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

Thursday, January 3, 2019

SWOHDNA Meeting - How to Use DNAPainter for Chromosome Matching

Who:  Kathy Reed, SWOHDNA
What: How to Use DNAPainter Software for Chromosome Mapping
Where: MidPointe Library West Chester
When: Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
Time: 7:00 - 8:45 pm
Directions: MidPointe Library West Chester

If you are a "Genetic Genealogy Nerd," then this is the software for you. Most of us are familiar with Gedmatch and its ability to help us identify relatives who share DNA with us. We can determine how much DNA we share and on which chromosomes. There is a tool that enables us to identify people who match one of both of two kits.  So you have to wonder? Why would I need this tool?

This software does have some nice features if you are interested in assigning specific segments of DNA to a specific ancestor i.e. Great-Grandfather. Initially, the software was free, but as bells and whistles have been added, you now must subscribe to really take advantage of its features. The cost is $30 for six months or $55 for a yearly subscription. There is no cost to set up a profile and try the software out. This should help you decided if it is a tool you want to add to your tool box or not.

Additional information:

Jonny Perl, the developer of this software, received an Award at the 2018 RootsTech Conference. 

For a great story about how this tool came about, click on the link: 
2018 RootsTech DNA Innovation Award Winner


If anyone is looking for an opportunity to learn more about using your DNA testing for genealogy research, Family History Fanatics will be producing "A Winter of DNA" eConference on January 26th.  Speakers and topics will include:

Tim Janzen - Maximizing Your Use of GEDmatch
Richard Hill - Finding Family with DNA Testing: A Genetic Detective Story
Andy Lee - DNA Tree Building: What to Do When GEDmatch Matches Don't Respond
Maurice Gleeson - Using Y-DNA in Your Family Tree Research

The online sessions will begin at 9am Central Time on January 26th. A final panel discussion will end the day.  All registrants will be able to view the conference for 30 days.  Register and get your questions answered by some of the most popular genetic genealogy educators! Presentations are live, not pre-recorded, and you can ask questions throughout.

Price is only $19.99 until January 18th and then it will be $24.99.  Also, we will be having DNA kits and other stuff as door prizes that will be given away.  You don't have to be present to win, but you do have to register.

More information is available on the website:

Feel free to let any friends, family, or genealogy society members (or anyone else who may be interested) know about this great opportunity. 

Kathy Reed