52 Ancestors – Week 51 – Future

So looking forward to 2020, I have all sorts of projects and goals in mind. It is going to require me to be a bit more organized with my time and with my research.

Genealogy Projects for 2020

  1. File a DAR supplemental application for my daughter through her paternal grandma’s line.
  2. Clear the DAR Additional Information Requested to connect Sarah Knowlton Coolidge to Benjamin Knowlton.
  3. Highlight an ancestor once a month on the blog.
  4. Submit an application to Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.
  5. Submit an application to Daughters of Union Veterans.
  6. Submit a supplemental application for a new patriot David Weatherwax.
  7. Break through a few brick walls including finding a death date for Henry Bass.
  8. Plan a few local day research trips to Brooklyn (Holy Cross Cemetery, Canarsie Cemetery, trips to the municipal archives and family history centers.)
  9. Work on detangling the Preston line.
  10. Try to take a class on Jewish Research, Italian or Irish Research.
  11. Listen to 2 genealogy podcasts per week.
  12. Work on finishing RLP ECourse and DNA course.

Sounds like a good plan for 2020.

52 Ancestors – Week 38 – Cousins

When I saw this prompt I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, then it hit me I would talk a bit about my quest into the world of DNA.

As I have wrote in the past I am one of the least sciencey (yes I made this word up), people I know. I am just not a fan. Also being in a ProGen study group made me realize I really need a working knowledge of DNA.

So I have been messaging all of my matches trying to discover all the connections for those people I do not know. Right now I am working on trying to prove who Sally Sawyer’s parents are and that her mother is indeed the daughter of Hannah Bartlett and Capt. Richard Kelly. If I can do this I will be able to claim a female patriot as a supplemental in the DAR.

I have actually realized I really like using DNA for the older brick walls where records can be scant. I am also discovering all sorts of DNA cousins I had not known and I am able to build my tree out farther.

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Sally Sawyer was born in 1769 possibly in New Hampshire to Judith Kelly and Joseph Sawyer. She married Abner Preston and had several children. This line gets very tangled and confusing as there was a lot of intermarriage between Preston and Shumway family members so there are some double cousins in there. I also found a DNA match that was from this line and one of my Grandpa’s relatives.

It has been great because I am beginning to make connections and I feel like this research question can be answered. Also I love the hints of ThruLines from Ancestry but there are a lot of names and traditional genealogy work to tie all the DNA matches together.

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I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me in the end but it has been great meeting DNA cousins, so far and sharing my love of these family lines with others and I am finally able to say that I am learning how DNA can be a really valuable tool in the genealogy toolbox.

52 Ancestors – Week 31- Brothers

I truly believe that our ancestors reach out to us and speak to us. I have been doing a lot of research on my Beardsley/Curtis Lines.

I have been working on an assignment for ProGen but I am also trying to link back to another Revolutionary War Patriot, Eldad Curtis. It is tough going because after the Revolution these lines moved around a lot. Also so far I have found 3 wives for Eldad.

So when I received an assignment in ProGen to transcribe a will and develop a Research Plan. I decided Emanuel Beardsley would be perfect he is a brother to my Beverly Beardsley and I had done no real research on him. Let’s be honest it took me for ever to sort out the mystery of the Beverley Beardsleys and Ancestry is still full of errors as some trees have him living to be like 120 years old.

Anyway I digress, the theme this week is brothers and I have been a bit obsessed. It all stems from this passage in the History of Clinton and Franklin Counties.

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So this passage has so much information and needs more but it was a huge diving off point for me. I love families that use familial names but also hate it because it creates a mess.

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So I have been studying these families and expanding them in hopes to go back further as you never know who is related. It is also fun to go back and hear names my grandpa talked about. I think this is the branch of the family they went to see as I truly believe his mother Minerva was bounced between these relatives as I never find her anywhere with her parents.

My Beverley Beardsley married and Ada Curtis in Wells Vermont. She was the daughter of Eldad Curtis and Clotilda Weeks or Meeks. Well I also discovered that an Immanuel Beardsley married an Astilda or Clotilda Curtis. So I am trying to piece this all together and I have DNA that shoes a connection but I really want more.

