing styles of portraiture, art, dress and personal grooming over time.
Arranged in a chronological timeline, these images form an authoritative and historically accurate record and reference resource of the changing appearance of men, women and children in New South Wales over time.  As you browse through the timeline you can click on an individual image to learn more about:
  • the subject
  • the artist or photographer who created it
  • the provenance
  • the medium
  • background details, and more.
There is also the Men's Style Guide and Women's Style Guide which explores changes in fashion and grooming through time.  The men's style guide explores coats, shirts, neckties, trousers, and hair and beard styles.  The women's style guide explores the bodice, neckline, sleeves, accessories and hair.

Using Margot’s expertise in dress and photographic history to decode the visual evidence in every image, Portrait Detective will equip you with specialised visual analysis skills to accurately interpret and date historical images of your own.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

The latest issue of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine is now available FREE online for Campaspe Library members via RB Digital eMagazines.

Inside this month's issue :
  • Track down your family wills
    Wills have never been easier to find - Margaret McGregor explains why they are so useful for breaking down brick walls
  • Start your family tree online
    Chris Paton continues his series for family history beginners by picking out the crucial websites to find your ancestors
  • Scottish records
    Janet M Bishop reveals the key records you won't find on ScotlandsPeople
  • Escaping the Blitz
    Janet Sacks tells the story of the forgotten organisation that helped thousands of children flee the country in the Second World War
  • Local and village history
    Jonathan Scott picks the best websites for finding local groups, village histories and community archives
  • Plus...
    Discover your ancestors for free with the Irish Registry of Deeds; how to create keep your photographs organised; the stories of women who worked as railway clerks, and much more...

Friday, August 17, 2018

Unlock the Past in Seattle Conference now to be live streamed

The uncoming Unlock the Past in Seattle conference will now also be livestreamed, for those of us (like me) who cannot attend in person at Seattle Public Library. Both streams – all 10 presentations – will be broadcast live and recorded for watching for a limited time after. So wherever you are, you can participate in this conference in the convenience of your own home. Watch up to five presentations live and/or all 10 (recorded as separate webinar presentations) at a later time convenient to you.

So if, like me, you love participating in genealogy conferences you cannot physically attend from the comfort of your own home, have a look at what's on offer at the conference and book yourself in for the livestream.  The conference takes place on Thursday 6th September.

Presenters include :
  • BLAINE BETTINGER (USA) – Blaine is a professional genealogist specialising in DNA evidence. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist and the books The family tree guide to DNA testing and Genetic genealogy.
  • DR MAURICE GLEESON (UK) – Maurice was voted Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015 (SurnameDNA Journal) and Rockstar Genealogist, Ireland 2016 (Anglo-Celtic Connections). He runs a variety of Y-DNA Surname projects and organises the DNA Lectures at Genetic Genealogy Ireland.
  • CYNDI INGLE (USA) – Cyndi is the creator and owner of the award-winning web site Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, a categorised index to more than 333,000 online resources. In its first three years, Cyndi’s List was voted the best genealogy site.
  • WAYNE SHEPHEARD (Canada) – A retired geologist, Wayne now spends most of his time on family history research. This has resulted in the pioneering publication Surviving Mother Nature’s tests: The effects climate change and other natural phenomena have had on the lives of our ancestors.
 Book yourself in and enjoy!

Week 32 - Youngest - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The theme for Week 32 is youngest, and that would be - ME!  On my father's side of the family, at least, I am the youngest of the cousins, and my sister and I are almost a generation younger in age than our older cousins.

My father, Peter Jeffrey Green, was born 2 January 1926, the second youngest of the 10 Green siblings.  His eldest sibling, brother Frank, was born in 1908 and was almost 18 by the time my father was born.  Dad married rather later in life and was 42 and 44 years old when his children were born, so we are very much the youngest of the cousins.  We cover quite an age range, with our oldest cousins more then 35 years our senior, and several of them have children older than we are.  In fact, the first of the grandchildren are closer in age - it makes family gatherings rather interesting!

Les, Marj and Peter Green
The photo above is on the three youngest Green siblings, taken around 1935 or 36.  Les, Marj and my father Peter are returning home from Bambill North Primary school, a tiny, one teacher school near Mildura, Victoria.  The family farmed nearby, and Dad spent time trapping rabbits to sell and help support his family.