Follow Friday: DNAeXPlained, Your Genetic Genealogist, and Haplogroup

It’s Follow Friday and today I recommend three of my favorite “go-to” bloggers for understanding DNA, genetic genealogy and haplogroups. Check them out!

DNAeXplained: Discovering Your Ancestors – one Gene at a Time – is the excellent blog of Roberta Estes, a professional scientist and business owner for 25+ years, as well as, an obsessed genealogist since 1978. She manages over 20 surname projects and is the founder of the Lost Colony DNA research projects.  Her niche is Native American Heritage and minority admixture. I discovered Roberta’s blog and website after I got my mtDNA results back from FamilyTreeDNA in 2012. After trying to make sense of my report, I knew right away I was going to need some help and her article, “Mitochondrial DNA Results – What Do They Mean and What Do I Do With Them?” was an excellent start!

Your Genetic Genealogist with CeCe Moore is a wonderful treat for she makes genetics — a complicated subject — very easy to understand! Cece is one BUSY independent professional genetic genealogist! She is the Lead Ancestry Ambassador for 23andMe, Moderator for the ISOGG DNA Newbie List and Administrator for the ISOGG Wikipedia, Regional Coordinator for Southern California’s International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and much, much more! Her expertise is in assisting others in understanding Autosomal DNA testing products such as 23andMe’s Relative Finder, FTDNA’s Family Finder and’s AncestryDNA. Her niche is in Adoption DNA and Adoption genealogy. 

Haplogroup – Finding Your Ancestry Through Your Genes – is the new blog of Rebekah Canada, who fell in love with genealogy at the age of seven. According to her blog’s bio, her love for genealogy “…began with a family history written by one of her maternal cousins. Over the months and many bags of pogan ginger cookies, she fell in love with the women of Colonial New England.” Her expertise is in the area of personal genealogy, minority population heritage, personal genomics education, and project administration best practices. What I enjoy most about Rebekah is — she has a “heart” of a teacher! Her 29 June 2013 post titled, “Soloma’s Daughters – Your Ancestor’s mtDNA and Who Has It offers wonderful step-by-step instructions on how to use our mtDNA Full Sequence Understanding Results and apply it to any working genealogy projects we have to verify our female line.


Follow Friday: Memory Medallion, Stories in Stone, and Lifetime Lookback

It’s Follow Friday and today I recommend three websites that are using QR codes to bring cemeteries into the 21st century. Enjoy!

Memory Medallion, a company started by Glenn Toothman, III in 2011, creates medallion Quick Response (QR) codes that install on tombstones and memorials. These stainless steel medallions give families an opportunity to create lasting multi-media remembrances about their love ones! So how does the Memory Medallion work? Upon purchasing a medallion, an account is a setup for you to create your loved one’s story with text, images, video, and links to your family tree. This information may be edited as often as you like and all changes are updated immediately to the medallion. Visitors to the grave site can scan the medallion’s QR code with their smartphones to connect to the story. Those without smartphones may take a picture of the QR code to access later from their PCs.

Quiring is a Seattle-based company that creates burial markers that include a scannable, stamp-like image called a “quick read” — or QR code. The codes can be placed on tombstones so visitors can learn more about the dearly departed, leave messages for their loved ones, and record stories for others who may visit. And all you need is a smartphone and a free app to make it work.

Lifetime Lookback, a Burlington, Kentucky company, offers weatherproof Tribute Tags™ that have both a QR code and URL that direct visitors at grave sites to customized Tribute Pages™.  This company charges a “one-time” $129 activation fee which gives families unlimited access to modify, re-create or append the Tribute Pages™ as often as they like. Visitors to the grave site can access Lifetime Lookback Tribute Pages™ with any type of Internet access they have on their mobile device. In short, cell phones, iPads, and tablets can “become a portal to the past!”

Follow Friday: U. S. Military Collection, Fold3, and Veterans’ Service Records

It’s Follow Friday and I continue my tribute to Veterans by recommending three major websites  that I use to document my family’s service; enjoy!

U. S. Military Collection is one of my personal favorite collections at! Ancestry — noted for being the world’s largest online collection of family history resources — has millions of military records spanning from before the Revolutionary War all the way up to Vietnam. In this collection there’s draft records, service records, pension records, bounty land records, claim records, and military histories. There are search tips and sample images available to get you started. In addition to this collection, Ancestry’s paid subscribers have the ability to create public or private military webpages for all veteran ancestors in their family trees with the records they find as well as with their own photos, personal documents and stories. Now how cool is that? I say that’s very cool indeed. So check out this military collection for yourself!, formerly known as, was acquired by Ancestry in 2011 and is believed to be the Internet’s premier collection of original U. S. military records — including many from the U. S. National Archives. According to the website, “[t]he Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world.”  This website  truly does provide convenient access to US military records, stories, photos, and personal information about the men and women who served our country. I started using Fold3 for the first time last year when I was given a discount for joining the website because I am a member of the Houston Genealogical Forum. And if you’ve never used this website before, I suggest you report to the “Fold3 Training Center where there’s excellent tutorials and videos available to get you started with your military research there!

