What to do if your family tree has 13 million persons

The research article in Science Magazine that used family trees from geni.com is really quite interesting. It is titled “Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees with millions of relatives”. If you are interested in the findings, then Click here to go to the Science article. You will need to click View Full Text after reaching the abstract.

One of the findings is that living into your 90’s is not primarily a function of genetics, but living into your 100’s does appear to be have genetic influences. So you really should continue to eat fruits and vegetables and exercise daily. You can slack off when you reach 100 – then you know your genes have been working too! 🙂

The company My Heritage owns the company Geni, it was purchased in 2012. My Heritage is doing DNA tests, the giant 13-million public tree came from Geni. Both companies have products. After reading the article in Science, I have decided to check out both companies. I have had the basic free account at Geni for a few years (and some of my ancestors were probably included in the study) and am now thinking about upgrading to the Pro $$ account.

The blog called The Legal Genealogist did a great job of comparing My Heritage and Geni a couple of years ago. The comparison was done in two parts which can be reached here. I am starting my research here.

Click here for Part 1.

Click here for Part 2.

“The idea is to die young as late as possible.” – Ashley Montagu

RootsTech 2018 Videos

RootsTech 2018 has ended. But the videos of the main sessions will live on. You can see them here:

https://www.rootstech.org/rootstech-2018-videos .

I was looking for the video of Henry Louis Gates Jr. from the Saturday session, but it is not on the Saturday page. Either his video is just late, or it has been copyrighted and is not going to be made available. I really enjoyed seeing his presentation, he is an excellent speaker and presenter. Meanwhile, many of the other videos are worth viewing, so enjoy the above link.
If you loose track of this posting, just go to http://www.rootstech.org and click on the Menu link (upper right) and then click on Videos under About Rootstech.

For the DNA geeks:

The link below is for the Thursday video given by the scientist from MyHeritage that is an excellent overview of DNA testing for Genealogy. It is by MyHeritage, but the processes are the same for all the companies. It is 59 minutes long but it is worth it, for all levels of DNA interests.
Click here.

The speaker was Yaniv Erlich, a geneticist from Columbia University who is now employed by MyHeritage as chief scientific officer, the “genome hacker” who mapped a 13 million person family tree from Geni.com (now owned by MyHeritage). This link goes to an article in The Atlantic containing an interview with Dr. Erlich published March 1st, 2018. You should read this too!

Click here.

“Everyone knows that the early bird gets the worm, but no one seems to talk about the fact that the worm was up early too.” – Twitter

Local Land Records

A couple of weeks ago, Junel Davidsen gave a talk at the Santa Cruz Genealogical Society. her talk was about Researching Local Land Records.

I wish I had been able to be there. The lecture was about finding and using local land records. Local land records contain more than property descriptions, names of buyers/sellers and legal jargon. Records kept by local officials for hundreds of years hold a treasure-trove of information. Finding these records can reward researchers with biographical information, evidence of relationships, clues to migration and more.

Junel has made the handout she created available for downloading, not only at the Santa Cruz site, but also here. Having this file, which is full of hot links, is almost as good as being there!

To get the file, Click here.

Meanwhile, if you see Junel, perhaps Wednesdays at the FHC, give her a big thanks.

Rootstech 2018

The RootsTech Conference has started! in Salt Lake City. Some of us are not there. The main presentations will be streamed live over the Internet. You can watch free by linking to https://www.rootstech.org/

The above link shows the Streaming Schedule on the first page. They control it by day.
If perhaps they change the front page, this link goes directly to the Schedule:

The schedule below was created by me which I am sharing here. Please note that this schedule is subject to change at any time, so you would be wise to check the above links every day. Meanwhile, for planning purposes., here it is:

(the times shown below are in Mountain Standard Time)


9:30 A.M. Family History in 5 Minutes a Day

11:00 A.M. DNA—One Family, One World

1:30 P.M. Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections

3:00 P.M. Finding the Answers: The Basics of WWII Research

4:30 P.M. Wednesday General Session and Innovation Showcase by Stephen T. Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch


8:30 A.M. Thursday General Session by Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York, a photography and storytelling blog.

11:00 A.M. MyHeritage DNA 101: From Test to Results

1:30 P.M. Google Photos: Collect, Organize, Preserve, and Share

3:00 P.M. Unlocking Roman Catholic Records

4:30 P.M. A Gift of Life: Who’s Writing Your Story?


8:30 A.M. Friday General Session by Scott Hamilton

11:00 A.M. findmypast’s British and Irish Hidden Gems by Myko Clelland

1:30 P.M. Finding the Right DNA Test for You If you are brand new to Genetic genealogy, this is the class for you! by Jim Brewster

3:00 P.M. How Not to Leave Your Genealogy Behind

4:30 P.M. Finding Elusive Records at FamilySearch


8:30 A.M. Saturday General Session by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

11:00 A.M. Civil Registration Indexes of England and Wales

1:30 P.M. Advancing Your Genealogy Research with DNA Learn what new tools AncestryDNA has to advance your research and get more out of your DNA results.

3:00 P.M. Pain in the Access: More Web for Your Genealogy Library, archive, government, and specialized websites have much to offer. This presentation will demonstrate sites and strategies for getting more online data while using the internet.

Online U.S. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

(The article below is from Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. Credits are given at the end of the piece.)

One of the more useful tools for genealogists is the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries created by the Newberry Library in Chicago. When I first started in genealogy, one of my biggest frustrations was trying to find records of ancestors in the county where they lived. Many genealogical records are created by counties. In many cases, I knew the town where they lived and I also knew what county the town was in. Yet I couldn’t find the records that normally are kept in county courthouses, such as probate records or the deeds of land transfers.

