May 22, 2016

Questions on Family Research

I have received many private messages via email or even Ancestry from many cousins with DNA confirmation. Many of us share great grandparents or all the way up to 4th great grandparents.  Some of you are double related to me so the centimorgans (cM) we share is higher than it should be. Do not be discouraged but you will find many instances of this in your tree which will make your cM much higher than they should be. 

And there are those who are not related to me as far as I’m aware of.  Questions seem to be just about the same so I hope that I can answer them here.  Due to my current schedule, I cannot respond to each of you individually.  I am currently away on business travel and my access is limited but I didn’t want to ignore the questions.  So to answer some questions, I have provided answers below. Others I will respond privately depending on the subject:

Is the blog going away?

No I have no plans on making the blog disappear. It will remain where it is as long as Google permits it since it is on their platform.  I am sharing information in honor of Luis Bayala Delgado’s memory.  His belief is that to know your family and roots is to know oneself.  We are here because of our ancestors and recognizing who they were and their struggles helps us understand how we are here today.  

We had a running evening joke, “Cuanto muertitos molestate hoy?”  Yes, how many dead people did I bother today? So in his honor, the blog isn’t going anywhere. 
Do I descend from the Betancourt line?

To clarify, I am a Bayala.  I descend from Bayala Delgado.  This line descends from the Betancourt, Diaz, Franco, Montanez, Flores, and Fontanez to name a few.  I know that there is African and Indian ancestors mixed it.  The Betancourt line is from las islas Canarias. Yes I have Indian DNA which comes from the Taino tribe not only in Puerto Rico but also in Dominican Republic.  There are many different lines of Betancourt in Puerto Rico so do not assume that sharing a last name means we are related. Please read up on Canary Island history to understand.  However if you descend from Rafael Betancourt Falcon, then we are most definitely related. 

I’m researching in a region where there are no church records online, what can I do?

You have many options available.  First, just because the images are not online doesn’t mean they are not available.  Did you look at catalog?  If there is a film for the records then you can order them and have them sent to the nearest Family History Center.  You can find where the locations are on their website too.

In addition, you have your local library to access Ancestry for free or even copies of the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 Census.  If you want Census from prior to 1910 then it gets a little tricky, check out my blog post to see what is currently available online and what is available via film.  If the region isn’t listed then it isn’t available from the US mainland.  You will need to make a trip to Puerto Rico and visit the archives in San Juan.

For church records, some such as Gurabo are available but only via film.  This requires that you order the film.  I have mentioned in a prior post that FamilySearch plans to load many records for Puerto Rico by July.  I am not holding my breath but we shall see if that occurs. 

Genealogy research requires that you read up on history so that you can determine where to look.  So for example, Guarbo, Puerto Rico didn’t exist prior to 1815.  Gurabo was actually part of Caguas.  You will then need to order records for Caguas instead.

I see that you match me but I am adopted and I need help.  Can you help?

I would love to help but cannot at the moment.  However there are many free resources available.  I know many don’t want Facebook accounts but you can setup one just to join some really helpful groups and it is free.  Please note that sharing 20 cM isn’t a lot, it is actually a little bit of DNA.  I provided in a prior post where you can learn more about your DNA.

Most importantly, make sure you create an account on GEDMatch and upload a zip copy of your DNA file.  There you can match with relatives who tested with 3 other companies without spending additional money.  You can also upload your file to FamilyTreeDNA, another testing company, and pay only $39 or get 4 referrals to unlock for free.

Hoping this covers many of the questions until I can post again.  Good luck on your research!