Monday, February 16, 2015

Genealogy Research Requires PLIMP

PLIMP is a collection of personal qualities that gives one the ability to successfully perform genealogy research.  PLIMP is an acronym that includes Patience, Love, Influence, Money and Persistence.



Whether, you are waiting for the arrival of a birth certificate to establish an ancestors parents names, the return of an e-mail of a strong genetic match, or a phone call of a new found cousin, patience is a necessity when it comes to learning about your genes and those who relate to you.  Without patience, you could put yourself under undo stress, irritate a relative, and even lose sight of your goals.  Patience is perhaps the most important quality when looking into your family history.



Love is required when performing genealogy research due to the amount of effort and time that is necessary.  If you don't profoundly love the genealogy space, you'd be best suited putting your time into something that you find more rewards; birding, hiking, guitar lessons?  Of if you do love genealogy you could do those other hobbies and many more TOO!



If  you cannot influence people for the common good, then genealogy studies will be a challenging place to be.  This is because there will be many times that you will need help.  You may need someone in another country to stop at a church for you to look up some records, you may need a group of individuals to transfer there DNA to GEDMatch so you can do more detailed analysis in finding relationships, or you may need someone to visit a cemetery (that isn't near by) to find birth and death years on a gravestone.  In addition to influencing others, it's also only fair to be able to be influenced yourself, so you can help others in their research.  The ability to influence is critical, but it should always come second to respecting others time and resources.     



Genealogy research is almost impossible without a budget.  From simple things like internet access, printer ink, genealogy web site accounts, etc., the costs add up.  And then there are larger costs like DNA tests, vital record purchases, conferences and training.  It's not impossible to be an effective genealogist with a small budget, but one can go a lot further with deeper pockets.



When one starts genealogy research, it will be a little while before they hear and truly understand the term "brick wall".  And then after a while, they will notice that most people, including themselves, has those "brick walls" up that they just can't get past regardless of how much money, time and research is spent in breaking them down.  This is where persistence comes in.  When giving up on a brick wall, it will stand there forever.  But, if and when one persists, those bricks can transform into the most beautiful pane of glass ever.

PLIMP is important to have in the genealogy world.  I hope you have it.  Good luck with your research!

-- Robert  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Questions That ANY Genealogist Can Readily Answer

Here are ten questions that any genealogy can readily answer, whereas the average person has probably NO idea what the answer could be.

  1. What is the significance of an ~3600 cMs match?
  2. Who has more shared DNA, a half sibling or a nibling?
  3. What is the year of the most current census I can access?
  4. Where is 'my' closest Family History Center?
  5. What does 3rd Cousin 1x removed mean
  6. What is "Pedigree Collapse"?
  7. In what year was civil registration of births, marriages and deaths (i.e. vital records) introduced in England & Wales?
  8. What supplemental and valuable information can you find in vital records that can help to extend ones family tree?
  9. What is an NPE?
  10. What does do?

If you are not a genealogist and could answer any of the above questions, please share what you go right in the comments section below.


Monday, January 26, 2015

My Ancestral Surnames

My known ancestral surnames are:

LEGEND: Surname (Generation from me)

Maternal Surnames

Five Surnames from West Yorkshire, England (e.g., Otley, Burly in Wharfedale, Ilkley, Pool in Wharfedale, Potternewton, Darlington-Durham, Sunderland and Baildon Green)

  Whitehead (1), Horsfield (3), Bailey (4), Mitchell (6) and Manners (6). Hitchcock (need to verify)

Five Surnames from Pizzoni, Catanzaro (Vibo Valentia), Calabria, IT:

  Mesiano (2), Aversa (4), (Nesci (4) OR Di Renzo (4)) and Rizzelli/Rizzello (3), Andreacchi. Tassone (need to verify)


Paternal Surnames

Seven Surnames from Troia, Foggia, Puglia, Italy

  Liguori (1), Lizzi (3), Viola (4), Rezzolla (5), Lo Buono (4), De Leonardis (5), Caraccioli

Four Surnames from Naples, Italy (e.g., Quartiere San Ferdinando)

Vacca (2), Alefaco (5), Esposito (3), Perrella (4)

Four Surnames from Caserta, Italy

  Bove (5), Farina (6), Ziccardi (6), Colini (6)

One Surname from Rome, Roma, Lazio, Italy

    Perrella (5)

One Surname from Palermo, Palermo, Sicilia, Italy

    Ziccardi (4)

-- Robert

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Whitehead Surname analysis

Here is our Whitehead family tree in fan chart.

Whitehead Genealogy
Here is a list of people that are connected to this family genetically.

