Where Are the Marriage Records for Saskatchewan?

Yesterday I went to the Saskatchewan Vital Records website to see if they had finally added their marriage index, and I was sad to see that nothing had changed.

The website still indicates that they will work on the Marriage index when they have completed the Death index.



Don’t get me wrong the site is great and I have been able to find numerous people in the Birth and Death index, but what is the hold-up on the marriage records?

Maybe we need to copy what they are doing in the US with Reclaim the Records. This is a group that is going after institutions that are making it difficult to access certain records.

I decided to go ahead and make a guess for the marriage year, filled out the forms, uploaded my picture ID and that was then I realized the price. They are charging me a whopping $55.00 for a marriage record. This has to be the most expensive genealogical record in Canada!


C’mon on Saskatchewan, follow Alberta’s lead, get those marriage indexes online and lets drop that price! You can do better than this.

*Featured image – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan   found on Wikimedia Commons.

Connecting Your DNA Matches Pt.2: The Clues

I already wrote about the visual tool offered by Bonnie at DNA RootSearch in an earlier blog post Connecting Your DNA Matches but I have more to say.

When I was looking at my results I realized I was getting clues that aren’t as easy to see on your Ancestry matches pages. These clues were grouping my matches in a way that I don’t think I would have easily noticed.

Let me explain.

I was reviewing a match of my mother’s at Ancestry and then looked for the same person on the graphic created by DNA RootSearch. Well, that’s when I had to write to Bonnie to get an understanding of what I was seeing. I noticed that there were people in the cluster created by DNA RootSearch that I was not seeing when looking at my Ancestry matches.



On Ancestry the match with Catherine contains 3 people.




This cluster from DNA RootSearch has 7 members that do not show up on Ancestry. DNA RootSearch provided me with two graphs, one with the names of my matches and another that did not. 


Bonnie explained to me that Ancestry will not show you Shared Matches with people who fall under 20 cM . As in the case above, none of these matches appear when I click on Shared Matches with Catherine, since they are all matches that fall UNDER 20 cM. But when I look at each of the people individual they all have Catherine as a shared match. Now if I was super observant and did a better job of tracking each and every person on the match list I likely could do this myself, but this would take more time than I have.

There is no way confirm on Ancestry that these people all connect with each other without asking them. The best way to confirm this cluster of matches is to have them upload to Gedmatch or FTDNA and then check the Chromosome browser to see if they match each other on the same segment. We all know how tricky it would be to get each of them to 1) respond to my message and 2) to upload to another site.

At this point I can see that this is a very interesting cluster that I would not have picked up on if it had not been for the graphic provided for by DNA RootSearch. It is a clue, not an answer, not a solution, but a breadcrumb trail that may be worth pursuing.

The Uncharted Territory of DNA Surprises

Guess what happened to me this week? Well, it may not be too hard to guess after reading the title… I sponsored a test for a 2nd cousin 1 removed with the testees nephew (who was as excited as I was) organizing everything.

Two days ago my email dinged with Ancestry alerting me that the results had arrived, and I thought “Let the discoveries begin!” Shortly thereafter a message arrived from said nephew, letting me know that he would be checking the results when he got off work. I decided to get a head-start and begin locating all the family connections.

The Surprise

And I have been absorbed ever since. You see the results did not match me or any other of the cousins that had tested.

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A match did show up to this person and they shared a grandfather/great grandfather in our DNA family tree. (This was a big clue in helping to pinpoint the break in our DNA tree.)



This chart was created after hearing about The McGuire Method created by Lauren McGuire on Blaine Bettinger’s blog. I used Lucid Chart to create mine which is free to use.


Now I had to figure out what I was seeing and do my best to explain it to the nephew. I was feeling overwhelmed, confused and shocked.

How do I pass this information along? Where was the disconnect in the family? I didn’t want to make any errors in my assessment so I posted a query on a Facebook page hoping someone would help me.

Thankfully there are many amazing genetic genealogists out there and one person was willing to help. We messaged back and forth and I shared Gedmatch kit numbers and answered questions.

The Hypothesis

My ‘helper’ came to the conclusion that the non-paternal event in the tree was back 2 more generations, the testee’s grandfather, which means the generation circled is the one where the misattributed parentage took place.

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This means that I am looking for an event that took place in 1865!!!


I now need to rethink what I say when asking someone to do a DNA test. I was aware to warn about recent potential surprises but it hadn’t been on my radar to even consider a surprise that had taken place generations ago.

After sharing the news with the nephew and giving it time to sink in, he is on-board with exploring this further to see where it takes us.

The DNA journey continues…

…with a wiser me at the helm.


Connecting Your DNA Matches


Have you ever wanted to visually see your DNA matches? I have always wanted to ‘see’ how they all intersect.

When I heard about the new product ($$) offered by Bonnie at DNA RootSearch I had to give it a go. Bonnie can create this diagram of your matches with any of the DNA testing companies that gives you matches, and Gedmatch.

I have spent this morning working with Bonnie as she is creating my chart (with my mother’s DNA). She is very thorough, confirming which lines are maternal or paternal.

