Category Archives: Italian ancestors

Genealogical DNA Testing Not Perfect!

Genealogical DNA Testing Not Perfect!

Vicki’s note – Here is a partial transcript of a NPR National Public Radio broadcast from Gisele Grayson  – Senior Producer, Science Desk explaining how DNA tests can be “inaccurate” and how different companies can have different results.  You can read the entire transcript linked below, or listen to it.

This may be a partial explanation/answer of Kim Caswell’s DNA questions and dissatisfaction about her MyHeritage DNA test results.  Kim brings up some valid considerations and cautions on getting and interpreting DNA tests for genealogy.

It is always a good idea to always be careful in what we do with Genealogical information that we discover, including DNA testing.  Remember that we only get 1/2 of  each parent’s genes, and any siblings get their own variation of 1/2.  So it is wise to have several people in your family tested if possible to get comparisons, and to get tests at more than one company if you can afford it. 

OR maybe not?  Read the NPR article to help you decide if it is worth it to you.

 

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“Friday, 19 January, 2018

Comment: Hello Everyone,
I have been away from Gen. Club and the blog for far too long but I feel I need to post this warning.
My husband got me the MyHeritage DNA kit for my birthday, I got my results and they are bogus.
First of all, my results came back titled ” Kimberly Buetow’s Ethnicity Estimate”. I never, anywhere, gave my maiden name – they should not have been able to know that. And why come back with my maiden name and not the name I put on the paperwork anyway? Then I got to thinking… at one point I started a family tree search using my maiden name. That could be the only place that they got the name from.
Then I get an email saying they located DNA matches. Surprisingly all the names can be found on MyHeritage web site. Not one name they gave me matches anything I have uncovered. I have been working on my ancestry nearly 30 yrs. with the assistance of actual hand written letters, diaries, journals and verified documents and records handed down through family members going back to as early as 1549. Every one of my grandparents, g-grandparents and back to 4x G-grandparents were born in cities and villages in Germany, Prosen and Prussia but the results say I am 21.2% Polish and the map does show Poland. BUT – many years ago, Poland was Prussia and a part of Germany.

It also says I am 1.1% Nigerian. When I spoke with a contact person I was told that basically every one of us has some African DNA. I’m sorry, bull.
Therefore, I believe people are getting false or misleading results because they are going by what some or many places are called today, not what they once were. Many people are not aware of name or country changes so will take results at face value.
It is my opinion that this will lead many down a false path in their genealogical searches.
SO – after all this rambling – I just want everyone to be very careful in the paths they follow after receiving DNA results.

Kim Caswell”

 

Click here for the following NPR full article.

 

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My Grandmother Was Italian. Why Aren’t My Genes Italian?

 

“Maybe you got one of those find-your-ancestry kits over the holidays. You’ve sent off your awkwardly-collected saliva sample and now you’re awaiting your results. If your experience is anything like that of me and my mom, you may find surprises — not the dramatic “switched at birth,” but results that are really different than you expected….

Last fall, we sent away to get our DNA tested by Helix, the company that works with National Geographic. Mom’s results: 31 percent from Italy and Southern Europe. That made sense because of her Italian mother. But my Helix results didn’t even have an “Italy and Southern European” category. How could I have 50 percent of Mom’s DNA and not have any Italian? We do look alike, and she says there’s little chance we were switched at birth.

We decided to get a second opinion and sent away to another company, 23andMe. We opened our results together and were just as surprised. This time, I at least had a category for southern Europe. But Mom came back as 25 percent southern European, me only 6 percent. And the Italian? Mom had 11.3 percent to my 1.6. So maybe the first test wasn’t wrong. But how could I have an Italian grandmother and almost no Italian genes?…”

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Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, IL.

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn –

Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, North Suburban Library District, Illinois:

These are both free 1 hour classes available to all.

