Episode 312 - X (Chromosome) Marks the Spot for More Discoveries / New Lineage Society Explodes into ExistenceDec 29, 2019
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys begin “Family Histoire News” with the tale of a family fruitcake that has outlasted multiple generations! Then, there’s a problem with DNA and it has to do with a blood donation a man received years ago. And now that DNA is showing up in this man’s DNA test results! Then, it’s back to the attic for another remarkable family find. This time, evidence of a bootlegger operation dating back to Prohibition. Next, it’s skeletons under a house in Connecticut. Hear the history these remains speak to from the 18th century. Krispy Kreme has learned something about the past of their founders that has shocked them into action. Hear the story and who they are now helping as a result.
Next, Fisher visits with Debra Renard from Legacy Tree Genealogists. Debra is an DNA specialist and goes through the significance of finding DNA matches who share your X chromosome. Why might this be helpful in your research? Debra explains.
Then, Fisher chats with Janisue Rigel and Davena Liepman, founders of a brand spanking new lineage society. It was thought up over a lunch in the spring and already has over 900 members nationwide! Why? Because it celebrates ancestors (and descent from them) who were American farmers. Find out what the National Society, Descendants of American Farmers is about and how you can become a part of it.
In Ask Us Anything, Fisher and David field questions about databases of silent film actors and actresses and how you can go about determining the real relationship of a DNA match to you. (Sometimes your shared DNA can mean multiple relationships.)
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 312
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 312
Fisher:And welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. It is great to have you along. We’ve got some great guests coming up today. First of all, coming up in about ten minutes or so, we’re going to talk to Debra Renard. She’s with our great sponsor Legacy Tree Genealogists. She’s a Genetic Genealogist, and she’s going to talk to us about an aspect of genetic genealogy that many of us, I would imagine, haven’t used very often, and that’s how do you use that X-Chromosome thing? Where do you find out about it? What does that mean? Why could it be useful? Where can you see it? Well, Debra’s got all the answers coming up. And then, after her, later in the show, we’re going to talk to a pair of ladies who got together over lunch one day last winter and decided, hey, it’s time we start a new lineage society, honoring our farmer ancestors. They’ve got over 900 members going so far. So, you’re going to want to hear what they have to say, coming up later on in the show. And of course, we’ll do “Ask Us Anything” at the back end as always. Hey, just a reminder by the way, if you haven’t signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter” yet, that’s the place to get my blog every week plus, links to current and past shows and to stories that you’ll find fascinating as a genealogist. But right now, let’s head out to Boston and David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello David! Merry Christmas!
David: Merry Christmas to you too. And I’ll tell you, those packages keep on arriving and occasionally you get a fruitcake.
Fisher: Oh yeah.
David: What do you do with them?
Fisher: Yeah, what do you do with them?
David: Well, I’ll tell you that Julie Ruttinger’s family had no idea what to do with it in 1878 when Fidelia Ford, her great, great grandmother died. So, they put it under an antique glass and there it sat, and 141 years later it’s still in the family, uneaten.
Fisher: Oh no. [Laughs]
David: Yeah. [Laughs]
Fisher: From what year?
David: 1878. 141years ago.
Fisher: Oh, that’s nice.
David: But that’s not all, because the oldest fruitcake was found in Egypt. It is in a museum in Switzerland. That one’s 4,176 years old.
Fisher: That might be a little dusty, but the 141-year-old I’m sure is in great edible shape.
David: I’m sure if you get a chainsaw you could probably dice it into slices, yeah.
Fisher: [Laughs] Something like that.
David: [Laughs] Well, you know, anyway you cut it, DNA research is an amazing thing. And on ExtremeGenes.com is a great story on Chris Long who was in Reno, Nevada. Now, Chris has survived a serious illness and his DNA was replaced by a donor’s blood, and now his blood contains the DNA of the donor.
Fisher: Isn’t that weird?
David: Yeah. It’s mixed with his own, but the DNA is present and also the DNA taken from Chris’ lips, his inner cheek of his mouth, his tongue, all come up with this genetic fingerprint. What happens if that person in Germany commits a crime? Will Chris be liable, or vice versa?
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah, if he had done a DNA test. You never know. They’d put it up on GEDmatchand they go, “Ah, he has escaped to America!” [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, this could be an interesting story too. And they were saying what if the guy had kids? Would his kids be the biological children of the blood donor in Germany or his own? So, they’re really looking into this. They’re saying it’s not likely that that would be the case, but it’s kind of like an overlap of DNA, and it’s been many years.
