Episode 339 - Man Regains Citizenship for Deceased Grandmother / Dr. Sarah South on New Ancestry HealthAug 23, 2020
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys open with news of the sale of 75 percent of Ancestry.com. Hear who the company is going to. The guys then share that MyHeritage.com is allowing non-subscribers to use two of their top apps for free until September 10th. Find out which features you can take advantage of. Then, it’s a story of Irish girls being shipped out of Ireland during the Potato Famine to Australia. But some may have come to America, too. Now a new source names these girls. Might one have been your ancestor? Next, the DNA Doe Project is back on the job. Hear what they’re tackling now. And finally, it’s a Y-DNA study that covers 700 years and a historic document. Find out what it’s all about.
Next, Daniel Swalm, a Minnesota man learned that his grandmother, who was born in the US, died in the US, and never left the US, had lost her citizenship. And not for anything she had ever done except for one thing that most people do. Hear what Daniel did with this information and how the story got new life.
Then, Dr. Sarah South of the new AncestryHealth explains the new branding of this DNA arm of Ancestry.com, and how a new technique for detecting potential medical issues is a game changer.
David Lambert then returns for Ask Us Anything. The guys first field a question about a DNA match that doesn’t make sense to the listener. Then, David answers a question in which he reveals Civil War records you might not have known existed.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 339
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 339
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your radio roots sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Busy show coming up today! We’re going to be talking to Daniel Swalm out in Minnesota. Do you know, his grandmother never left the country? She was born here. She died here, and yet she lost her citizenship. Why? Because she got married. We’ll tell you the whole story about how that happened to her and how he posthumously got her citizenship back. It’s a great story coming up here in about ten minutes. And then later in the show, I’ll talk to Dr. Sarah South. She’s with Ancestry Health. Yeah, it’s a new division at Ancestry because they’ve got some new protocols that really enhance your ability to use DNA to assess your risks to your health. So, you’re going to want to hear more about that coming up, and of course, at the back end of the show, we’ll answer a couple of your questions with Ask Us Anything with David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. He happens to be on the line with us right now from his hometown in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Hi Dave, how are you?
David: Oh, we’re sweating here in Massachusetts. The summer is really beating down on us, so it’s nice to be inside the air condition of my home.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, we’ve got some big news going on this week.
David: Oh, $4.7 billion worth of news. Blackstone announced that this company was going to buy 75% of Ancestry.com.
Fisher: Yeah, and hopefully, what that would mean to all of us genies is expansion of more programs to get more records online, maybe expansion of some DNA products. Who knows? Also, My Heritage has some news as well, and this is good for everybody because you’re all kind of stuck at home. My Heritage is now making their colorizing app and their enhancing app for photographs available through September 10th for free. So, if you’re a non-subscriber to My Heritage, you can use that tool and enjoy the results. It’s a lot of fun. And I think all of us are just kind of amazed by what those things can do.
David: Well, you know, a lot of people have ancestors that were part of the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s and this is something with genealogists, you know, they’re trying to make that connection back and you can get Irish citizenship from Ireland if you can trace back to a certain generation in your family, so, it’s some really good stuff. But, in Australia there are a lot of girls that were sent there at the time of the famine from workhouses, including the Mountbello Workhouse which has a crowd sourcing project now to track down all the girls that were sent to Australia away from a workhouse in Galloway Island.
David: And this is an interesting thing because some of these may have ended up in America, and they could be your ancestors’ folks. So, do you have a connection that your great, great, great grandmother or great, great grandmother may have been a workhouse girl sent to Australia? And then, did your family come from Australia to America? You’ll want to go check out the story on ExtremeGenes.com for more details and get involved. There’s actually going to be a list in the article of all the girls and their ages. So, who knows, maybe it’s your great grandma.
Fisher: That’s a great story.
