Saturday, September 29, 2012

DNA Testing Sale

DNA testing kits at Family Tree DNA are on sale!  If you were waiting to test your DNA, a sale is the perfect time to order.  The sale ends tomorrow, so hurry.

Family Finder Testing for $199 is autosomal DNA testing.  All of your ancestral lines are captured- half from your mother, half from your father.  This is the same testing that 23andMe offers, called Relative Finder.  Their current, non-sale price is $299.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Step Third Cousins

Is there such a thing as a step third cousin?  Well, I found one.  Her great great grandmother was married to my great great grandfather.  We both descend from previous marriages.

My great great grandfather, Herman Lutter, remarried to a woman named Emma.  This was discovered when viewing the 1920 census.
1920 United States Federal Census
58 Hunter Street, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey

Herman was “single” in the 1910 census.  A search of New Jersey marriage records from 1910 through 1920 produced a marriage certificate in 1915 of Herman Lutter to Emma Neubauer, widow of Grieser.
Marriage record
Herman Lutter to Emma Neubauer
March 2, 1915 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Via microfilm at New Jersey State Archives

This marriage was also an unhappy one for Herman.  He filed for divorce from Emma in 1923 and relocated to Spring Lake in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Red Bank Register online
Monmouth County, New Jersey

Neubauer was not an unfamiliar name in my research of Herman Lutter.  Lutter v. Neubauer (100 N.J.L. 17; 125 A. 113) was a precedent-setting legal case in mental health decided June 17, 1924.  Herman Lutter sued Albert Neubauer for room and board and won by default.  Rose Seipel, administratrix of Albert’s estate, appealed and won.  Herman appealed and lost.  The Court held, “[A]lthough an insane person may be sued at law for an alleged debt, his incapacity requires that he be protected . . .”  I thought it was strange that someone owed Herman for room and board when Herman himself was always renting a room.
1917 City Directory for Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Note that Herman Lutter was rooming at 58 Hunter.
In the 1920 census, he was still renting at this address.
Herman died weeks after the court's decision on July 3, 1924, before his divorce to Emma was complete.  Herman’s death certificate listed Fairmount Cemetery in Newark as the burial place.  Research of this cemetery’s records failed to locate any records of Herman’s burial.  I searched at the New Jersey State Archives through the 1930s for a death certificate for Emma, but found none.

Then I remembered that the court’s opinion contained the date of death of the defendant, Albert Neubauer:  October 13, 1921 at the Newark City Almshouse.  With a date, the death certificate was easy to locate at the Archives.

Via microfilm at New Jersey State Archives

Albert was buried at Fairmount Cemetery, where Herman was supposed to be buried.  Returning to Fairmount, I located Albert’s record.  Burials are not organized in strict alphabetical order, but rather in chronological order based on the first few letters of the surname.  Having a date of death ensures a more accurate search.  Albert was buried October 15, 1921 in Section L, Lot 51. 
Fairmount Cemetery
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Burial log for surname Ne* 1916-1936

Looking up the plot card, we find that the owner was Schmidt.  Without knowing this surname, we needed the date of death of someone else in the plot to locate the record.  Emma Lutter was buried in this plot on December 18, 1946.  This is why I did not locate her death certificate- I had not looked in the 1940s- yet.  Louis Grieser was buried in this plot on February 1, 1906.  No gravestones are in this location.

Fairmount Cemetery
Plot card for Section L, Lot 51
Using these dates of death, I looked for these people online in hopes of ascertaining their relationships.  A great great granddaughter of Emma had posted the tree online with photographs!  Emma, Albert, and Rose were siblings.  Louis was Emma’s first husband.

Neubauer siblings
Emma married Herman Lutter.
Rose married Henry Seipel.
Herman Lutter sued Albert Neubauer and Rose appealed the case.
The Neubauer family does not have any pictures of Herman Lutter.  I  would not blame Emma if she tore them up.  I am glad that I clarified the relationships of these people and can associate faces with the names.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book of Eckler

Congratulations and thank you to Paul E Eckler for publishing a family history book, Eckler-Eiklor-Eaklor-Akler Family of Hudson Valley, New York and Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  This is a labor of love.  The original immigrant Christian Eigler was born about 1680 in the Rhine Valley region of what is now Germany and came to New York around 1711 with his wife, Maria Neff, and other Palatines.

