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Several years ago, when Y-DNA was pretty much all that was available to genealogists, my father agreed to be tested as my December holiday (a.k.a. Christmas for him, Hanukah for me) present to satisfy my curiosity. The fact that it was an easy present that wouldn't involve a trip to the mall in that month (especially that year, as my mother was sick enough that she died the third night of Hanukah) undoubtedly helped my sales pitch ;-)

Unfortunately, it didn't clear anything up where the paper trail is unclear or non-existent. Nor has more recent testing as the technology has improved.

Unlike many genealogists, I have my straight maternal line, with a surname change in every generation, much further back (in northeastern Massachusetts, back to a woman born in MA in the 1630s and her English mother) than I have my straight paternal line.

My documented paternal line ends with Francis McGee, who appears in Edinburgh, Scotland, when he marries Helen Cassidy in 1848. On a daughter's birth record, he says he was born in Donegal, Ireland, around 1822, while a census record says Fermanagh. When Francis dies in 1888, his daughter says her father's father's name was Bernard McGee on Francis's death certificate, but that is the only bit of evidence I have on anyone earlier than Francis.

I had hoped that the DNA test my father would link my line to other McGees.... but if you look at the McGee DNA project results, my line is all by its lonely self in group 2 :-(

When looking at the actual data, there's no one close. Looking at larger databases, the closest matches (which aren't that close ~ all are several steps away) are associated with surnames from northwestern Ireland, so the Donegal/Fermanagh birthplace seems reasonable.  

More recently, as more comprehensive testing has become available, my brother was tested (at my request) at Ancestry, and I'm awaiting results for me from another company.

The Ancestry results for my brother have also not yielded any clues. All the possible matches show the same thing ~ distant (5th to 8th) cousins, and when I click for more details, all of them (with one exception) have a list of common colonial New England surnames but no overlapping pedigrees. I'm guessing that what is really happening is more distant relationships but several times over, given how there's a fair bit of pedigree collapse for families that go back to that time and place. For example, if someone has one line to the John Putnam and Priscilla Gould who settled in Salem Village (now Danvers), MA ~ I have this:

All those Putnams

And, to top it off..... I'm also descended from Priscilla's brother Zaccheus and his wife at least three times. I've found 51 other couples (and 4 men) married after 1600 (the last married about 1800) where I'm descended from two or more of their children. Figure that must lead to some DNA distance confusion ;-)

One suggested cousin did have an overlapping tree, but the person hasn't responded to my inquiries ~ which isn't too big an issue, as it seems clear from what is already visible that I have much more on that family than he/she does.

More on the McGees (a bit of a repeat an encore presentation from a previous diary I did a couple years ago), 'cuz I don't have it in me to be short-winded for these diaries....and it gives me an excuse to put some more pictures in  ;-)
I've got a fairly complete picture of Francis McGee and Helen Cassidy after their marriage at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Edinburgh, 1848. Despite having been poor Catholic costermongers (Francis was probably a famine immigrant who was likely too poor to pay for passage to the US so he went only as far as Scotland) in the tenements of Edinburgh, they did manage to leave trails in various records.

Francis was born in Ireland (Donegal or Fermanagh, depending on which record I believe) in the 1820s, while Helen was the daughter of Michael Cassidy and Mary Goodman, baptized at St. Mary’s, Edinburgh, in 1832.

St. Mary's, taken in 2004:

Edinburgh St Marys RC church

I’ve found them on the two censuses that were taken when they were married:

1851 census 685-1 Ed 3 p 6 (Lady Yester's)
231 Cowgate, Hasties Close.
Francis McGEE, head, 28, hawker costermonger, b Fermanagh, Ireland
Helen McGEE, wife, 20, hawker's wife, b Edinburgh, MLN
Margaret McGEE, daur, 1, ---------------b Edinburgh, MLN
1861 census 685-3 Ed 28 p 2 (Canongate)
341 Cowgate, Scotts Land.
Francis McKEE, head, 37, fishmonger, b Ireland
Ellen McKEE, wife, 27, fishmonger, b Edinburgh, Edin.
Ellen McKEE, daur, 11, --------------b Edinburgh, Edin.
Margaret McKEE, daur, 6, ---------b Edinburgh, Edin.
Edward McKEE, son, 3, -----------b Edinburgh, Edin.
(Daughters ages reversed on this return……)
I’ve found some details on several of their children, including my great-grandfather Peter, who was adopted out after his mother died and his older sister married and moved to Dundee. Peter, was born in December 1861 in White Horse Close, Edinburgh, was adopted by James Jamieson and Margaret {maiden surname Guthrie} of Leith when he was 6 or 7, so I'm guessing that happened when his older sister Margaret married in Feb 1868 and would have no longer been around to care for Peter.

White Horse Close (it was much grimmer 150 years ago....):

Edinburgh Whitehorse Close from rear

Helen died in 1862. Francis didn't die until 1888, when his daughter Margaret (living in Dundee at the time; she was born in 1849 - I have the baptism record from St. Mary's) was the informant on the death certificate.

