Family Snaps

This week in #52ancestors the theme is “Family photos”. Unsure if this meant any photos taken by a family member or photos of families, I thought I would add a few of both in this post as a gallery of snaps. Many of these photos have been used in previous posts.

 

Surprise, surprise!

It is from my dad’s DNA testing that I have had a lot of surprises. I have been researching my family for over 45 years and thought I had all the paper work correct.

Imagine my surprise when I find all these DNA matches to dad that don’t fit into the paperwork I have.

Dad Ancestry matches

The starred matches are those I have as connections in my home database. They include myself, my brother, dad’s half brother (another surprise), five 1st or 2nd cousins already known to us, and finally three cousins who I have now connected to dad’s tree.

But there is someone who is a 1st or 2nd cousin match who I have no idea about. When I look at the shared matches for that person, none come back to known relatives. So somewhere my paper trail must be wrong.

Dad unknown cousin

Then I looked at ethnicity. Dad’s great grandfather was half Samoan, so dad and I should have some Polynesian in our DNA – not a skerrick. Those 5 known cousins do from 3-10%. So where is dad’s and mine?

Dad DNA story

Where has all the Irish ethnicity come from? I hadn’t found any Irish in dad’s paperwork. Looks like there have been some lies passed down in the family oral history. Or maybe the truth wasn’t known and it is only now with DNA that the truth is appearing.

With dad’s half brother (same father) having done a DNA test, I can now sort dad’s matches into paternal and maternal. But when looking at the maternal matches, I find the unknown 1st or 2nd cousin comes in there. But doesn’t match those with the Polynesian ethnicity. So maybe dad’s maternal grandfather is not the son of the Samoan whaling captain I have researched for years.

I have started using the tool What are the odds (part of DNA painter) which allows me to make hypotheses of where dad’s grandfather might be in the unknown cousin’s tree.

Dad DNA painter WATO

Looking at the unknown cousin’s tree, there is a lot of Irish in there, but I still need to find which person is dad’s direct relative.

Readers: What surprises have you found in your paper trail and or DNA trail?

Checking the DNA

Since my last post, I have been doing some more work on the DNA tests that my immediate family had done as well as those relatives I asked to test to prove or disprove some of Dad’s background. (He is my problem child with a paper trail not matching his DNA very well.)

They all tested with Ancestry but I had uploaded the raw DNA data from the immediate family to Family Tree and My Heritage as well. I found some different names at these websites that were not included on the Ancestry site.

The one site I had uploaded everyone to was Gedmatch – the site US police are now using with cold case files.  It is here that people who have tested with any site upload their data so it is a huge database of  DNA connections. Again I found some new connections.

But it is only this last week that I decided to upload the other  relatives DNA raw data to FTDNA and MyHeritage. Immediately this helped me work out a new connection with my father.

Below is a quick pedigree chart for my dad. Now you can see why he is my problem child. Very little proven paperwork for his father – not even a birth date and place. But at least having his half brother tested means anyone who matches them both must come from dad’s paternal side of the tree. Now to build lots of trees from his DNA hits to see where the links are in all these trees.

On his mum’s side we have an unknown 1st-2nd cousin which could only possibly mean her father is not who we thought. Through testing a so called relative and a cousin we proved dad’s mother didn’t descend from my whaling captain William Smith. Now to find who her father really was – I have quite a few DNA hits that must relate there.

Dad’s maternal great grandparents are also a problem with 5 possibilities as the father and the mother born to one person but then living with another person with half siblings.

 

It is a lot of work trying to prove the paper trail using DNA at least it is for dad. My mum’s paper trail and DNA match well so I spend little time on that. Most hits are easier to find as I have most of her ancestors back at least 4 or 5 generations.

Readers: Have you DNA tested? If yes, what are you finding most difficult? Where have you uploaded your DNA raw data to?

First results back for interview

Dad on verandah at Goulburn StreetWe have received our marks back for the first assessment task which was the interview. This is what I handed in.

