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Messages - Eric Hatfield

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Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Shouldn't be able to do better?
« on: Wednesday 22 August 18 08:33 BST (UK)  »
Hi Margaret,

It is useful knowing what the arguments come down to, and from what you say, there are only two.

Argument 1.

"a chromosome browser exposes actual SNPs (“snips”) for your matches. Ancestry has to be really thoughtful about doing that. They have to decide if that makes sense. Ultimately, people’s privacy is more important than a chromosome browser"

1. So we are asked to believe that Ancestry cares more about privacy and ethics than do FTDNA, DNAPainter, Gedmatch, My Heritage, 23andMe? I don't believe that. Maybe they care more about possible litigation I guess, but those other companies seem to have found a way.

2. If that was really the issue, wouldn't allowing the data to be downloaded create the same problems? Sure, it is someone else's choice and not Ancestry's direct doing, but would they have no responsibility?

3. And offering a browser as an option surely overcomes those problems, especially if it was opt-in.

Argument 2

"Ancestry offers two alternatives"

As you point out, two of the tools are pretty useless (Search, DNA Circles), one is OK as a start (Shared matches), but only takes us so far.

I first tested with FTDNA because my reading suggested they were the best company despite having a smaller database, but when I tested with Ancestry, I took out a 6 month subscription because I had read about DNA circles and mirror trees, two tools that I thought offered some real ways forward. Like you I found circles useless and mirror trees likewise - I think you need far more relatives to have tested for these to work, and not that many people here in Australia have tested. Even shared matches I have not found very useful. In fact, I had one crucially important match on Ancestry that helped me, and that has been all, and even that required transfer to Gedmatch so I could compare it with people who had tested on FTDNA. There is probably more good information there, but I don't know how to get at it.

I am probably a cynic, but I can't help wondering if Ancestry avoids giving these tools so the main ways to use matches (links to tree, DNA circles and Mirror trees) are ones that require us to take out a subscription. Thus a DNA test can be made to most likely lead to a subscription, and more income. Yes, I'm a cynic.

So I don't buy their arguments and I remain very disappointed with Ancestry.

The Common Room / Re: Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Wednesday 22 August 18 05:19 BST (UK)  »
Thanks everyone for interesting and helpful comments. Keep them coming!! :)

Any stillbirth to an unmarried mother was automatically deemed as abortion or infanticide unless proved otherwise (I can't remember when it changed - this was in some old midwifery history book I've got)
That is interesting. I wonder if it still applied in 1865? It would seem she certainly wasn't considered guilty of infanticide or sh'ed have been imprisoned for more than 2 weeks.

Offences Against the Person Act 1861
Thanks for this reference, it was almost certainly current at the time, just 4 years later. This was clearly not considered a serious crime, but a "misdemeanor" with a maximum penalty of only 2 years. Since Betsey only received 2 weeks, it must have been considered minor, or else the judge was hugely sympathetic.

It sounds like a very lenient sentence? Could she have been "feeble minded" in some way? Such girls always have been, and still are, taken advantage of.
I have wondered the same thing. This was her third child (that we know of) before age 23. She was in the workhouse for a while, which was for people unable to find work or unable to do work. Since her family was nearby, you'd think they'd care for her unless they had given up trying to help her, for whatever reason. The four possible theories I can come up with are (1) naivete, (2) mental disability, (3) working as a prostitute, or (4) very unfortunate.

The story handed down in the family was that she was working in "the big house" and was taken advantage of by the son of the squire, who then paid a man in the village to accept paternity. Closer investigation reveals many holes in that story (not least that the paternity case was for her first child, and the man in the village contested paternity, whereas the family link is through the second child. So I think the story was probably invented to save family reputation, but it does illustrate the difficulties facing young women in service in those days. They needed #MeToo back then!

Sometimes there are newspaper articles on these sorts of cases and at times give a bit of information on the mother's life. Could be worth a look. Prison records might give something up as well.
I have a newspaper report, but it says little beyond the fact that she was single, the location (a village about 20 km from the small villages where she and her family had lived), and the fact that the child died immediately after being born, and she disposed of it by wrapping it in a bundle and placing it under the bed (which sounds a very naive thing to do). I haven't seen prison records betond the court case summary.

There are thousands of  newspaper reports on  cases of concealing the birth of a child. The earliest one in the British Newspaper Archive is for March 1803.
I have never heard of it before, but I will have to look it up. Thanks.

Are you sure that the person convicted was the one who had given birth?
The court return says "her child" and the newspaper account says the same. From what others have said, the light sentence probably indicates a degree of sympathy and an assessment of little culpability.

