My Results from MyHeritageDNA

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Just checked the MyHeritageDNA website and learned that my DNA test results are available. This makes the third DNA test that I have taken; the other two being AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA.

According to MyHeritageDNA, I am 56.9% Finnish, 30.2% North and West European, and 12.7% South Europe (7.1% Iberian and 5.6% Sardinian).

WDH Ethnicity Estimate from MyHeritge 2017 03 14

This compares with my results from AncestryDNA: Finland/Northwest Russia, 57%; Europe West, 26%; Italy/Greece, 7%; Scandanavia, 4%; Iberian Peninsula, 3%; Great Britain, 2; and European Jewish, <1%.

FamilyTreeDNA’s  FamilyFinder test provided the following results: Finland and Northern Siberia, 64%; Western and Central Europe, 27%; and Southern Europe, 14%.

The ethnicity results match up quite well. Any differences are due to differences in the panels of people being tested by each DNA testing service.

If you are interested in doing DNA testing, you might want to learn about current turnaround times from my experience: Right now, MyHeritage has the fastest turnaround time, providing results in about three weeks. AncestryDNA is currently taking up to eight weeks to run a test through its lab, while FamilyTreeDNA falls in between those extremes.

Latest on MyHeritage DNA Test

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Here is the latest report on the progress of my recent DNA test at MyHeritageDNA:
Raw data produced

Your DNA data is being loaded into our highly secured server and analyzed by both automated algorithms and our data scientists.

Once the raw data is produced, we will have a digital file associated with your kit number.

Our algorithms calculate your Ethnicity Estimate, by estimating which pieces of your DNA originate from different regions in the world. We also try to find matches between your DNA and the DNA of all other users who took our test, or uploaded the raw data of kits provided by other services.

 

History Leading to Finland’s Independence in 1917

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This year, 2017, is the centennial year of Finland’s independence. This has peaked my interest in learning more about the history of the country of my paternal grandparents. It is timely therefore that the March 2017 issue of Finnish American Reporter published an article about that history. According to an Editor’s Note accompanying the article, it was compiled from several entries about Finland on the website Wikipedia. The Note also points  out that Compiler Kaj Rekola modified some of the material to enhance readability and flow.

Following Finland’s Path to Independence

Historical evidence shows that Finland became the eastern part of the Swedish realm around the year 1250. The term Sweden-Finland has been coined to indicate that Finland was an integral part of the kingdom, not a colony or a separate province as some nationalistic historians have claimed. The Baltic and the Gulf of Bothnia did not separate but rather connected the western and eastern part of the Kingdom ol Sweden.

Already in the 1500s. Turku was the second-largest city in the kingdom. The king’s subjects in both parts of the realm had exactly the same rights and responsibilities. The 600-year Swedish rule ended with the so-called Finnish war in 1808-1809.

Under Tsarist Russia

In 1809. Russia attacked Sweden at the behest of emperor Napoleon, to punish Sweden for refusing to join Napoleon’s continental blockade against Great Britain, a conflict that became later known as the “Finnish War.” In 1809, the lost territory of Sweden became the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire when the Finnish Diet, assembled in Porvoo, recognized Czar Alexander I as Grand Duke of Finland, thus replacing the Swedish king as the ruler.

For his part, Alexander confirmed the rights of the Finns, in particular, promising freedom to pursue their customs and religion and to maintain their identity, saying: “Providence having placed us in possession of the Grand Duchy of Finland, we have desired by the present act to confirm and ratify the religion and the fundamental laws of the land, as well as the privileges and rights which each class in the said Grand Duchy in particular, and all the inhabitants in general, be their position high or low, have hitherto enjoyed according to the constitution. We promise to maintain all these benefits and laws firm and unshaken in their full force.”

This promise was maintained by all successors to the Russian throne (as Grand Dukes of Finland); indeed, Czar Alexander II even amplified the powers of the Finnish Diet in 1869. The status of Finland as an autonomous Grand Duchy was unique within the Russian empire. It enjoyed its own government, kept the Swedish-era laws, Lutheran religion, had its own army, and, since 1864, its own currency, and a customs border against Russia. The Russian czar was the head of state as the Grand Duke of Finland, resembling the role of the English sovereign in relation to Canada or Australia.

