RootsTech 2021 Day 4: Connect Our Souls

Why do we crazy genealogists do this anyway? More than half a million of us just this week? I wondered if a bunch of people signed up just because RootsTech was free, and then wouldn’t attend, but according to the FamilySearch people in our speaker’s group, that’s not the case.

The official counter stopped updating at the beginning of RootsTech, so we don’t know how many people have actually signed up. I do know that my number of Relatives at RootsTech has increased from 44,337 on the first full day to 57,906 today.

That’s an increase of about 31%. If you extrapolate and multiply the 501,000 people registered when the counter stopped, that means there’s more than 650,000 registrants, 150,000 of whom who signed up during RootsTech.

That’s the approximate size of these US cities:

  • Nashville
  • Detroit
  • Oklahoma City
  • Portland
  • Las Vegas
  • Memphis

Put another way, that’s more than three times the size of Salt Lake City that has about 200,000 residents.

No one, but no one, expected anything like this.


So why do we do this?

It connects our souls.

I want to share with you this amazing, short video, here. This box of found pictures provided photos of ancestors long dead to descendants in an Alaska indigenous community that didn’t even have cameras in the 1950s and 1960s.

Like the man in the video said, genealogy connects our souls. That connection sustains us. Through tough times. Through pandemics. And bridges death. It connects us through the people we know or knew to the ones we didn’t.

That’s why genealogists seek ancestors. We carry part of them in us – their DNA, their eyes, their hands perhaps, their smile and yes, maybe even their souls.

Genealogy, and specifically, DNA helps us to find them. Genetics identifies what parts of us come from them.

DNA Learning Center Activities

Through the DNA Learning Center Activities at RootsTech, I discovered the fun Traits Tree. Check it out. You may learn something you didn’t know about genetic traits. Who else has them in your family?

Who doesn’t love the Jelly Bean (er, I mean Gene) Machine at RootsTech where you can learn about autosomal DNA inheritance?

You can’t eat them this year, but you can still learn about autosomal inheritance in this fun little Jelly Genes app.

You can also connect to Learn.Genetics.

If you want to learn about the science behind DNA, Learn Genetics at the University of Utah has provided this great reference, including classroom materials.

Winding Down

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’ve only managed to watch 2 or 3 sessions and part of one keynote.

What have I been doing and what have I accomplished? I wonder the same thing.

  • I’ve answered literally hundreds of questions in the chat rooms from my sessions and other rooms where I volunteered. I’m not positive that being able to direct message speakers, especially without notification capability was a good idea. Most people are kind and patient, understanding that this is not a slumber party and speakers, even genealogy speakers, must sleep from time to time. 😊
  • I made a list of all of the Y and mtDNA lines that I need in the closest 7 generations, allowing me to make the best use of my time working with Relatives at RootsTech.
  • I was VERY disappointed to discover that I could only see how the top 300 Relatives at RootsTech were related to me. Personally, I think this is one of the best features. I would LOVE to be able to sort those relatives by ancestor. I was told that this app is better on the phone, so I would hope that the online version could be enhanced to provide what the phone app does for future conferences.
  • Using the app, I discovered a cousin in the Netherlands on my Dutch line that I didn’t know existed. I hope they answer.
  • I built a wonderful playlist for myself. If I watch just one presentation a day, every day, I’ll be done sometime around the first of August with individual sessions, and that’s before I watch the 16 series that have more than one session each.

This is a wonderful gift. Something every single day to look forward to. I can probably watch and listen to some while I’m quilting or cleaning or doing some other task that doesn’t require my full concentration.

I know RootsTech Connect 2021 was different and bumpy and sometimes difficult – for you and trust me, for the speakers too. But it has also been a growing experience.

We’re on the other side of it now. Warriors – and we survived. And you know what – it just might be the best RootsTech yet because it’s not really over.

I hope next year we can all be gathered back together again in Salt Lake City – in person but also incorporating the best of this year of forced change. By that I mean, inclusive so that RootsTech can again be a global event. Wouldn’t you love to actually be able to see the speakers live as they present?


I’ve been sharing my DNA garb with you this week. Today, I’m sharing something a bit different.


I ordered this absolutely stunning woven Kente cloth from Ghana. I’m sure you see the helix.

This cloth represents so much to me, personally.

First, we all descend from Africa.

We are all related.

We are all connected.

We are humankind.

This cloth represents hope to me – reaching into our common past – and extending into the future.

A future that hopefully includes a trip to Salt Lake City for RootsTech next year.

One of the reasons I’m so passionate about Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA and love it so very much is because that is the only avenue we have to connect ourselves back into the distant past – beyond the mists of time. Crossing that veil into antiquity, before surnames and before genealogy as we know it. Yet, it’s there, within our reach and DNA opens that door.

Stretching back and informing us about our family in the distant past. Telling the story of their path, their journey and their struggles that led to us.

We are woven together by the tapestry of life, through our ancestors, both recent and distant. And yes, their DNA is interwoven in us as well. Individual threads of them that created each unique one of us.

Kente cloth at its best.

May your ancestors bring you hope and love and inspiration.

I’ll share with you next year what my ancestors inspire me to do with this wonderful hand-woven fabric that represents their collective lives. Yes, my ancestors walk with me in this way too.

Every. Single. Day.

In Closing

I actually did manage to watch the closing session with Steve Rockwood. He’s not only the FamilySearch CEO, but he’s an incredibly gifted speaker. I don’t want to say more, but I hope you will be able watch even though it’s lengthy.

If you like music and songwriting, this is definitely for you. Music reaches places that words cannot.

One last thing – you absolutely will not get through this final session dry-eyed. “Love me like it’s 1961…..” and that’s just the beginning. Just get the box of Kleenex.

Let me close these four days of RootsTech Connect 2021 by sharing these thoughts.

Give us hope.

We are not alone.

Let us heal.

Connect our souls.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


Rootstech 2021 Day 3: Picture Perfect & Great Prices!

How can a virtual conference possibly be this tiring? I’ve been trying to watch a few sessions, but I’ve spent most of my time in various chat rooms answering questions.

Of course, I discovered that 23andMe changed their product AFTER I recorded and submitted the Triangulation video. Guess what you’ll be reading next week!

Yep, a clarification article. I’m using the word “clarification” loosely here, because it’s still confusing.

So, what’s going on in the genealogy community and at RootsTech today?

Well, for starters, MyHeritage has been acquired. This was out of left field. Wow.

MyHeritage Acquisition

MyHeritage has been acquired by private equity firm, Francisco Partners.

I have no idea if the MyHeritage acquisition was timed to correspond to RootsTech, but regardless, it did.

We’re used to big announcements at RootsTech, but not this big, and not announcements of this nature, either.

In the past several months, all of the other 3 major genetic genealogy companies have been acquired. MyHeritage is number four.

Here’s the Business Wire link, and here’s a very nice article from a personal perspective of a long-standing MyHeritage board member.

I have to tell you, this made me draw a sharp breath, so I reached out to three people at MyHeritage in positions to know. After hearing from all three within hours, I’m greatly relieved.

Founder Gilad Japhet is remaining in position as CEO, as is the rest of the staff. This acquisition means more investment dollars which means that MyHeritage can digitize more records and produce more tools for genealogists.

2021, in the genetic genealogy world, is a new ballgame. All 4 vendors now have new owners, and a year ago, GEDmatch was sold as well.

Gilad is, at heart, first and foremost a genealogist, as is Bennett Greenspan from FamilyTreeDNA who retained a board seat after the GenebyGene/myDNA merger.

I was relieved to read in the MyHeritage PR release the following:

MyHeritage takes a best-in-class approach to user privacy and does not sell or license personal data. Under MyHeritage’s partnership with Francisco Partners, this commitment will be further strengthened and users will benefit from enhancements to the company’s privacy framework. As a first step in this strategy, MyHeritage will shortly update its privacy policy to include the unequivocal prohibition for the company to license or sell genetic data to any 3rd party. These updates will be highly unique amongst the larger genealogy and genetic DNA industry and are a testament to the commitment both MyHeritage and Francisco Partners share to privacy and consumers.

That’s not all MyHeritage has been up to.

MyHeritage Introduces Deep Nostalgia

MyHeritage introduced yet another photo enhancement tool. You’ll want to try this for yourself.

Deep Nostalgia is different than photo enhancement. It animates faces. Some people love this, and others think it’s kind of creepy. I’ve animated several photos, and I think it has to do with the photo to begin with, and if you knew the person in real life.

For one of my friends who only has photos of their parents and grandparents, and never knew them, this technology has been a gift of the highest magnitude.

I immediately went and animated my grandmother who died the year I was born.

I would suggest starting with a photo of yourself maybe to see if you want to go further. Or, maybe, just jump right in.

So far, my favorite is the picture of my mother as a child that you can see right here. I love this little girl so very much. This technology is the only way I’ll ever “see” my mother move as a child. I want to hug her. She looks so much like my daughter about the same age.

The enhancement technology itself is amazing, even without animation.

I clicked to animate this photo, above, and look at my Mom’s face, below, after the animation. Where you see the animation button, below, you’ll discover that you can select animations 1-10 and they are quite different. If you don’t like one, try a different one. I liked this one of my Mom.

MyHeritage enhances the photos before animating. Their technology has improved dramatically from the first versions, just a few months ago. This picture of my mother during her show business years is stunning. Upload any photo or click on a photo in your photo gallery at MyHeritage, then just click on the animate button.

Additionally, MyHeritage rolled out a few new features in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been so busy I almost missed them.

You can now see if a shared match has a tree and access it directly from the Shared DNA match page. You can also see any notes and how many people are in this person’s tree by flying your mouse over the respective icons. Adding those notes in this location is a godsend for me, because I always note as much as I can discover about each match and now I don’t have to click to open each match just to “see who they are.”

click images to enlarge

You can read more in the MyHeritage blog, here.


I watched the “What’s New at Ancestry” video to see if they have any announcements since RootsTech is typically a platform for those types of splashes. The information in the video is from 2020. I didn’t find anything new involving DNA, although Crista was discussing new green leaf genealogy hint algorithms and such.

She did say that while ethnicity percentages will be updated once a year or so, Genetic Communities is updated on an ongoing basis. She mentioned Ancestry’s Genetic Communities patented technology combines the consumer genetic network and their family trees.

Crista clarified that ethnicity estimates are looking at where your DNA was 500-1000 years ago. Genetic Communities is looking at where your family members lived in the last 100-200 years. The last update, just a couple weeks ago, applied to 8 million users, of 18 million total. I received one new subset community.

Nothing mentioned about 2021.

DNA Kit Sales

I was surprised to discover that Ancestry is not offering any promotions in their booth. Not for DNA and not for subscriptions. Even at Amazon, the Ancestry DNA kit is $99.

If you’re wondering about 23andMe, they weren’t at RootsTech last year and they are absent this year too. If you’ve tested at 23andMe, you can transfer to both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA.

If you need upload, download or transfer instructions for any vendor, click here.

That’s OK, amble on over to the MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA booths who are both having great sales.

Family Tree DNA – Best DNA Price of RootsTech 2021

  • At FamilyTreeDNA, their autosomal Family Finder test is now only $49. This is the best price of the conference. Click here to purchase using coupon code RTCTFF.
  • I noticed that FamilyTreeDNA added a sale code for the Autosomal Transfer advanced tool unlock too, good through March 7th. If you’ve been waiting, now’s a great time. You can click here to sign on, upload your DNA file if you’ve tested elsewhere and then unlock using code RTCAU10.

You can see all of the FamilyTreeDNA show prices, here.

MyHeritage – Free Advanced Tools Unlock Expires in Two Days

Ok, let’s do something fun now.

RootsTech “Souvenir” Photos

You can get a “souvenir” photo of yourself, or someone else, at RootsTech. Yep, time travel, of sorts. Click here.

I didn’t want a photo of myself taken in my office when I haven’t had a haircut in over a year, so I selected a photo I like much better.

RootsTech is building a real-time mosaic. Of course, your eyes have to be better than mine to find yourself😊

Surname Search

Another fun activity is the FamilySearch surname search tool that shows where in the world a particular surname is found.

Of course, in many cases, the top location is the US, land of immigrants, but hey, the genesis of the surname is quite interesting.

Have fun.

DNA Garb

Today’s DNA outfit is my chromosome sweater, and no, I didn’t make it.

Unlike the vests and dresses, this isn’t a dress-up item, but just something that’s soft and comfortable and I wear it in my office. I stuff it in my carry-on travel bag and you would be more likely to see me wearing this than any of my “good” DNA outfits😊

It’s still snowy where I live, which reminds me of Salt Lake City – so I just took a walk and pretended.

