Saturday, April 25, 2015

Approaches to DNA & Genealogy

DNA, genetics, genealogy, CeCe Moore, WRHS

Today, I attended a day conference on Genetic Genealogy with CeCe Moore, The Genetic Genealogist. She did mention Y-DNA and mtDNA, but most of the day was spent examining autosomal DNA and how to use it to break down brick walls. 

Since I couldn't record Ms. Moore's talk here is an episode of Naked Genetics in which Professor Mark Jobling, from the University of Cambridge, discusses how academic DNA sequencing intersects with genealogy research. While he understands that people want to know where their ancestors come from, the reality is that our ancestors didn't come from one specific location - they came from everywhere. The only ancestors we can trace with any confidence are those that passed down their Y chromosome and their mtDNA which represent only two individuals. This segment opens the program.

Then unless you are super keen on genetics, skip ahead to 18:07 to hear Dr. Turi King discuss her research on the Y-chromosome. She uses this chromosome in connection with surnames to trace Norse Viking migrations.

I think Dr. Jobling would be surprised at how successful autosomal DNA can be, if enough people are tested and a paper trail can be found. On the other hand, the goals of genealogists and geneticists are quite different and there is no way a geneticist could take the time to piece together autosomal DNA from all their subjects. 

nb. a version of this post appeared on The Historian's Family in August 2014.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Scots in Medieval England

england's immigrants, scotland, report, paper, emigration, diaspora
England's Immigrants 1330-1550, a recently completed  research project, has created a database of immigrants to England. This database is available to the public and requires no university affiliation or login. You can read more about the project in the April 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine; read an article from the BBC; or listen to an interview with Dr. Mark Ormrod, the project manager, on a recent episode the History Extra Podcast.

It turns out that this project is actually a great source for learning about emigrants from Scotland. A search for people born in Scotland returned 3,389 results. It does appear if most of the entries come from mid-15th century documents. The first person in the list is Gilbert de Abbatia who was recorded at Sawtry, Normancross hundred, Huntingdonshire in 1453. The last named individual is Thomas Yoole who was recorded at Haisthorpe, Dickering wapentake, Yorkshire East Riding in 1451. For each person on the list one has the choice to view a summary which lists the place of residence, place or origin, full person record number, and a link to the original record. The full records adds fields for gender, occupation, relationships, notes, and biographical notes.

Although the database has abstracted data from the original records, it would still be useful to use in the classroom or for a research project. The dynamic search feature allows one to search for immigrants to England from as near as Ireland and as far as the Middle East. The individuals found could be used as a case study for a research paper or lecture. It might even be possible to create a comparative study by researching the experience of migrants to England in different time periods, different places of origins, or different places of settlement.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The SEB is now on Pinterest

pinterest, scottish emigration blog
I have come to the conclusion that I will never find the time to post about all the things I find that relate to the themes of this blog. Links and notes languish in all sorts of nooks and crannies in my computer. When I look at them to get an idea for a post, I realize (again) that many of the things I find - like pretty pictures of the Scottish countryside and recipes - aren't really "bloggable."

Pinterest seemed like the solution to this problem. I can pin the articles, sources, and podcasts that I think would be of interest to other members of the Diaspora where I - and anybody else - can find them. The current boards include pretty pictures of Scotland, Tartan items, recipes, research tips, and posters.

Look for the Scottish Emigration Blog on Pinterest.

Happy Pinning!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Not the Highland Clearances with Eric Richards

Dr. Eric Richards, Professor Emeritus of History at Flinders University (Australia), has written extensively on the Highland Clearances and recently served as Carnegie Trust Centenary Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands. His book, The Highland Clearances, recently out in a second edition, is an excellent summary of his research (and at $19 on Amazon, it is also very affordable, a real plus for an academic book). 

This above video is of Dr. Richards' keynote address at the Land and People in the Northern Highlands' Conference held at UHI in September 2014. In his address, Dr. Richards tries very hard not to talk about the Clearances and instead focuses on other aspects of Highland history and what might have been if the Clearances hadn't happened. His remarks begin at about the 8 minute mark.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Researching Scottish Emigrants and Ancestors with FamilySearch

FamilySearch, Scotland, Emigrants, Ancestors, Vital Records, Wiki, Research
FamilySearch is more than a database you can use to search for emigrants and ancestors. The FamilySearch Wiki allows people - like you and me - to share research tips and information about sources, not just at FamilySearch, but anywhere. As these pages are updated by users, pages for some subjects and localities may be more complete than others. There are pages for individual counties, for example Ayrshire and Inverness-shire. They have few pages devoted to topics in Scottish history like, Scottish Emigration and Immigration or research skills, like Scotland Handwriting. Most FamilySearch Wiki pages are devoted to records, for example Scotland CensusScotland Church Records and Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

To find more leads to books and documents that can help you find your target emigrant or ancestor, use the search box at the upper right hand corner of the page. If you have information to add to a page, be brave and do it. In order to edit a page, you must first be a registered user of FamilySearch and to use the rich editor box, you must have the most recent version of Firefox.


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