David: Well, you know, I think genealogy is great for crowd sourcing and social media has definitely helped that out. But another thing that social media has helped of course, was so many people giving their DNA to places like GEDmatch, and having your DNA online has helped companies like DNA Doe Project identify individuals. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that Jane Doe Number 196 was identified by the Michigan State police, the cold case of 30 years. So, in Ada Township, Michigan, 23 years ago, there were remains of a body found on the side of the road. They have not figured out who she is in all these years, but we’re hoping now with DNA Jane Doe Project’s work that they will be able to pinpoint who this victim was. Now, many of you may have Scottish roots instead of given time for Irish roots. Back in 1320 there was a Declaration of Arbroath. It was a name given to a letter dated on the 6th of April 1320 from Scottish barons addressed to Pope John XXII. It was basically King Robert I’s response to his excommunication for disobeying the Pope’s demand in 1317 for truce during the first war of Scottish independence. They’re using Y-DNA Fish, and we talked about this once, maybe a year or two ago about them trying to find the descendants. Guess what? They found some of them using Y-DNA from 700 years later. It’s amazing!
Fisher: Wow. That’s incredible. Y-DNA of course goes from the father to the son to the son to the son and on down. So, it doesn’t change very much and it can go way, way back. So, they’re confirming the identities of the descendants of the people who signed this document in the 1300s. That’s crazy.
David: It is. And genealogy researchers from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland are the ones that tracked down the descendants based on the DNA and research. My hats off to them doing research that far back and connecting people currently living that may not have even realized this.
Fisher: Oh, and by the way Dave, speaking of DNA, Keepsake DNA of course did the review of some of the envelopes that I sent out a few weeks ago, and now they’ve got a few more envelopes that I’ve come up with. And my cousin Jim, he’s my half-second cousin, because his grandmother was a half-sister of my grandfather, he called me the other day and said, “Hey, would my grandmother’s teeth help your project?” And I go, “What?”
Fisher: And apparently it wasn’t.
Fisher: Yeah, it was two false teeth in a bridge. And I guess it was in her mouth when she was actually on her deathbed. Apparently, they removed it at that time because they were afraid that she could swallow it and choke. So, he says, “I’ve never known what to do with it. I’ve had it this whole time and I said, ‘Well, you’ve got a purpose now.’ So, he sent it on to me. I’ve sent it on to Keepsake DNA and we will find out if something comes as a result of that.
David: I just must say that Keepsake DNA is now bridging your genealogy for you.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, that’s very good Dave. Get on with it. Get on with it!
David: Sorry. [Laughs] Oh well, that’s all the bad humor and news I have for this week. Check with me next week for more. And if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, 175th year, we’d love to have you join the ranks of membership and save $20 by doing so and using the coupon code “Extreme” on AmericanAncestors.org.
Fisher: All right David, thank you so much. See you at the back end of the show, back for Ask Us Anything. And coming up next, I’m going to talk to Daniel Swalm. He’s a Minnesota man who found out some disturbing news about his late grandmother and went about trying to correct a historic wrong. You’re going to hear all about it coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 339
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Daniel Swalm
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your radio roots sleuth. And you know most us, when we get into research we kind of sum it all up in a book. Maybe something we share with the immediate family or some extended family or some close friends, but really that’s about it. But my next guest actually discovered something that he wanted to take to a larger audience… like the United States Congress! And you’re going to want hear why. He’s Daniel Swalm from Minnesota.
Daniel: Thank you for having me on.
Fisher: Just delighted to have you here, and let’s just start with what your project was and then we’ll get to where this went because it’s really quite remarkable. You, like many of us, wanted to know a little more about your family.
Daniel: Yes. I was researching family history a number of years ago. I came across a piece of information that I had no idea existed. My grandmother, Elsie Newton Warren was born near Lake Superior in Minnesota’s Arrowhead country in 1891. And she lived all of her life in Minnesota. She married my grandfather who was a Swedish immigrant, a carpenter who came and settled in north eastern Minnesota.
Fisher: A lot of Scandinavians settled in Minnesota.
Daniel: Lots, yes. It’s very Scandinavian, particularly on the north shores, the mining and fishing and lumbering area. Just like the old country. And they were married in 1914, probably unbeknownst to her and certainly unbeknownst to me as I was doing research. I discovered that on her wedding day in 1914 she was stripped of her American citizenship.
