Now that I have done all the testing I plan to do, it’s time to actually to start working with what I have.
Quick note before I get into that, recently I found out that a lot of people don’t know that you can upload your raw DNA data from Ancestry or 23 and Me to MyHeritage for free. As I mentioned before all the different companies have their own databases, meaning if you don’t test with the same company as your other relatives you could miss potential matches. It is super easy to upload your raw data to MyHeritage.
The first thing you have to do, if you haven’t already, is download your raw data. To download from Ancestry, go to their site and log on. Click DNA, then setting and scroll down to Actions. Click on Download and follow the instructions. For 23 and Me, go to their site and log on. Click on the down arrow beside your profile picture at the top of the screen and select Resources. Click Browse your date in the Raw Data box. Click Download and follow the instructions.
23 and Me:
To upload to MyHeritage you will need to have an account. Go to their site to create an account or log on with your existing account. Click on DNA and then Upload. Follow the instructions. Like the other sites you are limited in what you can do without a paid account but you will see your DNA matches with their DNA database and all the other free stuff. It takes a few days for the matching to do it’s thing, it’s worth the wait.
I wish all the vendors did this, certainly would make it easier and a lot less expensive for those searching for birth families, lost family members etc.
Many years ago I had a cousin who did a significant amount of family tree work on my fathers paternal side. He did a great job documenting it. We are descended from the first French settlers of Port Royal, Nova Scotia better known as the Acadians. That was the limit of what I knew about my family tree though. As mentioned in previous posts, my mother was adopted so up until 2018 there was zero knowledge of her history and for whatever reason we just never talked about my fathers maternal side.
Below is my father with his parents and sisters.
I had always thought, and I don’t know why, that my father’s maternal side was German. While there are a few German and French ancestors, turns out the maternal history is primarily Scottish with a smattering of English. A significant number of them came from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and PEI. I was completely shocked to find this out and am still working on it.
I have been able to go as far at the early 1600’s on my father’s maternal side and the 1400’s on his paternal. Googling some of the names led me to fantastic historical documents, stories and pictures – particularly with respect to the Acadians. It’s really quite something to see them in your tree and then be able to connect with them through their account of the Expulsion of the Acadians. You feel it in the heart.
Baptism Certificate for Claire Langlois, one of the first of my paternal relatives to be born in Nova Scotia:
I unfortunately didn’t know my father’s parents very well. My grandfather died when I was 2 and my grandmother became unwell when I was very young so I didn’t see her again until I was in my twenties. She died shortly after that.
The only picture I have with me and my grandfather. It’s a great one though, I love the joy in his face.
As we recently found out my mother’s birth heritage is very Scottish. There is no doubt that somewhere along the line my father’s maternal family would have interacted with my mother birth family ancestors. They were from the same area and in a few cases the same town or village. I am just learning the Scottish story, it’s fascinating. Building the tree is more challenging there because I am not as familiar with the history but amazingly enough I have been able to go back as far as the mid 1000’s and times of great warriors, kings, queens and other nobility. There is so much documentation to read, the stories and accounts are just amazing. I would love to be able to find a book with it all so I didn’t have to spend so much screen time on it. I am sure there must be a relative with this but since we don’t know any of them, and they don’t know we exist, it’s difficult to find.
I have researched the Clans of Scotland to try and identify with that side of our history. I can get lost in it for hours and then I just want to drop everything and visit the Scottish Highlands.
For me the goal of doing the tree is to someday map out a trip to visit the places my people came from, which is very similar to my husbands so we will be able to cover both families pretty easily.
A couple of of tips about doing the family tree, stick to direct descendants in the distant generations. Including every cousin, great aunt or great uncle can get very monotonous. Once you get past the first two or three generations, the extended family information is really not relevant. If I want to look up someone specific, to trace a line or something, I might add them in but I try not to. A tree should be readable and easy to understand. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your tree with information.
I don’t really have a favourite tool yet for doing my tree but I am finding new research resources all the time.
The one thing I have found most frustrating about doing the tree is that a person is only allowed to have one ‘family’. So for people like my mother I had to choose between her birth family or her real family. For a blood line and history of course you want the birth family but for everything else you want to be able to have the real family. These are the cousins, aunts, uncles and other family that I know and that have been there my entire life. I am as interested in that history as I am in the blood history. I would guess that there are probably relatives in common based on what I have found so far.
If anyone out there knows of a tool where this is possible please let me know. For now I have just been keeping my own notes. My grandparents were pretty remarkable people and their story is also my story.
For more information about DNA tests and testing check out – https://www.consumersadvocate.org/dna-testing