Tuesday, March 29, 2022

In Genealogy, Onomastics is Serious Business

Names - Are you Ignoring Clues?
Onomastics (onomatology) is the study of proper names, and the origins of names.  It can be used to effectively identify where your family lived before immigrating to North America. The study of proper names and place names (toponomy) can help pinpoint the origin of our ancestors. In studying the personal names (anthroponomastics) family researchers can uncover community practices of naming descendants, allowing the researcher to untangle family units.  For this reason, genealogists are familiar with naming patterns within ethnic communities or even religious communities.

 According to Meriam- Webster Dictionary, onomastics is:

Many genealogists take for granted that there are naming conventions amongst the Irish, the Swedish, the Germans, etc.  Yet, each may be unique. And, other cultures, countries, communities, may practice differing naming conventions. 

Irish:   A traditional naming pattern often used by Irish parents until the later 19th century:

First son usually named for the father's father
Second son usually named for the mother's father
Third son usually named for the father
Fourth son usually named for the father's eldest brother
Fifth son usually named for the mother's eldest brother
First daughter usually named for the mother's mother
Second daughter usually named for the father's mother
Third daughter usually named for the mother 
Fourth daughter usually named for the mother's eldest sister
Fifth daughter usually named for the father's eldest sister

These naming patterns are guideline. Although often practiced, they were not required. And based on the ancestor's origin, and timeframe, other naming practices may be uncovered. 

Figure 2 Text by A. Beider - iijg.org

Naming practices of rural families and clans from the 18th to the 20th century help us create an idea of the social values based on the community. The a3Genealogy Research Team recently finished a multi-year German project -the Glos / Gloss family.  It was through onomastics that we were able to identify the family unit, to their German origin. The untangling of the many German Glos’ that arrived in America was not only by their Bavaria origin, but the men were all “shoemakers/bootmakers” both in their town of origin and in America. 

Less helpful in tracing a family name would be the patronymic based naming patterns as seen in many early European countries, prior to “familiar surnames” This naming convention causes quite a bit of chaos if the family is not cohesive.  An example: John the son of Peter was John Peterson; and John’s son Niel, was Niel Johnson. New surnames were created generationally.

Where to Find Traditional Naming Patterns

Researchers may wish to use the following to assist in identifying Old Naming Patterns.  If your ancestors were traditional, knowing  naming patterns could cut hours off your research.  However, remember these patterns were generalizations; not regulated.

When the a3Genelaogy team researchers are stuck with associating naming with language and culture, we turn to the work of
Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer.

Chart from Martha Wallace Santa Cruz  Handout 2014

Martha Wallace 2014 Onomastics – Using Naming Patterns in Genealogy Santa Cruz Handout has more examples and charts, as below:

Her Santa Cruz handout also proffers a variety of resources.

Other Resources
In genealogy we may reference academic papers:

 Article by K. Van Landuyt, 1995 

The following are a few resources in the a3Genealogy library shelves.

Behind the Name, Mike Campbell

Naming Patterns & Your Genealogy, Arlene Eakle

Dictionary of Americanized French-Canadian Names: Onomastics and Genealogy,
Marc Picard

The Jewish Journey – A Passage Through European History, Edward Gelles

Our current project is uncovering a1709, French Canadian family who settled in the Nebraska Territory.  Onomastics has assisted the researchers in mapping the migratory path. Yet, so much work is still needed. 

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Monday, March 28, 2022

6 Tips to Researching Female Ancestors

The Missouri Republican, St. Louis, MO,25 Aug 1873, Page 1

Six Tips to Uncover Female Ancestors
The a3Genealogy Research teams delight in tracing female ancestors that paved the roads for us. Were they housewives and mothers, were they teachers or schoolmarms, were they wet nurses or midwives, were they the maids, the slaves, the cooks? Did they attend suffrage movements, civil rights movements? Were the abolitionists, prohibitionists, or fighting for unwed mothers? Our female ancestors influenced change. When I felt disempowered at work or at home, my mother would proclaim “the woman was the neck, that turned the head.” 

When looking for women ancestors, though, it can be challenging. The majority changed their names, their identity, with marriage. But remember all did not! Was your female ancestor one of the married stage performers that proudly held their maiden name? 

Let us share tips to researching your female ancestors

  1.  Women Organizations. 

 The National Association of Colored Women’s Club, Inc.
founded Washington, D.C. in July 1896

 These groups may have been for ethnic socializing, divided by class, or designed to promote “worldliness” like an education curriculum for women on par with men. They were for women to vent, mingle, chart out their children’s social circle, and to influence politics often through their husbands.