In 1871, Peter is listed as a boarder with the family of James Jamieson and Margaret Guthrie.

Linden Cottage 3, Lasswade, Edinburgh, Midlothian
James Jamieson 50 boot/shoemaker Leith
Margaret Jamieson 51 Earlston
Robert G Jamieson 27 boot/shoemaker
Margaret Jamieson 18 paper mill wkr
Peter McGhee 9 boarder, scholar
Sarah S Richard 4 granddaughter
Thomas Moffat 1 nursing
In 1881, he's with the same family, listed as an adopted son.
Guthrie's Land, Old Sugarhouse Close, Leith
James Jamieson 60 Leith boot/shoemake
Margaret Jamieson 61 Earlston BER
Peter M Jamieson 20 Edinburgh adopted son sailmaker
Georgina D Jamieson 3 Loanhead adopted daughter
Robert Shepherd 40 boarder Greenock plater ship building yard
Janet Shepherd 37 boarder Leith
Hellen Newel 27 visitor Leith
Hellen Newel 1 visitor Glasgow
Peter McGee Jamieson with his wife (center of photo; he has a large mustache and has his arm around his wife Charlotte, who is wearing a good-sized hat; taken before Charlotte's death in 1909, but no other details known about date/place/occasion... ):

peter mcgee family pre 1909

When Peter marries, he lists Francis McGee and Helen Norrie as his parents. For Helen Cassidy (his mother's actual name....), I had her parents' {Michael Cassidy and Mary Goodman} marriage in 1830 at St. Mary's RC church in Edinburgh, followed by the baptisms of Helen in 1832 and sister Jane in 1834. And then nothing until Helen marries Francis McGee in 1848.....

But I've had a couple (at least mini) breakthroughs over the years….

What happened to Francis between his wife’s death in 1862 and his death in 1888?

I've found a couple possibilities for Francis on 1871 and 1881 but no one who is definitely him. For example, in 1881, there's a lodger listed at 65 Grassmarket as Frank with no last name, occupation fish hawker, aged 57, born Ireland, that I'm guessing is highly likely to be him.

Helen Cassidy’s childhood…..

There are no further baptisms for the Cassidy family at St. Mary's, other than Helen in 1832 and her sister Jane in 1834, and I didn't see any the one chance I had to skim the Dundee RC records. I guessed that one of a couple possibilities happened:
a. they moved outside Scotland - maybe back to Ireland? And then back to Scotland with the famine in time for her to marry Francis in 1848in Edinburgh.
b. one or both parents died, leaving 9 yo Helen to get skipped in the 1841 census. I looked through many of the Helens (Ellens/Eleanors) born in the right time frame to see if Cassidy got completely mangled, or if there's a Helen with a last name that turns up in the various witnesses to family events.

So all speculation at this point but fresh eyes do sometimes see something new. So I reposted the query about where Helen might have been in 1841 for the census at the TalkingScot forum, where there are lots of sharp-eyed researchers, one of whom (Sarah) posted this:

How about this one... (similar structure to the last name, even if the actual letters are different, and certainly initial C could look like G). Since I'm just looking at the Ancestry transcription, I can't tell if Gettany is for real.
Giles Street, South Leith, Midlothian
Beatrice Thomson, 50, born Midlothian, Washerwoman
Agnes Thomson, 20, born Midlothian, Dressmaker
James Hermanson, 20, born Midlothian, Glazier I
Peter Saunders, 22, born Midlothian, Labourer
Ellen Gettany, 8, born Midlothian

Do you know anything else about this family, e.g. what happened to Michael and Mary and if wee Jane survived?

I note that on the free surname search on SP there is exactly ONE occurrence of the surname Gettany. Guess where? 1841 census, of course. So perhaps that's how they actually wrote it. It does suggest, however, that this was not the standard spelling of whatever her name was!
I think there's a good chance it's her. Who knows who answered the questions for the enumeration. The people in the household probably knew her mostly by her first name. Speaking from a phonetic point of view, every consonant is in the correct place in the mouth, just pronounced in a slightly different way. (e.g. you put your tongue in exactly the same place for "d" and "n" but just let some air out through your nose for the latter). Well, I won't bore you with the details but I found it quite convincing!

To which I replied:
Believe me, the details wouldn't bore me one little (glances at MA in linguistics hanging on wall..... ) and I think it is highly likely it is her....but figured some thinking out loud was a good idea, in case I'm overlooking something or my eagerness has me making leaps that I shouldn't - in which case, I'd hope someone would pull me back to reality.....tracing the wrong person/line is so annoying.
I looked at the actual return at SP; it does look pretty much like Gettany (surprise, surprise) but I'm still wondering if it might be her..... location not that far off, age is right, she appears at first glance to be an 'extra'* in the household, and I can see someone misreading Cassidy as Gettany when recopying handwritten returns (especially at the end of a long day....). I thought I'd looked at all the girls with something approximating the right name -- and esp. all those whose family names started with C, K, and G -- but I seem to have missed this one somehow..... eyes do cross after a while, I guess.
So, now the inquisitiveness kicks in.... random placement with an unrelated family? Or some relatives I don't know about? So many questions, so little time, Edinburgh (and its archives) so far away...... Thanks for looking - the new/fresh eyes are much appreciated!

