Thursday, July 5, 2018

An Interview With Curtis Rogers: The Man With the Idea that Sparked GEDmatch

I love writing about GEDmatch. It is one of my top favorite genealogy tool sites. I often use GEDmatch in conjunction with WikiTree and the interactive DNA Painter shared cM Relationship tools. With three sites open at the same time I can bounce back and forth between tabs to get a “bigger picture” and make notes in my GEDmatch DNA Workbook.

If you haven’t uploaded to GEDmatch this is my favorite video tutorial for doing so. CLICK HERE. In my opinion, this video by Angie Bush remains one of the best. Seven minutes into the video the instructions begin.  

Curtis Rogers fanned the spark of an idea which resulted in the bright light that now illuminates the path to find family whether using GEDmatch for traditional or genetic genealogy.

GEDmatch has tools for traditional genealogists to compare Gedcoms quickly, eliminating the eye-crossing study of trees. You can compare two Gedcoms to each other or your Gedcom to the entire database of millions and millions of surname entries. To keep you from missing someone in your line, if a match doesn’t have the same ancestor but has a different family member in their tree you can discover this by setting your own parameters. You can catch anyone with a similar name, or spouse’s name in the same geographic area within a given time frame. How awesome is that? This tool aids with Y surname project studies as well.

When autosomal DNA came along GEDmatch seemed for a long time a best-kept secret of many genealogists for comparing matches who tested at different companies. If you have heard the term “fishing in all the ponds,” dive into GEDmatch and experience ocean fishing.

When I mention “ocean fishing” Curtis Rogers does not fear the sharks as you can see in this picture -- Curtis not only works hard, he plays hard.  That’s Curtis in the front right of the image. 

I'm honored Curtis agreed to this interview so everyone can get to know this Yankee Doodle Dandy a little better. He celebrated his eightieth birthday on the 4th of July.

Please share with us a little about your life outside of GEDmatch. What do you like to do to relax and take a break?

I look forward to semi-retiring, climbing on a cruise ship and getting away from pressure for an extended period.  I say “semi-retiring” because I would go crazy if I did not have my computer and some work to do.

What is a typical workday like for you?

At least 8 hours working on GEdmatch projects and doing my “day job” work when I can. My day job is a Professional Guardian.  I need to visit and handle the affairs of my wards.

What countries have you visited that created an “I’ve been here before” feeling (if any)?

I have lived overseas, been around the world seven times, visited where my ancestors lived, but sorry to say, I have never had a deja vu feeling.  

At what age did you first get interested in genealogy?

In my teens when a distant relative wrote asking me to fill out a form about my ancestry.

Have you had any big surprises when you were studying your family history?

Not really.  It is nice to know I am distantly related to both George Washington and Winston Churchill.

Were there any major skeletons in the closet you hesitated sharing with your family? (If you have one you don’t mind sharing, please do.)

Not yet but it would not surprise me.

What changes have you experienced in genealogy since you started doing it?

When I started there was no such thing as personal computers and the internet was still 30 years away.  We did a lot more research in places such as musty county courthouses, libraries and cemeteries.

Where were you and what were you doing when you had the first “A-ha” moment for creating a program that would compare Gedcoms?

I don’t recall but it grew out of frustration for spending hours emailing back and forth to try and find common ancestors with DNA matches.  When autosomal DNA came into use for genealogy the interest in finding common ancestors increased exponentially.

How long did you discuss the idea with others before you were put in contact with John Olson?

No others.  I just asked John if he could develop an algorithm to match family trees for the Rogers Surname group I ran.  He is an absolute genius and developed a program that I knew could be beneficial to genealogy researchers.  

At what point did you decide to make GEDmatch publically available?


What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome to make GEDmatch a reality?

Lack of money and equipment.

Was expanding into tools for genetic genealogy a logical next step? Who suggested it?

I don’t recall if John developed the program on his own but if not I still give him full credit.

Please share the story about when the servers went down and the decision to monetize part of GEDmatch so you could keep servers up and running.

In the early days, our servers were in a remote location that we had difficulty accessing. Something as simple as a thunderstorm could knock them out. There were periods when we would be offline for weeks at a time.  It is amazing that many of our early users stayed with us.  I am not sure at what point we developed Tier 1.

