Road trip Update

We have made it this far!

We landed in Ottawa and picked up the rental, and made to the hotel! A victory!

We had a light meal at the D’arcy McGee pub where they have mold of his hand on display. I was able to share a little of what I knew about him with my mom. It was good timing as the 150th anniversary of his assassination was Saturday.

The following day we paid a visit to my relative who will be turning 105 later this month. Edith is a lively person and brings a smile to everyone’s face with her bubbly personality. After some teasing she very willingly spit into the tube and I will be forever grateful to have her DNA in the Ancestry database. It was very hard to leave Edith but I was so pleased to see she keeps her copy of the Jordan book right beside her chair. I could tell by the wear on the pages that she has studied her copy and delights in its contents.

Our next stop was Toronto and again much to my surprise we arrived without incident (credit to Google Maps).

After quickly checking in, depositing my bags and getting mom settled at the hotel I hoofed it to Blaine’s talk on DNA. I was late and almost didn’t go in. I knew I didn’t want to miss so I managed to make myself go in. Thank goodness I did.

Blaine was discussing Triangulation which I would like to try my hand at. I learned a lot and feel I can get started.

Day 2 with Blaine was also well worth my time he went over Chromosome Mapping and it’s benefits. Blaine like many of us is a big fan of DNA Painter and one of his tips was to make good notes when painting people.

Dinner last night was with my daughter-in-law who is studying dental hygiene in the area. It was great to catch up!

Today we leave Toronto, first stopping to meet a DNA cousin who is adopted. Being adopted is pretty difficult in itself when doing genealogy but the kicker is her mother was also adopted. I believe her connection to me is through her mother’s adoption and I look forward to meeting her.

Our final destination today is the home of my mother’s third cousin John McMahon. My mother’s McMahon family settled in Grey County but this branch went to Norfolk. My mom has never met a McMahon cousin so we are both looking forward to seeing John and family for the first time.

I am so grateful to be able to take this trip with my mom.

Off on a Genealogy Research Trip

I am leaving in a couple of days to attend Blaine Bettinger’s DNA talk hosted by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. I will be bringing my mother and after the 2 days of learning, we are embarking on a road-trip to locations in Ontario where her family lived.

Where do we go?

Narrowing down the places to visit in under a week is going to be very difficult. We do plan to meet one of her 3rd cousins who is still residing on their original McMahon farm. Although this is not the home of my mother’s ancestor Cornelius who settled in Ayton, Ontario, it was the home of Cornelius’ brother Michael who settled in Windham Twp, Norfolk, Co.

Dundas, Hamilton, Ontario

This is where William Stewart married widow Mary Loftus in 1846 so it is on the list. The couple farmed in West Flamborough and we also plan to visit the Archives and see the area.

Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital

Where John McMahon who was deaf and dumb lived for over 30 years, yup plan to visit. John is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery so we will be paying our respects.

Orchardville Cemetery

Michael McMahon, mom’s 2x great-grandfather is buried here along with his son Cornelius (her great-grandfather) and Cornelius’ son Michael who died at the age of 18.

Ayton Union Cemetery

Cornelius’ brother Edward McMahon who was a Civil War veteran is buried here and Cornelius has a second headstone in this cemetery.

Historical Meeting

We also may get a chance to meet Bob McIntee who I have corresponded with for years. I wouldn’t have been able to get very far in researching the McMahon and Stewart families without his help.

Also, he is a descendant of the McIntee who was in the cart that over-turned and resulted in the death of Cornelius’ McMahon in 1893. I don’t think we will go for a drive together…

What I wish we could add in…

What is really hard is knowing what we won’t have time to do.

  1. Visit Mary Potter & George Mordy’s grave in Ramsey, Lanark Co. Mary is our direct maternal line and we have yet to find her parents.
  2. Go to Huntley, Carleton County where her Hodgins and Mordy families settled in the 1820s.
  3. Spend time doing research at the various Archives along the way

We are packing a lot in for such a short span of time. Do you see why I need to move to Ontario?!

Ethnicity Reports in Your DNA Do Offer Genealogy Clues

I have already done DNA testing on my mother and her brother. Both tested at Family Tree DNA and I really have been one to ignore the Ethnicity reports. But read on as there are clues given in those reports that can be very telling.

I recently asked my mother’s sister to also take a DNA test. Overkill? Well, maybe but I did hear from DNA experts that to get a better picture of the parents it is worthwhile to get three siblings to test if you are able. My mother has four siblings that are still with us so I was very pleased that her sister agreed to take the test.

