Tag Archives: Dear Myrtle

Step by Step Approach Researching Ancestry DNA matches

I’m not an experienced DNA researcher, even though I had my first DNA test done five years ago. It is only recently that I fine-tuned my approach to matches. When I first started I only worked with those matches with trees. It was a good way to get your feet wet and practice researching how the matches and the PAPER trail to our common ancestor work.

I read [and still do] anything I can get my hands on about DNA. I’ve joined Facebook pages offering tips and a DNA Special Interest Group at the local library. [You will fine links to these under sources]

I start my DNA research by looking for any new matches. Usually the closet matches are at the top of the page.

  1. View all DNA matches
  2. Click on New matches 3. Choose the newest match. Enter into the Excel Worksheet [You can use a notebook, instead. The important thing is to track your research.]4. Enter the Predicated Relationship, centimorgans and DNA Segments. If it list the Common Ancestor/s enter them and the relationship to you. If not listed leave that blank until known.

5. Don’t worry if there is no tree Click on the matches’ names, then click shared matches. 


6. Hopefully other people will show up. I then check my Excel spreadsheet to see if they match someone I already entered; See who the Common ancestor was. This gives me an idea of what line of my Ancestor Member Tree to look at.

7. If you are not ready to work without a tree, go to the next person with a tree. You should see a list of common names and a pedigree chart. REMEMBER THESE ARE HINTS, you still need to view the paper trail for both your cousin match and your line.8. If you are lucky sometimes Ancestry already gives you a hint to the Common Shared Ancestor. 9. Remember these are hints, you must make sure the paper trail matches both sides. I look for birth, death, and marriage records. If those are not enough to prove hints to the relationships I look at Find A Grave [Caution Find A Grave is a hint,] for each generation. Using Find A grave sometimes gives you another person to look at that has the record hint you need. I do use census records to get additional clues, especially for locations, time frames and family groupings to rule out/in that they are the same person as in my line. [There were 4 Jacob Chases in the Newbury/Warner/Hopkinton area with the same Christian names in each family unit. Look for the one that matches your unit that is unique.]

10. I click on each shared name until I get a match or close time frame match.11. I compared it with my surnames in my tree It looks like I have a generation or two separation here. I clicked on John and found the father’s name George Lane About 1612-4 June 1689. My Ancestry tree list shows a George 1613-1689. A possible match and my place to start my

12. I click on view full tree [the green square upper right] go to George Lane. I also open in a separate window my AMT for George Lane. Lots of great HINTS. Time to verify the paper trail for each generation. 

13. I keep my DNA match hint open in a separate window to refer back to when needed for each generation.

14. When I have verified or disproven the relationship I post it in my Excel Worksheet (#3). I use the spreadsheet shown in #10 to confirm the relationship. Yes, Ancestry gives my relationship to the common ancestor. I still like to check out my work. This makes me list each generation again on both sides.

Happy DNA match climbing.

Resources to seek out: Here is just a few free options. There are many other options both Free and for a Fee. I did add the “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” workbook. If you are going to spend money it is worth the price, in my opinion.

  1. Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group on Facebook
  2. Check your area for DNA Special Interest Groups.
  3. Check out You Tube for DNA
  4. Dear Myrtle’s Wacky Wednesday with Blaine Bettinger
  5. “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” by Blaine T. Bettinger & Debbie Parker Wayne $

I hope this post helps with your DNA match research.


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They Were Born Where?


Dear Myrtle Finally Get Organized has us concentrating on our first five generations. She posted a five generation chart from J Paul Hawthrone, who created the Excel spreadsheet. Taking up the challenge, I created my own five generations birth location chart.

5 generation birth locations

My Parents and I were all born in New Hampshire. My father’s lineage for the next three generations were all born in New Hampshire. My mother’s maternal line were all born in Maine. My mother’s paternal line were born in Maine except for one birth in Maryland and one in New Hampshire.

You can see that I am strongly rooted in New England.

Source information:

Richley-Erickson Pat; DearMyrtle.com; Finally Get Organized; http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/p/finally-get-organized.html (accessed 25 Mar 2016), page 31 Jan – 6 Feb 2016.

DearMyrtle; DearMyrtle Facebook Group; https://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE/ (accessed 24 Mar 2016 Pat Richley-Erickson shared post 24 Mar 2016 9:00 am EST.

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Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update


Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update

I'm Doing It!

I’m Doing It!