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the last day of the conference already. What fun things are you doing at RootsTech?



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


RootsTech 2021 Day 2: Hints, Chats & Bittersweet Memories

The RootsTech Expo Hall opened last night, followed by the sessions four hours later. We learned a lot about navigating the system, and how to use the various chats too.

News items first.

Relatives at RootsTech is Available ONLY During RootsTech

That cool “Relatives at RootsTech” feature won’t be available after RootsTech ends. So, if you want to see who your relatives are at RootsTech, you must do it now. Scroll down when you sign in to the conference or click here.

If you add your relatives to a friend list, that list will be available until March 20th-ish.

HINT – If you are looking for mitochondrial DNA candidates for a particular ancestor, this is an avenue to make those discoveries and find a candidate who descends through that ancestor to the current generation through all females. The current generation can be male.

I selected the paternal side of my tree, then clicked to show how we’re related. In this case, Alexander Smith is a male, so my relative who descends from Alexander Smith is NOT a candidate to test for Margaret Herrell’s mitochondrial DNA.

We can search by surname, but not by ancestor.

I can bookmark the sessions I want to watch and watch them over the next year, but I won’t have access to these relatives beyond the conference. My priorities for the next couple days have just shifted.

Make yourself a list of Y and mitochondrial candidates that you need and have at it!

Search Bug

Searching for a presenter by name may or may not work, and may not work correctly.

Putting quotes around the name may or may not help. For example, Judy Russell and Tom Jones aren’t showing up reliably in searches, but trust me, they are both “there.”

Use the lists and search by session name, or by topic. Or scroll. Otherwise, you’re going to miss people and sessions you want to see – including sessions in the next category.

Tips and Tricks

Yesterday, in the Sneak Preview article we discussed that there are:

There’s a fifth category. I didn’t realize these sessions weren’t listed with the regular sessions, but they aren’t. I wouldn’t have realized it at all if I hadn’t known someone who recorded one and couldn’t find her session. They are collectively called “Tips and Tricks,” and they are shorter videos of just a few minutes each, from 3-20 minutes, recorded by volunteers. (A big thank you to those folks.)

Here’s a great example. Katherine Borges recorded “DNA and Lineage Societies.” It’s a lovely and informative presentation and explains the various societies, such as DAR, SAR, Mayflower and others, and how they utilize DNA. How does that work anyway? Watch Katherine’s session to find out.

Did you know that one of the societies uses X DNA too?

Katherine talks about the “DNA jackpot lottery” which always makes me chuckle.

Many lineage societies have DNA Projects at FamilyTreeDNA too.

Take a look by scrolling down on the FamilyTreeDNA page, here, until you see the search box, then type in a keyword like DAR or Mayflower.

You won’t find Katherine’s presentation by searching for her name, unfortunately.

The ONLY way you can find these Tips and Tricks sessions is to scroll through each of the various categories, on this page, and read what’s available.

I’m hoping that RootsTech will make available a list of these Tips and Tricks sessions. If they do, even if it’s after the show, I’ll publish it so you don’t miss anything. You can add these sessions to your playlist.

Chat Rooms & Ask Us Anything

Remember those very nice people wearing the teal “ask me anything” shirts at RootsTech in the exhibit hall? Well, they’re still here, just differently.

On the upper toolbar, that teal or blue circle with the chat icon – that’s “ask us anything.” Just click.

To ask a vendor questions, you MUST go to their booth first in the Expo hall.

Once there, you can do two things.

You can request to “chat with an expert” which then opens a list of experts who are available at that time to chat one-on-one.

If you want to ask a general question, not one-on-one with someone, while on that vendor’s page, you can click on the Connect button on the lower right-hand corner of the page.

Hint: If you try to chat or connect and see a yellow ! mark and receive a message about not being able to connect to the chat server, be sure you actually signed in to the conference. If so, sign out and sign in again.

Yes, unfortunately, the chats have been a bit glitchy, but trying again or waiting a bit to try again usually takes care of the problem.

Once you click on the Connect button, this window will open.

You’ll then see the list of chat rooms that you’ve visited. At the top of the list is the chat room for the vendor’s page that you are currently visiting.

Just click on that chat room to review the messages and ask your question.

Note that at the top, you have two tabs – one for chat rooms and one for direct messages.

The little number in the bottom right corner is the number of messages and chats that have messages you haven’t seen.

You can leave a room by clicking on the three dots for other options.

Another thing you can do is to search for rooms or topics.

Click on the little search icon in the top right, above.

I just searched for Canada.

Hint: Vendor’s booths do NOT show up in the chat search unless they have added a second booth.

Each presentation or session also has an associated chat room. Go to that session and after watching, click on either “Join Chat Room” beneath the descriptive text, or click on Connect in the corner.

My Sessions

Now that RootsTech is open, you can watch all regular sessions, including mine. DNA Learning Center sessions are released on a preset schedule.

Here’s the link to my session, DNA Triangulation: What, Why, and How at FamilySearch.

There are three interesting things.

  • First, you can share sessions on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Please share sessions that you enjoy that others might enjoy too.
  • Second please leave positive feedback for speakers. It’s the social media equivalent of clapping or “thank you.” Speakers can’t see you and many have volunteered many hours to create these sessions and are devoting more time answering questions in chat rooms.
  • Third, the information about how to auto-translate is quite interesting. Clicking on that link takes you to a “Quicktip Selecting auto-translate in youtube.”

Youtube you ask?

Yes, RootsTech is using YouTube as the delivery platform on the FamilySearch channel. You can share the YouTube link for sessions too. Here’s the YouTube link for this session. These are not searchable, just so you know.

Be sure to check the Downloadable Resources, beneath each regular session. I provided links to a number of articles that help explain the details that I couldn’t cover in a single presentation.

Note that DNA Learning Center sessions are created by volunteers and don’t have associated downloadable documents.

My second session, in the DNA Learning Center, Revealing Your Mother’s Ancestors and Where They Came From is live now too. Be sure you are signed in to the conference to play the video.

We had SO MUCH FUN in the chat for this session right after it finished. Great questions and Dr. Miguel Vilar, former Lead Scientist for the Genographic Project and Million Mito Project colleague joined us and helped to answer questions too. You just never know who you’ll find at RootsTech😊

Here’s the YouTube link for this session.

I’m sharing feedback from Debra in the chat. This is why we speakers do what we do! Thank you Debra for this incredible compliment. I surely hope Debra and all of you break down those pesky brick walls too.


A few years ago, I had some custom chromosome browser fabric made that portrays my family members’ matching DNA painted on my chromosomes. Yes, I know that’s terribly, horribly geeky, but it sure is FUN!.

I had the background painted purple because that’s my favorite color. I’ve been wearing this outfit off and on for 3 or 4 years now – just to conferences.

I asked my husband to take this photo this morning for today’s DNA conference clothing.

Later today, I was feeling somewhat melancholy. I miss people and I’m missing my so-very-many-friends at RootsTech.

And then, something amazing happened.

I was searching around my system for a good “RootsTech past” photo when this one popped up.

Wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing this exact same dress.

What a coincidence, right?

But there’s more…

I’m laughing with my friend, Bob McLaren, who was at RootsTech for as many years as I can remember, volunteering in the FamilyTreeDNA booth, always wearing his McLaren kilt and clan regalia.

Bob loved genealogy, DNA, and interacting with people, which is why he was always at genealogy conferences.

Everyone knew and remembered Bob simply as the “man wearing the kilt.” We all loved him, and it showed.

We lost Bob unexpectedly in 2020.

This is exactly why RootsTech is so important.





Were it not for genealogy, I would never have met Bob, some 17 or 18 years ago.

Were it not for conferences, I wouldn’t have seen Bob each and every one of those years.

I miss Bob ribbing me.

I’m a Campbell you know, and well, those Campbell’s and McLaren clans just didn’t get along very well up in the Scottish Highlands. Never let it be said that clans let bygones be bygones. That’s heresy! Just ask Bob.

I vividly remember one time telling Bob that I was pretty sure I saw where those McLaren’s DNA matched a Campbell man. Bob didn’t much care for that news and wasn’t’ shy about telling me so. That’s OK, because it was a yarn I spun for his benefit.

I alleged that SOME Campbell and SOME McLaren had apparently liked each other just fine and he insisted that would never have happened. Our debate resumed every single year. It was, of course, a tradition we both enjoyed.

But not this year.

There’s silence.

Just silence.

I miss Bob.

I’ve never been so grateful for the past. Things I took for granted. Often little things.

Hearing someone’s voice.

Their laughter.

People I thought I’d see again “next year,” or before.

People I’m so blessed, so privileged to know.

People I love.

People I want to hug.

I so look forward to the future. Next year.

I miss people.

I will forever miss Bob, but I know he is with me today.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


  • com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books

RootsTech 2021 Opening Day: Sneak Preview & Navigation

I am so overwhelmed today. Mostly in a good way. I’m writing this so that hopefully, you won’t be.

If you’re riding along with me for the RootsTech journey this year, you’ll recall that my daily RootsTech conference posts are less than polished. Quick and dirty is the only way I can get them out the door. So I just apologize in advance. Things move very quickly during RootsTech week, and polished articles take a long time to refine.

If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you can do so by going to and signing up. It’s free.

I wrote about the RootsTech presentations, here. We have a lot more information now.

RootsTech opens this afternoon, depending on where you are in the world. Here are the times. Remember, it’s already tomorrow down under.

There are a HUGE number of registrants. This graphic was from a few days ago.

Drum roll please…

Today’s numbers, this morning, topped half a million registrants. That’s the size of a major city.

RootsTech is by far the largest genealogy and largest DNA event that the world has ever seen. You can still sign up, here. It’s totally free.


This is important – there are FOUR places at RootsTech to view different educational sessions.

  • The presenters, who would normally be presenting in conference rooms.
  • The DNA Learning Center, sponsored by FamilySearch, normally found in the Expo Hall.
  • The Demo Theater, which are sessions recorded by the vendors that would normally be presented in the Demo Theater on the show floor.
  • The vendors’ virtual booths.

I’m going to run through how to find all of these and how to navigate the website.


The list of regular sessions is here. PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS NO TIME SCHEDULE. The reason there aren’t times is because the sessions are all pre-recorded and you will be able to watch at your convenience. You’ll be able to build a custom playlist for yourself too.


This is the main RootsTech site, here. Notice the navigation bar across the top. You’ll be able to view these links AFTER the website opens. 

This primer will help you navigate and find what you need.

Guide Me – DNA Basics Learning Center

If you click on “Guide Me” – you’ll see categories of interests. Under DNA, you’ll see the DNA Basics Learning Center.

There are lots of resources in the DNA Learning Center, including the Live Class Session Schedule, here. Please note that these are DIFFERENT sessions than the regular presentation sessions and are NOT listed on that schedule.

If you click on “Live Sessions” and then on more, you’ll see my session.

Several experts have volunteered to answer questions for the DNA Basics Learning Center across the multiple days of the conference – so you might find me there. There is pretty much always someone available. We are just now receiving training on how this works, so we’ll all be on an adventure together the first couple of hours😊

If you click the Connect button at the bottom of any session or vendor booth or any page, it opens a chat box where you can ask questions.

For fun, click on “Show My Relatives.”

I believe these relatives are shown in closest to most distant order, because I see a number of third cousins that I recognize. Trust me, I’ll be messaging each of these closer relatives. For one thing, I want to know if they have DNA tested, and where. I also want to know who our common ancestor is. Maybe they have photos I don’t have, or maybe I can help them.

Click on any name to initiate a chat with that person.

These chat features will only be available during the actual RootsTech show days.


If you click on “Sessions,’ on the main Rootstech tab, you’ll be able to search by a variety of topics, names or session titles.

I searched for my own name, and sure enough, here’s my session. There are other sessions listed too, but those are other speakers – not me.

Clicking on that + (plus sign) adds the session to your playlist. How fun it this! You can customize your own RootsTech conference. These sessions will be available for the next year, so no hurry.

Expo Hall

Next, click on “Expo Hall” on the main tab.

Remember, the Expo Hall opens 4 hours before the conference, so 7 PM EST time.

If you click on Expo Hall, you’ll see the following:

This is 7 PM tonight, EST. I believe that the website converts this to your time, but I’m not positive.

If you click on “View Demo Theater,” you’ll see the vendor sessions. There are several here that I want to watch, and the good news is that you can add these to your playlist too.

