So I had my ancestry DNA tested

I decided to have my DNA tested through AncestryDNA.  I ultimately decided to go with AncestryDNA because of the ability to find common ancestors with other people who have had their DNA tested.

One of the first thing you see when the DNA test results come back is your ethnic breakdown.  Now, from what I’ve read this is based on DNA testing of people who live in those regions now – so there is some margin of error for using this test to confirm my ethnic mix.  And there were a few surprises….

Larisa DNA Ethnicity

Larisa DNA Ethnicity

West Europe, Ireland and Great Britain are no surprise at all.  Much of my records research supports family roots in those regions.  The Scandinavian was a complete surprise.  As far as I know, there is not confirmed family ancestry from the Scandinavian region.  However, when you click on the link for Scandinavia, there is more information that may explain why I’m seeing it show up in my profile.

Larisa Scandinavia

Larisa Scandinavia

Netherlands and seafarers….  On my father’s side of the family, my Noteboom ancestors were all seafarers from the Northeastern part of the Netherlands (on the border of Germany, near the major port town of Bremen).  It’s quite possible that farther back in our ancestry than I have traced, our Dutch roots stretch to Scandinavia.  The other explanation (and one my brothers would probably enjoy) is that we have Viking roots!  (I joke…. sort of.)

The other big surprise is the mix of Iberian, Eastern Europe and Italy/Greece roots.  But this could possibly explain the other surprise, which was the absence of Native American ancestry (as in 0%).  Now in reading about Native American ancestry in DNA, if the ancestry is far enough back, there may not be enough DNA to register the ethnicity.  And the ancestor I believe to be our Native American connection is my 3rd Great-Grandmother, and assuming she was 100% Native American (which is not confirmed), that means I only have 3.125% of her DNA.  If she was less than 100% Native American, then my share of her DNA is even smaller.

But how does that explain the Iberian/Eastern Europe/Italy/Greece DNA?  Those ethnicities also tend to show up in people whose DNA has Native American ancestry.

Larisa Native American

Larisa Native American

So maybe the Native American DNA is too diluted to register, and/or it’s registering as the other European ethnicities that influenced Native American ancestry.

The thing I’m most excited about is the possible matches to others with trees on I’m hoping that I will be able to connect to people who have more information about certain branches of my family tree, so that I can break down those brick walls.  There are some familiar faces – people I’ve already connected with through my research.  It’s nice to have those familial connections confirmed.  I’m looking forward to exploring this new option for researching my family history.

How to… Get Organized with Researching My Family Tree

I’ve been away for a little while – been incredibly busy with a major work project, which included a lot of hours and travel.  Left me too exhausted and with too little time to spend on researching my family tree.  However, in May, I came across a blog post that inspired me to spend some time organizing.  Michele Simmons Lewis on her blog Ancestoring describes an Excel trick for working with the data in her family tree.  At the end, it produces a spreadsheet with a list of all your ancestors, along with their birth and death dates/places.  Part of the beauty of the list is the list of names will contain a hyperlink to the individual profiles on  Here’s an example of what my list looks like:


My Family List in Excel

My Family List in Excel


Then I took the spreadsheet a few steps further – in part because I’m a complete Excel geek and because I like to use data to solve problems.  My next step, I added some extra columns:

Columns in My Spreadsheet

Columns in My Spreadsheet


  • Relationship (to me)
  • Side of the Family (Maternal, Paternal and N/A).  N/A is for my siblings, their spouses, children, etc. who don’t belong to actually one side of the family or the other.
  • Copies of Citations/Docs Downloaded.  (I’ll get more into this below.)
  • File location (for the MRIN/Marriage Record Identification Number, which I use for organizing my computer file folders)

In addition to the columns, I do a couple of other things to the data to make it easier to work with:

  1. Create a table for the range of data.  Excel behaves differently when working with data within a table that makes it easier to work with, especially when the data is very similar and when working with formulas.  To do this, highlight all the rows and columns of data in the spreadsheet.   On the Home tab, select Format as Table, then select the table format that you want/like.  I prefer a table that has alternating colors for the lines because I find that easier to read.
Formatting a Table

Formatting a Table

  1. Then I add a Filter to the column headers.  Highlight the row of headers, and select Filter on the Data tab.  Once the filter is set, you can click on any of the down arrows next to a column header to:
  • Sort by that column
  • Filter by certain data, such as a surname, and hide all the other rows of data.
Filters in Excel

Filters in Excel

Once I had the data formatted the way I wanted it, I was ready to get to work.  Using the hyperlinked name for each member of my family tree, I noted their relationship to me (concentrating only on direct ancestors and their siblings – I bypassed any cousins x times removed) and what side of the family they fell on.  This is easy in the individual profile, as the relationship is noted in the header information.