David: Well, I guess you could call that person in Germany his non-blood relative.
Fisher: Yes, exactly.
David: Well, you know, this holiday season when you go up into the attic to get the Christmas tree or the wrapping paper, one family was in for a surprise when a false ceiling revealed all the supplies in bottles from prohibition. I guess the family had a bootlegging connection. And the elderly relative who had died just recently always forbade them from going in the attic.
Fisher: Yeah, and they found bottles and all the stuff for the bootlegging operation in the false ceiling and nobody would have ever known. Nobody did know for many years in that family. Incredible!
David:Well, you know, it’s funny. Sometimes you find things that you don’t want in your attic. Do you remember from the ‘60s those silver Evergleam Christmas trees?
Fisher:Oh yes, I had some neighbors who had those. We never had that. We never would have had anything like that. I’ve never seen one though in probably 40 some odd years now.
David:They stopped making them in 1971, but the Washington Post had a very interesting article on the 60th anniversary of the Evergleams. Yeah, we don’t have any in my family photos either. Thank goodness for that
David:Well, one discovery recently from a family in Brookfield, Connecticut, when they were adding on to 1790s era home was that they found a skeleton. And now when the archaeologists came in, they found two more. These robust young men who appeared to have been buried in the 1770s which makes sense because the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut,took place in April of 1777. Yes, the addition was built over a burial ground.
Fisher: Oh wow! So, the addition of the house is over the old burial ground and we’ve got some of the people that were killed in that battle in 1777. How would you like to know you’re sleeping in that house every night, right? That would be creepy. [Laughs]
David:Yeah, it kind of goes back to Poltergeist. If you see any ghosts with tri-cornered hats you know what’s going on.
David:[Laughs]Well, you know, sometimes our history discovers the things that we don’t like. When Krispy Kreme realized that their forbears, the Reimann family, contributed to Hitler’s cause, and World War II and of course, we know about the holocaust and what Germany did, so the Krispy Kreme Foundation has pledged $11 million and half of that has already been given to Jewish material claims against Germany. This is money that’s given to actual holocaust survivors.
Fisher: Right. They were using slave labor and POWs as well for the company that ultimately now owns Krispy Kreme. I mean, it’s just a strange connection, but they discovered it and are trying to do the right thing.
David:Yeah, I think that’s really amazing after 70 odd years, that they’re just not turning a blind eye to it. They’re actually doing the right thing. Bravo to them. Well, that’s about all the news I have from Boston, but if you remember that present that you forgot to give your sibling, well, you can have an American Ancestors membership and save $20 on it by using the coupon code “Extreme.”
Fisher:All right David, thank you so much. And coming up next, we’ll talk to genetic genealogist Debra Renard about a little-known tool in DNA research that can help you out as you try to find your matches, the X-Chromosome. How do you use it? What is it about? Well, you’ll get a little 202 class in it coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio in three minutes.
Segment 2 Episode 312
Host: Scott Fisher with guestDebra Renard
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Very pleased to be talking today with Debra Renard. She’s from Louisville, Kentucky. She’s a DNA Specialist with Legacy Tree Genealogists, one of our great sponsors. And Deb, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s great to have you.
Debra: Thank you Scott. Glad to be here.
Fisher: You know, we get a lot of DNA specialists who come on the show and I love the different aspects to this that people bring to it. And this one is kind of unique, and this is a little specialized. I will qualify it as “that” as we start this thing off because I don’t really know that we use this very much, but the X-Chromosome can be a really important tool if you’re trying to determine where certain matches come from on your tree.
Debra: Absolutely. It’s a very unique kind of DNA, has special inheritance that can really give us some great clues as to who our common ancestor is with a particular match.
Fisher: Right. Now, let’s just talk about this a little bit because I think DNA, first of all, for those who haven’t done it yet or just getting started in it, when we usually refer to that we’re talking about the autosomal DNA that is sold through Ancestry.com and all of the major DNA companies. X-DNA is a portion of this autosomal DNAthat is passed down through daughters and to sons through their mothers. And this is quite different from mitochondrial DNA, right?