You can also search for a specific vendor or scroll.

There are lots more vendors. This is just a sampler platter!

Five things of note.

  • First, vendors will have sales. Note that “Promotions” word in the FamilyTreeDNA booth, below.
  • Second, vendors may offer sessions in their booths that are not available elsewhere. Note the MyHeritage booth, below.
  • Third, vendors will probably make announcements during RootsTech. I know of a few, but I can’t share until after the official vendor announcement.
  • Fourth, many vendors will have downloadable resources. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of each booth to see everything.
  • Fifth, you can “chat with an expert” in any vendor’s booth. FamilyTreeDNA experts will include people who would normally staff the booth, of course. However, the 24×7 times three days conference nature is a challenge, so they have included members of the science team along with project administrators from around the world. You just might find someone you know there from time to time, with expertise in a specific area. Note that vendors can also set up “chat rooms” for specific topics, or when experts are “visiting.”

These leaked yesterday, so here are the FTDNA prices and discount codes.

You can order or upgrade by clicking here.

In the MyHeritage booth, they offer three demos that aren’t available elsewhere. You can also add these to your playlist.

Don’t forget that MyHeritage is offering the free transfer and FREE advanced tool unlock during the conference – so if you haven’t transferred your DNA file to MyHeriage, now’s the time and you can do that, here. I wrote about how to do that, with instructions, here.

Of course, you can also purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit, here.

My Schedule

I’ll be three places, live.

  • Answering questions in the FamilyTreeDNA booth as a guest expert for 2 hours beginning at 7 PM EST tonight.
  • The DNA Learning Center from time to time.
  • In the chat rooms for my own sessions.

If I have additions or more designated times, I’ll let you know as the week unfolds.

One Last Thing – JOY

Yes, RootsTech has been a struggle this year – for the presenters, for the vendors, for the volunteers, but especially for the FamilySearch/RootsTech staff. Bless their hearts, and I mean that.

I want to put this in perspective.

Without a virtual RootsTech, we would have NO RootsTech this year. I can’t even begin to say how much I’m missing being in Salt Lake City, seeing my friends, meeting you, my wonderful blog readers, finding new cousins, looking at all the cool things on the show floor, and researching at the Family History Library.

This year is different, but RootsTech Connect is bringing JOY – JOY, when we need it the very most.

We can indeed connect with other people. And because RootsTech is free, we can include even more people in our community. More people to collaborate with. More people to DNA test. More people finding ancestors. More people to share the JOY.

As you may know, I’m a quilter, and I’ve made “DNA clothes” that I wear to RootsTech and other conferences for several years now. This year, I’m doing something different. I’m dressing up anyway, even though I’m attending at home – just to get in the spirit. I’ll take a picture every day of my DNA outfit and how I’m being joyful, right where I live.

I’m wearing my RootsTech Connect 2021 pin too which signifies an amazing community achievement. I’m proud to be a part of this momentous event.

It’s bright and sunny and a beautiful winter day. A bit windy. But that’s OK. Do you see the helix that looks windblown right along with me?

You be joyful too!

What are your RootsTech plans?

See you at RootsTech. Be sure to tune in for tomorrow’s RootsTech blog article. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


MyHeritage DNA Transfer and Unlock FREE Through February 28th

You can always transfer your DNA file to MyHeritage and receive matches for free if you’ve tested at Ancestry, 23andMe, or FamilyTreeDNA.

A free DNA file upload at MyHeritage always includes matching, but the advanced tools normally require either a $29 one-time unlock fee, or a Complete Data Plan subscription which includes genealogical records and more. (You can try the subscription free for 14 days, here.)

Right now, and through February 28th, you can transfer your DNA for free AND the $29 unlock fee is forever waived for the kits you transfer during this timeframe.

Free Advanced Features

What advanced features will you receive, in addition to matching?

These are wonderful tools for unraveling your genealogy.

Perfect Timing with RootsTech

The timing is great, because this week with RootsTech happening virtually, absolutely everyone is thinking about genealogy. Your transfer can be complete and ready for you to utilize as you select DNA-focused classes.

Don’t forget, RootsTech is free too and lasts from February 25-27 this year. I wrote about RootsTech, here. You can still sign up and watch sessions at any time, on-demand, after the conference opens. You’ll find several presentations by MyHeritage staff and by other speakers about using their products.

I’ll be teaching a session about Triangulation in general, including information about MyHeritage as well as other vendors who offer this type of feature.

Transfer your DNA file to MyHeritage now by clicking here so you’ll be ready.

Need Help?

Need transfer instructions?

I wrote step-by-step instructions about how to download your file from other vendors and how to upload to MyHeritage, here.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


Internet Archive Genealogy Collection – Who’s There?

You may be familiar with Internet Archive because of the Waybackmachine that archives websites that, if you’re lucky, you can find again once they are gone. Sadly, the old WorldConnect RootsWeb trees that included comments with so much valuable information can’t be found (or at least I can’t find them,) but many other obsolete websites are only available through Waybackmachine.

I must admit, I use this tool a lot. I also donate from time to time to help fund this valuable resource. However, there’s more to Internet Archive than Waybackmachine. A lot more.

Recently, I received an email with a link to their “Genealogy Collection,” here.

Just scroll down – but only if you have absolutely nothing else to do today.

I mean, you can get lost here forever.

You can browse on lots of pages, but you can also search.

I selected the surname Ferverda because it’s fairly unique. It was spelled Ferwerda in the Netherlands and is also spelled Fervida in my family line in the US.

Click to enlarge images

There are a total of 237 results searching the text contents, falling into several years, as you can see at left.

Scrolling on down that left-hand sidebar, you can see thatFerverda results fall into different categories as well.

Some of these, like Leesburg and Fort Wayne, I recognize based on knowing exactly where this family lived.

But Argentina? Did a family line immigrate there?

And the US patent office? Ok, I have to look, so I clicked.

I recognize the name of my uncle who was a research chemist in the paint industry.

I didn’t know he held patents though.

  • Ferverda, Harold L., to General Electric Co. Method of making a laminated core. 2,786,006, 3-19-57, CI. 154 — 80.
  • Ferverda, Harold L., to General Electric Co. Process for bonding dynamoelectric machine coil end turns and article produced therebv. 2,802,120, 8-6-57, CI 310 — 45.

Hey, look….there’s my grandfather who was the station agent for the railroad at one point in his life!

I wonder what this has to say about him.

Next, there’s the Ferwerda surname with all publications in Dutch, in the Netherlands, under the genealogy tab.

Some documents are available as images and some in a downloadable text version. Even if the document is written in a foreign language, automated translators are available through Google and other resources. Who knows what treasures might be lurking where you least expect them.

What interesting discoveries can you make? Maybe your names will be found in the genealogy collection too. Let me know if you find something good!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


Customize Your RootsTech Conference: 96 DNA Sessions to Choose From!

Some of the RootsTech Connect 2021 speakers. Courtesy of FamilySearch and the speakers, of course.

We should have been in Salt Lake City this past week, but alas, we’ll all be getting together virtually instead during February 25-27.

As much as I regret not being able to see people, in person, (boy, do I ever miss that), there are GOOD things about RootsTech this year.

This year’s RootsTech Connect is virtual, so we DO get to attend. We haven’t lost out entirely. The conference is entirely free, and every session was recorded by the presenters. As you watch these sessions, say a thank you to the presenters, because trust me, the recording experience (which took days) was an adventure most of us don’t exactly want to repeat.

RootsTech Connect 2021 has been a learning experience for everyone and I want to say a huge, HUGE, thank you to FamilySearch and the team who has been working diligently trying to figure out the inner machinations of something this gargantuan! To use one of their analogies, on a call someone said that it’s like they are designing the airplane as they are flying. I’d say that’s a pretty apt description.

Virtual means that you can register and watch at your own convenience. As badly as I do want to see everyone in 2022 in Salt Lake, I really hope RootsTech records the sessions there and offers them afterward. The combination of free and online on-demand has dramatically extended the RootsTech reach which means more genealogists and more DNA testers – both of which are a good thing.

Not everyone can go to Salt Lake City and the sheer number of people who have registered bears testimony to the popularity of an inclusive event. Normally, there are about 40K people that attend RootsTech in person. There are already more than a quarter-million people registered this year and we still have several days to go. Of course, everyone can afford RootsTech this year, because it’s entirely free and no travel is required.

If you haven’t yet registered, you can do so here.

Who’s Attending?

After you register, you can see how many of your relatives, at least according to your FamilySearch tree, are also attending Rootstech 2021.

During, but not before the conference begins, you’ll be able to see who those cousins are and communicate back and forth.

This is the link to see how many of your relatives have registered.

On this same page, if you scroll towards the bottom, you can see how many people with a particular surname are registered.

During the conference, you’ll be able to message back and forth with friends and relatives. Maybe they’ve DNA tested, and if not, maybe they would like to! If the past is any indication, FamilySearch shows you how you are related to each relative. It functions similarly to their fun “Famous Relative” app. (Insert appropriate grain-of-salt, verify everything warning here.)

You know you want to type in your “difficult” surnames to see if maybe, just maybe, someone with that surname is attending😊.


This year’s conference is unique because it will run 24×7. Of course, staff, attendees, and exhibitors can’t stay up for 3 days straight and be anything resembling coherent – but it’s always daytime someplace in the world. I can’t help but see the image in my mind of RootsTech rotating around the world.


The session format has changed this year. Most sessions are 20 minutes, not an hour. Think genealogy TED talks from your favorite presenters. There are a few advanced sessions that are an hour in length.

For example, my session, DNA Triangulation: What, Why, and How was just too in-depth for 20 minutes or even two 20-minute sessions, so it’s the traditional hour-long session.

We’ll cover a lot in that time, beginning with a definition of triangulation, why you want to use triangulation, how triangulation works, and an overview of how to use triangulation at each vendor. I hope you’ll plan on attending.

A Plethora of Riches

There are more than 800 RootsTech sessions in total, in a multitude of languages, including some also presented in American Sign Language.

You can take a look at the sessions in English and ASL, here. The list of sessions in other languages will be available soon.

Furthermore, there will be an open chat session for each class where you can ask questions. Each presentation will have a chat room monitor answering questions, and the presenter will drop in from time to time during the three conference days.


I printed all 18 pages and I’m customizing a conference for myself. The good news is that we’re not constrained to three days because we can watch sessions later.

I have to tell you, when I’m at RootsTech, I do use the mobile conference app to schedule the sessions I want to see, but the show is draining and I meet so many people I want to talk to. That means I often don’t get to see several speaker sessions that I planned to attend.

This year, everyone will have the option to see every single session!

I’m planning to make “the conference” a bit festive for myself. I’m going to set my laptop up in my quilt studio, not in my office, so I can be “off work.”

Yes, I’ll be quilting and conferencing at the same time. And if I can’t do both simultaneously, then at least I’ll be enjoying the conference “on pandemic vacation” in another part of my house, away from my office. I think I’ll eat naughty food and chocolate to celebrate too😊.

Now if I could just find some of those lovely hot roasted almonds and kettle corn that we can smell wafting throughout the convention center…but I digress.

No Set “Schedule”

There is no conference “schedule,” per se. Registrants will sign in to the conference and be able to participate in a multitude of activities. You’ll be able to watch keynotes on the main state, listen to speaker sessions, visit the expo hall or the DNA Basics Learning Center, and more.

Many vendors will be sponsoring free sessions too in their booths, along with providing the opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers always appear on the Main Stage, the largest auditorium space in Salt Lake City.

This year, you’ll join the “Main Stage” area in the virtual conference to watch the keynote speakers. These sessions will be recorded and repeat too.

Click to enlarge

Notice the time conversion chart.

Hint – I have a World Clock on my phone, which I use to figure out what time it is in other locations. Furthermore, you can schedule an appointment in your calendar if you want to be “present” for a particular session or event and set an alert to remind you a few minutes in advance.

You can read about the keynote speakers, here.

The Expo Hall

The Expo Hall, or the show floor, is one of my favorite parts of RootsTech. I love to see what’s new along with vendor-specific presentations in their booths. Vendors will be hosting presentations this year too, although you’ll need to check out the Expo Hall and the show floor for yourself to see who is hosting sessions, when, and which ones you might like to attend. Pay close attention, because vendor sessions may NOT be available later.

Of course, vendors will be anxious to answer your questions and glad to sell you some of their wares. These companies need our support right now.