This is what my mother’s chart looks like –


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This diagram does not have names on it. I was also sent one with names to help identify the clusters we are seeing.


Not only visually appealing but these clusters are my mother’s DNA matches! The green cluster I have already identified as the “Hodgins cluster”, which is the surname of her grandmother.

My mother has a confirmed 2nd cousin who tested and we are both stuck in our research. Now I can easily see all the people clustered around her.

Bonnie sent this to me as a pdf which means I can zoom in close to any of the clusters and look and see which of my mother’s matches are in each cluster. This will make it easier when identifying family groups and hopefully help me knock down a few brick walls.

This diagram nicely breaks apart my mother’s maternal and paternal matches



Maternal vs Paternal matches


If you find this interesting I would suggest checking out Bonnie’s website DNA Rootsearch

Please note that this product is not free and I am writing this as a very happy customer, nothing else.

Needless to say, I won’t be getting much else done today!

Photos below of more of the cluster groups in my mother’s DNA

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Don’t Miss Out on an Event in Your Family Tree by Using This Neat Trick

Do you want to know if today was the day your grandparents were married or a cousin’s birthday?

If you have an iPhone and one of the genealogy apps you can do a few quick things to see what was happening on this day in your family tree. (I am guessing this can also be done on an android phone).

The first thing you will need to do is download the Ancestry app or whatever genealogy program you are using to your phone. You can find it by doing a search in the app store.


(These are the apps I use but I am guessing Legacy and others may also have this option)

Once you have downloaded the app you can allow notifications from the app but there is also another thing you can do.

On the iPhone from your home screen, you have the ability to swipe all the way right to left and you will reach a shortcut screen. Here you can select various items like weather, news and your genealogy app.

How you do this is at the very bottom you will see an edit button, selecting that takes you to the Widget page. This page allows you to add or take-away what is being shown on your shortcuts.



My Widget page

The red means to take away a widget and if you scroll further down you will see a green +. Select what you want to see on your shortcut screen and voila, your notifications will look like this. Because of this I rarely miss an event from my Family Tree.



Today marks the marriage of my great Aunt Mabel

I check this feature every day and will often use the event as a blog post.




A Family Court Dispute Found in Google Books

Covering all your bases when doing a search for your family should also include a great resource that Google has called Google Books. How to find this treasure trove of information is by using the Google search bar and either typing in ‘Books’ or on the Google toolbar is a More button which creates a drop-down menu, pictured below.Screen_Shot_2017-09-24_at_11_05_45_AM

Either search will bring you to another search bar that will just search Google Books . I have tried numerous combinations to see what can be found about my family. One search I did was the maiden as well the married name and location of my great-grandmother to see what if anything would appear.

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And the results were a little shocking –


The first three results all were about my family and a court case that had taken place in Chicago…WHAT? What was I seeing, I quickly clicked on the links to see what more I could find out about this case.

Not much more information was available –

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 10.01.51 PMI was not able to access the full entry from, but it was enough information for me to hire a researcher to dig into the records held in Chicago.

What was found was over 50 pages of depositions from my great grandmother Carrie Jordan, her husband and daughter as well as from her brother James Norton and his family. It seems that after James & Carrie’s aunt Harriet (Laprise) Milligan had died and there was a dispute about her will as she had incorrectly named James Norton as Richard Norton.

The depositions describe numerous visits by aunt Harriet to Quebec City and Montreal where the Jordan and Norton families were living. I was able to get a feel for the relationships between family members, Peter Jordan describes taking the train with Harriet and how they talked about her sister Hannah Pozer Jeffery. I wish I had been in on that conversation, but sadly the person asking Peter the questions didn’t ask as much about the family as I would have liked! The focus of the questioning wasn’t about family history per say, more about names in the family and confirming that James and Richard were the same person and just an error made by Harriet in her will.

Really this is one of THE best finds I have had and it was all thanks to Google Books.

I would like to encourage you to give Google Books a try and use many combinations in your searches, you may discover something unexpected about your own family!


Jordan, Carrie w:friend

Harriet Milligan(?) with Caroline (Norton) Jordan c.1920



Going Digital with my Genealogy Filing

I began researching my family tree when printing everything was the norm, but it is time for me to review my files and purge the excess.

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Today and for many days in the future I will be going through each of my genealogy files one at a time, assessing the information, digitizing, and hopefully throwing away a lot of paper. My digital files have so much room and don’t take up space in my house!

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A screenshot of some of my digital files

I have been wanting to attack this for what seems like forever and I finally have the time to focus on this part of my genealogy life.

I have decided the best approach is to start with the first file in my file cabinet and depending on the content I may only get through one a day. To keep me on task I plan to start a tracker in my genealogy journal.  I love journaling!

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The goal I am setting for myself is to work through a file a day or depending on my schedule a minimum of seven files a week. It will be interesting to track how long this project will take!

I am hoping this project will clear up a lot of space in my file cabinet but I may also make some new discoveries as I review the paper I have collected.

I am quite excited to get started and look forward to sharing my progress!