When did you first notice GEDmatch was really becoming popular with genetic genealogists?

Probably when my wife stopped asking why I was spending so much time on this silly project.  This happened when her friends sent her emails praising GEDmatch.

Have you noticed an uptick in membership since people have been made aware that law enforcement will be using the site?

Things seem pretty much the same now as before.  Usage always is increasing and the trend has continued.

Where do you imagine genetic genealogy will be in the next ten years?

There are so many more programs we want to add to GEDmatch.  I believe even with our beta program, Genesis, we will be making a big leap forward in the usage of genetic genealogy when we get the program in its final form.

What are your wildest imaginings for genetic genealogy in the future?

Genetic genealogy will be one small aspect of personal genetics.  It will be common for people to have their genome tested.  Hopefully, they will have full control of their results, then they can choose how their data can be used.  If a doctor needs information then that part of their genome can be made available to him by the person who was tested. If the owner is interested in genealogy, They can use the appropriate part of the genome for that.  Etc for other potential uses.    

What benefits will the new Genesis tool provide?

In addition to being able to find matches with many DNA tests that are not traditional genealogical tests, we hope the data will be more sensitive.

Any best guesstimate as to when Genesis will release?

My best guesstimate was that it will be ready by last Christmas.  After that, I gave up guesstimating.

If there were something users of GEDmatch could do to thank you for this wonderful gift you and John Olson have brought to the field of genealogy, what would it be?

Continue doing what they are now doing.  GEDmatch has the most intelligent, creative, innovative, supporting group of users on the internet.  Most of all they are caring.  They care about family, about helping others (such as when having difficulty on our site), and have been there for GEDmatch with support and understanding whenever we have difficulties.  We at GEDmatch thank them.

I want to thank Curtis again for taking time from his busy schedule to share with us.

Take a moment to show your appreciation to these wonderful geniuses at GEDmatch by uploading your Gedcom (no matter how small) or link from WikiTree.

Adoptees, please note, a link from WikiTree to GEDmatch containing a personal profile page with pictures of you at different stages of your life is the perfect opportunity for your matches to reach out to you. You can post details - dates, location and the story of your search on your profile page along with a list of surnames you are coming across in your searches. You never know when a grandma may click to look and know immediately -- you are “one of hers.”

From this searching grandma, Happy Finding!

And, I’m still having a blast!

Friday, June 22, 2018

An Interview with Chris Whitten: The Originator of WikiTree

If you haven’t yet done so, I recommend you use WikiTree as your free public family tree to share with others. WikiTree’s unique concept of having a single-entry per ancestor allows you to meet cousins you may never meet any other way. (I have found a bunch and many of us have even gotten to meet in person.) Some genealogists who are members of WikiTree do a DNA test and others don’t. WikiTree provides a way for you to connect with both. 

Here is a screenshot of only a part of WikiTree's "Get Started" page. They keep score of their membership statistics which is growing by leaps and bounds making WikiTree one of the fastest growing free online genealogical tools today. You can do searches on this page and there are links to all sorts of other interesting information.

You can find more facts and information about WikiTree HERE.

The best way to find out about how to use it is to give it a spin. You can signup HERE.

A curious person, I like to get to know more about the creative geniuses who are behind the tools that are driving the engine of a new resurgence of people interested in finding their families' roots. I am honored and thrilled Chris Whitten agreed to do this interview with me.

Chris, please share with us a little about your life outside of WikiTree. What do you like to do to relax and take a break?

I have a wonderful nine-year-old daughter. She is the light of my life.  In my free time I do a lot of gardening and landscaping. I
build stone walls. I really like to be outside and work with my hands.

(Chris may build stone walls. WikiTree members collaborate to help you knock down your genealogical brick walls. Stuck? Ask for help at the G2G forum--that stands for genealogist to genealogist. You find it under the "Help" pull-down menu at the upper right of the Wikitree page once you are logged in.)

 What is a typical workday like for you?

Some of my day is filled with mundane administrative tasks and problem-solving, of course. But I try to discipline myself to spend some time each day on a project that moves WikiTree forward. That's what keeps WikiTree improving, and what makes working on it personally rewarding.

