Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New 23andMe Ethnicity Results

Still waiting on the Living DNA results. However new ethnicity results came in from 23andMe to help tide me over until I get those results.

The ethnicity results have come a long way since my first results in 2012. My first results looked like what you see in the pie chart below. Very basic. The Middle Eastern result has gone down to a small trace.

The new 23andMe result is attempting to present much more specific results based on more populations. 23andMe has always presented my family with the best ethnicity estimates based on our knowledge of our heritage.

The added ethnicities now showing up are accurate for my family. Here is my list of ethnicities. I highlighted the new specific results.

Ireland that would be accurate because my great-grandmother Helen Mullen was born in Ireland. The Slovakian is an ethnicity that I haven't been able to verify using traditional genealogy. DNA.Land also came up with a similar result. This result would have come from my Austro-Hungarian family. They lived on the Austrian Hungarian border. They were actually relocated from another unknown area in the 18th Century to the border area. This result may lead us to a place of origin at some point?  I'm leaning on definitely believing the Kappels and Kurtas were Slavic.

My grandmother Graciela Del Castillo was Nicaraguan so that ethnicity is also correct.

My mother's results are also fascinating (see below). Her British Isles wasn't categorized as Irish, but instead they are calling it United Kingdom. Often someone like my mother with substantial Scottish heritage is grouped with Irish, or just called Irish. That is a pet peeve with me because the Scottish and Irish are culturally different. They both have wonderful, but different cultures. I know from a DNA standpoint these two groups may be nearly identical, or actually identical. If they can be separated I would like to see that, or just make it clear Scots and Irish are indistinguishable from a DNA standpoint.

My mother was half Nicaraguan so that was spot on.

I would say the percentages are not completely accurate, because these are estimates. Otherwise the results are looking good. Can't wait to see what Living DNA come up with. They say they run the test 100 times to get the most accurate result. We'll see?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Some Irish Land Revision/Cancelled Books Now Online

Revision books or cancelled books are bound ledgers which are updates to Griffith's Valuation. Griffith's Valuation created a uniform system for placing a value on property for taxation purposes. As ownership of property changed and values changed these books were updated. About every 10 years new ledgers were started. The old books became filled with changes of ownership and other notes creating a need to cancel the old ledgers and begin new ones. When ownership of land changed the previous owners name was crossed out, and the new owners name would be recorded above it in color coded ink representing the year of transfer.

There are a couple of places you can look at revision or cancelled books online PRONI and Familysearch.org. 

To use the Proni revision books you need to know the location of your ancestors land because there doesn't appear to be a name index? 

The revision books at Familysearch.org are not yet indexed either. The Familysearch books aren't in color so you can't see the color coding of notations. Finding a book digitized for your particular area is hit or miss proposition at this time. My Mullen families revision books have been digitized, the books for my  Huvane/Huanes  in County Mayo haven't been digitized yet. 

To find these books at Familysearch.org go to the catalog. Enter the county in the search box leaving out the word county. Then enter the option to filter for only online records in the next box. 

In the screen displayed next you can select revision books from either land records or the taxation link. 

The page you are now taken to lists the electoral division volumes and under those you'll find your townland listed. Looking at the image below you see the Mullen townland of Pollaturick listed in volume 30, so that is the right film. The camera to the far right means this divisions books are online. If there was a lock over the camera you would have to view this digitized film at an LDS Family History Center or Library. If there was a film instead of a camera displayed you would have to go to an LDS Library, which has this particular film in their collection. 

The Mullens' townland, Pollaturick, is in the Milltown district books. The townlands are listed in alphabetical order in the ledgers. When a new ledger is started you'll noticed the change back to the beginning of the alpha order. The books for my area don't give the date for the start of the new ledgers. In order to get an idea of the time period the ledger covers you can look at the years of the transfers recorded under observations, in the far right column. 

