November 2019

Letting Go of a Treasured Family Story

  I've had quite a few clients come to me with stories that have been handed down for generations. Their great-great grandmother was a Choctaw princess. Their several times great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence. We're related to Patrick Henry, or William Bradford, or Margaret Sanger. In most of these cases I was able to prove whether or not the stories were true.
   Sometimes these stories have a nugget of truth, but have become a little fuzzy over the years. It's the same with stories in my own family. For example, my Grandpa Reed left extensive notes saying that our ancestor John Reade's father was Adam Reade, who operated a sawmill in Cheshire County, New Hampshire. There's only one problem with that: there's no listing for Adam Reade (Reed/Reid) on the 1810 or 1820 census of New Hampshire.
   It was only recently, working with the DNA matches of a couple of Reed cousins, that I discovered that John Read's wife Katherine Kettering was most likely the daughter of Adam Kettering. My Grandpa Reed named Katherine's siblings as Jacob, Michael, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Margaret - and we have DNA matches to descendants of some of these. There's (always) more research to be done, but it's fairly obvious what happened - Grandpa just got the names mixed up.
    Sometimes, in family history research, we have to let go of those treasured family stories. But you never know what you might find instead - hand written letters from a Civil War soldier, a signature on a document, land passed down through three generations. In my case, it appears as though Adam Kettering died not in Pennsylvania, but in Illinois. More research ahead!


What I've Been Doing
*  Reading the conference brochure for the NGS National Conference in Salt Lake City (May 2020), and planning which lectures to attend
*  Booking presentations in Washington and beyond for 2020 and 2021
*  Delving into Irish and Italian research
*  Compiling family histories for grandchildren


What I'm Reading
In a word: Time Travel! What genealogist doesn't dream of going back in time to witness historical events? During the last month I've been hooked on Connie Willis - her novel Blackout begins in the year 2060, with several historians going back to different regions & time periods in England during World War II. All Clear continues their story. I read them so fast the first time that I'm now reading them over again, with a better understanding of what's going on. 

My other favorite time travel stories:
The Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
Time and Again, Jack Finney
The Door Into Summer, Robert Heinlein
The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
Tom's Midnight Garden,Philippa Pearce
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
Timeline, Michael Crichton
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
In the News

World War II Bible found in Belgium returned to descendants

FamilyTreeWebinars has a Black Friday sale through Dec. 2

My Heritage DNA kits are also on sale through Nov. 29

If you've never been to the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, you can apply for a scholarship
Upcoming Presentations

Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, 6pm
Finding and Using Historic Newspapers
Dupont Library, Dupont, WA

Thurs. March 5, 2020, 1pm
Discover Your Family History: An introduction to genealogy
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Saturday, March 14, 2020, Time TBA
I've Done the DNA Test: Now What Do I Do?
Parkland-Spanaway Library, Tacoma, WA

Thurs. April 2, 2020, 1pm
I've Done the DNA Test: Now What Do I Do?
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Thurs. May 7, 2020, 1pm
Franke Tobey Jones, Tacoma

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 6pm
Using Social Media for Genealogy
Tacoma Pierce Co. Genealogy Soc.

New lectures for 2020:
The Murder of Rhoda Jones: How DNA Testing Solved an 1883 Mystery

Don't Trust the Transcript: The Perils and Pitfalls of Online Research

Case Studies in DNA: Solving Unknown Parent and Grandparent Puzzles

See the complete list of my lectures on my website here.

My calendar is filling up fast - contact me to book a lecture for your library or genealogy society!
DNA News

If you've taken a DNA test with National Geographic, you need to read this 

 DNA testing reveals that Tom Hanks is related to Mr. Rogers
My Fees Are Going Up
Just in case you haven't noticed, expenses are increasing all over the place, including food prices, gas prices, medical expenses, and more. The cost of memberships and subscriptions needed to work as a professional genealogist is going up, too, not to mention the expense of attending conferences and institutes to increase my knowledge in order to help my clients.

That said, I will be raising my fees in January. If you would like to lock in research at my current rate, please contact me. Research must begin by January 31. Also, any and all specials that I've advertised here in the newsletter or by private email will expire on December 31.

We still have almost a month till Christmas - how about giving the gift of family history to your loved ones?
Read my past newsletters (July 2016 - October 2019) here
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