Daniel: Yes! She was stripped of her American citizenship. The Congress had passed in 1907 a law that was called “The Expatriation Act,” and it was a law that basically stated that if any American-born woman married somebody that was an immigrant who was not naturalized, and my grandfather was not naturalized at the time they were married, then that American woman, her citizenship was forfeit!
Daniel: And the law was retroactive so when it was passed in 1907 it meant that people who had been born and were married in the 1800s retroactively lost their citizenship.
Fisher: I did not know that. I’ve never heard that. Amazing!
Daniel: Well it’s kind of one of those unknown pieces of American history and probably not Congress’s finest hour.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
Daniel: The law was enforced by three presidential administrations. The Roosevelt Administration, the Taft Administration, and the Wilson Administration, and the law was challenged in 1915 at the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the law.
Daniel: So, it was a very bizarre law and as women’s suffrage gained steam –
Fisher: Right, up to 1920.
Daniel: Yes. Parts of the law were repealed in 1922. It was a piece of legislation called “The Cable Act” and then in 1940 the law was completely repealed.
Fisher: Now, help me to understand something here though Daniel. That is, if this went retroactively back into the 1800s, what happened when the man would naturalize? Would the woman automatically become an American citizen again?
Daniel: Right. Then she was re-naturalized. She became a naturalized American citizen.
Daniel: Kind of weird because she was already born here. And so, the issue that I discovered, how I actually discovered it, was that there was a form that people had to fill out back in those days. It was called the “Alien Registration and Property Form.” And what they did is, the government had this form and people had to fill it out and turn it in. The rationality behind that was that if a Mrs. Rockefeller or a Mrs. Carnegie or somebody from the gilded age married the Duke of Bulgaria or the Baron of who-knows-where in Europe, their money and property would not have been allowed to be transferred.
Daniel: Now you’ve got to remember, in the nineteen teens, that was during the time when World War I was going on and then the United States entered in 1917. And that was when my grandma’s document was dated. I had no clue because this was never talked about by my parents in my family because Grandma Elsie died in 1926. She died in childbirth. Both she and the baby died.
Fisher: Quite young.
Daniel: Yes, yes, she was probably about 35, and then my grandfather did not get his naturalization until 1928. As I was researching this and finding all this stuff out I just kept digging and poking and researching and what I found was that this had not just affected my grandmother, but it had literally affected thousands and thousands of people all over the United States.
Fisher: And so your grandmother, because her husband didn’t naturalize until after her passing, actually died as a… well I wouldn’t say a foreign citizen, just as a citizen of no country at all, right?
Daniel: Exactly. She died expatriated and not a citizen of any country even though she lived her entire life in the Arrowhead of Minnesota, and never left the country to the best of my knowledge. They were not wealthy. My grandfather was a carpenter, she was a housewife. They had three previous children. My mother and then my two uncles and they have all since passed away. But yeah, it was just one of those historical oddities, and the more that I researched it and the more I found out about it the more irritated I got.
Fisher: I would too, yeah. Now this thing wasn’t repealed before she passed either?
Fisher: And this applied to many people, and many people listening no doubt have ancestors in a similar situation.
Daniel: Absolutely. So what I did, I did a number of things, I wrote an editorial for the local paper here in the Twin Cities for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about my grandmother’s story. It was titled “The Citizens That A Nation In Time Forgot.” And it’s still online and people can still Google it and find it. I then started a Facebook page called “Justice for Elsie” in which I told the story and then I also met with representatives of Senator Al Franken and told them the story. And much to my surprise, they were very interested. Nobody had heard of this. They were very interested in it. So we began a process to either restore citizenship to my grandmother and these women, or to at least have that wrong acknowledged in some way. And as we went on, it became apparent that it was just going to be too much of a legislative nightmare to posthumously restore the citizenship, which kind of irritated me.
Daniel: Because the law that stripped people of citizenship was retroactive.
Daniel: So now it was like “Oh no, well we don’t do that anymore.”
