MyHeritage DNA Upload Trouble Shooting


I took a wonderful webinar through the Association of Professional Genealogists on Thursday evening on DNA and Ancestry given by Jennifer Anderson Zinck. Although my husband and I tested through Ancestry before their new tests became available in October 2014, our earlier results are still available through the DNA tab on the ribbon. I had thought Ancestry was no longer supporting their older tests so I was pleasantly surprised.

Understandably, the old results aren’t going to be a part of their new communities and circles. I decided to upload that old data into MyHeritage.com’s new DNA feature as they recently began accepting data from other companies.

To upload, click on the MyHeritage DNA tab’s dropdown “Upload DNA data NEW.” Click the pink box “Start.” Click if you are uploading your data or someone else’s. In my case, I was trying to upload my mtDNA. Then, click the Service Terms and Consent Agreement. Next, click the pink box “Upload.” Ancestry downloads the results as a csv file which my computer didn’t like. I converted it to an Excel file as that is what it is and uploaded it.

The pop up told me “DNA uploaded successfully.” Good thing I decided to click “Manage Kits” before I uploaded hubby’s data. Surprise, surprise – my kit was marked “Invalid.” I thought that might be because I had changed formats so I went back through the steps and uploaded the csv file. Again, I got the “DNA uploaded successfully” but in checking further, it was marked as “Invalid.”

I called MyHeritage at 1-877-432-3135. Don’t get confused by the voice mail options! I wasn’t needing billing or accounting (1) or sales (2) and the third option, tech support, says to call back between 7 am -5 pm. Since it was 9:15 AM I thought the phones might be down. The message repeats twice but just hold on because you’ll eventually be placed in the queue for assistance. I was number 9 and the wait time was about 15 minutes.

I told the tech guy the process I had followed and it turns out that MyHeritage does not accept mtDNA or yDNA, only autosomal, which we hadn’t taken. I suggested that the type of test be written on the site to save phone calls and wasted time though autosomal is the way to go now and there probably aren’t a lot of folks like us who have older tests.

So, if you have an autosomal DNA test done at a competitor’s site, you might want to take advantage of MyHeritage’s free offer. Getting your data out to another site just might unlock secrets you never knew existed.

Thank You Familysearch.org!

I love Familysearch.org for so many reasons – the wiki, the records, the tutorials, the ease of use, I could go on and on. I mentioned this at a recent local genealogy conference I attended to my tablemates and was surprised to learn that they had not signed up for a free account. Then yesterday, I was volunteering at an Ask-A-Genealogist Day at a library where I met several folks who had never heard of the site.

One gentleman was so excited he called his wife and brother to tell them about the records we found on his grandparents. A very sweet woman teared up when I showed her a marriage license her grandfather had signed – she had never seen his childlike signature before. He died before she was born and had been uneducated but her grandmother made sure she had the money to go to college so she’d have a better life. I forwarded the link originally sent out by Thomas MacEntee about the upcoming Irish research workshops that Familysearch is offering all week that I bet St. Pat would have attended if he were alive! Another man told me his wife will be so happy as he wanted to make a trip to Ireland ala WDYTYA and she told him that was ridiculous since he wouldn’t have archivists drop everything for him. So he’s tuning in, learning and planning to save time and money. Can’t get better than that! Interested and want more info on this event? Click on this for the flyer.

Trust me, Familysearch has not solicited for money or sent beaucoup annoying emails as many other genealogy based groups do. Why should you register on the site? After creating an account you’re able to connect with others who are pursuing the same lines you are. BillionGraves is now synching with Familysearch so there’s another reason. It’s easy, it’s free and it’s a valuable genealogical tool. You’ve lost an hour today so insure you don’t lose more time – sign up at Familysearch.org today.

Youtube and the Genealogist


A source that I under use for genealogy is Youtube. Lisa Louise Cooke reminded me at a local seminar I attended about the valuable information that is available on the site.

There’s two ways to find what you’re looking for – do a Google Search (duh!) or use the search button on Youtube. If I type in Google the following – youtube genealogy – I get 8,660,000 results. Using the search bar on Youtube, I receive 190,000 results for the word genealogy. Most of those hits are instructional videos. Youtube can assist your genealogy more personally, though, and help you find information you didn’t know was out there.

Try this: In the Youtube search bar type a surname you are interested in and the words “family history” in quotes. I did this with my Leininger surname and the first link is to a family reunion in Ohio. Bingo! Need to know who has the family Bible or a photo of great grandma? The folks you’ve found on Youtube just might hold the key.

