Saturday, July 26, 2014

WDYTYA? Followup

If you are interested in more information on the story of Cynthia Nixon which aired on this season's first episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC on Wednesday evening, I have a couple of suggestions for going deeper. If you missed the show when it was first aired, you can watch a recap online at the TLC site. Two respected bloggers offer you a chance to explore the most explosive event in Cynthia's family history in more detail. 

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, covered legal aspects of the case and turns it into a legal thriller where you get to come up with your own verdict.

Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy discussed missed opportunities for researching deeper -- particularly with DNA.

Dr. D has long wondered why Ancestry continues to miss opportunities to market its DNA testing product. The company offers one of the three most used DNA testing programs in the US. However, no DNA test reports made it into any of the episodes of the program last season -- a trend that has continued through episode 1 this season. We are only offered about 42 minutes of content in each episode. A little of that is used to remind us what happened before commercial breaks in case our short term memory is a little challenged. 

One of the biggest challenges of the show is to film around the availability of the guest celebrities. Since it takes several weeks to get DNA tests back from the lab and to identify other potential relatives whose DNA reports might match, it is challenging from a time perspective to include such testing. Still, since is the lead corporate sponsor, one would think DNA testing could be fitted in somewhere -- at least in some episodes. Is it possible that the DNA testing package being offered by Ancestry is not as conducive to genetic analysis as the tools offered by some of its competitors?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tennessee Ancestry Library Event (TALE)

Reserve your spot now for the Tennessee Ancestry Library Event (TALE) on Saturday, September 20th.

"Discover and celebrate your family history! This full day of genealogy classes, sponsored by and the Tennessee State Library & Archives, will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel (623 Union Street, Nashville, TN 37219) on Saturday, September 20. Registration for the all-day event is only $30.00. Space is limited, register today! 

Speakers will include Chuck Sherrill, J. Mark Lowe and Ancestry’s own Anne Gillespie Mitchell, Kim Harrison, Juliana Szucs Smith, Loretto (“Lou”) Szucs, and Anna Swayne. Topics include: How to Search Successfully to Tell Your Story on; AncestryDNA: Another View into Your Family Story; Your Ancestor’s Lawsuit: Finding and Using Tennessee’s Supreme Court Case File; Jumpstart Your Research; and a Live Q&A Panel." 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Facebook account Clone

Early yesterday evening I began to receive notices from family and friends that something was amiss with my Facebook (FB) account. It seemed I had a new account which had about a half dozen pictures from my original account -- including my profile picture. Many if not all of my existing Facebook friends had been invited to accept "friend" requests to the new fake site. I had even been given a sex change. 

With some tips from savvy friends -- especially Drew Smith -- I quickly, began to understand what had happened. If I did a FB search for my name, I only got into my own original site. However, if my wife did the same search, she got 2 hits. One listed me as her husband and the other listed me as a female. My conclusion, possibly correct, was that whoever created the site was sophisticated enough to block me from findind the new site by searching from my original site. When I tried to follow a link sent me by a friend, I got this message: 

Sorry, this page isn't available

The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.

This prevented me from logging into the new site and requesting FB to take the pretender down. But my wife and others could still find the second site. 

This must have happened many times before. As I worked my way through the many FB help pages, I was first directed to log into the offending site and then contact FB. That was not possible in my case because I could not find the site from my legitimate account. 

With a little more digging, I found an option to have a friend to request that the rogue site be removed. My wife did so. I was then contacted by FB to verify that I wanted the second site removed. They took it down within minutes. 

If you ever get a friend request from an existing friend, be a real friend and notify the person immediately of this anomaly. Apparently 40 of my friends accepted the fake friend requests. If this happens to you, contact FB immediately.

I have no idea who did this or why. Be vigilant.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cousin Jim's Biological Mother

On June 30th I along with three other Adams 1st cousins met in person, for the first time, our newly found 39th first cousin, Jim Jones. Previous posts have chronicled the discovery of Jim through a DNA match: Another Adams Cousin; and X Factor: Another Adams Cousin, part 2

Over the Spring, we had examined each of my mother's 9 sisters which DNA tests indicated could have been Jim's biological mother. Gradually we had ruled out five. Four of them were already married at the time Jim was born so we assumed that Jim's birth name would not have been Adams if any of them had been the the biological mother. 

The 5th was a little more difficult to rule out. Aunt Hattie had been institutionalized for the portion of her life that any living family could recall. The exact circumstances of her entry to the state hospital were unclear. She, at age 21, was still living at home along with her parents and three other sisters in the 1930 census. That was about a year and a half before Jim was born. By 1935 she was a patient in the state hospital. For a time we entertained the thought that Jim's birth could have been the result of a sexual assault that left her severely traumatized. After getting a court order, her records were released. Her disability was documented to have resulted from scarlatina suffered when she was nine years old. In addition she had been continuously hospitalized for the rest of her life beginning a few months before Jim was conceived. 

This was the state of our research when five first cousins (including Jim) met for lunch three weeks ago. 

Doris Logston, Pearl Rogers, Mary Sturm, Jim Jones & Dave Dowell
Right after our lunch Jim returned to the courthouse with renewed vigor to seek any further information that might help our search. On Saturday, July 5th he received a letter from the court which gave him the name of his birth mother. She was one of the four aunts still on our "suspects" list. She had died in 1997 -- one of the last surviving members of her generation of our family. She had never had other descendants to our knowledge.

We now turn our search to a more daunting task of attempting to identify Jim's birth father.