* A scenario I was kinda sorta expecting, as I've found no trace of later baptisms after her sister Jane in 1834, which leads me to believe that one or both of her parents died in the mid/late 1830s if the family otherwise stayed in Scotland, which seems likely, since Helen/Ellen/Eleanor/Norrie married there at the age of 16 (and marriage quite that young also seems to suggest she didn't have much family).

Then the next breakthrough: the Old Parochial Register deaths/burials have now been digitized and they've gone live at Scotlandspeople. The OPRs are the records from before 1855, when Scotland started doing civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths. The OPRs are basically the records of the established Church of Scotland (a.k.a. Presbyterian) and so one mostly actually gets baptisms, banns, and burials, rather than births, marriages, and deaths. Since it is the established church, many people (Catholics and Free Church adherents being the prime ‘culprits’) didn’t bother to register various events. The baptisms and marriages have been indexed and available for years, but indexing the burials was proving to be a bit harder, as many as listed as ‘a child of Mr. Cameron’ or ‘old widow McDonald.’

So I took a peek. Since I wasn’t at home when the records went on-line, I was working from memory, and I know the details of the Cassidy/McGee line pretty well, having gone over it lots. But they were Catholic, based on the records I'd found at St. Mary's. Was it worth trying?

Yup, it was. Occasionally one gets lucky!

There she was: Mary Goodman, age 29, wife of Michael Cassidy, buried 6 Sept 1835. So the theory that at least one of Helen's parents had died as the reason that I'd only found the two children's baptisms looks like it's true.

On Helen's name: she is also listed variously in assorted records as Eleanor and Ellen; her son called her Helen Norrie on his marriage record, so I wouldn't be surprised if she went by Norrie or Nora, either.

A wild speculation.....

One morning in January 1855, Francis and Helen have a daughter named Helen, and Francis toddles off from Hastie's Close, a small street of tenements in the Old Town of Edinburgh, where they are living, to comply with the new registration law. In Scottish genealogy, 1855 is the magic year for researchers. During this first year of required civil registration of births, deaths, and marriages, records required much more information than in later years.

What caught my eye on the registration of Helen’s birth: the next line, another child born the same day (although in the evening) as Helen and registered the same day, with the same witness to their father's marks. It's a James Callaghan, son of Thomas Callaghan and Mary McGhie, also resident in Hastie's Close. Aha, I think..... Any chance Mary is related to Francis? If not, it is quite the coincidence.

James's entry says his parents were married in 1844 in Dundee. Thomas, age 30 in 1855, was born in Co. Cavan, Ireland, while Mary was 38 and born in Donegal. James is her 4th child, with the previous three all deceased.

When I was in Scotland several years ago, I found their marriage record at the Catholic church in Dundee: 9 July 1844, witnessed by James Trainor and Mary Farrell.

Ancestry's 1851 census lists a Thomas aged 26 and Maria Kallican aged 25 at 89 Murraygate, Beattie Close, Dundee, on the 1851 census, with a son Thomas aged 1 that might well be them. Hurrah for census searches that don't require a last name!

But I can't find them in the death records or later census returns. Obviously, having registered James’s birth in 1855 means they were still alive when civil registration started. I've tried lots of combinations of spellings/Soundex/wildcards with no luck. Looked through the US census and various immigration records, just in case, on the off chance that they immigrated and I'd manage to find them amongst all the possible spellings.

And in my wilder moments, I wonder if James and Helen were actually twins, with Francis and Helen not able to handle them and letting his sister and her husband adopt one. And in the really wild moments, I figure maybe someday I'll track down a direct male descendant of James to compare his DNA to the test my dad had done as a present for me.

I think it is likely that there is some connection, as there seems to be some movement between Dundee & Edinburgh for both these families - plus there's a surname that turns up in baptismal and marriage witnesses for both that is a bit less common - McPhilips.

Yes, the twin thing is waaaaaay out there. But I'm sure you can see why I occured to me, despite the am/pm difference - one family with 3 babies who've died, the other with (possible) twins, a couple other living children, and little to no income.

Someday, maybe someone will get a DNA test done that will pop up in a database and fill my Irish lack of records black hole ~ or at least answer the McGee/Callaghan question for me ;-)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip microfilm box (20+ / 0-)

    Will be in and out to reply to comments. I'm pretty much on hiatus from this place, but popped back in to post this diary 'cuz I didn't want to leave anyone in the lurch ;-)

    It's going to be a fun afternoon ~ have a friend's 3.5yo twins staying with me for a few days while my friend deals with her father being in the hospital, and they keep me on my toes.... and, on top of that, the cats have a veterinarian appointment. Wish me luck on getting two preschoolers and two felines into the car on what is supposed to be one of the hottest days of the summer. At least the vet's office is air conditioned, unlike many buildings here in the hills of western Maine. Oh, and no laughing that our 'one of the hottest days of the summer' has a predicted high of 93 ~ see previous comment about scarcity of A/C around here.