The policy of Russification of Finland

The “Russification of Finland” policy (1899-1905 and 1908-1917) was a governmental policy of the Russian Empire aimed at limiting the special status of the Grand Duchy of Finland and possibly terminating its political autonomy and cultural uniqueness. It was part of a larger policy of Russification pursued by late 19th-early 20th century Russian governments, which tried to abolish cultural and administrative autonomy of non-Russian minorities within the empire. The two Russification campaigns evoked widespread Finnish resistance, starting with petitions and escalating to strikes, passive resistance (including draft resistance) and eventually active resistance. Finnish opposition to Russification was one of the main factor that ultimately led to Finland’s declaration of independence in 1917.

The February Manifesto of 1899

The February Manifesto was an imperial decree which Czar Nicholas II issued on 15 February 1899. It was the starting point of the implementation of the Russification policy. Having enjoyed prosperity and control over their own affairs, and having remained loyal subjects for nearly a century, the manifesto was cause for Finnish despair.

The manifesto was forced through the Finnish senate by the deciding vote of the senate president, an appointee of the tsar–and after the governor-general of Finland, Nicolay Bobrikov, had threatened a military invasion and siege. While ostensibly affirming the Finns’ rights in purely local matters, the manifesto asserted the authority of the Russian state in any and all matters, which could be considered to “come within the scope of the general legislation of the empire.”

Russification policies enacted included:

– The February Manifesto asserted the I imperial government’s right to rule Finland without the consent of local legislative bodies, under which:

– Only Russian currency and stamps were allowed;

– Russian was made official language of administration (in 1900, there were an estimated 8,000 8,000 Russians in all of Finland, of a population of 2.700,000).The Finns saw ‘this as placing the Russian minority in charge;

– The Orthodox Russian Church was the church of state, including, for example, criminalizing the act of subjecting a follower of the Orthodox Church to a Lutheran church service;

– The Press was subject to Russian censorship;

– The Finnish army was made subject to Russian rules of military service.

– The Language Manifesto of 1 900, the decree by Emperor Nicholas II, which made Russian the language of administration of Finland.

– The conscription law, signed by Nicholas II in July 1901 incorporating the Finnish army into the imperial army. This triggered a surge in the emigration of conscripting age young men who feared being sent to the Russo-Japanese war, which raged in 1904-05.

From April 1903 until the Russian Revolution of 1905, the governor-general was granted dictatorial powers. In June 1904 Eugen Schauman assassinated Bobrikov, the incumbent governor-general. The imperial government responded with a purge of opponents of Russification within the Finnish administration and more stringent censorship. However the resistance campaign also had some successes, notably a de facto reversal of the new conscription law.

The Russification campaign was suspended and partially reversed in 1905-07 during a period of civil unrest throughout the Russian empire following Russian defeats in the Russo-Japanese War. In Finland, a unicameral democratic parliament elected through universal suffrage (the first in Europe), replaced the Swedish era Diet comprising the four estates (the nobility, clergy, burgers, and peasants). The Russian government’s reversal calmed the revolutionary fervor – for a while.

The turmoil during the initial period of Russification probably contributed to my grandfather’s decision to sell his farm in 1902 and move his family to America. Evert Huuskonen probably didn’t face conscription, but other elements of Russification probably would have bothered him.

The more we learn about the times of our ancestors, the more we understand why they did some of the things they did during their lifetimes.

One more note: Kaj Rekola is a professional translator specializing in translating Finnish and Swedish to English. He lives in Mountain View, California.

Using Google Translate To Understand Email in Finnish

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On Saturday (04 Mar 2017), I sent an email in English to a cousin in Finland wishing her a happy 70th birthday.

On Monday, I received the following reply:

Rakkaat sukulaiseni Wally Huskonen js James _______ siellä Ameriikassa.

Suuret kiitokseni 70 vuotis päiväni muistamisesta ja onnentoivotuksista. Varmaankin sisareni Heli on siitä Teille viestitellyt.
pyydän välittämään tervehdykseni kaikille sukulaisilleni sinne meren taakse.

Asun mieheni Mikon kanssa kulttuuripitäjä Tuusulassa. Laitan Teille juhlapäivän kuvia, kunhan ne valmistuvat.

Vielä kerran lämpimät kiitokseni kun muistitte minua.

I don’t read Finnish, so I turned to Google Translate to understand what my cousin was saying in her message.  Here is the Google Translate translation:

Dear relatives Wally Huskonen js [and] James _______ there for [in] America.