NSLD/Loves Park

6340 N. Second St.

Loves Park, IL 61111

 

NSLD/Roscoe

5562 Clayton Circle

Roscoe, IL 61073

 

www.northsuburbanlibrarydistrict.org

Facebook.com/NorthSuburbanLibrary

 

“Family History for Beginners, and Detective Techniques for Experienced Genealogists”

Monday, September 25 from 2-3pm at NSLD Roscoe, Illinois

 

Effectively find the most that you can about your family history with hands-on exercises, and examples.  Be successful using basic genealogy research methods. Learn how to: search archives and on-line, record evidence, organize your genealogy, use timelines and “FAN” clubs, analyze records, and find missing clues based on what you know, etc.

 

 

Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond’”

Monday, October 23 from 2-3 at NSLD Loves Park, Illinois

 

Learn how to find your immigrant ancestors’ information in U.S. records, in over-seas on-line genealogy databases, and in other, mostly-free, resources. How histories and maps help track their immigrations. What to do about language barriers. 

 

statelinegenealogyclub @ Beloit Public Library - Vicki RUTHE HAHN

Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Public Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library, WI – BA and MLIS University of Illinois.  Blog creator of “StatelineGenealogyClub.Wordpress.com” 2014 ; founder of Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2012.  “Stateline Genealogy Sorter” SGS, with a background in Anthropology, History, clothing history, and teaching, she sorts out mysteries, rediscovers histories, weaves stories, and helps people with their family genealogy and local history,  specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin. 

 

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

MCGS McHenry County Genealogical Conference 2017

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

July 10, 2017

An email I received after attending this one-day Conference last Saturday, July 8.

 MCGS
Dear Vicki,

Thank you for spending the day with us at McHenry County College!  We hope the conference was helpful to your research and that you had a great time connecting with other genealogists.

Hope to see you next year!

 Ξ

And my answer is – YES!  This is the third time that I went to this Conference.  It is only about an hour away from Beloit, and well worth your time.  They have fabulous, knowledgeable speakers, and the cost is $70, including lunch.

The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Conference was held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at McHenry County College, 8900 Rt. 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This year’s annual conference featured:

  • Mary M. Tedesco, host/genealogist on the PBS TV series Genealogy Roadshow, (seasons 2 &3).    Contact her through the ORIGINS ITALY website at www.originsitaly.com.                                                                                                        She gave lots of techniques for good, basic genealogy, and how to find the names and locations of origin for your ancestors from overseas.  I attended a second session that Mary gave on how to find your Italian ancestors.   Mary is every bit as knowledgeable and friendly as she appears on television.  I enjoyed getting to know her a bit.

Vicki Hahn and Mary Tedesco:2017, July 8 Mary Tedesco & Vicki Hahn WSCG Conference, McHenry County College, IL

  • Thomas MacEntee, creator of GeneaBloggers.com.                                                      I got to talk with Thomas, but had too many other sessions that I needed to hear.   I was not able to go to one given by him this year like I have other years.

 

  • Paul Milner, author, & specialist in British Isles & U.S. research.                                      He gave a session on how to find your Irish ancestors.

 

  • Michael Lacopo DVM, nationally known lecturer – adoption, emigration & immigration, and many ethnic groups.                                                                            He gave a session on how to find your German ancestors.

 

  • A variety of vendors with publications and genealogy supplies.

 

Each of the speakers gave us a one week course in one hour!   Soon, I will be condensing all of that information, (plus more that I have learned elsewhere), into one session on “Finding your Overseas Ancestors”.  Be looking for a program on “jumping the pond” in our Stateline Genealogy Club programs next year.

These topics came at a perfect time, as I am about ready to search outside of the United States.  I have learned from these experts that it is not an easy task, but they prepared me well (enough) to begin the search.

Several of them would lend professional assistance to you if you decide to hire an expert, or if you need a knowledgeable guide to help you in Europe.

Join me next year.

MCIGS 2018 SUMMER CONFERENCE

Saturday, July 7, 2018 SAVE THE DATE!

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society P.O. Box 184, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014 www.mcigs.org email:mcigs@mcigs.org Phone:815/687-0436

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Ellis Island, & other Top Heritage Museums & Genealogy Research Centers

Vicki’s Note – article from the July/August 2017 Family Tree Magazine.  We will be do an on-line “tour” of the Ellis Island Museum at our July 14, 2017 program 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City – Peter Urban’s tour – how 12 million immigrants were processed there;  archival photos & films – immigrant experience. 

