Monday, May 21, 2018

Why I do genealogy?

I was never particularly interested in actually doing genealogy. I always liked to hear stories about my ancestors from my grandparents and parents. It was interesting to learn where my three grandparents and father were born since it wasn't here in Canada. But actually sitting down and searching records was never a strong interest of mine although I did help my husband when he was chasing his ancestors through most of our nearly 52 years of marriage. Since we were sitting in repositories particularly in New York State and the New England States it was certainly much more interesting to search for his various surnames/forenames than to sit there twiddling my thumbs! His own ancestry opened up like a book gradually as we searched and searched.

Through the years my mother had sent me letters (biweekly) since the mid 1970s when my husband and I moved away. I had a large box full of them and a couple of years ago I decided to scan them and include them in my writeups of the family stories. It was pure chance that I did that. As I scanned them I also reread them. My mother passed away in 2002 and her illness was brief. I saw her just once during this short time period of about ten days. We had a long visit as I spent the day in the hospital with her. We chatted a lot in memory and she referred to all the letters that she had written to me and wondered if I still had all of them. My mother liked you to keep what she gave to you and I had spontaneously put them into a carry bag initially as it just sat by me where I read letters and did correspondence. That filled after a dozen or more years and I transferred them to a box and continued to fill the bag. So yes I could answer that I had kept all those letters. I wondered initially what was coming next in the conversation; I can remember that clear as a bell. Then she mentioned that she had written most of what she knew about the family history into those letters. She said she had wanted to write up a family tree with stories to share with all of us (I have six siblings) but had never gotten that finished although there was also a set of pages on which she had put information (my younger sister, it turned out, had saved those sheets). After my mother passed away I did think about our conversation and also made sure that I put the letters into a safe place.

A little over a year later, my fourth cousin wrote me to say that he needed me to do the Pincombe Profile for the Westminster Township history book. George DeKay had written a book about our mutual families in 1975 to which my mother had contributed. The only item she did not contribute at that time was a picture of her paternal grandparents. This picture emerged at the time that George asked me to write the profile when I searched through the information that she had given to my husband when he wrote up a short family history for my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. Initially I expressed my inability to George to actually write up such a history since I had never done genealogy. But he wrote that my cousin (another Pincombe relation) would do it but he thought my grandfather owned a grocery store on Wharncliffe Road. Well I did want the story to be correct for my line; just a foible of mine that! So I agreed to take on the task and to prepare for that I took courses at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. The story was due in the summer of 2005 and by then I had completed about half of my courses (I would take 42 courses from the National Institute and graduate with Methodology, English Records and Canadian Records in 2007). The bio that I wrote was greatly enhanced by a lengthy meeting one day at the London Room in the London, Ontario Public Library with a number of my siblings and our mutual cousins.

But what inspired me to actually continue with the study of my families? It was actually a trip to Europe with my oldest daughter and a short stay in London, England towards the end of our European trip. As we walked back and forth to our hotel in central London I had this awesome feeling of belonging. As it turned out once I was into researching, my 2x great grandfather had had a pork butcher shop just around the corner from our hotel. The feeling stayed with me the entire time we were in London and I must admit as my mother talked about our ancestry that day in the hospital her words fell on ears that were interested in what she was saying and perhaps that too stirred my curiosity.

But still I wondered how can you know these are your ancestors? Enter DNA. My husband and I bought kits in 2006 and tested with the National Genographic Project. The results were quite awesome and I quickly ordered more tests at FT DNA. One of those tests (mtDNA) took me on an interesting chase into Scotland as I have written before looking at my H11a2a1 haplogroup. My maternal grandmother's mother is elusive but the DNA helps to tell her story until I can sort through the matches that we have both mitochondrial and autosomal to find her.

The letters of my mothers which I scanned I read as I was doing so and I did discovered all the family history that she wrote into those pages. It was a very strong interest of hers it appears as you read the letters. She would be thrilled with everything found thus far and so I continue. I have managed to published everything for my great grandparents including all of their descendants that I have been able to locate. I continue with the trek albeit somewhat distracted by other events at the moment.

How long will I continue? Certainly I will continue working on my families through the years to come. Last night I deleted myself as administrator for several DNA projects and I am considering deleting myself from another three leaving myself with Blake, Pincombe, H11 and T_FGS (T2). I will continue with my one name studies for Blake and Pincombe for another few years (likely seven or eight more but at the moment they are suffering). I will continue with my newsletters for Blake, Pincombe and H11 as well.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

DNA Painter

I embarked on a new project whilst in the midst of this busy time mostly because it was doable wherever I was. All I needed was my matches and access to the website which is a real treat.

I decided to put in all the matches that I knew whether I could trace them back to paternal or maternal or the actual set of ancestors. It is easy to "turn them off" in this new piece of software. I painted 179 segments.

My painted matches:

I have a few cousins that I have been able to identify as can be seen in the colours above other than pink.

Removing the unknown, unknown is amazingly easy yielding these matches. A number of them are coincident (i.e. more than one person at a particular location). This piece of software has proven to be most interesting:

I am still working  on using these charts to predict the ancestral line. I have had a couple of successes simply because there was no chance of the individual not being descendant of a particular line.