As I gained more experience, I soon learned that the problem was mine. I had looked in the country records for the county lines of today. In many cases, the county lines had moved over the years, even though my ancestors had not moved an inch. Once recorded at the county courthouse, records normally remain at that courthouse forever, even if the county lines are redrawn later and the property or the town in question is then “moved” to a different county.

For instance, if your ancestor lived in the town of Smallville in Washington County when the information was recorded at the courthouse and later the county lines were redrawn so that town of Smallville and your ancestor’s location were later in Lincoln County, you still need to look for older records in the Washington County courthouse. Existing courthouse records usually are not moved to a new courthouse when county lines are redrawn.

Experienced genealogists all know that you need to look in the county courthouse for the correct county as of the date the records were filed. But how do you find the correct county lines as of the date(s) your ancestors lived there and left records? You can find several books at well-equipped libraries that will provide that information. However, the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries will provide the information as well without requiring the time and travel expenses of visiting a well-equipped library. Yes, you can find the information without leaving home. The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries web site is available FREE of charge. You can even download the files to your own computer and save them or use them as you please. The online atlas has been available for years but I find that many genealogists are unaware of its existence and do not know how useful it can be.

With the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, you can view records on a per state basis, an interactive map, or choose the time slots that best meet your requirements. You can search by location or by time or by both. To use the web site for the first time, select a state from the map on the site’s home page to view all of the Atlas’ content related to that state, including shapefiles, chronologies, and metadata. If you cannot quickly find the information you seek, narrow the search by choosing from the available list of options. Probably the most useful option for genealogists is to display maps by dates.

A lot of helpful information about the site can be found on the “Using the Atlas” page at: http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/usingatlas.html

This is a web site worth bookmarking. You probably won’t need to use it often but, if you do ever have a need, it can supply the information you seek quickly.

The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is available at the Newberry Library’s web site at: http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/

Randy Majors left this comment to the above blog posting:

Your readers may also find this free tool I built based on the excellent Newberry source in your article: https://www.randymajors.com/p/maps.html

Simply type a PRESENT-DAY address, city or place, then type any HISTORICAL date, and the historical county boundaries from that date will appear overlaid on a familiar Google Map (including satellite view). Then optionally overlay research locations on the map such as courthouses, cemeteries, churches, and libraries, and link right to them for more information. It also displays the statute that formed the boundary, and optionally animate the change in boundaries over time for that location. Over 60,000 visits to this tool I think largely due to its simple usability.

The above article and comment are from and are copyrighted by the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at www.eogn.com. Many thanks go to Dick Eastman for his continued support of the genealogy world.

As a reminder, the best PC program ever that shows county boundaries over time has been AniMap. It is still for sale as version AniMap 3.0.2 at the GoldBug Software web site: https://goldbug.com/animap/
And remember, the Monterey FHC has a copy of AniMap that can be used inside the FHC.

But, for sure, the above ONLINE and FREE options can be used at home, now, as we need.

Membership Renewal Time

Spring is coming and this is the time of year when we remind everyone that your MoCoGenSo membership will be expiring, and it is time to renew. The dues for both Membership and Electronic-Newsletter are $20.00 for individuals and $25.00 for families (add $7.50 to also receive a paper copy).

An important way to learn more about your ancestors and their lives is to join a genealogy society that focuses on the area in which your ancestors lived. Genealogy societies conduct research and preserve information about a specific area, and most publish some sort of newsletter, journal, or other periodical. The articles offer insight into the area and the people, and can provide help in conducting your research in an area. There are genealogy societies at the national, state, county, parish, province, and other levels. Annual membership fees are reasonable and the benefits are considerable.

The Monterey County Genealogy Society is one of these organizations right here in your own back yard. It serves its members in many ways. The board of directors is made up of members just like you.

Remember our society is only as strong as our membership, and those who get involved.

OUR MEMBERSHIP YEAR RUNS FROM APRIL 1 TO MARCH 31 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. For renewing members, you can renew using the membership form in your recently received newsletter.  New (or renewing) members can download and print a PDF copy of the Membership Application by clicking here.  There will always be copies of this form at our monthly meetings.

Join me by staying with MoCoGenSo and getting the E-Newsletter.

Thank you for being a supporter!

Monthly Meeting – March 1, 2018: “Organize Your Genealogy to Optimize Your Research Time” by Cynthia C . Stormer

Researching your family history can soon become overwhelming when the piles of records, documents, photographs, letters and memorabilia expand as you find more and more relatives and ancestors. Each new name on your family tree means there are two more people to find and this often results in endless stacks of paper on the desk or closet shelves. What is the best way to sift through these piles to retain the treasures? Can you truly digitize everything? What is the best method to keep originals so you can easily find them? Can color coding assist you’? Cynthia will share some of her tips to assist you in devising your own approach to reducing the piles and increasing your research time.

Cynthia’s interest in genealogy began in high school by the pedigree chart and autobiography of great grandfather Alexander Sharp, a Union veteran of the Civil War. She was spurred on in early adulthood with the list of heirs for Aunt Maude Thompson who died intestate. Then there was that Reed-Dempsey reunion booklet picked up by her father containing 500+ names, including a Revolutionary War patriot. Computers made it all easier, and finding great grandfather Sharp’s name on a ship manifest from Scotland to America sealed the deal. Cynthia has a BA in French and an MBA in International Management.  She currently works as a Vice President of Talent Management for HSBC.  She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.

“I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” – Emo Philips