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Has anyone here used Ancestry or another site to trace Family history?


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So I'm a pretty big history nerd. Unfortunately my dad side didn't keep great records. I have a rough idea where we came from (Italy and an area outside of Bari called Foggia on the Italian heel of the boot) but my mom's side I have a ton of history. A very great Uncle paid off the debt of the Revolutionary War. My Grandmothers family is Munro's and possible related to president James Monroe (Spelling is  Munro, Munroe, Monroe, Monro and even Monroo do to people's lack of reading and writing plus family stretching out over time) as well as having a big impact on the Scottish Civil War aligning ourselves with William Wallace. My Grandfather's family on my mom's side came over on the first ships after the Mayflower. One of my family members designed the state QTR for NJ and we have a family museum at Washington Crossing (Where Washington Crossed the Delaware River). 

I'd like to find out more history on both sides especially my Dad's side if I can. I always had thought my ancestors was mostly from England but after my uncle did some research into my Grandmother's side (My mom's brother) it looks like we are Irish and her family clan the Munro's originally were from Ireland. I really am interested in dong the DNA test and heard several things about different ones good and bad. Was wondering if anyone has done any and if a subscription to a site like ANcestory for a few months is worth it (I can print what I find on there and save it all in a file and such as well). My Mom has stuff including a family album of stuff and notes from my moms side. So I got plenty of info there to help me get started. Was wondering if the DNA test's are accurate and if they would help tracing the history better as well? Eventually I'm hoping when my mom has time she can create a huge album thanks to her scrapbooking talents to put this all in a book that could be possible copied later so I can give to everyone in my family. My Uncle has already done some of the grunt work already who is also my godfather. 

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There’s a free app called Family Tree that I’ve used that’s fairly accurate, at least concerning recent ancestors. The farther back I go, the more suspect info I find, but it’s still interesting.

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Ancestry, FamilySearch, and FindAGrave are my go-to sites. WikiTree, geni, and rootsweb have good material as well, but a lot of it is out of date.

I've basically hit a glass ceiling when it comes to my tree, so lately I've been amusing myself by cataloging all of the uncles and 1st cousins who were in the Civil War. I've found 140 so far, including 2 Medal Of Honor recipients, plus one guy who apparently fought for both sides. (Started with Virginia, then went AWOL and resurfaced in West Virginia.)

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:blackdot:

It's something I'd like to do.  My great grandmother was into this back in the 70's and did a bunch of leg work, I have all of her notes.  She was able to trace her ancestors back to 1086 in the Doomsday book in England...all you have to do is find some nobility and then it becomes easy. In our case, it was the Scottish clan of Agnew.

something else that's interesting: her (my) first ancestor to emigrate to America fought in the revolutionary war and is buried about 60 miles from where I currently live...its interesting because no one from our family tree has lived in SC for over 200 years.

Edited by moleculo
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19 hours ago, Kal El said:

There’s a free app called Family Tree that I’ve used that’s fairly accurate, at least concerning recent ancestors. The farther back I go, the more suspect info I find, but it’s still interesting.

Thats because you can only go by so much. Depending where you are from certain civilizations have different time frames of proper reading and writing. Also depends how much info they have on the topic already. How much research was done by experts and DNA they've studied. Some records have been destroyed do to invasions and other stuff. For example Gaelic is a dying language because of the English for yrs trying to force their language on the Irish. 

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I have done ancestry. The farther back you go the more suspect it is and the more likely there are errors, so not sure what’s real or not. But I did find, and visit, the gravesites of my great great great and great great great great grandparents, which was pretty cool. 
 

What wasn’t as cool was reading the wills of some of my MS ancestors that referenced what to do with their slaves.  

Edited by SFBayDuck
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3 hours ago, DJackson10 said:

Thats because you can only go by so much. Depending where you are from certain civilizations have different time frames of proper reading and writing. Also depends how much info they have on the topic already. How much research was done by experts and DNA they've studied. Some records have been destroyed do to invasions and other stuff. For example Gaelic is a dying language because of the English for yrs trying to force their language on the Irish. 

Funnily enough, I’m learning Irish because I have ancestry there, and it’s a good hobby to keep my brain moving.

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3 hours ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

I have done a lot of work on Ancestry. It is a pretty useful tool. I have also done their DNA test. I have found it to be really cool.

Curious in learning what surprised you the most of your DNA test? Was there anything you were hoping for in terms of possible ancestry or proving a certain ethnicity on it? 

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4 hours ago, SFBayDuck said:

I have done ancestry. The farther back you go the more suspect it is and the more likely there are errors, so not sure what’s real or not. But I did find, and visit, the gravesites of my great great great and great great great great grandparents, which was pretty cool. 
 