Veterans’ Service Records at the National Archives is the “go-to” place for all genealogists looking to document their family’s service. According to the website about the records at the National Archives, “[o]f all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept forever. Those valuable records are preserved in the National Archives and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family’s history, need to prove a veteran’s military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.” What I particularly love about this website is the — get-to-the-point — “Genealogy Research in Military Records” section that highlights specific records that are important and tips on how to begin and be successful with our military records research via the National Archives!

Follow Friday: FindAGrave, BillionGraves, and

It’s Follow Friday and today I recommend three online databases (FindAGrave, BillionGraves, and Interment) of cemetery records that should be very helpful with your family research; enjoy!, developed in 1995, founded in 1998, and incorporated in 2000, is a website that contains a massive list of cemeteries and graves from all over the world. As of July 27, 2012, it has been reported that this website has over 84 million records — all provided by individuals or genealogical societies. As of today, I’ve been an active Find A Grave Member for 1 year, 2 months, and 10 days! One of the features I enjoy most about this database/website is the ability to create Virtual Cemeteries grouping collateral & lineal family members together regardless of where they’re actually buried in the world (A VIRTUAL CEMETERY HAS NO RELATION TO A REAL CEMETERY!). I released my first virtual cemetery Memorial Day Weekend 2012.  I will launch an official Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery next year!, consist of a website and a smart phone app developed by App Time, LLC. Their goal is ” . . . to provide an expansive family history database for records and images from the world’s cemeteries, all tagged with GPS locations.” So how does this site work? “Volunteers use smartphones to take GPS-tagged pictures of headstones in local cemeteries, which are then uploaded to the Internet and transcribed for easy searching. The phone’s GPS helps to organize cemeteries correctly which makes it easy for researchers to accurately locate their ancestors’ burial locations. I’ve been a registered member of the site since the fall of 2011. But I’m sad to say that I’m not an active member — just yet! One of the reasons for that is that their smart phone app is only available for iPhones and select Androids. I have a Windows phone — ARGH! Still, I plan to help out by transcribing many of the photos that have been uploaded to the website very soon!, is a free archive of grave transcriptions from thousands of cemeteries around the world. This site began as a personal website called Cemetery Interment List on the Internet in 1997 that only provided links to other websites with cemetery records. But in just one year (1998)  it was transformed into as it began to host cemetery transcriptions too. So what makes different from FindAGrave and BillionGraves? Well for starters, there’s no biographical information and photos on the website. They purposely limit their information to what is actually inscribed on the headstone. And lastly, many of the inscriptions are from cemeteries that no longer exist . . . which according to their website is “providing a place where cemeteries can be preserved in documentation for generations to come!”

Follow Friday: African Roots Podcast, Genealogy Gems Podcast, and the Genealogy Guys Podcast

It’s Follow Friday and I want to recommend three genealogy podcasts that’s sure to enhance your genealogical learning/research this week and beyond; enjoy!

African Roots Podcast with author, lecturer, and professional genealogist, Angela Walton-Raji, is a wonderful treat. If you’re interested in African American family history then this bi-weekly podcast about research strategies, conversations with authors, website features, and book recommendations — is for YOU! I became a regular listener of this podcast during Black History Month 2012 and I’ve been hooked ever since. So be sure to access any, or all, of the February 2012 Episodes (#148-150) on demand 24-7 right now!

The Genealogy Gems Podcast with the dynamic Lisa Louise Cooke, is exactly that — a true GEM! Her podcasts bring genealogy news, research tips/tricks, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists in 75 countries around the world. In addition to hosting her own podcast, she is the host of the popular Family Tree Magazine Podcast and Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Show. I became a regular listener of this podcast after attending a couple of Louise’s sessions during the Houston Family History Expo 2012 in April. I started with Episode #130 – Roots Magic 5, APG, the 1940 Census and more. So check out Episode #130 online today!

The Genealogy Guys Podcast with genealogy professionals — George G. Morgan and Drew Smith — is the longest running, regularly produced podcast WORLDWIDE! They have been actively discussing all things “genealogy” on the world wide web since 4 September 2005. This weekly 30-minute podcast, filled with valuable news and information, is intended to help make you a more — savvy genealogical researcher. I became a regular listener of this podcast earlier this year with – Episode #231: 31 January 2012. Listen to Episode #231 on demand right now!