First day of 23andMe test results, and already a breakthrough!

I’ve been a FamilyTreeDNA customer for a couple of years, and I’ve had great success with using DNA testing combined with traditional genealogical research to break through one brick wall so far (see here https://www.randymajors.org/2010/12/man-who-wasnt-john-charles-brown). I recently became a 23andMe customer as well…their holiday special was just too good to pass up! Well, I started receiving my test results a couple of days ago for the Health Edition, and yesterday for the Ancestry Edition of 23andMe.  I’m excited to say that I already have lots of matches to explore, and have already received about a half dozen requests to make contact, … Read more

President Lincoln writes a letter of thanks for “a pair of socks so fine”

On 4 Dec 1861, President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to my 5th great grandmother, Susannah Crume Weathers, thanking her for a letter and gift she had recently sent him:  “a pair of socks so fine”.  It seems quite funny and odd on the surface of it, and yet how quaint, charming, and even noble it is.  The letter is inspirational to me, as it exemplifies President Lincoln’s unpretentious and accessible character. Below is the letter as reproduced in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 (Wildside Press, 2008).  How I’d love to see the original letter Abraham Lincoln had … Read more

Coming Soon: No more heads peeking over the fence on Ancestry.com! (Full faces soon to return!)

I have good news for anyone else that has been as annoyed as I have been about the photo display problems in the Pedigree view of the new Tree Viewer on Ancestry.com. (The same issue existed both in a beta they ran of a Tree Viewer a year or more ago, as well as in the more recent “preview” and recently released Tree Viewer.) The issue is that the bottom of people’s faces are cut off in the Pedigree view, as you can see in the screenshot below. Now, skeptics may opine that this must be a problem with my … Read more

Unexpected Name-Change Brick Wall Busted!

The man who wasn’t  John Charles Brown? Secrecy, Genealogical Research, Hunches, and DNA Testing Lead to Answers For 130 years – from 1880 to 2010 – John Charles Brown’s past was hidden in veils of secrecy.  John’s children and grandchildren didn’t know who his parents or siblings were.  It was the proverbial genealogical brick wall.  Therefore, since this was one of my most difficult family lines I could research, I researched it. JOHN CHARLES BROWN APPARENTLY DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE HIS MARRIAGE For many years, the first confirmed record found of John Charles Brown was of his marriage to Catherine Connors … Read more