Newsletter June 7, 2017

Welcome to this week’s newsletter. And thanks for not sharing this link – it’s for newsletter subscribers only 🙂 This week has been the first time I’ve been able to get back into the work groove since my mom’s death. I’ve been working hard on the complete revision of the Unofficial Guide to This true Version 2 will be released next spring; I’ll let you know when it’s close to being released. Not only is the entire book being updated, we’re also adding brand new chapters. More as it gets closer.

Thanks too, for your comment about the newsletter format. Without a doubt, every vote I received was for doing the newsletter in this format instead of via email.

DNA and Genealogy

First, thank you to everyone who took my DNA survey. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at the results. Nearly 35% of newsletter readers haven’t done any DNA testing. I know for some people it’s a matter of cost and for others a matter of privacy. However, I’m reaching the point where I’m not sure I’m actually descended from anyone until I see some DNA proof! When I see DNA cousins that share a common ancestor, then I know that ancestor really is mine.

I thought you might be interested in seeing how DNA testing can vary among siblings. The three images below are those of my brother, my sister, and myself. Interesting variations, don’t you think?

Next week I’m going to upload results from other DNA tests (just to show how much they can vary for the same person) as well as show results from uploading raw DNA data to the (free) genome study at This is a combined effort of the New York Genome Center and Columbia University. More next time.

Genealogy News, Events, and Freebies

First, on the blog you’ll find my brand new “how-to” article on using the newly released Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. I consider these among some of the very best maps for virtual time travel. I call the article The Best U.S. Maps You’ve Never Heard Of! The image below is one of the legends for the maps’ coloring coding.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Free Live Streaming of 14 sessions at the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree 2017 is available – this is just a reminder that you need to register (it’s free) NOW. Events run June 9-11. This will ensure you can watch the live streams or access until July 10. If you’re interested in learning more about DNA, you can either purchase each of the DNA sessions for $20 each or buy the package for $99. (And no, I’m not associated with this event).

George Washington’s Hoecakes and Honey – I loved reading this article about Washington and his fondness for the “lower class” hoecakes and honey for breakfast. Now I really want to go back and revisit Mount Vernon!

And following the Washington story – I was mesmerized by this YouTube video on making colonial-era pink pancakes! Apparently it was served by the gentry to their favorite guests. If you’ve ever gotten into colonial or early American cooking, this is a must-watch.

Got immigrant ancestors? (Don’t we all?). Then be sure to read Sunny Jane Morton’s article on How to Research Immigrant Ancestors. Free over at Family Tree Magazine’s blog.

You’ll find lots of updates to the Chronicling America newspaper collection. Access is through the Library of Congress and it’s free. If you’re interested in historical newspapers, give this one a try.

chronicling america

Maureen Taylor, my favorite Photo Detective, just wrote this article on Don’t Forget the Women and Children in Old Photos. Follow Maureen’s step-by-step guidance on tracking down the females in a photo.

archiving old photosMy personal pick for this week’s (paid) workshop is  Archive Your Family Photos. The workshop runs June 12-June 18, 2017, and is presented by my friend Denise Levenick. The workshop includes six 30-60 minute videos. If saving old photos is high on your to-do list, I can highly recommend this workshop. (Denise is brilliant when it comes to archiving!)

Here’s are just a few of the free webinars given by the Family History Library in June. You can find the complete list here. I’m definitely going to do The Blue and Gray.

Free family history webinars

Speaking of Blue and Gray – here’s a nifty Civil War resource that costs less than $5. Step-by-Step Guide: Civil War Research. This one is a PDF digital download by David Fryxell – past head honcho at Family Tree Magazine. has added these new historic records – as usual, they’re all free.

family search free historic records

That wraps up everything for this week. And of course, thank you for being such a loyal reader!


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