January has been a very busy month both Genealogy-wise and home commitments. Some weeks getting organized was harder to stay on task than others.  Here is a summary of my first month progress with some personal feedback. I will post the links to Dear Myrtle’s weekly Checklist and my blog post links.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist and Myrt’s confession

I was ahead of the game in week one. I completed most of the requirements in December; just ordering a few last minutes supplies. You can read about my progress on my blog Damegussie Genealogy Rants- Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 10th-16th Checklist

I like Dear Myrtle have both paper and digital copies of my work. I do have a strategy for backing up my data; reducing my paper files to keeping only original documents and decluttering my e-mails, too.  I use a surname/maiden file backed up on my desk top, on-line tree and a copy sent monthly off site to my sister. That way there is always a back no older than one month if all other backups are lost. One can never predict the future, so like Girls Scouts and Boy Scout you should always be prepared.

Dear Myrtle speaks about the importance of cloud storage I’m using Google drive and Dropbox for my backups. I did win a Backblaze door prize, a year ago, at my local genealogical Society meeting. My husband chose not to put it onto my computer. He did feel comfortable using Google drive and Dropbox. I do have iCloud that that is used more for our smart phone photos. I already met my maximum allowed on the free program.

I use Legacy, FTM 2014, currently learning how to use Roots Magic 8 four my genealogy management programs I will continue using family tree maker 2014 is my primary program. I have been using Family Tree Maker since 2002 and more consistently since 2014.

I have my first five generations of direct ancestors completed as per challenge of dear Myrtle a year ago. I am now working on feeling in the lateral family lines for the first three generations. I have done so in regards to basic information so that I now have the siblings, their spouses, their children, and date of birth, marriage dates, and death dates if appropriate. This will be continued as more information is found for each new family member. It is a never-ending process and building your family tree.

I have both three ring binders and digital file folders for all generations that include: family group sheet, any documents, and images of censuses. Photographs of importance. My confession is I had already done this in the past year with Thomas MacEntee’s genealogy Do Over/Go Over. Thomas now has a printed version available. Just click on his name for the link.

I scanned photos on a weekly basis for all generations that I come in contact with. Reviewing my old files weekly. Sometimes just 15 minutes in the morning scanning any new photos digitally to each surname/maiden name. This will be an ongoing process. I have received new photos from relatives that I never knew before existed. I’ve even blogged about finding a photo of me as a child with my parents that I had never seen before.

I have also created memory books yearly for the family, some are specific events, some are an overview of the year, and others are about my progress from the past year. The past year projects are social books from my Facebook and blog to print in regards to my Damegussie blogs. My family is not so much into the digital family history or family tree program; they just want the story.

My genealogy will has been completed. My daughter will be taking over my work. Her statement was I will do like you did I will keep it safe until I have the time in retirement continue on your work. Knowing my daughter, Tyna Butka, she will be adding little books of around along the way. My photos and other documents have been an archival safe containers since I first heard about them in the late 1980s early 1900s. It’s nice having a librarian as a friend.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 17th-23rd 2016

Transcribing everything is the Key! I continue transcribing any documents that I find in my possession, stories I remember, even as this blog talks about the artifacts need to be transcribed, so that future generations know the importance of a ring, a dining needle, or even a little skeleton key. Yes six skeleton key or even a railroad tie may have a story behind it I have written about both in my Damegussie blog over the years. I transcribed any documents into my family tree maker 2014 program, my Microsoft Word program for the person, and save a digital image of what I am transcribing. I follow basically the same set up that dear Myrtle describes in her January 17-23, 2016 blog post.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! 24th-31st Jan 2016 (sorta)

Finally getting organized week 24 to 31st of January 2016 was another easy week for me. I have been a beta indexer Familysearch.org for about a year now. I browse any records more often than using an index. That’s how I learned there were no indexes when I first started using the Internet. An index does help find your ancestors more easily. Not all records have been index to date, volunteers are working daily to increase the numbers which is why it is important to be a volunteer indexer. I continue to update my records on my siblings their families as added or loss, both in digital and family datasheet binders.


What did I learn? I learned a great deal about my sister’s husband side of the family, my husband’s cousins, and even was surprised to find more information on myself on the Internet than I thought was out there. Yes myself. When you are researching it’s just as important to research oneself, as well as, the rest of your family. You never know what you will find.

A good example all something I found out about my dad, which I blogged about, was the name of the young man that accidentally my dad while hunting in the woods. His name was Luis M. Putney. I found that through myheritage.com in a newspaper article about a Waltham young man with charges being brought against him for abandonment. Don’t just look in the town where your family or ancestors lived. Look elsewhere as well. Elizabeth Shown Mills said it best, the F.A.N principle; friends, associates and neighbors. You never know how they are related or intersect your life.

I’ve given you links to not only dear Myrtle’s finally getting organized checklist so that you may follow along and do your own getting organized. I’ve also given you the links to what I blogged about. It is another source, another way of backing up the information of your family and ancestors in your family tree. I find my families reading more of my stories, then they did of my genealogy blogs.