2.  Local community and political activities.
Be sure to plot out your female’s ancestor’s timeframe, along with community and political issues. It’s overwhelming how many groups of women met in “secret” to fight for their agenda. These groups may have been for an ethnic group, divided by class, promoting “worldliness” like an education curriculum for women on par with men.

 3. Women School Records.

The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) 7 Jul 1870, pg.1

Men didn’t seem to bulk at women reading the Bible and taking darning and sewing classes.  But often the line was drawn at philosophical, the maths, and “brainy knowledge.” Although 1800 education was seen as a way of making women better wives and mothers, there were some progressives that moved the educational rod to encourage education for women to be transformative. I’m a proud alumna of Stephens College, 1333, Columbia MO, a women’s college. By the way, they have an amazing archive filled with history. During the WWII, they housed and educated orphan teenagers from across the nation - children of war veterans. 

4. Church Minutes / Records. 

Have you read these gossip-filled accounts of the congregants?  Oh my…we have found records from Quakers, the women, who held important positions in conducting the Underground Railroad, to the public shaming of those in infidelity in the German churches of Missouri. Contrary to common belief, these records are not just filled with sacraments dates.   

5.  Immigrant Societies. 

Women were activists.  They helped with the immigrant societies. This was not just in port cities, but inland also. They were active in the Volga – Germans, Irish, German, Italian, etc. communities.  Again, scour the society books for familiar names. Review newspaper articles on the local immigrant societies. Discover which roles the women played. They were like matchmakers of old.  They connected wives and children to housing. They were thanked for holiday meals and performances. They fought for the poor and monished “the wicked!”

6.  Delayed birth records of the community


At a brick wall? Try reviewing early birth records, especially delayed birth records of the community. We have uncovered over a half dozen female ancestors for clients as they were midwives.  Yes, you have to conduct the research, but if Louise was her name, research the Louise midwives on birth records and delayed birth records. On delayed birth records, they come with affidavits that may assist in identifying your “Louise.”  

    Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers


Sunday, March 20, 2022

Researching Colonial Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina


Image from The Lost State of Franklin

Why Can’t I Find My Records?
As we research the John Nichols family born about 1708, Virginia, the Wiley J. Morris family born 1807, presumably in Rutherford, NC, the Thomas Morris and  the 1770 Williams Eaves families of Tryon in the State of Franklin the a3Genealogy Research Teams once again discovered that the records needed did not exist.  

This has been a three part project as we ferret out relevant records for the time frame.

Step 1:  Learn the formation of counties, dates of statehood, and the locations of settlements for your county and state of interest

Step 2:  Find the records that may exist.  Timelines are useful in helping us identify the “correct ancestors” and their whereabouts. I mean, really?  How many John Nichols were there in early 1700 Virginia. Might I say, we have not yet exhausted them, I’m sure.  So where do you begin?

Step 3:  Does DNA support your findings for these common-named ancestors?

Step 1

For each state we have created a similar map as below. However, know we use such a map for each of the contiguous states. This allows us to note “sightings” of our person of interest, counties of interest and documents found. Let it be known that some of the blank counties in the chart are noted because the chart must encompass the counties impacted by formations of new counties This is capturing the migratory path of our person of interest who settled in Halifax County, VA in 1752.   

Virginia Formation Map for Nichols

Step 2 
So, what records existed in VA during this 1634 - 1746 time period? For our internal projects, the following chart is much more comprehensive by county not state.  

The same process is followed with North and South Carolina for our Morris and Eaves colonial projects. This project includes the State of Franklin (1785-1788). Use link to learn more.  Know that due to common names within family units and communities, many negative hours of research hours have accumulated.  But, the alternative is placing the wrong Thomas Morris, or the wrong John Nichols in the family trees.

 Can DNA Help?
As touted within the genealogy community, DNA is a great tool to support the papertrail; or, the papertrail should support the DNA test results. 

The Eaves project was born out of a y-DNA contradiction. Our Eaves client proves to be of a Morris bloodline and a relatively close cousin of the descendants of Wiley J. Morris.  A family bible solidly identifies Wiley J Morris, born 1807, and it is supported by the DNA results. 

We are keeping a close eye on the Nichols y-DNA tests results and Nichols/Nicholls project on FamilyTreeDNA in hopes to find  a smoking gun. In the meantime, there are many more paper records to scour to positively identify the parents of John Nichols, 1708. 

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Native American DNA

Ancient to Contemporary and Tribal Maps and Communities

At RootsTech this week Roberta Estes spoke on Native American DNA Ancient and Contemporary Maps. It must be stressed that where records are not extant, the ancient DNA still exits. It tells us the story of our ancestors prior to the records.  But I digress.

