Questions & Updates

Since I’m new to the genealogy blogging world, I thought it would be best to ask you, the reader, how you document or report any additional questions or updates you may have about a particular ancestor or issue.

Do you have a separate page on your website/blog specifically designed for listing the questions you have about a particular ancestor or topic? Or, do you simply create a new blog entry each time you have new questions to be answered? Or, do you forgo documenting your questions altogether on your blog/website?

I’d love to hear how you are organizing your research, thoughts, questions, and updates! Please comment below.

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52 Ancestors: #2 Edmund W. Mandigo

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Edmund Walter Mandigo

Edmund Walter Mandigo was born on April 5, 1926 in Tinmouth, Vermont. He was the third of eight children born to Mabel D. Griffith and Francis J. Mandigo, and the oldest male child. Ed, or Eddie as some called him, was a wonderful, loving man. He was my mother’s father. To me, he was Papa, and he was the only grandfather I ever knew.

He was strikingly handsome, with dark hair, high cheekbones, and a smile that would melt your heart. His youthful appearance caused him to even be mistaken for my mother’s husband a few times.

Papa also had quite the sense of humor and loved playing practical jokes on people, especially his mother. Ed would call her on the telephone, put a handkerchief over the receiver to disguise his voice, and claim to be calling from the Republican Party asking for donations and her support at the voting polls come election time. Mabel, a staunch Democrat, would yell back into the phone, “I wouldn’t vote for GOD if he were Republican!” Continue reading

DNA Testing: A Pandora’s Box

I received an Ancestry DNA kit for Christmas this year. I mailed it back to Ancestry on 12/29/17, and the results are expected to take 6-8 weeks or longer due to the high volume this time of year. Both of my parents have also taken the Ancestry DNA tests, as well as two of my father’s siblings. I’ll post my results when I receive them, but for now, I’ll share each of my parents’ DNA results from Ancestry.

My Mother (C.M.)

I was eager to see the results of my mother’s Ancestry DNA test because we thought she may have some Native American heritage. She is also an only child, so there are no siblings of hers we can test. As it turned out, she didn’t, and the results were pretty much as we expected:

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My mother’s paternal grandmother was born in Wales, and her paternal great-grandmother was born in Ireland.  On my mother’s maternal side, her great-great grandfather was born in Canada.

My Father (T.B.)

My father was the first in our family to take the Ancestry test back in 2014, and his ethnicity results were what we expected be based on the paper genealogy trail we had at the time:

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Here’s the thing with DNA tests: They are very much a Pandora’s box. They can be very helpful in confirming all of the paper trail research you’ve done and help find new relatives you didn’t know you had, but they can also reveal secrets and surprises.

And this is where things get complicated on my father’s side… Continue reading

52 Ancestors: #1 Thelma E. Perkins

Thelma E. (Perkins) Barth, 1953/54

Thelma Evangeline Perkins was born on January 8, 1911, on Poppasquash Road in Bristol, Rhode Island, and died on September 13, 2007, in Windsor, Vermont. I was most fortunate to have my grandmother present on a daily basis for the first 30 years of my life.

We were very, very close. In fact, she truly was my best friend. Even when I left Vermont and moved 811 miles away to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, we spoke daily, sometimes several times a day by phone. I was also the last family member to see and be with her the night before she died.

Despite how close we were and the secrets we shared, she still had many, many secrets that she took to her grave. It wasn’t until 10 years after her death that her secrets would start to reveal themselves. Continue reading

The Beginning

My passion for genealogy began at a very early age, well before the internet revolution. As a young child, I would often sit at the table and watch my father write and mail letters to the vital records departments of various cities such as New York, Hartford, CT, and Bristol, RI. He was meticulous, organized, and took the time to answer every question I asked. If he didn’t know the answer he would tell me so, and then ask me how we should go about finding the answer to the question I asked.

By my teens, I was accompanying my father on genealogical field trips. Many were to out of state big city libraries, and to the state of Vermont’s vital records center. We even drove down to Tarrytown, NY, and went to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in search of tombstones for relatives. The trip to Tarrytown, NY is one I’ll never forget.

Continue reading