Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Secrets Revealed by DNA - SWOHDNA Video Release

On April 9th, Natalie Boyer spoke to the members of the Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group.We had the chance to take a step beyond the science of DNA and explore its application. Natalie told us that, at the age of 13, her mother let her know that the "Dad" who was raising her was her adoptive father. Her mother also let her know who her biological father was. The surprise came later when a DNA test proved that that man was not, in fact, her father. Hence, the "three Dads."

As the story unfolded, one story led to another -- and that led to yet another! Natalie had to use autosomal, mitochodrial and Y-DNA to put together all of the pieces of the puzzle.

We are happy to announce that this presentation is now online. Please excuse the audio which is a little out of sync. I promise you that you will be entertained. Who knew that so many brick walls can be knocked down if you have the skill to utilize the various types of DNA. 

Click on the link: to view. This video can also be found on our chapter's YouTube channel.

Submitted by:  Kathy Reed

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cincinnati Roman Catholic Records Unleashed

What: Researching Roman Catholic Church Records
When: Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 7:00 pm
Where: Kolping Center, 10235 West Mill Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45231
Who:  Jeff Herbert, HCGS Treasurer

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati Roman Catholic sacramental records have recently been released through Findmypast. Transcripts are currently available and record images will be posted in the future. 

On May 28th, Jeff Herbert will discuss effective use of these records for researching your Hamilton County ancestors.  Tips will include how to navigate through the records in Latin, the prevalence of ethnic parishes in the 19th Century, and strategies for using information contained in these records to overcome those difficult family research barriers.

St. Francis Xavier Church
Traditionally ethnic Irish Church
Old St. Mary Church
Traditionally ethnic German
An example of a Hamilton County Irish family will demonstrate the use of all available resources to successfully trace the family back into their ancestral homeland in Ireland.

This event is free of charge and no registration is required. Beer, soft drinks and snacks will be available.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Photo Credits:  Wikimedia Commons, Old St. Mary Church bulletin

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Exploring the New Tools at AncestryDNA - SWOHDNA Meeting

Who: Video by Blaine Bettinger
          Related examples by Kathy Reed
What: Exploring the New Tools at AncestryDNA
Where: MidPointe Library West Chester
When: Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
Time: 7:00 - 8:45 pm
Directions: MidPointe Library West Chester

If you have taken a test through AncestryDNA, you may be interested in this topic. It is appropriate for both newbies and veterans of DNA research. Blaine Bettinger, founder of and nationally-recognized speaker, has prepared a video on the new tools that are available at AncestryDNA. These include a "New Match Listing" and "ThruLines."

In addition to these tools, Kathy Reed will demonstrate the MyTreeTags tool and how to access it. She will also show how ThruLines has assisted her in identifying other potential "cousins." If you bring a laptop, any remaining time will be used for individual collaboration on the use of these tools.You may want to read Roberta Estes' blog post on ThruLines. She gives a very detailed explanation of the potential payoffs and pitfalls of using this tool. Users should understand the following: 

Excerpt from Roberta Estes' Blog Post
So you will need to decide if you want to post a tree on family tree that is searchable on Ancestry. I, personally, have had some wonderful new clues as a result of these tools.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Secrets Revealed by DNA - SWOHDNA Meeting

Who:  Natalie Boyer
What: The Secrets Revealed by DNA
Where: MidPointe Library West Chester
When: Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
Time: 7:00 - 8:45 pm
Directions: MidPointe Library West Chester


Autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, and Mitochondrial DNA all have family secrets hidden in their results from testing.  You just have to know where to search for the clues that might lead to some amazing discoveries! 

In Natalie Boyer’s presentation, she reveals stories of unexpected ethnicity results, surprising paternal results and how DNA proved a relationship 8 generations back.  There are surprising stories around every corner and twists to most everyone’s DNA results.  Find out how she used these results to break down brick walls and help other’s reveal their true parental path. 


Natalie is an avid genealogist who has been searching her roots for 40 years.  At the age of 10, she would spend hours at the local library combing through books and microfilm in search of just one more ancestor and then maybe, just maybe, one more after that.  Her husband, Rick, equates genealogy to the online gaming industry where every generation you go back is another level achieved.

