Friday, December 29, 2017

My Genealogy Year in Review 2017

From old favorite genealogy related TV shows to DNA, and the ever expanding amount of information available on the internet 2017 has been a great year in genealogy. I have to say the bulk of new information I'm getting is from the digitizing of he Family History Library microfilms. I've exhausted most of what Ancestry has to offer, but I am continuing to find documents submitted by users attached to trees. The user submitted documents and photos are the real draw for me at Ancestry. 

Finding Your Roots, the UK and American versions of Who Do You Think You Are, and Relative Race all had new episodes airing this year. I watched them all. I caught the UK WDYTYA series on YouTube, always trying to stay ahead of the copyright removals. 

The Forgey DNA project now has two men in the BigY this year. at Family Tree DNA. We now have our own unique SNP I-BY 19896. only belonging to Forgeys so far. I was disappointed by the STR results from YFull. Not really finding that information useful. The SNP's are useful. I'll write more about that in the new year. 

I'm very excited that some Brower men have Y tested their DNA and are now in the Brewer/Brower project at Family Tree DNA. 

A new feature was added to AncestryDNA called Genetic Communities. An explanation from AncestryDNA: "Now you can discover specific groups of people you’re related to through your DNA, the places they called home, and the migration paths they followed to get there. With more than 300 Genetic Communities, now in beta, you could discover a more specific and fuller picture of your ethnic, geographic, and cultural origins. All from your DNA." I found it somewhat interesting. It would be more interesting if it could be expanded to represent more of our ancestry. A record number of DNA kits were sold during the holidays. Hopefully that will provide enough data to expand the limited communities.

I learned more about the uses of Airtable for genealogy during a Second Life genealogy presentation. 

I visited Tennessee again this year. I collected more family documents during my trip that haven't been digitized or indexed yet. 

One of my best finds of the year was getting a copy of the actual marriage book entry for a great-great Aunt Josie Owens. I had a transcribed copy which was produced when I wrote for a copy. I wanted an original copy but the clerk refused to send a copy of the original stating the book was too fragile. Now I have a copy of the original entry thanks to Familysearch. This entry proves that W.F. Owens and Nancy Hicks are our ancestors, plus confirming the Owens family in the Effingham, Illinois Census is one and the same.  

Another of my best finds of the year was a marriage license for my Great-Grandparents Frank Kappel and Mary Kurta. I got the copy from Familysearch's digitized indexed marriage microfilms. I tried calling Catholic Churches in the area where they lived when they married, but was never successful in getting a copy. From the license I learned that my great-grandmother worked in a silk weaving mill.
Marriage license of  my great-grandparents Frank Kappel and Mary Kurta

I was able to collect up even more vital records certificates on online. I confirmed my great-grandmother remarried after my great-grandfather died. She married a Joe Trinkle.

Nancy Hicks brother's death certificate also provided some useful information. 

I discovered possible relatives of my Sarah Campbell were from East Tennessee. Sarah's children knew she was from Tennessee, but not specifically East Tennessee.

I also found the marriage license for my Grandparents Rudolph Kapple and Dorothy Mason online at Familysearch.

I learned some new details about the life of my Great-Uncle Frank Mason from an online marriage record at Familysearch. I also had a couple his descendants match me at AncestryDNA this year.


Land records at Familysearch produced some important breakthroughs this year. The et al deed below named all of the children of Christian Brower and Eve, providing me with documentation for my ancestors Jacob Urmy and Susanna Brower.

I found someone I didn't even know about, namely the father of my ancestor William McPike, in land records. This ancestor doesn't appear on any other records. He only appears on one land grant and a survey. I also found surveys for other ancestors in Virginia and Tennessee also. 


Land record microfilms at Familysearch also gave me the first lead on breaking down a Campbell line brickwall. The first new lead in years. There was a James T. Campbell living near the Wray family my Sarah Campbell married into. He also sold property to the Wray family. I'm still trying to prove a relationship between Sarah Campbell and John Trigg Campbell. 

I was able to pinpoint where my ancestor William McPike's land was located from North Carolina land grant info online. 

I was able to document the fact my Jacob Urmy's first wife was Elizabeth Brower through newly digitized microfilms at Familysearch.

More court records and jury lists online at Familysearch allowed me to establish who was where and when. 
I used tax lists again this year to establish where ancestors lived, and their approximate ages. More tax lists are now online due to the digitization of Family History Library microfilms. 



I got a discounted price on a copy of Hubert Brower's travel pass. He emigrated from Germany to America in 1724 with his family.

I discovered an 1823 Court Case for Nathan Browning. 

I also found Nathan Browning in Court in 1824. He was guilty of fraud, but seems to have cleaned up his act and remained out of court for many years after that, until his death.

Finally got a copy of Nathan and Obedience McPike's probate records, Also from Familysearch. 

Old obituaries are also showing up at Familysearch. I found this Browning obit which provided the year of the family migrated from Tennessee to Indiana. 

 I found the burial information for my Great-Grandparents posted online.

Church records and bible records proved helpful to me this year too. More are coming online all the time. Many of these can be found at Familysearch also.

Baptism record for Herman Kappel in Chicago Catholic Church

McPike Bible record

Quebec notarial records filled some gaps in my French Canadian ancestry. These records haven't been digitized by Familysearch yet. Luckily I was able to order these records on microfilm before the Family History library stopped loaning microfilms.

I rediscovered who my ancestor that hired a substitute to fight in the War of 1812 was. I was thinking it was William McPike. It was actually Nathan Browning.

I found out more tidbits about my ancestor Nicasio Del Castillo of Nicaragua. I found the info in books available online. Many books are now available online and have been a great source of information this year. You can take search inside many Amazon books before buying. Or you can read books at and Google books available for free.

I think I covered most of the highlights of the genealogy year. It's been such a full year I might have forgotten a few things?

Wishing everyone success in their research in 2018!

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