Genealogy is full of surprises. As I was wrapping up a large pedigree project for one of our clients recently, a couple of birth records that had been lost in the mail finally arrived. They revealed that the man the client had always known as her paternal grandfather was not actually biologically connected to her family after all.Now that DNA testing is affordable and available to everyone, these genealogy surprises (called non-paternity events) are becoming more and more common. Of course, they have always been there – we just didn’t usually know about them before! People are finding cousins whom the family had never known existed, and others are finding that what the records say were their ancestors (or parents!) differs significantly from what their DNA says.The rate of non-paternity varies depending on many factors, including nationality, social customs, and class. However, it happens everywhere: I have even worked on a case that occurred in Salt Lake City among early, …Read more
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Photographs can be very interesting genealogical records, and we have been told are worth a thousand words. The picture above, taken sometime around 1908 at Warm River, Idaho, certainly tells something. Of particular interest is a couple in the back corner. They were Zina Gunter and David Howell, and at this summer family gathering, were courting, and by winter would celebrate a Christmas Eve wedding.In the 1910 census, we find Zina and David living as husband and wife. Of note, 22-year-old Zina had given birth to one child, who had died. When one visits the cemetery where Zina was buried, one notices four brilliant-white grave markers within close proximity to hers:A close study of the grave markers reveals that four children were born to Zina and David between 1910 and 1914, and all four children died. Looking into the faces of that courting couple staring out from the photograph, one wonders how this couple coped during those four years and withstood such …Read more
One of my favorite things about being a Project Manager for Legacy Tree Genealogists is witnessing how our work directly affects our clients.We recently wrapped up a project for a client who will soon be traveling to Italy. After tracing her Italian immigrant ancestors through the United States Federal Census records in the early 20th Century, we were able to identify an arrival in the U.S. in ships manifest records. Not only did this clear up a family rumor that their eldest living son was born in Italy (he wasn’t), it revealed that the young wife, Michela, made the trip from Sicily to Cleveland, Ohio, alone and without knowing any English!Having identified the village the couple came from in Sicily, we were able to track down birth and death records for their first two children who had both been born in Sicily in the late 1890s. Both children died within a week of each other at only one and three years old.Three months later, both parents had immigrated to the …Read more
Over the weekend, Legacy Tree went from this: To this: Being a genealogist, of course I had to personally go through every piece of our old site and save it for scrutiny by future generations.While our old site served us for 10 years, it's amazing what 10 years has done for the internet.It's also amazing what 10 years has done for genealogy. It makes me wonder what another 10 years will do.And that is incredibly exciting, humbling, and nerve-wracking, as we work to be at the forefront of the genealogy research industry now and in the future.I find it absolutely thrilling. …Read more