Debra: It is absolutely. And to clarify, it’s not really part of the autosomal DNA. We have 23 pairs of chromosomes in the nucleus of most of our cells, and X-DNA and Y-DNA compose the 23rd pair. It is the first 22 pairs that are the autosomes.
Debra: But you’re not wrong though because we typically get results back, information back about our X-DNA, along with the results of an autosomal test.
Fisher: Right. They’re all there together. But not every company provides you the X information. Ancestry does not.
Debra: That’s correct. It is FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe, which provide us with information about our X-DNA.
Fisher: And for those occasions where you want to try to eliminate where certain aspects of a match are coming from, this is where it gets important. So, how do you use it in your cases?
Debra: Well, because of the special inheritance pattern that X-DNA has, it gives us the ability to eliminate certain lines of relationship. If we share X-DNA with a match, there are certain areas of our family tree chart that we know that X-DNA did not come from.
Fisher: Um hmm. Yeah, it just eliminates it because it can’t come from dad.
Debra: Well, it cannot come from dad if you’re male.
Debra: It does come from dad if you’re a female.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Debra: So, males have one X-Chromosome from their mother, and they have one Y-Chromosome from their father. That’s what makes them a male.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Debra: Females on the other hand have two X-Chromosomes. They got one from their mother, but also they got their father’s X-Chromosome which he received from his mother.
Fisher: Wow, his mother. And so there are different patterns for women and for men. And I’ve actually seen these because they kind of map them out with a shading-out of those that it can’t come from where that X line is. So, it basically can eliminate what percent of possible ancestors as being the source of that shared X-Chromosome you might have with somebody you match with?
Debra: Well, for a male, we can immediately eliminate his entire paternal half of his tree because he did not receive any X from his father. He only received the Y from his father.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Debra: Therefore, if he has an X match, we know that it has to be on his maternal side. And then there are certain areas of his maternal side that are eliminated as well. Now, for a female we can eliminate the paternal half of her father’s half.
Debra: That translates to one fourth of her tree.
Fisher: Yeah, quarter. Yeah.
Debra: It eliminates immediately. So, the secret to this is, if you’re looking at one of those charts, anywhere that you see two males in a row that means that that area of ancestry back further from that point cannot be the source of X because you’ll never have X passed from one male to a son.
Fisher: So, it is the ultimate elimination tool when it comes to DNA research, right?
Debra: Yeah. That’s right. It’s very handy for that, yes.
Fisher: So, this is an extra thing you’re going to get on places like you mentioned, on FamilyTreeDNA, and GEDmatch does a great job with the X-Chromosome as well.
Debra: They do. On GEDmatch there is a third party company in that they don’t actually do DNA testing, but it’s a site where people can upload their DNA results from testing companies and compare them to others who have tested either at that company or other companies directly. And they do have some tools available for evaluating analysing those X-DNA results.
Fisher: So, let’s just talk for a minute to clarify for people who are a little confused about this because we hear about men getting the X-chromosome from their mom, but then we think about mitochondrial DNA. There’s a similarity, but they’re not the same.
Debra: Absolutely. So, a male’s X-Chromosome comes from his mother only, but it can be from his mother’s mother’s line, and his mother’s father’s line.
Debra: Whereas mitochondrial DNA is strictly matrilineal. What we mean by that, it came from his mother, her mother before her, her mother before her, only that line. Directly down that line of unbroken females to him. And then males, the other distinction from mitochondrial is that males do not pass on their mitochondrial DNA.
Debra: But they will pass on their X-DNA to their daughters only.
Fisher: Um hmm. So, the men get the Y-chromosome and the mitochondrial. The women get the mitochondrial but they don’t get the Y?
Debra: That’s correct. They get the X. And then of course everyone gets the autosomal.
Fisher: So, as a researcher, how often would you say you use the X-Chromosome in your research?
Debra: It is a pretty specialized case where we use it. When we’re having difficulty eliminating certain areas of someone’s tree in an unknown birth family situation if they have an X match, that can really help us with eliminating areas of connection with that ancestor.But most of the time nowadays we can solve most cases using only the autosomal results.
Fisher: Yeah. It’s pretty rare really. I mean, at the times that I’ve done it, I’ve never run across a case where I felt like I had to go in that direction. But it is a little bit more specialized and there is education to be found online as well, right?
Debra: Absolutely. There is some great blogs available which gives information about this. Roberta Estes,for example, has several blogs about using the X-chromosome. Kitty Cooper has some good writing about it, Blaine Bettinger as well. So, it is available out there, yes.
