Saturday, January 12, 2008

Connecting With Cousins

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have made connections with distant cousins, even though I have not met them in person. (I will not mention the names of my cousins as I do not have their permission. I'm not going to use any names, real or fake.)

So, how did I connect with other cousins? I mainly made connections through the message boards at Rootsweb and I have also connected with other cousins through contacting the owners of family trees that have my ancestors. In a couple of cases, I connected with cousins that I did not know, but were known by my grandparents. So, I have been able to verify people's claims that way. I must state, though, that I have only connected with a few cousins. I have not connected with very many cousins.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Nine

Over this past week, Randy Seaver and Lee Anders have blogged about whether or not to help other people search for living people, and I thought that I would add my two cents to this debate.

To be honest, I really haven't searched for living people at the request of strangers. The closest I have come to looking for a living person is when I looked up the phone number of cousin for one of my cousins. Of course, I also knew why my distant cousin wanted to contact this other cousin; we were both hoping that this cousin might know more about our family's history. Outside of that situation, I have not been asked to search for living people.

Would I search for living people? Probably not. Personally, I don't like searching for living people as I feel that would be an invasion of a person's privacy. I truly believe that people have a right to their privacy, and I don't like the idea of intruding into people's lives. As I have stated before, I really haven't had to deal with this issue, and I really don't have any experience in searching for living people.

The only genealogy research that I engage in at the moment is my own genealogy. I have never been asked to help anyone do any genealogical research. When I have contacted people that I did not know on a line, I have either contacted that person through e-mail or on a message board, and even then, I clearly state that I believe we share a connection with the explanation as to how. Again, when I do contact strangers, I am only contacting that person or persons in the hope that maybe he or she has some information that would help me make a connection with an ancestor.

I won't go into detail about the ethical and legal issues of this problem as the issues have already been covered and to write about them would be redundant. But I can't help putting myself into the shoes of the person who is being searched for. If I knew that someone was searching for me, would I like that? Probably not. I mean, would I really want a classmate from elementary school searching for me? Probably not. Sometimes people don't want to be contacted by someone from their past for various reasons. If this person had not been a friend, I'm not sure if I would want to be contacted by someone who I haven't seen for the past forty years. Of course, some people would not have a problem. Maybe it is just me who has the problem. I honestly don't know.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Congragulations to Blaine Bettinger!

I just want to congratulate Blaine Bettinger for becoming a member of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. I just noticed his announcement, and I want to say, "Congrats!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Poll Created!

I have just created a new poll, in order to determine what topics I should write about in my Genealogy and History Thoughts columns. The question is: "What topics would you like to see covered in the Genealogy and History Thoughts columns?" The choices are:
  • Personal research experiences
  • Contemporary genealogy issues
  • Information on historical events
  • Information on historical places or landmarks
  • Information on the history of a location

Even though I have given five choices, you do not have to limit yourself to these five. If you would like to see a topic or have an idea, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Note About the Genealogy and History Thoughts Columns

As you probably know, I have not posted a Genealogy and History Thoughts column in a while. Since I last posted one of the columns, I have been very busy. I have not discontinued the column, and I will start posting this columns. I do not believe I will be able to post a column every week as I originally intended because I am expecting another busy semester at school. Even though the columns will not be as regular, I still hope to write and post more columns in the coming months.

Genealogy Article on Pennsylvania Records ...

A couple of days ago, I noticed that Randy Seaver posted an article on Pennsylvania records. I have been busy lately, so I did not have a chance to post on this article earlier.

Of course, I read this article with interest, as I have at least three major lines that come from Pennsylvania. The only problem for me is that my ancestors lived in Pennsylvania before the state began to collect vital records. All of them died before death records were instituted, so I don't have death certificates to look at. The only records on death that I would find are probate records, church records, or newspaper death notices/obituaries. My biggest problem at the moment is trying to determine the church or churches that my ancestors attended. So far, I have not been successful in determining which ones those churches are. Another road block to my research is that I do not live in Pennsylvania, and so far, I have only been able to do my research from outside of the state. I have not researched in Pennsylvania yet.

But I digress, as the article was not on records before recording was instituted. This article was on the efforts of other researchers to get Pennsylvania to allow for wider access to its vital records, especially in the form of death certificates. The article ended with the suggestion that researchers write to the Governor and state Representatives about changing the law. Even though most of my research will deal with records pre-1906, I probably should write a letter when I have the time to do so.

Also, on another note, I just want to mention that Lisa at Small-Leaved Shamrock also wrote an article about this issue back in December.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Genealogy Blog Added!

Today, I have added another genealogy blog. The blog added is:
  • What's Past Is Prologue

I first learned about this blog from Jasia's post. You can find this blog and other genealogy and history blogs on the lower left hand side of the page. Any suggestions for other history or genealogy blogs are welcome.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Genetic Genealogist Hosts Contest For Free DNA Test!

I realize that other people have already posted about this contest in the past few days that Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist, but I decided to post on this contest as well.

So, what are the requirements to enter? Well, one could post an article on the contest on his or her blog, and leave a comment with the URL for the post entry. One could subscribe to the feed of The Genetic Genealogist blog, or one could leave a comment explaining why one would to win the contest.

What is the prize? The prize is a free DNA test, and one could choose one test out of three. One could choose either a mDNA test, or from two different y-DNA tests.

To be honest, I am not sure what I would actually do with a genetic test, as I have never talked to any of family members about doing one. I am not sure if I could get my family to agree to the test. If I had to choose, I think I would do a y-DNA test on my last name, as that might be the easiest option in doing research. If other DNA tests have been done by people of the same last name, I might be able to make a connection, but that is, again, an if.