Big thanks to [for] the 70-year remembrance of my day and good wishes. Probably sister Heli is about you viestitellyt [has corresponded]. I call forward my greetings to all my relatives in the back of the sea [across the Atlantic].

I live with my husband Mikko [who is the] cultural officer in Tuusula.

I’ll put you [post to you] feast day images, [birthday photos] as long [as soon as] as they are completed. Once again, my warmest thanks to you remembered me.

Not a perfect translation, but understandable.  And it is available as fast as typing Google Translate into your browser, then copying and pasting the Finnish or other language text into the translate window.  When you hit return, up pops Google’s best effort at translation. It’s that quick and easy.

Wait! There’s more! If you use web-based Gmail, there is a button to click on to instantly translate your foreign language email message into English.

Thank you Google Translate.

Now Online: Meyer’s German Gazetteer

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Meyer’s German Gazetteer, long an important tool for geographical research, is now online, indexed and fully searchable! That’s good news, but here is even more good news: While original book is in German, this interface is translated into English.

If you are seeking a geographical place in the old German Empire (1871-1918), check out this new online resource: “Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des Deutschen Reichs.” Go to: http://www.meyersgaz.org/

This resource will give you the location of the village, state, civil registry office, and parish e (if the town had one), as well as other useful information.

I’ve already started to use this valuable new resource. It is very user friendly.

Test at MyHeritageDNA is in Lab

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Today, got word that my test at MyHeritageDNA is in the lab for processing. That means there are only three more steps before I will see the results from this new testing service (introduced in late 2016). Here is the schedule so far and continuing:

Here is the explanation provided by MyHeritageDNA for the testing process:
DNA extraction in progress
Your DNA sample is a collection of your cells, and your DNA is tucked away into the nucleus of each of these cells. In order to analyze the DNA molecule we first need to extract it from the cells contained in your sample.

We begin the extraction process by transferring your sample onto a deep well plate containing a total of 96 samples. We inject the samples with a special substance that eats away at any contaminants on the sample, leaving it clean and ready for extraction. Finally, our extraction robot separates the DNA from any other materials in the sample.

If both vials of your DNA sample are readable, we will now store one in our robotic freezer in case it’s needed later, while the other will continue to the next steps of the lab process.

I’m looking forward to seeing my MyHeritage test results and comparing them with my AncestryDNA results.

Is Fayetta’s Death Date Wrong on Her Headstone?

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If you want an example of a unique combination of given and family names, I would offer Fayetta Salome Flaugh as a good example.Nearly 20 years ago, I attended a meeting of the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group Greater Cleveland (CAGG for short) to learn about genealogy database programs. Several members were demonstrating features of the programs they were using for building their family trees.

One member, Dianna Jo, showed a slide involving two of her ancestors, Fayetta Salome Flaugh and her husband Andrew Betts, from Mercer County, Pennsylvania. The names really jumped out at me, because only days earlier I had seen Fayetta and Andrew on a family tree drawn by my mother.

After the meeting, I introduced myself to Dianna Jo. It turns out that we are fourth cousins, once removed. She had collected considerably more information than I had on our common ancestors and she was very generous about sharing information.

Now, back to Fayetta’s death date. In trees on Ancestry.com, several researchers, including Dianna Jo, have used 1913 as Fayetta’s death date. This makes sense because Find A Grave has a page for Fayetta with her headstone added by another cousin, Lois. The headstone says very clearly that she died in 1913.

Other researchers have stated that she died “after 1910” because Fayetta was last enumerated in the Federal Census for 1910.

I set out to find the proper year, and if possible, the month and day as well.

A couple years ago, Ancestry.com introduced a database of Pennsylvania death certificates between 1906 and 1964. I have searched this database in the past, and found dozens of death certificates for relatives from Mercer and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania. No such luck with Fayetta Betts.

A Google search revealed the website of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which includes indices of deaths in Pennsylvania from 1906 through 1966. I thought I would try there, thinking that Fayetta might have been overlooked somehow when the Ancestry death certificate database was compiled.

I found nothing listed in the index for 1913, so I looked through 1914, and even 1912. Again nothing.

My next move was to check historical newspapers. I have had considerable success learning about the life and times of my ancestors in Mercer County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I tried searching on NewspaerArchive.com (a subscription site) with the name Fayetta Salome Betts, and various combinations of her initials and given names. Nothing.

