December 30, 2013

Final Days for Family Tree DNA Sale

Here’s a quick reminder that there are just two days remaining in the Family Tree DNA holiday sale. If you’ve been thinking about ordering a DNA test kit for yourself or someone in your family, you might want to take advantage of these special prices, good through midnight CST on December 31, 2013:

Family Finder: $99, including a voucher worth $100. Family Finder is an autosomal DNA test, which looks at your genetic makeup “to provide you a breakdown of your ethnic percentages and connect you with relatives descended from any of your ancestral lines within approximately the last 5 generations,” according to the company's website. It’s good for both males and females. The voucher, which can be delivered immediately via email or shipped with the test kit, brings your net cost down to zero—a great deal if you like to eat out! (The test price itself will continue to be $99 after January 1.)

Y-DNA 37: $119 (discounted from $169). Available only for males, Y-DNA tests give results regarding the ancestral origins of your direct paternal line (father, father’s father, father’s father’s father, and so on). If you’re a female, you can ask your father, brother, father’s brother, or male cousin or nephew with your surname to take the test. Check to see if there’s a surname project you can join (they’re free) for help with finding genetic cousins. 

Full mtDNA: $169 (discounted from $199). Both males and females can use the mtDNA test to reveal the ancestral origins of their direct maternal line (mother, mother’s mother, mother’s mother’s mother, and so on) deep into history.

Combination tests are also on sale, as are upgrades if you’ve tested previously but want to refine your results. If you tested your autosomal DNA with another company and would like to upload your data to Family Tree DNA, the cost is now only $49. I did this with my test results.

Family Tree DNA test kit (from website)
I’ve ordered several of these tests for family members in the last couple of weeks. I’m not affiliated with Family Tree DNA in any way and haven’t received anything for mentioning their sale, but I recommend the company. The sale prices are displayed on the Family Tree DNA home page, so you can't miss them. No coupon or promotion code is necessary. Testing simply involves scraping the inside of your cheek for a minute or so. It's quick and painless.

If you’d like to know more about genetic genealogy, I suggest you follow The Legal Genealogist, written by Judy G. Russell, to keep up with DNA news and other genealogy-related issues. She's summarized recent developments in "2013 Look-Back: DNA." Her blog is a wealth of information, and always an excellent read.


December 29, 2013

A Sense of Family's Top 5 Posts of 2013

How in the world did 2013 manage to go by so fast? Life seems to be running at warp speed lately. It’s been a year full of learning and discoveries, including some breakthroughs in my personal and professional research. I haven’t been blogging quite as much in recent months, due to an increased workload, but please know that I continue to treasure each one of my readers. Thank you for viewing, commenting on, and sharing my posts throughout the year.

Today, it gives me great pleasure to share the top five posts on A Sense of Family for 2013:

OGS 2013 Conference: Day One  (28 April 2013)

If you missed any of these the first time around, I hope you can find time to enjoy them now. I look forward to bringing you more family history research tips, tools, reviews, and stories in 2014. Best wishes for a happy new year!

You might also like:

December 24, 2013

Wishing You a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas is a time for gathering together with friends and family, thinking about those we love who may be far away, and counting our blessings as we approach the end of another year. Irving Berlin wrote this for the 1954 movie White Christmas, which my family traditionally watches every Christmas Eve, and I think it’s a great sentiment:

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings

This year I’m blessed to be spending Christmas with three generations of family: my husband’s parents, my sisters- and brothers-in-law, my three children and five nieces and nephews. After all these years, the “in-law” part has melted away; this is my family, too. Everyone managed to make it this year, which makes it all the more special.

Today will be a busy one: wrapping the last presents, picking up the party trays, shopping for stocking stuffers, and going to Christmas Eve service at church. Tonight there’ll be nineteen of us gathered for a Christmas Eve party featuring Dale’s homemade shrimp and corn soup, sandwiches, veggies, cheeses, dips, and Christmas cookies. You can bet we’ll have the Christmas tunes cranked up and the wine flowing.

I love Christmas Eve, because it’s the day when all the preparations give way to the actual celebration of Christmas. I always try to pause and let it soak in for a moment. Whatever problems or sorrows we face, whatever undone tasks linger on our work lists, whatever challenges or decisions lie ahead, can all be set aside for now.

On Christmas morning, we’ll converge for presents around the tree. Here are tangible blessings: boxes upon boxes wrapped in paper, ribbon, and bows. I’m excited to see my husband and kids open the gifts I got them, because I have a couple of surprises under that tree for them. There’s a certain degree of mayhem that comes with so many people opening presents at the same time, but it’s a sweet one.

Christmas night, we’ll come together again for a feast, Whoville-style, of roast beef, potatoes, and all the trimmings. Blessings in abundance.

I hope, wherever you are and whoever you’re with, that you enjoy a Christmas brimming with blessings this year. I’ll leave you with this wish, beautifully sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, for a holiday filled with happiness:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Wishing the happiest of holidays to you and yours!

December 17, 2013

Ohio Vital Records on FamilySearch: Tuesday's Tip

Marion county ohio courthouse genealogy

FamilySearch is wrapping up a banner year of digitizing genealogical records. They’ve made significant additions to their six Ohio vital records databases in 2013:

The result is that you’re more likely than ever before to find either a reference to your ancestor’s Ohio birth, marriage, or death record or an actual image of it online. That’s great news. But what if you think a record should be in one of these databases, but it isn’t? Maybe you’re almost positive your great-great-grandparents got married in Knox County, Ohio, in the 1870s, but can’t find any mention of their record in either of the marriage databases.

Well, the adage that it’s not all online is true. Not all records have been microfilmed, not all those microfilmed have been indexed, and not all those indexed have been digitized. So how do you know what is and isn’t included in the Ohio birth, marriage, and death databases? It takes a little digging, but you can find a coverage chart for at least some of them. Go to “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997” and click on “Learn More” under the description. Scroll down to where it says “Coverage Table” and click on the link for the Wiki article. Or click on this direct link to the FamilySearch Ohio historical records coverage table.

Here’s a snippet of what you’ll see:

Once you click through, you'll see the chart shows that no Knox County records are included in the “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958” database. Now you know that you’ll need to find another way to access your great-great-grandparents’ record, either on microfilm or by contacting the county Probate Court. But keep checking back to the Ohio birth, death, and marriage databases listed above in 2014, because FamilySearch is continually adding to its collections, and the chart may not be updated to reflect new additions. In this brave new world of online accessibility, the record you’ve been waiting for might appear one day!



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