Fisher: Oh I see. [Laughs]
Daniel: So then I hit on the idea that the Senate passes resolutions, and I said how about if we write a resolution that the Senate can then vote on. Then it will apologize, that it will acknowledge the wrong that was done to Grandma Elsie and to all of the other grandmas out there, and see where that goes. The story was picked up by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times.
Fisher: And look at it go.
Daniel: And look at it go, exactly! The Washington Post had a story about it. And so I started hearing from people all over the country and we were able to find co-sponsors for Senator Franken’s resolution, and so the first person to sign on was Senator Ryan Johnson of Wisconsin. Senator Franken is a Democrat, Senator Johnson is a Republican and so right there we saw some partisan repentance.
Fisher: Holy cow! Gramma Elsie could bring the whole country together.
Daniel: What did I tell you, Grandma Elsie was rocking! [Laughs]
Daniel: And the resolution was finally passed this past month unanimously in the Senate.
Daniel: Unbelievable. And I have to say that this had nothing to do with me because I’m not connected enough or smart enough or anything to do any of this. This was something where I was being guided by some kind of higher power wherever that higher power resides.
Daniel: Because they were filling me with the right words to say to the right people at the right time because I don’t have the smarts to do that on my own.
Fisher: Well, maybe Grandma Elsie doesn’t have her citizenship back but she certainly has been acknowledged in the right places, the United States Senate.
Daniel: And we made it happened at Memorial Day at the Women’s Suffrage Memorial Garden in Saint Paul on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capital. I met with Senator Franken and there were members of the public at large and the media there and Senator Franken spoke and talked about his efforts in the Senate and presented me with a copy of the official resolution with the seal of the Senate of it, framed, the whole nine yards. It was a very nice honor to receive, and I presented Senator Franken with the only photograph of Grandma Elsie, signed from her entire family, which is now… I’m her grandson and there’s great grandchildren and then there’s great, great grandchildren.
Fisher: Well you’ve certainly written a new chapter in your family history, and it’s a big one.
Daniel: Well, thank you very much, I appreciate that.
Fisher: Daniel Swalm from Minnesota, thank you so much for your time and congratulations!
Daniel: Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.
Fisher: Well, as we mentioned earlier, Blackstone is buying 75% of Ancestry.com and even though the sale hasn’t gone through yet, there’s still changes happening over there, good ones and this one involving Ancestry Health Core. They’re making some changes and I’m going to talk to Dr. Sarah South about what that means to you and me, coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 3 Episode 339
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Sarah South
Fisher: Oh, there always seems to be a lot of changes going on in the DNA world. Hey, it’s Fisher. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Ancestry Health Core essentially has just changed because they are changing the way they go about doing things to analyze your health and Dr. Sarah South is on the line from Ancestry right now. How are you Sarah? Great to have you on the show!
Sarah: Thank you. I’m excited to be here and I’m doing well.
Fisher: This is a rollout, right? I mean, you guys just changed the name from Ancestry Health Core to Ancestry Health. Explain to us why the change?
Sarah: Yeah, it’s absolutely a rollout because we are changing the underlying technology, the genome technology that tells us the actual readout of your DNA. So, as your readers probably know, your DNA is made up of four different nuclear types, we call them A, T, C, and G. There’s different technologies to do that readout and we’ve just switched from our traditional technology of microarray to Next Generation Sequencing and as you can kind of tell by its name it’s sort of a new innovation, the Next Generation innovation.
Sarah: And it’s a more comprehensive way of looking at the DNA. It’s highly accurate. It can do what we’ve traditionally done for origins but it can give a deeper dive into the regions of the genomes that are important for your health.
Fisher: So, help me understand and everybody understand, you test certain chromosomes for family history research. What in our DNA do you look at with this?
Sarah: We look at the same regions of the genome for your origins as we do with microarray. So, with this technology you can specify the regions of the genome that help me understand your origins and to identify your relatives and then we can add on top of it, we also know over the last couple of decades of medical research that these are the genes that are highly impactful for colon cancer risk, breast cancer risk, heart disease, blood clot risk, risk of liver disease due to iron overload.