Sometimes, you have better luck if you search with fewer search terms so I tried searching for Betts in Greenville between 1912 and 1915. I struck pay dirt with this search. There she was under “Mrs. Andrew Dingman.” Here is a screen capture of the relevant search result:
When I saw “Mary of Simons” (she was my great grandmother) and “Frank on the old ts homestead” (he was a great uncle) I knew that I had found what I was looking for. Clicking on the image brought up the newspaper page with Betts highlighted in an item under the heading Death Rolls. The death notice appeared on page 3 of  The Record-Argus (Greenville, Pennsylvania) for Monday, July 13, 1914. While Fayetta’s given name is not included in the article, all of her children line up perfectly, confirming that this item is about her.


This is a contemporaneous record of Fayetta’s death, hence I consider it to be reliable. I checked another paysite, Newspapers.com, and it had exactly the same item.

The headstone might have been created years after Fayetta was buried, and maybe relatives didn’t remember accurately the year she died.

Someday, I would like to visit the cemetery office and see if there is a burial record on file that has Fayetta’s death date. If so, I’m betting it will match the newspaper account, and the relative arranging for her headstone didn’t check with the office for a death date.

I am planning to circulate this post to cousins and see what they might report back about this little mystery.

Incidentally, I used a perpetual calendar website to check the days and dates in the newspaper (see above) and they squared up perfectly.

Attending Rootstech 2017–Virtually

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Tomorrow (Feb 8, 2017) I plan to tune into Rootstech 2017 from the comfort of my office via live streaming. Several presenters at this year’s event are scheduled for streaming. I have downloaded the schedule from the event’s website https://www.rootstech.org/. You too can check out the schedule here and below:

Streaming Schedule

Not able to attend in person? Several sessions at RootsTech 2017, including the general keynote sessions, will be streamed live on the home page of RootsTech.org. After the conference, recordings of these sessions will be posted on the website for a limited time.

See the streaming schedule below for times, session titles, and presenter names.

Wednesday

9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. | Innovator Summit General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Liz Wiseman

10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m. | Industry Trends and Outlook
Speakers: Craig Bott and Guest Panel

11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. | Innovation—Best Practices and Applications
Speaker: Cydni Tetro

Thursday

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Jonathan and Drew Scott

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. | Getting Started in Genealogy
Speaker: Kelli Bergheimer

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m. | DNA: The Glue That Holds Families Together
Speaker: Diahan Southard

1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. | DNA Matching on MyHeritage
Speaker: Dana Drutman

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. | Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available
Speaker: Lara Diamond

4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. | Family History Is Anything but Boring
Speakers: Crystal Farish and Rhonna Farrer

Friday

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m. | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Levar Burton, Special Guest Panel

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. | RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m. | Mothers, Daughters, Wives: tracing Female Lines
Speaker: Judy Russell

1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. | Censational Census Strategies
Speaker: Mary Kircher Roddy

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. | Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage
Speaker: Sunny Morton

4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. | Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records
Speaker: Jen Baldwin

Saturday

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m. | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Cece Moore, Buddy Valastro

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. | Journaling Principles That Work
Speaker: Steve Reed

1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. | Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher
Speaker: Crista Cowan

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. | Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy
Speaker: Katherine R. Wilson

Streaming Help

The stream will automatically refresh at the beginning of each session. If it does not, you will need to refresh the page manually by clicking the Refresh button on your browser.

In particular, I intend to view the presentations on DNA (several) and the comparison of genealogy database providers (Sunny Morton, Friday, 3 pm).

Researching Frank Morley Green’s WWI Service

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Frank Morley Green was my first cousin, once removed. He was born on 11 Jan 1896 in Pierpont, Ashtabula County, Ohio, when his father, Edwin Green, was 23 and his mother, Nellie White Green, was 20. As a child, I and my family often visited his home in Andover, and he and his wife were frequent visitors in our home. I knew he was a member of the local American Legion Post but I knew nothing of his military service.

Searching through military records on Ancestry.com, I first found his WWI draft registration. He registered on 5 Jun, 1917, while living in Andover. He was 21 years old at the time. Earlier, I had learned that he used the middle name Morley, and that was valuable in finding him among all the Frank Greens who had registered for the draft.

His draft registration card on Ancestry.com contains this information: He stated he was a farmer, cultivating gardens and raising poultry. When he registered, he had no dependents.