I decided to test with Ancestry, and not because of the amazing analysis features offered, but because of the number of testers they have, 7 million! My aunt’s results arrived and nothing jumped out at me at first but yesterday I was looking at her matches and there was a group that wasn’t matching her siblings. I looked at each match individually to see if they had trees and sure enough there were two trees that caught my attention. The surname Stickle/Stickles appeared in their trees. STICKLE – are you really kidding me?

Anna Eliza Stickle was my mother’s great-grandmother, we know very little about her before she was in Canada. Anna and her husband Lewis had three children in the USA before settling in Etobicoke, Ontario. The family first appears in the 1852 Canadian census, further information was gleaned on the family from the 1861 census which asked married during the year and the enumerator actually put the year of marriage! 1836.

Anna married Lewis Harrop from Manchester, England, the couple moved to Canada between 1843-1849, as their son John was born in N.Y. in ’43 and daughter Mary in Canada in ’49. William Lewis was their last child and my ancestor.

Lewis died in 1861 and is buried at St. George’s-On-The-Hill Cemetery in Islington with no headstone to mark his grave. Anna remained a widow the rest of her life. Anna Eliza lived with her family until her passing in 1907 in Orangeville, Dufferin Co., Ontario.

For years descendants of Anna have been on a search for her family. Now DNA is pointing us in a direction. The Stickle DNA matches that have trees show the family lived in Dutchess, New York and the origins of the Stickles before coming to the USA is Amsterdam!!

How exciting, after years and I mean years of researching Irish records I now have a new place to explore and learn about.

A peek at my Aunts ethnicity report also seems to support her inheriting more of Anna Stickle’s DNA  –Screen_Shot_2018-03-16_at_7_52_53_PM_1


The New York Settlers ethnicity breakdown is NOT found in either her sister or brother’s DNA results!

Next, I will be researching the locations that the DNA matches have for their Stickle/s family in New York. I hope they have good Methodist records for B/M/D. Seriously though, how cool – Amsterdam!

A new place to add to my list of locations for a ‘family holiday’, good thing my kids don’t read my blog!

And I will be paying a little closer attention to the Ethnicity reports in the future! And test your Aunts and Uncles they may have the clue you need.

Can DNA Help You Strike Genealogy Gold?

Striking gold for me, means finding a location in Ireland where my family lived. I have oodles of Irish ancestry, it is something I am very proud of, but it is truly tricky research. Paper trails have been researched for years but the link back to the Emerald Isle has been broken on almost every Irish branch of my tree. I am always on the hunt for the pot of gold at the end of my genealogy rainbow. Will DNA be the tool to get me there?


Think of it like this, each one your DNA matches, each cousin, each relative is a colour in my genealogy rainbow.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 8.26.22 AM

Mapping my Chromosome at DNA Painter is very rainbowish!


If I can figure out the connection with my DNA matches I will ride my rainbow all the way to that proverbial pot of gold.

Until recently, resources for genealogists were the paper trails, census, b//m/d, etc. When we exhausted these searches, what did we do? Usually, we would take a break and mull over what our next step would be. There just wasn’t a lot of options when the paper trail ran out. Now we can turn to DNA, which may be able to get us over this hurdle. How? Because once we start finding each other through our DNA matches and exchanging information, sharing our family trees the treasure may be revealed!


How Will DNA Help?

Ok, so you connect with a match at Ancestry, but your trees don’t match, now what? Well, there is the obvious things you can and likely do, send messages back and forth asking about surnames and locations, sometimes you get lucky but often it can go nowhere.  Here is something I that have been doing that has helped me to get further with my DNA matches.

What to do?

It’s simple, invite your Ancestry matches to be a ‘viewer’ of your DNA. Literally, a brick wall fell down because of doing that. Now, I am not saying go out and do this with all your Ancestry matches, be selective. Do this with people you are working with on your family tree, your relative, or a DNA match that you have been in contact with and are comfortable with. You also have the option to remove people from being a viewer of your DNA.

Why Would You?

Simply put, Ancestry is not always telling you the whole truth about your ‘Shared Matches’. It’s not really a lie, it’s just not the whole truth. For instance, if my Mom has a new DNA match at Ancestry, one of the first things I do is look at the ‘shared matches’ and check to see if her first paternal cousin there. If not maybe this isn’t a paternal match. Right?


When I view her cousin’s account low and behold the match is there. That’s right, the new DNA match does connect on her paternal branch. I wouldn’t know this though if I couldn’t view her cousin’s matches. (Obviously, I need a Chromosome browser and more research to confirm, but this is generally speaking when quickly sorting DNA matches).