Sarah: So, we have a list of conditions. It’s a growing list as medical science evolves but we know these are really important genes for those health questions that are top of mind.
Fisher: So, I recall, when my wife went through breast cancer, there was the BRCA gene test and that’s very expensive for a lot of people. Does this cover that?
Sarah: This does cover BRCA and what’s so great is that in the future you won’t say it was so expensive. You’ll say, this was affordable, it was accessible, I understood the results, I knew my next steps. That’s the mission of Ancestry Health
Fisher: So, this means that anybody can then just basically go on and check out their health ahead of time. They don’t need a doctor to request this particular test?
Sarah: Well, the request comes through you as the customer but there is a physician on the backend that is working with you. So, it is still a physician ordered test but it is customer initiated. So you are in the driver’s seat as far as saying, I want to take this preventative actionable step to understand my risks, but you’re still doing it within the supportive healthcare ecosystem. So again, there is still a physician, that is a part of this and there is access to genetic counsellors which are healthcare professionals that are specially trained in communicating genetic information, to make sure that you understand what your results mean and what your next steps should be.
Fisher: So, how has genealogy played a role in the evolution of NGS, this Next Gen sequencing? You’ve obviously had to be able to identify that certain markers suggest a certain risk. Has that come from the research and the genealogy and information that we’ve provided over the years?
Sarah: It comes from multiple places. So, you want to look at both the general population and you do that through things like Ancestry where you just have a very large customer base. And I think of this as that, in order to understand the kind of DNA variation that is responsible for health conditions, you also need to make sure you understand DNA variation that is sort of just general, that is broad across populations, so that you don’t have as much of a bias. So for example, if you only look at people who are sick then you’ll always assume that any DNA variation you find there is associated with the illness.
Sarah: In order to know if it’s really associated with the illness, you also have to look at an even larger number of individuals who don’t have that condition, so that you can really be sure of the statistical association. So, I think that you can say that it’s in some ways related to the virility of genealogy that we’ve come so far in the medical side of it. Because we do need these engaged, large populations in order to understand sort of the inherent genetic variability, to then on top of that understand what portion of that genetic variability is associated with medical conditions.
Fisher: Wow! All right, my head’s spinning with all this. This is exciting. I know a lot of people though they get concerned like, okay, our DNA is out there, what if there’s a hack? Does the company share information with insurance companies or health companies? How does that work?
Sarah: Yeah, these are all great questions and certainly they are top of mind. So, the same privacy protections that we’ve had at Ancestry for the entire company of course apply to the health part as well. In fact, we even go another layer in that if you look at how the website is structured, there’s the DNA side of it in which it’s relatively easy to share information with relatives, find new relatives. The health side of it requires you to go through like two-factor authentication. So there’s another level of security in the log and there’s levels of security in the data. If you decide to share something, you’re doing it much more directly. You’re not necessarily doing it right through the website. If you want to share some health information, we allow a PDF to be created that you share, but we’re being careful about the mechanisms whereby we might enable that sharing just to be sure that it is secure. The laboratories that are actually generating the data are clinical diagnostic laboratories that are following the same regulations around that data as they do for the clinical tests that they perform for hospitals across the nation. So, that data is just as secure because it really is being done in that clinical realm.
Fisher: So, insurance companies are never going to have an involvement with this information or have a right to it?
Sarah: No, you’re absolutely right. We have not in the past and we will not in the future be sharing this information with insurance companies.
Fisher: So, going back to Next Gen’s sequencing, Sarah, explain to me how much more accurate this is than your old system because obviously, you’re rebranding now you’re going to Ancestry Health from Ancestry Health Core. You’re getting rid of your old method. How much more accurate is it and what can we get from this?
Sarah: That’s a great question. So, what it allows us to do is increase our likelihood of detecting a risk if the risk is present. So, with microarray testing, if we detected a risk, we were accurate in detecting it, but if we failed to detect it there was still a higher likelihood that it existed but the technology couldn’t detect it. I feel like I’ve used the word detect a lot there.
Sarah: So, let me try to say it another way.
Sarah: It’s the idea of if you find something it’s real. But if you didn’t find something, what’s the chance that you just missed finding it because you were a little bit blinded in your evaluation.