You don’t stop there, though! I then decided to check out video to be more specific of the location since Ohio is a large state. I entered “Celina, Ohio” Kuhn (another family surname I’m interested in and the residence of the family) and more hits are available.

This is a wonderful way to reconnect with family that remained in the hometown, see what the area looks like today and the time investment is minimal as many of the videos are less than 15 minutes in length. Enjoy!

A New Way to Identify Name Variations

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 18 Sep 2016.

I was reading the article Guild of One-Name Studies Is Now Available at FamilySearch.org  in The Genealogy News recently and thought I’d  check out the database on Familysearch.  On a few lines, I trace everyone who has that name in the US in an attempt to make a connection across the pond.  Stop and read the article and then come back to my blog.

If you followed the articles link to Familysearch, (added here in case you didn’t), and you enter a surname in the search field, you probably were disappointed.  I know I was!  I first added HARBAUGH and got links to everything but Guild Of One-Name Studies.  I know family historians, some quite renown, have traced the name back to a HARBO who was a court scribe in the 1200’s in Denmark.  I expected to find that and more but all I got were records of Harbaughs.

I then typed in LEININGER and got lots of IGI records but nothing for the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Then it hit me!  On the left hand side, I should have scrolled down and filtered out everything but Guild of One-Name Studies.

I still got nothing for Harbaugh and Leininger but when I entered KOS I got Cass and Coss,

Next I tried KABLE and that’s when it occurred to me – duh – this could be an innovative way to come up with surname variations!  My Kables were listed as Cable, Cabel, Kabel, Cobbold and Cabot.  I would have never come up with Cobbold and Cabot.

Next I tried DUER and got Dewhurst.  Now that was very interesting to me as I’ve been heavy into deeds and wills of my John Duer in Trumbull/Mahoning Counties, Ohio who died in 1831 after his son, Thomas, and I keep seeing Dewhurst in the records.  I pronounce Dewhurst as doo’ herst but I guess it could be pronounced doo’ ers.  Hmm.

We’ve all seen creatively spelled names, likely recorded from pronunciations, in records but I’ve never been really good at coming up with more than obvious variations.  I’m adding this tool to my genealogy tool box!

A FREE Research Assistant – Google Keep

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 18 May 2016.

Found a new tool that could help you immensely with your research notes, to do lists, and anything else you want to write and remember.  From Google, it’s entitled Keep and with just one click, you can save your work and be able to retrieve it from any online device.

Click on the left hand corner of the Keep page where there are three horizontal lines (the main menu bars).  This will open up the main menu where you can view your notes and reminders, once you create them.  Filing is easy, just click the “Create New Label.”

If you’d like to share what you created, click on “Settings” and make sure “Enable Sharing” is checked.

You access Keep through your Google account so if you have gmail or Google+ you already have a Google account. If you don’t have an account, the page should direct you to how to obtain one but I haven’t checked that out since I have an existing account.

Keep works on both IOS and Android so whatever is your preference, you can use this tool.  It does need Chrome so if you aren’t using that already, you may have to download it for Keep to work efficiently.  The Chrome download is supposed to also be available from the Keep page but again, I have it so I’m not able to verify that information.

So, how can you use this with your genealogy?  What I think is the best feature is that it is a blend of Evernote and Pinterest.  I can click the grey lightbulb on the panel to add text or a part of a webpage. I especially like that I am able to simultaneously update my research log that I’ll display on Keep; the display is viewable like Pinterest.  Another beneficial feature is that I can see everything on the same page at once which will make sorting for a timeline or rearranging when analyzing the records much easier.

I can then create a label for the whole group which will enable me to separate out various projects that I’m working on simultaneously.  This method also allows me to quickly access the information anywhere (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone) AND be able to retrieve everything about the project in an organized way. Want to see all your labels?  Simply click the main menu bars and it will list all the labels you have previously created.

The “Reminders” feature will also help you stay organized. Give it a try!

Goodbye Picassa

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 24 March 2016.

