• Technology
  • Feb14

    No Comments

    I was playing around with massaging my 23andme me DNA match data at lunch, and always find it interesting how far flung we all end up. I have 1,053 matches in 23andme’s “Countries of Ancestry” tool (previously aka Ancestry Finder), which is populated with answers your DNA matches provided on the location their grandparents came from

    Of the possible 4,212 grandparents, 1,508 locations were “Not Provided”, and 891 were listed as “United States.” The cousins range from 3rd to Distant.

    My maternal grandparents both came from small towns near to each other in Czechoslovakia, my paternal grandmother came from County Offaly in Ireland, and my paternal great-grandparents also came over from Ireland. All ended up in New York City.

    I can take the paper trail back to the early 1800s on most of my ancestral lines, so it is interesting to see various hotspots in some countries. Obviously, people travel, so my having one match with 4 grandparents from Iran, for example, doesn’t mean I have Iranian ancestry – someone in my line (or a descendant) could have traveled in that direction in the distant past.

    But, I am left wondering with so many Russian, Ukranian, and Scandinavian grandparents listed – did someone head down to the Czech Republic from there, or the other way around. Vikings? (One can hope.) Hopefully one day I’ll find out!

    In any case, the real reason for my post – below is a fun way to view these matches using Batchgeo mapping. I created a spreadsheet that counted up all the grandparent countries, then pasted the data into their page. After a few tweaks of the advanced settings – Voila! A map of the locations using color to indicate the grandparent counts by country.

    View Ancestry Finder Grandparent Country Matches in a full screen map

    Interestingly, when I mapped my wife’s matches in this way, I noticed that she has more matches with grandparents from Poland and Russia than she does the United States! Considering she has no known Polish ancestors at this point, and all of her emigrant ancestors are at great-grandparents and several beyond that, that is kind of interesting. (As I mentioned, I have 3 emigrant grandparents, and 2 emigrant great-grandparents, yet I have more US grandparents in my matches by far. ) Are her Ashkenazi matches from her Russian great-grandfather’s inherited DNA skewing the results?

    I also am wondering if 23andme has published just how many people have been tested with listed ancestry from each country when looking at their entire database. If, say, many more people have been tested in Russia than in Croatia, is that large number of Russian grandparents in my matches’ results showing up because of the larger testing pool in that location, or via a true ancestral connection in my DNA? Hmm. To be continued, I suspect.

    Finally, one thing I noticed with the BatchGeo mapping tool – the grouping of results by color is kind of skewed, and there is no way I see to change it. For example, the lowest color coded grouping is “1-3″ and my highest is “124-891″ – I would like to even out those groupings to make it more honest to the eye.

    My wife’s map, below:

    View Map of 23andme Match Grandparent Countries – LT in a full screen map

  • Feb13

    No Comments

    After many years in technology, I am probably what could be termed a “power user” in most facets of computing.
    Except Flappy Bird. Never played it, and now I never shall. :(

    Twitter Search Filters in Action But, if you fellow tweeters are anything like me, you may not be searching The Twitter for best effect. Did you know there are advanced filters available to search for things like images, news, videos, or sandwiches? (Well, maybe not the last one, but then I shouldn’t finish blog posts at lunch time.)

    As you can see in the image above, the format is not too difficult to grasp – and even works when searching from tweeter clients, such as Hootsuite.

    Twitter Filter MenuIf you aren’t keen on massaging search strings via keyboard, you can always search directly on the Twitter.com site proper. Once you search for a word, you should see clickable menus on the left hand side of the search results.

    The top menu filters by media content types, the next one to filter by “All people” or “People you follow”, and the last to filter by location using “Everywhere” or “Near you”.

    If that’s still not enough for you, then you must really, really like The Twitter. Click on Advanced Search on the first menu to find a form where you can get even more granular in your search efforts by limiting to phrases, particular accounts, or by emotion (using common emoticons.)

    Back to keyboard filtering, for those of the old school mindset: If you’d like a handy dandy set of search examples, see the table below.

    Twitter Search Filter Table
    Table Source
     

  • Sep25

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    A site well-known to genealogists has this dandy message about cookies that pops up across the top of one’s screen. Over. and over. and over. and over.

    I finally took a minute to look into it, and seems someone from their support forum helpfully mentioned to another (un-)interested party that when one’s browser has the “do not track” setting enabled, there is no way to stop the cookie message.

    She also suggested that their developers “would love to her feedback regarding this banner.”