RootsTech DNA Basics Learning Center

After the Expo Hall opens, you’ll have access to the DNA Basics Learning Center that will offer additional DNA sessions focused on beginners. This is IN ADDITION to the regular conference sessions.

These 20-minute back-to-basics sessions have been contributed by volunteers to provide a foundation of genetic genealogy education. The schedule is being finalized, but I can tell you that there are more than 35 sessions.

You’ll find educators you’re familiar with, and probably some new people too.

You might have already guessed that I’ve recorded a session for the Learning Center: Revealing Your Mother’s Ancestors and Where They Came From.

Like with the other sessions, there will be an online chat forum for these sessions too.

There will be a schedule, but the classes will all be available afterward in the “on-demand” library. How cool is that!

There’s More…

There’s more too. Volunteers in the genealogy community have recorded what I would call bite-sized tidbits of genealogy goodness. I’m not sure exactly what they are officially called, but I know they’re mini-classes that will be available during the conference. Think genealogy Brownie Bites.

Between the regular sessions, the DNA Learning Center, the genealogy mini-classes, and vendor presentations, one of the FamilySearch folks said they are processing 1800+ recorded presentations. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are dealing with! But from an attendee’s perspective, this is a smorgasbord so long you can’t see the end.

Customizing Your Personal Conference Plan

I counted 59 DNA sessions on the regular Session list, plus 37 or so in the DNA Basics Learning Center. Not included in that total are sessions on the non-English list yet to be released, vendor presentations, and mini-sessions.

You could watch just DNA sessions for days and days.

It’s ironic that a few years ago, we couldn’t get even one DNA session on the agenda of most conferences – and now, I don’t even recognize all the speakers presenting about DNA topics. DNA has become a mainstream, fundamental, inextricable tool for genealogy. I suspect genetic genealogy will have a supporting role, maybe making a cameo appearance in other sessions too.

I hope that everyone enjoys the conference and fine-tunes techniques for using DNA to increase genealogy effectiveness. Confirm your ancestors, meet new cousins and break down those brick walls.

Print the Session list and the Learning Center list when it’s released, and create a customized conference for yourself. My personal conference will assuredly be longer than three days.

I think after the actual RootsTech conference, I’ll probably select one or two sessions each day and schedule them on my calendar. RootsTech 2021 might just last all year.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research


Outside the Pale: The Lore Family’s “Remarkable” Life Revealed Through the Newspaper – 52 Ancestors #324

Recently, I renewed a previously lapsed subscription to (get 7 days free, here) in order to search for one particular event surrounding one specific ancestor. But then, as things do with genealogy, one thing led to another, and another, and to make a long story short…it was 3 AM and I wound up in Rushville, Indiana with Nora Kirsch Lore and her family in the very early 1900s. Talk about time travel!

I have written individual articles about the principles in this article, but this story is different than before. I’ve mentioned previously that the benefit of telling each ancestor’s life story separately is that you focus exclusively on just THAT one ancestor. Of course, they were born to parents, probably married someone, and had at least one child that survived to reproduce. Clearly, their story touches on the generations on both sides of them, and must, for continuity – but the story isn’t about anyone but that ancestor, told in their voice, from their perspective.

When you find a treasure trove that spans three generations of an extended family, and you’ve already written about the specific ancestors, it’s difficult to fit the new information into the cracks, because there aren’t any cracks big enough. Not to mention, this is a story all by itself.

Boy, is it ever!

The Papers

As luck would have it, some of the Rushville newspapers have been imaged and OCRed at so that you can search by keyword(s), which is often first name plus surname in either a particular newspaper or a particular area, like “Rushville, Indiana” or simply “Indiana”.

The bad news is that the surname, Lore, is also a word and also part of other words, plus Curtis Benjamin Lore never used his full name. Most often, he went by Curt or C. B. Lore. Initials are particularly difficult to include reliably in searches. His wife’s name was Nora, but as it turns out, the custom of the day dictated that she was always referred to as Mrs. C. B. Lore until after his death when she was occasionally referred to as Mrs. Nora Lore. Often, she was still referred to as Mrs. Curt Lore or some other derivative that did not include her first name.

Frustrating? You think so?

I changed the search parameters several times, and hopefully, I found all of the references. I discovered that even using the same search criteria, sometimes results varied, so search thoroughly.

Another challenge is that due to the search and OCR challenges, maybe only 25% or less of the matches were truly relevant. However, that’s OK, because I really didn’t need to sleep for 3 nights anyway. Yes, I waded through and read more than 500, and probably closer to 1000 results. Let’s just say I know way more about Rushville Indiana than I ever really wanted to know. Why, it’s almost like I lived there right along with my ancestors!

It really was like time travel as I experienced, albeit second hand, what they experienced in the 1890s and the first two decades of the 1900s.

One last challenge is that you can’t presume that all of the years of a newspaper are imaged just because some of them are. No place on could I determine how to ascertain which parts of a particular newspaper’s publications have been imaged. It’s certainly possible that some weeks or months or pages are missing throughout. Remember, absence of evidence does not necessarily equate to evidence of absence.

The Players

First, before we look at what the newspapers revealed, let’s take a look at the players that we’ll visit.

The photo below, taken about 1907 or 1908 at the Kirsch House in Aurora, Indiana includes many of the people you’ll meet including Nora Kirsch Lore, her parents, and siblings.

Left to right, I can identify people as follows:

  • Seated far left – one of the Kirsch sisters – possibly Carrie Kirsch.
  • Standing male left behind the chair – C. B. Lore, husband of Nora Kirsch – which dates this photo to before January 1909 when he became ill for the last time
  • Seated in the chair in front of CB Lore in a white dress – Nora Kirsch Lore, his wife
  • Male with bow tie standing beside C. B. Lore – probably Edward Kirsch, if not then probably Todd Fiske, husband of Lou Kirsch
  • Male standing beside him with no tie – probably Martin Kirsch
  • Woman standing in the rear row – Kirsch sister, possibly Ida.
  • Standing right rear with beard – Jacob Kirsch, father of Kirsch sisters and husband to Barbara Drechsel Kirsch.
  • Front adult to the right of Nora with child – Kirsch sister, possibly Lou.
  • Child beside Nora – Eloise Lore, her daughter, born in 1903, so dating the photo to about 1907
  • Adult woman, seated, with black skirt – mother to Kirsch sisters and wife to Jacob Kirsch, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch
  • Young woman beside Barbara to at right with large white bow – probably Curtis Lore, Nora’s daughter

Jacob Kirsch (1841-1917) and Barbara Drechsel Kirsch (1848-1930) are the parents of Nora Kirsch and her siblings. Jacob and Barbara lived in Aurora, Indiana where they owned the Kirsch House, a restaurant, tavern, and hotel that would be much like a B&B today. The Kirsch House was an exciting place, filled with travelers and colorful figures. In fact, it was at the Kirsch House that Nora met C. B. Lore who wasn’t quite exactly what he portrayed himself to be – single. His wife and children back home in Pennsylvania seemed to have slipped his mind until AFTER he had married Nora.

Whoo boy, is he ever lucky that Jacob Kirsch didn’t catch wind of that! In fact, I’m not at all sure that Nora or the Kirsch family EVER knew. There were so, so many secrets in this family.

Years of hidden drama in such a mundane, innocent-looking antique brick building. Nothing belies what lurked beneath.

Photo courtesy, Pat Allen, Allen Aerial

The Kirsch house is the L-shaped red brick building behind the depot and the white pickup truck. Today, you can still see the larger window where passenger tickets were sold.

The Kirsch house itself was interesting in other ways. Located strategically between the railroad depot and the Ohio River, in the background above, where paddle-wheeler riverboats docked, it was subject to massive flooding during the winter and spring months.

That’s the Kirsch House, just behind the RR crossing sign in 1937, courtesy of the historical society.

The basement bears the scars of many floods, and so too did the inside of the structure.

Flooding that included ice flows was more damaging yet. As you might imagine, stories about flooding, being trapped in floods and escaping from floods were legendary in the family.

It takes special people to live in a place where devastation visits regularly, and you know you’re just going to clean up and start over to have it happen all over again in a few weeks, months, or next year.

These folk were cut from a different cloth. Brave. Resilient. Not one bit risk-averse. It’s no wonder that these people or their parents were immigrants. That too required exceptional bravery.

Jacob Kirsch was quite the character, having one glass eye and other “interesting” characteristics.

The children of Jacob and Barbara, other than Nora, are:

  • Caroline (Carrie) Kirsch (1871-1926) married Joseph Smithfield Wymond (1861-1910). Joseph, a wealthy riverboat gambler contracted syphilis and eventually died of the disease. Then 16 years later, Carrie died too. She never had children. For obvious reasons, her family despised Joseph. He, in essence, killed Carrie, slowly and painfully. Given that Carrie’s father, Jacob Kirsch, was involved in one lynching AND was a crack shot, even with one eye, Joseph is lucky he didn’t “die by enraged father,” although maybe Jacob decided that a quick death would be too good for him.
  • Margaret Louise (Lou) Kirsch (1873-1940) married Charles Theodore “Todd” Fiske (1874-1908). Todd lost his job as a civil engineer and committed suicide by gunshot at the Kirsch House where they were living at the time. Lou never had children.
  • John Edward Kirsch (1870-1924) married Emma Miller and lived in Edwardsport, Knox Co., Indiana. Edward died at age 54 of paralysis, according to his death certificate, which generally means a stroke, given that he appears to have died the same day he became ill.
  • George Martin Kirsch (1868-1949) married Maude Powers and died in Shelbyville, Indiana at age 80 of a cerebral thrombosis, another form of stroke.
  • Ida Caroline Kirsch (1876-1966) married William “Billy” Galbreath (1891-1921) who died of acute alcoholism. She never remarried and never had children.

As you can see, there was a lot of grief under the roof of the Kirsch House.

Nora Kirsch (1866-1949) married Curtis Benjamin Lore in 1888 at the Kirsch House and eventually moved to Rushville Indiana, where drama to rival any soap opera unfolded. Their children were:

  • Edith Barbara Lore (1888-1960) married John Whitney Ferverda in Rushville, Indiana, and moved to Silver Lake. Edith is my grandmother who is absent in the family photo at the Kirsch House.
  • Curtis Lore (1891-1912), a daughter who died of tuberculosis in Rushville.
  • Mildred Elvira Lore (1899-1987) married Claude Martin in Wabash, Indiana, and moved to Houston, Texas (Absent in Kirsch House photo.)
  • Eloise Lore (1903-1996) married Warren Cook and moved to Lockport, New York. Eloise never had children.

The Lore of the Lore Family

If you just read the newspaper accounts, the Lore family looks like an upwardly-mobile, probably fairly well-to-do, carefree family – based on how much socializing they are doing. Of course, no one in Rushville had any idea that they had left Aurora, in part, to disguise the “premature” birth of their first child.

And no one, ever, knew about the past of roguishly handsome, charismatic C.B. Lore. Probably not even his wife and assuredly, not his daughters!

Looks, or in this case, snippets and sound bites, can be very deceiving.

Striking Gold Off the Bat

The very first newspaper entry is actually quite enlightening. It begins by telling us that C. B. Lore has his own company.

April 30, 1888, Indianapolis News – Shelbyville, Indiana – The Natural Gas Company today contracted with C. B. Lore & Co. of Greensburg to drill three more wells for $2400 on the farm of Mrs. tenant, east of this city.

Given that the 1890 census does not exist, this tidbit provides us with previously unknown information.

  • May 16, 1889, Rushville, Indiana – In the column titled “Horse Talk” we discover that O. Posey and son, owners sold to C. B. Lore of Greensburg a horse named Moscoe for $400 at the Rush County Horse Breeder’s sale at the fairgrounds.

This had to be a racehorse. I wonder what Nora thought about this.

Horses would shape their future in unexpected ways.

Horse Racing In Rushville

As it turns out, Rushville was a race-horse town in the 1880s and 1890s, known for its fast horses. James Wilson began this legacy with one sire in the 1860s and 1870s that sired many record-breaking Standard Bred Trotters.

By the early 1890s, there were three competition harness tracks on the edge of Rushville, north, south, and east. Every township had at least one training track, and there were a total of 25 tracks in the county. Of course, racing-related people were attracted as were associated businesses. C. B. Lore could have been one of these.

The main track, Riverside Park, located by the old mill location in Rushville had a 60-foot wide regulation track and grandstands. A swinging footbridge was erected across the river to allow easier access to the track, saloons, of course, and businesses.