Here’s more information while you wait.  Lots of great museums in the U.S. to visit this summer, or in the future.  I think that my “Life List of Things and Places to Experience”  just got bigger.  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than “Bucket List”?)

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Top Heritage Museums and Genealogy Research Centers

6/2/2017

Set your sights on these 11 must-visit heritage museums where you can research your roots and walk in your ancestors’ shoes.

 

11 Must-See Heritage Museums for GenealogistsYou’ve probably devoted considerable time to discovering your ancestors’ origins. Just knowing the place they came from, however, is rarely enough. Genealogists also want to know how their ancestors lived, what they did for work, what they wore and ate, what their homes looked like. What you need is a resource that’s not only rich in genealogical information, but also shares the richness of your ancestors’ culture.

And if a relative’s specific place of origin yet proves elusive, learning the history of that heritage group may offer another research pathway, suggesting new records to try or offering clues in the lives of his countrymen.

Heritage centers and museums—usually located in places where people of a particular heritage settled together—cover nearly every ethnicity and cultural group. Whether your ancestors hail from Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Syria, Ghana, Mexico or elsewhere, there’s probably a museum that provides historical materials and a glimpse of that culture’s customs, history and people.

Some centers serve both as history museum and research destination, with manuscript collections, foreign-language newspapers, photographs, maps, local histories and more. They may offer genealogy workshops, translation help and research assistance.

Okage Sama De, the title of an exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, translates to “I am what I am because of you.” That’s the crux of heritage museums’ significance: Exploring one rewards you with a better understanding of who your ancestors were—and thus, how you came to be who you are. Here, we highlight 11 of the best heritage museums in the United States, chosen for their genealogist-friendly research libraries, exhibits, tours, classes and community events. Use this guide as a springboard to similar organizations covering your family’s heritage.

American Italian Cultural Center

New Orleans  •  Immigrants from Sicily, who flooded New Orleans in the late 1800s, gave the Big Easy its famous muffaletta sandwich. You can still steep in your family’s Italian heritage here, in addition to starting your genealogy search. Genealogist Sal Serio conducts family history classes. The center also offers Italian language courses.Genealogists researching Italian roots can access special collections at the library, including books, magazines and Italian-language newspapers. “Vertical files,” Serio says, “are packed with information about businesses and benevolent societies, which are prolific in this part of the country.” Make an appointment with Serio for guidance to the right sources and help with translation.

The museum focuses on Italian immigrants to the Southeast, and Italians in jazz and sports. Don’t miss the nearby outdoor Piazza d’Italia, built by the city to honor its Italian heritage. You can play bocce ball, listen to a concert, watch traditional flag-throwers and attend wine tastings.

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

Chicago • The genealogy department here holds newspapers, books, obituaries, annals, maps and other documents in a collection that spans most of Lithuania’s turbulent history, from the 13th century to 1940. Although you can’t research the collection yourself, staff provide in-depth consultation services to museum members. Nonmembers can take advantage of fee-based services including translation of old documents.

Lithuanian name spellings can vary, as can languages used in records. Pre-WWI documents, for example, are usually written in Russia’s Cyrillic script. Records also may be in Latin or Polish.Get to know the culture of your ancestors in the museum, says Karile Vaitikute, genealogy department director. “There are exhibits and a film that describe Lithuanian history, national costumes, Lithuanian art, agricultural items and even a small house,” she says. The museum also provides workshops and guided travel opportunities.

Courtesy of the Cherokee Heritage Center

Cherokee Heritage Center

Tahlequah, Okla. • Your admission to the Cherokee Heritage Center allows you access to the Trail of Tears exhibit, Diligwa (a 1710 Cherokee village), Adam’s Corner (an 1890s rural Oklahoma village) and Cherokee Family Research Center.Most visitors are new to genealogy. “They’re here primarily because they learned from a family story or legend that one of their ancestors is Cherokee,” says Gene Norris, the center’s genealogist. He recommends starting your research with three federally compiled rolls covering the Cherokee: the Dawes Final Roll, the Guion Miller Roll and the Baker Roll. The center’s website offers tips on getting started.