At what age did you first get interested in genealogy?

I think I always had an interest in family history. The objects and heirlooms, especially ... the medals and mementos of my great uncle who died in World War II ... the model ships my great-great-grandfather carved to look like the ones he sailed in when he was young ... the pewter plate passed down through the hands of a dozen generations.

When you're young I think it helps to have something that you can hold in your hands. That makes history and your ancestor's stories come alive.

When I was 17 my great-aunt, Rebecca (Bartlett) Nally, helped with my first family tree. She was a great genealogist and a wonderful family leader, by which I mean she was one of those people who help keep a family together. She helped with my whole tree, including the parts that weren't her own.

 Have you had any big surprises when you studying your family history?

One amusing surprise when I took a Y-chromosome DNA test a decade ago: I didn't have any matches with my own surname (Whitten) but a half dozen with my wife's surname (McClellan). We joked that I should have taken her name when we got married.

I assumed that there might be one of those euphemistically-named "non-paternal events" in my recent history. On the other hand, it was only a 12-marker test. And many Whittens and McClellans came from the same Scottish-English borderlands region, so the matches could go back before surnames. Still, I didn't have any Whitten YDNA matches for almost ten years.

That actually leads me to my most pleasant recent surprise. My Whitten brick wall was broken through last year and there was a Revolutionary War veteran on the other side!

I was contacted by a man named Keith Whitten who found the profile of my ancestor Samuel Whitten on WikiTree. He said that Samuel was the brother of his ancestor and that their father was Richard Whitten, a private who served for three years in the American Revolution.

I asked Keith to take a YDNA test, and sure enough, we're a perfect match at 37 of 37 markers. Very cool. I was super excited about this.

Where were you and what were you doing when you had the first “A-ha” moment for creating WikiTree?

It wasn't a single moment. I organized my own and my wife's family history onto web pages in 2005, in time for our wedding. In part, this was just to get all the cousins and aunts and uncles straight in my mind before sending out invitations. :-) But also because weddings are important family events, and they're an opportunity to share and grow the family history. I wanted to get everything organized. I wanted to know what was known, and what was not known.

Although I didn't have the time to do it then, I wanted to make the web pages wiki. I wanted to enable family members to browse the pages, see what was missing, and be able to add it right then and there.

Thinking about it being wiki led to thinking about it being global. A family doesn't have clear borders around it. Families overlap. Infinitely. If I invite my cousin to add to the tree, she would add relatives and ancestors who aren't directly related to me. Our families are like overlapping circles in a Venn diagram. Every family circle is unique, but overlaps with others. We all connect.

What talents did you already have that enabled you to believe you could create WikiTree?

I've been creating community websites since 1995. My first business was a networking site for libertarians and free-market conservatives. At the time that I had the idea for WikiTree, described above, I was working on a site called WikiAnswers, a collaborative Q&A site.

 How long did you mull the idea over before you took action?

I registered the domain name in 2005, but I didn't have time to work on it until I left WikiAnswers in late 2007.

What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome to make WikiTree a reality?

The biggest challenge was privacy. I didn't know how to handle that for a long time.

It's one thing to say that we're one big family. That my cousins should be able to add her cousins, and her cousins can add their cousins, etc. But all these cousins shouldn't be able to see everything about each other. The idea for Trusted Lists was a real breakthrough for WikiTree.

Another obstacle was the high level of expectations that genealogists have for family tree software. Genealogy software has been around since the 1980s, growing and improving. WikiTree had to develop a lot of features and functions before genealogists would take it seriously.

Where do you imagine genetic genealogy will be in the next ten years?

The combination of DNA testing and a single family tree means that most people won't have to research their family history. They can take a DNA test and almost immediately see a rich, deep genealogy that has been created by their cousins. Some already can.

I know many genealogists don't like this idea. Saying that a simple DNA test will give you your family history raises their hackles. But together we're making this possible, and it's a good thing.

Not everyone is a genealogist. Not everyone wants to do research. By sharing what we learn, by putting it together on a single family tree, genealogists are giving a wonderful gift to everyone else.

We do the genealogy. They spit in tubes.

What are your wildest imaginings for genetic genealogy in the future?