While the local articles don’t mention gambling, you know that betting was a big draw and lucrative business in its own right too, because betting and horse-racing go hand in hand. What the articles do say is that many of the large Victorian homes were built with “horse money.”

And you can bet that where there’s money, there’s always someone looking to turn a quick buck in less than scrupulous ways.

In September of 1899, the race at Riverside wasn’t held, but somehow a bogus record of the horses that “won” that day was submitted to the American Trotter Association. When the fraud was discovered, local horsemen and officials were expelled, the incident being called “one of the most extraordinary turf frauds ever perpetrated.”

The racing heyday was over, Rushville’s reputation forever tarnished, along with those who participated, but that didn’t mean individuals who loved horses and racing didn’t continue to breed horses and race.

In March of 1907, fifty horses were training at the local track according to the local paper.

But where was C.B. Lore during this time?

Where Was C. B. Lore?

The newspaper tells us what the 1890 census cannot.

  • October 2, 1890 – C. B. Lore of Greensburg was here Saturday.

Nora and C. B. married in January 1888. I know that Edith was born in Marion County a few months later, but between August 1888 when Edith was born in Indianapolis, and the 1900 census, I had no idea where they were living. According to this, in 1889 and 1890, they were living in Greensburg, Indiana. Who knew?

It’s about 20 miles from Greensburg to Rushville, and about 50 miles from Greensburg to Indianapolis.

And yes, Greensburg did have a newspaper, and no, it’s not available on yet. Just in case you were wondering. Trust me, I keep checking.

This makes sense of another piece of information. The photo of Edith, taken when she was maybe 3 or so, was in a studio in Greensburg.

Also worth noting – those beads she is wearing were actual gold.


Not mentioned is that Curt and Nora’s second child, Curtis, a daughter arrived on March 8th, but we aren’t sure exactly where she was born.

In 1891, the Rushville newspaper notes that C. B. had drilled wells “here” but doesn’t say that they live in Rushville. Edith would turn three in August of 1891, so they were probably still living in Greensburg at this point.

Greenburg is most famously known for the tree growing from the roof of the clocktower – a site Nora and Curt would have seen.

On May 14th, 1891, Curtis sustained a financial loss because his drilling outfit burned. The paper says Greenfield, but I think they meant Greensburg. Greenfield is quite a distance away.

C. B. Lore had been a well-driller in Pennsylvania, which is what brought him to Aurora, Indiana initially. He drilled the Blue Lick Well, there, so the fact that he continued in the drilling business isn’t a surprise. It’s just that we didn’t know well-drilling was connected to Rushville before.

I’m guessing, since his rig burned, that it was something like this Drake Well, common in Pennsylvania where Curtis learned well-drilling.


  • On June 10th, 1892, Curtis, then a Rush County resident, filed a lawsuit.

This suit was apparently settled, as we hear nothing more. But who was John F. Pleffer and why did C. B. Lore sue him?

C. B. or Curt Lore was mentioned often in the local newspaper. Obviously, they moved to Rushville sometime in 1891 or early 1892.

  • On August 2nd, 1892, “Curt Lore shipped his horses to Columbus yesterday.”

I’m betting this was for a race, pardon the pun. The Columbus newspaper provides some context for this event.

  • On December 9, 1892, W. A. Jones, Rich Wilson, Curtis Lore, and William Dagler shipped several head of horses to Chicago to be entered in the great sale.


  • The April 14, 1893 newspaper tells us that Mrs. Curtis Lore visited at Indianapolis last Wednesday.
  • On August 1, 1893 report that Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • August 6, 1893 – Indianapolis Journal – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • On September 12th, Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is visiting her sister, Mrs. Curtis Lore.
  • On Friday, September 22nd the newspaper reports that Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained in honor of Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora.
  • On December 12th, Mrs. Curt Lore and children left today to visit homefolks at Aurora over the holidays.

So, I wonder what C. B. Lore was doing with himself while his wife and children were visiting her parents for a month.

1894 was a busy year.

  • January 12, 1894 – Mrs. Curtis Lore returned home last Tuesday from an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
  • February 23, 1894 – Nineteen members of the “What Not” Club of this city went to Manilla last Tuesday and spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Trees. A very pleasant day was spent by all. The list includes Mrs. Curtis Lore.
  • March 20, 1894 – Mrs. Cad Kirsch of Aurora is visiting Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore. This answers the question of who Cad was – Carrie – which means I have a photo someplace.
  • March 23, 1894 – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is visiting Mr. and Mrs. Curtis B. Lore.
  • April 3, 1894 – It appears that Curt has become an entrepreneur.

$12,000 is a HUGE sum of money in 1894 and converts to about $365,000 in today’s dollars. I can’t help but wonder where he obtained that kind of money. They didn’t even own a house.

  • April 6, 1894 – under the City Council news, we discover that Curt plans to build an ice house.

C.B. Requested that the land be donated to him, but the council had a different idea.

  • April 10, 1894 – C. B. Lore closed the contract last Saturday for the old site of the woolen mill on which to build the ice factory. Work will begin as soon as the weather settles.

According to Rushville history, the woolen mill stood on the riverbanks just south of the Presbyterian Church and was consumed by fire in 1887. The fire and flood-prone location would certainly make the site unbuildable for most purposes and therefore available for C. B. for his ice business.

On this 1908 plat map of Rushville, you can see Water Street, where the original mill was located, along with the footbridge.

On April 13th, Curt apparently bought the land.

It doesn’t say how much he paid, but he would have needed even MORE money. That’s no small building.

But wait, we’re not done.

Also the same page:

Now, in addition to horses, ice, and oil, C. B. Lore is one of the founders of the local phone company. Not only that, we know, based on this article that they would have a phone for $12.50, or about $380 today, in addition to his founding stock in the company.

Either his horses and wells were either wildly successful or he had found a monetary source someplace else. I can’t help but wonder about gambling which is often synonymous with horse racing. Big winners and big losers.

  • May 25, 1894, reported in the Indianapolis News – Curt Lore, Rushville, sold to E. Wiles, Charlottesville, a 3-year-old filly by Aparka, dam Sue King by King Rose.
  • May 25, 1894 – C. B. Lore started his ice factory today.
  • June 9th – C. B. Lore is at Louisville, KY today to purchase a new ice wagon.

This ice wagon from this timeframe was from Washington, DC.

  • August 31, 1894 – C. B. Lore is putting down another well for use at the ice factory.

More and more money invested in the ice factory. I wonder if Curt could sleep at night. Nothing like pouring huge amounts of money into a business venture that has yet to produce much if any revenue.

  • September 11, 1894 – Miss Lena Wise of Greensburg is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • September 14, 1894 – Miss Edith Lore is at home from a visit with Greenburg relatives.

Who lived in Greensburg that was related? I still don’t know, but this might explain why Nora and Curt moved to Greensburg in the first place.

  • October 2, 1894 – C. B. Lore has an aluminum bicycle, the first one in the city.
  • November 20, 1894 – C. B. Lore is drilling a gas well near the ice factory. It is now over 450 feet deep and gas enough is supplied to make a blaze about 4 feet high.

C.B. is utilizing the land surrounding the ice factory to drill for gas.

On November 23rd, Curt was in the paper 3 times.

Wow, Curt has been busy!

Wait, what?

What? Now in addition to oil, gas, horses, ice, and a phone company, he’s establishing an electric company for commercial lights?

No moss is growing under this man’s feet!

  • December 7, 1894

1895 is, unfortunately, missing entirely from I need to know what happened with the lights!!!


  • Jan 10, 1896 – Civil cases set for trial, Indianapolis Brewing Co. vs Lore

A brewing company? Is Curt brewing beer too?

  • Jan 26, 1896 – Ladies Musicale met with Mrs. C. B. Lore on January 20.
  • Jan 31, 1896 – Curtis B. Lore resumed operations at his ice-plant yesterday.

Why had operations stopped? Does this have anything to do with the lawsuit? Maybe he bought equipment from them?

  • April 17, 1896

This is truly frightening. Runaway horses were a danger and killed many. Ironic that his horses became frightened by a bicycle, and he’s the one who introduced bicycles to Rushville.

  • April 21, 1896 – C.B. Lore (and others) formed a party of wheelmen which rode to Greensburg last Sunday and spent the day there.

Wheelmen refers to bicyclers. Curt would have been 40 years old.

  • April 24, 1896 – Mrs. C. B. Lore won a prize at a card party on Wednesday afternoon.

The following notification ran 8 different times in the local paper. I’m sure they saw it, and so did everyone else in town.

May 8, 15, 22, 26 and 29, 1896. Also June 2, 9, and 16.

The risks of entrepreneurship. Clearly, things were not going well. This would appear only to be for the pumps inside, not the building or the land. This would have been in addition to the initial $12,000 in a separate contract.

One interesting aspect is that they sued Nora too, which is very unusual for that timeframe. Apparently, Curt used the land as collateral, and this suit forces the sale of the lots to pay for the machinery.

This suit tells us exactly where this land is located. I wish there was a picture of his ice building.

Today, this is the Eagles Lodge.

  • May 19, 1896

Apparently, the horses were afraid of both “cars” and bicycles. This would have been train cars, not automobiles.

  • June 2, 1896 – Miss Mina Lore left last week to spend the summer with her grandparents in Pennsylvania.

Mina is Curt’s niece, his brother A. D. Lore’s daughter. So is Gertie mentioned on August 4th.

  • June 30, 1896 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children left last Saturday for an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
  • July 28, 1896

Indeed, there was betting involved. I KNEW it.

$25 doesn’t sound like much more than a friendly wager until you realize that’s about $800 in today’s dollars.

  • August 4, 1896 – Miss Gertie Lore of First Street is on the sick list.

August 18, 1896:

I believe this is baseball.

  • October 16, 1896 – A. D. Lore has moved his family to Albion, PA.

Adin apparently moved back to Pennsylvania, then to Ashtabula, Ohio before 1904 and lived there, working as a blacksmith and in the “car barn”, which I presume means rail cars, until the year before his death when he returned to Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, in 1913, he was working as a well driller and died of blood poisoning from an abscess on his hand.

  • November 10, 1896

Nora appears to have been somewhat of a socialite. I hope she enjoyed these years, because, sadly, they wouldn’t last.


  • February 5, 1897 – Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • February 19, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and Mrs. George T. Aultman elegantly entertained a large number of friends at the Social Club rooms last Tuesday afternoon. Progressive Euchre was played. Dainty refreshments were served.
  • Feb 26, 1897

  • March 12, 1897 – C. B. Lore and Mrs. Lore are a team engaged in the duplicate whist tournament at the Social Club. The 4th contest will be held on Monday Night.

The number 428 is beside their names. According to Wikipedia, Duplicate Whist was the precursor to Duplicate Bridge.

A week later, they were still in the running as well as on March 30th.

  • March 23, 1897 – Miss Carrie Kirsch who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore returned home to Aurora yesterday afternoon. Also, C. B. Lore and Mrs. Lore are one of the standing teams engaged in the duplicate whist tournament at the Social Club. The next contest of the series will be Monday night.
  • March 23, 1897 – Curt Lore had a severe strain last Friday at the ice plant while lifting a heavy wood-rack, but is able to be out again.
  • April 23, 1897 – Curt Lore will manage the Rushville ice plant this summer.

This is an odd announcement, given that he purchased the land and built that plant. Of course, we don’t know if he lost the land when that suit was filed.

  • April 30, 1879 – Rev. C. W. Tinsley, C. B. Lore and Walter Wilson spent Wednesday at Indianapolis.
  • June 11, 1897

Amazing. Now it appears Curtis is going to manage a baseball team too. When does he find the time? What doesn’t this man do?

  • July 6, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughters are visiting her parents at Aurora.
  • July 27, 1897 – C. B. Lore left yesterday for a few days visit at Aurora.
  • August 3, 1897 – Orville E. Scott succeeded Curtis B. Lore yesterday in the management of the Rushville Ice Plant.

Based on this, I’m guessing Curt no longer owns that land or the plant. Did he lose all that money? What happened???

  • August 24, 1897 – Miss Lulu Kirsch and Will Fisk, of Aurora, who have been visiting C. B. Lore and wife have returned home.
  • September 7, 1897 – Mrs. Daisy Navin of Indianapolis visited C. B. Lore and wife last week.
  • September 17, 1897 – Mrs. C. B. Lore is visiting friends at Indianapolis.
  • October 15, 1897 – C. B. Lore put 37 new flues in the boiler at the Riverside dairy this week.

What? Add metal and furnace work to the list of things Curt does!