Now, ideally Ancestry would let me know when my mother and her cousin are both matching someone, but that’s not happening. And it is these smaller segments that Ancestry is not reporting that can hold the biggest clues.

Search for Surnames

I have been working with DNA matches on my mother’s McMahon – McNamara family line. In my mom’s account at Ancestry, the surname McInerney keeps popping up on the trees of some of her matches. I looked at matches in common with these McInerneys and none of mom’s known relatives were there. With that name in mind, I switched accounts to her cousin (which I am added as a viewer) and did a search for the McInerney surname. Guess what? They were there! Some of the same people that match my mother match her cousin! BUT that’s not all, her cousin also has people with this surname show up that are not on my mother’s list.

Hmmm, seems interesting, checked another cousin, same deal.

What Now?

The next step is to reach out to the matches, send a message, see if you can find the link. Find out if they are on Gedmatch. Some are, some aren’t but are willing to upload, some just say no. You have to work with what you got. Gedmatch is great, but the truth is not all these matches will upload to Gedmatch. What to do?…read on.

How we worked around this is by inviting each other as viewers on our Ancestry accounts. And yesterday I received an email from one of the people working towards the pot of gold, the first line says it all –


By sharing as viewers on their Ancestry accounts these McInerney family members were now able to see how their family were linked.

We still have yet to discover how my family fits in, but it appears that my Margaret McNamara’s sister married a McInerney back in Clare, Ireland. We are talking about people born in the 1800s…and as far as we know there is no paper record to be found for this early time period. Simply put WE NEED DNA to find these links.

I doubt I would have even noticed the McInerney name if I had not had the ability to look at my mother’s cousins’ account to see if the match was there as well.

I would like to encourage you to collaborate with our DNA matches, allow matches to share viewing, keep an eye out for surnames and have fun. This is the discovery part that genealogists love. Build your rainbow and keep your eye out for clues, it may lead you to your genealogy gold.

How to add someone to view your DNA,

Step 1.   start on your homepage on your DNAScreen_Shot_2018-03-05_at_6_45_29_AM

Step 2.  Add their username or email address


Step 3.  There is no step 3, you are already done! Your match just has to accept!




Triangulating DNA With MyHeritage

This weekend at Rootstech MyHeritage introduced a new option to view your DNA matches.

To get started (assuming you have already uploaded your DNA for FREE to their site) hover over the DNA tab at the top of the page and select Chromosome Browser.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_33_04_AM

You will get to this page where you can start selecting your matches. Once you make a selection they will be added to the top bar. You can select up to seven people for comparison.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_33_58_AM

Your chromosomes laid out in a graph style. If your matches also match each other at the same location MyHeritage will highlight this for you by circling it.

*Please take note that MyHeritage has the default set at 2 cM, you will want to change this to 8 cM to get a clearer picture and eliminate noise created by those smalled segment matches.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_30_56_AM_1

These are great new tools and I hope more of the testing companies will get on board with offering more options for exploring our DNA matches.

Well done My Heritage!

The Inkwell and the Captain

It’s a simple item, an inkwell that was given to me a few years ago by my great uncle. He said it was an inkwell that had belonged to his grandfather Richard Lee Norton and he used it on his voyages.

Richard was a sailor/seaman born in 1819 in Great Yarmouth, England. His father before him was a shipwright and his brothers all went to work on ships. Richard must have been sailing to Canada where met a Quebec girl Hannah Jeffery. Their wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, Quebec City in 1854.

In 1857 his son Thomas was born but Richard was away on the steamer the Montmorenci. Although being listed as a seaman, Captain, and mariner on many of the records, I have yet to find information about his sailing career.

So I treasure my inkwell and hope to find more of the story of the inkwell and the captain.


Sweethearts in the Old County Finally Marry in Canada

This week Amy Johnson Crow has us write about a Valentine.

The article I found about my husband’s 2nd great grandfather fits the bill. Gottlieb Wiesner was born in Poland in 1858. It seems according to the news article from the Winnipeg newspaper that he was in the army before immigrating to Canada with his wife and family.

The Wiesner family settled to life on their homestead near Steinbach, Manitoba and more children arrived.

In 1925 Gottlieb’s wife Paulina Schinkel passed away, and Gottlieb reunited with a girlfriend from his past. Wiesner, Gottlieb m. 1926

Johanna and Gottlieb were married in 1926 when he was 66 years old. They spent two years as husband and wife when Gottlieb passed away. He is buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Steinbach.

Don’t you just love old newspapers and stories like these!


GottliebPaulina Wiesner.

This photo has been captioned as Gottlieb and Paulina but I have often wondered if it is actually a picture of Gottlieb with his second wife Johanna.