You may reach the author, Paul E Eckler, at
Page 42: details of my Eckler becoming Hyser

The most recent Eckler in my ancestry was Catharine Eckler, born in 1830 in Catskill, Greene County, New York.  Her mother was Maria Layman.  The Layman family, also spelled Lehman, had many intermarriages with the Ecklers.  Catharine's parents were cousins to each other.  Her mother's great grandfather was her father's grandfather, Adrew Eckler, born in 1732.  This is an especially interesting line to me because it represents my father's direct maternal line.  Ten generations back from my father, all on his direct maternal line, are in this book, to Anna Maria Kieffer, born about 1700.

Great job, Paul!

Monday, September 17, 2012

DNA: Matches in Common, part 1

One of my father's closer relations in the genetic pool at 23andMe also matches his paternal first cousin, once removed.  Here is what the graph looks like:

J. H. compared to D. W. and Jody's Dad

J. H. matches D. W. on the same area of Chromosome 2 that he also shares with my father.  D. W. is in the generation older than my father and shares a slightly larger segment with J. H.  The relation is still distant, beyond third cousins.  The chances of inheriting the same intact segment is random, but here it is.

This match in common was surprising because it seems that J. H. shares an ancestral line on my father's mother's side as well.  If you travel back to Massachusetts in the 1630s, you will find the couple John Strong and Abigail Ford.  My preliminary research indicates that J. H. is descended through their son Jedediah while my paternal grandmother was descended from another son, Jerijah.  400 years later, it is not likely (dare we say improbable?) that such a large segment of DNA would still be intact from John Strong or Abigail Ford.

The new results demonstrate that there are more recent common ancestors, not in my father's mother's tree, but in my father's paternal grandmother's tree.  See how adding a cousin for comparison helps?  You still need to research records as we have been all these years to figure out where J. H.'s tree merges with mine.  It's like getting the answer first and figuring out the arithmetic later.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

DNA: Comparing the Closest Matches

Remember my 5% mystery match from a year ago at 23andMe?  From the new parental sorting feature, I discovered that he is a match through my mother.  This person has not responded to my requests to communicate.

To put into perspective how close a relation this mystery 5% man is to me, look at my closest genetic relations in the database.

The P stands for Paternal Match and the M stands for Maternal Match.

D. W. is my known first cousin, twice removed.  The displayed relation of 2nd cousin is a prediction.  Second cousins (children of first cousins) should share about 3.125% DNA.  D. W. is my grandfather's first cousin, so the same spacing exists between us as second cousins.  [For DNA purposes, D. W. is better than a second cousin because he represents the DNA from two generations ago at my grandfather's generation.]

This mystery 5% cousin shares slightly more DNA with me than D. W. does!  That is how close a relation he is to my mother's family and why I really wish he would come forward.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

DNA Testing: Results for Grandfather's First Cousin

The DNA results are in at 23andMe for my grandfather's maternal first cousin!

First cousins share around 12.5% identical DNA.  My grandfather is not available to test, but we do have the next generation:  his son.  The expected amount of shared DNA is reduced in half, or about 6.25%.    The actual shared DNA between these first cousins, once removed, is 6.71%.  As the next generation, I could expect to share about 3.125% with a first cousin twice removed.  Again, the amount of shared DNA is slightly more at 4.44%.  [Extrapolate on these numbers for a few more generations and you can envision how some of your ancestors' DNA becomes undetectable.]

Relative Finder at 23andMe
My father's top three matches.

DNA comparison between First Cousins, once removed.

DNA comparison of First Cousins, twice removed.
The blue areas represent some of the DNA that I carry of my great grandmother, Laura Winterton.
This is truly amazing to see.  Although she is gone, I am able to see her in me by comparing myself to her nephew.

Last year, after testing my father's maternal third cousin, we discovered that he also matches my mother, though we do not know how.  In this same spirit, my father's paternal first cousin matches my mother's brother.  We do not know how.
This testing creates new questions to be answered.
This paternal cousin is somehow related to my maternal uncle!!!

So what is the point of testing these different family members?  To narrow down the other matches to specific branches of the tree.  When a distant genetic relation matches both my father and his cousin, the search for the most recent common ancestor is narrowed to my father's paternal grandmother's tree.  Many of these lines have old roots in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

In upcoming posts we will examine some of my father's matches who also (surprise!) match this first cousin.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Uncovering a Productive Paper Trail

William Walling of Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey died 31 July 1870.  An obituary provided an interesting tidbit that he was "the largest property holder at Keyport."

Trenton State Gazette
9 August 1870

Now that New Jersey probate records are readily accessed online, I have a lot of work ahead of me, sorting through his estate transactions, which took over 26 years to finalize.

Monmouth County, New Jersey
Surrogate's Proceedings Index

Also of interest was a newspaper article run just four days before William Walling died.  He was physically digging a well as he constructed a store on the corner of Broad and Front streets.

