Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Your Genealogy Today (May/June 2016) contains several articles of likely interest to our genealogists:

The Genealogical “Hail Mary” Search: The author notes that many persons researching German ancestors have trouble discovering the name of the place in Germany where those ancestors lived. He believes that some of those persons could solve that genealogical riddle by making use of surname distribution maps. Such maps will prove especially useful for persons researching ancestors with uncommon surnames, although they offer the potential to help anyone researching an elusive German ancestor. The author discusses three online surname distribution maps (two free, one subscription).

Gaelic Prefix Surnames: If you have puzzled over some of the surnames you’ve encountered while researching ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, this article should at last set you straight. Now you’ll know the meaning of the surname prefixes Ap, De, Fitz, Gil, Kil, and O’; and the (surprisingly slight) difference between Mac and Mc.

Solving Mysteries in Cemeteries: The author notes that cemeteries are often critical sources of information for genealogists. Knowledge about gravestone iconography and conventions can sometimes lead to breakthroughs that jump start our genealogical research.

Interpreting DNA Test Results: First the bad news: it can be difficult to determine the relationhip between two persons who are not immediate family members using only the results of a DNA test. The author notes that first cousins can often vary greatly in terms of how many centimorgans (cM) they share. But DNA tests can provide a good place to begin your research--and traditional genealogical research methods can then help you convert possible relatives into definite relations. 

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