Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, July 1, 2022

Descendants Of The Signers Of The Declaration Of Independence on has added about 18,000 records documenting the descendants of the fifty-six men who signed the United States Declaration of Independence. Quoting from the website, 

These records document the descendants of these 56 men and offer a standardized lineage, which allows family historians to determine any possible connection to the Signers. The most famous is undoubtedly John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, who chose to sign in large letters. It is also signed by two future Presidents: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Benjamin Harrison V was the father and great-grandfather of two other presidents, Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26, and at age 70, Benjamin Franklin was the oldest. Many had familial connections to Britain, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The signers were:

Adams, John

Adams, Samuel

Bartlett, Josiah

Braxton, Carter

Carroll, Charles

Chase, Samuel

Clark, Abraham

Clymer, George

Ellery, William

Floyd, William

Franklin, Benjamin

Gerry, Elbridge

Gwinnett, Button

Hall, Lyman

Hancock, John

Harrison, Benjamin

Hart, John

Hewes, Joseph

Heyward Jr., Thomas

Hooper, William

Hopkins, Stephen

Hopkinson, Francis

Huntington, Samuel

Jefferson, Thomas

Lee, Francis Lightfoot

Lee, Richard Henry

Lewis, Francis

Livingston, Philip

Lynch Jr., Thomas

McKean, Thomas

Middleton, Arthur

Morris, Lewis

Morris, Robert

Morton, John

Nelson Jr., Thomas

Paca, William

Penn, John

Read, George

Rodney, Caesar

Ross, George

Rush, Benjamin

Rutledge, Edward

Sherman, Roger

Smith, James

Stockton, Richard

Stone, Thomas

Taylor, George

Thornton, Matthew

Treat Paine, Robert

Walton, George

Whipple, William

Williams, William

Wilson, James

Witherspoon, John

Wolcott, Oliver

Wythe, George

The images in this collection come from the Frank Willing Leach Collection, housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

According to Relative Finder ( I am related to about 34 of the signers. I am assuming that one or two of these potential connections might be correct. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

MyHeritage's Theory of Family Relativity™ is updated with 25,636,711 Theories


The Theories of Family Relativity™ pull together billions of data points across family tree profiles and historical records to provide theories of how you and your DNA matches could be related. I currently have 196 such matches. The main value of these "theories" is to supplement and confirm the data I have accumulated over the past 40 years. Some of the paths examine relationships that connect through my 3rd Great-grandfathers or Grandmothers. I must admit that many of the people I am matched to are complete strangers and I would never have guessed a relationship absent a DNA test. 

To take advantage of this service you most certainly need a family tree on the MyHeritage website and also have a MyHeritage DNA test or have uploaded the DNA data from another test. You can learn more about this feature from the following video from website.

Using the Theory of Family Relativity™ to Research DNA Matches by Ran Snir

Friday, June 24, 2022

Plan ahead now for RootsTech 2023 in person and online

For many of us, as we grow older, our world seems to contract. The past three years of the pandemic have certainly added to the contraction. Being online has its advantages but it is a poor substitute for meeting with people in person. I have had contact with hundreds, perhaps thousands of people online over the past couple of years, but my in-person interaction has dwindled to close to zero. It has also been sad to watch some of my friends pass on. 

Now, we have one bright spot on the near horizon. RootsTech 2023 will have an in-person component. Some of us will be able to get together again during the week of March 2 - 4, 2023. We will have to wait and see how all this will look like and barring another international disaster, we just might get to see each other in Salt Lake City, Utah in a few months. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

BYU Family History Library Weekday Classes

The BYU Family History Library is expanding its classes on weekdays. This is in addition to the Sunday Classes and Thursday evening webinars. Here is a copy of the current schedule but check the website ( for any additions or changes to the class schedule. Because the BYU Family History Library is part of the main Harold B. Lee Library on campus, we are subject to the academic schedule of school and holidays. 

Here are the upcoming classes. 

Family History Classes (day and time may vary)

Computer Tips | Research | Indexing

Join Email List Sign up to receive class updates.

Computer Tips & Tricks

Tuesdays and Thursday 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time

with Elder Van Celaya

Format: Q&A and open discussion with the presenter. These classes are not recorded.

Join via the Virtual Family History Help Desk (on Zoom) at the specified time. A greeter will direct you to the class breakout room.

Jewish Genealogy Research

Tuesdays 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time

with Elder Larry Bassist

June 28th – Jewish Genealogy: Getting Started

Format: Lecture with Q&A at the end.

Class recordings will be posted in the Virtual Classes Archive.

Join via Zoom at the specified time. You may also join in-person at the Family History Classroom at the BYU Family History Library.

Scotland Research

Fridays 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time

with Sister Erika Ward

July 8th – Where did your Scottish Ancestors live?  Understanding UK Geography & Census Records.

July 15th – Where did your Scottish ancestors’ worship?  Using Scotland Church Records to find Births, Marriages, and Deaths.

July 29th – What official records exist about your Scottish Ancestors?  Searching Scotland Government Vital Records.

August 5th – When did my Scottish Ancestors move? Understanding Scottish Immigration and Emigration Records.

Format: Lecture with Q&A at the end.

Class recordings will be posted in the Virtual Classes Archive.

Join via Zoom at the specified time. You may also join in-person at the Family History Classroom at the BYU Family History Library.


