Ancestry Blog » Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:07:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Ask Ancestry Anne: Where Did My People Come From?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/03/05/ask-ancestry-anne-where-did-my-people-come-from/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ask-ancestry-anne-where-did-my-people-come-from http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/03/05/ask-ancestry-anne-where-did-my-people-come-from/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:54:45 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=23693 Read more]]> shipFor many of us, knowing where our ancestors came from is a primary goal.  Here are some tips on where you might start looking.

  1. 1850 – 1940 U.S. Census records. Census records list the person’s birthplace; 1880 – 1930 also list parents’ birthplace.  This is obvious place to start looking!  Make sure to check every relevant year – information may vary for any given person.  Also check siblings and cousins for consistencies and other clues.
  2. Check the neighborhood.  Is everyone in the neighborhood on a census from the same place.  That might be a clue as to where your family came from even if your ancestor is listed as being from the U.S.
  3. Death certificates.  Some death certificates ask for parents’ names and places of birth.  Makes sure to look at death certificates for siblings and cousins for the information as well.
  4. Family histories.  Family histories often discuss the origins of the family.  Not every detail may be correct, but they are worth a look.
  5. DNA.  Your DNA won’t tell you which line came from where but it will give you some clues.  And always test your oldest family members to narrow your search.

Ancestry also has lots of great research guides with more information on finding foreign ancestors

 

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Leaving a Legacy: Ada Lovelacehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/25/leaving-a-legacy-ada-lovelace/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leaving-a-legacy-ada-lovelace http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/25/leaving-a-legacy-ada-lovelace/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:37:23 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=23603 Read more]]> You may have recently watched the Imitation Game and learned about Alan Turing’s efforts to defeat the Nazis with his ingenious computer work.  But do you know who is credited with creating the first computer program?  Would you have guessed an English Countess?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, born 1815 and died 1852 in England, is credited with creating the first computer program.

She was baptized December 20, 1815 as Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of Lord George Gordon Byron and Anne Isabella (née Milbanke) Byron.

baptism

She married William Lord King, who subsequently became the Earl of Lovelace making Ada the Countess of Lovelace.

marriage

 

But Ada wasn’t content with just being a Countess and a mother of 3. Ada was well educated and continued her education and research after her marriage. She worked with Charles Babbage on his “analytical engine.” This eventually led to her translating notes of young engineer and future Italian Prime Minister Luigi Menabrea into English.  Her notes were incredibly extensive and part of those notes included an algorithm for computing Bernoulli Numbers on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, making it the original computer program.

She suffered from illness throughout much of her adult life and died at the age of 36 in 1852.

death

But she left a legacy as being the first person to write a computer program, and she did it as working mom!

Find our other notable women here,  

Elizabeth Blackwell

Sojourner Truth

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Ask Ancestry Anne: Does My DNA Suggest Native American?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/02/ask-ancestry-anne-does-my-dna-suggest-native-american/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ask-ancestry-anne-does-my-dna-suggest-native-american http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/02/02/ask-ancestry-anne-does-my-dna-suggest-native-american/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 20:53:51 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=23272 Read more]]> Question: Like many African Americans I have gone through my seventy six years believing my family was Native American, in particular Cherokee, so for my birthday I submitted my DNA to Ancestry only to find that I am anything but.   DNA = 73% African, 3% Asian, 23% European, and 1% West Asian.

– Fran

Answer: I recently heard Henry Louis Gates Jr. speak, and he mentioned that African Americans often believe that they are some mix of African and Native American, but it is usually not true.  That said, I suspect your family legends may have some truth in them.

The two percentages that caught my eye are 3% Asian and 1% West Asian.   While your DNA doesn’t match one of the Native American tribes in our test, the Asian here is likely representative of some Native American Ancestry in your heritage.

If this theory is true, it is possible that your Native American ancestry might come from a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th great-grandparent:

percentages

But remember, DNA is not handed down evenly like in the table here.  You never know how much you have from each grand parent or the previous generations.

Also remember that in census or other records you might find, Native Americans were sometimes listed as African American especially, if they were of mixed race.

I believe you are likely on the right track.  If you can test a sibling or cousin — or even better someone from an older generation — you might be able to get more data to support this theory.  The answer is out there. Keep searching!