Under observations it was recorded that land changed hands in 1933 and 1935

There are two digitized books with ledgers, which are out of order by the way, for the Milltown Electoral Division. One covers the period 1856 to 1897, the other covers 1896 to 1936. 

There was only one Mullen, Patrick, on the 1855 Griffith's Valuation for my ancestors townland Pollaturick. So I assumed that he was my ancestors father. My ancestor Patrick Mullen was born about 1837 in Pollaturick. The 1855 entry was unlikely to be him due to the fact he would have been too young to have such a large holding, as described in the Valuation. He didn't marry until 1880, so didn't set up a household until much later. 

The revision books helped me establish the fact a Patrick Mullen owned land in section 1 of Pollaturick townland from 1856 until the the books end in the 1930's. My ancestor Patrick Mullen born about 1837 died in 1930. There is a Patrick Mullen I believe to be his father who died in Pollaturick in 1886. The revision books confirm that my Patrick Mullen owned the same land in section 1 as the Patrick Mullen listed in 1855. This strengthens my case that his father was Patrick Mullen, and his mother was Ellen McQualter, since they were the only couple living in that area when my Patrick was born, plus his likely brother Michael stated that Patrick and Ellen were his parents. 

Here is a map showing the sections for Pollaturick townland. 

Patrick Mullen owned all of section 1 in 1855. His sons later divided up this land

I believe I misunderstood the meaning of a land transfer for Patrick and Michael Mullen in 1910. I thought Patrick was transferring a portion of his land to his son Michael in that year. His son Michael was about 28 years old in that year and still farming the land in section 1 with his father Pat. Now I believe the 1910 land transfer involved his brother Michael. The land purchase acts allowed lease holders to buy their land at a reduced price. They could also take out low interest loans to buy the property. I believe when their father Patrick died they never changed the name on the lease. I understand this because when my father died we didn't change the property title for over 5 years. Pat and Michael stayed on their father's land paying the taxes owed in his name. When they were able to buy the land they changed the ownership to reflect the fact my ancestor Patrick farmed plots A and B, and Michael farmed plots C and D of section 1. 

I know they bought the land because of the notations In Fee, and LAP stamp or land act purchase stamp. LAP means they received a low interest loan to buy the land. Pat's brother Michael never appeared in the revision books before buying his portion of his father's land, reinforcing the likelihood this transaction was between the brothers, not father and son. The change of ownership actually likely recognized the ownership of the two brothers removing their father as leaseholder. 

Early on my ancestors leased the land they farmed. My ancestor's original landlord was Courtney Clarke. Apparently he died in 1876 and his name is struck through with the new Clarke landlord now listed above his name. 

It was very rewarding to see when my family finally bought the land they farmed for so long. This land was still in the Mullen family a few years ago. I'm not sure if it is still owned by descendants at this time? 

Within a couple of years all of the revision books should be searchable online. Keep checking back if your books aren't digitized yet. 

A homestead in Pollaturick

Friday, March 16, 2018

St.Pat's Irish Genealogy Progress Report/ Please Post Tree!

I have a plea to all those with Irish Ancestry please make a family tree, either using online tools or software, and post it online somewhere! With enough trees posted we might be able to figure out lines we might relate to. That is especially crucial if you've taken a DNA test. If you've DNA tested please attach a tree to your results. MyHeritage is now the premier place for DNA matching. If you've tested at Ancestry.com please transfer your raw data over to MyHeritage. You can then download a gedcom file from Ancestry and upload to MyHeritage so your family tree will be visible to matches. When you create a tree just do your best. If you only know your grandparents names it's ok if the tree ends there. Include every bit of information you have in the tree. Too many trees don't even contain a place or any dates. Places and dates are important. There is no way of making any connections without any information provided.

I've posted some Irish genealogy links on my wall at Facebook. If you're American and don't know where in Ireland your family came from you can search the Ellis Island passenger lists, and other passenger lists at Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org, or the Ellis Island website. If your ancestor born in Ireland applied for a Social Security card their application might contain their place of birth. Death Certificates are also a good sources for a place of birth if the informants were close relatives. The townland or nearest larger town are critical keys to finding more about your ancestors through surviving records.

