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Family Tree

Family Tree

May/June 2021
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Family Tree Magazine will help point the way toward the best research tools and practices to trace your family's history. Each issue includes tips on locating, collecting, and preserving photos, letters, diaries, church and government records, and other documentation, plus fun articles about creating scrapbooks, organizing family reunions, and vacation ideas that combine history with leisure!

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United States
Yankee Publishing Inc.
7 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
out on a limb

Lincoln once said, “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.” And to me, that simple statement has an important double meaning. On the one hand, we can’t remove ourselves from the context of history. As genealogists, we study how history shaped the modern world, and how our ancestors’ decisions determined our current reality. We can’t undo their actions any more than we can change the past—though we sometimes wish we could. One such crossroads in Lincoln’s lifetime was the Civil War. Whether your ancestor fought for the Union or the Confederacy, you’ll find advice for researching his service on pages 18 (Civil War records) and 68 (a tutorial of military records site Fold3 <www.fold3.com>). And the checklist on page 15 will help you determine if your ancestor may have fought in that or…

1 min.
tree talk

WE HAVE A DIARY kept by my husband’s second-great-uncle (the younger brother of my husband’s great-grandfather) during his service to the Union as a drummer boy during the American Civil War. While not significant to battles, it contains names of family members who wrote to him, and descriptions of his everyday life including drinking water right out of the rivers on which he traveled on steamboats.Beth Hanson via FacebookI have a letter my dad wrote to his mother on 2 September 1945 while sitting in Tokyo Bay watching the surrender of Japan.Marlene Bassett Alcorn via FacebookI have the New Testament that my great-great-greatuncle received at Camp Butler, Ill., in 1861. He and his brother were killed later at Stone River, Tenn.Kim Goff Kendall via FacebookMY WASBAND’S [SIC] GRANDFATHER was in…

1 min.
join our community!

Genealogy how-to downloads and videos, plus PDF back-issues of Family Tree Magazine <www.familytreemagazine.com/shop> Free genealogy advice from host Lisa Louise Cooke and expert guests iTunes / <www.familytreemagazine.com/podcasts> Our members-only online library of genealogy instruction <www.familytreemagazine.com/product/website-vip> Detailed online courses and webinars full of expert advice about key research subjects <www.familytreemagazine.com/course> <www.facebook.com/familytreemagazine> @FamilyTreeMag Family Tree Magazine @familytreemag…

1 min.
gedmatch tos update

In early 2021, the freemium DNA-sharing platform GEDmatch <www.gedmatch.com> sharpened the divide between family historians and law enforcement by updating its terms of service (TOS). GEDmatch is owned by forensic firm Verogen <www.verogen.com>, which developed a separate GEDmatch PRO portal in 2020 for investigators to identify human remains and perpetrators of certain violent crimes. The new terms of service restrict law enforcement samples to GEDmatch PRO. GEDmatch users may continue to opt in to allow their samples to be visible to law enforcement. But legal and DNA expert Judy G. Russell has pointed out unresolved questions. “It isn’t at all clear just whose DNA data the law enforcement kits will be compared to,” Russell writes. “There’s no information clarifying who the people are whose DNA will be used, or available to…

1 min.
new owners for dna companies

IN EARLY 2021, a trio of prominent genetic genealogy companies announced changes to their ownership structures: • Family Tree DNA <www.familytreedna.com> merged with the Australiabased myDNA <www.my dna.life>. The latter company primarily focuses on health applications for DNA, but a press release promised that Family Tree DNA “will continue acting in the field of Genetic Genealogy, their original business, keeping intact their privacy rules and all terms of service.” (As a reminder: We at Family Tree Magazine are owned by a separate company from Family Tree DNA.) • 23andMe <www.23andme.com> announced its plan to go public in 2021 upon merger with VG Acquisitions Group, a company founded by English billionaire Richard Branson. In an interview reported by Bloomberg News, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki said, “I’ve had this dream since 2003 that genetics would revolutionize…

1 min.
ancestry discontinues health test

In 2019, AncestryDNA <www.ancestrydna.com> launched AncestryHealth, a testing option that provided health-based results such as genetic risk reports. But just 15 months later, Ancestry announced it was discontinuing the Health service, citing a desire to “deepen our focus on family history” <support.ancestry.com/s/article/Discontinuation-ofAncestryHealth>. New AncestryHealth customers had until February 15 to activate their kits, and all AncestryHealth test takers—regardless of when they submitted their samples—have access to health-related results until July 2021. At that time, the health-related results will no longer be supported (and that information will be deleted from Ancestry’s servers); non-health DNA results, such as matches and ethnicity estimates, will remain accessible.…