I think we will reconstruct the genomes of our ancestors.

We'll be able to see them. Know them in ways that they didn't even
know themselves.

What new tools do you hope to develop in the future?

We were actually working on collaborative chromosome maps for ancestor profiles, to move in this direction of reconstructing our ancestors' DNA.

We pulled the plug on this for privacy reasons. I'm disappointed, but it will happen without WikiTree. WikiTree needs to focus on our core mission of collaborative growing the tree. Our ancestors' genomes will be hosted elsewhere.

For our core mission, collaboration is key. It's relatively easy to get genealogists to share their research. Many will share their GEDCOM. But integrating their research and collaborating – really working together to fix mistakes and solve mysteries -- is not easy.

So, we are always working to make collaborating with other genealogists easier, and more fun. We're improving search and matching. We're looking for better ways to introduce cousins. We hope to do some of this with X-chromosome matches soon. There are always a hundred things on the to-do list, most of which have been suggested by community members.

I want to thank Chris for this incredible interview. 

Update: I decided just linking didn't show up enough in the interview and decided to add Chris' Samuel's full URL. Once you click on it click the descendant's icon so you can get a better idea of one of the innovative features of WikiTree.

I also want to thank him for a wonderful tool within WikiTree which can help everyone as they brag about and search for family. Each WikiTree profile has its own unique URL link which you can share with others on social media. If you click on Samuel Whitten's blue underlined link above you will see it takes you right to his WikiTree profile. WikiTreers call this sharing of profiles "Cousin Bait." Go ahead, search WikiTree for an ancestor (or add one) then post the URL to your favorite social media site and ask family to add their branches. (To copy a URL Left click and drag your mouse across the entire http address to highlight, then Right Click, select Copy. Go to Facebook or where ever and Left click your cursor where you want to add the URL and Right click and select Paste. Give it a second to load then click Post or Tweet.)

The URL link is like the one I share when I am looking for new members to join the Facebook Brady DNA Project. The project is open to anyone with the Brady surname anywhere in the world who has done autosomal DNA test and has uploaded to GEDmatch. Many at the project have added our branches to Hugh Brady whose WikiTree profile is Brady-242. (You really didn't expect me to pass up this opportunity did you?)

Thanks again, Chris!

Happy Finding!

I'm still having a blast.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Creating a Basic GEDmatch DNA Workbook

You can copy and paste your results from GEDmatch into any spreadsheet program such as Excel or OpenSource.

I created a DNA spreadsheet workbook which contains the following: One-to-many page, Graphic Tree, Bar Chart, CSV file, Matching Segments, Triangulated Segments, and Gedcom + DNA. The One-to-many and Gedcom + DNA are on the free part of GEDmatch. You will need to join Tier 1 to access and run the rest of these fabulous tools. You will need to make a $10 donation. Joining Tier 1 for a one-month donation can save years of time figuring out who the common ancestors are you share with your matches. 

Some people view it only as a verification of their research. Discovering what's behind the walls, family secrets, adventures, and meeting often unknown living family members for me is what genetic genealogy is all about.  

Explanations of your results from Tier 1 tools can be found on several of my previous posts.

When I am done with running the tools this is what the sheets at the bottom of my workbook look like.

To copy different tool results into a workbook simply select all (Ctrl+A) right click “Copy,” open a blank spreadsheet page, right click your mouse and Paste. Or click Paste on the spreadsheet toolbar.

Sheet 1 One-to-Many

Use Ctrl-A to highlight everything, Right-click Copy. Open a spreadsheet and click Paste. A little circle spins for a while and a pop-up might tell you what you are pasting might look a little different than what you saw on the GEDmatch page. Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. Simply click “OK.” The circle will start spinning again and then you will see what you copied appear. The “One-to-Many” page might take a minute or two for the page to fully load. If you look at the scroll bar on the far right of your screen when it is all the way to the top it has finished loading the page.

Double click on the sheet at the bottom of the workbook to add a title to the page. (Untitled spreadsheet pages are labeled Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3 and so on.)

Click to open a blank sheet for the next set of results.