Fisher: Sure. Okay.
Sarah: So, there were more blind spots with microarray.
Fisher: Like false negatives, maybe?
Sarah: Yeah. Think of it as a negative, a true negative or a false negative. And there would be more false negatives with microarray just because of the blind spots.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Sarah: With Next Generation Sequencing we look at more of the DNA that is associated with those health risks. So, if the risk is there we’re more likely to find it. So, again, if you had a finding with microarray that’s great, it’s actionable, do something with it. If you didn’t have a finding there’s a higher likelihood that there is still risk. With Next Generation Sequencing we can’t eliminate risk. We’re not eliminating risk and for a couple of reasons. First of all, there’s more to your health than genetics.
Sarah: We’re only really looking at the genetic portion of these health risks.
Fisher: There’s lifestyle and all kinds of things.
Sarah: Yep and there’s also going to be things we don’t yet understand. Like that’s one of the fun things about science is that it’s always evolving. So, there will be future genetic risks that we’ll know about, that we don’t know about today.
Fisher: Well, Ancestry just rolled it out. It’s the new Ancestry Health. She is Dr. Sarah South. Sarah thanks for coming on and explaining all this. This is really interesting times because it just appears that we can more and more get a handle on what our risks are in life and never before has this been available.
Sarah: Thank you. It’s been my pleasure to share it and my pleasure to be part of the team that built it.
Fisher: And, Ask Us Anything is coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 4 Episode 339
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: It is time once again for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, your radio roots sleuth. David Allen Lambert is back from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And Dave, we have a great question here from Phillip in Salisbury, Maryland, and he says, "Guys, the older brother of my ancestor died at Andersonville in the Civil War fighting for the Union. He was unmarried, so I assume I'm out of luck for looking for a pension. What other records might be out there?" David, this is kind of right up your alley.
David: Yeah, so you're not out of luck actually, because besides widow’s pensions and those for invalids, you know, being injured yourself, obviously he wasn't married, so he wouldn't have got that and he wasn't surviving the war, so he didn't get an invalid pension, but mothers or fathers could also apply for pension. I thought you knew that, Fish.
Fisher: I didn't.
David: That's kind of an underutilized search for a pension. The other thing that you can find pensions for are for the orphan siblings. So if your ancestor's brother served in the Civil War, died and your own parents were dead, but your brother was your main guardian, you as a sibling, now orphaned, could apply for his pension as well, and same thing with a girl to apply for her brother's pension. But with the mother and father's pension, what they had to do, they had to apply for pension, of course say, this is my son, and you know, confirm that he actually had died and the military could do that. But the parents, Fish, had to send a letter, not a letter explaining this, but a letter sent by the son saying, "Enclosed is $2. I hope to send more money on my next pay check. Please knit me a new pair of socks." Or, you know, just trivial little things, but these letters are never returned to the family. As we know well enough, we don't always have everything our ancestors had. So these letters could have been lost. But now, there are time capsules in Washington at the National Archives in these pension files. The nice thing about these pensions, a lot of the lowest numbers of the pension numbers are being scanned and are being put on Fold3. So, take a peek on Fold3, Phillip, you might see that pension is there.
Fisher: That's incredible. I had no idea. Now if you were going to go look for these, would you look under the name of the soldier or would you look under the name of the relatives?
David: Just look under the name of the soldier. And if you know his regiment or vessel he was on, that would be useful. Incidentally, all of the Navy pensions from the Civil War, all of them are actually on Fold3. They were initially on microfiche for years. But you look at those already online on Fold3 if you are a subscriber. The Civil War ones for the Army are being put on by the 1861 and '62 and '63 applications. And then I think, you know, I don’t know if they're even into '64 yet and then '65, but then they'll just do them chronologically, because all of them have certificate numbers and they're describing them in numerical order how they're filed in Washington.
Fisher: So this is kind of like the [War of] 1812 Project that was going on a few years ago?