Thanks again everyone, I hope more can be found about this and similar cases.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Shouldn't be able to do better?
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 23:26 BST (UK)  »
They have said that they will never introduce a chromosome browser, for reasons of privacy.
If privacy was really an issue, how come everyone else manages to offer a browser? And it could be option whether you allowed your results to appear in a browser.

Very rarely have I managed to persuade a contact to upload DNA to other sites - some aren't interested, others find it too difficult. So to be able to compare directly would be a bonus.
My limited experience is similar. I think because Ancestry advertises so much they get a lot of people just curious about ethnicity, and once they have that result, they are little interested in genealogy - and so don't have a tree and don't respond to questions.

The very least they could do is introduce a decent search facility, it is very capricious whether it will work or not, depending perhaps on the stage of the moon.
You must have had more success than I have! I have found search almost totally useless, always.

The Common Room / Re: Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 13:24 BST (UK)  »
It would be brilliant to investigate and imagine and re-create this lady - FIND all that you can.  She deserves it.
Yes, I have that feeling about her, that I'd like to uncover as much as I can about her life and circumstances, I guess sort of like giving her the recognition I presume she never gained in life. But so far, I haven't got anything after this stillbirth.

The Common Room / Re: Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 12:43 BST (UK)  »
Abortion is a different offence, so the fact she's been convicted of concealment would indicate it wasn't an abortion, imho.
If they could prove illegal abortion they would try for that offence and I think the sentence would be far more than 2 weeks.

Those are good thoughts, though perhaps they couldn't prove it, or didn't want to try?

I'm wondering whether anyone has had a similar event in their family history and knows more than I do about the legal situation back then (1865).

The Common Room / Re: Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 12:39 BST (UK)  »
Was anyone else tried on that same day in that court ... if she obtained a termination, then perhaps  the person performing it ought to have been charged too.
That's a good thought, I didn't think of it. However the court return for that day shows no-one being charged for that offence. But thanks for the idea.

The Common Room / Re: Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 10:29 BST (UK)  »
Wonder if she was living with the father of the children? Poor couples didn't always marry.
I don't know, but I'm doubtful. She had a most unfortunate life as far as I know. She had a child at age 19 and had to go to court get the man she claimed was the father to acknowledge paternity (he denied it) and that child was brought up by that man's parents. Two years later she had another child in the same village and ended up in the workhouse while the child was brought up by her sister and parents. Then 7 months later she had this stillbirth at a village some distance away from the others. I wonder if she got pregnant again while at the workhouse and went away to have an abortion, but maybe it was just to give birth away from people she knew, and the stillbirth was natural.

What happened to her later?
That is the last I have been able to find of her. There are records of people of her name, but no certainty any were her. So I'm trying to understand her life. I feel she was probably a victim of men who took advantage of her.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Shouldn't be able to do better?
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 07:01 BST (UK)  »
I don't know if this topic has been raised before, but I feel quite strongly that Ancestry could do better for its many paying customers.

Ancestry has by far the largest DNA database, so it is hard to go past them when doing DNA research. But the lack of simple tools deny paying customers some extremely useful tools that other companies supply. I'm thinking of:
  • a decent search function,
  • the ability to download my match list (especially important to me since I use a Mac and AncestryDNA helper doesn't work with a Mac), and
  • a chromosome browser
Ancestry's apparent unwillingness to provide these tools significantly diminishes the value of their DNA product to anyone wanting to do serious genealogy.
  • I have hundreds of pages of matches I will probably never see or be able to use because I can't search properly nor download and use a spreadsheet to search.
  • Currently I am cooperating with a couple of other researchers to try to find how we all match, and which side of each tree we match on. This requires comparison of segments, which I can do at FTDNA and Gedmatch (and which I understand 23andMe also provides) but we are severely limited because many of the matches we'd like to check only have their results with Ancestry and haven't downloaded to those other sites.
I can't understand, and am frustrated by, why such a big company would be willing to offer such an inferior product, and I wonder whether there is any way the genetic DNA community could press Ancestry to do better on this.

Or do others not agree with me?

The Common Room / Concealing the birth of a child
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 06:23 BST (UK)  »
An ancestor I am researching was, as a 22 year old single woman, convicted of concealing the birth of her child and imprisoned for 2 weeks. The child was stillborn and the stage of the pregnancy was not mentioned, but as it was only 7 months and 1 week since she gave birth to her previous child, the child was obviously premature. This was in UK (Herefordshire) in 1865.

I am trying to understand her life and situation, as she seems to have had a difficult life and appears to have been a victim of circumstances. Does anyone know if this conviction indicates that the mother had obtained an abortion?

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