    I have sent them the following message/request, and am also posting it here in a stand of anti-cookie message on all sites. LET US STAND TOGETHER AND EAT ALL THE COOKIES.

    Feedback message:

    Over the last few months I’ve found the “cookie warning” at the top of the page comes back over and over and is terrifically annoying. I see in the online support forum that someone said it is related to the “do not track” browser setting and that there is no way to stop the message if that setting is enabled.

    They also mentioned that the Developers would love to hear feedback, so here’s mine:

    1. Do Not Track is enabled because I want it to be.
    2. Every site and their grandmother’s site on the Internet uses cookies. It is a staple of the Internet diet.
    If someone doesn’t already know this, then the message is only going to confuse them – “Wait WHAT? THEY ARE TRACKING ME” the more uninformed paranoid might say. I doubt any of the uninformed are saying “Oh, They’re tracking me – GREAT I WAS LONELY.”

    If some crazy legal thing has occurred that is making such a message necessary, I would have to say there is probably a better way to implement it. I do not have this problem on any other site – when I do see cookie messages, they are always one-off’s, at least until I clear my browser cache. Which of course, ironically, clears out one’s cookies.

    So, Dear Developers,
    Please make the cookie message go away. Or at least send me some real cookies. Chocolate chip. no nuts.
    thx.
    .JT.

  • Sep10

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    Hello, Fax!

    Posted in: Technology

    After several years of intermittent tracking down possibly related Tierney family records, I have not really gotten anywhere with transcription-type records from sites like Roots Ireland.

    Ce n'est pas ma famille.

    Ce n’est pas ma famille.


    I have little to go on in Ireland for that part of the tree. While Tierney is not too bad a surname to search for in the scheme of things, they are hide and seek champions. Also, my related McDonald and Murphy lines are really giving me a run for my money.

    And, after many attempts at triangulating relevant records on Roots Ireland, the money is running out.

    If you don’t have time for the long version of this story, feel free to scroll down to the tool tip section below…

    So, I’ve decided to start a different tactic – Instead of fussing with “credits” and the resulting, resounding sounds of  “ARGH!” rolling down my street as I realize I have purchased yet another completely unrelated transcription record, I will be ordering photocopy versions of original records directly from GRO Ireland at €4. a pop.

    While there might not be too much of a savings involved in this change, I will at least have original documents to look at and will avoid relying on possibly mis-transcribed records. That will make me feel a bit better at least. So will chocolate chip cookies.

    (To make sure I have the hang of the ordering process first I will start by tightening up the old tree by ordering original certificates for my relatively well-known Egan & Farrell lines near Ferbane in Kings County.)

    If you would like a quick primer on how to order certificates from GRO Ireland, visit their Apply For Certificates page. Of course, you’ll probably want to use the Civil Registration Indexes (1845-1958) on Familysearch to look for possible records to purchase first.

    Tool Tip – Hello Fax!

    Now, with all of that background out of the way – to the real purpose of this post: As I filled out the GRO order form, my Oxymoronic Genealogical Impatience™ quickly kicked in when I noticed that you can fax certificate applications into the GRO. Forget that crazy old postal mail thing. That’s 20th century stuff, man. FAXING – THAT’S WHERE IT’S AT.

    However, I do not own a fax machine at home any longer, and I can’t really start faxing Ireland from my company systems at lunch. (Well, I could, but you know, I’m the IT Director and that really wouldn’t be a good idea.)

    Then I found that hello fax is offering a deal if you sign up with your Google account -

    In honor of our launch, get 50 free fax pages / month & unlimited e-signatures

    Within 5 minutes of creating the account I had sent off my first few certificate orders to GRO Ireland.

    In addition to Google Drive, you can also integrate the service with other commonly used services – not a bad deal for free. The only thing that is not entirely clear is how long the 50 free pages/month will last – we’ll see!

    Hello Fax Integrations

  • Jun13

    1 Comment

    I have been adding the basics of my family tree to the new Familysearch  – dig that new fan chart!

    Today I was working on one of my Czech lines, which of course contain all sorts of fun and exciting ácčěntéd characters. After I added my great-grandfather Vaclav Vaňáč and started to work on his parents, I looked up and realized there was an issue. Although the name shows properly in the “Vital Information” section of the main page, his name in the profile header mysteriously doesn’t contain the “ň” or the “č” – but still does have the accented “á”. Hmmm.

    I tried to send a message to the Familysearch support folks via their help center, but kept getting the error “Unable to create a case in our support system. Please try again later.

    Thus, wrote up this blog post to use when trying again later.


    Familysearch Missing Characters Capture