Friday, January 16, 2015

DNA Successes for Genealogists

source: Will Lorton (public domain)
Genealogy and Genetics - Adoption to New Zealand
In 2014 the a3Genealogy team saw DNA requests increase by 175%. Well no wonder, using this vital tool, we have successfully knocked down brickwalls, proven and disproven kinships, helped to connect unknown military families and uncovered adoption secrets.

***All Names Have Been Changed, But Cases Are Real…
Kathy’s adoption was not a secret, but her biological parents were. Her biological mother was easily identified by analyzing ancestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA results. But, her biological father is still unknown. More research is needed and a more in-depth analysis of her DNA results will assist us identifying her biological father.  Kathy’s DNA revealed the shocking news that she is approximately 76% Jewish (Ashkenazi).

Solving A Military Case
Susie, from the South Pacific Islands waited over 70 years to finally connect with her half-brother and other relatives in the U.S.A.  Her birth father had a common name - as common as Bill Smith. But, by the time Susie moved away from her South Pacific birthplace and created her adult life in New Zealand, she had etched his name into memory. Her half-sister was not interested in bringing dad’s military secret into the fold, and declined a mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) test to prove kinship. Yet, thanks to an autosomal DNA test and a Y-test from her half-brother, her birth father was verified. Plus, with military records we were able to pinpoint the man “with the common name” in the South Pacific at the time of conception.

What’s My "Real" Surname and What Did You Say?
Georgia Ann Davis loves dabbling in genealogy.  It’s a diversion from her intense medical practice and genetics has always intrigued her. So, no one was surprised when she asked her father for a cheek swab. But, she and her father were surprised at the results – it was a double whammy! His Y-DNA matched perfectly with the Ball surname; but not one of his 36 matches had his surname of Davis.

Who were the Ball’s? His closest match was an African American man of Irish descent. This African American DNA match was a descendent of an ex-slave who was emancipated in 1855, 10 years before the end of the Civil War. The ex-slave’s father was one of 8 Irish “Ball” brothers.

Several DNA samples for the Ball family were tested as well as Georgia Ann’s uncle and  several cousins. DNA suggests the African American Ball family and Georgia Ann’s father share the same 4th great-grandfather.  At least Georgia Ann and her father know the non-paternal event (NPE) did not occur with beloved Grandma!

But it’s Not all Good News
Carol didn't have much to go on, just a photo, a name, and a place. The a3Genealogy researchers were able to verify a specific timeframe placing the man in the photo in the right place and time. A military photo matched the one Carol had in her bedside drawer. Her father was a single serviceman at the time of her conception. He never knew Carol’s mother was pregnant. He married immediately upon discharge, before Carol turned one years old. He and his wife raised two very successful daughters.  But, both of Carol’s genealogy-proven half-sisters have refused to take a DNA tests. So, we wait for another cousin on that line to take the tests and give Carol a positive match.  

The good news is that DNA testing has become an American obsession, so chances are good that someone on Carol’s paternal side will take a test. We already have the family tree mapped out and her DNA tests are accepting matches. So we will wait patiently for the cousin, niece, nephew, etc. to take the test and match with Carol.

***All Names Have Been Changed, But Cases Are Real…

As we are embracing science to help verify, confirm and deny brick walls (and open new ones - like some of the surprises mentioned) we hope you share our love for DNA. We are learning more about this wonderful genealogical tool every day! 

Join us at DNA for Genealogists Flipboard for a magazine of articles. And, be sure to visit the various author's webpages and blog sites. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Following Female Ancestors - No 2015 Resolutions

2 Jan 1952, Zanesville Signal
Women "Never" Make Resolutions...
Recently I stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. What a fascinating history! Readers already know that I love the opportunity to research historic hotels for clients. It's a great place to find our ancestors, discover their lifestyles and activities, and to have a snapshot of them in a location at a specific time in history. (Our ancestors were more than census records). If you missed it, review Research Ancestors in Historic Hotel Records - Part 1.

In my recent research of New Orleans historic hotels, I uncovered social histories, hotel histories, information on German settlers, bar histories and cocktail creations, while trying to identify early members of the Krewe of Venus. In 1940's, it was reported they had a secret membership, even though they sometimes did public acts.
But a 2015 Toast! 
In my research findings there was a popular 1952 article (above) explaining how "women, generals, and prophets" never make New Year Resolutions. What great timing! Personally for 2015, I think I will follow these female ancestors (ignore the ridiculous female stereotypes) and save myself from making breakable New Year's Resolutions. But, I have chosen to declare the Sazerac Cocktail as the New Year's drink choice for women for 2015.
24 Mar 1949, Madison, WI State journal
The Sazerac Bar, inside the Roosevelt Hotel, is known for its exclusive Sazerac Cocktail.

From Krewes to Sazerac
By 1950, New Orleans women were allowed to be served at the Sazerac Bar freely (begrudgingly, but freely). Previously, Mardi Gras was also the only day women were served in the Sazerac Bar. Mardi Gras only! 

Sazerac Bar, Roosevelt Hotel, abt 1949
3 Oct 1940, Hammond Times
But the road to opening the Sazerac's doors to women was considered one of the many "feminine invasions" of the 1940's. As early as 1941 another unpopular "feminine invasion" took place in New Orleans. The Krewe of Venus women decided "the men have been monopolizing the fun long enough" and added their float to the Mardi Gras.

I offer all a3Genealogy readers a Sazerac Cocktail toast to 2015!

Kathleen Brandt

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy New Years!

From Kathleen Brandt and the a3Genealogy Researchers. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Research Ancestors in Historic Hotel Records-Part I

Where Did They Stay?
When travelling for business we often enjoy the comforts of historic hotels in the small towns of Kansas, the resorts of Colorado, the boutique hotels of Texas, or the elegant and historic hotels of Massachusetts. Our research often includes tracking migrations, political/business travels, or learning the social life styles of ancestors who had the means to travel to visit family or for work.  Most genealogists may learn about this part of family history using newspaper notices. Local newspapers, especially in smaller towns, announce their visitors. They may even mention if the town guests are staying at a hotel or with family.  So from here, the fascination of hotel registers ensues!

Our admiration for historic hotels is not confined to U.S.A. markets, even though this article concentrates on finding your ancestors within America’s historic hotel records. But still, here is an interesting fact: the oldest hotel in operation is the Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan that first opened in 707 A.D. For forty-six generations, the same family has operated this hotel (Guinness World Records)  

7 Great Finds
Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, CO
What information can the genealogist / historian find within the archives of the hotels registered with the Historic Hotels of America, or in town museums and State Archives? Once you have determined that your ancestor did stay or work at a historic hotel, you may find one of the following treasures:
Broadmoor Bonanza 1949
  1. Hotel Magazines – upscale hotels may have announced their guests or taken photos of guests and events published in the magazines.
  2. Hotel registers may be available.
  3. Many of these historic hotels have onsite archivists that may assist with your research through onsite art collections, donated antiques, and social history, etc.
  4. Photo negatives may be available to include honeymooners, and newlyweds.
  5. Photos of hotel events or hosts of large events (polo team meets, golf tournaments, etc)
  6. Employee Records
  7. Entertainment Records.  You may find documents, photos and even contracts of entertainment events
Where are the records?

Researchers should first confirm their ancestors’ whereabouts by using social columns, deeds, obituaries, etc. Then contact the historic property. Be sure to ask for the following: an onsite or corporate archivist, the location of historical registers, employee ledgers, and guest ledgers. Don’t forget to check the National Historic registers for a copy of the records that might have made them eligible for the Historic Hotels of America.

County, state and local archives may also have important files on residents or guests of the historic hotels. By probing at the Broadmoor Spa in Colorado Springs, I was able to uncover awesome photos. The 1872 Sweet Springs Hotel Register was located in the University of Virginia, Claude Moore Health Sciences Collections Library.

African American Guests
Most historic hotels did not integrate until the 1960’s - civil rights era. My western Kansas Strader family was seemingly one of the first African Americans at the Broadmoor Resort in 1968, albeit a short stay by eight family members.

However, you may find your African American family in the employee registers.  In some of the smaller Midwestern hotels, which seemed to accept guests of color earlier, researchers may find that their ancestor were registered. Some of the historic hotel registers did not denote race but others may have noted their guest as “colored” or Negro.

Omni Parker House
Omni Parker House by Susan Wilson
Add the Omni Parker House historic hotel to your Boston historic tour. Was your ancestor a chef? Within a short distance from the New England Genealogical Historic Society, stands the relatively newly-renovated Omni Parker House well known for its mastery of the Boston Cream Pie. This historic hotel was noted for hiring top chefs (one might say celebrity chefs) since 1855 when it first hired Chef Sanzian. The original 1855 Parker House was completely demolished by 1927. But before the original Parker House was destroyed Charles Dickens had an extended stay, and John Wilkes Booth stayed a few days prior to killing President Lincoln. In more modern times, J. F. Kennedy announced his presidency and Malcolm X was a busboy at the Omni Parker.

Researching for your ancestors’ records as an employee or guests at this hotel will be extensive, but be sure to check all area historical repositories.

Our favorite hotel research began with the AAAFive-Diamond resort of the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. Since 1919, the Broadmoor hotel has hosted many of the nation’s presidents, entertainers, and celebrities. There’s a wall of fame on the corridor walls outside the bowling alley filled with photos of the U. S. Presidents and foreign Presidents who have visited and everyone from early actors to present day actresses. But although the original hotel registers were not available, in addition to the wall of photos, there’s a series of resort magazines that began in 1946 that announced guests by names. The Memories and the Broadmoor Bonanza were popular as they announced their guests. This hotel has also preserved their honeymoon negatives, so many are available. Photos are the biggest requests – photos of polo teams, events and married copies. 

Employee records and entertainment records have also been preserved. The onsite archivists contacted, returned, findings in an email for our research project.  For onsite review of documents, an appointment must be made in advance.

Melrose, Warwick Hotel, Dallas, Texas
Warwick, Melrose Hotel, Dallas
The Warwick line of elegant historic hotels tells American history in a unique way. If your ancestor was from the “upper crust” you may find them as having lived or worked in one of these historic properties.
“… the Warwick Denver hotel was once a Playboy mansion. The Warwick Melrose in Dallas was, in the 1930s, an apartment building for the millionaires from Texas, and the Warwick New York was built by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 as a gift for his long-time mistress, Marion Davies, who was a Hollywood actress.”
As I write this end-of-the-year article on 2014 Travel  Research - Hotel Records, I am a guest at the AAA Four Diamond Melrose, Warwick Hotel built in 1924 while researching in Dallas.

Kathleen Brandt
Happy Thanksgiving, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas and Holiday Gift Certificates 2014

Last Minute Gift
Yes, it's too late to complete your family tree by Christmas, but consider our popular Holiday Gift Certificate. You will receive the Gift Certificate in our festive Red Envelope in time to place under the tree.

Email for our holiday quotes:
          Promo Code: a32014
          10 hours minimum research

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3 Steps To Get Documents Fast

Photo duplication Services will be discontinued as of 
December 5, 2014. As of this date, existing orders will
 be completed, but new orders will not be accepted.
As of 5 Dec 2014 patrons must order the microfilm. 

Can't Go to Salt Lake?
Most of my readers have never tried the FamilySearch Photoduplication ServicesBut, really, you may be wasting researching days. Even though the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City isn't just around the corner, you may not need to wait for that microfilm reel - especially if you just need one marriage copy or death record. That one death record of 3rd great-grandpa may be all you need to move your genealogy and family research to the next generation. So have you tried the Family Search Photoduplication Service?

Within 4 days I received a requested marriage license in my e-mail. Yes! My e-mail.  Note: this service is for individual images, not a personal research service. So you must do your homework upfront.

3 Easy Steps
  1. Identify Film and Item Number. Yes, some film have several item numbers, often cataloged by years. Verify the exact Item Number where the image is located. This is done by visiting the FamilySearch Catalog
  2. Initiate Request using the Photoduplication Request Form
  3. Wait and Receive
A Bonus
Do you have a Family History Library that you frequent? For a3Genealogy Kansas City researchers, it's the Midwest Genealogy Center. Unbeknownst to the researcher, the FamilySearch catalog will alert you if the film needed is already at "your" Family History Library. Here is the response we received when attempting to order microfilm 1845384:

By accessing the Midwest Genealogy Center Resources, we verified the film was truly there!

Oh how we love technology!
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible Answers

Friday, October 24, 2014

Press Release: Research Job Opportunities

Closed 21 Nov 2014

Two Open Positions - Genealogists

a3Genealogy research jobs are assigned based on clients' needs. Research applicants must meet the following requirements: 1) expert in research topic 2) familiarity with local repositories and 3) location requirement

Job1, Family Research, 10 hours
2 Positions

Objective: Family Tree Research (U.S.A)
  • This job will be primarily online research using professional databases, but also retrieving original documents (vital records, newspaper references, courthouse records, etc.). a3Genealogy pays for all pre-approved vital records.
  • Must be able to properly cite references using GPS Standards. Final Report must be in Word file with .jpg or .pdf images. Must have excellent writing skills. 2 positions available.
  • Any travel expenses must be pre-approved.
  • No location requirements
Full job description will be provided. 

All researchers must be experienced in writing Final Reports and proper GPS citation. Certified Genealogists and ProGen graduates preferred. However, we also use the following when needed:
Researcher Assistants
Document Retrievers (specify your location)

Send resume with pricing structure to:

Kathleen Brandt