So my project for my research report has been the birth order of Emanuel’s Children named in his will and that has been interesting and has me doing a Deep Dive into DNA and that is not something I am very good at so I am looking for a crash course in it and am very happy for Ancestry ThruLines which is giving me places to go look for traditional research.

So today’s question does anyone have any good DNA webinars for dummies???

52 Ancestors – Week 15 – DNA

I will admit that I am not a real sciencey person. Most of it goes right over my head. In school science bored the tears out of me. The only science I could somewhat handle was psychology which is why 90% of the science in college was different psych classes with the exception of biology 101.

Anyway I digress, the science of DNA and genealogy confuses me to no end. I understand barely enough to get by and am thankful to Blaine Bettinger for his work and charts to make it somewhat easier to understand.

I have taken a DNA test along with my parents, my husband and several other family members and it was nice to see how nicely we were related. Have there been surprises? Absolutely.

One of those was the potential discover of a half-aunt to my Mother-in-law through her grandfather Henry Bass. (Thank you Ancestry for ThruLines). I am still piecing that one together but the DNA numbers seem to be right. Now to find the rest of the documentation I need on that one.

Someday when I have time I would love to figure out how go through each of the DNA lines and delve deeper. I would also love to attend some DNA classes but am scared that my eyes will glaze over with the science of it all. I am lucky I even know what a centimorgan is.

Anyone else in this boat?


52 Ancestors – Week 6 – Surprise

I have been mulling the topic of this post for a few days. Trying to figure out where to go with it and trying to figure out if there was a big A-Ha moment in my research and I really couldn’t come up with anything.

Looking back I would have to say the biggest surprises would have to be in my husband’s family. Researching his family has been fun and interesting as everything I learn is new to me.

The first surprise, I would have to say is when we did his DNA test in early 2018. G. DNA Results

I was surprised by the amount of Norwegian ancestry he had, though he wasn’t as his grandmother had always told him he had it but he hadn’t paid attention. The 16% is in line with having 2 Great Great grandparents who were born there. I am still trying to learn more about Neils Osborne and Bergetti Netland Osborne and their life before the United States.

The other surprise on his DNA is the European Jewish. I am thinking that has to do with his maternal Great Grandmother’s line Marguerite Brucks Bass, as her parents were from Germany.

As I said previously his entire tree is a surprise to me. gfamilytree

As you can see there is a lot of Irish in there. I will admit as there is so much Irish it is super slow going for me. I am honestly thinking the next time there is an institute or conference I need to get my feet wet with Irish Genealogy.

I did find his Butler and Hurley lines came from Canada and spent several years their before coming to the United States. I haven’t found them entering Canada from Ireland as of yet but I am sure I will.

I am excited to see what the next surprise I can find  on his tree. It is an ongoing process and I am sure I will fill in more and more blanks as we go.


Bergetti Netland Osborne (30 x 30 Day 1)

Yesterday was day 1 of my 30 x 30 challenge and let’s just say it raised more questions.

I decided to start with my husband’s 2X Great-Grandmother, Bergetti Netland Osborne. Gerard’s Norwegian Great-Great Grandparents call me and when they are speaking you need to listen to those voices. You need to tell the story.


I went with the paper trail, I did have, from the first record, I found the 1892 NYS Census, (if only the 1890 US Census was available).

As you can see there is some conflicting information, from her age to the year, the immigration year. I did stumble upon some more records I will need to look at but have also learned I need to find some webinars on Norwegian Ancestry and naming patterns. I also need to go to Brooklyn and check out the will file I found mentioned on Ancestry. I also am curious as to what religion the Osborne’s were as they are buried in Canarsie Cemetery and their son is at Holy Cross Cemetery.

So questions raised, what year did Bergetti actually come to America in. Her son, John Osborne was born in 1884. Are Jens Olsen Netland and Birthe Oldsdatter really her parents? So thankful that her husband was the informant on her death certificate.

One thing that I found that corresponds with Gerard’s DNA results is the mention of Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway, that is one of the regions mentioned on his test.

Overall it was a productive day, 30 minutes is no time and I am off to create a timeline for Neils or Nels or Neil Osborne to see if it reveals anything different.

