Tuesday, April 30, 2019

13 Surprising Facts About At-Home DNA Tests

1. If you send your DNA to two different companies to find out your ancestry, you may end up with two different results. That’s because there’s no certification required for DNA-testing companies, and their methods aren’t independently validated, says Tufts University professor Sheldon Krimsky, PhD, board chair of the Council for Responsible Genetics. “They may get the basic idea correct—that you are a little less than half northern European, for example,” he says. “But when they say you’re 30 percent from here and 60 percent from there, it’s a statistical guess based on their own proprietary database and the statistical method they use.”

2. Your results will be less precise if you’re not European. The more people from your ancestral region in a company’s database, the more accurate your results will be, says Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School. Many Americans have northern and western European ancestry, and some evidence indicates they’re more likely to use DNA testing. “Even results from southern and eastern Europe aren’t as accurate,” Greely says.

3. If you’re Native American or African American, no DNA test can tell you what tribe your ancestors belonged to. Testing companies that claim they can are misleading you, says Greely.

4. You can find out your risk of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s from an at-home DNA test kit, but a laboratory certified to do medical testing will give you much more conclusive results. One small study found that 40 percent of at-home test kits were wrong about predicting genetic abnormalities. That said, many doctors support at-home testing so people can take preventive steps sooner.

5. The results of your genetic testing could affect your ability to get insurance. While federal law prohibits health insurers from denying coverage based on genetic test results, the law does not apply to life, disability, and long-term-care insurance. In most states, an insurance company can legally ask for the results of your DNA test. “If you’re planning to get long-term-care or life insurance, buy it before you get tested,” Greely suggests.

6. Law-enforcement agencies are increasingly using family tree DNA databases to solve crimes, as was done in the arrest of a former police officer accused of being the Golden State Killer. California detectives took the DNA results from various crime scenes, looked for partial matches on a public genealogy database, and eventually found their man.

7. Of course, that also means a relative’s DNA could make you a suspect—even if you’re innocent. Exhibit A: New Orleans filmmaker Michael Usry was identified as a murder suspect based on a genetic sample his father had submitted years earlier as part of a church genealogy project. Usry was eventually cleared after further testing showed his DNA didn’t match the evidence from the crime scene. Privacy advocates oppose the government’s ability to use familial DNA, and Maryland and Washington, DC, prohibit its use in criminal cases.

8. Your genetic information may be sold to the highest bidder—whether that’s a university or pharmaceutical company that wants to use it for research or a company mining it for profit, says Peter J. Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Ask the testing company or read the small print before signing off.

9. There’s another privacy issue: In 2017, the e-mails and passwords of more than 92 million users of the genealogy website myheritage.com were hacked, while Ancestry’s RootsWeb server exposed the emails, usernames, and passwords of 300,000 users.

10. The market is also exploding with companies claiming they can pinpoint the right product—for your skin or your waistline, for instance—based on a DNA test. But consider them entertainment rather than real science, Greely says. A study found that diets based on genetic tests didn’t help people lose weight.

11.  Still, DNA tests can answer questions you’ve had about yourself—and ones you didn’t know to ask. For example, for an additional cost, 23andMe will include your results on more than 25 individual traits, including if you are likely to be a morning person, whether your hatred of cilantro is genetic, and if your earwax is more likely to be dry or wet.

12.  Dozens of companies market DNA tests to coaches and parents that claim to predict a child’s athletic prospects. But there’s little science behind them, according to more than a dozen experts in genomics and sports performance.

13.  Your DNA testing may reveal family secrets. In just one among many such stories, a 23andMe user who tested himself and his parents for a class he was teaching on genetics unearthed a half brother. The revelation “uncorked” emotions with his family, he wrote on vox.com, and his parents eventually divorced.

P. J. O’Rourke, writer

To see more of the article hit here

Sunday, April 28, 2019

What It’s Like to Use a DNA Test Kit to Travel Through Your Family Tree

In recent years, DNA testing has become big business beyond just the saliva kits your relatives gift each other around the holidays. Ancestry travel options like genealogy tours through European homelands are turning even non-travelers into DNA tourists with the help of those tests. Following a DNA test, a genealogist or tour operator could take you along the same roads your ancestors walked—sometimes even to the very homes they lived in or the places of worship they frequented. If you’re interested in traveling back in time through your own family’s ancestry, you’ll need some expert help.