What wasn’t as cool was reading the wills of some of my MS ancestors that referenced what to do with their slaves.  

Yeah sounds pretty tough read. A lot of people I'm sure have dealt with that. I'm more curious about the revolutionary war stuff and to see if I'm related in someway to President Munroe or not as well as finding more history on my family during the civil war. I know my Pop-Pops family (moms father) side escaped religious persecution in England and came about in the NE area. 

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I did the ancestry thing and recently shared my results with "genomelink".  Pretty interesting.  It will tell you things like if you are athletic, which vitamins your body needs more of, intelligence, etc.  I'd say it was fairly accurate.

Edited by Punxsutawney Phil
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5 hours ago, DJackson10 said:

Curious in learning what surprised you the most of your DNA test? Was there anything you were hoping for in terms of possible ancestry or proving a certain ethnicity on it? 

I have a considerable percentage of European Jewish heritage according to the DNA results. This is not something that has been passed down in family stories at all. I am not even sure what branch of my family tree this comes from. 

I am overall surprised by how long most of my family tree results go back in the US. This has made the DNA results more of a hodgepodge than I would have thought as well. 

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34 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

I am overall surprised by how long most of my family tree results go back in the US. This has made the DNA results more of a hodgepodge than I would have thought as well. 

That's what I found, too - going back paternally through all 4 branches all of my ancestors came to the US in the 1600s, no later arrivals.  

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I did a family tree of mine and my wife's side for our wedding back in 2008 using Ancestry.  My goal was trace back every branch until we got to Europe.  I still have my login and all the info I was able to link is saved for me to look at anytime.  Since I only did 1 month of premium membership I can no longer dig through additional reference materials for more links.  I may do another month sometime just to see what else has been added during the past 12 years.  I really enjoyed it and thought it was worth whatever I ended up paying.  

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Just now, SFBayDuck said:

That's what I found, too - going back paternally through all 4 branches all of my ancestors came to the US in the 1600s, no later arrivals.  

Wow, that's cool.  The earliest for mine or my wife's was 1860's.  

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8 hours ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

I did the ancestry thing and recently shared my results with "genomelink".  Pretty interesting.  It will tell you things like if you are athletic, which vitamins your body needs more of, intelligence, etc.  I'd say it was fairly accurate.

Wife and kids have been bugging me to do this. I have some reservations about giving up my DNA but it would be really interesting to find out more Info since I have never seen so much as a picture of my birthfather. 

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My sister is a(n) historian and put together a pretty solid family tree for our family.  Dad's side is limited, but Mom's in pretty detailed going back to Mary Queen of Scots.  I joined for a while to help her, and she'd also found some distant family members that were on there so you get all of their information too.  Coolest thing was some guy contacted us saying he had some WW I memorabilia that was from my great uncle and wanted to return it to us.    Turned out he only lived a few miles away and brought over some medals, photos, and some other things of his from the war.

Brother did the DNA thing through National Geographic.  Kind of cool also.  I'm almost 3% Neanderthal, which as I understand it is an advantage to my immune system if I get COVID.  

Edited by -fish-
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2 hours ago, -fish- said:

My sister is a(n) historian and put together a pretty solid family tree for our family.  Dad's side is limited, but Mom's in pretty detailed going back to Mary Queen of Scots.  I joined for a while to help her, and she'd also found some distant family members that were on there so you get all of their information too.  Coolest thing was some guy contacted us saying he had some WW I memorabilia that was from my great uncle and wanted to return it to us.    Turned out he only lived a few miles away and brought over some medals, photos, and some other things of his from the war.

Brother did the DNA thing through National Geographic.  Kind of cool also.  I'm almost 3% Neanderthal, which as I understand it is an advantage to my immune system if I get COVID.  

I have a friend who a few years back who posted on FB that she found a Purple Heart from WWII when they cleaned out her grandmother's attic.  There was a name on/with it, and she really wanted to try and get it back to the guy's family (apparently a friend of her deceased grandmother or something).  It took me about 15 minutes on Ancestry to identify a living relative, track her down online, and make an introduction to my friend.

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have considered doing this on and off over the years since my dad's mom and her family are very close-lipped about who his father is. she passed a handful of years ago and so did her siblings. none of them would ever give up the truth. mildly infuriating to say the least.

and my mom's side of the family is very cloudy once we get past her mom and dad. some story details have changed over the years regarding my grandpa and no one ever talks about my grandmother's parents.

it's weird basically being cutoff from any verifiable family history going back prior to my grandparents.

Edited by mr. furley
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7 hours ago, -fish- said:

Brother did the DNA thing through National Geographic.  Kind of cool also.  I'm almost 3% Neanderthal, which as I understand it is an advantage to my immune system if I get COVID.  

