Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

6 July 2016: Forgotten Soldiers in a box of old postcards July 6, 2016

My father passed away a little over a month ago and so we’ve started the long process of organizing his belongings.  Dad was a bit of a pack rat but what he did have, I’m finding, was some very odd and interesting items. While home this past weekend I was looking through a box of vintage postcards he’d had and found an odd collection of what look like picture postcards from a military unit stationed in the South Pacific.  From the uniforms I’m going to guess they were taken during World War One.  Wondering who these men might have been I googled US Military in the South Pacific during WWI and discovered that we were indeed fighting there during WWI.  I have to admit, I don’t think I’d ever heard that in school.

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According to Wikipedia:

The Asian and Pacific theatre of World War I consisted of various naval battles and the Allied conquest of German colonial possessions in the Pacific Ocean and China. The most significant military action was the careful and well-executed Siege of Tsingtao in what is now China, but smaller actions were also fought at Bita Paka and Toma in German New Guinea. All other German and Austrian possessions in Asia and the Pacific fell without bloodshed. Naval warfare was common; all of the colonial powers had naval squadrons stationed in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. These fleets operated by supporting the invasions of German-held territories and by destroying the East Asia Squadron.  One of the first land offensives in the Pacific theatre was the Occupation of German Samoa in August 29 and 30 1914 by New Zealand forces. The campaign to take Samoa ended without bloodshed after over 1,000 New Zealanders landed on the German colony, supported by an Australian and French naval squadron.

I’m not sure how much involvement American troops had in these actions but I have to assume we were there in some capacity.  I mean, we’re Americans … we generally don’t sit on the sidelines well.

Where did these postcards come from?  I’m not sure.  Dad could have just picked them up someplace because they looked cool but that seems unlikely.  A few of the other cards in the box were addressed to my great uncle Theodore VanSickles (Husband of Dorothy Pauline Wells – Daughter of Williams Rogers Wells) so maybe one of the men in this unit was a friend of his.

So what clues do I have as to who these men might be?  Well, there is writing on the back of two cards.  The first one is:

img528On the back of the card above with the men in the field is written: “I am all so on this picture were the x is. Please write soon.  From your loving son John.”

img531The only other card with writing on it is this one:

img526It says: “This is a picture of three XX Co. when doing a guard. No. 1 is James A Moore.  2. Mr. Lawrence and 3 Corporal McNally.   From John.  P.S. The next letter you write, why xxx me know how many cards that I have sent you while I was in the Army.”

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From this I know these cards are of an Army unit. Unfortunately the last name of Lawrence and McNally aren’t much help and neither is James Moore as it’s a very common name.  So here I am posting them on the internet in the hopes that maybe a family member of a man in these photos might find me so I can find a good home for these cards.  Plus I’d really love to know more about what these men were doing during their service to our country.

Here are the rest of the cards:

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img540 img543 img541 img539 img538 img537 img536 img535 img534 img533 img532 img527-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

2 July 2016: Using Gedmatch.com to find my cousins July 2, 2016

I’ve posted about my experiences using FamilyTreeDNA.com before.  Their site is fine but of course you’re limited to matches of people who’ve uploaded their DNA to that site only.  To widen my DNA net a little more, I downloaded my DNA info from FamilyTreeDNA and uploaded it to GedMatch.com.

GedMatch.com is a free site.  Refreshing, no?  But it’s not exactly user-friendly.  First of all their dashboard page is totally confusing if you don’t have a degree in genetics.  Be that as it may, it was pretty easy to follow their directions on how to download my data from FamilyTreeDNA and upload it onto GedMatch … which was what I thought would be the difficult part.  However GedMatch does not appear to notify you when you have DNA matches in their system.  I’d uploaded my DNA file a while back and was told it would take a few days to upload into their system.  I was never notified that it had been processed and so … completely forgot about it until a few days ago.

Here’s what the main page looks like after you log in:

Gedmatch.com

Gedmatch.com

HINT #1:  When they say to write down you Kit Number …. DO IT.  You have to have that number for everything.