With plenty of kits and tours to choose from, how do you choose the right combination of ancestry DNA testing and trusted genealogy expert?

DNA test results still aren’t perfect, and often depend upon the database yours are being compared to, which means you’ll want a testing company with a large database behind it: AncestryDNA and 23andMe are generally the most popular options.

Primarily aimed at wellness-focused DNA inquiries, 23andMe provides insight into your health and the likelihood you could develop a genetic disease—but also offers a simpler, ancestry-only DNA kit. For travelers, AncestryDNA can be connected to online family trees that allow you to search public records based on names, locations, and birth dates; this gives it an advantage for starting your own genealogy search into U.S. records.

Overseas record searches, however, usually require the help of a seasoned genealogist who understands the record types, languages, and research logistics of the specific region. It’s also worth noting that there are legitimate privacy concerns about large DNA databases. Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA, however, provide options that aim to keep personal data private from third parties.

To read more of the article, hit here

Friday, April 26, 2019

Things that DNA tests will uncover – What you need to know

What is DNA Testing?

Statistics say that more than twenty million people took a personal DNA Test in the past few years. That is a pretty large number. And the best thing about it is that not many people heard of this possibility yet. So, it is expected that this number will keep growing in the next few years as well. Most people think that this is some kind of a complicated process or a procedure that will take up a lot of time, but, the truth is that it is really simple to do. All it takes to find out about your past is a bit of saliva and a DNA Kit.

DNA testing can be done by using a DNA Kit which is affordable and available nowadays. You can simply swab the inside of your cheek and seal the sample in a container and send it in an envelope or any kind of a storage box. The best thing about these tests is that you get to find out so much about yourself, at a very affordable price. The price will vary depending on what you want to find out, for example, if you just want to get a history report of your ancestry, the prices might be under two hundred dollars. However, if you want an entire health report along with some details about your ancestors, the prices might be a little higher. But, even then, they are still affordable.

To read more of the article hit here

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Many of the best at-home DNA kits are on sale right now to celebrate National DNA Day — here's a quick break down of each one

Many of the best at-home DNA kits are on sale right now to celebrate National DNA Day — here's a quick break down of each one
April 25 is National DNA Day, a holiday created to celebrate the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. To celebrate, most of the major DNA testing companies have put kits on sale, including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Living DNA, and more. We found seven kits on sale and broke down the key differences between each, below. Today, April 25, is National DNA Day. As another "holiday" that you may not have heard about until now, you're probably wondering what it means and how to celebrate it.

Read more in the following

Five Things You Never Post On Facebook

If you think that having your privacy settings set correctly is all you need to do to stay safe on Facebook, think again. To protect yourself and your family, there are five things you should never post on Facebook or any other social network:
You or your family’s full birth dates. This is one of the things thieves look for to steal your identity.
Photos of your children tagged with their names. Predators use this information to convince children that they aren’t really a stranger.
Posting your current location tells everyone your not home. If you are on vacation, wait until you get home to post the pictures of your trip.
Never post that you are home alone. Make sure your children don’t either.
Don’t post your relationship status. This is another way you could be letting stalkers know you are home alone.
The best rule of thumb is not to post anything that you would not want a stranger to know. And, just because your privacy settings are set correctly doesn’t protect you if one of your friend’s account is hacked.
Read in Genealogy 101: https://apple.news/ARpGWhdNjNwKq3yul_exWwg

Help our Society earn money

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12 and this is a great opportunity to increase  our Genealogical Society of Hispanic America-So CA Branch's AmazonSmile donations by shopping at smile.amazon.com.

When you  do your shopping online for your Mother's Day gifts please go to  smile.amazon.com/ch/33-0589453

AmazonSmile donates to Genealogical Society of Hispanic America-So CA Branch. You can also double click the banner below to access AmazonSmile:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

DNA Kits Yield Different Results From Two Companies

Paul Genest, of Swampscott, ordered DNA kits from Ancestry and 23andMe but was surprised when the results varied

Millions of people have done it and you may be one of them – sent off a saliva sample to figure out your DNA ancestry. But one Massachusetts man is questioning how accurate these tests really are after getting different results from two genetics companies.

