Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Find of 2017 and Research Challenge for 2018

For Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week, Randy Seaver has us looking back and looking ahead:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music), is:

(1) What was your best research achievement in 2017?  Tell us—show us a document, tell us a story, or display a photograph.  Brag a bit!  You've earned it!

(2) We all have elusive ancestors.  What research problem do you want to work on in 2018?  Tell us where you want to research and what you hope to find.

(3) Put the answers in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

1.  Like Randy, I didn't have any major research achievements this past year.  But during the summer I did manage to connect with a cousin on my paternal grandmother's side of the family, the Gauntts.

I was looking at my DNA matches on and found a close match to someone with a family tree with names I recognized.  According to the tree, the woman was a daughter of my grandmother's sister, but the ages didn't seem to match up right based on the records I was able to find easily.  I sent a message anyway, and it turns out she's actually my grandaunt's granddaughter, not daughter.  She shared more information about her side of the family, and I discovered that a lot of what I had been told previously wasn't quite accurate.  This was particularly helpful because I didn't have a lot of info for that branch to begin with.  Based on what she sent I was able to find a lot more records and add substantially to my database.  And I even found several photographs of cousins on that side!

2.  My top goal hasn't changed since last week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  I want to figure out who my paternal grandfather's biological father was.  I have my prime candidate, Bertram Mundy of northern New Jersey.  The first step in restarting this research will be taking the Mundy family tree on which I was working back two to three more generations and bringing all the lines forward so I can look for living relatives with whom to connect.  Most of the research will be done online.  If I find the need for some on-site document searches in New Jersey, I will attempt to enlist my sister, who generously (and foolishly!) volunteered to help with this research.  I hope to find definitive proof, but failing that I will be happy with a situation where the preponderance of evidence points to one individual.

My second big goal is another one that I've been working on for a while.  I'm still trying to help my 92-year-old aunt find the son she gave up for adoption in 1945.  Raymond Lawrence Sellers was born September 23, 1945 and was adopted in Cumberland County, New Jersey.  Unfortunately, I'm somewhat limited in direct actions I can take with this, because New Jersey doesn't have open adoption information for this period.  My aunt has done a DNA test with Family Tree DNA, and I've uploaded the data to GEDMatch, but no unknown close matches so far.  She has signed up with the New Jersey adoption registry, in case Raymond contacts them and says he wants to communicate with her.  I even filled out the paperwork to submit her story to Long Last Family in the hope they might take an interest in her situation, but we haven't heard anything.  I keep putting his name out there in case the universe feels kind enough to help.


  1. Maybe the son has taken the Ancestry or 23andMe test instead. Good luck.

    1. I tried the Ancestry DNA test, but she wasn't able to manufacture enough saliva for the test to work. I've been thinking about 23andMe.

  2. Your goals are hefty ones. I hope you are successful. In your favor is the huge popularity of DNA tests. Good luck!


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