The library offers databases and records including government and private documents, photographs, posters, maps, architectural drawings, books, manuscripts and articles focusing on Cherokee history and culture. Staff researchers are available for hire.

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

New York, NY •  Ellis Island’s immigration museum tells the stories of arrivals before, during, and after Ellis Island processed immigrants (1892 to 1954). The Peopling of America Center, opened in 2015, shares the migration history of American Indians, slaves transported against their will, and Colonial- and Victorian-era immigrants.

The island’s American Immigrant Wall of Honor is inscribed with more than 700,000 names of immigrants through all ports.

If your ancestors came through Ellis Island, you can walk in their footsteps at the immigration museum, view the renowned Great Hall, and follow an audio tour through the immigrant experience as if you were a new arrival. A centerpiece is the American Family Immigration History Center passenger list archive. Now numbering 51 million names of passengers all the way up to 1954, the database is searchable both on-site and online; search results link to images of original manifests showing the immigrant’s name, age, last place of residence and more. You also can view images of immigrant passenger ships—maybe even your ancestor’s.

Historic Huguenot Street

New Paltz, NY • Huguenots were Protestants, largely from France, who left their homelands to escape religious persecution. Many settled in New York’s Hudson Valley, South Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast. Their descendants include George Washington, the grandson of a Huguenot.

Start exploring this 10-acre museum at the Visitor Center, then head to any of seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 church, a burial ground dating to the earliest settlers, archaeological sites and more. The annual Gathering for Huguenot descendants includes history workshops that may open a door to your family tree.

“Historic Huguenot Street holds genealogies of the New Paltz patentees and associated families, transcriptions of church records, surname folders that include family trees, plus the archive of items such as letters, family Bibles, and estate records,” says spokesperson Kaitlin Gallucci. Access the research library on-site by appointment ($25) or send a research inquiry.

Irish American Heritage Center

Chicago • Nestled on Chicago’s northwest side, the Irish American Cultural Center houses a museum (open for tours by appointment) with artifacts including exquisite Irish lace, an art gallery, the Fifth Province pub, a theater, classrooms and a research library.

“This is the place to find out where you’re from,” says spokesperson Kathy O’Neill. You’ll find 25,000 books on Irish history and literature, newspapers, access to online databases, and other material. A limited-access archives section preserves documents, records and other rare and historic items. Family history classes take place once a month, or you can make an appointment with a staff researcher. Other classes cover Irish language, history and music. Celebrate your Irish heritage here with folk concerts, traditional céilí dances, festivals and storytelling.

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i

Honolulu  • Those tracing Japanese roots, especially in Hawaii, will find a valuable resource here. “The center’s historical Okaga Sama De exhibit tells the story of Japanese immigration to Hawaii, from 1860 to statehood and beyond,” says Derrick Iwata, education and cultural specialist.

Visitors can tour the Honouliuli Education Center, which focuses on Japanese internment during World War II. Experience Japanese culture at one of the center’s festivals, including a New Year’s Ohana (Family) Festival on the second Sunday in January. Or come for the classes on martial arts and the Japanese tea ceremony (called chado, or the Way of Tea).

The center’s Tokioka Heritage Resource Center offers a wealth of material related to Japanese-American history, art and culture on Hawaii and the mainland. “Our library and archives has an assortment books and oral histories, as well as a number of directories which list Japanese residents in Hawaii,” says center manager Marcia Kemble. (Access the catalog here.) Staff can provide fee-based services such as translation, Japanese name consultation, and genealogical assistance, including help obtaining a family registry record, or koseki tohon, from Japan.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

New York • “In the case of Jewish genealogy, where so many records were lost and lives disrupted, an institution like the Museum of Jewish Heritage provides a crucial narrative,” says Michael Glickman, museum president and CEO.

The core exhibition uses first-person histories, photos, video and artifacts to explain Jewish history and tradition before WWII, European Jews’ confrontation with the hatred and violence of the Holocaust, and Jewish communities today. (View a selection of photos and documents here.) The outdoor Garden of Stones is a memorial to those lost in the Holocaust.