Her love of genealogy and family history grew even more when online records began to surface.  When her husband renewed her subscription to about 6 years ago, she developed a love of genetic genealogy and has been on a quest to break down brick walls and unravel mysteries long hidden in the past, both for herself and others.

Professionally, she works at Procter and Gamble but dreams of the day when she can retire and focus her attention on genealogy and genetic genealogy. 

Submitted by: Natalie BoyerMidPointe Library West Chester

Sunday, February 24, 2019

New Video on DNA Painter

At the February meeting of the Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group, we discussed the chromosome mapping program developed by Jonny Perl, a family history enthusiast and web designer from the UK. His software won the Roots Tech DNA Innovation Award in 2018. The presentation was recorded and is available on both vimeo and YouTube.

DNA Painter is a website that you can use to visualize and make notes on your DNA ancestors. The goal is to be able to assign specific DNA segments to the individual or couple from whom you inherited it. The software is available at

Here is a sample of the chromosome mapping I've been able to complete on my family so far.

Happy painting.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Oldenburg Church Books Now Available on Matricula

I am beyond excited! As one who has spent numerous hours in the Family History Library in Norwood looking up baptismal records for my ancestors, imagine my joy in learning that they are now available to all of us on Matricula - an online database of church records. There is no charge for accessing this database. They have an English version of the website, but the records, of course, are in German.

I immediately looked for the baptismal record of my great-grandfather, August Vonderheide, as I know his date of birth and already have a copy of the record. I've outlined the steps I took to find the record.

Log on to the website:    Go "To the archive"

If you know the name of the town, you can search for it. In my case, I searched on Holdorf.

If you do not know, click on the box highlighted with number 3.

You can then either search places or open up a map and search an area.

Since I knew my ancestor came from Holdorf, I searched on that place. This generated a list of three parishes connected with Holdorf.

I knew my parish of interest was St. Peter and Paul. Clicking on the link brought up a wonderful summary of information about the church, including the fact that this parish was once part of the church in Damme before the new parish was formed in 1827. This is important to know if your ancestors lived in the area before 1827.

Scrolling down on the parish page, I was able to locate a list of the available registers and two maps of the area. Clicking on the top map allows you to zero in on the present-day parish.

I clicked on the "camera icon" for the baptismal register for 1827-1876.  The menu on the right listed year was subdivided into 10-year segments. From there I had to guess which page would represent the year 1873, going forward or backward until arriving at the correct date. (Note: If you don't know the exact year, you will have to scroll though each page individually. This is much easier done here than scrolling through microfilm at the Family History Center. I found my record on p. 147).

Here is my great-grandfather's baptismal record. Often people in this region were often given multiple names, but were "known by" the last name in this list. My great-grandfather, for instance, was known as August Henry Vonderheide in the U.S. in contrast to Heinrch August von der Heide in Germany. The record also includes his date of birth, date of baptism, names of parents and names of the witnesses.

I want to acknowledge Jeff Herbert who has been working with the archives in Vechta to get many of these records digitized. I anticipate more records in the future. It's a great day for genealogy.

Update from Don Meyer:

I asked Don Meyer (who made me aware that these records were available) to review this post and make suggestions. Here are a couple of his observations.

Click to enlarge.

Thanks, Don.

Submitted by:

Kathy Reed

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Understanding Your DNA Health Reports

In December 2018, Kelli Bergheimer of the Central Ohio DIG, once again agreed to share her expertise with her southwest Ohio brethren. It seems like more and more of the DNA companies we have used to explore our ethnicity and to identify "cousins" have begun to offer a health component.

Before you take the plunge into this fledgling field, it is important that you educate yourself about what you can and cannot expect from health reports. Are they reliable? Do they take the place of what you might expect to get from a medical professional?

Kelli did a wonderful job of spelling out the pros and cons. You can access this video through the Hamilton County Genealogical Society website or by clicking on this link: You can also view it on the HCGS YouTube channel at

Submitted by Kathy Reed
Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group