    Anyhow, back to genealogy....

    Peter McGee, son of Francis McGee and Helen Cassidy, with one of his sons, circa WWI, as the son pictured had immigrated to Canada around 1911 (joined a newly married sister there) and only returned to Scotland with the Canadian Forces.

    2 peter mcgee jamieson with son John

    The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

    by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:36:35 AM PDT

  •  And, since I was over at Flickr... (14+ / 0-)

    A couple more fun ;-) photos....

    Peter McGee's family was quite poor, and had no indoor bathing facilities.... but there was a public bathing facility nearby that they used on occasion (as seen in 2004), according to the stories the children told their grandchildren:

    Victorias Baths

    The tenement they lived in in Leith for many years has been torn down and replaced with this 1950s/1960s equivalent:

    Leith 40 Tolbooth Wynd site

    Across the street, a surviving building gives a clue to what the earlier building might have looked like:

    Leith Tolbooth wynd tenement prob look like this

    The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

    by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:43:58 AM PDT

  •  One final set of pictures.... (14+ / 0-)

    A couple of the places Francis McGee and Helen Cassidy lived with their children (based on addresses given when registering the children's births and deaths) are no longer extant ~ they were slum tenements in Edinburgh that are where the new Scottish Parliament building now stands.

    The final building, in 2010:

    Edinburgh 124

    Being built in 2004:

    Edinburgh Horse Wynd site with new parl bldg

    The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

    by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:46:09 AM PDT

  •  We've had my husband's DNA done (9+ / 0-)

    and I've had my mitochondrial done for the National Geographic Genome project, but I've still to get my brother's Y-DNA done.  

    If I pay to get it done by one outfit but there's no matches, how can I confirm if there are any matches with another testing company?  Is there some kind of code you're given that you can query online with other companies or do I have to pay again for another Y-DNA test?

    •  The various companies seem (10+ / 0-)

      to be just beginning to let their raw data be exported. The claim is that it's not as simple for the autosomal (more general) results as it is for YDNA and mtDNA ~ more data, more variation in what is actually tested.

      But I'm guessing someone will fill the hole in the near future, as there's undoubtedly some money to be made from providing that kind of service ;-) {/cynical outlook on such stuff}

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:48:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it depends (8+ / 0-)

      There are different sets of markers that they use depending upon the company.  I was able to use my Y-chromosome info and port over to another system.  For the Y-chromosome tests, there was a fairly standard agreement on what markers to use.  So you would cross check the loci (the physical location) and the number of repeats as a sort of bar code.  When I first did it, it was only 12 there are 25, 37 and even more sets to compare.  I took my sample results and loaded into another database to find relatives...and I had a ton of matches that were related within 4 generations with the same last name.  Crazy.

      The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

      by Mote Dai on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 11:48:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, NOES! We're out of volunteers!! (8+ / 0-)

    I guess everyone's out enjoying their summer vacations.

    Current sad and lonely schedule

    July 26   open for adoption
    Aug 2     open for adoption
    Aug 9     open for adoption
    Aug 16   open for adoption
    Aug 23   open for adoption

    Anyone want to adopt a date to host a Friday GFHC Open Thread?

  •  Great family history and (9+ / 0-)

    better still, a working tutorial about chasing leads.

    I'm learning so much by reading these diaries.  Thanks!

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:17:58 AM PDT

    •  Thanks! (10+ / 0-)

      I've put a fair bit into researching this family~ my idea of fun ;-)

      My mother's side of the family is what many would consider more interesting.... lots of prominent early New England people (a.k.a. multiple ways I could join the DAR and the Mayflower Society). But much of her side of my tree has already been researched ~ take this line from that book and another line from that article, mix thoroughly ;-)

      Dad's side of the family has been more challenging to trace, and hence in many ways more interesting.... mostly Irish costermongers who settled in the slums of Edinburgh/Leith and assorted shepherds in various parts of Scotland.

      One great-great grandmother was born in this house, still isolated today:

      Shankendshiel from distance

      The same family lived at another location a few years later that I haven't photographed, as it is only accessible by sheep track and I've been alone on less than great days weather=wise the two times I was nearby, and I didn't want to hike it alone ;-) The building and the relevant Ordnance Survey map snippet can be seen here. Clicking more nearby at that link gives an idea about how hard it would be to reach ~ but the 19th century census takers did manage ;-)

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:39:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Irish web sites (11+ / 0-)

    Irish Family History Foundation
    They are an official site (fee-based) and reputable.  I deliberately put myself on their email list when they first went online so I get updates when they add records.  So far I've not gotten any spam from them and they don't seem to have sold their email list to anyone else, so they're (so far) "safe" as far as lists go.  I just get updates periodically.

    I found the birth record for my gr-grandfather's sister's husband in Co. Tyrone via the index, but didn't want to pay the fee for the records since it's not my direct line, but it was nice to know I could refer others who descend from them if they wanted to pursue the line.

    Irish Genealogy.  This is a new site and I can't vouch for it, but it purports to have records I know are common to all genealogy researchers.

    National Archives: Census of Ireland  This is also newish in my links.  If/When they get back to the 1800s, I'll check back to see if I can find my gr-gr-aunt's hubby's family.

    Church of Ireland  I can't really vouch for this.  It's one of those sites I marked in my Favorites file and haven't had time to get back to.  Explore it, see if it's useful to you, disregard if it is useless.

    GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy
    Usually more useful as a general reference..., however, as an amateur etymologist I fell madly in love with an old 1379 Subsidy Roll (poll tax) list of names from Yorkshire and have sat for hours and hours going through the names and studying them.  Utterly fascinating!  Whether in Ireland or England, see what each area has.  Some seem to have useful stuff (I put myself on a genealogy email list via one of the pages for a specific location in England where one line of my ancestors came from), and the rest I couldn't use, so explore and see what's there for you.  Use what you can, disregard the rest.

    Just yesterday Dick Eastman's genealogy newsletter had the info that has free access to New England Records through July 21 (if anyone has early New England ancestors and/or belongs to Ancestry, keep that link since it gets you to the correct search engine for these records).  I finally gave in, and now I'm an Ancestry member (international version since they have Swedish records I need) so I have access anyway.  Of note, however, is the fact that this page and search engine is to the microfilm images of the records.  Some are transcribed in other venues and in various books written throughout the centuries, but the images are on Ancestry.

    Have fun!!!  :-)

    If you're bored doing genealogy you're doing it wrong

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:53:12 AM PDT

    •  Great sites! (7+ / 0-)

      Have used several of them ;-)

      Should have put GENUKI in the diary of less well-known sites that I did a few weeks ago. It's basically an older site, but has lots of great detail on British/Irish research if you dig through it.

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 01:41:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ireland National Archives (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser, Jim H, mayim, edwardssl, NonnyO

      I came across this site some months back and have had great, if limited, success.

      I searched the 1901 and 1911 census records they have there, and found the familes of both my grandparents very easily.

      The down side is, those are the only two complete census records they have. To put it bluntly, if your ancestors were anything except landed gentry, they probably didn't get counted. The NA suggests using church records to trace back further than 1901, but this is difficult when you have such common names as I do - Sullivan and Kennedy in Co. Wexford... give me a break.

      So I'm wondering if anyone here has some tips on finding people through church records - like how do I find out which church they attended?

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 06:01:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know how to do that in Ireland (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, mayim, Pariah Dog

        All three Scandinavian countries, yes.  The name of the church isn't as important as the name of the local parish.  Actually, nowadays I notice the church names are even on Wikipedia.

        In the Scandinavian records, the church records ARE the records since the church was charged with keeping the birth/baptism, confirmation, marriage, death/burial, utflytting, inflytting (leaving the parish, moving from the parish - including when they emigrated to America).  All three countries have the records on microfilm back to the 1600s in some parishes, or only to the 1700s in other parishes - it just depends on when the local ministers decided to follow the royal/parliamentary decree to start to keep records (in exchange for the government paying for upkeep of the churches and salaries of the ministers - altho the ministers in those countries do not have any say-so when it comes to making laws).

        Norway's records are free, thanks to their taxpayers, everything is on different sections of one web site, and they have the easiest search engine for the transcribed census and other records.  Some parishes within fylkes/counties have transcribed church records; some don't.  Some parishes within fylkes have transcribed military records; some don't.  [Some newbies switch back and forth between the so-called transcribed records on FamilySearch..., but for at least a few parishes in at least two fylkes/counties, the FS transcribers didn't know a damned thing about the patronymic naming system and fucked the records all up.  I never, ever use FS for those records - I use strictly the records from Norway and transcribed records done by Norwegians who know what they are doing when it comes to patronymic names.]

        Denmark's records are free, also thanks to their taxpayers, and they're on a couple of web sites.  The records have not been transcribed by people in Denmark and the place where my ancestors came from have like sixth generation microfilm and the lightness/darkness has been fiddled with so sometimes they're difficult to read.  Census records and emigration records are in separate databases and have been transcribed.  Their search engine is a bit touchy and not as easy to use as Norway's.  The records are found by amt and local parishes.