His status changed on 28 Nov 1917, when he married Persis (aka Peggy) Brooks in Andover. Even though he now had a wife, on 25 May 1918, he enlisted for service in the U.S. Army.

Finding a record of his service was relatively easy. It was documented by the Ohio Adjutant General in 1926-29 in the series of 23 volumes entitled The official roster of Ohio soldiers, sailors and marines in the world war, 1917-18. This record is also available on Ancestry.com which digitized the Ohio books, and also created a text version entitled Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918.


Here is how that source describes his service:

Enlistment date: 25 May 1918, Jefferson, Ohio, for service in the National Army. Infantry Replacement Regiment Cp Gordon Ga to 14 July 1918; Co D 163 Infantry to 17 Aug 1918; Co C 28 Infantry to –; Co C 11 Infantry to Discharge. Private. Defensive Sector. American Expeditionary Forces 22 July 1918 to 23 Apr 1919. Honorable discharge 16 May 1919.

This brief description indicates that he did serve in Europe, but does not specify if he participated in any battles.

After the war, he returned to America and was honorably discharged on May 16, 1919, when he was 23 years old. He returned to Andover where he operated a chicken hatchery, served on the Andover Bank board, and as mayor of the village.

I plan to revisit the life and times of Frank and Peggy Green in a future post.

My Military Service in the Cold War

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On January 10, 1962, I boarded a Lockheed Constellation airliner at Cleveland Hopkins airport and flew to Philadelphia with a packet of papers firmly in my grasp. The packet included the one-way ticket for the flight and instructions for reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard training facility in Cape May, New Jersey.

I was met at the Philadelphia airport by a Coast Guardsman who directed me and several other recruits toward a bus for the approximately 2-hour ride to the CG base. I don’t remember many details, except that we arrived after dark. We were shuffled into the reception building and handed our uniforms. The next step was to get the “skin-head” haircut, which took less than 5 minutes. Then we marched to our barracks where we made up our beds and stowed our gear. By then, it was time for lights out.

For the next three months, I learned how to march, make my bed, stow my gear, handle a rifle, and row a longboat. We also had swimming lessons and physical training. The chow was pretty good, and every night we slept more or less comfortably in our bunk beds.

Two months and 27 days later, I was considered a seaman apprentice, the next lowest rank in the Coast Guard. And that was the end of my active service. More about that in a minute.

For many years, I believed that I chose to serve in the Coast Guard because my draft number was coming up for service in Viet Nam. Just recently, I did some date checking on the Internet and discovered that I would have been drafted not for Viet Nam, but for service during the Cold War.  America didn’t really become entangled in Viet Nam until August of 1964. For the record, I also learned that the period between 1953 and 1964 was the only time in U.S. history that there was a draft in place during a prolonged peacetime period. For background, go here.

So much for the accuracy of my recollections from 50+ years ago.

Today, we are facing growing global tension as our new President talks about getting more involved in destroying the radical Islamic terrorist movement known as ISIS. Sooner or later, he will probably call for more  “boots on the ground.”  What does that mean? Many more young Americans will be wounded or worse as they are pressed into serving his agenda.

Returning to my situation in 1962, I now realize that it was more likely that I would have been sent overseas to Europe rather than Viet Nam. But I do recall that I was not enthusiastic about military service. I also recall that I didn’t know one other person my age–from classmates in high school or college–who like me was facing the draft.

At the time, there was a program called the Critical Skills Program for potential draftees. If you were employed in a critical industry or had a critical skill, you were allowed to enlist in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard for a program of basic training followed by six years of reserve duty on an inactive basis. That is what I chose to do: enlist in the Coast Guard under the Critical Skills Program.

At Cape May, half my training company, Kilo Company,  was made up of 21- to 23-year-olds with college degrees working in jobs considered important to the national defense. I had been hired upon graduation from Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) to be the Engineering Editor for Foundry Magazine, the trade journal serving the American metalcasting industry. In that job, I reported on new technology foundries could use to make large and small castings for building airplanes, ships, tanks, and other war-fighting equipment. After my basic training at Cape May, I returned to Cleveland to work for Foundry Magazine.

We don’t have a draft in effect today, but all men turning 18 in America today are required to register so that our government will know who is available when and if a draft is reinstituted. For details, go here.

Hopefully, there won’t be a draft and large numbers of our young people won’t be permanently damaged or die in the service of America. But in these early days of the Trump administration, I worry that that worst case scenario may be ahead of us.