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Old 03-12-2021, 02:50 PM
180 posts, read 29,249 times
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I will never send in my DNA.

That said, genealogy appeals to me because it's so fun to see who that's alive comes into my tree without having to do extensive research. I even found that Willy Nelson and Waylon both come into our tree from other directions.

No, it does not mean we are related to each other. Probably just related to people that are related to people that we are....from quite a distance. (not sure, so I said probably because my eyes started crossing once I was reading so much in a rushed fashion)

I have not done half of the research that I wish to. I did find out we have more Cherokee in us than I had thought, because one great-granny that was half French, half Cherokee was married into Cherokee, found them online and they cannot find the dude in their family that she married, so we're more than assumed, but we cannot yet quantify.

Fun! so I see the appeal of it.
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Old 03-12-2021, 03:46 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
3,103 posts, read 1,205,468 times
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To be brutally honest, my initial interest was trying to confirm that my parents are my real parents as there were factors which had cast some doubt.

Then I got fascinated by population genetics, and that's really driven most of it. That's the reason I am way more into the ethnicity estimates than the matching even though it's definitely a flawed science for now. But I think even what we can do now is already remarkable compared to where science was 30 years ago.

The matching hasn't done me a ton of good beyond confirming the identity of my parents (so my initial interest) because nobody in my home country really uses DNA testing, so all my matches are quite distant. Not very useful for tracing my own family tree as they're all basically the descendants of people who branched off my ancestral families at some point in the past by emigrating to America (all of it before 1900).
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Old 03-12-2021, 03:58 PM
Location: Canada
4,922 posts, read 3,334,977 times
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Originally Posted by JustMike77 View Post
I do find genealogy fascinating, but I've never found the time to make it a hobby. My family in America began when Charles Woolverton sailed from England to Delaware in 1682. He sailed on William Penn's ship "Welcome" as he and Penn were good friends. I have a complete family tree which was written in longhand over the centuries. I also have one of my ancestor's discharge papers from the Civil War. There are entire websites and many books devoted to the history of the Woolvertons, so there's not much for me to do but read it.
The Woolverton’s are only one of your many ancestral lines.
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Old 03-12-2021, 04:48 PM
Location: Location: Location
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I suppose I'm fortunate to have known my paternal grandparents very well.

I know my grandmother was a charge nurse, (they were called "sister") in the men's wing of a mental hospital when she was young. She came to the US from Devonshire England with her sister, Pru, and the young man who would eventually become Pop Pop.

They left parents and siblings behind and crossed the ocean because teen-aged Auntie Pru was "carrying on" with the stable boy and my Great Grandfather promised she could take the trip if she stopped seeing Johnny.

Grandmom and Pop Pop got married, she got pregnant with my father and promptly jumped on the next ship to Devon, where she remained until Dad was almost six. Pop Pop remained in Philadelphia. Auntie Pru got a job working for a wealthy Main Line Phila family where she ruled the roost much like the TV show Hazel.

When Grandmom finally returned, she and Pop Pop grew the family to add six more children. (She didn't head back to England) I knew all of my uncles and aunts and their spouses and their children (my cousins).

Auntie Pru spent the next fifty plus years working for the same family. It was a live-in job and they were very good to her. She had a "gentleman friend" but he was married to a mentally ill woman and would not divorce. He was quite wealthy and when he died, left her a sizeable sum. WWII was over and Auntie decided it was time to retire and return to Jolly Old. She was there for a couple of years but it wasn't the same, so she returned to the USA.

Meantime, back at the ranch, Johnny had wed, went to New Zealand where he built a life and a sheep ranch. Wife died. Johnny paid a visit to England and learned that Pru had been there. He wrote to her. They corresponded for a while and he proposed. She accepted. She got new eyeglasses; new dentures, a new dress, and flew to Vancouver to meet him. They married, got on a boat for their honeymoon trip to New Zealand. She was 72, he was 70. It was in all the papers. She died in her nineties of a penicillin allergy.