 

 

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Ask Ancestry Anne: How Do You Get Kids Involved in Genealogy?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/01/05/ask-ancestry-anne-how-do-you-get-kids-involved-in-genealogy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ask-ancestry-anne-how-do-you-get-kids-involved-in-genealogy http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/01/05/ask-ancestry-anne-how-do-you-get-kids-involved-in-genealogy/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:27:16 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22970 Read more]]> Looking for new ways to get the children in your life involved in genealogy?  Are you a Civil War buff?  Or better yet, both?  If so, you might want to check out the Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) program.

Over 600,000 thousand soldiers died during the Civil War and this inventive program is planting a tree for each and every one of them by working with schools and students.

jthg1Each tree in the this program will be geo-tagged, which will allow visitors to check the website and mobile app to learn exactly where a soldier’s tree is and learn about the soldier it commemorates. The website and mobile app links to the soldier’s memorial page on Fold3. These memorial pages have basic facts about the soldier and users can upload additional information, documents, and photographs.

You can find Fold3 Memorial Pages such as this one for William Nanney who died August 2, 1862 in Petersburg, Virginia. You can also look up the location of his tree on the Living Legacy Map.jthg2

JTHG, Ancestry, and Fold3 are working with teachers to help them incorporate researching the lives of the Civil War fallen into their curriculum. For more information about this program, visit the Journey Through Hallowed Ground website.  If you are interested in learning more about a grant for Ancestry and Fold3 in your favorite child’s classroom, visit our Ancestry K12 site.

 

 

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Welcome to the First State! Delaware State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/12/26/welcome-to-the-first-state-delaware-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-first-state-delaware-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/12/26/welcome-to-the-first-state-delaware-state-research-guide/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 14:00:55 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22903 Read more]]> Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787.

Library of Congress, “Mill on the Brandywine,” pen and watercolor, John Rubens Smith, ca 1828

Library of Congress, “Mill on the Brandywine,” pen and watercolor, John Rubens Smith, ca 1828

Five things you may not have known about the First State:

  1. Delaware is 96 miles long and at it’s widest point 35 miles across.
  2. The first recognized settlement of Europeans was called New Sweden in 1638.
  3. Seaford, Delaware is known as the Nylon Capital of the World, due to DuPont first producing nylon in a factory there.
  4. Delaware is the only state without any  national parks, seashores, historic sites, battlefields, memorials, or monuments.
  5. John Dickinson, a Delaware native,  was called the Penman of the Revolution for his writings on independence.
Our new free state guide, “Delaware Research Guide: Family History Sources in the First State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your Delaware ancestors. Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.
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Ask Ancestry Anne: Where Is My Native American DNA?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/24/ask-ancestry-anne-where-is-my-native-american-dna/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ask-ancestry-anne-where-is-my-native-american-dna http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/24/ask-ancestry-anne-where-is-my-native-american-dna/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:15:02 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22644 Read more]]> inheritance 50_50

DNA Inheritance

 

Question: I recently had my DNA analyzed and was surprised when the results did not show any evidence of my Cherokee connection.

My great-great-grandmother was one-fourth Cherokee (Tiptendille Tribe-TN). Would the traces of the Native American heritage be so minute that they would not be evident anymore?

– Shauna

 

Answer: The short answer is yes, the traces of Native American DNA in your test may be too small to detect.  Let’s look at why.

If your great-great-grandmother was ¼ Cherokee, then it was her grandparent that was 100% Native American. And that would be your 4th-great-grandparent. Now your great-great-grandmother would get 50% of her DNA from her mother and 50% from her father. To make this easy, let’s divide by 2 for every generation.

dna percentage1

So how much of your great-great-grandmother’s DNA are you likely to have?  Probably around 1.5625%! And that may not be enough to detect Native American ethnicity.

dna percentage2

If you can find older generations on that line to test, I recommend that.  Also, get brothers, sisters and cousins tested.  You never know who might have enough DNA to be detected.

Even if you find the DNA connection, you will still want to follow the paper trail.  I recommend our Native American Research Guide to get you started.

Happy searching!

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Welcome to the Cotton State! Alabama Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/22/welcome-to-the-cotton-state-alabama-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-cotton-state-alabama-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/22/welcome-to-the-cotton-state-alabama-research-guide/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:00:36 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22636 Read more]]> Sometimes known as the Cotton State, Alabama actually has no official nickname.

