Jamboree Exhibit Hall

Raffles!  If you’ve been to Jamboree before, you know they have raffles, lots and lots of free prizes, just waiting to be claimed!  One lucky attendee will win a copy of GenDetective and three The Traveling Genealogist trip planning guides.

The exhibit hall at Jamboree is open, for free, to any and all visitors.  This year Jamboree will be hosting over 80 exhibitors!

RumbleSoft will be exhibiting, stop by and visit us at booths #406-407!

Information on the 50th anniversary of Jamboree are available here.


If you’re in the area stop by Jamboree, visit and attend a few classes.  See you at Jamboree!

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Are you going to Jamboree?

May is one of the “big” genealogy conference months, with several large regional/national conferences.  The calendar is chock full including:

  • Ohio Genealogical Society (Mason, Oh)
  • National Genealogy Society (St Charles, Mo)
  • Southern California Jamboree (Burbank, Ca)

Jamboree is one of my favorite conferences; it is fun!  That California/West Coast attitude permeates the conference, where people are there to learn, but also to have fun.  Information on the 50th anniversary of Jamboree are available here.

Interested in attending classes?  I will be speaking at two different times:

  • Friday at 5:15pm in DM003: Using GenDetective: Visualizing Your Genealogy Research
  • Saturday at 8:30am in SA003: Using GenDetective: Planning Your County Research

If you’re in the area stop by Jamboree, visit and attend a few classes.  See you at Jamboree!

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GenDetective Update v3.3 Now Available

GenDetective version 3.3 is now available for download at http://www.rumblesoftinc.com/updates.cfm. This update corrects a few issues (see the release notes on the updates page) and introduces 3 new DNA related reports.

As genealogists, one of our challenges, is identifying who in our family tree we can ask to take a DNA test.  GenDetective now includes 3 reports:

  • Who is a candidate for a Y-DNA test?
  • Who is a candidate for an mtDNA test?
  • Who is a candidate for an autosomal DNA test?

The results of the test you are looking for someone to take depends on the specifics of the situation you are research.  These new GenDetective DNA reports make identifying those living people, if they are in your tree, much simpler.  Since DNA tests are looking for shared ancestors, by definition the person(s) you are looking to test are descendants of a specific ancestor or ancestral couple.

Creating a DNA candidates report is as simple as knowing which DNA test you want someone to take and identifying the ancestor.  The reports are located in Reports By Task under “What information should I research”, “DNA Test Candidates”.  A sample Y-DNA test report is shown below with names changed to hide living people.  Your report would show you the names of the living candidates in your family tree.

Y-DNA Test Candidates (names protected for privacy)

Our next post will explore these reports in further detail, but let us know what you think of these reports.


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ancestry.com DNA Enhancements Announced At RootsTech

Last week at RootsTech, ancestry.com unveiled three new features for users.  The details of their announcement of the features is here.  The feature I have been exploring is the Common Ancestors feature for DNA matches.  The directions for enabling these new features are found in the ancestry announcement here.  Remember, these features are in beta, which means they are not perfect (and may never be), and issues or errors may (will) happen.

INew DNA Options

I have been working through my DNA matches on ancestry and before the introduction of this new feature I had identified how I was related to 279 matches.  The new common ancestors filter (green leaf, in circled in blue box above), announced last week at RootsTech, identified an additional 215 new DNA matches for me.  That is 215 matches over and above the 279 matches I had already identified!

So far I have worked through  50 of the matches.  Are they all perfect?  No, are there a couple of matches that I’m not sure work, or the suggested path to relationship seems wrong.  Not as many as I expected, 4 out of 50, which isn’t too bad.  I also have 2 matches, one at 101 cM and one at 93cM where ancestry identified a match that I didn’t (common ancestor is 6th great grandparents), but missed the match where we are also 3rd cousins, 1 time removed.

New DNA Groups

The other feature ancestry.com introduced as part of the new DNA matches is the ability to attach colored dots (2nd blue box above on the right) to a person.  You can define a maximum of 24 groups.  I tried one scheme and ditched it, in favor of my current scheme. My scheme is:

  1. Star = identified/confirmed lineage
  2. A dark pink dot = mom’s side of the family (Barbara)
  3. A dark blue dot = dad’s side of the family (Marvin)
  4. Pinks, reds and oranges = primary surnames on my mom’s side of the family (Smeltzer, Cribbs, Cunningham, Faith, Gibson, …)
  5. Blues, greens and yellows = primary surnames on my dad’s side of the family (Williams, Moorhouse, Hayes, McGranahan, Kenley, Charlesworth,  …)

Forgot what a dot represents?  No problem, the list shows you the names associated with the color, and if you hover the cursor over the color it tells you the group name!