My maternal grandfather was dead before I was born. My grandmother was a feisty little woman who cleaned other people's houses to keep her seven children in potatoes and shoes. She went to Mass every day and in her declining years, she sat at the kitchen table and played solitaire. She would have loved solitaire on the internet! The variety! No time-wasting shuffle!

In Ireland my 4X great grandmother, Mary Wade, was a Catholic in a Protestant family and under threat of death, her mother, who didn't agree with her religious choice but couldn't bear to see her child executed, smuggled her to an open boat that crossed the Atlantic to Canada. To this day, nobody knows where she got the money to pay for that cruise! GGGGG ended up marrying a French Canadian and moved to Maine. Her husband changed his name from Marquette to Markert because of prejudice against the French Canadians. I'm not sure how Grandma got to Philadelphia but doesn't seem terribly important. That was my maternal grandmother's stock! Brave, determined, unsinkable.

I knew all my aunts and uncles on that side of the family as well, and spent a lot of time hanging out with the cousins.

I'm content knowing what I know. All of this information came to me long before the Al Gore invented the internet. While I have no inclination to further research, I respect those who feel the pull to look into their origins.
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:57 PM
2,617 posts, read 5,037,172 times
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Interesting. The OP asked why people are into it, said that they didn't quite get the appeal, and wondered if it isn't a bit narcissistic. And instead of answering those questions, many people went into a great deal of detail about their ancestry. Perhaps they were just trying to provide examples of why it's interesting, but honestly - your family history is really not that fascinating to too many people other than your relatives (if them). And your famous ancestors from hundreds of years ago with whom you share a tiny fraction of DNA are no reflection on you.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:55 PM
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You either like it or you don't. It takes a certain kind of person who is curious; wants to solve mysteries; pan for gold; find the lost treasure; and strike oil. And of course wants to explore her family more closely. Often there are family stories passed down that are mysteries and piques interest in finding out the full/true story behind it. It kinda pulls you in. Or you want to gather family information for future generations otherwise the history will be lost to time. IMO, it is a great service to your family when you seriously undertake this. Years of your life given to it.

Genealogy is not just entering a name and hint comes up and offers who your Great great grandfather was. There could be 2 or more persons that have the same name and only one of them is your GGfather. So you have to search for clues that help you pick which one it is. You have to prove it through birth, marriage and death records, immigrant papers, census, ships lists and so on.

DNA just enhances family search projects. Results change over time as technology improves and becomes more precise as new halogroups are tested in more countries of the world. History comes into play big time.
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Old 03-12-2021, 10:37 PM
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I don't have any great love for it but the rest of my family members do and I am all too happy to listen to them go on happily about what they have found. I think it has to do with whether you are interested in history in general as families are linked to time periods and time periods are also linked to historical moments.

We do have some interesting ancestors (mostly explorers) but doesn't everyone at some point? We had to all explore to get to where we are now in whatever corner of the world we are in.

When I reflect on what it all means, for me, it is meaningful to at least have an idea and understand my roots even if it is very diverse.

At the same time not knowing as much does create more of a vacant or blank canvas. I often wonder if I didn't have this information at all, would I still be the same person or make the same decisions or think of myself in a different way? Would I relate to others differently or would I be as empathetic to others knowing where my family comes from?

I digress. It's a good thread, especially if it helps you think about what it's all for in the first place rather than being addicted to something or drawn to something without questioning why.
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Old 03-13-2021, 12:58 AM
Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC
1,392 posts, read 1,930,762 times
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I was adopted at birth in a state that is notorious for how iron-clad its adoption records are (you're getting NOTHING without a court order). My son was gifted a DNA kit 5 years ago, and I figured something might turn up to offer some clues into my background, but there was nada -- until 2 months ago. Someone reached out to him to find out how in the world they could possibly be connected, and within a few hours, we'd identified my biological father, his parents and siblings (all deceased), and a good chunk of the 1st and 2nd cousins. From there, I searched marriage/divorce records to find his wives and my half-sister.

