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Prince Albert Branch
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

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Box 1464 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan S6V 5T1
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In this archive May~Jun~Jul~Aug 2005
Volume 22 Number 2 of 3
The Genes in Genealogy
Prince Albert’s LDS Family History Center
Family History Basics
Digitizing a Genealogical Interview
New Wine for Seniors

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The Genes in Genealogy

Member L. Baxter's program on DNA and genealogy was intriguing and informative. He gave his origin of interest, an overview of DNA and implications for genealogy.

Baxter first became interested in DNA when watching a 50th anniversary TV program in 2003 on its discovery. On the program, Bryan Sykes, author of Seven Daughters of Eve, was interviewed. Sykes has analyzed many European DNA samples and believes that over 95% of Europeans are descendents of seven women. Sykes non-invasive samples are cheek cells on a Q-tip swab. Baxter considered having his DNA sample identified but paused because of the cost. While paused, he realized that knowing which one of the seven women would be interesting but it would not aid his genealogy so he refrained.

DNA is extracted from the nucleus of our cells as the popular TV series CSI tells us. DNA is analogous to a blueprint for our entire being. Its sole purpose is to instruct cellular behaviour. According to Baxter's research, it looks like gooey snot during the isolation procedure. It is also described as spiral staircases or a double helix. The DNA of a human is contained in 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each chromosome pair is made up of genes from each parent. The 23rd pair are the sex chromosomes with XX being female and XY being male. Of any pair though, it is only in the case of an XY where you know which chromosome came from which parent. The X would be from your mother and the Y from your father. Everyone though can find their mother's DNA buried in the mitochondria. The mitochondria are part of the cell that helps cells use oxygen.

What are the implications for genealogy? As mentioned, you can, if European, discover which of the seven women you originate from. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), Baxter believes, is going to be a major player in using DNA to forward genealogy. It is connected to the Church of the Latter Day Saints who collect genealogy for their members. (Members can make covenants on behalf of their ancestors who were not Mormon.) The SMGF is collecting DNA samples and four or more generation pedigree charts. Donating is free.

If you wish to use the SMGF Y chromosome database, you will need to pay for your own DNA profile. Profiles are based on a number of markers. The 15 marker is called the "Pruner" because this is what it does. It eliminates possibilities. The 24 marker is the "Verifier" and the 37 is the "Establisher". Costs range from $115 to $787 depending on the company and the amount of detail you request. Once you have your DNA profile, you can enter it in the SMGF database at www.smfg.org and compare your Y chromosome profile with others and view the pedigree charts. The database does not show individuals born within the last 100 years to protect their privacy.

Maternal DNA from the mitochondria, while scientifically powerful, is limited because women are often lost in Western patriarchal society. Research often ends when a woman's maiden name cannot be discovered.

 

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Prince Albert’s LDS Family History Center

February's meeting meant a welcome return to the Family History Center in Prince Albert at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) at 452 30th Street East. G. Moore, adeptly stepped in as a last minute replacement. He appreciates 24 hour advanced notice as the center is only open on call, with Tuesday being the preferred day, but as his presentation shows, he can manage with as little as 24 minutes notice.

Moore mentions that the internet has altered the usage of the center as the LDS's library is available online. Genealogists can now do research in the comfort of their home and call with the microfilm number to order in. The Center does have the library on CD if genealogists prefer. The LDS does not charge for the microfilm but there is a $5.50 shipping charge. The microfilm is on loan for a month and with three renewals, will remain at the Center.

The Center's microfilm reader does not have a printer but members discussed the use of a digital camera to photograph information. As one member had read that a yellow transparency sheet and tripod improved that results, a second member pulled out her digital camera and a third member, amazingly (but not surprisingly considering her passion for genealogy) pulled out a yellow transparency sheet. The yellow sheet improved the contrast dramatically.


The LDS continues to add new records and digitize old records. Moore remembers on his trip to Salt Lake City thirteen years ago seeing buses of teenagers arriving after school to convert records from hard copies to the computer. Also, genealogists are welcome to submit their own GEDCOM (genealogical data communication) files to the LDS. Genealogy programs under "file" will export a GEDCOM. GEDCOM was developed by genealogists so that they could share data even if they had different genealogy programs.


