Monday, August 29, 2011

Free Access to Travel Records at Ancestry through September 5th!!! is offering free access to its "Immigration and Travel Collection" through September 5th.  I recommend searching for people from every branch in your tree, regardless of when you think they immigrated to the United States.  Your ancestors may have taken a cruise to Bermuda or visited relatives (surprise!) in Poland and needed a passport.  Applications for passports may include a photograph, such as the one below.

Who wouldn't love to find this picture of their ancestors?

The application may have included additional documents explaining the purpose of the trip.

This supplemental letter to this family's application explains why they moved to Belgium, as well as a parent's name.
Other applications may provide dates and locations of births, deaths, marriages, and residences, where you can then look for additional records.

These few sentences provide a date and place of birth, immigration date, residence,
and date and location of citizenship documents.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mystery Cousin

A close genetic match has appeared in my Relative Finder at 23andme.  He matches 5% over 15 segments, which indicates that he is somewhere between a 1st and a 2nd cousin.  (For reference, I share 50% with each parent over 24 segments.)

This is very exciting- BUT this person has not responded to requests for communication!

All I can see about him is that he reported that he lives in the United States.  His haplogroups tell me that he is not a direct descendant on my father's strict paternal and maternal lines and not a direct descendant on my mother's direct maternal line.  I cannot tell which parent he matches because he is too close a relation (1st cousin or closer) to be revealed in the corresponding account.  His account should have an icon for him to press to reveal his close relation.

This is frustrating and disappointing.  This person may be from an entirely unknown branch.  Genetic databases such as the one at 23andme hold the promise of uniting lost family members.  The downside is that most people in the database, for whatever reason, do not participate in the communication necessary to uncover the connections.  My father has 540 genetic relatives in the database.  Contact has been requested of all of them, but 415 have not responded.

I can submit DNA specimens for more relatives under separate accounts and see who else he matches.  There is a cost factor involved with this method, and he still may remain a mystery.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sale on genetic testing at 23andme

23andme has a $50 coupon off their $99 purchase price.  Go to and click on "23andMe $50 off coupon code" to generate one for yourself.  The coupon is for new customers.  The monthly service fee of $9 still applies.  Good through August 9th, so hurry!