Ethnicity: The fun byproduct of my DNA test

DNA test. Now what?Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I never felt much of a connection to March 17 until I had my DNA tested through Ancestry DNA. Then I discovered in that test that I’m 38% Irish. (That’s my pie chart in the picture.) I knew that Ireland was in my family tree, but I haven’t researched much that far back to realize that it was an important part of my heritage.

Growing up, Irish roots were never mentioned. All that came up was vague mention of England, though in reality our heritage wasn’t much discussed. That’s probably because there were  no immigrants recent enough for my parents or grandparents’ to have known them. We always just felt American.

When I had my DNA tested, it was in an effort to meet cousins and further my genealogical research. (Understanding those results is an ongoing project.) The ethnicity component of didn’t even enter my mind. But today, St. Patrick’s Day, it feels nice to have a kinship with my Irish forebears, though I’m still learning about who they were.

If you’ve had your DNA tested were you surprised by the ethnicity results?

Allen County Public Library, here I come!

I just registered for the August research trip to the Allen County Public Library, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana sponsored by the National Genealogical Society. After a couple weeks of contemplation, this morning I pulled the trigger on investing $750 on this opportunity to further my research. (I blogged a couple of weeks ago about how tempted I was.)

I’m really excited and I know I’m going to enjoy planning this. I definitely want to make the most out of the opportunity to research at this renowned library. I’m particularly thrilled about getting the help of professional genealogists who are part of the trip.

I would love any advice any of you have for me. What should I do in advance? What should I bring along? It seems to me that having a clear idea of my research goals is paramount; I’m already thinking about that.

Please share any advice you might have in the comments.

Thanks in advance!

Randomizing my research

Randomizing my researchI promised myself I would get some research done yesterday. (Not organizing, research.) I knew there was some barrier to getting started and on Sunday I created a little mind map to try to figure it out. That made me realize that my problem was that I didn’t know just what to work on and perhaps there was some lingering fear that I’d choose the wrong thing. (Of course that’s ridiculous, but emotions aren’t always reasonable, are they?)

In my mind mapping/journaling I reassured myself that it didn’t matter what research I did, I just needed to do something. I committed to starting some research by 10 a.m. yesterday (Presidents’ Day). Dutifully at 10 a.m. I sat at my computer and tried to figure out what to work on.

I was still a little paralyzed, so I came up with a little method that worked for me. Here’s what I did. I’m sharing it with you now in case you ever find yourself in a similar spot.

I looked at my genealogy to-do list and I created a numbered list of 10 possible research tasks. I made sure each one was something I’d be happy to work on. Then I  went to the Random Number Generator website and came up with a random number between 1 and 10 (inclusive). I took that number and did the corresponding task on my list. When I finished with that task, I did it again.

I basically needed to the choice away from myself, for some reason. Once it was out of my hands, I had no trouble getting started on the tasks that had been randomly selected for me.

I feel so much better for having gotten started! I have some more time for family history research today, so I’m going to go back to my list and the RNG and see where it takes me.

I feel a little pathetic having to resort to this but, hey, whatever works, right?

Tempted by the NGS research trip to Ft. Wayne

I received an email this week from the National Genealogical Society about their August research trip to the Allen County Public Library, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I have to say, I’m tempted.

I haven’t been able to focus on my genealogy research this year as much as I’d like. I didn’t go to RootsTech this year, though I intend to attend the NGS Family History Conference in May in Ft. Lauderdale. I love conferences; the education I receive at them is valuable. But I typically don’t get any research done at conferences and when I get home I have to get back real life (i.e. my family and my organizing business). And then it takes me awhile to apply the new-found knowledge in my research.

But a research trip facilitated by professional genealogists and held at a renowned records repository could be amazing. I see it as a way to jump start my research, find new sources of information, get personalized expert assistance (very exciting!) and perhaps take my research to another level.

And I know I would love anticipating and preparing for the trip. That’s always very enjoyable for me.

NGS also offers research trips to Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City. Both of those sound wonderful too, but the Indiana trip feels easier and less intimidating. It’s also driving distance from my home in St. Louis. And more affordable.

I’m going to talk to my husband about it this weekend and perhaps sign up.

Have you ever attended and organized research sponsored by NGS or any other entity? Was it worthwhile? I’d love to hear from you!