Library of Congress, “Scenes from Alabama…,” digital TIFF file, Carol M Highsmith, 2010

Library of Congress, “Scenes from Alabama…,” digital TIFF file, Carol M Highsmith, 2010

Five things you may not have known about Alabama:

  1. Huntsville is known as the rocket capital of the world.
  2. Workers in Alabama built the rocket that put the first man on the moon.
  3. Sequoyah, a Alabama resident, created the Cherokee phonetic, written alphabet.
  4. A prehistoric skeleton of a man was found in Russell Cave.
  5. Baseball players Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron and Willie Howard Mays, as well as boxer Joe Louis are all natives of Alabama.

Our new free state guide, Alabama Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Cotton State, has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your Alabama ancestors. Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.

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Do You Have Revolutionary War Patriots in Your Tree?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/04/do-you-have-revolutionary-war-patriots-in-your-tree/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=do-you-have-revolutionary-war-patriots-in-your-tree http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/04/do-you-have-revolutionary-war-patriots-in-your-tree/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:08:10 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22125 Read more]]> Click on the image to see and download the full size graphic.

Click on the image to see and download the full size graphic.

With Veteran’s Day approaching, it is a good time to take a look at your tree and identify those who served. Our infographic from Fold3 gives you a handy guide to for possible birth years of veterans and what wars they might have served in.

Do you think some of your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War? There are many collections you can look in, but pension records are a good place to start.

Pension records often contain invaluable genealogical information, including vital events that you most likely won’t find anywhere else. For the Revolutionary War, the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files contain an estimated 80,000 application files from officers and enlisted men who served in the Revolutionary War in all branches of the American military: army, navy, and marines. Even if the claim was rejected, there will still be information there.

You won’t always be this lucky, but check out this excellent summary of Thomas Martin’s children. And notice there the family “recycled” the name John for a son, after the first one died.

martin-children

That particular collection is just the beginning. Other Revolutionary War collections you should check out on Ancestry include:

Don’t forget to look at Revolutionary War Records on Fold3, including:

  • Revolutionary War Service Records. These are compiled service records for the regular soldiers of the Continental Army, and for the militia, volunteers, and others who served with them. The records are arranged under the designation “Continental Troops” or a state name, then by organization, and then alphabetically by the soldier’s surname.
  • Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. Browse these rolls by state and name of organization (regiment, battalion, guard, company, etc.).

If you find a Revolutionary War Veteran, you may want to consider applying to the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Sons of the American Revolution.  You can find some tips to get you started in our article “Where Were Your Ancestors on July 4th, 1776?

Happy searching!

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Ancestry Weekly Roundup: November 3rd Editionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/03/ancestry-weekly-roundup-november-3rd-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ancestry-weekly-roundup-november-3rd-edition http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/11/03/ancestry-weekly-roundup-november-3rd-edition/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:47:10 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=22101 Read more]]> Blog Posts
Poster by the Burlington & Missouri River R. R. Co. advertising land in Iowa and Nebraska, 1872. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Poster by the Burlington & Missouri River R. R. Co. advertising land in Iowa and Nebraska, 1872. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Ancestry.com

Fold3

Newspapers.com

Videos

Five-Minute Finds:

From the Barefoot Genealogist:

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Welcome to the Silver State! Nevada State Research Guidehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/31/welcome-to-the-silver-state-nevada-state-research-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-silver-state-nevada-state-research-guide http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/10/31/welcome-to-the-silver-state-nevada-state-research-guide/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:35:16 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=21968 Read more]]> Happy 150th Birthday, Nevada! Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31st, 1864.

Five things you may not have known about the Silver State:

Chollar Mine

Library of Congress, “Silver mine in Virginia City, dates back to 1860,” digital from original, Carol M Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006.

  1. Bugsy Siegel gave the Flamingo hotel its name in honor of the long legs of his girlfriend Virginia Hill.
  2. Nevada is also known as the “Battle Born State” because of its admission to the Union during the Civil War.
  3. Nevada means “snowfall” in Spanish.
  4. There are more mountain ranges in Nevada than any other state; the highest point is Boundary Peak at 13,145 feet.
  5. Nevada produces more gold than any other state in the U.S; it is second only to South Africa worldwide.
Our new free state guide, “Nevada Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Silver State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your Nevada ancestors. Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.
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