  • October 15, 1897 – Jacob Kirsch and wife of Aurora are the guests of C. B. Lore and wife, and will remain here until Monday.

This is the first of only two times that Nora’s parents ever came to visit. Of course, being the proprietors of the Kirsch House was a full-time 24x7x365 job, so it was probably very difficult for them to get away.

  • October 27, 1897 – C. B. Lore has filed a suit against the Rushville Ice Co., on account, Demand $350. John F. Joyce attorney.

Apparently Curt had to file suit for some funds owed.

  • November 16, 1897 – Curtis Lore has contracted to fit up an Aurora hotel with a hot water heating apparatus.

Add hot water heating to Curt’s skill set, which of course is not only for heating water, but likely for heating the building with radiators. They don’t say, but that hotel is likely the Kirsch House.

In 2008, the old Kirsch House structure was being evaluated by a structural engineering firm for the City of Aurora. In that report, they took photographs inside the building and noted that the original hot water radiators were still evident on the second floor and the plumbing and boiler remained in the basement. It’s likely that this is the handiwork of Curt Lore.

That stairway, slightly visible to the right in the photo above, and below, is the stairway his bride, Nora, descended on January 18, 1888, the day of their wedding, wearing a dress she made herself.

  • December 14, 1897 – Charles Morgan left yesterday where he will assist C. B. Lore in putting in a heating apparatus.
  • December 17, 1897 – The lady minstrel entertainment given at Melodeon Hall last night for the benefit of Canton No. 21 IOOF was a marked success in the high class of the performance given and the large audience which attended. The sketch given by Jesse Pugh and Little Miss Edith Lore in which the former took the part of the burglar was cleverly acted.

Little Miss Edith Lore was my grandmother, all of 9 years old. How I would love to peek back in time and see her as a child.

Rabbit Hole

I’m a quilter, and I couldn’t help but notice the prices of fabric in the newspaper.

At these prices, one could purchase enough fabric to make a full-size bed quilt for about 50 cents. In 2021, it’s closer to $150, at a minimum and that’s before batting, quilting, thread, etc. A single spool of thread today costs more than all of the fabric needed for a quilt then.

Currently, 100% cotton fabric sells for about $12 per yard, on average, and feather ticking for about $35 per yard. Linens range from $10 at bargain-basement prices to about $200 per yard for the finest.

Nora was a quilter. Was she, like me, drawn like a moth to a flame when fabric was on sale?

Nora created absolutely stunning applique quilts later in her life, in the 1930s, that would represent Indiana at the Chicago World’s Fair. I’m betting that back in 1897, with a six-year-old, a nine-year-old, and a calendar full of social engagements, her quilting was probably for sanity and utility, and not for show. Many of her quilts were loved and used by the family, for years. This yellow quilt, cherished by her daughter, Eloise, escaped much use.

I couldn’t help but notice this ad for Christmas handkerchiefs. Women of that time, before Kleenex, owned many handkerchiefs. Who didn’t need handkerchiefs? They were functional, pretty, and fun. Handkerchiefs made a lovely, thoughtful gift that didn’t cost too much.

Nora had an entire box of handkerchiefs, passed to her daughters eventually, then to Mom, then to me.

One of the favorite family quilts made by Nora was this blue quilt that was literally worn and loved to death. I used several of Nora’s handkerchiefs to patch this quilt some 30 years ago, giving it a second or maybe a third life, a century or so after Nora made this quilt. Perhaps in Rushville.

I can’t help but look at the ads for both the calico fabrics and the handkerchiefs and wonder if perhaps this quilt is the marriage of both.

Ok, climbing out of the rabbit hole and back to Rushville in 1898.


  • January 14, 1898 – Mrs. R. F. Scudder and Mrs. C. Lore will entertain this afternoon at the Social Club rooms.
  • January 18, 1898 – Mrs. R. F. Scudder and Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained 40 of their lady friends at the Social Club rooms last Friday afternoon and evening, at cards. A nice luncheon was served to the guests.
  • February 4, 1898 – S. H. Teneyck and wife and E. L. Lenix and wife of Indianapolis are the guests of C. B. Lore and wife.
  • February 11, 1898 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and Mrs. R. F. Scudder gave a masked party at the Social Club last Wednesday night which was attended by several couples.

Mrs. Scudder’s husband was the president of the Republican party in Rush County. I have to laugh at the idea of masked balls. Royalty in Rushville.

  • February 25, 1898 – The colonial party given at the Social Club’s hospitable home on First Street…on Washington’s birthday, was an event which will be looked back to with pleasure by the 50 lady friends and other guests that attended. The rooms were decorated in red, white and blue with pretty colors. In the dancing hall the pictures of George and Martha Washington were conspicuous being surrounded with stars and stripes.

During the afternoon the ladies played hearts, the scores being kept on red, white, and blue cards formed in the shape of a heart. The honors were awarded to Mrs. C. B. Lore.

I’m beginning to think any reason was a good excuse for a party.

I wonder if the women’s dresses looked anything like this drawing from the turn of the century.

Or perhaps these women from 1893.

Or these more matronly women.

The men in this horse-racing town might well have accompanied the women dressed like this, sporting gold-handled and gold-tipped canes and smoking cigars.

  • April 1, 1898 – The spectacular production of “Queen Flora’s Day Dream, or the Butterflies Frolic,” given at the opera house under the direction of Miss Beatrice Raymond of Chicago in which a large number of young ladies and children of this city took part was attended by a large crowd last night.

The two little daughters had to be Edith born in 1888 and Curtis born in 1891 because the next child was not born until 1899.

  • April 1, 1898 – Curtis B. Lore and wife to Harry B. Jones, lots in Rushville, quit claim $1000.

I wonder which lots these are. They must have been the icehouse lots. This is confusing. Perhaps deed records would help resolve this information. I need to look again. Maybe another trip to Rushville would be in order.

  • April 5, 1898 – C. B. Lore delegate to the Congressional convention.

I just had a feeling Curt would be dabbling in politics.

  • April 12, 1898 – C. B. Lore is a delegate of the second ward Republicans which met at the engine house. Each delegate was given the privilege to select his own alternate.
  • April 15, 1898 – C. B. Lore found a lady’s pocketbook on Main Street yesterday which the owner can have by calling on him.
  • April 19, 1898 – C. B. Lore was given a judgment against the Rushville Ice and Cold Storage Co. of $206 last Saturday morning. The claim was for services as Superintendent of the ice plant and the use of his team and wagon.

Apparently, Curt was providing management services, and delivery, but no longer had an ownership interest. I suspect as the result of that earlier lawsuit. Regardless, it appeared, at least until now, to be amicable, even though his interest had been foreclosed upon.

  • April 22, 1898 – Claim by C. B. Lore, assisting engineer for $3.75 filed
  • April 29, 1898 – Edith Lore and Master Thomas Wallace, two Juniors, sang a missionary song. This took place at the 6th Convention of the Christian Endeavor Union of the 14th district, held at the Presbyterian Church on Wednesday and Thursday. The church was handsomely decorated in white, pink, green and gold colors, and flowers.
  • May 13, 1898 – Application of Curtis B. Lore for street commissioner was read to Council and placed on file.

Now he’s applying for Street Commissioner too?

  • July 5, 1898 – C. B. Lore and wife went to Trader’s Point last week where they joined an Indianapolis camping party for a 2 weeks outing.

Trader’s Point is near Indianapolis in a now-defunct village near Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Ironically, we know that at least one child didn’t go along on this trip.

Thanks to my cousin, Chelsea, we have a photo of Edith in Aurora with her Rabe cousins taken in July 1898 at her great-grandmother’s house.

  • September 16, 1898 – The machinery in the old electric light building is being loaded on cars by C. B. Lore for shipment to Indianapolis.
  • December 27, 1898 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children are visiting her parents at Aurora.

The pilgrimage home at Christmas time has lasted for four generations and counting, a luxury not afforded Nora’s grandparents who immigrated from Germany.


On April 8th, not reported in the paper, Mildred was born to Curt and Nora.

  • May 23, 1899 – Curt Lore and daughter of Rushville were in our city a short time this morning.
  • June 23, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children are visiting her parents at Aurora where they will remain for 4 or 5 weeks.
  • July 21, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and children returned home yesterday from an extended visit with her parents at Aurora.
  • July 25, 1899 – Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora is visiting her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.

I wonder how Curt was involved with the Rushville Gas Company. Perhaps, given his oil and gas experience, he was simply providing an emergency service in a dangerous situation.

  • September 1, 1899 – Harry Siebern and C. B. Lore have formed a partnership under the name of the Cineograph Electric Advertising Company. They will visit surrounding towns and give entertainments. Siebern has resigned his position with Bliss and Dowing.
  • September 15, 1899 – The Warograph Company of this city, composed of C. B. Lore, Harry Seiburn and Charles E. Wolfe, will give an entertainment at Newsom’s hall, in Carthage tonight and tomorrow night. It is worthy of patronage.
  • September 22, 1899 – Charles E. Wolfe went to Mattoon, Illinois, yesterday where he will join the Warograph Company owned by Frazee and Tichenor.

Apparently, Curt has now formed two new companies and inside of a week, lost one of his partners.  A week later, Charles E. Wolfe joined the military.

In the book, “Film before Griffith” by John Fell, the author states that the “cinematographe” and “Warograph” were the very first examples of projected motion pictures. Although they were identical to each other in their workings and manufactured by Luciere Brothers, the subject matter to be shown determined the choice of machine. The “Warograph” showed pictures of the Spanish American War – hence its title – “and seems to have created quite a stir among viewers. It provided “motionized pictures” of an actual war which viewers had read about in the pages of the newspaper, even though the original footage had probably been staged at the Edison studios in 1898-1899.”

I certainly didn’t see this coming. I’m beginning to wonder if Curt moved to new things because he IS successful, or because he isn’t. Is Curt struggling here? Or are they well enough off that he simply has the freedom to do whatever moves him?

  • September 29, 1899 – C. B. Lore will give his warograph entertainment in the yard at the Pythian Hall tonight and tomorrow night.
  • October 3, 1899 – Jesse W. Guire went to Mattoon, Illinois, yesterday where he will join the Warograph Company owned by Frazee and Tichenor.
  • November 14, 1899 – Mrs. C. B. Lore went to Aurora yesterday afternoon to attend the wedding of her sister, Miss Lulu Kirsch which takes place this evening.
  • December 12, 1899 – C. M. Ford, of the Big Four office, is at Claypool, called there by the sickness of his wife. Curt Lore is attending to the duties during his absence.

C. M. Ford would be the local railroad stationmaster or agent. This tells us that Curt had a working knowledge of Morse Code, mandatory for communicating up and down the line. Another skill we didn’t know Curt possessed.

  • December 22, 1899 – C. B. Lore succeeded in getting out the tools, yesterday morning, which were lost in the gas well that William L. Price is drilling south of the race bridge.

It seems like Curt had a lot of experience in dealing with whatever problems surfaced.


The 1900 census shows Nora and Curt living in Rushville with 3 children, married 13 years, according to the census. They had actually been married 12 years, but often adjusted their marriage date to align in a more socially acceptable way with their first child’s birth. He notes his occupation as a “machinist.” Two female servants are living with them, ages 19 and 27.

To afford two live-in servants, they must be at least marginally well-off. They weren’t alone though. There were a total of 121 servants out of a total population of 6,027 for all of Rushville Township, which includes the city of Rushville.

Their neighbor is William Covertson, the railroad agent.

William Covertson and his wife Ethel whose full name was Ida Ethel Clark were the best friends of Nora and Curt Lore. They were neighbors, their children grew up together and they remained fast friends long after Rushville was in the rearview mirror.


  • February 20, 1900
  • February 27, 1900

  • March 23, 1900 – Under the title, Social Club Entertainment: A company of about 150 persons gathered at the Social Club last Tuesday night and after indulging in a fine supper, prepared by the ladies, they adjourned to the hall upstairs where a program which had been arranged by the gentlemen was rendered. The stage was nicely decorated with the national colors and a dressing-room arranged on one side for the performers. C. B. Lore in the part of a Dutch comedian, sang a song in the Dutch dialect.

A comedian?? It’s probably a good thing he didn’t quit his day job. At least we know the man wasn’t shy if he would sing in public and was confident enough to play a comedian.

  • April 17, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore won a favor at a card party last Friday. At 6 o’clock a tempting supper was served.
  • June 5, 1900 – C. B. Lore signed a petition declaring that he was in favor of a street fair, along with many other individuals and businesses. No gambling games or devices nor any kind of vulgar or indecent shows will be allowed. Only clean attractions that will interest and amuse the people will be allowed.
  • June 26, 1900 – A party consisting of…C. B. Lore and family…spent Sunday near Moscow.

  • July 6, 1900 – Andy Pea had his merry-go-round at the 4th of July celebration at Laurel. C. B. Lore was there with his warograph. Both attractions were well patronized.

I wonder if Curt was promoting the Warograph for future bookings, or if one could pay and watch a movie on the spot. Now we know why he petitioned for the street fair.

  • July 10, 1900 – Mrs. Charles Fisk and Miss Carrie Kirsch of Aurora are visiting their sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore.
  • July 13, 1890 – A street fair was taking place in Rushville, with very large crowds with an estimated 7000 visitors in one day.

  • August 24, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and family returned home last Wednesday from an extended visit at Aurora. She was accompanied home by her sister, Miss Ida Kirsch, who will visit here.
  • September 28, 1900 – C. B. Lore and wife are visiting her parents at Aurora.
  • October 30, 1900 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained about 40 friends last Friday afternoon with cards at the Club House. A pleasant time was spent by all.
  • October 30, 1900 – Republican Rally – Third Division, all on horseback. New Salem Band, Aides included Curt Lore. Mounted Rough Riders and all persons on horseback.
  • November 23, 1900 – C. B. Lore is putting in a bathroom outfit for Dick Wilson in the house formerly owned by Mrs. Helen Wilson.

Homes are getting that all-important indoor plumbing!

It’s interesting to note that Rushville did have at least some telephones, but the ads in the same paper don’t list phone numbers for businesses, or anything indicating that they have telephones. I’m guessing this is before the days of phone numbers. You simply picked up the phone and asked the operator to connect you to a specific house. I’d also wager that most families didn’t have phones and that they were somewhat of a status symbol. Now I wonder if people had phones before indoor bathrooms.

  • November 27, 1900 – Mrs. Lore received a prize at the club house when Mrs. Sexton entertained a number of ladies.

All Hell Breaks Loose

Remember that horse racetrack scandal that took place on September 16, 1899, where the race didn’t actually occur, but a list of winning horses was submitted anyway?


This story was published nationwide on December 6th, and the local paper ran it on the following day.

If you’re guessing that C. B. Lore was involved up to his eyeballs, you’d be right.

  • December 7, 1900

The board of review of the American Trotting association investigated one of the most extraordinary turf frauds ever perpetrated, and at the close of the inquiry issued an edict of expulsion against the following persons, all residents of Rushville, Indiana.

Note that the parenthesis are my notes.

    • W. A. Jones (race track owner)
    • Harrie Jones (was in Evansville that day, son of W. A. Jones)
    • James Williams
    • W. J. Wilson (17 years old, son of Dick Wilson who was in Rhode Island with his horses)
    • W. W. Wilson (invalid and has been for several months)
    • J. D. Hiner (signed record knowing very little of its contents and because asked to do so)
    • C. F. Vance (signed papers at the solicitation of friends)
    • J. B. Vance (says he is driver, in case the race happened)
    • C. B. Lore (have not seen him, but newspaper was told he had no part in making the bogus record)
    • R. F. Scudder (says he is not a horseman and knew nothing about this until months later)
    • John Sail (colored stable boy)

The offense for which these people were put outside the pale of reputable turfdom – the sentence being effective on tracks of the National associations as well as the American – is the “faking” of an entire day of alleged trotting and pacing over the Rushville track on Sept. 16, 1899, procuring the admission of summaries of the same in the official records of the American Association as well as the year book of the American Trotting Register Association and then selling and otherwise making use for gain of the horses alleged to have made fast records on the day in question.

W. A. Jones (horse breeder in 1900 census) who owns Riverside Park informs the Republican that bona fide arrangements were made for a race meeting there on Sept. 16, 1899, and that he consented that two or three of his horses might be entered in order to fill out classes. In consequence of bad weather the meeting was not held. He had no other connection whatever with the affair.

Mr. Jones says that his son, Harrie Jones (horseman in the 1900 census, living with his in-laws), had no connection with the proposed races here. He was at Evansville that week with his string of horses, a fact with Secretary John Steiner, of the American Association knows, because he was, in his official capacity receiving reports from the Evansville races.

R. F. Scudder (Insurance agent in 1900 census) says he is not a horseman and had nothing at all to do with the proposed races, and did not sign or authorize anybody else to sign his name to any paper or record of that meeting. As a matter of fact, he never heard of any such record until months afterwards.

Jesse Vance (salesman in 1900 census, boarder, looks to be brother of Cicero) says his only part in the races was that of driver, in case they had come off.

Cicero F. Vance (widowed, drayman, boarder in 1900 census) says he signed the papers as one of the judges at the solicitation of some friends. Personally, he had no interest whatever in the matter.

John Hiner (liveryman in 1900 census) says he signed the record, knowing very little of its contents, and because he was asked to.

W. J. Wilson is a son of Dick Wilson (age 42, no occupation listed, his family lives with his wife’s family who list their occupation as “landlord”) and is about 17 years old. Dick was not here at the time, being in Rhode Island with his horses.

W. W. Wilson, better known as “Boo!,” is an invalid and has been for several months. (On the same page as this article, his death was reported on the same day of heart trouble. Born in 1862, son of late James Wilson, wealthy breeder who owned the original sire of the race horses in Rushville.)

We have not been able to see Mr. Lore (machinist in 1900 census) but are told that he had no part in making the bogus record.

John Sail is a colored stable boy.

Up to this date, no one has been found who made the bogus record of the races. Whoever it was has not helped the fast horse business in Rush County.

Oh boy, what a shameful mess.

It’s interesting that one man admitted signing the papers at the behest of others, but doesn’t say who. I can’t help but wonder if he did tell the association, and that’s why these men were expelled and publicly shamed.

Notice that there is no notice that year about what Curt and Nora were doing for Christmas. This was probably a very difficult time for them, especially Nora and the girls who clearly had nothing to do with this, regardless of Curt’s involvement.

This smacks of outright fraud. The value of horses depends on their speed and wins. It looks like the track owner, members of the wealthy Wilson family who were horse breeders, a few businessmen, a couple of people who worked at the livery and probably had little choice in the matter, and perhaps a few irresponsible fringe-element people looking to make an easy buck were all involved.

It’s hard for me to believe that no one knew anything – including Curt.

One Hum Dinger

This was one long decade.

Nora and Curt’s lives seem oddly juxtaposed against one another.

They seem wealthy and have servants, but don’t own a house.

They act the role of wealthy socialites but owe an incredible amount of debt, which is foreclosed.

Curt seems to be quite focused on success, trying one thing after another or perhaps several things simultaneously. Nora seems oddly disconnected from whatever he is doing – concentrating on cards, the social club, luncheons, her children, church, and visiting other similarly situated wives. Perhaps being able to provide Nora and his daughters with this lifestyle is part of what Curt feels defines him as successful.

But then again, they aren’t entirely disconnected. They went “camping” together for two weeks, having a child nine months later, and he traveled to Aurora to visit her parents. But then again, she went home for Christmas alone.

Rushville may be a small town, but there’s a lot of horse-racing money and proportionally many wealthy people. Maybe it’s similar, on a somewhat grander scale, to those make-it-or-break-it oil boomtowns where Curt was raised, back in Pennsylvania. Live fast and take risks, because tomorrow isn’t assured.

Curt had to be a scrapper his entire life. He was orphaned young and began making his way in the oilfields before he was even a teenager. He had certainly known fear and grief and hunger and cold and poverty. He seems to be driven never to endure those things again. He adored his daughters, and they, in turn, nearly worship him.

Curt was always busy, granted, but never too busy for his girls. He took them with him when he went visiting for business, or out to check on his horses – and they loved to ride along in the buggy with their father. As old women, they would talk about those cherished days in Rushville where he told them tales about his father being a river pirate. Maybe those weren’t tall tales after all.

In the span of a decade, Curt had:

  • Drilled for oil and gas in multiple locations
  • Bought and raced horses
  • Founded an ice plant company
  • Drilled water wells for the ice plant
  • Bought an ice delivery wagon
  • Lost the ice plant through foreclosure
  • Been hired as the superintendent of the ice plant
  • Started a telephone company
  • Started an electric light company
  • Applied to be the street commissioner
  • Founded a baseball team
  • Managed the team
  • Was perhaps brewing beer, or at least was sued by a brewing company
  • Founded two “moving picture” companies
  • Been the delegate for the Republicans
  • Applied to be the Street Commissioner
  • Functioned as a stand-up comedian at the “social club”
  • Installed indoor plumbing in homes
  • Installed hot water heat in a hotel
  • Repaired a broken gas line
  • Substituted for the local railroad station agent
  • Gambled, perhaps for high stakes, and apparently…lost
  • Suffered very public humiliation and expulsion from horse racing. Tarred with the brush of dishonesty and labeled, along with the rest, as “outside the pale of reputable turfdom.”

Did Curt simply think that rules were for other people and he was above all that?

Maybe not.

Perhaps as an orphan back in Pennsylvania, Curt had learned to do whatever needed to be done to get ahead, to survive. Perhaps he got carried away. Maybe founding those companies, in particular, the Warograph company, the day before the racetrack event, is a symptom of financial desperation.

Was he close to losing it all – and with it – his pride? Was he afraid to bringing shame to his wife, daughters, and her family? Was he afraid of losing or maybe worse yet, being pitied by his beloved daughters?

What drove Curt? He was, assuredly, a driven man. I keep hearing Kenny Rogers in my mind, singing, “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”

Curt was only 45 years old and seems to have lived enough for several lives already.

What tales will the next decade of newspapers reveal?



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How Can YOU Get Theories of Family Relativity at MyHeritage?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and we have a gift from MyHeritage – two gifts actually.

First, MyHeritage is offering free access for everyone to all marriage records, including international records, through February 16th, here.

New Theories of Family Relativity

However, from a genetic genealogy perspective, MyHeritage‘s new Theories of Family Relativity (TOFR) results are a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift.

The email that I received indicates that the total theories produced for everyone in the database has increased by 19%, from 33,373,070 to 39,845,078 in just 5 months, and the number of DNA testers who have at least one TOFR has increased by 20%.

If you didn’t have Theories before, you may now. If you did have Theories before, you will want to check for new ones.

What Generates New Theories?

Of course, some of this increase is due to the holiday tests that are now available for matching in the system.

Some new Theories are a result of people who have uploaded or constructed trees who didn’t have trees before.

Some new Theories are because people have linked their DNA to a tree where it was not previously linked. If your DNA kit is not associated with “you” on a tree, the system has no way of knowing “who” you are in your tree, and therefore can’t generate theories about how you are related to other testers.

If you don’t have TOFRs, check and make sure that your kit is assigned to “you” on your tree. Under the DNA tab, select “Manage DNA Kits” and check to be sure all of the kits that you manage are properly assigned.

click on images to enlarge

What’s New?

I’m anxious to see what’s new for me.

MyHeritage completed the previous TOFR run in September 2020, so just shy of 5 months ago. At that time, I had a total of 67 matches with Theories. Today, I have a total of 73 for an increase of 8%.

You can check to see how many Theories you have by clicking on the DNA Match “Filters” then the “Theories of Family Relativity” option which displays only matches that have associated Theories. Follow the red arrows.

You can also review each Theory by clicking on Review DNA Match, which includes other information about that match.

I can quickly see which theories are new and I haven’t worked with before because I make notes when I have a new theory. When you have recorded a note, the little “conversation” icon is purple. You can see that with the green arrow, above.

Enabling Theories to Form

Like everyone else, I want more Theories to form, so I’ve intentionally been fleshing out the branches of my tree to encourage TOFR formation.

Theories are formed for people with whom you are a DNA match if one or more of the following conditions occur:

  • Your tree and their tree can be connected directly.

For example, let’s say our common ancestor is three generations back in time meaning we share great-grandparents, but my match has only their grandparents entered – nothing more. I have entered our common ancestor and all of their children in my tree, including the grandparents of my match.

My Heritage connects-the-dots between our trees through the grandparents of my match who appear in both trees.

  • Your tree and your match’s tree can be connected through other people’s trees.

Using this same example, let’s say that my match and I both have only entered our individual grandparents in our trees. A third person in the system has a tree that includes our common ancestor, our great-grandparents. The third person’s tree includes my match’s grandparent and my grandparent too.

Again, MyHeritage connects-the-dots between the three trees, making multiple “hops.”

Here’s one of my new Theories that connects me and the other tester through two separate tree connection “hops” with very high confidence, 100%, that the identical people are being connected.

MyHeritage generated 5 possible paths of connection for this match using different trees, so be sure to take a look at all different theories for each match. You’ll see those on the upper left-hand corner of the TOFR page.

  • Your tree and your match’s tree can be connected using some combination of trees and documents.

Let’s say that my match has only entered their grandparents. I have our common ancestors, our great-grandparents in my tree, but I don’t have their grandparent listed as the child of my (our) great-grandparents. MyHeritage may find a census record, for example, that connects those dots.

Multiple theories through different pathways may be suggested for the same match – and it’s important to evaluate every piece of data. They are called Theories for a reason. They aren’t always accurate, but they make great hints and, for me, they are generally either correct or close. Close enough that I can figure out the rest.

Priming the Pump

What can you do to help Theories form, aside from testing, uploading or creating a tree, and linking your DNA kit to “you” in your tree?

  • Add descendant generations to your tree with as much information as you have for each person including spouse, birth and death dates and locations, in addition to children. The further down the branches you populate your tree, the more information there is for MyHeritage to use to connect the branches.

MyHeritage generates both Smart Matches and Record Matches for every person in your tree. MyHeritage will notify you via email when Smart or Record matches are generated. That’s how I found over 800 newspaper records for my grandfather’s family containing juicy information I never knew – and there’s no other way to find out today.

You can view each category on the person’s profile card. Hmmm, looks like I need to get busy😊

Additional ways to help Theories form include:

  • Accept SmartMatches when appropriate. SmartMatches are tree matches generated to confirm that the person in question is the same person. That doesn’t mean the information has to match exactly. Accepting a SmartMatch doesn’t mean that information will be automatically imported into your tree. You will be able to select each individual field, or no fields at all. Confirmation simply means you agree that this IS the same person, and you are then given the option to import information if you wish.
  • Reject SmartMatches if the suggestion is actually the wrong person. This helps the system “learn.”
  • Confirm Record Matches if they are accurate. Record matches are generated when physical records or records from other databases are generated for an individual in your tree. Like Smart Matches, you can import data from Record Matches after confirming the match.
  • Reject Record Matches if they are not for the same person in your tree.

Test or Transfer, Either One

Of course, you’ll only have TOFRs at MyHeritage if you’ve tested or transferred your DNA.

You can order a test now for only $59 during the Valentine’s Day Sale, here, or you can transfer your DNA to MyHeritage from either Ancestry, 23andMe or FamilyTreeDNA which includes matching and basic tools at MyHeritage for free. The advanced tools including Theories of Family Relativity cost $29 per test to unlock unless you are a paid MyHeritage subscriber – in which case, advanced DNA features are free for any upload and there is no unlock fee. You can try a free MyHeritage trial subscription, here.

After you take a DNA test at MyHeritage or transfer, you’ll need to wait for the next TOFR run to have Theories, but if you test or transfer now and create or upload a tree, you’ll be the recipient of Theories the next time they are generated. You’ll also have time to work on fleshing out your tree and working with Smart Matches and Record Matches to learn more about your ancestors and to increase the odds of obtaining Theories.

You can order a DNA test, here, and you can transfer to MyHeritage, here. If you need assistance, I’ve written step-by-step transfer instructions, here.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

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Haplogroup Matching: What It Does (and Doesn’t) Mean

“Our haplogroups (sort of) match, so that means we’re related, right?”

Well, maybe.

It depends.

Great Question

This is an oft-asked great question. Of course, the answer varies depending on the context of the question and what is meant by “related.” A haplogroup match may or may not be a valid match for genealogy. A “match” or a “not match” can mean different things.

The questions people often ask include:

  • Does a haplogroup have to match exactly in order for another person to either be considered a match to you?
  • If they don’t match exactly, can they still be considered as a possible match?
  • Conversely, can we rule someone out as a match on a specific genealogical line based on haplogroup alone?

These questions often arise in relation to DNA testing at Family Tree DNA, sometimes when people are trying to compare results to people who have haplogroup estimates, either at FamilyTreeDNA or from testing elsewhere.

In other words, if one person is haplogroup J and someone else is J1, either at the same vendor or at another, what does that tell us? This question pertains to both Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests no matter where you’ve tested.

Family Tree DNA offers different levels of Y DNA testing. Interpreting those match results can sometimes be confusing. The same is true for mitochondrial DNA, especially if your matches have not taken the full mitochondrial sequence (mtFull) test.

You might be comparing apples and oranges, or you might be comparing a whole orange (detailed test) with a few slices (haplogroup estimate.) How can you know, and how can you make sense of the results?

If you’re comparing a haplogroup between sources, such as a partial haplogroup determined by testing through a company like 23andMe or LivingDNA to complete tests taken at FamilyTreeDNA, the answer can be less than straightforward.

I discussed the difference between autosomal-based haplogroup assignments and actual testing of both Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA which result in haplogroup assignments, here. In a nutshell, both LivingDNA and 23andMe provide a high-level (base) haplogroup estimates based on a few specific probes when you purchase an autosomal test, but that’s not the same as deeper testing of the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA.

The answer to whether your haplogroup has to match is both “yes”, and “no.” Don’t you hate it when this happens?

Let’s look at different situations. But to begin with, there is at least one common answer.

Yes, Your Base Haplogroup Must Match

To even begin to look further for a common ancestor on either your Y DNA line (direct patrilineal) or direct mitochondrial matrilineal line (your mother’s mother’s mother’s line on up the tree), your base haplogroup much match.

In other words, you and your matches must all be in the same base haplogroup. Haplogroups are defined by the presence of specific combinations of mutations which are called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the Y DNA.

Click to enlarge images

All of these men on the Y DNA matches page are a branch of haplogroup R as shown under the Y-DNA Haplogroup column. There are more matches on down the page (not shown here) with more and different haplogroups. However, you’ll notice that all matches are a subset of haplogroup R, the base haplogroup.

The same is true for mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. You can see in this example that people who have not tested at the FMS (full mitochondrial sequence) level have a less specific haplogroup. The entire mitochondria must be tested in order to obtain a full haplogroup, such as J1c2f, as opposed to haplogroup J.

The Y DNA Terminal SNP Might Not Match

For Y DNA testers, when looking at your matches, even to close relatives, you may not have the same exact haplogroup because:

  • Some people may have tested at different levels
  • Some people in recent generations may have developed a SNP specific to their line.

In other words, haplogroups, testing level, and known genealogy all need to be considered, especially when the haplogroups are “close to each other” on the tree.

For Y DNA, FamilyTreeDNA:

  • Provides all testers with base haplogroup estimates based on STR tests, meaning 12-111 marker panels. These are very accurate estimates, but are also very high level.
  • Offers or has offered in the past both individual SNP tests and SNP packs or bundles that test individual SNPs indicating their presence or absence. This confirms a SNP or haplogroup, but only to that particular level.
  • Offers the Big Y-700 test, along with upgrades to previous Big Y test levels. There have been 3 versions of the Big Y test over time. The Big Y reads the entire gold standard region of the Y chromosome, reporting the known (named) SNP mutations customers do and don’t have. Additionally, the test reports any unnamed SNPs which are considered private variants until multiple men on the same branch of the Y DNA tree test with the same mutation. At that point, the mutation is named and becomes a haplogroup.

That’s why the answer is “no,” your haplogroup does not have to match exactly for you to actually be a match to each other.

A father and son could test, with one having an estimated haplogroup of R-M269 and the other taking the Big Y-700 resulting in a very different Terminal SNP, quite distant on the tree. Conversely, both men could take the Big Y and the son could have a different terminal SNP than the father because a mutation occurred between them. An autosomal DNA test would confirm that they are in fact, father and son.

However, a father and son who test and are placed in different base haplogroups – one in haplogroup I, and the other in haplogroup R, for example, has a very different situation. Their autosomal test would likely confirm that they are not father and son.

Having said this about paternity, especially if haplogroups are estimated and specific Y DNA SNP testing has not been done, don’t have a premature freak-out moment. Look at autosomal DNA, assuming you DO want to know. Y DNA alone should never be used to infer paternity without autosomal testing.

Let’s look at some examples.

Matches and Haplogroups

In the example shown above, you can see that several people have taken the Big Y test, so their SNP will be shown on further down the haplotree than those testers who have not. These are a leaf, not a branch.

You can see by looking at the Terminal SNP column, at far right, that people who have either taken the Big Y, or had any positive SNP test will have a value in the Terminal SNP column.

Anyone who has NOT taken the Big Y or taken a SNP test will have their base haplogroup estimated based on their STR tests. In this case, that estimate is R-M269. People with estimated haplogroups will not show anything in the Terminal SNP column.

It’s possible that if all of these men took the Big Y test that at least some would share the same Terminal SNP, and others might be closely related, only a branch or so different on the tree.

These men in this example are all descendants of Robert Estes born in England in 1555. All have Estes surnames, except for one man who is seeking the identity of his paternal line.

Let’s Look at the Tree

Our tester in the screenshot is haplogroup R-ZS3700 and matches men in the following haplogroups:

  • R-M269
  • R-L21
  • R-BY490
  • R-BY154784

There are a few additional haplogroups not shown because they are further down on his match list, so let’s just work with these for now.

After determining that these men are on the same branch of the Y tree, haplogroup R, the real question is how closely they are related and how close or far distant their terminal SNPs are located. More distance means the common ancestor is further back in time.

However, looks can be deceiving, especially if not everyone has tested to the same level.

The haplogroup furthest up in the tree, meaning the oldest, is R-M269, followed by the man who took the single SNP test for R-L21. Notice that R-M269 has more than 15,000 branches, so while this haplogroup could be used to rule out a match, R-M269 alone isn’t useful to determine genealogical matching.

There are a lot of branches between R-L21 and the next haplogroup on the tree.

Finally, here we go. Our tester is haplogroup R-ZS3700 that has one descendant branch. R-ZS3700 is a branch of R-BY490 that has 2 branches.

R-BY154784 is the last SNP on this branch of the tree. Our tester matches this man too.

Another way of viewing these matches is on the Block Tree provided for Big Y testers.

In this view, you can see that the Estes men all match back to about 18 “SNP generations” ago according to the legend at left, but they don’t match men further back in time who have taken the Big Y test.

Notice the up-arrow where haplogroups R-L21 and R-M269 are shown across the top of the display.

If you click on R-L21, you’ll see that that it appears about 61 SNP generations back in time.

Haplogroup R-M269 appears even further back in time, about 174 SNP generations.

The only reason you will match someone at either the R-L21 or R-M269 level is because you both descend from a common long-ago ancestral branch, hundreds to thousands of years in the past. You and they would both need to take either the Big Y-700 test for Y DNA, or the full sequence mitochondrial DNA test in order to determine your full haplogroup and see your list of matches based on those full sequences.

Public Trees

You can view FamilyTreeDNA‘s extensive public Y DNA tree by haplogroup, here.

You can view their public mitochondrial DNA tree by haplogroup, here.

And the Answer Is…

As you can see, there is no single answer to the question of haplogroup relationships. The answer is also partly defined by the context in which the question is asked.

  1. For two men to be “related” on the Y DNA patrilineal line, yes, minimally, the base haplogroup does have to match. Base haplogroups are defined by the leading letter, like “R” in the examples above.
  2. “Related” based on base haplogroup only can be hundreds or thousands of years back in time, but additional testing can resolve that question.
  3. “Related” can mean before the advent of surnames. However, a match to a man with the same surname suggests a common ancestor with that surname in the past several hundred years. That match could, however, be much closer in time.
  4. For two men to be closely related, assuming they have taken the same version of Big Y test, their haplogroup branches need to be fairly closely adjacent on the haplotree. FamilyTreeDNA will be introducing haplogroup aging soon, meaning SNP/haplogroup branch dates on their haplotree. At that time, the “distance” between men will be easier to understand.
  5. You can exclude a genealogical relationship on the direct paternal line if the two men involved have a different base haplogroup. This question often occurs when people are trying to understand if they “might match” with someone whose haplogroup has been estimated.
  6. This holds true as well for mitochondrial DNA haplogroups and matching.

And there you have it, six answers about what haplogroup matching does and does not mean.

The bottom line is that haplogroups can be a great starting point and you can sometimes eliminate people as potential matches.

However, to confirm genealogical matches, you’ll always need more granular testing that includes actual Y DNA or mitochondrial DNA matching based on marker mutation results, not just haplogroups.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Genealogy Research