When we think about onsite research in a foreign country, most of us might imagine sitting in beautiful reading rooms of libraries and archives. Cool marble, hushed librarians, and possibly some classical paintings or sculptures dot the room. All is serene as the researcher pours over onsite records--leafing through the ancient books or scrolling through dated microfilm in search of the next ancestor. But sometimes the situation is more stressful and potentially perilous for the researcher. As you may remember, last summer and fall (2016) a series of earthquakes rocked the region along the Apennine Mountains in central Italy, resulting in the deaths of some locals as well as an enormous amount of destruction in the towns and villages of Ascoli Piceno. Additional earthquakes have continued to affect the area, with the most recent one occurring in late February 2017. With regards to genealogy, this means that access to onsite records has become severely limited due to dangerous …Read more
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With about one-third of Americans claiming British ancestry, chances are that at some point you will need to extend your research across the Atlantic Ocean. The purpose of this blog is to clarify some of the confusing terms with regards to the British Isles and get your genealogical research started on solid footing. British Ancestry? English? The United Kingdom? First, let’s talk about British and English genealogical research. There are several terms which get used interchangeably but that really refer to different locations. Great Britain is an island, and is the largest island in the British Isles. On the island of Great Britain are three of the four sovereign nations which make up the United Kingdom, or the U.K.: England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland (on the island of Ireland) is the fourth country of the U.K. Usually when people talk about their British ancestry, what they really mean are their English ancestors. Although Americans generally treat the two …Read more
As a specialist in genetic genealogy, one of the most frequent topics I address in my conversation with others is ethnicity estimates. Someone might say something like: “I’m not really sure how much to trust those genetic tests since my grandmother was Italian, and I only came back with 15% Italian in my results. If they can’t even get the ethnicity right, then what use are they?” In reality, there are two parts of genetic genealogy test results: ethnicity admixture and genetic matches. Ethnicity admixture results analyze the mutations and segments of DNA and determine in which populations those mutations and segments are most often found. Genetic cousin match lists calculate the number, location and size of segments of DNA that different individuals share in common. Based on the number, size, and location of segments, the relationships between a test subject and their genetic cousins are estimated. While ethnicity results can be helpful in some specific situations, genetic cousin …Read more
Legacy Tree Genealogists works with researchers all over the world to access records for our clients. We asked Sylvia, onsite in Germany, to share her experiences using the Kirchenbuchamt Hannover (Church Registry Office of Hanover) to find ancestors in the 19th century. Many descendants of German immigrants will be all too familiar with the problem: you’re trying to find that hometown in Europe, but passenger lists or documents give only "Hanover" or "Hannover" as the birthplace. (The spelling has been interchangeable throughout history. To avoid confusion, this article will use "Hanover".) At first glance this would seem straightforward, as Hanover is the capitol of Lower Saxony, one of the largest states in Northern Germany. Yet, often enough it turns out that "Hanover" doesn't refer to the city -- but instead refers to the territory, duchy, or even kingdom. Understanding Historical Context The long-lasting union of Hanover with Great Britain opened up paths for emigration. …Read more