I adjust the column widths on the “One-to-many” workbook page by sliding the lines between the alphabet letters at the top of the spreadsheet page right or left. The alphabet letters denote the columns in the spreadsheet. If you don't know how or are afraid of spreadsheets read my post, Easy Peasy Spreadsheets

I am so thankful I listened when Jim Bartlett told me I really needed to start using them. The learning (and for me fun) is in the doing.

After you paste your One-to-many page you will see that column “N” is an empty column. I make it wider and give it the heading MRCA (most recent common ancestor) and add notes under it. When the name of the person or grandparent couple is known I add that information.  

Be sure to click on the save icon frequently. Or you can do Ctrl+S.

On the One-to many page I study the Gen and Total cM shared information to help me determine relationships with my matches.

If I don’t know the relationship to a match I add notes of my best guess using the genetic distance and/or the results of “One-to-one comparison” totals which are found by clicking on the blue letter “A.” The One-to-one comparison gives more detailed results and the total amount shared can vary from what you see on the One-to-many page. 

Gen 1= Parent, Gen 2= grandparent, Gen 3= great-grandparent, Gen 4= 2nd great-grandparent. If I don't know the exact answer I might just note "4th great-grandparents" until I figure out exactly who it is.

One of the things I had trouble with is the fact that an MRCA (most recent common ancestor) can be a grandparent couple instead of just one person. 

Word to learn: Nibling. This is an aunt/uncle, niece/nephew relationship.

I check the total cMs shared using the free online DNA Painter cM Relationship chart that also provides odds for possible relationships you could share with your match.

Below is the DNA Painter tool I use to help me figure out the relationship with my match.

I run Tier 1 Tools and select Triangulation Groups Beta Tools for three of pages I include in my DNA Workbook. Each one goes on a separate sheet. The Beta Tools gives you Graphic Tree, Bar Chart, and the CSV file.

Sheet 2 Graphic Tree (See Triangulation Graphic Tree What the Heck Am I looking At?)

Sheet 3 Bar chart (See my previous post on Bar Charts)

Sheet 4 Matching Segments

I love studying this page. It shows which chromosome and position you match with a person BUT it can be confusing because it is two dimensional and doesn’t show triangulation so there is no way to know if the match is on your maternal or paternal line. This is another good sheet to make notes on. I insert a column just before the colored graphic by right clicking my mouse on the cell that contains the letter “J” at the top of the page and choosing “insert.” A good note to make is what their name or alias is on their testing site.

Sheet 5 Segment Triangulation

I prefer to use the middle selection when I run this tool. It shows results by Kit number, chromosome, segment start position. This is the sheet I use to sort matches on maternal and paternal sides.  (How-to in my book and a future post.)

Optional additional sheets

Sheet 7- CSV or Comma Separated Value  

Download these results if you are used to working with spreadsheets and understand sorting. You don’t need this sheet to find your genetic family. I prefer to work with Sheet-5.

Sheet 6 - Gedcom + DNA matches

Though I can’t view the trees from the downloaded spreadsheet, this is a handy reference page for getting around the new GDPR EU (General Data Protection Rules for the European Union) that has resulted in everyone who is living shown as HIDDEN HIDDEN. You can edit this sheet and use it as a reference. Replace the hidden/ hidden with the name of your match by using Ctrl-F, enter the kit number and search your One-to-many page.  Or you can enter the Gedcom file number in “User look-up” which is found on the landing page. When you use “User look-up” you may find your match handles multiple kits of others who share the same most recent common ancestor (MRCA) with you.

I insert an additional column on the Gedcom + DNA spreadsheet and add the name of our MRCA and note if this person is a maternal or paternal match or A or B match when I am working with an adopted person.  

I also like to clean up my downloaded pages by deleting the stuff at the top of the downloaded pages. You can do that by going to the numbered rows at the far left of the page. Click on the row number that contains the lines of copy you want to delete. This highlights the row. Right-click and choose Delete.

If your results are scrunched up so you can't read the page, or you see a bunch of ### where numbers should be, slide the lines between the alphabet letters that indicate column to the right. Play with your sheets to get them the way you want them. 

If you make a mistake when working with your spreadsheets use the swishy back arrow button. 

You can rearrange the position of your DNA workbook pages by clicking on any sheet heading and dragging it right or left.

Happy Finding!