Fisher: Yes. So, if you’re really stuck on something and you just go man, where do I even begin? Which side is it coming from? And I guess that would have more to do if you don’t know what your lines are. You’re right. I would think anybody who’s been adopted would look at this as a really helpful tool, particularly.
Fisher: Now, for those who aren’t adopted, where would be the times that this would be used the most would you say?
Debra: Well, if they have a match that they just can’t quite figure out how they’re connected to, and they’re done testing at FamilyTreeDNA or 23andMe, then this could be the resource which makes the difference as far as being able to figure out that connection. There are certain familiar relationships where two people actually must share X-DNA, and if you don’t share X-DNA with someone you thought you had one of those relationships with, that would be a clue that there’s something amiss in your tree.
Debra: That does relate to fairly close relationships though this would more apply to an unknown birth situation.
Debra: But there are again certain relationships where two relatives will always share X-DNA.
Fisher: Earlier this year I ran into somebody who came up as a match as a second cousin and I had no idea where this guy came from other than, you know, he had my shared matches. And it’s like, oh, okay this guy obviously is a descendant of my great grandparents, my dad’s mother’s parents. And he was adopted so he had no idea. But if I didn’t what that was, because he was adopted, I could also use this to try to help narrow that down as well, right?
Debra: Absolutely. You can use that to help narrow down which lines you’re related to him on because you would know if you shared X-DNA that it would not be from his father’s side or your father’s side. So, if you don’t share X-DNA, of course, you would need to do a little more research to determine what your relationship is.
Fisher: Right. And we didn’t have an X but it’s still interesting to know that that’s a tool there when you get a mysterious match.
Debra: Absolutely. And one last point here Scott, we can’t actually predict a relationship based on the amount of X-DNA that we share with someone like we do with autosomal DNA.
Debra:You know, with autosomal we have these charts and we predict what level of cousin we are, based on the amount of autosomal DNA we share. But we can’t do that with X-DNA because sometimes a mother’s two X-Chromosomes before she passes it on they might recombine or they might not. She may pass on an X-Chromosome entirely intact, in which case we’d have a whole line of possible X inheritance that we didn’t actually receive any from. So, those colored areas on those charts that you were talking about, those are possible areas of X inheritance.
Debra: Not to say that we definitely inherit from all those lines, apart from the ones we could get X-DNA from.
Fisher: Interesting. Well, and really autosomal is about the only one that does kind predict what the relationship would be more than anything else, more than Y, more than mitochondrial. Yeah those just are direction finders basically. But you know, it’s really interesting stuff and I must admit Deb that I’m very grateful that we don’t have to use this too often. [Laughs]
Debra: [Laughs] It’s a little more involved.
Fisher: It’s a little more complicated but I think it’s worth touching on for people who are starting to get deep in the weeds of this stuff and you never know when you are going to use it. At some point you’re going to go, “Wait a minute, what was that all about? Maybe I can look into that.” Because it really is a great tool and it’s important to know that it’s there. Hey, she’s Debra Renard from Legacy Tree Genealogists. Deb, thanks so much for coming on, and really interesting stuff.
Debra: You’re welcome. Absolutely. Glad to have been here. Thank you.
Fisher: And coming up next, a new lineage society has been created and you might be eligible for it. Find out all about it, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 312
Host: Scott Fisher with guests Janisue Rigel and DavenaLiepman
Fisher:And we are back on America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it’s interesting how many different ways people find to honour their ancestors, to learn about them, to understand how they lived. One couple of ladies that I just learned about here recently came up with a new way, and that is to start their own national society of descendents, in this case, “The National Society Descendents of American Farmers.” I have the two “brainchilds” of this whole thing and of course the leaders. It’s Janisue Rigel the President National and Davena Liepman, she is the National Registrar. Ladies, welcome to Extreme Genes, it’s great to have you!
Janisue: Thank you so much.
Fisher: Where did this crazy idea come from?
Davena: Three years ago we were talking and thinking, why isn’t there a society honouring farmers? And we thought, it’s so obvious, it will happen tomorrow. It will happen.
Davena: And it didn’t. So, we were having lunch with friends the last of February, and started talking about new societies and we mentioned farmers. So, that’s how it started.
Fisher: So, this was just kind of a chat over lunch earlier this year, February.