The timeline was indeed beneficial and there is something about putting it down with pen and paper that helps me.

If you have any tips on researching Norwegian Ancestors, I would love to hear them as this is new territory for me.

Some of my Favorite Podcasts

I love podcasts. I find them a great source of personal development. It fills the time when I am driving back and forth to work or while waiting for the kids to get out of activities. I became addicted to podcasts when I first started as a Beachbody Coach and my tastes have evolved over the years.

Here are some of my favorites.

Extreme Genes – This is a fun one. Scott Fisher is the host and I have learned a lot. It is broken into segments. – News from David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and I also throughly enjoy the Preservation Authority segment with Tom Perry.

The Genealogy Guys – This is a great one for all the ins and outs. I have learned so much from the listener emails and the guys tips. I also enjoy the Genealogy Connection they put out with professionals in the field.

Genealogy Gems  – hosted by Lisa Louise Cook is another great informational segment with stories, tips and dna feature is another go too.

Research at the National Archives and Beyond – this is another go to. This one has a lot of tips for African American Research. I have learned so much with this one. It is so informative. I think one of my favorite shows on this one was about publishing your work.

The Forget-Me-Not Hour – I have listened to every episode of this podcast from Jane E. Wilcox. Her segment with Henry Z. Jones on the Palentines is one of my favorites. I am so sad that she is no longer producing it, I suggest you listen to it as it is such a wealth of knowledge.

These are my go to podcasts. There are others that I have recently started listening too but I haven’t gone through enough episodes to finalize an opinion. If you are into family history these are great listens. Let me know if you listen or if you have a favorite podcast. I would love to add to my rotation.






Always learning…

I had a genetic cousin contact me early Sunday morning, asking how we are related. I could tell immediately she was related through my Dad’s family but that is all. A little deeper digging and I could tell she was my Dad’s paternal line.

Unfortunately, that is as far as I could get. Unlike my mom’s family, I do not know much of the family history. My Grandpa, Tony, died when I was very little and most of his family stayed in the old country. What I do know has been pieced together from a document shared with my Dad from his cousin and what I have found.

Another reason I haven’t gotten to far is the Italian naming pattern of son’s. Oldest son gets named after the paternal grandfather. Today I made a minor break through.

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 6.02.45 PMI was able to find out when my great grandfather came to the United States in 1880 with his parents. I also love that European women traveled under their maiden names as it gives you one more piece of the puzzle. I also discovered a tiny hint of where my first name came from. My Great Great Grandmother’s name was Chiara (I need to discover what her maiden name was as I do not think the spelling I have is  correct). I am excited to have found some more connections.

I am trying to learn about the different naming traditions as I think once I do that I will be able to break a couple of walls especially as I get back into Ireland, Italy and Norway. Below is my husband’s Norwegian line.

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 6.03.25 PMI found a baptism record for Bergetti Netland, I think, but am not 100% sure as from what I have discovered the Scandinavian countries did not have set last names until the late 1800s and what I have read confused me so I put them off to the side until I found a rather high match for my genetic cousin on MyHeritage.

So everyday I am learning different things and moving out of my comfort zone.


Meet Earl and Frances (Stewart) Witherwax, my maternal grandparents and the reason I started this family history journey.


Chiara DellaVecchia Osborne, Frances and Earl Witherwax on her wedding day. April 5, 1997.

My Grandma was my initiation into our family history, though Grandpa took us everywhere. I think he did it to humor Grandma at first, though he was fabulous at throwing out comments like “I knew we were German.”; when you finally realized the origins of the name Witherwax and it wasn’t English like everyone thought.

These two meant the world to our family and were the heart of the family. They are missed every day. It is because of them I am about to embark on a new journey. The journey into professional genealogy.

I am obsessed with finding out about family history, whether it is my family or into discovering the roots of my husband’s supposedly new to American ancestors. We have debunked that theory though we are still diving down that rabbit hole.

Once upon a time I fancied myself Nancy Drew, now I prefer bringing ancestors to life and finding out their stories, they all have a story. We all come from somewhere and our families wants their story told and to not be forgotten

I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.