Granddad Daniel Grant Varner

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

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.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

More Find A Grave research for the Varner line in Pennsylvania

Another hectic week has passed.  Now that I'm caught up with the Vansant Road Cemetery records I have been able to spend some time in other areas.  We did have a cemetery board of directors meeting this week and that went very well.  Things are starting to turn around at the cemetery.

I did some indexing on Family Search.  I was actually arbitrating the indexed Obituary's.  Didn't do a lot just enough to keep fresh.

It has not been a real productive week for research.  However, I was able to work some time in.  I was working primarily in Find A Grave,  I found memorial pages for nineteen family members.  Four of which were new people that had to be added to the file. Within the memorials six of them had tombstone photos and four of them had enough information to lead me to the death certificates.  I added two new surnames to the file (Bacon and Bell).  The Bells are Sarah Varners family.  They were mostly in the Juniata County, PA.  The Bacons are through the Anna Varner Dunkel line.  This family had skipped all over the country (mostly in Colorado, Montana and Missouri).

I have determined that Find A Grave is an extremely valuable resource for genealogical research.  Even though it cannot be considered primary source material the information is there to lead you to primary documentation.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Working in Find A Grave

This past week I have spent my family history research time in Find A Grave.  

I ran a report out of my Roots Magic system that showed all those with a death fact and no burial fact.  Then I ran a report for all those with a burial fact which I exported to Excel where I then ran a comparison against a  list of people with a Find A Grave source.  After removing those that had a Find A Grave source I then combined the two lists.  That gave me my work list for Find A Grave.

This weeks research time was spent searching Find A Grave for people on that list.  I found memorial pages for 18 people and only 4 people searched with no pages found.  Also most of the memorial pages had tombstone photos added.  So far so good.  

This next week I hope to spend more time on research and less on indexing.  I really only spent one afternoon this past week on research.  I did more indexing this week than I originally planned to do.  Got caught up in the flow.  Also, I now have my work process flow established and a good Evernote template as well as a source template setup in Roots Magic so that should speed up the process.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Summers coming to an end, hoping to get restarted on genealogy

It has been an exceedingly busy summer for me.  I have spent a lot of time on non family history volunteer activities.  However, these are activities I really enjoy and would recommend them to all who like genealogy.  The major thing's I've been doing:

1.  RECORD INDEXING - Even though I am not a Mormon (LDS) I do enjoy indexing records for Family Search.  I've especially enjoyed working on the various obituary collections they are doing this year.

2.  CEMETERY VOLUNTEER - A local cemetery, Clinton Memory Gardens, has been changed to a not for profit cemetery and renamed to Vansant Road Cemetery.  I am currently serving as President of the board of directors.  We have a lot of work to do at the cemetery.  It was not in good shape.  Lot's of grounds cleanup and record maintenance to do.  This has been a very time consuming effort.

3.  VACATION - My wife and I took her brothers ashes to Arlington National Cemetery for inurnment.  This was combined with this years vacation.  Spent some time in Virginia and the Carolina's.

I am currently wrapping up a couple of major projects that I've been working on for the cemetery.  It is my hope that by early next week I will be able to restart my genealogy research again.

I've decided that once restarted I will focus on missing burial records.  The first step will be to check all deceased against Find A Grave.  My thinking is that if I can locate the burial place I will know where to search for obituaries and death certificates.  For the first pass I will create a Roots Magic report listing all people with a death fact and no burial fact.  Once that is worked I will then create a report for all burial facts with no sources.  I've not looked at this yet so I'm not sure how to create thsi report.