Davena: Yes, actually and we were incorporated then, by March,Janisue had us incorporated. March 10th we became official.
Fisher: Wow! So, you were the first two members. Did you vote for each other, by the way, for those positions?
Janisue: I voted for her immediately.
Fisher: Fantastic. How many members do you have now?
Davena: We have exactly 914 charted members.
Fisher: Oh, wow. [Laughs] That’s incredible. So, what are the qualifications then to join The National Society Descendents of American Farmers?
Janisue: Our dates are July the 4th 1776 through December the 31st 1900.
Janisue: A census, a death certificate, a will that states your ancestor was a farmer.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Janisue: Or any other that would indicate American farmer.
Janisue: The Ag listing also works.
Fisher: Okay. So, this is a big thing though, 900 people. It started with you two and obviously you had to qualify every one of those 914. Who reviewed the applications and the documentation?
Janisue:Davena has done every single one of the 914.
Fisher: Oh my gosh. [Laughs]
Janisue: But now, we are missing. We have 32 used members who have qualified.
Janisue: And now we 21 board members that Davena qualified.
Fisher: Oh, wow. So, you’re starting to spread the workload a little bit here Davena.
Davena: Yes, for sure. We have a wonderful board. It’s a good teamwork.
Fisher: Sure. So, I’m thinking about this. I’m thinking all right, you’ve got all these people. They’re spread out all through the country. How many states are you represented in?
Janisue: We lack, I believe, two.
Fisher: [Laughs] You’re in 48 states already?
Janisue: We have Hawaii and Alaska, as members and I believe we are lacking two states as of today. North Dakota is one. And I’d have to pull up the database to tell you the other one.
Fisher: To figure out that, but maybe we can get you somebody in North Dakota, who knows.
Janisue: That would be fantastic.
Fisher: So, let’s think about this now, if you go to a chapter meeting, obviously with 900 people spread out they’re all going to be kind of small to start with. What’s your biggest chapter so far?
Davena: Guess what Scott?
Davena: We have decided that everyone is too busy nowadays. Too much stress on everyone.
Davena: So, we did not want state societies. We did not want chapters. We thought much more fitting for farmers, we would have ambassadors in states to recognize and promote us and they will be doing fieldtrips and tours, and get-togethers to learn more about farming so that we can appreciate our farmers even more.
Fisher: Wow. So, there are meetings held somewhere at some point, yes?
Janisue: Absolutely. We have a national caucus in April of each year. This year it will be April the 6th at the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C.
Fisher: Oh, how fun.
Janisue: Oh, it’s going to be phenomenal. And then, we will do a tour on April the 7th. And then in June we will meet again in Washington D.C. for a meet and greet. But our ambassadors, Scott, are actively doing all different kinds of things. We have ambassadors in Arizona, all the way through Wyoming, and everywhere else. Our first fieldtrip was to Green Acres Farm in Terrell, Texas
Fisher: [Laughs] [Hums “Green Acres” theme]
Janisue: [Laughs] I thought you’d like that. And we visited a KuneKune pig farm.
Fisher: You learned how pig farmers did their thing.
Janisue: Kune Kune pig farmers.
Fisher: Okay, there’s a difference between regular pig farmers and KuneKune?
Davena: Yes. These were going extinct and several breeders in the United States decided they were valuable pigs and needed to be helped. And these pigs are little bit like dogs. Dottie Durrett is our national organizing director and showed us how she has trained this pig that she calls Captain. She takes Captain to the veterans’ hospital and the veterans just adore Captain.
Janisue: Captain knows how to roll over three times. He will pray. When she goes *bang* Captain will drop dead. Oh, Captain is marvellous.
Fisher: [Laughs] So, are you collecting biographies on the various farmer ancestors as you go about this?
Janisue: We have photographs and we also have biographies. We have a beautiful website, it’s NSDOAF.com. We showcase our ancestors’ photographs and we are also obtaining for our records biographies of the ancestors.
Fisher: That’s great. So, over time you’re going to collect a huge amount of information. You know, that’s the thing about farmers. They don’t generally create a lot of news, but I would imagine with the digitized newspapers and the like now you can probably put together a lot more information than we’ve been able to in the past.
Davena: That is true. You know, another thing we’re finding out with our members? There’s a great deal of love involved with this society. They truly love their ancestor famers and they say to us thank you, all the time, for starting this society. It’s really a wonderful feeling.