Previously I’ve blogged about one of my favorite Google products, Picassa, to which I uploaded all of my photos, movies and images of records.  I’m sad to say that it’ll be going away soon. Google stopped supporting it on March 15th.  It’s being replaced by a product called Google Photo so if you were using Picassa you’ll need to log into Google Photos to save your albums.  Supposedly, it’ll be an easy transition.  Problem is there won’t be editing software included and it won’t scale uploaded photos. I’m planning on following their directions so I don’t lose what I’ve saved this weekend.  I did click on the Photos link provided on the Google blog but the photos displayed weren’t everything I had in my Picassa albums.  Possibly it’s because I was signed in with a different email address.  I’m not panicking yet because I have hard copies and cds of everything but I certainly don’t want to spend the time reuploading!  That’s why I plan on checking it out this weekend and contacting Google before it’s too late if I can’t figure it out.  Looks like Google Photos has the facial recognition feature that I absolutely love.  New features on Photos begin on May 1st so I’m hoping that those will include fixes to the limitations that I’ve already mentioned.

Google Library for the Genealogist

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 19 March 2016.

I’m taking a course through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies called “Google for the Genealogist.”  Half way into it and I’m finding it’s very useful.  There are 8 modules in total and the one I just completed on Google Books was the most relevant to me so far.

I use Google to search for old books that may contain a mention of my ancestors. Sometimes I just look for the location and then when I open the book, search for the surname.  I have found some incredible stories – such as Mathew Baines or Beans who was dying at sea and wrote a letter to a James Harrison, a fellow Quaker, requesting he look after Mathew’s children.  Problem was that Mr. Harrison had died so the children appeared in Orphan Court.  Two Google Books mention these events. Looking at someone else’s tree on FamilySearch or Ancestry might give you Mathew’s year and place of death but the books bring the experiences he had to life!

With old Ancestry, as in before December 2015, I used to snip the page from the book and snip the title page, save to Word and then upload as a pdf to my tree attaching to the appropriate person. Problem is that it’s no longer easy to find those pdf’s on Ancestry.  I’m going to have to go back and re-download and save to my hard drive.  I never saved to my hard drive before because I was working on a cheap laptop I didn’t have a lot of faith in and thought it would be better if it were saved in Ancestry’s cloud.  Live and learn!

But back to Google Books and the class I’m taking…Did you know that you can save books to your own created bookshelves in your own library in their cloud?!  I somehow missed this and it’s super easy to do.  All you need is a Google account, which is free, of course. (Not going to get into the whole topic of nothing is free as in they’re monitoring your usage and using your searches but you know what I mean by free – as in there’s no initial monetary cost involved to create a Google account.) Once you have an account (if you have an email through Google you have an account!), next click “More” on the Google ribbon and find the link for “Books.”  Click and search for a surname or place you’re interested in finding information about.  When you find a book you like, click on it.  You then click “Save to My Library.”

On the left hand side of the page you can create your own book shelves.  I created two state names and one called Reference.  If you scroll down you’ll see recent books you may have looked at.  It’s simple to just click on the book and add to the appropriate book shelf.  I’m going to be very busy once I’m done with the Kinship Determination Paper uploading all my pdf books and saving it to My Library. That way, I will have all the sources I’ve used in one place.  I plan to add who the book refers to in the Description block that comes up for the book shelf.

Who Knew? Two Genealogy Tips I Just Learned

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 13 Mar 2016.

Tip 1:  Did you know that Fold3 has lots more than just military records?  If you have the premium or you get a free trial offer you need to explore the site by doing the following-

  1. Click BROWSE at the top of the page
  2. Click CATEGORY on the right side
  3. Click ALL TITLES
  4. Take a look at what they have!

I have found the Pennsylvania Archives most helpful.  Scroll down to the bottom of the selected volume to check out the index.

I never knew Fold3 had FBI Case Files, slave auctions from the West Indies, orphan records and more.  Why in the world don’t they advertise this?!  I would have probably bought the premium membership years ago had I known.

Tip 2:  Just learned this from the Pinellas County Genealogical Society and I quote, “Family Tree Maker users can now do a direct import including all media files (without GEDCOM) to RootsMagic. This works with FTM versions 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 and classic (version 16 with file extension.ftw) for Windows. Also works for FTM 3 for Mac. Read the details at http://goo.gl/VkKrUJ. They also offer a special low price for FTM users to buy the RootsMagic program.”  Pretty cool if my Family Tree Maker hadn’t stopped synching with my Ancestry.com tree.  Hope this helps you out!