Check out your family stats. It is fun to see what months they were born, their zodiac sign or what year (century) they were born in.

Birth and Zodiac Signs

Birth and Zodiac Signs

They want to hear about the child that died and you still remember; the day your father/grandfather was shot; the first wedding ring of your mom/aunt/grandmother; or maybe even about a ceramic lower and white cat sitting on the shelf of your aunt carries home when you were a little kid that you weren’t allowed to touch. Why couldn’t you touch the May ask, it was a urinal. Yes a urinal for my uncle Wilson. Now I’ve made you smile. Go find your stories and transcribed them for future generations and make them smile.


New England Roots


Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016


De-cluttering = Disencumbering Your E-mails, too!


The K.I.S.S Method of genealogy-My Way!


Snapshot of my Family Stats


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!


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Transcribing Everything is the Key!


Transcribing Everything is the Key!

June and Mike’s Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands

Dear Myrtle’s Finally Getting organized Week #3 mentions the importance of transcribing your records. I’m also photographing and transcribing any memorabilia that is important to me.

In the photograph above you see my Wedding rings and diamond. The original wedding band is too small for me to wear. It was a handcrafted wedding band made out of silver in the hammered look by my roommate at the time, (I wish I could remember her name,) Inside is inscribed “78 JS MB.” In 1978 June Stearns married Michael Butka. Would my descendant save a silver ring without knowing the history behind it? Maybe not. Most wedding bands are gold or platinum.

My other wedding band is not inscribed. It was a 10th Anniversary (1988) gift from my husband, Michael Daniel Butka. It is a Platinum band with the hammered look in the center. I did not wear diamonds at that time in my life. My work made it awkward to wear raised jewelry with the rubber gloves. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the gloves for my nursing duties.

The heart shaped diamond was a gift from my husband in November 2015. He felt I deserved a diamond after all these years. I told him I rather have a laptop. I got brought. I love my ring because he wanted to give it to me. I never thought I would really care about a diamond.

Michael Daniel Butka and June Lee Stearns were married 29 April 1978 at a Justice of Peace in Kittery, York, Maine. Our attendants were Michael’s brother, Stephen Butka and my sister, Marjorie Rae Stearns-Stevenson. We had our reception at our apartment on Sagamore Court, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Our family was in attendance with a pot luck meal, fountain style homemade wedding cake by my sister, Vickie Mae Stearns Levesque, standing on a fountain. The wedding will be blog about in April on our 38th anniversary. I will also transcribe my marriage record at that time.

I choose today to write about my wedding rings for a special reason. My first date with my husband was on 23 Jan 1978. We went to the movie “The Goodbye Girl” and dinner at the Asia Restaurant on Dover Point Road, Dover New Hampshire. It looks like it is no longer at that location. Mike and I will need to take a ride and check it out on his day off.

Goodbye Girl movie poster

Goodbye Girl movie poster


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The K.I.S.S Method of genealogy-My Way!

#365daysofJune day17

This blog is in answer to Dear Myrtle’s 2016 Participant Forms. Her form is for anyone that wants to be consider for her random monthly drawing. I’m a winner already by just participating. A surprise bonus is always a welcome gift.

Her questions made me stop and think. To review my habits, good and bad. In doing so, it made me really consider the approach, BEST FOR MY RESEARCH, that I’m using or plan on using in the future.

I decided that using the K.I.S.S. method of Keeping It Simple and Straightforward is best for me. I have tried different research logs and Do-Over’s (Thomas MacEntee, Dear Myrtle and Cousin Russ and The Organized Genealogist) suggestions over the past year. I opened my mind to new ideas and ways to research. There was many trails and errors. I’m not a technical type of person. Learning new computer programs is a major challenge for me, especially if someone is not sitting beside me showing me Step-By-Step.

I finding that keeping a Microsoft Word Document Folder for each person that includes my research notes, links, conclusions and records is the easiest way to keep me on task.  I still keep an Excel worksheet for links; where I need to research, for what I did research and Books to review, as a backup. I’m slowly transferring my paper files to my Surname Folders on my computer. The folder includes images, the Microsoft word document and other records needed or collected for my research. When transferring the paper files to digital format, I’m reviewing my Family Tree Program file, for the person I’m working one, at the same time. Slow and Steady goals is my approach.

When I started my research, back in the 1970’s, I did everything on paper and index cards. I did, eventually, start to keep links and my thoughts in Microsoft Word.  Printing paper form for my files.