Fisher: Have you ever figured why it was that this hasn’t happened sooner?
Janisue: No. I think that everyone was waiting for Davena to say, “I’m going to do it.”
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, that’s a great start. Can you imagine where this is going to be, say, in just two years, or five years, or ten years?
Janisue: That’s what everyone said. Scott, I did want to tell you about our application process.
Janisue: If you do not want to provide your proofs for each generation linking generation to generation. Then, we do accept the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution. The recognized societies, we accept their approved applications that are signed, along with our short form membership, but you still have to have the one page of proof.
Davena: And we have a lot of American farmers who have nothing to with wanting in right now.
Fisher: Right. And you know, I’ve been looking through mine and I’m thinking, I don’t know that I have any. My mother’s side entirely Scandinavian and my dad’s side has some back. There might be one back there but I’m not 100% sure. I’m going to have to see. [Laughs]
Davena: Keep looking.
Janisue: Keep Looking.
Fisher: I will keep looking, ladies. I will. It’s DevanaLiepman, she’s the National Registrar. And Janisue Rigel, she’s the President National of the National Society of Descendents of American Farmers. Once again, the website is NSDOAF.com. (National Society Descendents of American Farmers) and you can find out all about there if you have an interest. Ladies, thanks for coming on, it’s been great talking to you.
Davena: Thank you Scott.
Janisue: Thank you Scott.
Fisher: And by the way, their registration money goes agricultural scholarships. David returns in minutes as we move on to Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show in three minutes.
Segment 4 Episode 312
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: And we are back for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. David Allen Lambert is back from the New England Historic Genealogical Society to help me out here. Hello, David.
David: Fish, how are you doing?
Fisher: Good. And here's out question, this is from Jan Simpson in Huntsville, Alabama and Jan writes, "I've heard that my great uncle was in silent films in the teens and '20s. Is there a good source for learning more about his career?" That's an interesting one.
David: Yeah, that is. The first place that I would go to is the Internet Movie Database,IMDB.com, because that has back to the silent movie era's earliest films all the way down to the current blockbusters on the silver screen today. So, I would try that, but I also would try newspapers, especially since so many 20th century newspapers are out there.You may be listed in the credits or they may be "local boy makes big." Newspapers are great. And don't you have a relative yourself who was in the silent movies?
Fisher: Yeah, yeah I had a couple of different people in the film industry. In fact, my son is right now. But I had a great aunt, she did costuming for the movies back in '30s and '40s and '50s. But before that, my grandfather's first cousin was in silent films. He played kind of a character from Scandinavia namedKnute Erickson. And Knutewas in Vaudeville and then he was in the silent films in the teens and the '20s. And I've actually found motion pictures he was in digitized and online and for sale on eBay, so that was kind of interesting. In the '30s, he was much older and he played a crusty sea captain in some serialized movie. So it was a lot of fun to see that, and I was just amazed at how much he looked like my grandfather and the resemblance to my second great grandfather who was his grandfather.
David: Oh, that's neat, especially if you can pull a connection of facial recognition of your family member.
Fisher: Yeah! Well, he had a lot of close-ups in this thing.They zero in on his crusty face for special effect and I'm going, "Oh my gosh, he looks just like my great-great grandfather!" It was just an amazing thing. I don't know that my grandpa ever knew him or anything much about him, but in tracing in down, it was fascinating to see what he had done. My mom was in movies, too, although she didn't get much in the way of credits, so I don't think she's on the IMDB.
David: Yeah, you'll just have to create an entry for her.
David: And link her to the movies that she told you about. I remember seeing a clip of one of the ones that you found online with her walking on, yeah.
Fisher: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun some of these connections and I think that's probably the best database. But I like what you're saying about the newspapers, because I did find online a lot of papers that talked about if there was a local connection to somebody in a movie, the entire town would want to come out and see that person they knew on the big screen.
David: Oh sure.
Fisher: So they would advertise that, you know, this film's going to be released and it’s going to be showing at this time and this local guy or this local gal was in this movie. So, you can get a lot of interesting color about it and maybe even a little more about your ancestor from the newspaper story, telling about what was in their career, maybe other flicksthat they had been in and roles that they had played and maybe people they even acted with, which is really quite fun.