Paul Genest, of Swampscott, knows a lot about his family history, and he considers himself to be predominately of French descent.

“From chit chat within the family, and given the fact that everyone spoke French, we were pretty certain we were French,” said Genest.

But he got a surprise when the results came in after he ordered DNA kits from Ancestry and 23andMe.
To read more of the article, hit here

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection of Cuban Genealogy

Since the university was founded in 1972, Florida International University has always been an epicenter of Cuban heritage studies. The school now offers more than 70 courses related to Cuba across more than 20 disciplines, spanning the humanities and social sciences, the natural sciences, law, architecture and medicine. Of interest to genealogists is the Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection of Cuban Genealogy.

Florida International University Libraries has acquired this collection of thousands of books, handwritten and typed letters, photos and other primary documents relating to Cuba and Cuban genealogy, collected over four decades by Felix Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza. The collection includes rare 17th and 18th century books, long out-of-print publications and periodicals that few, if any, U.S. libraries hold in their catalogs. Additionally, thousands of unpublished family genealogies and manuscripts make this collection particularly significant.

The collection, which also contains genealogy books for countries in North, Central and South America, as well as Spain, France, Italy and other European countries, came to FIU in 200 boxes. It will facilitate historical, genealogical and anthropological research of Hispanic America, including Spanish Florida and Spain. The collection includes hundreds of sacramental and civil documents, unpublished Archive of the Indies records and beautiful old photographs of Cuban families.

This collection is currently being processed. You can learn more about the collection and search the library’s catalog at the Florida International University’s Digital Library of the Caribbean at http://dloc.com/ifiuhurtado

Article written by Dick Eastman on  November 26, 2018
Posted for historical reason.

Monday, April 22, 2019

What Kinds of Warnings Should People Get Before Sharing Their Genetic Data?

You Share Your Genetic Data at Your Own Risk

But how can we better inform people about those risks?

This article is part of Futuense, a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University. On March 20, Future Tense will host an event in Washington, D.C., about how law enforcement is using genetic genealogy—thanks to consumer DNA testing—to solve crime. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.re T

After more than a decade of work, the Human Genome Project produced the first complete sequence of the human genome in 2001. Although hard to imagine at that moment, two decades of profound technological improvements mean that it now takes just days to generate genomic data. Easy sequencing has pushed genomic data out of the lab and into people’s lives in fascinating ways. Take the proliferation of services like 23andMe that analyze your genetic information, and tell you about your ancestry, and perhaps help you discover unknown relatives who have also uploaded data.

While the ability to generate massive amounts of genomic data presents amazing, novel opportunities, like discovering the underlying genetic cause of a rare disease, it has also led to unexpected and ethically fraught uses. One such case is the forensic use of genealogy data. Criminal investigators have long used DNA evidence as part of their arsenal of tools, analyzing samples collected at a crime scene to see whether there is a match with someone in an established forensic database. But DNA found at a crime scene is only helpful if that potential suspect is already in the right database. Forensic DNA data is currently gathered into an uneven patchwork of state- and federal-level databases. (Some have proposed the potentially effective but controversial idea to build a universal database.)

In 2018, investigators tried a new approach: publicly available genetic genealogy data. By comparing crime scene DNA to the data in GEDmatch, one of these vast genealogy databases, investigators can identify relatives of a potential suspect and can then use this information to point them towards an actual target. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack when you know which corner of the haystack to search. In April 2018, police used this technique to track down the Golden State Killer, who was suspected of perpetrating a notorious series of unsolved rapes and murders in the 1970s. Other police departments have quickly followed suit, using this powerful tool to solve a series of cold cases.

This sudden adoption of genealogy data as a forensic resource raises a number of ethical questions. Studies demonstrate that the public is very concerned about genetic privacy, and some might not be comfortable with letting authorities access their data. People also worry about the potential use of their genetic information to discriminate—for example, to deny them certain kinds of insurance coverage. Concerns have also been raised about whether people would be comfortable unwittingly implicating a relative—even a third cousin they haven’t met—in a crime. On a broader level, scholars have raised the possibility that expanded forensic use of DNA analysis could exacerbate existing biases in the criminal justice system.

To read more of the article, hit here

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Digital Public Library of America

 The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is totally free to use and open to everyone. You don’t need a library card, subscription or even a sign-in to access it. It is also an impressive research resource for genealogists and family historians. This library is totally digital and isn’t just limited to books. You can find photographs, audio and video… View On WordPress

Read in Genealogy 101: https://apple.news/AYqTZ1c3iPKyzWPIXm_32cQ

Saturday, April 20, 2019

These Beautiful Maps Capture the Rivers That Pulse Through Our World

A rainbow of tiny furrows spreads across a map of the contiguous United States, the lite-brite hues popping against a black backdrop, giving the appearance of roots or a vascular system.

To the casual observer, this is undeniably a work of art. But the image’s creator, Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs, sees his work as primarily scientific. “You can call me an artist if you insist, but it still makes me smile a bit,” says Szucs. “I’m definitely still getting used to that.”

Rather than art, Szucs has a background in digital cartography and geographic information system (GIS) analysis. With a master’s in geography and GIS from the University of Szeged, Szucs has used these skills for everything from mapping orangutan movement and changes in Indonesian forest coverage to monitoring whale behavior in Alaska. “GIS is a collective name for all things geographic, spatial and mapping related,” he explains. “It's basically a tool set, and I've used it for widely different things.”

Szucs didn’t make artistic maps until a decade into his cartography career. While volunteering at a marine environmental research NGO in Portugal, he began to experiment in his free time with open-source software commonly used by cartographers to generate data visualizations. Through trial and error, Szucs learned how to create maps that are both informative and visually striking. Szucs works under the alias “Grasshopper Geography,” a reference to his Hungarian nickname, “Szöcske,” which translates to grasshopper.

To read more of this article and download the free maps hit here

Friday, April 19, 2019

National DNA Day is April 25

National DNA Day is April 25. Most of the companies will have sales to promote their products over their competition. Recommendation is to go thru our Amazon account and order it. If you are a prime member, your shipping should be free.

Below is the account information please shop now!  smile.amazon.com/ch/33-0589453

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What questions you should ask yourself when discovering a new name in your research

When you uncover a new surname in your research, ask yourself:
How else could this name be pronounced other than the “way” I think it should be;
What letters in this name could be read incorrectly by someone making an index;
What letters in this name often look like other letters;
How common is this name in the area where I’m searching;
Does the name provide any clues as to origin or ethnicity of this person;
What have I assumed about this name that might not be true?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Linda Serna speaking at another event

Our feature speaker for our May General Meeting is also speaking in Los Angeles basin on
Saturday, April 20, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at the Whittier Masonic Lodge, 7604 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier CA for the Whittier Area Genealogical  Society (WAGS).

Linda Serna, a member of our chapter, GSHA-SC, has been involved with genealogy in researching and writing family stories for over 30 years. She was privileged to work as a genealogist for the first season of the PBS Genealogy Roadshow program. Currently, She is the Treasurer for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (SCCAPG), and a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG), the Polish Genealogical Society (PGS-CA), and was past Vice President of Programs for the Orange County California Genealogical Society (OCCGS).

Her First Presentation: Tales to Docs to Stories:  Building Your Family Story from Family Tales and Documents

This presentation addresses through specific examples how to build a story from the tales we've been told, the documents we have and other sources available. It also gives ideas for sharing that story once we've put something together.
Linda Serna

Linda’s second presentation will follow a short business meeting.

Second Presentation: Hints for Maximizing Results Using Family Search
In this presentation, Linda talks about what’s available on FamilySearch.org as well as on the Wiki. It then gives ideas on how to best use the site to achieve better results.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Family Tree DNA offers to trade privacy to catch criminals

Allowing the FBI access to your genetic data is now a selling point.

The at-home DNA testing company Family Tree DNA is asking customers to share their genetic data to help law enforcement solve crimes. A video featuring Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart, attempts to frame the sharing of its genetic database with FBI as a positive. According to MIT Technology Review, the video will air as an ad in San Diego, where police were recently able to solve a 1979 murder after finding a link in a publicly available DNA database. The ad is part of a larger campaign featured prominently on Family Tree DNA's website.

"When the loved one is a victim of a violent crime, families want answers. There is more DNA available at crime scenes than any other evidence. If you're one of the millions of people that have taken a DNA test, your help can provide the missing link," says Smart.

To read more of the article, hit here

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How to Download Entire Websites for Offline Use

Information on the World Wide Web may not remain online forever. However, it is easy to download and save information when you do see it. The information then remains available to you in case you ever want to go back and read it again in the future.

With today’s low prices for internal and external large capacity disk drives plus excellent software that can search through many gigabytes of saved data to find the specific thing(s) you are looking for, it often makes sense to save huge amounts of data in the hopes that you can find specific items of interest in the future.

In fact, you can download and save entire web sites.

This isn’t practical for downloading the entire FamilySearch web site, MyHeritage.com, Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, or the other mega-sites, each with many terabytes of genealogy information. (One terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes.) However, copying a complete web site works well for smaller sites, such as a genealogy society’s web site or the personal web site of one person.

Downloading an entire website is also handy for those who want to archive a site in case it goes down. If you own a personal web site, making a copy of the entire site is an excellent method of maintaining backup copies to be available in case of hardware malfunctions or if you simply want to move the web site to a new hosting provider.

Ryan Lynch has published an article in the MakeTechEasier web site that describes several programs for Macintosh and Windows systems that will download an entire web site and save it to your own hard drive(s) or to your own private storage space in the cloud. You can find How to Download Entire Websites for Offline Use at: https://www.maketecheasier.com/download-entire-websites-for-offline-use/.

Information from Dick Eastman from his Eastman's Online Genealogy News at Website

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A DNA testing site turned this woman from an only child to one of 30 siblings

Shauna Harrison knows that every morning she could wake up to learn she has a new sibling.

In the past two years, she has already gone from living her life as an only child to discovering through a DNA testing service that she is one of 30 people that share the same biological father.
DNA testing services have become increasingly popular in recent years. While they have provided insights into family history and hereditary conditions, there have also been many cases of unexpected results such as catching a serial killer and making surprising connections among living relatives.
In 2017, Harrison, 41, logged back into her 23andMe account after a couple years and switched off her anonymity setting, she told CNN.

To read more, hit here

Thursday, April 11, 2019

“I thought I was misreading something”: Ellie took a DNA test and it exposed her mum's affair.

“My mother had never told anyone and for whatever reason, didn’t think doing this test would uncover this secret.”

Ellie* is a 40-year-old mum of three who has been searching her family history for years. It started out as a hobby, but when Ellie couldn’t find out where her family had come from and their lineage, it became a passion project.

After hitting a dead end, Ellie thought ordering a DNA Ancestry kit, readily available via many family history sites, seemed like a natural step in her research.

“I decided to do my family’s DNA testing as part of the family history project that I was working on,” Ellie tells Mamamia. “I thought it would be pretty straight forward and fun to do.”

Ellie and her siblings grew up with her parents on the NSW Central Coast and was particularly close with her brother Tim* but she says all of her family had a ‘close’ relationship.

Read in Mamamia hit here

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Look at the Background of the Neighborhood

When you find someone in the census, do you look at the nativity of others on the same or adjacent census pages? How common or unusual was your relative’s place of birth compared to their neighbors? Were they living in a neighborhood where they were in the majority or the minority in terms of place of birth? Was there even a majority in terms of place of birth? If the census asked the question, were most people homeowners or renters? How does your relative’s occupation compare to that of his neighbors?

Sometimes the biggest clues about a relative in his census enumeration aren’t on the line that contains his name.
Genealogy Tip of the Day by michaeljohnneill

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Redo what you know

An excellent way to learn about records, research, and methodology is to “rework” a family that you think you already know. Probably the best way to really understand court, probate, land, and other records is to completely research them on a family that’s “already been done.” Completely reading those records in families where you already know the family structure will allow you to focus on details (legal terms, especially) other than the family.

It’s a great way to broaden your understanding of records for those times when you don’t have all the names and relationships at your disposal.

And sometimes when you “redo” a “done family,” you realize that it wasn’t as done as you thought it was.

Finding Our SoCal Roots Wrap up

 The Genealogical Society of Hispanic America was well represented by Colleen Robledo Greene, at the Finding Our SoCal Roots event, 9 April,  at the USC Cammilleri Hall. The panel included Colleen, Kenyatta D. Berry, author and Genealogy Roadshow; and Michael Ho, president, Chinese Family History Group of Southern California. PBS SoCal sponsored the event. Liza Posas, L.A. as Subject coordinator was the moderator and posed questions that spoke to how to begin family research, historical and legal barriers to ethnic groups, the impact of DNA testing, and alternative databases for family research. Since Colleen gives a class on Genealogy for graduate students, she has recommended the following book: "How to do Everything: Genealogy" by George G. Morgan. GSHA-SC members Consuelo and Raul Moore and Cathy Romero also attended this event.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Find Your SoCal Roots: Tracing your genealogical history

Next week, PBS SoCal will join forces with the fine folks at USC Libraries for Finding Our SoCal Roots, an event focused on the importance of researching less-visible histories and exploring how diverse stories allow communities to reveal their stories. (Learn more about the event here.) We asked our panelists: “How can native Angelenos trace their roots?” For more information, hit here. Here’s what they will shared:

Colleen Robledo Green
Genealogical Society of Hispanic America – Southern California Chapter

The central downtown location of the Los Angeles Public Library system houses a spectacular History & Genealogy Department. This department is staffed by librarians with expertise in genealogy, who can assist researchers of all experience levels. Their collections and staff expertise also focus extensively on Los Angeles and Southern California.
Those like me who have Hispanic ancestry will want to get involved with the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America’s Southern California chapter. Based out of Burbank, they host quarterly educational programs at their Burbank location, but they also host free monthly Hispanic Research Days help sessions throughout Los Angeles County. These help sessions provide one-on-one and small group assistance.
Los Angeles County hosts a stellar annual genealogy conference (Genealogy Jamboree) in early June in Burbank. Jamboree has a large national draw among speakers and attendees, yet always includes topics of particular relevance to Los Angeles and Southern California.

Liza Posas
L.A. as Subject Coordinator and panel moderator

Conduct an oral history with your oldest living family member, get as much information down especially information about names, places, and dates. To help jog their memory interview them with a photo album or visiting places of their childhood memories.
Visit the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk’s Office where you get access to birth, marriage or death certificates.
Visit your local historical societies and public libraries where you can find old phone books and directories that may give you information about past residents of a particular home address

Kenyatta Berry
Author, The Family Tree Toolkit; Host, Genealogy Roadshow

Determine when your ancestors arrived in the Los Angeles area by interviewing family members, recording family stories and reviewing documents such as the family bible. Make sure you document who you interviewed, when the interview occurred and where you obtained the documents.
Find additional documents to prove or disprove the family stories in repositories, libraries, archives and special collections at Universities. (a) Review the genealogy collection at the local library where your ancestors lived; (b) visit historical societies and archives in the area; (c) get to know everything about the county where your ancestors resided, (d) review online resources at Familysearch.org and (e) search the Online Archive of California for resources at institutions across the state. These institutions have documents from all over the country. For example, California State University at Northridge has a “Guide to the Legal and Financial Documents on Slaves and Slavery in the United States Collection, 1756-1869″. Most of the documents in this collection are from Lawrence County, Alabama.
Organize your research, cite your sources and create a biographical sketch for your ancestors. Start with your grandparents and great grandparents. Use documents to fill in the gaps from the family stories and interviews. Share your discoveries with your family members.
What about you? Have you had luck finding your SoCal roots? We’d love to hear your tips and advice! Tweet your ideas at us!

Living near the borders

Some people, it seems, live near the borders, whether it county lines, state's or even countries. Knowing that helps you in your research! Recommendations are that you should search for local maps and gazetteers. What are gazetteers you say. Accordingly to Wikipedia, a gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup, social statistics and physical features of a country, region, or continent.

Sometimes you may be lucky to find maps or gazetteers online. With Google you have tab mark Map to check, but with other search engines, you may have to type the name of the community, county, state or country in quotation marks, along with subject "map" or "Gazetteers" to see if there is one online or if  there is a printed copy nearby.

Check, also, the history of the community, county or state to see if the boundaries have changed or whether there was a name changed. Counties can be split or be carve out of another, cities or communities can have name changes or be incorporated into another larger community.