        Sweden's records are online on three fee-based web sites (plus another set of different records at Ancestry on the international membership).  The third and last one to go online has re-photographed the records with digital technology, the images are in color, and one needs to download some kind of java program to use it.  They have not been transcribed.  Glitch:  You have to know which local parish name the records are in so you know where to search, and then scroll through records from there.  A separate web site has emigration records on CD as well as census data both online and on CD (and the CDs cost a small fortune)  One of the older web sites that had the other church records was bought by Ancestry, but I'll be darned if I can get a hit on what was the old Genline database.  The search engine is horrible.  Sweden has HFL records besides church records, and they are nice to have (provided the writer had good handwriting).  Many of those were transcribed someplace because two fellows on the Sweden genealogy email list can find darn near anything.

        I am on all three lists and consequently there is a network of hundreds of people from around the world who can help with both transcriptions and translations.

        For Irish records....  I have an Irish ancestor from pre-Revolutionary War America, and a peculiar situation so I don't know if I'll ever be able to find my Irish ancestor.  Records that early are not (yet) online in County Cork, as far as I know.

        If you have a list of parishes within a county, that might be where to start for Irish records.  I'm just now sure how Ireland organized their records.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:10:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From what I gather (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO, Jim H

          They weren't organized much at all. They admit, and are a little humbled that so many decades (centuries?) passed without keeping very good track of things, even though it wasn't their fault. Then, in the Civil War of 1922, most of what they did have on record was destroyed in an explosion and fire. So they're basically left with late nineteenth/early twentieth century records.

          Most of whatever earlier family lines there are were kept by the wealthy families of the original plantationists in Bibles and such. But the native Irish population, most of whom couldn't read or write, had no such option. So we're left to hunt and peck through tons of handwritten church records, most of which are not digitized. Read that as - pay them to look it up

          I have to applaud what the Irish are doing now. They are making a valient effort to gather what they can and get it in some kind of order. One of the neatest things they're assembling is scans of Wills written by Irish soldiers. These are mainly from WWI, but every man was issued a form to fill out bequeathing his worldly possessions as he saw fit. Not all of them did it, probably because they didn't have anything to bequeath. They do have 9000 of them though, and that's a start.

          A less than fruitful source is the Tithe Apploment Books. Apparently every person occupying land that they farmed owed an annual tithe to the Church of England - whether they actually owned it or not, whether they were CoE or majority Catholic. There were, uh, very good records kept of these payments. Unfortunately only the head of house was named.

          The good news is, thanks to help from the LDS church, they intend to expand the database to include the surviving census records frrom 1821-51, Valuation Office House and Field Books, 1848 – 60, and Census Search Forms for the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

          I did want to mention as regards their online census database. If you access it, be sure to access ALL of the record. There's not only a head count, but separate forms providing a detailed descriptions of the dwelling, and any outbuildings. From these you can get a fairly accurate idea of their daily lives.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 06:01:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, about Ancestry's "Free Weekend" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser, Jim H, edwardssl, NonnyO

      I got the notice and decided to check out a couple of missing details in my Massachusetts ancestry.

      Looks like a come one to me. Enter a name and they say - yep, we've got him! But click on any links to the documents and it takes you to a sign up for membership.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 06:10:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where in MA? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, mayim

        Names, dates of birth/death...?

        If nothing else, kosmail me and I'll see what I can find in early MA records.

        I have ancestors who were on the Mayflower and others arrived in ships in years after that.  My "dominant" maternal lineages lived in Marshfield, MA.  My "dominant" paternal lineages lived in Rhode Island (altho some started out in MA).  [I have documented ancestors from seven different countries; some are early New England back to the Mayflower, and the Scandinavian and Alsatian lines are all 19th century immigrants.]

        You do know, don't you, that many of those early New England records have been transcribed and published in books that were printed so long ago they're out of date and available for a free download from either Internet Archives or Google Books... yes?  Some are standard birth/marriage/death records for specific locations.  Some that are documented genealogies of families are among the out-of-copyright books (several from my family lines alone).  I have some marked in my Favorites file and some I've downloaded (or  both).

        Anyway, let me know who you're looking for.  The worst I can say is "I don't know."

        [For now, I'm going to sleep.  I've been up all night ... doing genie stuff for someone else... so I'm about to doze off over my keyboard.  If you do write me, I probably won't answer until this evening, or even the middle of the night, depending on how long I sleep since I no longer set alarm clocks.]

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:25:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim H, NonnyO, edwardssl

          We talked about this some time back and I now have over forty Google books thanks to your heads up!

          I'd have to look again to see what I was searching for. It wan't anything specific though. I've pretty much completed my direct ancestry charts for the Morton/Faunce/Brainerd/etc. line as well as the Smiths of Haddam CT. But I'm always on the lookout for any little tidbit or obscure document that may have surfaced in the interim.

          Come winter, when the outside work slows down, I'll be getting into transcription work with the Dunham Wilcox database, and there may be some undiscovered nuggets in there. Keeping my fingers crossed.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 06:11:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Brainards (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pariah Dog, edwardssl

            My mother-in-law's paternal grandmother was a Brainard. Descended from the Haddam Brainards.