The name spelling challenge was discussed and members told anecdotes highlighting the issue. One member knew a family with four sons and each had a different spelling of the family surname. Another member related a humourous story of a town clerk who became so frustrated with the variations in one family's surname that he called the brothers in and insisted that they agree on one spelling.

 

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Family History Basics

I. Marno and G. Crosland teamed up for a lively review of some family history basics. With two guests present, it was a perfect opportunity to discuss the basics of record keeping, genealogical forms and sourcing.

They offered a list of five "do’s" and "don’ts". First on the list is avoiding the mistake of repeating research by keeping a research log. On the internet this can be simplified by copy and pasting. Second was sticking with one name spelling. It is important to try variations. Third, is verification. Don’t accept fiction as fact until you can back it up with more than one source. Fourth, genealogists shortchange themselves by extracting only part of a record. Ask yourself who created the record? When? And, who else is listed in the document. Finally, don’t go straight to the country of origins until you are satisfied that you have a thorough paper trail here.

 

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Digitizing a Genealogical Interview

Before an interview, share your list of questions. Our list of 20 questions has been condensed from http://www.jewishgen.org /infofiles/quest.txt (90 questions) and http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/ a/interview.htm (50 questions). We focused on an individual’s story. The 90 questions at jewshgen.org are focused on collecting information about an individual’s ancestors.

1. What is your full name? Do you or did you have a nickname? Where and when were you born?
2. Tell us about your parents. What were their full names, your mother’s maiden name, and where were they born?
3. Tell us about your grandparents. What were their full names, and where were they born?
4. Describe your family of origins. How many were in your family? Did you live with or near relatives?
5. What things did your family do together?
6. What was your home like? Did you have electricity and indoor plumbing?
7. What is your earliest childhood memory? What are other memories of toys and games and activities?
8. Tell us about your schooling. Did you have favourite subjects? Were you active in sports or extracurricular?
9. Who are some of the people who influenced you?
10. Tell us about being a teenager. Describe your friends. What did you do for fun?
11. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
12. Did you go to college or university? How did you choose a career? What jobs did you do?
13. How and when did you meet your spouse? Tell us about your relationship-- dates, proposal, wedding and other things.
14. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
15. Tell us about your children. What are their full names? Where and when were they born? How would you describe them?
16. What things did your family do together?
17. What are your favourite books? Music? Movies?
18. What activities do you do in your leisure time?
19. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
20. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Be fully prepared for the interview.
--Check camcorder and accessories. Have an extra tape.
--Check batteries. Have extra.
--Have a tripod or monopod to hold the camera steady. Keep your elbows tucked in for stability. Move slowly to avoid giving viewer motion sickness.
--Extra lighting is recommended. Avoid windows in background.
--Consider investing in an external microphone to improve sound quality.
--Zoom in and out on the camera so transitions look natural.
--Think like firewood—collect more than you think you’ll ever need, then whittle it down in your video editing program.

Follow these steps for video editing:
1. Connect your camcorder to your computer.
2. Open your video capture software. This may or may not be the same as your video editing software.
3. Capture all video you wish to use. You need a fast computer to avoid dropped frames and you need a huge area of memory to store the raw video.
4. Open your video editing software.
5. Import your video(s).
6. Save the project file. As the project file only refers to the raw video, it is small.
7. Place in timeline.
8. Cut unwanted video. Use a straight cut or a transition.
9. Render as you work to evaluate your editing.
10. Edit sound.
11. Add music if you wish.
12. Add title and credits.
13. Render if necessary.
14. Export movie. Go with the default codec unless you know which one you need. Codec stands for compression/decompression. As video files are huge, on export, your video editing software will compress it. However, your playback equipment will need the same codec to decompress it.
15. The movie can be stored on your computer. The raw video can be deleted.
16. The movie can be written to CD and/or DVD.
17. The movie can be exported back to your camcorder and transferred to videotape.

 

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New Wine for Seniors

California vintners in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as Pinot More.
(http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14410.htm)

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Our sponsor, Digitell Legacy Productions,
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created Jan 2001 modified Jan 2005