Ancestry Profile Header

Ancestry Profile Header

But the main purpose of this list is to keep track of downloading copies of the records attached to my ancestors’ profiles to my computer to retain my own digital copy of all their records.  I’m still working my way through this, but I’ve got a good head start.  Once I’ve download the attached records of a particular profile, I mark the row as “Complete” under the column: Copies of Citations/Docs Downloaded.  I also save a .pdf of the citation page from for each record, including any index citations, in the ancestor profile.  I then put the path for the file folder on my computer in the last column so that I know where to find these files later.

Download and File Location Columns

Download and File Location Columns

The next trick I use in Excel is Conditional Formatting.  Whenever I enter the word “Complete” in the Download column, it will highlight the row in green so I can easily see which ancestors I’ve completed downloading the documents for.  If the ancestor doesn’t have any source citations in their profile, I mark the column as “None”.  Any marked with “None” get highlighted in red.

Conditional Formatting

Conditional Formatting

To use Conditional Formatting to highlight a whole row, based on the contents of a single cell:

  • Highlight the row of data.
  • Select Conditional Formatting from the Home tab.
  • Select New Rule
  • In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, select “Use a formula to determine which cells to format”.
  • Enter the formula entering an equal sign, click on the cell that will contain the data you want to base the formatting on.  In this case, I select the cell F59 for the Download column for row 59.  This is where I will note “Complete” or “None”.  Enter another equal sign, then the text (in quotes) that you will base the formatting on, in this case, “Complete”.
  • Click on the Format… button to select the formatting you want applied to the row, such as fill, font color and border.
  • Click OK.
  • Repeat the process for “None”.
  • Click OK to exit out of the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
Conditional Formatting Rules

Conditional Formatting Rules

  • Select the Format Painter tool and copy the formatting to all rows in the spreadsheet.
Format Painter Tool

Format Painter Tool

Now that the spreadsheet is formatted the way I wanted, I worked my way through my family tree, surname by surname, noting the relationship and side of the family.

Now I can easily produce to do lists for research and downloading records for parts of my family tree by filtering the list based on surname, relationship type, side of the family, etc., depending on what part of my family tree I want to concentrate on.

And in the habit of playing with data, I also created some fun tables of summary information at the bottom of my spreadsheet, using some easy Countif formulas:

Counts by Side of the Family:

Count by Side of the Family

Count by Side of the Family

For example, to count the Maternal line, the formula is =countif(Range of Data, Cell with the word Maternal in it).  The formula will count all cells that contain the matching word from the data table.

Count by Side of Family Results

Count by Side of Family Results


Count by Complete Downloads

Count by Complete Download

Count by Complete Download

For example, to count the Complete Download, the formula is =countif(Range of Data, “Complete”).  The formula will count all cells that contain the word “Complete” from the data table.  Then count the total number of rows by with the CountA formula, written as: =counta(range of data).  In the last column, divide the Total Complete by the Total Count to get the percentage completed.

Count by Complete Downloads Results

Count by Complete Downloads Results


Count by Relationship Type

Count by Relationship Type

Count by Relationship Type

For example, to count the number of 2nd Great Uncles, the formula is =countif(Range of Data, Cell with the phrase “2nd Great Uncle” in it).  The formula will count all cells that contain the matching phrase from the data table.

Count by Relationship Type Results

Count by Relationship Type Results

A note about the “$” in some of the formulas: this hard codes the cell referenced in the formula, so that if you drag the formula down to copy it to additional cells, that part of the formula remains constant and only the non-$ numbers adjust.

So many thanks to Michele Simmons Lewis for the inspiration to riff off in order to get organized with my research.

52 Ancestors #3: Anna Henrietta Noteboom

Anna Henrietta is my 2nd great-grandmother, on my father’s maternal line.  She was an incredibly tough woman, who experienced some very difficult times her in her life, having to raise three children on her own after her husband disappeared.