At a3Genealogy we recently did a large Native American job. We were able to learn much through both the Y-DNA and the Mitrochodrial DNA haplogroups.  At least we learned of the migratory path as supported in academic and scientific papers.

 a3Genealogy Question Bag
        Am I Native American?
        What is the significance of the haplogroup?

Where to Begin
When the a3Genealogy Question Bag receives this line of questioning, we direct the family researcher to the FamilySearch wiki article, Finding Your US Indigenous Ancestor.  And then, we share with them articles, videos and presentations that may assist in their DNA discoveries.

Native American Y-DNA
Let’s start with your Y-DNA haplogroup. You recognize it was an O - the newest of the Y-DNA Native American haplogroup.  What’s interesting is that Native Americans are a subset of haplogroup C and Q, also, which also represent European heritage. But some charts are just befuddling. How can I be “Q Not Native?”  And why would my Y-DNA results have the option of “Possible Native on Autosomal.”

Might I warn you that DNA is not static. New discoveries are shaping haplogroups and out applications to recreating our ancestors’ migration patterns and makeup. 

According to FamilyTreeDNA, here are known Native American Y-DNA Haplogroups.
(Click links below to learn more of each.)

Haplogroup Q-M3 
Haplogroup Q-M346 
Haplogroup Q-P89.1 
Haplogroup Q-MEH2 
Haplogroup Q-NWT01 
Haplogroup Q-SA01 
Haplogroup C-P39 
Haplogroup C-M217 

Without disrupting belief systems, did you know the Q subclade’s earliest haplogroup is identified have existed about 12.5K years in Montana?  Hmmm. Now, we are only talking the Native American subclades here, not Scandanian Q.  The main message we get from some of these maps and haplogroups is that we must be cautious when working with haplogroups for Native Americans, as these same haplogroups may represent European That opens up so many more questions. 

Native mtDNA
Known Native American haplogroups are the following with mitochondrial (mtDNA): Haplogroups A, B, C, D and X. But like his Y-DNA “counterpart” not all subgroups in each main haplogroup are Native -American Indian” (FamilytreeDNA). For example: the pie chart below Pie chart hows the proportions of Indigenous American haplogroups & other contributions to the Mexican mtDNA pool. 

See text for details. Image: The Mitochondrial DNA Landscape of Modern Mexico.

Many find it also particularly interesting that an "F" mtDNA has not yet been uncovered;  but yet there F1a1 and F1a1a  haplogroups have been identified.  This new haplogroup is tagged as Native in Asia and Polynesia.

How to Use This Information
This blog post was inspired by Roberta Estes’s RootTech presentation of 3 Mar 2022 where she shared migratory ancient Native American migration related maps. For example,  Mitochondrial (mtDNA) Haplogroup B2 was found in Alaska.  but it migrated to Brazil and Peru. What’s of keen interest is the comparing of these ancient maps to contemporary maps in the New World. 

Here are the major points.  To sum it up how analyze your DNA ancestry comparing ancient haplogroup discoveries and maps to our contemporary DNA results and settlements on maps.

  1. test, test, test, to include cousins on the line . If it’s Y-DNA you will want the Y-DNA Big 700 2) you identify your haplogroup of interest
  2. reference the ancient and contemporary maps as offered
  3. using Estes’ book look up the associated maps.
  4. review the RootsTech presentation given by Roberta Estes,  Native American DNA - Ancient and Contemporary Maps as a reference to the associated Native American tribes, tribal association, and communities (both ancient and contemporary) for your Haplogroups of interest.

More Reading?
Here is an article, 16 Jan 2022, about Este’s newly published book: DNA for Native American Genealogy Book Published

At a3Genealogy, our In-Genes DNA Team try to stay abreast with the work of Jennifer Raff who studies ancient DNA. Read Origin’ explores the controversial science of the first Americans, published in ScienceNews. 

As we say at a3Genealogy… “Dig Deep!”

 Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Thursday, March 3, 2022

DNA Kit on Sale

MyHeritageDNA kit


Are you attending RootsTech? Best sales of the year. Don't get left behind. 
MyHeritageDNA for only $59.00.  Expires 6 March 2022.
I'm encouraging all a3Genealogy clients to get tested. 

Link here:  MyHeritageDNA kit

Will see you 10 March 2022 for our DNA symposium.  We will cover the features of this kit, week 4,  along with DNA Analysis Techniques and Tips offered by this kit.  

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers