Saturday, September 29, 2012

DNA Testing for Genealogy

This is not an area I feel confident speaking on, so I have found some reliable [I believe] articles that are written in a language we can all understand. Just copy and paste the following link which allows you to read through all four posts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An IRISH Story

The Eagle has landed

In 1725 a very poor widow called Jane Houston was \"just about\" managing to live in Ballyboley, County Antrim { Her less than useless husband had managed to drown himself in a ditch one night, while returning home very drunk} and at a time of severe famine in the north of Ireland was finding it hard to survive with her four young sons. She managed to stay alive and even married again but eventually decided to take her family to America. Under the Ulster custom of Tenant Right she was entitled to be paid for the improvements she had made to her small farm and this provided enough for the passage money to the New World from the port of Larne.

The Houston boys grew up in New York and like many other Ulster immigrants they moved south and west. One went down through the Alleghenny Mountains to Virginia. Samuel Houston married Elizabeth Paxton, and in 1793 at Timber Ridge Virginia, their fifth child, Sam Houston was born. The Houstons moved on to Tennessee in 1807, and it was there that Sam Houston would come into contact with the Cherokee Indians.

At that time the dictator of Mexico, General Santa Anna led an army of 5,000 men north to solidify Mexico\'s control of the vast Texas territory which was being defended by a scattered force of American settlers. Sam Houston became the Commander In Chief of this settler army. Once the powerful Mexican army arrived in the settlement of San Antonio, it found itself confronted by a force of 182 men, mostly of Ulster-Scots descent who had taken up defensive positions in the ruined church at the Alamo.

They were led by the brave young Colonel William Travis and among them were Jim Bowie whose family came from Aughnacloy and Davy Crockett whose roots were in the Strabane and Donegal, both sons of Tyrone. For the next 13 days they repulsed repeated assaults, delaying the advance of the Mexican army, until they were finally overrun by the superior force. The Mexicans paid a high price for taking the Alamo loosing 1600 killed in the process. The Alamo defenders bought precious time for the remaining American forces to consolidate and prepare for an offensive strike.

The defenders of the Alamo were to all perish before Houston could reach them, but subsequently his forces defeated the Mexican General Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and thereby secured the independence of Texas. Sam Houston, direct descendant of the Houstons emigrants of Ballyboley,now a hero, was to become the first President of Texas and passed into American folklore. Santa Anna was defeated and the future of Texas was secure as part of the Union.

In his honor a small village was renamed, Houston, and was to grow into a city in the 20th century with the discovery of oil and in time became America\'s Space Centre. As Apollo touched down on the moon\'s surface the waiting World received that now infamous message
\"Houston, Tranquility base, the Eagle has landed\" so the very first word ever spoken by a mortal man from the surface of another planet was the name of a poor widow woman from Ballyboley in County Antrim.

Quite a journey

Thanks to Ulster Ancestry at for the above.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Unpuzzling Your Past - Fall 2012

TAKE THE BEST JOURNEY OF YOUR LIFE - STEP BACK INTO YOUR PAST! Celebrate and preserve your own history by building your family tree. At some point in life, people feel compelled to learn more about the individuals in their family who came before them. What makes genealogical research even more interesting is seeing the impact that your ancestors had on history, and on your own life. And just what did you inherit from your ancestors? Your physical appearance, likes or dislikes, health, even your occupation may be traced back to your ancestors. Every person is a part of history. Just by living their lives, they created history. What about you? You, too, are creating history, even as you live it. While you are a descendant of the past, you are a parent of the future.

Records are history's best storytellers. It is therefore necessary to develop research skills and become a good 'detective'. It is also a great deal of fun! These classes are designed to develop your research skills & teach you to think like a researcher. The classes enable you to decide what records to search for, why you need each of these records, how to find them, and then how to use them.

Unpuzzling Your Past is the course you SHOULD start with - whether a beginner or a seasoned researcher! You won't believe what you've been missing! You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!! What if you had to prove a major event in *your* life? How would you do it? With records. Your ancestors also created records. They did many of the same things you do. Later in their lives they may have married and had children. Some of them hunted for gold, others worked in mills or farmed, still others left their homeland to make a new life in North America. If you had to prove your ancestors had these experiences, that they actually lived, how would you do it? Well, you would become a family history detective.

This class is suitable for beginners and the advanced who’ve hit that ‘brick wall’. This is a good 'starter' class, and the one you should start with, but it is also designed to assist more experienced researchers who are at a stand-still with their current 'brick wall'. I will say again - You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!!

For most of us the great fun of genealogy & family history research is in the thrill of the chase - the search for new details. We gather reams of photocopies. We have copious numbers of binders full of hard copy. We have too many notes scribbled on too many scraps of paper, and we carry impossible numbers of facts/dates/locations in our heads. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the amount of information we have collected or inherited. Sometimes we have nothing. Obviously the more we know, the more we have to work with. BUT, Pat started with her parents and grandparents names, two locations (on two different continents), a couple unconfirmed dates, and that was it!! It *is* possible.

This course has been thoughtfully developed to help those with too much or too little information. If your research has progressed over a long period of time, do you still have some spaces you've had to leave blank or are uncertain about? Learn how to start, organize, document and cite your source(s) properly. Discover those missed clues or miscellaneous errors, and learn about new sources recently made available to the public (including many on the Internet - some that are available only on the Internet). Learn how to do all this in the most cost effective manner possible! There are times when you must pay for an official search. There are many *more* times when you can perform that search yourself, if you just knew how. This course will teach you those 'how's'.

Experienced genealogists
Take a look at all the work you've done or inherited and think of what you might yet accomplish! Is part of the reason you do family history research so it will be preserved, passed on and added to? Is your work clear, concise and presented in an organized, understandable format? Will the next person who looks at, or inherits it, be able to understand exactly what you found, and exactly where you found it? Will they be able to, and want to, continue your work? Do you have any recorded information, but are unable to remember where you found it or who told it to you? Have you been given any names, dates, locations but you have no idea where that information was found? If you knew, you could go back to those records, double check for accuracy and perhaps add some new details the original researcher, or story-teller, missed, misread or misinterpreted!

Only you know how much time, expertise, money, frustration, and intense happiness you will or have invested in researching and preserving your family history. Wouldn't it be terrible if it was all disposed of because it's value was not readily apparent? It happens every day. How many precious old photos, books or other memorabilia have you seen in second hand shops or garage sales? Your talents and your hard work need to be preserved and your descendants will thank you - after all, how much would you appreciate even one piece of well documented research?

If you are just getting started, congratulations, as you have no bad habits to break and this class will teach you all the good habits. For those of you who have spent decades doing research, isn't that research worth the investment of a little more time in order to preserve it for future generations? Do not despair if you're body of work needs attention - you are certainly not alone - but Do Not Delay any longer. Get into this class - quick! Student enrollment is kept low to accommodate student/instructor interaction. Students work on their own family research.

These courses are not designed to be the cheapest in the world - we all know that you usually get what you pay for. They *are* designed to be the BEST. Pat is most concerned with giving you the best and most recent tools available [including those on the Internet], and equipping you with the knowledge you need to take your research as far as you'd like. She also believes in having fun, and there is always much laughter shared by all. Additionally, following each one of the four class sessions, you will receive a set of complete and comprehensive notes covering the details taught and discussed in that class. This means you will not have to attempt to take notes during the class. Instead, you can devote your full time and attention to listening, learning, participating, and sharing in your own successes. By the end of the Unpuzzling Your Past course, you will have about 75 pages of notes filled with the most important details discussed. Additionally your notes contain live hyperlinks to all the websites we dealt with during the course. This is so helpful because you just need to click on the hyperlink and you are taken directly to that website! No chance of making an error typing some of those very long URL's (location addresses) into your web browser.

Students continually express their gratitude and appreciation to Pat. They do this in words, and by continuing to enroll in Pat's more and more advanced courses. They realize her knowledge is vast, and that she goes 'above and beyond' for her students. They also realize that her notes alone are worth many hundreds of dollars - and appreciate that they can continue to refer to those notes, forever! Pat clearly loves what she does ... and it shows. Instructor Pat Ryan MCCSG. Contact her by email or call 695-2241 or her cell 533-3941. You can pay your registration fees at the office inside the front doors at Jack McKenzie School, 3838 Buckingham Drive East IF you miss the Community Association registration date. McKenzie School is on the corner of Buckingham & Windsor Park Road. It is however, a very good idea to contact Pat before the course begins, either by email or phone. Cheers!

Jack McKenzie School Multi-Purpose Room (upstairs)
Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 02, 09 .............. 7:15 - 9:15pm