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Friday, March 3, 2017

We're Related

We're Related is a smart phone app from Ancestry.com.

I think it's relatively new and, therefore, not enormously interesting since it requires that people related to you also have the app for it to be most effective.

The app uses the family trees in Ancestry to look for family connections with your family tree which you enter into the app, only a couple of generations.

It provides you with a list of possible connections, predominantly celebrities, with common ancestors.  As is widely known, since the family trees on Ancestry are provided by an enormous number of people with hugely varying expertise, from none to professional, the connections are mostly questionable.

Still, you never know.  I've seen a few celebrity trees that have interesting possibilities.

I have 2 or 3 actual family connections in the app, with people who I already knew are related.

Here's the latest thing I found:

Below each of the suggested celebrity connections, is a series of icons:  a tiny family chart, a heart and a variation on a menu link icon to share, etc.  If you click on the family chart icon, the app gives you what they suggest as a common ancestor with that celebrity.  Below that are connecting lines to each of you and at which generation each of you are from that common ancestor.

In most cases, this doesn't give you much because none of the connections seem are familiar.  But, here's one I found that I'll pursue.

The actress, Kate Upton, is listed as a possible 8th cousin, twice removed, to me.  Generally speaking, I'm not very interested in celebrities and that connection is very distant.  But, once I discovered the feature to see both family trees, I tried most of them and Kate Upton's showed some possibilities.

Our possible common ancestor is a Jannetje Roosa.  I'm very familiar with the surname since a Roosa had tanneries in southern NYS where many of my ancestors lived.  Clicking on Kate's link to Roosa, I find that her ancestors include Van Ettens, Cuddebacks and Swartwouts and all of those surnames are very familiar to me and I have relatives by marriage in at least 2 of those families.  So, it is very possible that the relationship between Kate Upton and I is correct and I will make some time to look into it.

So, while the app is very new and entertaining and not yet very useful, it does show some possibilities.

I'll describe some features more tomorrow.

Good family tracking.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The families in newspapers

BEISMER

Republic Watchman - Montecello, Friday, April 3, 1931 - [My brackets] - "Mrs. Silas Beasmer, [Eliza Vandermark Beismer] of Grooville, celebrated her eighty-second birthday Tuesday, March 24, at the home of her brother, Lafayette Vandermark.  A family party with a few friends gathered to honor the occasion and all enjoyed the affair very much."

 INGRAHAM

Otsego Farmer - Cooperstown, Saturday, March 27, 1886 - "James Ingraham of Unadilla, who was recently stabbed by a drunken man, has recovered."

ODELL

Hancock Herald - Hancock, date unclear but certainly 1879 - [In Married notices] - "ODELL-OLIVER - Meredith, April 6, [1879] by J. M. Graham, Esq., Joseph Odell, of Rockland, to Minerva Oliver."







My Native Ancestry

After some reflecting about my and my father's DNA test results, both of which show no Native ethnic markers, but which fact doesn't necessarily mean there were no Native ancestors, I have decided to stop thinking about this.  It was the original impetus for my family history research and the lack of evidence has briefly hurt my feelings as has the careless spread of the "family legends" by my grandparents.  However, I have spent a lot of time and expense and have enjoyed the work and I will continue but with changes in my goals.






Surname Variants


Many of my families' surnames have multiple variants, some a great many.  It makes the research more time consuming but doesn't stop it.  Fortunately, many of my surnames are not common like Smith or White.

It occurred to me recently that most of the records that I find have been filled out by someone other than the individual him/herself.  Clearly, especially as evidenced by census records, the recorder rarely, if ever, asked for the spelling.  Sometimes, in a single record, a surname can be seen spelled in more than one way.  It's unfortunate but common human carelessness and laziness.  I finally realized that, unless and until, I find records written by the person themselves, I will not be sure how they spelled their name.

Also, over time, individuals choose to spell their surname, not quite as often as they do their given name, differently to distinguish themselves from other family members.  My paternal grandfather, apparently, introduced the capital D and apostrophe into our surname which was originally just Odell.  He did so to differentiate himself from a younger uncle with the same name.

Since I have traced only a few family lines back to European origins, I have little evidence of original spellings, pronunciations or national origins.

It remains interesting.

Until next time.