Familysearch.org Needed Changes

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on

In previous blogs I’ve mentioned my concerns about data loss and record inaccessibility (see Ancestry Site Changes – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 6 Jun 2015 & Poof Be Gone-How Quickly Records Can Disappear 3 Jun 2015).  A wonderful option to preserve your research would be to include it at Familysearch.org’s Wiki Tree.  Unfortunately the site is not user friendly if you are not an LDS members.  Let me demonstrate-

To access the Wiki, first sign into the site.  If you don’t have a sign-on, you may create one even if you aren’t an LDS member, however, you won’t be able to link between Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org to sink data.

I have an extremely large well sourced tree that I would love to have on the Familysearch site.  I’m going to outline the steps below of what I would have to do to build my husband’s paternal line on the Wiki.  Below, on the right hand side, you can see that there are no parents identified on my Wiki Tree for William Lewis Samuelson.

There may be other Wiki Tree users who do have William’s parents.  To discover if there is, one must click on the +Add Husband (or + Add Wife).  Then, type in what you know.  I typed in Gustaf Theodore Samuelson 29 Apr 1870 Baileytown, Portage, Indiana as the birth info and 9 Oct 1947 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California as the death info.  After clicking “Add,” 25 parent choices are presented.  You may select 1 provided or by scrolling to the bottom, include a new couple.

In this case, I would “Add Couple” 1 – Gustav and Lulu Mae Cook.  Once added, the Wiki Tree changes to the following:

That wasn’t very time consuming but here’s where my problems begin.  I have 19 facts for Gustav Samuelson on my Ancestry tree:

Familysearch has 4 citations:

Really, Familysearch only has 1 source – the Legacy user that imported the information cited for 4 events but did the user did not include where he/she found the evidence.  Truly, I’m not impressed with Familysearch’s sources for Gustaf.  This is no improvement over the earlier trees that the site displayed.  I equate this practice with only citing an Ancestry Family Tree that was unsourced to begin with. The citation is meaningless.

I could add the sources I found plus the 18 photos and the several additional records that I’ve scanned and uploaded to my Ancestry tree to the Familysearch Wiki but that takes quite a bit of time. I feel like I’m duplicating what I’ve already accomplished by re-entering the citations from Ancestry to Familysearch.  Instead, I would prefer to spend my time further building my tree.

Perhaps, if down Gustaf’s line, Familysearch’s sources improved AND the tree was filled in I would enter my citations for Gustaf but let’s compare Gustaf’s parents in the Wiki to what I have in Ancestry:

Way too much to have to add!  Way too time consuming!

So I thought maybe I would just add 1 photo to Wiki and keep the lines simple by just adding my direct line (no collaterals – no sibs!).  Last evening I added my maternal grandparents, Ivan “John” and Mary Violet Kos Koss.  I compared sources from ancestry to familysearch and added the difference.  Then, I selected ONE photo for my mother, grandmother and grandfather and uploaded to Familysearch.  This is what the photos looked like:

Mary Violet Kos Koss
Dorothy Koss Leininger
ivan-john-koss
Ivan “John” Kos Koss

There’s nothing wrong with these 3 photos and I did agree that the site would first approve them before posting but its been a day and they’re still not displayed.  At this rate, it would take me YEARS before I had my tree on Familysearch and it wouldn’t even be my complete tree.

I understand that the LDS Church has an agreement with Ancestry.com and to quote an old commercial, membership has its privileges, but there needs to be an expedient alternative for genealogists, such as uploading an existing tree to the Familysearch site.

I vocalized this to a church Elder when I visited the Family History Library in March.  He mentioned why uploading a gedcom wouldn’t be conducive and why PAF was discontinued.  I understand the evolution of technology and don’t long for the Windows 3.1 days or dial up internet.

I am also extremely thankful and do appreciate the dedication of thousands of LDS members who have preserved and published records over the years.  To make all that work free to the general public is commendable and more than generous.  The LDS members, however, are not the only compilers of trees.  If non LDS members have a sourced tree I don’t understand why LDS wouldn’t want it.  I strongly believe that it would be in EVERYONE’S best interest if nonmembers could easily synch their records onto the WIKI. I would even pay to do this and I bet other genealogists would, too.

 

Ancestry Site Changes – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 7 Jun 2015.

I mentioned briefly in my last blog about the changes to Ancestry.com.  There’s always an adaption period when there is a site revision but I’m really having difficulty with this “new and improved” version, more than with previous updates.