With printed maps not all communities are shown! There’s only so much room on most printed maps. Google Maps, with it features of  zoom will allow more information to be seen, but this is with modern information.

Hispanic Research San Diego Follow up

The San Diego Hispanic Saturday group met on 6th of April 2019 at 1pm at the San Diego Central Library in the Commissioner’s Room on the 9th floor.  We only had 5 in attendance. However, the meeting turned out to be a very interesting. Each person had an opportunity to tell a family story.

Diane Godinez started the meeting by telling us about a new family line she did not know about. Via ancestry.com she discovered a new second cousin and exchanged emails with her. The cousin exchanged family trees and Diane discovered a family line she never aware of.

Kareen B Stipp talked about the research she did on her great-grandfather, Pedro P. Alvarez. All of the information she found was from newspapers using Newspaper.com. She has written a report and has submitted to the Nuestras Raices Journal. The editor of the journal, Donie Nelson has informed that her they plan to publish it in their next issue. Pedro was a cattle rustler and a smuggler in California in the early 1900s. Kareen and her mother, Marguerita Joy Stipp also brought a birthday cake because this week was their birthdays.

Ana Bañuelos Castro talked about her Great Grandmother, Refugio Montes Cisneros. Refugio died only three years after Ana’s mother, Bertha Cisneros was born in El Paso, Texas. Ana researched Texas records and discovered their ancestors were land owners in the El Paso region.

Ceasar Castro talked about a family secret he and his sister discovered when they interviewed their last surviving paternal Aunt. It turns out that the lady who lived next door to them was Ceasar’s father’s half-sister. Ceasar was never told that the kids next door were his cousins.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Upcoming Presentations by John Schmal

Below is a calendar of John Schmal's scheduled presentations.

DATE                Location                                        Presentaion
April 23, 2019  Glendora Genealogy Group           The Indigenous People of Northern and Western                                                                                      Mexico
June 1, 2019     Los Angeles Family History Ctr   The Wonderful Diversity to Indigenous Mexico
– 1: P.M.
June 15, 2019    Los Angeles Family History Ctr   Finding Your Roots in Mexico
– 1: P.M.
Aug. 17, 2019    Downtown LA Public Lib             Indigenous Mexico Workshop for
-11: AM – 12:30 P.M.
Nov. 8, 2019      Orange Family History Ctr            Indigenous Northeastern Mexico: Ancestors of                                                                                        the Tejanos
Orange Family History Center: 674 S Yorba St, Orange, CA 92869
Los Angeles Family History Center:  10741 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, Training Room 1
Los Angeles Public Library: 630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071 .

John has recently started a twitter feed, showing information from the Mexican census about certain indigenous languages, as well as some historical information, and this can be accessed at:

He also has extensive charts on Mexico's Indigenous people in the census going back to 1895 and plan to do more tweets of these charts over the next few weeks.

John Schmal has written about the Indigenous histories of 26 Mexican states, which can be accessed at the following sites:


Friday, April 5, 2019

Learn about your roots with this simple DNA test kit

Have you ever wanted to know more about your heritage?Right now you can bring home the Vitagene DNA Ancestry Test Kit & Personalized Health Plan for 20 percent off! This DNA test kit is simple, quick and super informative. "With a simple cheek swab, Vitagene can provide you with actionable health plans based on your DNA, lifestyle and goals. You can learn how your genetics influence your diet, understand which supplements and workouts are best for you, and discover how your genes inform your ... Read the full story, hit here

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Microsoft device stores digital info as DNA

Microsoft is on its way to replacing data centers with DNA. The company andresearchers from the University of Washington have successfully automated the process to translate digital information into DNA and back to bits. They now have the first, full end-to-end automated DNA storage device. And while there's room for improvement, Microsoft hopes this proof-of-concept willadvance DNA storage technology.In its first run, the $10,000 prototype converted "HELLO" into DNA. The device first encoded the .. Read the full story

Monday, April 1, 2019

What It’s Like to Use a DNA Test Kit to Travel Through Your Family Tree

In recent years, DNA testing has become big business beyond just the saliva kits your relatives gift each other around the holidays. Ancestry travel options like genealogy tours through European homelands are turning even non-travelers into DNA tourists with the help of those tests. Following a DNA test, a genealogist or tour operator could take... Read the full story, hit here