This past year:

I color coded my papers files;

Learn how to use Excel worksheets;

Attempted to learn Scrivener (still looking at it as an options);

New Family Tree program software FTM2104, Legacy and most recently Roots magic;

On-line tree programs like My Heritage, Geni, and Family Search;

On-line storage, “The Cloud” programs and

Watching How to Webinars on new programs, research ideas and what’s new to genealogy are just some of the steps I have toward my goal of finding what is best for me.

What I found was that some of the old mixed with the new is my approach to moving forward and staying on task for my research.

Keeping the OLD includes:

Microsoft Word Documents,

Index Cards for challenges that need sorting out, such as, same names and locations,

Paper files for original documents with back digital forms of them,

Scanning photographs and documents to digital form,

Watching Webinars, attending conferences, local Historical society meetings,

Local repository research trips and

Continue converting paper files to the Digital Surname folders on my computer;


In with the NEW:

Excel Worksheet Research Log, (Thank you, Cousin Russ and Thomas MacEntee, for sharing your research logs with us)

Using my Smart Phone, mini IPAD for research trips, Thank you Lisa Louise Cook,

Keep an open mind to new approaches,

Participate in Webinars that improve my genealogical research and organization,

I’m sure over the course of the next year I will being adding new things to review and decide if they are what is best for me.

I want to keep it simple for me. If I’m not comfortable with something, after giving it the old college try, I will move on to the next option-old or new.

What is your Biggest Genealogy Challenge?

Staying on task and recording my research is my biggest challenge. It’s still a challenge not to follow the Bright Shiny Objects. Having the excel worksheet to record the links or books to research later helps keep me on task. I strongly believe the K.I.S.S. method I have chosen will help keep me on task. Ask me in a year if I still agree.

Happy Researching and Organizing!


Filed under #365daysofJune, Writing

Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016


Organized, Me? Maybe with Dear Myrtle’s helps. Pat Richley-Erickson, aka Dear Myrtle, announced that she would beginning her “You Want Me To Get Organized” Sunday 27 Dec 2015 along with Homework. Yes, Homework. Being the dutiful follower I am. I did my homework.

  • Clean up the holiday decorations, and clear a corner of your computer desk to be ready for the FINALLY Get Organized! 2016 Weekly ChecklistsCHECK
  • Rest up January 1st and 2nd. You’ll need it with what Ol’ Myrt has in mind! CHECK
  • I added to her get organized check list my need to review what supplies I needed. I ordered back up printer inks, computer paper, and 5 x 8 index cards. All other supplies appeared to be plentiful.

On Monday 28 Dec 2015 she announced  Participant badges that can be used on your blog or documents.

I'm Doing It!

I’m Doing It!

Tuesday 29 2015 she announced Monthly Awards. The support continues with each of her posts.

Wednesday 30 2015 the announcement of One place to look for all checklists .

Thursday was a reminder asking us if our Desk are clean, her is.

Finally on 3 Jan 2016 Dear Myrtle posted the first true weekly home work assignment. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist and Myrt’s confession .

Before I get into the first weekly assignment I will give you an overview of my attempts to get organized to this date.

I did Thomas MacEntee’s first Genealogy Do-Over in 2014. I learned a lot doing his 13 week program. I followed his Do-Over in 2015 and will follow in 2016. I blog about them here on my blog site Dame Gussie’s Genealogy Rants. Just check the archives to read them. I came to a decision of what works for me and what doesn’t. With that decision made I feel confident I can meet Dear Myrtle upcoming getting organized challenge.

I find the use of Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets and digital photos/documents files by Surname the most comfort way to work. I will continue to use my 5 x 8 index cards along with the saved digital records for when I have multiple surnames in a community. For me the visible cards that I can move around is most helpful. I will continue to keep an open mind to new digital options. Having back up of our work is never a bad thing. I have signed up for Thomas’s Boot Camp Scrivener II: Beyond the Basics Mini Boot Camp – Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Open Mind! Open Heart! A way to Start!

I’m ahead of the game in Dear Myrtle’s checklist. I completed the first two items and partially completed the third. I’m still waiting for my husband to connect my second monitor., until then, I will use my IPAD mini, my IPHONE and dual images on my current monitor. I ordered extra Archival Document Boxes.

  1. Desk organized. CHECK
  2. Supplies reviewed and ordered. CHECK
  3. Computer Desk Set Up for Working. PARTIALLY CHECK, second monitor in the works Books organized. CHECK Will order new books as needed.
  4. Clipboard for Computer problems. CHECK Mine are Colored Notebooks
  5. Genealogy Challenge Clipboard CHECK Mine are Colored Notebooks
  6. “Henry”s bright idea accomplished during my 2014-2015 Genealogy Do-Over. CHECK
  7. Patiently waiting for Week 2 Checklist.


Dear Myrtle’s Blog

GeneaBloggers –Thomas MacEntee


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