Find My Ancestor Blog

DNA and Jamboree

It appears that Family Tree DNA has been a big hit at Jamboree. Every time I have walked by the booth there has been a big crowd surrounding the tables and almost blocking one of the entrances to the exhibit hall. As I am writing this, I see 3 people sitting at the table learning about DNA and how it works and another lady swabbing her mouth taking a DNA test.

I have not learned a whole lot about DNA but it sure seems to be the big new thing with genealogists. From what I have learned, it is highly recommended to do as much of the "paper trail" as you can before you take a DNA test because you will still need your paper documentation to help you with your research.

I think one misconception that many people have about using DNA in your research is that once you take a DNA test and get your results back is tells you who you are related to and gives you your history. That is NOT the case! DNA can help determine different locations your family has come from and also give you good ideas as to where to search and even connect you with possible relatives. After taking a test you still have to do a lot of research on your part.

As I mentioned in a previous post the other day, I got to meet David Rencher from FamilySearch, and as I was talking to him he mentioned the fact that when was working on my Ivory line back in the 80's, they didn't have DNA to help genealogists do their research. He suggested I do a DNA test to help locate where in Ireland the Ivory family came from. The only record I have been able to find about my 4th great-grandfather, Mathew Hayes Ivory, says that he was born in Ireland in about 1765. From there we have no clue as to where in Ireland his family came from. David was saying that taking a DNA test can help narrow down specific places in Ireland where other Ivory's with the same haplotype are from. I did not realize that a DNA test can help narrow down specific locations but the more I think about it the more it makes perfect sense. 

Death Certificate for Mathew Hayes Ivory, abt 1765-1812┬╣

I don't think I am quite ready to take a DNA test as I am still gathering all I can on my "paper trail", but hopefully in the near future I can take a test, join a surname group, and work with David to help bust down this brick wall that has been making many Ivory's frustrated for many years.

┬╣City Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Certificate of death. From FamilySearch Internet (, June 13, 2010. Mathew Ivory, age 47, d. 13 Mar. 1812, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Film number: 18862364, Digital GS number: 4009603, Image number: 797


The Beginning of Jamboree

This morning while I was at the airport on my way to Jamboree, I saw David Rencher from FamilySearch so I went over and introduced myself.

We started talking about genealogy and how he is certified and accredited. He was saying that his particular area of research is Ireland, and I was telling him some of my family was from Ireland. As we were talking about that, I told him about my fourth great-grandfather, Mathew Hayes Ivory, and how that is the biggest brick wall in my research so far. 

About 25 years ago my grandfather and his brother were very involved in genealogy and did a lot of research to try and find where in Ireland Mathew and his wife Ann came from. The only record record we have been able to find is a death certificate stating that Mathew was born abt. 1765 in Ireland. From there, we have had no clue where to search.

As we were talking, David realized that he had actually been contracted by either my grandfather or his brother back in the 80's to try and break down this brick wall. I couldn't believe how small of a world it is. What are the chances that he had worked on my family history years ago.

He was saying that not much information was found, but he would be intrigued to see if anything could be found now with all the technology, indexes, and databases now available online. Since he is such a pro doing Irish research, it really excited me finding out he had done some research on my family already and suggested to do some more research.

It is truly amazing what can happen when you start talking with people. You never know what is going to happen and if you are going to be able to connect to people while doing genealogy.