It was yesterday I found the little sticky note with my DNA Kit Number jotted down on it which was what reminded me I’d never heard back from GedMatch.  So I logged back on to the site to see if I’d had any matches.  Looking at the options on the Dashboard had me a little lost.  I expected something like “See Your Matches.”  No, it seems the best way to see your DNA matches is to click on GEDCOM + DNA Matches.  First I’ll say that the best way to search and also be found is to upload a GedCom file for your ancestors.  How do you to this?  Well, if you use any sort of genealogy computer program you can export a gedcom file from it, which is what I did.  The GedCom contained all the names of my ancestors going back 12 generations.  I uploaded the file and connected it to my Kit Number … remember I told you to write down that Kit number!

So after I clicked on GEDCOM + DNA Matches, this is what I get:

My GedMatch Matches

My GedMatch Matches

For the privacy of my matches I’ve blacked out their private info.  I’ll just say they give names and email addresses.  You can click on the number under the column “GEDCOM ID” to get more info on that member.

Individual Detail Display Gedcom member

Again, I blacked out the info for their privacy.  It was this one, about 5 or 6 down on my list, that caught my attention.  They’re from Lanarkshire, Scotland!!!  Yes, that’s where the trail goes cold on my Geoghan Family.  I sent this member and email this morning with all my Geoghan info to see if it rang any genealogical bells for them.  Wish me luck!

So what else can you do on Gedmatch?

I’m not really into the technical DNA stuff but I like to see a good pie chart.  If you click on “Admixture – Heritage” and select the Eurogenes project, this the kind of report you’ll get:

GedMatch - EuroGenes Report for me

GedMatch – EuroGenes Report for me

Looks a lot like the report I got from FamilyTree DNA (See below)

Mtdan Frequency map close up

So what else is on GedMatch?  On the same “Admixture – Heritage” there are several projects to pick from.  Here’s what the MDLP Project looks like:

MDLP Project

MDLP Project

You’re definitely going to want to click on the “Click here for more information” link.  When you do, it takes you to Wikipedia where all those numbers are explained.  My breakdown goes as follows:

  • 40.18% … ENF: the component of the ancient European Neolithic Farmers with the peak in the ancient samples of LBK culture (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest values have been detected in Sardinians, Corsicans and Basques.
  • 25.97% … WHG-UHG: the native component of the ancient European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (Lazaridis et al. 2014, Haak et al. 2015). Among the modern populations – the highest percentage in the population of Estonians, Lithuanians, Finns and others.
  • 21.26% … ANE: component from North-Eurasian component by interpolating the non-East-Asian part of Native Americans’ ancestry.
  • 10.59% … Caucas – Gedrosia: identical to Pontikos’s Caucasus-Gedrosia cluster
  • 0.93% … NearEast: the modal component of Middle Easterners
  • 0.50% … Paleo-African: the modal component of African Pygmies and Bushmen
  • 0.47% … Amerindian: the modal component of the Native American
  • 0.09% … Oceanian: the modal component of the aboriginal inhabitants of Oceania, Austronesian, Melanesia and Micronesia(the peak in modern Papuans and Australian Aborigines)

Basically, I’m European … duh … knew that.  I’m definitely not Native American.  Would be nice though.

Here’s what the Dodecad Project looks like:

Dodecad ProjectThis one seems pretty spot on with what I know about my family.   There are a few other projects that give you different pie charts but they’re all pretty similar.

There are also comparisons that you can do between your DNA test kit and someone else’s. I did it between me and the gal from Lanarkshire.  There were a couple of other matches but really distant looking from the numbers.

There’s also a test called “Are your parent’s related?” Of course I had to check that one out.  Good news …..

Are your parents relatedI see there is something called Tier 1 membership which you have to pay for.  To be honest I can’t see that paying the $10 gets you much other than helping support the site.

So … If you’re a relation of mine and have your DNA results from another site, upload your DNA data onto GedMatch.com and let’s see if we’re related!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.