This museum’s “research library” is at its free partner website, JewishGen, where you’ll find discussion groups and more than 22 million records, including Holocaust records, a burial registry and the Communities Database. “Say your grandfather came from a town called Ostroleka,” Glickman says. “You might find six towns with the same name. How would you know which is the town your grandfather was referring to?” The database lists 6,000 Jewish communities, with their political jurisdictions and name variants over time.

National Hispanic Cultural Center 

Albuquerque, NM • Archivist Anna Uremovich calls this center a “full saturation of the Hispanic culture.” Its art museum features a 4,000-square-foot buon fresco depicting thousands of years of Hispanic history, and works from Spanish artists around the world. You also can attend art classes and other events.

The research library and archives is a destination for family historians with deep Southwest roots, holding Spanish census records, land grants, and the 90-volume set of Enciclopedia Heraldica Genealacia Hispano-Americana and the 15-volume Diccionario Hispanoamericano de Heraldica Onamastica y Genealogia. These books include more than 15,000 names from Spanish and Spanish-American families.

Search the library catalog here
(select National Hispanic Cultural Center from the menu at the top right). Uremovich also suggests researching Catholic parish records to learn family birth, marriage and burial details, and sometimes, names of other relatives.

Mark Bealer Photography

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Cincinnati • Search for African-American roots in the John Parker Library on the fourth floor of this inspirational museum (admission isn’t required if you’re just visiting the library). The library hosts a FamilySearch Center, where you can use databases, microfilm and other resources from FamilySearch. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment with an on-site genealogist. “We help between 60 to 120 patrons a month,” says marketing director Jamie Glavic, who recommends first completing as much of a pedigree chart as you can.

The Freedom Center museum can help you understand the experiences of your enslaved ancestors, who they were, how they were transported to America, and how they lived and worked here. Step inside a slave pen built in the early 1800s on a Kentucky farm, and follow in the footsteps of Underground Railroad passengers and conductors whose actions resisted slavery.

Watch a short film, narrated in part by Oprah Winfrey, describing the work of early abolitionists, intent on ending slavery. You’ll learn about those who resisted slavery and how slavery continues today.

Swedish American Museum

Chicago • Step inside this museum in the heart of Chicago’s “Little Sweden,” and you walk in the footsteps of Swedish immigrants, from preparing to leave their homeland to building new communities in America. View artifacts including steamship tickets, passports, folk crafts and household items brought from Sweden. A children’s museum allows kids to do chores in a stuga (farmhouse) and board a 20-foot “steamship.”

The center’s Swedish American Genealogy Research Center is “the only Chicago-area center that focuses on Swedish research,” says volunteer Vereen Nordstrom. It holds Swedish censuses, immigration and burial records; provides access to church records on the Swedish subscription website ArkivDigital; and hosts genealogy classes. Make an appointment to work with volunteers like Nordstrom, or send a research request (free for members of the museum’s Swedish American Genealogical Society; fee-based for nonmembers).

More Online

Researching Italian Records

Vicki’s note – Upcoming event information for CAGGNI Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois.  Mr. Niemiec seems like an good resource for Italian Genealogy.  Note the attached handouts, which I will put in the Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps tab; and have printed out for you to use at the next meeting. :

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CAGGNI Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois.

Researching Italian Records – Schaumburg Township District Library
Date: 15 Apr 2017 10:30 AM CDT

Researching Italian Records

by Daniel Niemiec

Many people with Italian ancestors don’t read Italian, and thus they don’t try to research Italian civil or church records.  Dan will show you that you can learn to find the genealogical information without reading every word on every page.  He will show you an overview of common document formats and indexes so you can work with them easily.

Daniel Niemiec has been the monthly Italian genealogy columnist for Fra Noi for the past 12 years. He has researched his family for 26 years and has traced his Italian roots back to the mid 1600’s. By tracing the descendants of those ancestors he has well over 80,000 known relatives.

Explaining Italian Civil and Church Records   >>HANDOUT 1<<

Italian Records Examined  >>HANDOUT 2<<