David: It really is. You just never know what you're going to find until you start searching for it. And you know, one of the things that you can also try is Variety Magazine, because that was great in the early era to catch the stories of people in the movie industry. And then of course, going to the archives for that studio. I mean, Universal has been around 1915. And a lot of other studios were bought up by other major studios, so you could possibly go ahead and use that as a connection, too. Do a little archival digging in Hollywood perhaps.
Fisher: You mentioned Variety, and Variety not only covers film, but it covers early television, it covered radio, anybody who was really appearing in pretty much of anything. I don't know, did that extend to stage?
David: I don't know if it did, but it could have early on in the infancy of the movie industry.
Fisher: Yeah, it could very well have been. So, there are all kinds of sources. And also, you might want to just Google the name and see what comes up. So, there's some great answers there. And thanks so much, Jan for the question. And coming up next, it is a DNA match question. We'll get to that, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 312
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, we're back at it for our final segment of 2019, in fact, the teens! It’s Ask Us Anything with David Allen Lambert as my guest. And David, this is an interesting question here, it’s from Susan Smith in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She says, "I have a first cousin match that doesn't make any sense. The match is 30 years younger than me. Is this for sure what the relationship must be? [Laughs] That's an interesting one. I have a lot to say about that, David. What say you?
David: Well, I mean, the thing you have to take into consideration is that relative you assume can also be like a second cousin once removed or a third cousin. Yeah, I mean, it’s just different. You have to look at the amount of centimorgans.So, it’s not just one option. I mean, you’ve seen this for yourself andthe things that you've done for friends.
Fisher: Yeah, and I actually had this come up really recently,in fact, this past week where there was two second cousins that are second cousins to each other, but there was a match to one second cousin that came in as a first cousin match, but that first cousin match didn't make any sense, because that would have meant her grandparents from the West Coast would have parented together a child on the East Coast and given it up for adoption and that didn't make any sense at all, because that couple stayed together throughout their lives.They had many children. It just didn't fit. So, if you go to Blaine Bettinger’s, Shared Centimorgan Project, you'll see a grey chart there, and you will find, Susan, that the centimorgans for a first cousin is virtually identical to that of half aunt, half uncle, half niece, half nephew. So this might be your half niece or nephew match, meaning that one of their parents would be a half sibling to you. And that would mean that one of your parents had a child at some point down the line, which is very possible. You know, and these things are coming up all the time, so don't be too shocked if that is the case. One thing you might want to do is, reach out to the match and ask if either of their parents happen to be adopted, because that would be a telltale sign right there that this might be the way the whole thing lays out.
David:Well, DNA has just changed the industry of genealogy and how people had thought that was a family connection or assumed that was the parentage of somebody. It really is the final equalizer, if you will.
David: But there is still that level of "is that a second cousin, a great uncle?"
David: There are other options. You really have to look at it. And so, don't draw a conclusion, always get a second opinion.
Fisher: Right. And you want to look at the age difference as you did, which is what brought the question about in the first place, so you want to always do that and make sure that its within the same generation or what that might be. So yeah, that wouldn't make a lot of sense. It makes more sense this way, but we will see. You're going to have to dig into it a little bit more. So, let us know what you find. We'll be very interested. You know, I just went through this recently, David with somebody. I was trying to prove or disprove whether somebody was the grandmother of a friend of mine. And we tested somebody that was either going to come in as a half uncle or as a first cousin once removed, and that result actually came in today.
Fisher: Yeah, first cousin once removed. A 90-year-old gentleman agreed to do the test, which means his mother could not have been the grandmother of my friend, and since we were trying to narrow it down, we now know who my friend's grandmother is. So it worked out really well. It’s great to use for elimination as well. Well, there you go, that's Ask Us Anything for this week. And of course, anytime you have a question, just email us at [email protected]. That's it, David, our final show of 2019 and the teens. We're going to take a holiday break for a couple of weeks,and we'll be back with some new guests to start out the new year and really looking forward to that. David, Merry Christmas to you and your family and have a great weekend!
David: You as well, Fish.
Fisher: Well, there we go! A wrap on the show, a wrap on the week, the month, the year, in fact, the decade. And we're now six and a half years into Extreme Genes. And I thank you sincerely so much for all the support since we started the show in 2013. Onto a new decade! Coming up here real soon. Hey, if you haven't signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, make sure you do that. You can signup also to be a patron of the show, to support the show, and of course there are all kinds of benefits that come along with being a patron club member. Just go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenes. Talk to you soon. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!