Ahhh, the constantly changing world of genealogy changes! If you’ve been thinking about uploading your DNA results to Promethease you need to get a move on it. Recently, MyHeritage announced that they were acquiring Promethease and after the end of this year, the site will no longer be free. Anyone who had an account with Promethease will continue to have it unless you opt out. If you are living in Europe, you must do so by November 1st – click here for that link. If you’d like to read the full story, check out MyHeritage’s blog article.
If you aren’t sure what Promethease is – I found the best definition from Google that explains “Promethease is a computer program developed by the SNPedia team which allows users to compare personal genomics results against the SNPedia database, generating a report with information about a person’s attributes, such as propensity to diseases, based on the presence of specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).”
I have used it and discussed the results with my physician and have compared my close family’s DNA results. Although Promethease has been free for awhile, I had to pay a nominal fee, I think it was a few dollars, back in the day when I first did it. I intend to go back on the site and update my results to see if there is any new developments. Since I’m a member of MyHeritage I will still have access but my family is not so I want to be able to get them an updated report.
Yesterday, we had a beautiful fall day and the change in temperature was such a welcome relief from summer’s heat. I remarked to a passerby how delightfully cool the morning breeze felt and our brief conversation about the weather turned to his place of origin, Trinidad and Tobago. I mentioned my family was indentured in Barbados in the 1700’s and that I’ve traveled to Grenada several times and love the island. The gentleman laughed and said his mother was from Grenada and his father from Barbados. Such a small world!
Don’t you just love reading old family letters? I certainly do! We don’t often think about all the valuable information that an old letter contains. Primary sources, names, places, dates and events that are recorded can provide us with clues to find other historical records, such as wills, journals, diaries, passenger lists and perhaps, even more letters.
The podcast discusses letters written by Bostonian Sarah Gray Cary who had relocated to Grenada in the Caribbean. Grenada has had an interesting history as it went from French to British ownership. The letters were written at the start of the American Revolution as Sarah took the last ship out of Boston after the tea party to join her husband who had taken a job on the island. She left behind her infant son due to the hardship of the trip thinking they would be reunited soon. Due to war, however, they did not see each other again for 10 years.
The letters are Sarah’s only way to connect with her child and other family members. Not only must she persevere over the unexpected length of her separation, she must learn to embrace three cultures.
After listening to the podcast, I plan on getting the book to read this fascinating true life story. Enjoy!
Twice a year, my local genealogy society holds a free Meet a Genealogist Day at a regional library. The well attended event allows the general public with little knowledge of genealogy to meet with a professional to kick start their research. Over the years that I’ve participated, the trend has been more and more questions about DNA.
The genealogy society does provide free classes on a variety of topics during the year but unfortunately, most are held during the day which working people can’t attend. I think that’s one of the reasons the Meet a Genealogist Day is so widely attended as it’s held on a Saturday.
I just received an email with the new date and a new format. The event will be held in two rooms – one for general research (which I call old school methods) and the other for those interested only in DNA research.
I’m not sure where I’ll be placed as I’m fine with either group but I am looking forward to the “data” that shows the interest level of the two groups. One part of me says that it’s all the same – that you need to use both historical record research and DNA results. The other part of me, from my participating in past events, understands why there is a new division. People are getting DNA results and not understanding what they mean or how to move forward with their findings.
I’m not criticizing the companies who are providing the results. Most have done an amazing job with giving lots of helpful information on their sites. Even so, it is overwhelming to many and unfortunately, sometimes the results are disappointing.
We all know real life is not T.V., however, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone came to me saying they thought they’d find a family connection with an entire tree done once they had their DNA results back. Then there’s the smaller number of people who insist that the DNA lab messed up their results and that they aren’t the ethnicity that was stated. A few have insisted that the results were just plain wrong when the results show they aren’t related to a known relative. I know of one local genealogist who insists that happened. Interestingly, the individual did not get retested. Personally, if this happened to me I would contact the company AND I would test with another company to compare results. Mistakes happen but I’ve never ever heard that the mistake was made by the lab.
So, the underlying issue is having difficulty accepting the DNA results. Like with all of life’s disappointments, that healing takes time.
A few weeks ago I blogged about the very worthy Field of Honor database project in the Netherlands that memorializes fallen World War 2 soldiers. Strangely, as I was writing that article, I was contacted by an Ancestry.com member who I first connected with last spring about her DNA.
One of her parents was adopted and she was trying to see if we were related as I had placed information from the same geographical area she was researching on my Ancestry.com tree for the same surnamed individual. There were other coincidences – they had the same occupation, religion, place where they immigrated from and where they immigrated to about the same time (early 1900’s). We were thinking they were related but after comparing our DNA results, they weren’t blood relations.
The Ancestry member had received an email from another member who was contacted by someone in the Netherlands who found World War 2 dog tags using a metal detector and wanted to send them to family. I was contacted since we had the same surname – Koss – as the found tags who once belonged to Joseph E. Koss who died in 1944 in Holland.
I reached out to the memorial owner at Findagrave.com but he was not a relative. If you are a family member of a Joseph Koss please email me (see contact me page) and I will happily connect you so you can get the tags.
I’ve blogged in the past about scammers and I’ve read about fake dog tags being sold in Viet Nam but this does not smell like a scam to me but to keep my readers safe – I’ll play middleman for you. Using a metal detector and finding a lost object is typical in my world as that’s one of my husband’s hobbies and he has found and returned lost articles for people for years.
Funny how I’ve been contacted by folks living in the Netherlands twice in the past few weeks – maybe that’s where I should go visit next!