I did the same thing. It was interesting to see the migration of those ancestors with the same haplotype combo. However, the interest really just lasted a short while. I showed up as about 2% neanderthal which I believe is about average.

A cousin of my dad did research on our paternal side back to around the 1200's (France). Didn't see anyone famous or notable. Did see a name modification, from lebrun to brun.

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2 hours ago, mr. furley said:

have considered doing this on and off over the years since my dad's mom and her family are very close-lipped about who his father is. she passed a handful of years ago and so did her siblings. none of them would ever give up the truth. mildly infuriating to say the least.

and my mom's side of the family is very cloudy once we get past her mom and dad. some story details have changed over the years regarding my grandpa and no one ever talks about my grandmother's parents.

it's weird basically being cutoff from any verifiable family history going back prior to my grandparents.

If your grandparents (and their parents) weren't recent immigrants, then it should be very easy to find them in the censuses.

You can start by creating a free account at FamilySearch, then check their shared tree (here) to see if someone already entered your grandparents -- enter their name, approximate DOB, and spouse, then click Find. If they haven't been added to the shared tree, then you could still find them if you know where they were living in 1940/1930/1920/etc.; go here and search for "United States Census" in the search box on the left, then just work your way backwards.

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I mentioned the genomelink site I that you can share your ancestry results with.  I paid $15 and found out things like I need more B12, & vitamin e.  As far as athletics, it said I was a good sprinter and had bad endurance.  Is say that was correct when I was a kid.  It also said I am predisposed to hair loss... Check!

 

Anyways, now I am at a dilemma on wanting to try this for my kid.  Could this be a cheat code for parents, or is this going down a road I don't want to?  If my kid is genetically predisposed to suck at endurance sports, then maybe you steer them in a different direction.  Or, educational wise, maybe you can identify areas they need help?   Nutritionally, you could also add more foods to their diet that have the vitamins & minerals their body needs more of.

Edited by Punxsutawney Phil
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On 3/14/2021 at 11:39 AM, Rattle and Hum said:

I found my wife on Ancestry. #bonus

I've been heavy into using Ancestry.com and submitting our family's DNA the last 5 or so years. Have built a tree of almost 4,000 people and traced my wife's ancestry all the way back about 1400 years to the 7th century and found her relation to William The Conqueror (and subsequently all of the British monarchy) and some other fun ones like Isaac Newtown. My family was not so interesting and having mostly Italian immigrants in recent generations there's only so much I can get from Ancestry records. Italian ancestry sites (in Italian, using google translate) are where I'm currently trying to learn to navigate.

Anyway, one day while doing my regular checks on new DNA matches for myself and our family I noticed my wife and I both had the same new match. It was a very weak match for us both, so we thought maybe we were blood related through some long ago affair that wouldn't be recorded somewhere in the records we used to build the family tree. But after doing research, it turned out we matched that person because a distant relative on my dad's side married and had a child with a distant relative on my wife's mother's side. So while we do each share DNA with this person, the matches are from different DNA segments.

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Just now, The Noid said:

I've been heavy into using Ancestry.com and submitting our family's DNA the last 5 or so years. Have built a tree of almost 4,000 people and helped my father-in-law find out about his father/paternal side of his family that he never met due to being a child of an affair. He now has pictures of his dad, more complete family health history, knows who his half sister and brothers were, and connected with relatives who have been very helpful. Also traced my wife's ancestry all the way back about 1400 years to the 7th century and found her relation to William The Conqueror (and subsequently all of the British monarchy) and some other fun ones like Isaac Newtown. My family was not so interesting and having mostly Italian immigrants in recent generations there's only so much I can get from Ancestry records. Italian ancestry sites (in Italian, using google translate) are where I'm currently trying to learn to navigate.

Anyway, one day while doing my regular checks on new DNA matches for myself and our family I noticed my wife and I both had the same new match. It was a very weak match for us both, so we thought maybe we were blood related through some long ago affair that wouldn't be recorded somewhere in the records we used to build the family tree. But after doing research, it turned out we matched that person because a distant relative on my dad's side married and had a child with a distant relative on my wife's mother's side. So while we do each share DNA with this person, the matches are from different DNA segments.

 

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Just did the DNA test and built my family tree on Ancestry.  The DNA results seemed to match my tree for the most part.  They give an ethnicity estimate based on regions.  Some of the regions seemed a little off compared to my tree.  For example, my grandfather is straight French going up the tree.  However, they list that part of my ethnicity estimate as Germanic Europe which is mostly Germany (I have no German roots that I can tell).  That region does include a small part of the eastern edge of France so maybe that is how it registered, but found that a little odd.

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