David: Um hmm. Yeah, the only difference is, that is free, these ones of course are behind the pay wall of Fold3. But it’s still a lot cheaper to get a subscription to Fold3 than it is to pay $80 a pop for a pension that may or may not be the one you're looking for. So once these are all digitized and online, which will take years, because there's millions of pages for all of these with the amount of people in the war. And to think that Civil War pensions for soldiers was still being given out till 1956.
David: For widows, well, that's the end of the 21st century. And as we know, there was still a pension given out this year for one of the children that was a dependent of a Civil War soldier. So, it may not be in our lifetime when a lot of these will be completely done, but hey, at least our kids and grandkids will be able to see them, right?
Fisher: Right, right, boy what a great question and fascinating stuff. I'm glad you were here to handle that one, David. So thank you, Philip for that question.
David: Oh, my pleasure.
Fisher: We've got another one concerning DNA and matches, coming up next when we return. It’s Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 5 Episode 339
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, back at it on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It’s our final segment. It’s Ask Us Anything. Fisher here with David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David, we have a question here from Lisa in Elko, Nevada and she says, "Guys, I have a DNA match that comes in as a first cousin to me, but I learned he is 27 years older than me. It doesn't seem likely that a cousin would be that different from me in age. What am I missing? Lisa." David, this is something I've run into a couple of times before and I bet you have as well and I guess we'll start out by saying that, when you're doing DNA matches and you're getting results on Ancestry.com or My Heritage or 23AndMe or FamilyTree DNA, your shared centimorgans with somebody can actually represent several different relationships.
David: That's very true.
Fisher: And you can certainly see that illustrated with Blaine Bettinger’s Shared Centimorgan Project and it’s really useful and helpful and it will show a range. And you'll see that a lot of people can actually have the same shared centimorgans. For instance, an aunt or an uncle would share similar to a grandparent, because they have 25% shared DNA with you. So, if you have someone who's coming in as a first cousin, I ran into this as well and it didn't make sense, because the person was so much older. And so, I looked into it and discovered, oh, wait a minute, looks like I'm looking at a half uncle. Yes, half aunts or half uncles have similar DNA as a first cousin. And if there's an age difference of a generation like that, you might want to consider that possibility, which could mean that grandpa or grandma had another child back there somewhere.
David: That's exactly what I was just going to say. It’s because you're probably finding that it may be that relationship, especially if the age doesn't work to be a child of any of your parent's siblings.
David: So, it could be kind of hard for that to be the case. So, that is the likelihood. Blaine's chart is great. I have it posted up on my wall and I look at it all the time, especially for that late night 2am DNA searching.
David: And I'm like, "What is this supposed to mean?"
Fisher: What is this supposed to mean, right.
Fisher: Well, it’s true. And if you're not familiar with Blaine Bettinger’s Shared Centimorgan Project, you can find it on his website and just post it on your desktop. And you're right, everybody who uses it, uses it all the time. And it’s fascinating. And the other thing is, he just updated it. He has done, I think three updates on it now since he first came out with it in the middle of the last decade. So, he says he's kind of closing in on the end of his updates on that. But they don't change too much anymore. They're pretty much the same. But, that's the case and that I think is a really important shared match, because it’s such a close one. Your close matches obviously are your most important matches when you're trying to verify, validate a paper trail or confirm parents and grandparents, but when you find a half aunt or half uncle, maybe there's an adoptee in your family, maybe there's something that's not making a lot of sense, that kind of relationship can be huge as you try to figure out, you know, how things come together for your known relatives.
David: And Lisa, what I would do now is, if you have parents from that side of the family or an aunt or an uncle from that side of the family, get them tested, because then it would show a half sibling for this person if I'm correct.
Fisher: Yes, you are correct. That's right. And maybe get some more cousins tested as well. So, thank you very much. Another great question! We're getting good questions. If you want to ask us a question for Ask Us Anything, just email us at [email protected]. David, thank you so much. We'll talk to you again next week.
David: All right, my friend, talk to you soon.
Fisher: All right, and genies, thanks so much for joining us this week. As always, you can catch the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, Spotify and TuneIn Radio. We're all over the place. Talk to you again real soon. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!