1st Thursday of the Month 6:00 & 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

with Sister Michelle Templeman

6:00 p.m. – Beginner’s Class

7:00 p.m. – Advanced Class

Information on FamilySearch Indexing and help with indexing, including foreign language indexing, especially French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Helpful for indexing other languages as well.

Format: Instruction with open discussion and Q&A. These classes are not recorded.

Join via the Virtual Family History Help Desk (on Zoom) at the specified time. A greeter will direct you to the class breakout room.

Use the Virtual Help Desk to ask questions about any of the scheduled classes. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Fifth Rule of Genealogy - a short video

Rule Number Five is “You cannot get blood out of a turnip.”

Granted, this Rule is an old saying usually applied to collecting debts. But I find it is very much applicable to genealogy. 

I would apply this Rule to all those genealogists who think that they are related to royalty or famous people simply by listing them in their pedigree. Really, I talk to people all the time who are so proud of their royal heritage when they have done nothing at all to document or prove an actual connection. Emperor’s New Clothes

Monday, June 20, 2022

Let's Just Think About What We Are Doing on the FamilySearch Family Tree


I am continually amazed at the entries I find in Family Tree. I recently found a series of examples of the type of entries that cause this amazement. I am not making this stuff up. Here is the first example. 

If you have to look more than a few seconds at this entry, you are likely part of the problem. This reminds me of a movie called Corpse Bride. But in this case, it was a corpse husband. 

Moving along, I guess I need to say that all these examples are still in the Family Tree. I did not feel compelled to correct the information. Here we go with the next screenshot. 

Talk about adding insult to injury in this Marshall family, look carefully at the birth dates of nearly all the children. Oh, by the way, most of them do not have any sources listed. What more can I say?

Here we go with the next example.

I thought you might want to see the details of the first child listed. I am certainly relieved that he was sealed to his two-year-old mother. 


This list shows how the other families in this part of the tree are faring as well. The purple icons show the individuals with no sources. 

On we go.

This is only the beginning of this particular line. Here is the next step. 

You might notice that Ann Atkins is named as the last child in the descendancy pedigree above as the last child of Ann Atkins and Samuel Marshall. You might also notice that her parents were supposedly married in Boston. Just wondering how there was a record from England?


Here is the summary of the English record just in case you were wondering if it was logical considering that Ann Atkins died in 1786. 

This could go on and on with additional examples. I have recently been writing about the extensive changes being made to people who are fully documented. This is the other side of the coin. There is no real documentation at all for these individuals so far.

Seven Sure Steps to Discovering Your Ancestors


Step #1: Begin at the beginning.

The often-repeated admonition about searching for your ancestry is to work from what you know to discover what you do not know. This means starting with your own personal history. 

Who are you?
Where and when were you born?
Who are your parents?
How do you know the answers to these questions?
What documentation do you have to support your answers?

The key factor in every step of establishing a valid connection between you and your ancestors is discovering a valid, supportable, parent/child relationship. This means obtaining historical documentation that shows each individual as a child of a father and a mother. If you cannot establish that specific relationship, you are at the end of that particular ancestral line. Even if you inherit a substantial amount of information about your family, take the time to examine each relationship and support each relationship with documentation. Learning about your family is called genealogy. 

Step #2: Don't ever assume that the information you received from someone else is correct until it has been verified.

It is not uncommon with today's DNA tools for people to discover that that they are not related to their parents or grandparents. You might be surprised. Assuming a relationship, even from the very beginning of your search, can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort. However, you can choose to investigate any parent/child relationship: biological, adopted, step, foster, or any other such relationship in your own cultural history. If you inherited some genealogy from a relative who lived before computers and the internet, it is very likely that the information they found is already incorporated in an online family tree. Take time to go online and look beginning with the free, universal Family Tree. 

Step #3: Avoid the temptation to jump back generations. 

This step means you need to ignore the "fan chart illusion" of relationships. Too many people are attracted by the unknown empty spaces on a chart long before they know anything about the real people they are related to. Finding your ancestors is like building a bridge. You can't start in the middle or at the other end. You can only establish a valid pedigree step by step, person by person, document by document.

Step #4: Always identify the specific places where events occurred. 

Location, location, location. Your ancestors, beginning with your parents, lived real lives in real places. Those places must be specifically identified. For example, "Germany" is not a place. It is an excuse for a place. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberbayem, Bavaria, Germany is a place. All genealogically helpful records are located geographically. Finding those records is the main component of finding your ancestors. Before looking for names, look for places. 

Step #5: Learn the history of every location where your ancestors lived. 

Genealogy is history and all history is really genealogy. Your ancestors did not live in a vacuum. Knowing the history of every place where your ancestors lived is crucial to knowing who they were and how they lived. Knowing the history of every place mentioned in your ancestry is also crucial to finding records about your family. 

Step #6: Carefully document every event in your ancestors' lives.

Keeping a copy of every record you find about your family makes verifying the information and extending your research much, much easier. Now that we can digitize records and use digital copies of records, keeping copies of all the records or links to where copies can be found does not mean that we must dedicate a room in our homes to records. 

Step #7: Use all the available resources to learn how to find your ancestors.

Where do you begin? I have one constant suggestion for anyone who is beginning to discover their family. Study the Research Wiki. Here is the link.

If you are not familiar with the Research Wiki, here are some videos that might help. 

You might also find the entire BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel to be helpful. 

For free step-by-step instructions that go way beyond this post, study The Family History Guide.