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How siblings can get different DNA results from testing

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on August 25th, 2017

I have struggled for some time trying to wrap my brain around how to use DNA in genealogy research.  I couldn’t understand how my sisters and brother and I could end up with different DNA results since we all had the same parents!

That is, I couldn’t understand this issue until I read this article.  The author suggests thinking about your DNA as a series of beads.  It then goes from there to explain visually (which is how I learn best) how you and your siblings can end up with very different DNA results because you get a random assignment of DNA from both of your parents.

I would highly recommend this article if you too have been a bit confused.  Up until now I thought the reason why the DNA testing companies pushed the idea of multiple siblings getting tested was based on financial gain, not for any real genealogical reason (yes, I am a bit of a cynic!)  Now I get why it is important and useful.

I immediately sent one of my sisters and my brother an email asking them to take “the spit test” as I so nicely put it.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing what we learn.  Happy research!


Historical Maine Newspaper Online link

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on August 11th, 2017

Our genealogy volunteer Lynne Holland found a very useful article for Maine researchers at The Ancestor Hunt blog – here is the link.    The author provides a nice summary of historical Maine newspapers online.  While the newspapers identified are not all of the historical newspapers in Maine, it is a good representative list and definitely worth reviewing.

You may also want to check out the digitized local history collection available via the Curtis Library website.  You can find the collection here .  It includes town reports and town directories as well as local maps identifying property owners.  Additionally, it has a link to the Snow Index which is an index to microfilm of the Brunswick weekly newspapers for 1853 through December 1960.  Happy research!



I did it!

Posted by Elisabeth Doucett on July 28th, 2017

Well, I did it!  My last blog provided information about what to keep and what to throw away when you are trying to clean out family papers and photographs.  Immediately after writing that blog I took a week’s “staycation” at home.  The weather wasn’t great (a potential hazard of summers in Maine) so I decided to jump full-throttle into Project “Clean-Out-the-Family-Stuff”.

Here’s how I worked:

  • I took one pile or one box or one bag of photos or old news clippings or old papers and emptied it out on to the sofa next to me. I never looked at anything other than the pile next to me because if I did I would have immediately been overwhelmed and come to a screeching halt!
  • I sorted completely through that pile.
    • Anything that I didn’t think should be saved immediately went into a garbage bag or a shredding bag. If I didn’t know the name of a person in a photo was, the photo was thrown out or put in a pile for family members to research.  I trusted myself to make the correct decision about keep or throw.  If I made a mistake I decided ahead of time it was ok because if the photo or clipping stayed where it was no one would ever have seen it anyway.  That was a very freeing way of approaching the project.
    • I sorted all items that I was keeping into piles (based on subject) and labeled each pile.
    • I was remorseless with photographs. I asked both my sister and brother if they wanted photos of their kids.  They both said no because they had copies of everything.  So, unless I wanted a specific photo of a nephew or niece, into the shredding pile it went.
    • Once I finished putting like items in a pile, I put the pile into a file folder with its subject name on it. The folder then went into a box.  This kept my room from getting too crowded with stuff.
  • Once I finished a pile I started immediately on the next pile. I worked three hours on each bad weather day and finished in a week – amazing.  This is a project that I’ve avoided for ages.

Here is the photo of the materials that will be going either to a shredder or into the garbage/recycling.  The final count was six bags and a much emptier basement.

The next step will involve going through the labeled folders and making sure the labels are right and make sense so other family members can find what they want if they go through the files.  I will also make sure I write on the back of any photo (in pencil) the name of the people in the photo if that hasn’t already been done.

Some folders will get made into albums, some will get digitized, and some will stay in folders in boxes.  But, they will be labeled and identified for the next generation and they can decide if they want to keep them or not.  I will feel like I’ve done the best job I can passing on the family stuff to the next generation in a way that will actually let them use that “stuff”.  Good luck with your sorting efforts and I will tell you that it feels REALLY good to have done this!