Back on February 19th, Ancestry announced on their blogsite that the site was in the process of beta testing improvements.  Ancestry.com noted that their design team had 3 underlying principles – Make it beautiful, usable, and delightful.  (IMHO, I don’t think they reached any of their principles.)

I didn’t sign up at the time to be a part of the members who could check out the changes.  Last week I received the following email:

“If you haven’t heard (or seen), we’ve made some huge changes to the Ancestry website. But the “New Ancestry” is much more than a new look. It’s new features that help you tell stories as remarkable as the people who lived them.
It’s the new LifeStory that turns the facts in your ancestor’s life into a narrative timeline, like a biography.
It’s Historical Insights that let you walk a mile (or two) in your ancestor’s shoes.
It’s a new media gallery that puts all your records and pictures in one place.
It’s a streamlined design that’s easier to use—on your desktop or mobile devices.
It’s your family story, reinvented.

Can the new Ancestry really do all that? See for yourself. All the research and information you have now will be on the new Ancestry.”

Let me be clear that I do appreciate THE EFFORT that went into the improvement.  A major revision is never easy. Here’s what I think they got right:  I love the Life Story view for several reasons.  I believe that it will hook many more individuals to genealogy who have difficulty with putting the bits and pieces of records all together to understand one of their ancestor’s lives.  I shared Life Story with my husband who supports my work but never caught the genealogy bug.  He said the inclusion of pictures and the narrative was “captivating.”  He especially liked the Historical Insights feature that adds local/national events to an ancestor’s timeline.  I can see this as a benefit in drawing in younger users, too, who may have learned about an event, like the Civil War, but have difficulty in how the event connects to a direct line relative.  The pictures and facts together are powerful.  Kudos to the genius’ who came up with this concept!

I also really like the Media Gallery that places all of my uploaded pictures and records side by side for easy viewing.  I wish they would further refine this feature to include a drop and drag so that I could move the pictures around and place them in chronological order as I’ve added as I’ve discovered and it makes me crazy that they aren’t in order.

Matching records to the timeline is also beneficial and if used correctly, may even give the site more validity as critics frequently express their frustration over unsourced or poorly sourced (citing a tree that originally cited a different tree).  I wish there was a way to fix all my poorly cited sources from my baby stage of genealogy.  For example, I sourced ALOT of my Leininger, Long and Harbaugh families from various family history texts.  I made the source name as “Text” and not the actual book’s name because several versions of Ancestry ago, citations weren’t as easy to add.  I would like a way to quickly change the word “Text” to the correct title.

So Ancestry got a lot right in the New Ancestry but here’s where I disagree with the design team meeting their principles…

  1. Usable

From my desktop computer I am often not able to access my tree at all using Internet Explorer and at times, not even with Chrome or Firefox:

 

From my Kindle, accessing from the web, I get this view but the links don’t work.  You can see all the links I tried as they are in a different color:

 

From my Kindle, accessing via the downloaded ap I do get my tree but it is not easy to maneuver.  Note that you can no longer click an arrow on the right margin to move the tree back further generations.  Now you must make several clicks to move to a previous generation (click on the person then click to view the tree again).

From my laptop, using Chrome or Firefox, I can use the site and get this view. See the arrows on the right that still allow me to move back generations quickly:

Clearly, the design team failed in making the site useable on different devices. Maybe they were rushed by the news that Ancestry is on the auction block.  I don’t know but I hope they get the Kindle site working as I love using my Kindle when I research away from home for the portability, lightness of the device and various features I can quickly access (photo, notes, internet, etc.)

  1.  Beautiful

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I don’t think the site is beautiful at all. As seen above, the color scheme is drab. Although the above pic doesn’t clearly show the contrast, the bright pink and blue against the pastel pink and blue when there is no picture is not attractive.  Maybe the design team thought that would be a good way to alert the user that a picture is needed but it just looks out of place to me. And seriously, have we not moved beyond gender stereotyping of girls in pink and boys in blue?  With the current color scheme I’d rather see white and light gray.

  1. Delightful

Huh?  Delightful, according to Word’s Thesaurus, means pleasant, charming, lovely, wonderful, enjoyable, amusing, agreeable, enchanting, delicious.  None of these adjectives would I use to describe the revision. Maybe innovative as no one else has the Life Story and record matching features that are absolutely awesome.

I hope the tech team can quickly fix the glitches. I also hope that Ancestry can be expediently acquired by a group who cares about genealogy so that it can continue to operate, grow and provide the services that we’re paying for at a reasonable price