Trenton State Gazette, Trenton, New Jersey
27 July 1870

Wondering if the building was completed and if it still stood, I again wandered online and found the structure, called Walling Hall at some point, now housing McDonagh's Pub at 2 West Front Street, Keyport.

Keyport Online
"Village History"
Walling Hall

William Walling appears to have left behind quite a paper trail for us to follow . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finding Parents

The Wallings of Monmouth County, New Jersey are an interwoven bunch that I am trying to sort.  Of particular interest at this point is proving the parentage of William Walling, who died in 1870 (the second entry in the Estate Index below).  The Monmouth County Genealogy Society publishes a newsletter, The Monmouth Connection.  The September 2012 Newsletter provided a transcribed will for William Walling, written in 1823 and proved in 1824.  I looked for the original will at Family Search in the New Jersey Probate collection.  The digitized collection is not named-indexed yet, so you need to browse through the images to locate a usable index.

Estate Index for Monmouth County, New Jersey.
I am sorting the Wallings.  William was a popular name among the Wallings of Monmouth County.
The first entry is the transcribed will that I noticed in The Monmouth Connection.

Proceedings Index.
William Walling, 1824, is file number 27096 from the Estate Index.
His will is in Volume B, page 396.
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Will of William Walling, signed 3 December 1823, Volume B, page 396.
Monmouth County, New Jersey.

From the will, we learn that this William Walling had a wife named Rebecca.  He had children under the age of 21 and he had at least three sons whom he named as executors: Isaac, Amos, and William.  It is possible that this William Walling (died 1824) and Rebecca were the parents of William Walling who died in 1870.  We need more records before we can be certain.

The transcribed wills in The Monmouth Connection contained additional numbers not in the Surrogate's index.  William Walling's will was number 9571M.  I browsed through other images of wills organized by number and not volume and located the original will and inventory.

Will and Inventory filed as 9571M
Monmouth County, New Jersey

Inventory of property of William Walling in 1824.
He had $16 in cash and an assortment of household items.
His most valuable asset was firewood.

Accounts owing to William Walling 1824
Several of these people are related in more than one way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DNA Matching: Mystery Second or Third Cousin

My third cousin, R.S., has a new closer cousin in his DNA matches at 23andMe.  They share 1.37% over four segments.  They are likely second or third cousins, though the prediction of the site is second through fourth cousins.

Second cousins share a pair of great grandparents, while third cousins share great great grandparents.

Let's hope that this person responds to my request to communicate.  Absent an adoption or non-paternal event, we should be able to figure out the connection.

Relative Finder top genetic matches for my third cousin, R.S. at 23andMe.
This mystery person could be a closer match than my father and R.S.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

AncestryDNA: The Genetic Matches

AncestryDNA provided genetic matches for M.S., who is adopted.  No close matches appeared.  The closest match is a predicted third cousin.  Two predicted fourth cousins are also reported, followed by several distant cousins.  Because this is autosomal DNA testing, the matches could be from any of M.S.'s ancestral lines.

Top genetic matches for M.S. at

I reached out to these three people.  One person responded.  We see no common geographical areas at this time.
AncestryDNA compares your surnames and tree to the surnames and trees of your matches and highlights results for you.  Because M.S. was adopted, I have no surnames or tree for her, thus precluding me from exploring this feature.  If you would like to see a screenshot of compared surnames, please see CeCe Moore's post here.
I am disappointed that I cannot see the amount or location of shared DNA among the matches.  23andMe allows such views and comparisons.
I will keep you posted if anything promising develops.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Indexing Project: New York City Death Ledgers, Part Two

The indexing continues of the New York City death registers for the Italian Genealogical Group.  This set includes the years 1837 and 1838.  They are not as clear as the previous set.  The city directories over at Fold3 are proving useful for deciphering some names.

April 1837 Register of Deaths for New York City.
Individual death certificates were not created during this time.

Some names are difficult to decipher for the transcription.  This surname looks like BIBBY.
The first name could be Cathy, Walter, Arthur.

A check of the city directories shows that people named Bibby were indeed living in New York City at this time.
So Bibby the name shall be.
[1838 New York City Directory by Longworth.  Available online at Fold3.]

Online transcriptions are an invaluable resource to genealogists, but the difficulties illustrated here demonstrate that mistakes are likely and you need to seek the original source.  In this particular project, the original record includes place of burial, cause of death, and nativity- additional pertinant information that will not be in the online index.  If you are unable to travel to New York City to view these ledgers, you can order the microfilm through a FamilySearch Center [catalog numbers 447544-447568 and 1314271-1314289] or wait for the images to appear online at FamilySearch.