I still continue working on the phasing of my grandparents although it has been put on the back burner for a little longer.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Christopher Buller

Christopher Buller has been a brick wall for simply ages, I found him as the father of my Henry Christopher Buller back in the early years of my research (2006). But he was a mystery; a cousin in England directed me to a will of Henry Beard and then I discovered Mary his wife was actually Mary Beard daughter of Henry Beard. Little bits and pieces emerged through the years but never a conclusive answer to the birth of Christopher Buller. His death gave me the year 1762-1763 as his possible birth years and but looking around the time period still yielded no answers.

The entry of DNA into studies changed how I looked at my ancestry. With five siblings tested (myself included), we all showed some Germany ancestry - not a huge amount but an interesting amount. Enough that one could look at a 3x great grandparent or a 4x great grandparent and wonder if this individual had emigrated to England at some point in his/her life. On paper I look 100% English with all known ancestors having been born in various counties in England that led to my five waves of emigration to Canada (Cumberland first in 1818 (my 3x great grandparents and my 2x great grandmother), then East Riding of Yorkshire in 1832 (my 2x great grandfather), followed by Devon/Somerset in 1850/51 (my 2x great grandparents and great grandfather) and much later in 1908 from Birmingham, Warwickshire (my maternal grandmother) and then finally in 1913 from Hampshire (my father and his parents). But I had no ideas on the German ancestry that was coming up in our ethnicities (matches with individuals in Germany who had 100% German ancestry going back many generations).

A DNA match with my fourth cousin once removed came up lately on Ancestry and he matched one brother and one sister rather nicely for a fourth cousin but no match with another brother or myself but neither of us inherited strongly from Buller (my maternal grandmother's maiden name). He sent me the banns of the marriage of Christopher Buller and Mary Beard which are now on ancestry. It is months since I searched any of my lines so must get back to that obviously!

A search once again on Christopher Buller and 1763 (plus or minus two years) led to me to an interesting result:

Johann Christopher Buller born 20 Aug 1762 at Pampow, Mecklenburg, Deutschland son of Clas Buller and Lena Greth Bartelsen. They had married 3 Jul 1757 at Pampow Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Clas Buller died 12 Apr 1784 in Pampow. Lena Greth Bartelsen was baptized 28 Feb 1737 at Holthusen Mecklenburg-Scherwin. She died 7 Oct 1786 at Pampow. Her parents were said to be Johan Friedrich Bartels and Gret Groth (daughter of Hanss Groth and Trin Pruessmann).

A tree on My Heritage is managed by Jurgen Nehmzow and I have written to him. He does not have a marriage for Christopher on his site although does have 2305 people in his tree. This would be truly amazing if I have actually broken down this rather long standing brickwall. For me it is just about a dozen years but for other researchers it is fifty years and more since they have begun their research.

Monday, May 7, 2018

422,000 page views in nine and a half years

I was surprised to discover that there have been nearly 422,000 page views in the past nine and a half years since I started my blog. There have been a few times when it would appear that individuals are reading them like a book from the beginning.

Most popular posts

1852 pageviews  - Welch at Rugeley, Staffordshire and Birmingham (24 May 2011) (this rather family oriented post surprised me until I noted that it includes the land tax assessments for Rugeley from 1813 and likely this is the popular item in that post)

1303 pageviews - 100,000 page views - 26th February 2014 (noting it took six years nearly to reach 100,000 and now just four more years to reach over 400,000)

829 pageviews - The Rashleigh Family of Devon and Cornwall (14 Aug 2011) (a popular article that I transcribed from Devon Notes and Queries, Volume IV, Part VI, April 1907)

770 pageviews - Blake Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 4, 2016 (28 Sep 2016) (included an article on Richard le Blak of Rouen who came to England circa 1274)

751 pageviews - H11 haplogroup (5 Nov 2013) (this is a particularly sought after article with nearly 300 members in the H11 project at FT DNA)

649 pageviews - Happy New Year (1 Jan 2016)

642 pageviews - Unknown Taylor (23 Dec 2015) (love it that this article is in the top ten; it would be fun to discover for sure more about my great grandmother Ellen (Taylor) Buller)

634 pageviews - First DNA Circle at AncestryDNA (3 Mar 2016) (I now have two DNA Circles!)

629 pageviews - Banns at North Molton 1844 to 1850 (19 Sep 2011)

625 pageviews - 52 Ancestor Challenge (10 Jan 2016)


United States 161098 pageviews (Blake articles are particularly sought after I suspect)

Germany          66416 pageviews

Russia               45517 pageviews (about 10 percent of the members of the H11 project live in present day Russia)

United Kingdom 30993 (not surprising given my 100% English ancestry)

Canada                25131 (Blake articles again I suspect)

France                 16140 (I have done some work on our son in laws French Canadian ancestry)

China                   10029

Australia                 7706 (Blake again perhaps but also shared English ancestry)

Ukraine                    6838 (H11 - about 2% of the H11 haplogroup members are from the Ukraine)

Sweden                    2145 (H11 - about 5% of the H11 haplogroup members are from Scandinavia)

Traffic sources

Light at the end of the tunnel

As the end of May approaches I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel and hope to get back to a more regular blogging routine. I also hope to get back to my will transcription project amongst others!

My time rather eaten up by other needs has been spent in meaningful ways even yet when the time presents itself for genealogical endeavours. I have been busy using DNA Painter and it is a great tool. I am now using it as I phase my grandparents DNA.