I'm 99% sure who my biological mother is and have both emailed/mailed her, but she has chosen not to contact me. I told her in my letter that my life was good and that I'd respect her privacy, if she desires it, so I can hardly complain. I could roll up to her front door if I wanted to, but my search never has been about forming a relationship -- it is more curiosity than anything.

I never had any interest in this stuff before, but the thrill of discovering a new piece of the puzzle is a real rush!
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Old 03-13-2021, 01:05 AM
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I've never been interested, but did keep two family trees that relatives gave to me (one on my mom's grandmother's paternal side and another that my dad's great aunt did). My husband's second cousin on his mom's side gave us a tree he did too. As I have an adopted son too, I thought it would be a mistake to take anything like this up as a hobby (point being blood lines do not make a family). Like you too, I thought who cares.

But lol I see the novelty value and fun now -- Just for two months (this past January and February) DS who is adopted subscribed to ancestry.com. Dropped it after that due to the monthly fees and we had already done the fun easy stuff. He just thought it would be fun to check out after seeing the commercials on TV and had extra evening time during COVID-19 with so much closed. He couldn't get anywhere with his biological family (I hired a search company to find his biological parents in Russia - one who is deceased and two biological brothers with success when he turned 18, so we had some names, etc.), but ancestry.com didn't have any info with english spellings, and we couldn't get anywhere farther than that. After that DS jumped immediately to what I call his real family. He asked for my help too, so I pulled out the two family trees I have from relatives and the one on DH's side. On one side he was able to go back 13 generations (amazing) -- found a family crest, burial site in Europe, glass picture of crest in a glass museum in Wisconsin (cool). The one relative who had a title had been given it due to services to other's during a famine. On the other two trees DS was able to go pretty far back on he was able to go back around seven generations. There were so many year book pictures and cool documents for more recent relatives too (parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents). It was really a blast. We just spend a few evenings over two months, though, and then stopped the subscription.

The amazing thing is that with all the technology and digital records we can get in a few hours what other relatives (my great aunt in particular 20 years ago spent months doing) and were able to go back two generations further than she did - She took an elderhostel class in Utah on this, spent three extra weeks in the state at the Salt Lake City library for this stuff doing more research. And then she and her husband did a month long trip to Germany and visited small towns, churches, and grave sites for more info. And who knows it actually may be that her research is out there an on that site and that's why we could get so much on that tree.

Anyway, I like you would have said what's the appeal, till I spent a few nights looking at this with DS. It was tons of fun, especially with all the photos etc. and how easy it is to find so much. We've moved on to other stuff now, but we could get a monthly subscription again if interested and I understand the appeal much more now. It's like almost everything in life. The more you dig into something the more interesting it becomes.
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Old 03-13-2021, 01:10 AM
Location: Gulf Coast
1,408 posts, read 868,574 times
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It's been totally worth it for me. My parents each had a rather sad childhood for various reasons. I always felt sad for them. But my research (even though I didn't get back very far yet) told me a few things that made it not so sad after all. I could now picture my Dad with his cousins all around and his grandmother there also. I found the final resting places of my grandmother who I never met and a great grandmother, also a stranger. I put names to faces in old pictures I had and am able to place them on my little tree. The whole thing seems to have "grounded" me a bit.

Along the way, I gathered information from a 2nd cousin who shared her branch of the tree, things I never knew about. And in my searching I found a 2nd cousin from another branch and we continue to stay in touch, and that has memories for me back to my childhood when our families used to get together.

I don't care if there's royalty somewhere back there (I rather doubt it) and I actually don't care about that at all. I never aspired to be part of anything famous. But just to know these people is meaningful to me. And I can sure see why people get addicted to the hobby.
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