Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vick Ancestors in Scotland?

Today a lady who 23andMe’s Relative Finder predicts is my 5th cousin (with a range of 3rd to 9th cousin) accepted my contact request. Since Relative Finder predicted we are 5th cousins, we would be expected to share 4th great grandparents. My 4th great grandparents lived in the 1700s. Finding the shared ancestors will be a challenge, but if we were able to link our pedigrees it would be very satisfying.

The lady I match was born in Glasgow, Scotland. It is highly likely that our match is through my father’s line since my mother has been tested and she doesn’t match the lady. I looked to see if I have found any links to Scotland in my father’s line. Unfortunately, I haven’t done enough research to be able to connect our pedigrees.

In the time before surnames have been used I may have had at least one patrilineal ancestor who lived in Shetland or Orkney. I base that on an analysis of my Y-DNA done by Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University. He said the few markers he used in his analysis have been found in a small number of men there with ancestry to Norway.

I have asked the lady to look at the surnames in my father’s pedigree and to see if any appears to be Scottish. If she finds one, I will try to extend the pedigree for that surname. The lady doesn’t appear to have done any genealogical research, so she is an example of how finding someone who wouldn’t be likely to order a genetic genealogy test can be very useful. The 23andMe database is loaded with people like her. When a member of our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project sends me a screenshot of a match, I enter into a spreadsheet the matches’ name, the chromosome, and the start and stop positions of the shared segment. Maybe another member of our project will match this lady. Maybe we will get really lucky and we will all share the same segment. Yesterday I noticed a case where a man who matches my mother probably matches another man my mother matches. The second man’s matching segment is contained within the segment my mother shares with the first man. Already we have several cases like this in our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project. So, it isn’t impossible that we will find another match with the lady from Scotland, even though it is a very long shot. Wouldn’t another match be very interesting especially if the match has an extensive pedigree?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another DNA Tool To Consider for Our Vick Family History Research

Over 50 men and women have tested or are in the process of testing at 23andMe as part of our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project. Two more Vick descendants told me they were ordering the Full Edition 23andMe test today.

Family Tree DNA has announced it is going to provide a competitive product to 23andMe’s Relative Finder. FTDNA has named its tool Family Finder. Because almost all of our VICK Y-DNA Surname Project members tested at FTDNA, and we have had a great experience with FTDNA, we definitely have to pay attention to what FTDNA is doing. To get an idea of how Family Finder compares to Relative Finder, I ordered a Family Finder test. I am looking forward to using the tools Family Finder includes for managing projects. Hopefully 23andMe will offer similar tools since we don’t have any way to share our project results today except by transferring information from e-mailed screenshots to a spreadsheet and then sharing the spreadsheet. Just getting the screenshots is difficult. Not surprisingly, many project members don’t know how to make a screenshot or don’t have the time or interest to take them.

From the discounts 23andMe gave genetic genealogists last September 23andMe has a great head start on building an ancestry database, but with FTDNA’s very large surname project structure and all those unpaid project administrators extolling the virtues of FTDNA (and thereby steering project members to test at FTDNA), it may not take long for FTDNA to catch up in an important metric to genetic genealogists – a large database of customers anxious to compare pedigrees. If FTDNA was to follow deCODEme’s model of allowing 23andMe customers to transfer results for free, FTDNA might leapfrog 23andMe’s ancestry business.

While short of a full project management capability I have often wondered why 23andMe didn’t do something very simple like indicate on Relative Finder that there is more than one person in the 23andMe database who shares the same segment. 23andMe could then have a second level of contact request where each of the matching people could opt in to group sharing of results. It would seem like that little change could increase the chance that two of the people would have pedigrees they could use to solve the puzzle for the whole group. Solving the puzzle for the whole group might generate more enthusiasm about Relative Finder. It would be a far cry from a project management tool, but it would be at least a start.

I suspect the outcome of the Relative Finder versus Family Finder competition will make a good Harvard Business School case study. Hopefully, the outcome of the competition between the two companies will lead to the best product for genetic genealogists.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gatewaying the Vick Rootsweb Board to the Vick Rootsweb E-mail List

Di Ann Vick was the administrator of the Vick e-mail list on Rootsweb. When she passed away, I adopted the list. At one time there was quite a bit of activity on the list, but recently it has been pretty quiet. There is also a Vick board on Rootsweb. The board also seems to be pretty inactive. As I looked at the board and thought about the e-mails I have received from the e-mail list it seemed to me that the subscribers to the e-mail list didn’t use the board and vice versa. My next thought was that there might be an opportunity to generate more discussion about Vick family history by bringing the two groups and mediums together. Rootsweb has a technique called gatewaying that at least links the board to the e-mail list.

To gateway a board to an e-mail list requires the approval of both administrators. I had not noticed any mention of the administrator on the board. When I clicked on the icon to send the board administrator an e-mail suggesting gatewaying the board, there seemed to be a problem. When I checked, it turned out that the Vick Rootsweb board didn’t have an administrator. So, to gateway the board, I also adopted it.