            She has a little published booklet from 1914 titled the "Reminiscences of the life of Asa Brainard". Also a booklet called "The Brainard Family in America" compiled by Edith Brainard Haugh (her grandmother) in 1961. This booklet shows her descendency as:

            Edith Minerva Brainard (1882-1974)
             Calvin Asa Brainard (1846-1936)
              Asa Brainard (1823 - 1917)
               Cephas Brainard (1788-1868)
                Samuel Brainard (1763-1846)
                 Elijah Brainard (1734-1806)
                  Elijah Brainard (1706-1764)
                   Elijah Brainard (1678-1740)
                    Daniel Brainard (1641-1715) born in Braintree, England

            Oh, looking at the last page, it says that the first 8 generations were copied from the Brainard Genealogy compiled by Lucy Brainard. I assume you have that. Edith's booklet goes through the 11th generation (my mother-in-law's generation).

            •  My Brainerds (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO, Jim H, edwardssl

              Show up when Lieutenant David Smith, married Dorothy (Dolly) Brainerd (or Brainard, I've seen it both ways) on 3 December 1729.

              Dolly was the daughter of Hezekiah Brainerd and Dorothy Hobart Mason (widow of Daniel Mason) born 23 February 1709 and died Feb. 27, 1754. Both are at Thirty Mile Island Plantation Burial Yard.

              David's Find a Grave is #11869368, and that will link you to Dolly and her side.

              After Dolly's death Feb. 27, 1754, David married Elizabeth (Lewis) Shaler, but no children from that union though.

              David and Dolly's son James is my next in line. Then Hubbard, Samuel, Joseph, and Benjamin Smith.

              Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

              by Pariah Dog on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 02:18:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the link (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                edwardssl, Pariah Dog

                So it looks like Hezekiah was a brother of Elijah (the first). Making Daniel the common ancestor. So you and my MiL would be around 9th cousins or so plus maybe some removes.

                That's the first link I've found with someone on DailyKos! Though it's to me just by marriage (and adoption - my wife was adopted so she's not genetically a Brainard).

                •  Conjugating the family (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim H

                  I was never any good at it! But - HOWDY cousin!

                  You're the second person I've found here with a common link. I think the first was Nonny-O through my Faunce line.

                  Actually I think, in one way or another, anyone who has ancestors in New England back then is probably related to everyone else with ancestors in New England back then. Especially if you're talking the very early arrivals. That was a small group and the field of marriage choices was mighty limited !

                  I did some searching through this conglomeration of stuff I call my genie files this morning and found this link regarding the Brainerds. You may already have it, but it might prove useful to others too. Dolly's entry is #73

                  Descendants of Daniel Brainerd

                  Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

                  by Pariah Dog on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 05:54:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've got a Faunce line (0+ / 0-)

                    Elder Thomas Faunce in Plymouth, through his daughter Joanna and her husband Ichabod Paddock in Middleboro.

                    "I am not for a return to that definition of Liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few." Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934

                    by fenway49 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 04:12:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I checked my database... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim H, edwardssl

            Waaaaaaaaaay back when....

            I have a Sarah Faunce (daughter of John Faunce) married to Edward Doty, Jr., son of Edward Doty & Faith Clark (they had a large family).  Edward Doty was a Mayflower passenger.

            Edward, Jr. is the elder brother of my ancestress, Desiré Doty; she married William Sherman.

            Actually, because of the way descendants married, I'm twice descended from Edward & Faith, Desiré & William.

            So if your line goes back to the first immigrant Faunce (and it seems like it should if you're looking at MA records), we're in-laws by marriage....


            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 02:26:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I have yet to test my own DNA (9+ / 0-)

    but I'm happy that I got my mother's DNA tested when I had the chance. As a result, I've identified two distant cousins and with their help I've traced our family relationships and filled in some important gaps in my family tree in the process.

    In both cases, these cousins were what I would call expert level Genealogists and I've learned a lot about Genealogy from them.

    When my mother died back in 2011 I had one last chance to do dna testing on the maternal side of my family and that's when I called Family Tree DNA.

    They explained that a post mortem dna sample was acceptable and that it should be obtained as soon as possible. And, given the time constraints they told me how to go about getting the dna sample without the usual test kit.

    The mortuary was helpful when I asked them to obtain cheek swabs. It wasn't the first time that a family had made the request and I supplied them with a kit that I put together.

    I ordered a full mitochondrial and autosomal dna tests and sent the cheek swabs to Family Tree DNA via Federal Express.

    I got the results about six weeks later and signed up so that I would be notified and put in touch with people with matching dna. That was two years ago and since then I've been in touch with several distant cousins, however, at this point only two of those cousins have managed to trace their ancestry to my mother--it takes a lot of work.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 11:23:40 AM PDT

  •  Ancestry DNA (8+ / 0-)

    I had already had my dad tested with 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. Since I was making the trip down to see him for his 90th birthday, I figured I should go ahead and pay for an Ancestry DNA kit which I took with me for him to spit into. I'm looking forward to see how integrates the results into their site.