I'm stressing the importance of collecting all available information because I'm at pretty much of a standstill with my research because so few people have information posted with their DNA results. I think we could make some progress on our Irish genealogy with DNA if more people would collect all the information they can about their families and post it with their results.

Here is where I am with my research. I am where I've been for the past couple years. Helen Mullen born in 1880 was my Great-Grandmother. She came to America in 1898.

Ancestry has placed me in a Connacht DNA grouping based on DNA shared by others with ancestors from that province.

My Aunt Loretta didn't have many good DNA matches until recently with the introduction of DNA testing and transfers at MyHeritage. She now has some great matches with cousins of Irish descent. In a couple of cases we have narrowed down the area where these matches ancestors lived to the general area where our ancestors came from. If the match has traced the family back to a town in Ireland that information has been very useful in making at tentative connection.

Below you can see much of chromosome 8 represents what my Aunt Loretta received from her grandmother Helen Mullen. If more people transferred their raw data from AncestryDNA to GEDmatch, Familytree DNA, and MyHeritage we might be able to start naming these segments, and finding more Irish segments. A combination of document research and DNA could extend all of our Irish lines.

I've never toured Ireland, but it is on my wish list for the future. I have been to the airport in Dublin. What I noticed flying into Ireland is the beautiful green landscape is as green as we've all heard. Here is a photo I took flying into Dublin airport. I enjoyed seeing the rabbits that live in the grass around the runway.

When I saw the photo of JFK arriving in Ireland, in June 1963 my birth month and year, I thought about my grandmother Dorothy who was Helen Mullen's daughter. She was Republican. I wondered if she voted for JFK? The California voter registers at Ancestry.com answered that question. Since she declined to state a party preference in 1960 I assume she voted for Kennedy?

I may not be able to trace my family in Ireland any farther back than around 1800? It's still been a rewarding process.

Below you can pretend you are taking a trip on Aer Lingus to Dublin. I recorded these announcements on my way to Dublin airport from France. If you can understand the pilots full announcement you are truly Irish. HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Using Tripit to Plan a Research Trip


I am planning two trips this year to ancestral areas. Normally I used Facebook notes to keep my travel and research plans, and all other pertinent information. I copy and paste my flight information, and hotel information along with all directions and hours for places I'm visiting.

I learned about an alternative called Tripit which allows you to make an itinerary, keep notes, and post pictures. You can allow Tripit access to your email and it will use your confirmation emails to make an itinerary. If you're not comfortable giving them access to your email you can enter the information yourself.

I'm using the free version. The pay version is called Tripit Pro. 

This is how I'm using Tripit to plan my research trips

First of all I'm adding my research trip locations as activities or tours. Then I add the address, I will add contact information later. Notes are wonderful for research purposes. I'm recording location information and questions to ask in my notes.

Adding pictures of maps or public transportation routes, and schedules, will help me too. I've added a copy of a document with enough information displayed in order to be able to identify a possible case file at the courthouse.
I've included library hours in my Brownstown Library research trip.

I added a nearby address to my Granny White Cemetery trip. There is no address for this small cemetery so I added a nearby address. I also added cross street information in the note.

The site also provides weather forecasts for each day you will be at that location, as you see across the top of the image above.

A fun feature is your travel stats. I added my previous trips and got the results below. I've traveled 200,000 miles in the past few years.

The best way to access your saved information is through the browser site. The app may be better if you pay for the Tripit Pro version? This is what the itinerary look like in app. I haven't found my pictures in the app. I do see my notes and hotel and flight information.


I'm enjoying using this. I will probably make hard copies and image copies of all these pages with my itinerary just in case I can't get into the browser. Hopefully I can just access everything through the browser and continue to make notes when I arrive. I'll keep thinking of questions to ask and adding information up until the time I leave.