Still having a blast!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

GDPR and GEDmatch: Hidden Hidden: (Not Really)

I read and subscribe to so many blogs and forums, I could spend my entire day reading my email and get very little done. The protective coating of dust on my furniture is evidence of that truth. But hey, I love genealogy.

Groups on Facebook are easiest for me to follow. Facebook is almost a “one-stop-shop” for many genealogists. I am a member of quite a few of those groups and I always seem to find an interesting question someone has posted. I love to eavesdrop on the answers. Sometimes I will reply, or if I have recently read a blog on the topic I will post the URL link in the thread.

Blogs during the last week or so have been loaded with stories about genealogy sites making a mad dash to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation -- GDPR EU for short.

There was much speculation about what the impact would be.

It seemed there were news stories from everywhere about the darn law.

I was flooded with memories of Y2K. Would the world as we knew it come to an end?

I knew it was going to happen. But because I spend most of my time writing, teaching classes or collaborating with friends and family about genealogy and DNA, and focusing on living in the here and now, and tracking DNA from mostly dead people, I was too busy to concern myself. (I do spend a good 30 minutes a week cleaning house – whether it needs it or not.)

Many days and nights are spent bouncing between GEDmatch, various DNA testing sites, WikiTree, online courthouse records, census searches, pouring over spreadsheets, and studying segments in One-on-one comparisons.

On May 25, 2018 many of us experienced in real life what GDPR meant to us. I was on GEDmatch when the reality hit me. I clicked on a few Gedcoms. Everyone’s Gedcoms had “Hidden Hidden” written all over them. If you or a dead ancestor didn’t have a death date, “Hidden Hidden” was in the place of the names.

“Hidden Hidden,” screamed from the Gedcoms.

I looked at my own.

Oh dear heaven! I was HIDDEN HIDDEN! 

I took a break and poured myself a glass of Kombucha and sipped as I cruised around a few forums and Facebook groups.

There were multiple threads about how difficult our research was now going to be. Everyone was commiserating with each other.

I smiled. Fifty-one weeks after Y2K Oklahoma was hit with a huge ice storm. Most of the rural area where I lived at the time was two weeks without electrical power. I was finally able to clear out the last of my stores supplying many of my friends and neighbors. I was happy to reclaim that bedroom. 

Life does go on.

If you are on GEDmatch and you click on a Gedcom it usually belongs to the person who is your match in the row where you clicked on the Gedcom. Their name will usually be the one in the Hidden position. You can copy and save the Gedcom information and add their name, alias, kit number and email address. Just copy the information from your One-to-many page.

If you download your Gedcoms + DNA results into a spreadsheet, you can use User LookUp on the landing page and their Gedcom ID or copy their kit number and do a Ctrl+F on your One-to-many page and make a master sheet containing who goes to what Gedcom.

As for me, I decided to make it easy for my matches. 

 What is really a hoot, when I decided to alter my tree so I could update my Gedcom on Gedmatch, I saw this. (Looks like more than a few Oklahomans think alike.)

Still having a blast!

Happy Finding!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hello Bradys of the World! Who and Where Are You?

Okay, blogs are supposed to reach out to the world, right?

This post is in pursuit of THE Brady who is going to crack some of our family's mysteries that we have been in search of an answer to for a couple of hundred years and hopefully solve a few other Brady mysteries at the same time.

I am a member of the Brady Family Association. (Facebook: Hugh Brady and Hannah McCormick Descendants) We know some of these descendants were at one-time slave owners.

I am, as you might guess, a descendant of Hugh and Hannah Brady.

About a year ago another cousin Elizabeth Brady and I initiated the Facebook Brady DNA Project. It is open to anyone in the world with the Brady surname in their direct line genealogical tree that has taken an autosomal DNA test and has uploaded their DNA to GEDmatch.

(Yes, GEDmatch. We knew how powerful the tools were at this wonderful open-source site before the alleged Golden State Killer was apprehended.)

Four years ago I bought a book from Amazon, Brady Family Reunion and Fragments of Brady History and Biography published in 1909. I wanted to see if I could find any connections to my Brady family. On page 7 I found my great-grandmother, Jemima R. Mott’s name listed as an attendee. Now, I like to pretend I can point to her in the blurry family group photograph that was taken in front of what they referred to in that book as the original Brady homestead. (I think she is the short gray-headed one toward the left front, in a white blouse and black hat with all the girls around her. Some of them may be my aunts.)