GEDMatch ID Relationship Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) Ancestry ID CentiMorgans
Comparative ID (A819872) Self Self robertjliguori n/a
A777535 Mother
(1 step)
Mother J.M.W. by
3587.1 (3539-3748)
(2 steps)
Joseph Liguori and Mother J.C.L by
(~2640 -3748)
A092661 Aunt
(3 steps)
Walter Whitehead and Grace Mesiano G.I.W. by
(3 steps)
Walter Whitehead and Grace Mesiano M.E.E.W. by
A052389 1st Cousin
(4 steps)
Walter Whitehead and Grace Mesiano J.M.W.S. by
ACTIVATED 1st cousin 1x removed
(5 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Ada Mary Elizabeth Ann Horsfield R.S. by
ACTIVATED 2nd Cousin
(6 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Ada Mary Elizabeth Ann Horsfield B.S. by
ACTIVATED 2nd Cousin
(6 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Ada Mary Elizabeth Ann Horsfield L.S. by
ACTIVATED 2nd Cousin
(6 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Ada Mary Elizabeth Ann Horsfield M.A.V. by
A796152 2nd cousin 1x removed
(7 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Ada Mary Elizabeth Ann Horsfield B.A. 105.2
... 3rd cousin
(8 steps)
John Whitehead and Jane Bailey ??? (43-150)
... 3rd cousin
(8 steps)
Richard Horsfield and Mary Ann Whitehead ??? (43-150)
3rd cousin 1x removed
(9 steps)
... ... (~26.56)
... 4th cousin
(10 steps)
Christopher Whitehead and Mary Whitehead ??? (5-50)
4th cousins 1x removed
(11 steps)
... ... (~6.64)
... 5th cousin
(12 steps)
William Whitehead ... (~3.32)
... 5th cousin
(12 steps)
John Whitehead ... (~3.32)
5th cousins 1x removed
(13 steps)
... ... (~1.66 )
... 6th cousin
(14 steps)
... ... (~ 0.83)
6th cousins 1x removed
(15 steps)
... ... (~0.42 )
... 7th cousin
(16 steps)
... ... (~0.2)
7th cousins 1x removed
(17 steps)
... ... (~0.10)
... 8th cousin
(18 steps)
... ... (~0.05)
8th cousins 1x removed
(19 steps)
... ... (~0.025)
... 9th cousin
(20 steps)
... ... (~0.012)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

AncestryDNA Updates its Matching Algorithm

AncestryDNA has updated it's matching algorithm.  The following image depicts the meaning behind the groupings; Extremely High, Very High, High, Good and Moderate.

New AncestryDNA Confidence Groups
Note that I constructed this data from information sourced from various sites.  While I believe this to be accurate, exceptions can or may occur.

-- Robert

Monday, December 8, 2014

Top five Things to Do when starting Genealogy Research

Are you just getting started with genealogy research?  If so this blog post will save you a lot of time!

In getting started with genealogy research... here are the TOP FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO!
  1. Get your Elders Tested
  2. Sit down with your Elders with old Photo Albums
  3. Build out your GEDCOM-based Family Tree
  4. Get your raw Ancestry data on
  5. Get your raw Ancestry data on FTDNA
And here are the top five in further detail...

1. Get your Elders Tested

It doesn't matter what DNA service/test you use to get your Elders tested, just get them tested, as soon as you can.  Also, buy the test for them as they may not want or have the money to put out, so you can cut back on the awkwardness and increase the likelihood of them agreeing to take the test, if you just buy it for em... plus you'll administer it so you will be able to access and control the results which is an added benefit.  AncestryDNA, FTDNA and 23andMe or the top DNA testing groups in IMHO. 

Elders - Genealogy

2. Sit down with your Elders with the old Photo Albums

Gather as much information you can from your family.  The best way to do this is to go up into the attic and find those old boxes of photographs and photo albums.

Old Photo Album

3. Build out your GEDCOM-based Family Tree

Build out your tree with software that let's you either import or export the tree based on the GEDCOM exchange model.   Most, if not all of the genealogy websites that support tree building, support the GEDCOM standard. Tree

4. Get your raw data on

Providing you don't have any issues with exposing the finer details of your DNA to everyone, you should get your DNA on, as soon as you can.  At first glance, you'll be confused at best as for what the site does... but if you have a sharp mind and are good at figuring things out, you may end up using this site more often than any of the others.  Consider spending the $10 bucks on getting the additional features that the site has to offer.

5. Get your data on FTDNA

FTDNA also has some wonderful comparison tools such as it's Chromosome Browser.  If you started out with FTDNA you should be good... if you started out with AncestryDNA you can transfer over with a free trial.  I actually paid around $80 to get my AncestryDNA on their with all the features.  It was worth it as I had several matches that were helpful in extending my tree.


Genealogy is best done when there is lots of supporting data. Consider passing on this post to your friends and family... If they all have trees (i.e. GEDcoms), and are on and FTDNA... you will have lots of info to work from and a strong base to begin and continue your analysis.

As always, I hope this blog post has helped!  Good luck with your research!

-- Robert

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tap water vs Bottled water - the taste test

This thanksgiving, I was part of a discussion as to whether one should buy bottled water (based on taste), or should one just settle for tap water as presumably there is no taste difference.

What better way to resolve this debate then to have our family do a water taste test!  With 12 people available from different age groups, we filled 48 cups with 4 brands of water (including tap), and we had our blind taste test.

Waters being tested for Taste

Individually, each tester sat down with four cups of water, without the knowledge of which type was in each cup.  Each tester was asked the following two questions:

  • Which cup of water is your favorite?
  • Which cup of water do you like the least? 

Here are the results:

Blind Product A
(FIJI Water)
Blind Product B
(Niagara Water)
Blind Product C
(Deer Park Water)
Blind Product D
(Tap Water)
Middle Age Favorite Least Liked
Teenager Favorite Least Liked
Middle Age Favorite
Golden Years Favorite Least Liked
Teenager Favorite Least Liked
Teenager Least Liked Favorite
Child Favorite Least Liked
Middle Age Least Liked Favorite
Young Adult Favorite Least Liked
Middle Age Least Liked Favorite
Middle Age Favorite Least Liked
Child Least Liked Favorite

The end results were that the Deer Park brand was most liked and that the local tap water was the least favorite.

So Yes!!!!  People can tell the difference in the taste of water.  So, if you have the extra money to spend... enjoy and drink up that bottled water!

-- Robert