Jack the Ripper mystery solved? Not quite. It’s so true that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, even from me.
Recently, I wrote a post about the DNA analysis of a scarf purported to have belonged to Catherine Eddowes, one of the victims of Jack the Ripper, and which was supposedly present at the murder scene.
According to the earlier news story, the DNA proved to be a match to Jack the Ripper suspect, Polish Jewish immigrant Aaron Kosminski.
I can still hear the words of my husband, Mark, resounding in my head, “Careful, you can’t believe everything you see or read on the internet!”
Oh, how easily I brushed him off and continued on blithely writing and publishing the offending post.
They were fortuitous words, however, as I just read a news article on the Start-Up Israel site in which they present evidence that there were rather basic, but devastating mistakes made in the evaluation of the provenance of the scarf, the type of DNA analysis used, and the actual conclusions drawn from the DNA analysis.
Oh, how I hate to admit that I was snowed, but this wasn’t just a slight sprinkling, it was a full-blown blizzard and unfortunately, I succumbed.
Note to self: Listen to Mark more. Sometimes he does know best.
As I’ve written in previous posts, much of human history has involved the management of relationships, marriages, etc. to safeguard against incestuous relationships, and has resulted in an impressive genealogy obsession in Iceland.
Iceland, with its population of only 320,000, is one small corner of the globe that still deals with the issues of living in the shallow end of the gene pool, manifesting in today’s Icelanders’ preoccupation with genealogy and family history.
In one instance, a group of students from the University of Iceland engineering department created a smart phone app, allowing users to simply bump phones to see if they have a common ancestor, as well as if there’s a relationship and just how close it is.
Prior to the smart phone app, the “Book of Icelanders” (Islendingabok), has been the receptacle of genealogy records. Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic neurologist, created a web-based version of the “Book of Icelanders” to provide constant access to its users. Kári Stefánsson and Fridrik Skulason claim to have documented 95% of Icelanders of the past three hundred years.
A benefit of the impressive job Icelanders have done tracing their family genealogies, is the extensive collection of data available for studies and experiments in many disciplines including science, social studies, health and genetics.
Another example of the benefits of pursuing genealogy was described in my previous post “Owning a home: Military least likely and fire fighters more likely to own”. In this case, a statistical analysis of census data by Ancestry.com provided data to study home ownership trends over the past century.
Although the thoughts of the current and future benefits of genealogical study are pleasant ones, consider the negative – how would such caches of genealogical information have been used during WWII in Germany? The thought is truly frightening.
Previous posts about this topic are:
New analysis from Ancestry.com reveals surprising connections between occupation and owning a home today and since 1900.
I found some of the findings described in the following press release by Ancestry.com surprising except for one – the statistic showing that military members are less likely to own a home.
Having been raised in a Canadian military family, economics was never the first consideration for military families when it came to buying a home, although it was very important. Considering the transient nature of military postings and transfers, it often made more sense to rent either from the military itself or private landlords because we never knew how long we would live somewhere before being transferred yet again.
Changing housing markets always were a major factor, making buying a home while in the military a huge gamble. Although a member may be able to buy a home in one location within their financial means, there was a huge risk of having to sell at a loss at a later date since the time to sell was never the choice of the home owner because they remained at the mercy of the military and were governed by their assignments and transfers.This loss could be greatly compounded if the new transfer location was a higher value housing market, pretty much eliminating the possibility of home ownership in the new location.
The possibility of inheriting property was made much more difficult, possibly resulting in the sale of the family property because of the inability of military families to live on their own property and support their homes near their bases.
The volatility of military living circumstances made it almost impossible to make the investment in a home until nearer the time of retirement, when plans were being made for the future outside military service.
PRESS RELEASE by Ancestry.com
(Marketwired – October 15, 2014)
Members of the armed services are among the least likely to own a home in the United States, according to a new analysis by Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource. Ancestry recently analyzed 112 years of U.S. Federal Census data to better understand the connection between occupation and owning a home across the nation over the last century. As of 2012, optometrists have the clearest line of sight to home ownership at 90%, while dancers and dance instructors have the lowest home ownership rate at just 23%.
Occupation has had a major impact on home ownership rates since 1900. While the typical size of a profession’s paycheck is an important factor in the rankings, it’s not the only one. There are many instances of a profession having a higher rate of home ownership than another that typically pays more. Some interesting findings from 2012:
Public service often pays off in terms of home ownership rates, except if you are in the armed forces. Fire fighters ranked #7 at 84%, and police officers and detectives #12 at 79%, compared to lawyers and judges who ranked #20 at 78%. Teachers were higher than economists (#45 at 74% versus #97, 64%).
Janitors and sextons had a rate about double that of waiters and waitresses (54% versus 27%).
It turns out that all artists are not starving. Sixty-three percent of artists and art teachers own homes, which is almost twice as high as dancers and dance teachers, which have the lowest rate of home ownership among any profession. Higher rates of home ownership were also seen among musicians and music teachers (62%), entertainers (57%) and authors (63%).
Some skilled professions that include many unionized workers had fairly high rates of home ownership, such as electricians at 73%, plumbers at 70% and power station operators at 87%.
Sixty-two (62) percent of editors and reporters owned homes in 2012, which is higher than almost every other analyzed decade.
Home ownership rates were at just 32% in 1900 and have doubled since then, but nearly all that growth came by 1960. “This kind of historical context is extremely valuable information for people researching their family history,” said Todd Godfrey, Head of Global Content at Ancestry. “Home ownership, occupation, and location are often key bits of information that can help bring the stories of our ancestors to life and greater illumination to the times in which they lived.”
With the stability of the housing market and the economy fluctuating drastically in recent years, occupations with specialized skills and heavy ties to the community fared the best. According to the analysis by Ancestry, top occupations for home ownership in the United States for 2012 are as follows:
Toolmakers and Die Makers/Setters: 88%
Power Station Operators: 87%
Forgemen and Hammermen: 84%
Locomotive Engineers: 84%
Airplane Pilots and Navigators: 83%
“Firemen, dentists and farmers all play integral roles in their local community, so perhaps the need to root in the communities they serve has played a role in home ownership,” Godfrey said. “Firefighters have a deep love for the community they serve, farmers are tied to the land and optometrists and dentists have spent their careers building a clientele list tied to the community. It could also be a case of raising their families in the same homes they were raised in and their parents before them.”
Lower rates of home ownership.
From a list of nearly 200 occupations, the rate of home ownership in 2012 is as low as 23% for certain job types. While the professions with the very highest rate of home ownership weren’t necessarily those with the biggest paychecks, the majority of the professions with the worst rates of home ownership have a mean hourly wage of $13 or less. Job stability and job security also played a large role in how likely those in a given profession were to own a home.
As expected, many of the lowest ranking occupations don’t require higher education including cleaners, waiters, counter workers and cashiers–and have lower job stability. Though surprising at first, members of the armed forces are less likely to own a home due to ability/requirement to live on base, possible deployment or the average age skewing younger. The following are occupations with the lowest rate of home ownership in 2012:
Dancers and Dance Teachers: 23%
Motion Picture Projectionists: 27%
Waiters and Waitresses: 27%
Counter and Fountain Workers: 28%
Members of the Armed Forces: 33%
Service Workers (except private households): 34%
Charwomen and Cleaners: 35%
Cooks (except private households): 36%
Owning a home has been the dream of working men and women in the United States from the nation’s founding. For people from tool makers to optometrists to dancers, home ownership continues to be part of the American dream. To learn more about the Ancestry analysis of home ownership and occupation, visit http://ancstry.me/1ywaIkB.
SOURCE: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research. There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so. Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.
My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.
I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.” I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue. When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can. Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.
I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.
Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:
“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.
I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…
…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.
I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.
This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.
I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”
Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.
Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.
There will never be an end to my quest…
Sorry for the large gap. I’m in the process of doing some experimental performance of this site which has demanded much of my attention in the past couple of weeks. Finally, though, here are the FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com Updates and Additions to October 14, 2014.
FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions
- Belgium, East Flanders, Civil Registration, 1541-1910
- Belgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600-1913
- Belgium, Liège, Civil Registration, 1621-1910
- Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912
- Belgium, West Flanders, Civil Registration, 1582-1910
- Spain, Cantabria, Passports, 1785-1863
- Spain, Diocese of Santander, Catholic Church Records, 1538-1985
- England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008
- England and Wales, Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005
- Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009
- Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999
- New Jersey, State Census, 1915
- New Mexico, Territorial Census, 1885
- New York, Queens County Probate Records, 1785-1950
- Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001
- Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813-1932
- Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997
- Oregon, Marriages, 1853-1935
- Pennsylvania Obituaries, 1977-2010
- United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
- United States Internal Revenue Assessment Lists, 1862-1874
Ancestry.com Updates and Additions
- Australia, New South Wales, Land Grants, 1788-1963
- Australia, New South Wales, Registers of Seamen, 1859-1936
- England, 1901 Census
- England, Darlington, West Cemetery Index, 1770-2012
- England, Dorset, Wills and Probates, 1565-1858
- England, Liverpool, Crew Lists 1861-1919
- England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991
- Scotland, Prison Records Index, 1828-1878
- Arizona, Douglas, Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes, 1958-1960
- Delaware, Land Records, 1677-1947
- Georgia, Savannah, Voter Records, 1856-1896, 1901-1917
- Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1949-1957
- Nevada, Carson City, Birth Index, 1867-1957
- New Jersey and Pennsylvania , Church and Town Records, 1708-1985
- Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-1924, 1946-2008
- Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985
- Texas, Colorado County, Cemetery Index, 1851-2011
- U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935