Jemima Ruth (Brady) Mott b. 1849 Pennsylvania

I began searching the internet to see if the family still held reunions. I wasn’t finding anything, when lo and behold a cousin contacted my sister via a DNA testing company’s internal messaging system (I manage my sister’s DNA) asking if I was coming to the Brady Reunion. I was thrilled. I was hooked.

In the Brady Reunion book of 1909, the “original” cabin was behind everyone and was clad with siding and adjoined to a house that was built later by one of the descendants. It has since been torn apart and painstakingly and lovingly reconstructed by a cousin, Bruce Lampe who is a building contractor in Florida. (That story can be found in the book The Cabin on the Creek: The History of the Hugh Brady Homestead. If you can find it.)

At our FB Brady DNA Project we have members from Brady branches across the U.S., some from the UK and we have several Brady branches from Australia

We are all in different stages of learning how to track our family trees using autosomal DNA. We are using GEDmatch Tier 1 tools, focusing on triangulation and studying segments. An all-volunteer site, we do our best to answer questions for each other about documentation from different trees and about how to follow our autosomal DNA.

We have contacted anyone we can find with the Brady surname and invited them to join our group. We have sent messages on our testing sites to any Brady we can find through surname searches. We have made announcements on WikiTree and Gedmatch. We have put out the call and we are still looking.

I have combed the Matching segments and One-to-many lists from GEDmatch of friends who I have helped to find their genetic family. Some of my friends have matches who are related to me!

I feel I am missing millions.

With all this Brady hunting we have several different Brady lines searching for relatives on our Facebook Brady DNA Project. We want more!

(It’s not just for Hugh and Hannah, though many members of the group are descendants.)

I want to know is Hannah really a McCormick? No marriage record, so all we have to go on is a statement from a grandson. All the “as told to’s” say so, but we want a paper trail. I will be happy when we have DNA confirmation.

I do have the McCormick surname showing up in my autosomal DNA and it looks like it is leading back to a line going back to James McCormick and Sara Welsh. I have combed every branch I can find for a Hannah b. abt 1710. None. Nada. Zilch. Did she have a different given name and we just haven’t put two and two together? I think perhaps Margaret. After all, there are daughters in various McCormick families born about that time named Margaret.

WikiTree has shown us a couple of branches of Brady lines that look hopeful and may connect to our branch. A sibling of Hugh’s? We haven’t been able to make the connection---yet.

We want Brady lines still in Ireland to get involved too!

Come on autosomal DNA! I’m counting on you!

We don’t know the ship they sailed in on but suspect it may have landed around Delaware. Well, we find a Hugh Brady who had land transactions there and we know some of their children were born there. I haven’t ruled out landfall in Canada. But for all we know it could have been around Louisiana. I just have a hard time getting my head around immigrants landing in the Gulf and trekking all the way to Pennsylvania to settle near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, British Colonies in the 1740’s where the original log home has now been preserved.

Historical records report Hugh was born in 1709 in Ireland. He is a Son of the American Revolution. But who for sure is his father? Did Hugh arrive in the colonies a lone Brady? And did other family join him in the colonies after his arrival? I have some people who appear to be the missing link but they have not DNA tested---yet.

Autosomal DNA appears to be drawing us closer to answers and we continue to search for that one connection that is going to break down this brick wall. We have some small segment matches with Brady lines in the UK and in Australia, but we need one of those
wonderful 15 cM segments that will point us in the right direction and span the gap to fill in the blanks.

If you are a Brady or descended from any Brady, have done autosomal DNA and are on GEDmatch,  please consider joining the FB Brady DNA Project. We will do our best to find you connections to your Brady family---whoever they may be. And please, share this post with all of your friends who do DNA and genealogy!

If you are a known descendant of Hugh Brady and Hannah McCormick, we have a family reunion the first of June at the old homestead. (Details at the FB Hugh and Hannah Descendants page. Tell them Barbara sent you.

Happy Finding!

I am still having a blast!