Are these new features perfect?  No, but it is certainly helping me more quickly identify how I am related to a DNA match, and isn’t that the goal?


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It’s Institute Registration Time

During registration for GRIP last week (some courses still have seats), I was in Washington, DC with several friends whom I met the prior summer at GenFed (1 week institute on NARA holdings).  We scheduled a group research trip to Washington, DC as we all wanted to research at Archives 1 (DC), Archives 2 (College Park, MD), Library of Congress and DAR.  We had a great time each night and had the opportunity to brainstorm and strategized approaches to solve each others brick walls.

People are amazed that I would attend an institute.  Questions frequently asked include:

  • How can there be much information for one topic?
  • Don’t you get tired of the same topic?
  • It’s not like you get to socialize with the instructors ..
  • Isn’t that super expensive

Until you are an expert, and maybe not even then (advances in DNA research), it is almost impossible to not learn.  If the topic is key to our research, our understanding of our family, and has the potential to give us the key to our brick wall, is there any one of us who would be tired of the topic?

Socialize with your instructors?  You have 5 or 6 days to speak to your instructor, including at meal times!  When you leave, they will still know who you are, and unless you send hundreds of emails, they will probably still talk to you after the class is over 🙂

That leaves us with cost.  The cost component is a sad reality that most of us have to deal with, and with many institutes costs include: the course, travel, hotel and food.  Some institutes, like GRIP,  may not be as expensive as you think.  Early bird tuition is $460 and your room & food is an additional $310 (that is room and food).  It is a college dorm room and it is college food; not 5 star food but not a 1 star either.  You can always opt to stay in a hotel and do your own thing for meals.  That leaves your flight, bus or cost of gas to drive to Pittsburgh.  That is $770 (plus flight/bus/gas) for a week to learn new research skills and meet new people.

The best thing about an institute?  Making friends who happen to love the same hobby that you do.  Even better, that group who were in DC researching together (plus one who couldn’t make it)?  Five will be in the From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments  and two of us will be in Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy in Pittsburgh this summer!


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My Map View: County Maps

In My Map View from a United States map, you can get a state-wide map, one that shows the county boundaries, and the individual counties your family lived in!  Our starting navigational point is a map of California that we reached from the World map by clicking on the United States, and then clicking on California.  Looking at the map itself, we see the counties where my family resided, below the map is the list of the counties my family resided in, and to the right is the list of family members who lived in California!

May Of My Family In California

What happens if I click on San Diego county in the map (or click on the link in the chart)?  The map itself remains unchanged. However, the list of locations in the chart below the map has changed.  Instead of the counties family resided, the chart now contains the list of specific locations I have identified in San Diego County, Ca.  In addition, the list of family members has changed to list only the family members who had an even in San Diego County.

My Family In San Diego County, Ca

What if I want to see the list of the 5 people who were in El Cajon, San Diego County, Ca.?  Click on the link for El Cajon, and the map stays the same, the chart of places stays the same, but the list of family members now lists the 5 people who had an event in El Cajon!

Family Members With An Event in El Cajon, Ca

How powerful from the initial World map, click on the United States, then click on California, click on San Diego County, and finally click on El Cajon.  If you are visiting the San Diego county area of California, with four quick clicks of your mouse you have the list of people who you place in a specific town in California!  Does it get any easier than that?


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My Map View: State Maps for The United States

In My Map View there are several ways that you can navigate to a state level map:

  1. Click on a state in a country map
  2. Click on the link for the state in the chart below the country map.

Unfortunately the only country that has state level maps (ie. county maps) is the United States.  We have been unable to locate free maps that work with our mapping software for most countries in the world.

No worries though, for countries without county maps, the functionality for the state or province is equivalent to the county maps for the United States.  Said differently, there is one less map, but the detailed links and filtering by location are still available!  I will be discussing this functionality in the next post, My Map View: States Maps for Other Countries.

When clicking on an US State in the United States Country map, a county map for the selected state, similar to the following map, will display.

California Family Map

The GenDetective screenshot above should look familiar.  The chart below the map displays a list of the counties that occur in the state-wide map. On the far right is the list of relatives that are associated with locations color coded in the map.  To get additional information about any county, click on the county in the map or on the link in the chart!

In our next post we will explore the State Maps for Countries without individual state maps (county boundaries) .. aka not the United States and the final post in this series will discuss what happens when you click on a specific county in an US state map!


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