Family Tree Quality Control

As I wait for my Living DNA test results, I've been investing more research time into my documentary trail.  This has included ordering several birth - marriage - death certificates from the GRO (General Register Office, UK Gov), and further checks, rechecks, and searches online using Ancestry.co.uk, Findmypast.co.uk, and FamilySearch.org.

Filling in the blanks.  looking for correlations.

I've recently found an incorrect ancestor.  A Nicholls on my mother's side.  The usual case.  I had found a perfect candidate in one very close parish.  I followed their trail, added three generations including heaps of siblings.  On recent review though - I find another candidate, in another close parish.  Sure enough, when I investigate all of the evidence - this one was far more likely.  It was backed by census claims.  I even found my previous candidate living with another family years later in a census.

I still make mistakes in genealogy, and expect to continue to do so.  In this case, I've had to crop away at a bushy branch and replace it relatively, with a twig.  It's all about pursuing the truth though, isn't it?  To the best our abilities to use data that is available.

The new GRO certificates haven't revealed anything revolutionary so far.  All of them though have turned out to belong.  The marriage of great grandparents Fred Smith to Emily Barber gave me their non-conformist chapel location in Norwich, their marriage date, and confirmed everything that I knew about them at this point of their life.  The death of my 2xgreat grandfather Henry Brooker gave me his death date, cause of death, last job, last address in Dartford, and was registered by my great grandfather (living at the same address as during the 1939 register).  without seeing the certificate, I could have never have proven that this was my Henry Brooker on the indexes.

I also purchased the birth certificate of my 3xgreat uncle Henry Shawers.  i was hoping that it might give some clues to my elusive 3xgreat grandfather Henry Shawers, and onto his origins.  Nothing there I'm afraid, although again, it belonged to the right family.  Confirms that he was who I thought.

Now I'm waiting on the marriage certificate of George Barber to Maria Ellis.  I have some concerns on this one, touch wood no unpleasant surprises.

Preserving our genetic heritage

The above portrait is of my great uncle Leonard Smith, with my grandmother, Doris Smith of Norwich.  Taken circa 1904.

Preserving our genetic heritage

I've ordered a genetic profiling kit to test my mother.  I want the results 1) for phasing with my own results, in order to better understand where different segments on my chromosomes originate from - from which parent.  2) because I feel that my mother has a particularly rich, documented, and very localised Norfolk ancestry.  Finally 3) because I feel almost duty bound to do so, while I can.  I've lost my father.  My mother will not always be here, as neither will I.  I wont always have the chance to do this.  By examining Mum's SNPs, I'll be able to find out exactly what SNPs my late father gave me.  I think that I've seen programs that try to rebuild the DNA of a missing parent, by combining the results of their children or / and other relatives.

This has lead me to ponder over the future.  Will we want to preserve the genetic scans of our parents and grandparents?  Will the desire to capture photographic images of our elders, then to preserve them long after they've gone, transform itself into a desire to preserve genetic profiles?  Will we value the raw data of their SNPs?  Will great granny's genome be handed down in the form of binary data from chip to chip?  Will families pride themselves on the ownership of a SNP scan data from a great great grandparent?