Granddad Daniel Grant Varner

Granddad Daniel Grant Varner
Daniel Grant Varner (front, far right) and siblings with spouses

Monday, March 20, 2017

New first cousins (once removed) contacted

I have to give kudos to Facebook.  Thanks to social networking I have recently "met" and been in communication with two first cousins from the Varner side of the family.  These are daughters of two of my deceased first cousins from California.  These cousins lived in the Los Angeles area most of their lives so we were not close having only met a very few times on those extremely rare times our families got together.

Both of these ladies now live in the pacific northwest.  One I just had a very pleasant phone call with a few days ago.  Neither are very interested in family history but they were able to provide me with some valuable recent family information.

It is my hope to continue the contact and hopefully learn some more from them.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Summer vacation and mission trip

Again this year we went on the Canadian mission trip with our church.  We decided to combine that trip with our annual vacation.  So we drove through the pacific northwest to go into Canada and then come back to the Calgary area.

While vacationing on the west coast we were able to spend an afternoon with one of my first cousins (once removed).  My cousin and his wife are both well advanced in age and he is in poor health.  So it was very good to be able to visit with them possibly for the last time.

Chuck was born and raised in the area where I still live.  He had left the area before I was born but he and his family returned to quite often to visit my father and his other cousins in the area.  Because of the age difference we did not know each other very well.  However, I was able to provide him a good time reminiscing on his youth and growing up with my father and uncles.

We will probably do another pacific northwest trip next year but the chances are very good that he will no longer be with us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DNA testing and cousin connections

I have taken the atDNA test from Ancestry and the ydna and mtdna tests at FTDNA.  Loaded my atdna test results to FTDNA, MyHeritage and Gedmatch.  From this I have had hundreds of matches. Very slowly working through some of the closer ones.

Within the last few days I have actually been in contact with a couple of cousins.  One, a second cousin once removed on the Varner side.  The other was a cousin from the William Carroll Green Breshears line.  Unfortunately her Breshears relative died as a younger adult and she did not have much information on the Breshears line and nothing on the Green Breshears connection.

I'm feeling optimistic that we may be able to collaborate on the Varner line but will probably have no help on the Breshears line.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Still looking for birth parents for WILLIAM CARROLL GREEN BRESHEARS - DNA tests taken

We have taken DNA tests in hopes of finding additional cousins that may help us unravel the mystery  of our GGGranfathers birth parents.  My sister, Janet and I have both tested with AncestryDNA.  We have numerous cousin matches.  I have been in contact with some of the second - third cousins and we are trying to find our common ancestors now.  So far no luck in breaking through our William Carroll Green brick wall.

 Don's AncestryDNA ethnicity results
Janet's AncestryDNA ethnicity results

In addition to Ancestry, I have loaded mine to FTDNA and gedmatch.  I also took a Y-DNA37 test at FTDNA for the Varner surname project.  My dna matches closely to some of those on the Varner surname project so that part of the family tree I'm fairly confident on.  Also lot's of Breshears matches on Ancestry.

I really need to do a lot of studying on this dna matching process.  Fairly complicated and very involved.  I'm sure I am missing lot's of things that are staring me in the face simply because I don't know how to compare my results with others.  Matching distant ancestors on our trees is extremely difficult.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Drowning in DNA and Record Match results ~ I have been working on the family history

I really have been working on the family history the last several weeks.  I probably took on too much at one time though.  I have been deluged with record hints and emails.  It was an interesting series of events.

First I had my DNA tested at  I spent a lot of time working my cousin matches and emailing potential cousins.  Most never responded but a few did.  We are not really having much luck identifying out common ancestors.

I then uploaded my Ancestry DNA results to Family Tree DNA and  FTDNA has shown many cousin matches and I've been emailing several people.  So far we are still at the stage of trying to identify the common ancestors.  None have yet been identified. has been a disappointment.  The system is severely overloaded,  They were simply not equipped to handle the number of people that have uploaded their DNA.  I have not worked with hardly at all.  At this point I cannot even attached my dna kit number to my gedcom file I uploaded.

I need to educate myself on dna.  I need to learn how to decipher my results and how to use the tools provided on each site to match with others.  I have watched a few YouTube videos but I need to do more.

Then I upgraded my RootsMagic program to version 7.  This update provided record matching from Family Search and MyHeritage.  I was following the record hints that were coming up for MyHeritage and found some good stuff.  Because of this I decided to get a membership (both a data and a site membership).  So I uploaded my gedcom and created the Varner Family Website.  I have over 1150 Smart (family matches) and 900 record matches.

So that's what I've been up to.  I will soon be posting some of the results of these endeavors.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vansant Road Cemetery (formerly Clinton Memory Garden) work finally completed

The last month I've been concentrating on completing the database work for the Vansant Road Cemetery (formerly Clinton Memory Gardens).  I've not only created the databases and updated all of the records but with the help of another board member, Bob McCartney,  we were able to photograph the entire cemetery and verify burial locations.

Once that was done I worked on the Find A Grave memorials for this cemetery.  As much as possible all memorials were updated with grave location, dates (based on tombstones) and family links.  As expected several duplication's were found as well as memorials created for people that were not buried in the cemetery. Corrections were requested and most appear to have been accepted.  There were two Find A Grave volunteer's who were instrumental in helping me with this projects.  Thanks to LaDon Brennan and Linda Everhart.

Because of this project no family history work or indexing has been done.  My hope is to get back to that this coming weekend.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New family members found in my Cobb and Smith lines - Continuing Find A Grave research

This past week I continued my research using Find A Grave.  It was a very fruitful week with several new leads and a few photos found.  Find A Grave has again proved to be an invaluable source.

In the Cobb line I was able to confirm the birth and death dates for one set of GGrand Parents (Catherine Bird Means and William Burnston Means).

I also located the burial location (and birth / death dates) for several extended cousins.

  • William Zachariah Bird Sr
  • Eliza Ann Derrick Bird
  • Margaret M Bird Brown
  • William Zachariah Bird Jr
  • William M Billy Means 
  • Missouri A Cox Means
  • Estella Means Holley
  • James Alvis Cobb
  • Edwin Cobb
  • Mary Francis Bishop Cobb
  • Martha Catherine Warren Cobb
  • Henry Franklin Cobb
  • Mary Elizabeth Hogg Cobb

For the Smith line I located the burial locations (including birth / death dates for this grand uncle and aunt and a first cousin.

  • Fletcher Lindsay
  • Charles F Lindsay
  • Mae L Lindsay

In all I found nine tombstone, two individual and one family photo.  Fortunately the photographer granted use permission on their Find a Grave profile page.

This past week I also continued my arbitration of indexed records for Family Search.  There is finally a project being worked for Missouri obituaries.  So far this month I've submitted slightly more than 2,000 records.

I've been keeping up with sourcing my information in my Roots Magic database but I've not been updating my trees on Ancestry and Family Search.  I've got quite a bit of work to do there.  Plus I just looked at Ancestry and I now have 508 new un-reviewed hints (plus a lot of older ones as well).

I may need to consider stopping the arbitration and concentrate more on my research and updating various trees.  Once the Missouri Obit project is completed I'll stop for awhile and try to get everything caught up again.