After gatewaying the board to the e-mail list I sent an e-mail to the members of the mail list explaining what I had done and how they could recognize a gateway e-mail from the board. I also explained to them that if a person who wasn’t a member of the e-mail list posted a query on the board the poster wouldn’t see e-mail responses. Fortunately, Rootsweb makes it easy for e-mail list subscribers to reply on the board. The e-mails from the gateway have a link to the board so all the e-mail subscriber has to do is click on the link and then post the reply on the board. I hope this process won’t be too confusing. It will be interesting to see if gatewaying the board to the e-mail list does foster more communication about Vick family history. Perhaps I had better prime the pump.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leaving a Legacy of Vick Research

When Di Ann Vick passed away she left instructions to her executrix to distribute her over 1,000 books to a university library. She also instructed that her Vick research materials go to the Joseph Vick Family of America (JVFOA). Last Thursday, Gailen Vick (1st Vice President of the JVFOA) and I met with her executrix and received almost 200 pounds of paper material (mostly letters she had received, research notes, drafts of family histories, and copies of The Vick Family Newsletter). Over the coming weeks JVFOA will be cataloguing the materials and developing a plan to use them to further JVFOA’s goal of sharing research about Joseph Vick and his descendants. Unfortunately, almost all of her electronic notes were lost when her computer hard drive failed last year and the hard drive was discarded.

JVFOA is very fortunate to have had such a dedicated researcher in our association. We were especially fortunate that she made provisions to ensure the material she collected was passed on so that others could benefit from her research. Di Ann will be missed and remembered.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Corrections to Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants

Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants is the definitive work on the first five generations of the Joseph Vick family. John D. Beatty and Di Ann Vick did a wonderful job researching Joseph Vick and his descendants and translating their research into a well-documented family history. Unfortunately, even with the most careful research some errors are bound to happen. When discussing Patience3 (Joseph2, Joseph1) on page 25 the book says “Patience predeceased her father. Her husband, Moses, left no probate record and no heirs are mentioned in the Guardianship bonds which suggests they died without issue.” Joseph2 died in Southampton County, VA, before 14 Jun 1770, according to page 21.

Harold Joyner, a descendant of Patience3 pointed out to me that Patience appears in several sources after her father died. Wake County, North Carolina County Court Minutes 1787 thru 1792 Book II, (Weynette Parks Haun, Durham, NC: The Author, 1979) says on page 13 “Patience Joyner administratrix (sic) of Moses Joyner decd. came into Court and exhibited account against the orphans of said Moses towit, (sic) Fereby Mary, Nancy, Amy, & Amos JOINER amounting to L24 each, which the Court allow her provided the several accounts does not exceed the profits of their respective Estates, ordered that said account be Recorded.”1 Harold sent me a transcription of the “Account of the Sales of the Estate of Moses Joiner, decd. Septr. 25th 1783.”

Harold also told me Moses and Patience had the following children: 1. Drewery (Drury), b. 1765; 2. Amy; 3. Benjamin; 4. Fereby; 5. Jeminia; 6. Mary, m. Joseph McGee 11 May 1790 in Wake Co., NC; 7. Nancy, m. Jesse Lawrence 22 Mar 1800 in Wake Co., NC.; 8. Nathaniel; 9. Amos C. 1777-1859, m. Easter Jent/Gent 1 Jan 1802 in Wake Co., NC.

Harold is also a member of our Vick and Allied Families DNA project. He shares matching DNA segments with other Joseph Vick descendants in the project.

We are publishing corrections to the book in The Vick Family Newsletter. If anyone else has a correction, please let me know.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who Were James J. Vick’s Parents?

One of the things I like to do each day is check queries about Vick ancestry. It is nice to help people trace their Vick line, and I usually learn something new in the process. A couple of days ago a lady contacted me and ask if I knew the names of her grandmother Selma Vick’s parents. The lady told me Selma’s husband was Zadock Cox. I was able to find in the North Carolina Death Collection, 1908-2004, that Selma was born on 29 Apr 1904, in NC, and she died on 12 Oct 1982, in Tarboro, Edgecombe Co., NC.

With the death record information I was then able to find Selma and her parent’s, Augustus R. and Mollie [ ] Vick (one source said Mollie’s maiden name was Price), in census records. From there I found Selma’s Vick grandparents’ names (James J. and Mary Landing Vick). I have yet to find James J. Vick’s parents’ names.

If a person is a descendant of Joseph Vick of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and knows his or her Vick ancestor’s name and a few details like date and place of birth or death, I can usually figure out the Vick line. Many times there is a family tree on Ancestry.com, an article in The Vick Family Newsletter, or information on a website that has enough information to get the line to the point where I can tie it into Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia and His Descendants. The book will then get the line all the way back to Joseph the immigrant.

Unfortunately, I am stuck for the moment with James J. Does anyone know James J. Vick’s parents’ names? James J. can be found on the 1850 U.S. Census of Edgecombe Co., NC, living near Reddin Vick’s widow and children and near Burton C. Vick.

Reddin’s line was Reddin6, ?Robert5, Robert4, ?Isaac3, William2, Joseph1. Burton’s line was Burton7, ?Frederick6, ?Robert5, Robert4, ?Isaac3, William2, Joseph1. Perhaps James J. was the son of Reddin6 or Frederick6 given the proximity to probable descendants of Robert5 at the time of the 1850 census. A Y-DNA test of a patrilineal male Vick descendant of James J. could help sort this question out.