Interview of Robert Alan WYATT by Suzanne WYATT on 28 December 2014

Interview location: Dining room of interviewee’s house in Howrah, Tasmania

Relationship of interviewee to you: Father

Sue: Where and when were you born?

Bob: I was born in Hobart at a private hospital in Goulbourn Street and my mother’s name was Irene Ellen Gertrude WYATT nee SMITH. My father William Alan WYATT deserted my mother when I was only a few days old.

I was put in the care of Mrs Ellen Sarah AVERY. She was the mother of a friend of my father Keith Henry AVERY and we lived at 160 Goulbourn Street, West Hobart.

Sue: Did you always live in Goulbourn Street or did you move at all?

Bob: No I always lived at Goulbourn Street. Harry often told me that I was probably a saviour to his mother because she had lost a son and a daughter in 1929 and 1930 to diphtheria and I was a saviour to her to actually be looked after.

I think I was pretty well spoilt because I can’t remember much about my early childhood but I was told that I was put on the verandah at Goulbourn Street. Mum had a dog – by the way I called Mrs Avery Mum and my mother Mummy. Mum used to look after me and I was just put on the verandah on a rug and they had a big dog – a collie dog I think – called Bosun and if I crawled towards the steps or anything, Bosun would get in the way and stop me. But of course I don’t remember anything about that – I was only told that.

Sue: OK so you were living with Uncle Harry and his mum, so where was your Mummy living?

Bob: She was living at a hotel where she worked. At that stage it would have been Heathorns Hotel at the lower end of Liverpool Street – that’s been demolished now – then she worked at Albion Hotel in Elizabeth Street. That’s also been demolished.

Reflective Statement

This part of the interview was significant for my research as I didn’t realise dad actually lived with the AVERY family. I knew he had a lot to do with them, but not to actually be living at their house during his childhood. I have a photo of dad on a rug as a baby and now realise that would be what he was talking about in the interview.

I found it interesting that he called his mother mummy and Mrs AVERY mum. I had occasionally heard him use mum and mummy before but had never known the significance of it.

By interviewing dad, he also gave lots of information such as full names, addresses and years which will help with telling the story in my family history research.

The interview was valuable in that it was the first time I had run a formal interview with regard to my family history. I generally have a chit chat when looking at a photo and then jot down notes when I get home. But actually formalizing it, organizing the questions and allowing the interviewee to go off on a tangent sometimes, means I now have a record of them actually speaking. I can listen to that at any time in the future and perhaps find further areas to research that they mentioned – such as when dad mentioned diphtheria and the demolishing of the hotels.

I will definitely be using the interview technique when researching for my main project on the SMITH family in future weeks of this course.

These are the comments I received and the mark – I was pretty pleased with the result.

Excellent work, Suzanne. Your interview is well-structured and your questions are clear and pertinent. You have gleaned some significant family memories and gathered some important clues to future research.

Your Reflective Statement is very good and weaves together the past and present with an eye on the future. You have demonstrated a knowledge of key family history principles.

Goulburn Street rather than Goulbourn?

Score 16/20

To hear the full interview, check out my previous post.

Interview test run

Because I haven’t been able to organize a time to meet Glenn yet, I thought I had better do a test run of an interview with my father. I went through Paul Thompson’s questions, typed out a big long list of them chunked into areas like early family life, schooling, early adult life etc.

Before starting the interview I showed my dad the questions and said I would be asking about some of these things. I think that helped him know the sorts of things I wanted to get from the interview. It allowed him to chat for a while on a topic rather than giving just short, stilted answers.

To record the interview I took my iPad to mum and dad’s house and we sat in the dining/kitchen area while mum was in the lounge room watching the cricket and Sydney/Hobart yacht race. I had downloaded the app Soundcloud, which allows 180 minutes with their free version.

I recorded in two sections: first dad talked about his own life mentioning he had already written about a lot of these and they were on his computer if ever i needed them. The second and shorter section was dad talking about his parents and grandparents.

Here are the two recordings: