I ran across a helpful site recently called draw.io that allows you to build flow charts and other diagrams pretty easily. It also ties in nicely with Google Drive and Dropbox so you can get your designs anywhere. I ended up using the site to visualize some of my DNA matches, specifically matches on certain lines in my family tree. It worked nicely and allowed me to see how exactly we’re connected and what information may be gleaned from those matches (i.e., Y-DNA lines, etc.)
Here are my three designs, in the following order. I visualized my Zalewski cousin tests, my Corrigan cousin tests, my Thielke cousin tests, and my Last cousin tests. The last two are on my maternal side and sort of overlap. I have some other lines to do, yet. Click the images for a larger version.
Ancestry sent me an email a few months back giving me an early invitation to their new Ancestry DNA service. I couldn’t resist, so I ordered one and sent it back in. The results were recently posted and there are some cool new things in there.
The first interesting fact is that according to them, I am 50% Eastern Eurpoean (which is no news to me) but that I am also 45% Scandinavian. That is definitely news to me. The other 5% is lumped under “Uncertain.” Obviously, like an genealogy-related DNA test, according to Ancestry, “Your genetic ethnicity results may be updated. As more DNA samples are gathered and more data is analyzed, we expect our ethnicity predictions to become more accurate, and in some cases, more detailed.”
This also doesn’t take into account recent history as DNA goes way, way back. I know I trace my family to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, etc and none of those are listed. Poland and Germany can technically fall under “Eastern European.” According to their info, my guess is that I may descend from either the Vikings or the Goths.
While the Vikings were feared by the coastal towns of medieval Europe as seaborne raiders and violent pillagers, they were also well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers. They raided the Mediterranean coast of Africa, settled areas as far south as the Black Sea, and traded with the Byzantine Empire.
The rise of the Viking culture spread Scandinavian ancestry far throughout Europe. Their earliest coastal voyages took them to Scotland, northeastern England and established the settlement of Dublin, Ireland. As their power continued to grow, the Vikings spread farther afield, down the Volga River in Russia, to the coast of France and Spain.
And it wasn’t just the Vikings who had an irrepressible urge for adventure. In the days of the mighty Roman Empire, the Goths, originally from Sweden, wandered south and settled in what is now eastern Germany.
That could explain the Scandinavian DNA. They settled (and probably sacked) a lot of areas I have ancestry.
The other part of Ancestry’s DNA area is the “Member Match.” The one thing that propels their test over 23andMe’s test is that it’s tired directly to member’s family trees that they uploaded. The matches are broken down into “Confidence” and “Distance.” I had 2 people match me within the “4th Cousin” distance with 96% probability. One was anonymous with no tree, so that wasn’t helpful, but I did leave them a message. The other was helpful and as soon as I saw their tree I knew how we were related.
On a side note, originally I had incorrectly linked my DNA profile to my family tree entry in my Facebook app Ancestry tree, not my full detailed main tree, which threw off the results. After I fixed this issue, when I went back to this match, it actually told me exactly which ancestor we shared. We both shared my 3rd-great-grandparents, William “Curly Bill” CORRIGAN and Mary MCCANN. I found that fascinating as I have not yet even found a genealogical match on my 23andMe test. Hopefully as more people add their DNA, I will get more matches. I do have a bunch of matches in the “5th-8th Cousin” area, but those are at Moderate confidence and I have yet to see any similarities.
If you get an invitation or Ancestry opens the test up to everyone, I would recommend ordering one. Though, make sure you have a nice detailed tree uploaded and this will help a lot. I love the future of Ancestral DNA and it’s only getting better and cheaper.
I’m going to participate in this week’s Sunday’s Obituary theme.
This is the obituary for my great-great grandmother, Emma Jane (FIRMENICH) CORRIGAN in from April 28, 1941. I’m not sure exactly which newspaper since I found the article in my grandmother’s collection and she didn’t note it. If I had to guess, it’s probably from a local Ashland, Wisconsin newspaper.
MRS. COOK, 67, OLD RESIDENT DIES MONDAY
Wife Of Former Street Commissioner Succumbs To Long Illness
Mrs. Emma Cook, 67, of 109 North Ellis avenue, a resident of Ashland and the Chequamegon region for the past 59 years and wife of the late George S. Cook, former city street commissioner, died Monday evening at her home following a lingering illness.
The former Emma Firmenich was born in Wrightstown, Wisconsin, on June 29, 1873, but moved with her parents to Ashland in 1882. The Firmenich family lived in Ashland for a few years and then moved to Sanborn.
She was married to Thomas Corrigan in 1892 at Sanborn where the couple lived until 1905. They then moved to Ashland and lived near the cemetery on Sanborn avenue for several years. Mr. Corrigan died in 1916, but his wife continued to live in their home until 1926 when she moved to Milwaukee. Six years later she returned to the city and in 1932 was married to Mr. Cook in Ashland. Mr. Cook died on December 5, 1940.
She was a member of the St. Agnes church, the Altar Society and the Old Settlers’ Club.
Survivors are twelve children, Edwin and Sadie of Ashland; Maurice, Clayton and Mrs. E. H. Olson of Iron Mountain, Michigan; Henry, Mrs. Norbert Enders (Lenore) and Mrs. Ed Strelka (Ethel) of Milwaukee; Mrs. Harry Nantais (Beatrice) of Dearborn, Michigan; Frank of Rivera, Florida; Mrs. Joseph Maurer and Mrs. Mary Foster of Detroit; four sisters, Mrs. A. F. Anderson and Mrs. Joe Fabro of Ashland, Mrs. William McKindley and Mrs. Thomas Gorman of Grand Coulee, Washington; and one brother, Henry Firmenich, Baudette, Minnesota.
Funeral services will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Cook home and at 9 a.m. at St. Agnes church. Interment will be in St. Agnes cemetery. The body will be removed from the Wartman Funeral Home to the Cook residence on Thursday where is will lie in state until time of services.
Today’s Way Back Wednesday photo is from a recent scan from my grandmother’s photo collection. This is a photo of her family. Her parents, Maurice & Agnes (BRAATZ) CORRIGAN, along with her twin, Thomas, and her older sister, Shirley. The photo is probably from around 1927 or so based on the age of the twins.
Amanuensis Monday ”“ An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin ““ some we never met ““ others we see a time in their life before we knew them. A fuller explanation can be found here.
I’ve posted about this letter in the past, but I thought I’d talk about it again. I have possession of some typewritten letters that my great granduncle, Edwin Corrigan, wrote to another relative. My grandmother must have had them in her possession since I have a lot of her old family documents. Edwin was born in 1909 and grew up in rural northern Wisconsin in the Ashland area. He was a well-traveled and bright man and he had seen a lot of things. The letter is a great insight both into life in the early 20th century (in rural Wisconsin and other similar places) and also other aspects of his life. Read on for some excerpts:
I was put in charge of creating the memorial video that was to be played at my Grandmother’s funeral today, so that everyone could remember her through the years. I assume this is due to the fact that I seemed to have inherited the title of “Family Historian” which I have no problem with. I love seeing all of these old documents and photos. I ran across this photo of my grandmother from 1938 and I really like it. She looks like she’s saying, “Hurry up and get that picture taken!” I also notice on a lot of the older photos of my grandmother that she had prominent freckles. I don’t remember seeing them on her when she was older. It must be her Irish heritage shining through.
After the break, I have embedded the memorial video that I created. Even though you may not know her, I hope you enjoy the video. Continue reading
Mary Jane (Corrigan) Zalewski April 27, 1926 – August 10, 2011
Today we lost my grandmother, Mary Jane Zalewski, one of the world’s biggest fans of Irish heritage. Born in Ashland, Wisconsin on April 27, 1926 along with her twin brother, Tommy, to Maurice & Agnes (Braatz) Corrigan. Story has it that they were born so small that my great-grandmother would bundle them up and put them on the oven door to keep them warm. While in Milwaukee visiting her aunt Ethel Corrigan, who ended up marrying my grandfather’s cousin, Edy Strelka, she met my grandfather, Richard Zalewski. They tied the knot on October 11, 1947 and had their first child, my uncle, in 1948. My dad soon followed in 1951 and then my aunt in 1960.
Throughout my life, they always lived in the little house in Cedarburg, Wisconsin that we used to visit for Christmas Eve and many other times throughout the year. My paternal grandparents were very loving, as most grandparents, but they were also stern. Grandpa would scold us for sneaking into the basement or jumping into the window wells, but Grandpa and Grandma also used to have the greatest toys to play with including the matchbox car track and the puzzles. She was always a big fan of Ireland and anything Irish. Even though she was probably just as much German (and some French) than she was Irish, no one dared to correct her on it. She was a CORRIGAN and she was full-blooded Irish and that’s that!
When I was in my first year of college, my grandfather got sick and passed away on April 18, 1999. It was very sad to me since this was the first major death in my family and the first loss of a grandparent. I didn’t know how my grandmother would handle it. It turns out she did very well with herself. She drove (albeit slowly) where she needed to go, met with friends, knitted like she always did, and was usually in good spirits. Sadly, she fell while living alone and had to move to an assisted living center, but she still made the best of it. I ended up buying my grandparent’s old house from my grandmother and we currently still live here. It’s comforting at times. Unfortunately, during the last few years, Grandma started to forget things and had trouble getting around, but she was her normal self a lot of the time. Even at 85, she still loved her pizza and beer. I’m told that she passed away peacefully in her sleep and now she is in a better place, probably catching up with my Grandpa. He’s probably got the “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” vinyl record already playing on the record player.
We’ll miss you, Grandma. Thanks for everything. Ireland has one less fan today.
How do I live without the ones I love? Time still turns the pages of the book it’s burned Place in time always on my mind And the light you left remains but it’s so hard to stay When I have so much to say and you’re so far away
I love you, you were ready The pain is strong and urges rise But I’ll see you when it let’s me Your pain is gone, your hands untied
How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”
Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an “ahnentafel”). Who is that person?
Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the “roulette number.”
Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.
If you do not have a person’s name for your “roulette number” then spin the wheel again – pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!
For my grandfather, I chose my maternal grandfather who is still living. As of today, he is 85 years old. Divided by 4 that is 21.25, so rounded to 21.
Number 21 in my Ancestral Name List is Emma Jane Firmenich, my paternal great-great-grandmother. She was born 23 Jun 1873 in Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin, married Thomas Corrigan on 18 Apr 1892, and passed away on 28 Apr 1941 in Ashland, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. Here are three things I know about her:
She lost 4 of her younger siblings in September 1885 due to a Diphtheria epidemic that hit Wisconsin.
She was married three times. To my great-great grandfather, Thomas Corrigan, and then to T E Martin and George S Cook. She did not have more children besides the ones born during her first marriage.
She lived in Milwaukee for a short time with 4 of her adult children according to the 1930 census, then moved back north to Ashland by 1932 after her second husband died.
This is from my grandparent’s wedding, Richard & Mary Jane (CORRIGAN) ZALEWSKI on October 11, 1947 at St. Gall’s Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I particularly enjoy the two kids on the sides of the church. I’m not even sure if they’re part of the family.
This is a photo from my grandmother’s 8th Grade class in November 1939. My grandmother, Mary Jane CORRIGAN, is in the 3rd row from the left and 4th from the back. Her twin brother, my great-uncle, Tommy is also in the class. He is the boy the in the far bottom right corner, closest to the camera.