    I've been frustrated with a number of matches that should be close enough to find the common ancestor, but have come up empty. I can't help but wonder if hidden in either my or their tree there are one or more "official" fathers who aren't the actual biological father.

  •  my frustration with ancestry DNA (8+ / 0-)

    I show matches with people whose trees are private, so I can't see how we are related. I mean, I could email them all, but since I am related to half of the people in the USA, it could take awhile. And my second cousin won't write back. I never met her, and don't know what my grandfather did that made us not acquainted with that part of the family. Oh well.

    I am easttex on Ancestry in case anyone matches me.

    The words of House Republican: We do not care.

    by Chun Yang on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 12:13:40 PM PDT

    •  Family Tree DNA (7+ / 0-)

      The matches on ftDNA show a "Relationship Range" and a "Suggested Relationship". The Suggested Relationship is shown as 2nd cousin, 3rd cousin, 4th cousin, etc.

      Doesn't Ancestry do something similar?

      The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

      by Mr Robert on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 12:57:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ancestry just has the range.... (7+ / 0-)

        So far, I've gotten a couple people in the 4th to 6th cousin range (most of whom either have no tree, a very small tree, or no actual overlap to my tree in the relevant range), and most in the 5th to 8th cousin range.

        The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

        by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 01:48:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  FamilyTreeDNA autosomal tests (5+ / 0-)

        I got to speak with Bennett Greenspan personally about this test, and his answer was most helpful.  I'd been puzzled by the supposedly "close match" email contacts I'd received from others, where an exchange of family names and places of residence turned up nothing.  Why would this be?  It turns out that when researchers submit the surnames from their tree, these names are then soundexed so that they can be matched against possible variants in spelling.  It was this step, added to the similarity in DNA results, that was generating the "matches" that I considered to be false.  My German WAGNER family would then match with someone close to me in DNA results who had a WAGGONER in SE Pennsylvania, for instance.  And, because this relates to autosomal testing, one doesn't know (for either individual) where on their respective family tree(s) the "hit" is registering -- could be WAGNER/WAGGONER, or another possibility entirely!

        "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

        by Zwenkau on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 05:26:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At least 15 people (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klompendanser, mayim, edwardssl, Zwenkau

          have contacted me based on this matching process and only two of those have been able to nail down the exact relationship.

          In both cases those cousins put a LOT of work into researching the match. Both were expert level genealogists and it took them nearly a year to do the research. The others either weren't sufficiently dedicated to doing the work or they just didn't know how to go about it.

          The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

          by Mr Robert on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 02:00:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, it can be frustrating :-( (5+ / 0-)

      And there are also so many with no linked tree at all....guess they've likely done the test at a relative's urging and the relative has a tree ~ but still makes one wonder a bit....

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 01:46:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can relate (7+ / 0-)

    to preferring to dig into Irish/Scottish people who are hard to find more than New England Yankees. I have New England Yankees only through one great-grandfather, so 1/8, and I can go back a lot longer with that than I can with most of the Irish branches, including the patrilineal one. Many of my ancestors had names that are far too common (James Fitzpatrick, Michael Murphy) so it's going to take some work.

    Just recently I received in the mail four baptismal certificates from NY that I'd asked for in January of last year. They had godparents listed with the same last name as the parents. Since that crowd had the most common Irish name of all (Murphy) and the family was in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, good luck to me in sorting that out.

    My great-grandmother was known mostly as Nellie. Her father listed her as "Ellen" on some papers (his mother's name), but her husband (kind of an aloof type) called her "Helen." In fact, I couldn't find her death certificate until I found the 1915 NYS census, where her husband called her "Helen." I checked ItalGen under that and there it was. Some of the confusion may have come from her husband's own mother, usually written as "Hester" but sometimes as "Esther."

    "I am not for a return to that definition of Liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few." Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934

    by fenway49 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 01:29:21 PM PDT

  •  Wonderfully chock full of 'good stuff' diary! (7+ / 0-)

    And thank you, mayim, for opening the spigot with your
    pictures and places where we might also dig for our own answers.

     I was lucky in having good sources on my Scot Grandfather, even a picture of the stable the family lived in as he was growing up. North Berwick is very proud of their golfers who made it in the US.

    Irish Gran's family could stand some "Auld Sod" expansion - but really, my efforts have been targeted on leaving the bread crumbs behind for the youngers. And I must be content with that. The last mountain for me is to write the narrative - and pass it on.

    "You're barking up the wrong tree. There's no cat up there." -Stella Adler via Holland Taylor

    by brook on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:30:27 PM PDT

  •  well, I'm glad I'm not the only (7+ / 0-)

    genealogist who reads old records out loud ... lol! Not just census records, but the lists of who bought what in old probate records (which I imagine being recorded by semi-literate clerks at "crying sales" when there probably was a lot of hectic action--creative spellings become more clear when pronounced out loud)

    As always, I enjoy your pictures of Edinburg and remote areas of Scotland.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 05:22:34 PM PDT

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