Friday, July 23, 2010

Another View From Pfeifer

This window is in the Burghardt home that stands across the street from the church.
This is the garden spot of the Burghardt home.
This is a little further out, but can also be seen from the area of the Burghardt home.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Forging Ahead to 2011 Convention

The 2010 AHSGR Convention is being held in Lincoln, Nebraska, the first week in August. That means that we are really focusing on preparations for next year's convention to be held in Salt Lake City. What a great place to do genealogy! During our July meeting, members put together items to announce and encourage attendance at the Salt Lake City convention next year. We are small in numbers, but enthusiastic about the challenge. If anyone out there is interested in giving us a hand, we'd love to have your help. Please watch this blog for information concerning our August meeting.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DNA Surname Study

I don't claim to be an expert on DNA studies; I'm just learning. I have no personal experience with this, but have been considering its use. Maybe you'll decide that you've come to a dead end (no pun intended) and need to try something different. If so, this might be just the thing for you.

Here is a very simplified version of how it works. A long piece of DNA in males is passed down virtually unchanged from father to son. Surnames are generally passed down in the same fashion. So, a male should have the same Y chromosome as his father, grand-father, great-grandfather, and on and on... Amazing, isn't it! This means that two males with the same surname and same or similar Y chromosomes are often related through their paternal line.

That Y-DNA occasionally accumulates a harmless mutation before it is passed down to a son. These rare changes occur at a known rate, acting as a clock that can measure time. When testing reveals a relationship through the paternal line, this clock can be used to estimate the amount of time since their most recent common paternal ancestor. In this way, the men may be able to determine who that most recent common ancestor was and how their family branches diverged.

Surname studies can take advantage of this information and connect you with other members who might be closely or distantly related. These connections can also be important to adoptees. Because of nonexistent or missing paper records or confusing oral traditions, DNA testing can help fill in some gaps.

For more complete information on this, read Making Matches in the September 2010 family tree magazine. Also, check out the website for Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation at:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July Meeting

The next Intermountain AHSGR Chapter meeting is July 17th. It will be at the home of Shawnette Malan and Carol Harless: 10001 Hook Drive, South Jordan. The board will meet at 12:00 noon and the work meeting will start at 1:00 P. M. We are going to get ready for the Lincoln convention so we will not have our usual meeting. We will have the luncheon after the work session.
Food assignments are:
Salad: A-Ha
Entree: He-R
Dessert: S-Z

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Getting Started on That Missing Line

A while back I talked to a woman with German-Russian roots. She knew that was her heritage from family tradition, but hadn't yet linked into any ancestors. If you are in the same spot, here are some tips from my own experience. I realize that many of you are way past that point, but hopefully this will be of benefit to someone who is just getting started.

When I began looking for ancestors in my late teenage years, no one even knew my grandmother's given name. I did know my grandfather's name and my grandmother's maiden name. That was my starting place. Luckily, she died in the states so I was able to locate my grandmother's death certificate with the information I had. That's when I realized that a death certificate can give you a great bit of information to get a good start on your research. To make it easy, I'll list some of the things you can learn from a death certificate. (Keep in mind that only the death information will be a primary source, but the secondary sources can give great clues.)

1. A place of residence is listed. This can help in locating obituaries, probate records, etc. When I found my great-grandfather's probate record it helped fill in his story a little, since I knew virtually nothing about him.

2. The person's parents are often listed. In my case, that meant I had another family name to start checking out. Before that time I didn't know my great-grandmother's given or maiden name.

3.If the person served in the military, it is sometimes listed. In the case of an uncle, also a stranger to me, I began to find many service related records that amazed me. He really excelled, and I would never have known that unless I had found out about his military service.

4. You can find out names of other people who are related to the deceased because someone, usually a family member, provides information for the death certificate. In my experience, I knew so little about my uncle that it was great to get his wife's name.

5. If you get the spouse's name from the death certificate, then you have a clue to begin looking for marriage records.

6. You gain information on the person's employment. I loved finding out that my great-grandfather was a carpenter.

7. Birthplace is important. Even though the death certificate is not a primary source for birth information, it sure helps to know where to start looking for it.

8. You can gain valuable medical information for your family's health history.

I know that this list is not complete, but it's some of the information that has been valuable to me in my family research. Even though my dad's generation was the first in my family born in America, I could get a start from his parents' death certificates, which eventually got me back into Russia. If you comb over a death certificate carefully, you will find many clues to get a good start on your search.