64 Van Siclen

64 Van Siclen
Image Capture: Nov 2007 © 2015 Google

Anna was born on Halloween, October 31, 1880 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Walter and Christiane Noteboom.1 By 1892, she is living with her family in the 26th Ward in Brooklyn.2 The 26th Ward in Brooklyn encompassed the East New York/New Lots area of Brooklyn, and was mostly farmland. In his letter to his daughters, Gerald Thomas wrote about cows coming up to his mother’s kitchen windows.3 In 1900, Anna is a young woman, still living at home with her parents, and working as a dressmaker. Their home was located at 64 Van Siclen Avenue.4

In 1905, Anna was married to Francis Theodore Thomas and had two small children, Gerald and May.  Francis worked as a shirt ironer and Anna’s occupation was listed as housework.5  But, just a year later, Anna would be left alone, with three small children aged 5 and younger.  In August 1906, Francis left to pick up his paycheck and go for a swim at Rockaway Beach.  He was never seen again, and no sign of him was found.

Anna Noteboom Thomas, with her children, Gerald, Mae and Frank Thomas.  Year unknown.  From the collection of cousin Paul.

Anna Noteboom Thomas, with her children, Gerald, Mae and Frank Thomas. Year unknown. From the collection of cousin Paul.

Anna had been estranged from her family following her marriage to Francis.  Her father, Walter Noteboom, did not approve of him and disowned her.  Following Francis’s disappearance, Anna reconciled with her father.  Walter owned a saloon and gentleman’s hotel in Manhattan, along with at least two homes in Brooklyn.  While Anna worked as a housekeeper and laundress to earn a living, her father helped support her by paying for their winter coal and contributing to their rent.

In 1910,  they were living at 465 Belmont Avenue and shared the home with Edwin and Frances Hardcastle.  The census that year confirms that she was working as a housekeeper for others and she still claims to be married for 9 years. After her father’s death in 1913, she inherited approximately $4000.  Her brother, who was the executor of the estate, took the rent and coal money out of her share of the inheritance.6

While raising her children, Anna did what she could to make ends meet, taking in laundry, cleaning houses, and on some occasions borrowing money.  Fortunately, members of the community were willing to help out the family.  Her best friend, Bertha Happ, was a school teacher, and help Anna keep her children from being placed in a home, which was connected with a church on Wyona Street.  Schmidt, the butcher, loaned her money, and Mrs. Henning employed her to clean her home.  Gerald and May would help her by delivering laundry around the neighborhood.  When Gerald was 12, Mr. Henning offered him his first job, pumping the organ at church on Sundays.  He was paid $2.50 per month, of which he gave his mother $2 and kept $.50 for himself.  By 14, he went to work for Barrett & Nephews, a local dry cleaners.  He made $5.00 a week.  He would quit that job to work for Schmidt, the butcher, who paid him $5.oo a week to take care of his horse, but he didn’t have to pay for carfare or lunch.  Then, he went to work for Mr. Henning, at V. Henning & Sons, earning $7.00 per week.  He earned a large raise at his next job for Meyer & Lange wholesale grocers, who paid him $18 per week.  Later, Anna would meet a veteran of the Spanish American War named George Reilly, who wanted to marry her.  However, he did not get along with her oldest son, so she turned him down.7

2762 Atlantic Avenue Image Capture: June 2012 © 2015 Google

2762 Atlantic Avenue
Image Capture: June 2012 © 2015 Google

In 1915, the family had moved to 2762 Atlantic Avenue, and they had taken on a boarder.  Anna was 34 years old and working as a housekeeper.  All three children were in school.  The boarder, Alice Cokely, worked as a seamstress.  Also living in the house are Rose Sparks and her daughter Mildred. 8 Five years later, they are still living at the Atlantic Avenue home, along with Herbert Sparks and his children, Charles and Mildred, and Frank and Margaret Walsh. Anna was still a housekeeper, but now both of her older children were also working.  Gerald was a “Helper” in the Chauffeur industry, and Mae worked as a typist in the Insurance industry.  Frank was age 12 years, and still in school.  Anna was listed as a widow by this time.9

By 1925, Anna and her son, Frank, have moved to 172 Miller Avenue.  A number of families lived in the building, including the Schmidts, Burcke, Atkins, Hurleys, and two separate Speth families.  Anna was still doing housework, and Frank was then working as a printer.10

Mae and Anna Thomas, circa 1935, probably in Hempstead NY

Mae and Anna Thomas, circa 1935, probably in Hempstead NY

In 1930, Anna moved in with her oldest son and his family.  By that time, he had married Louise Schillinger, and they had two daughters, Ethel and my grandmother Marion.  In the census that year, she is listed as Elizabeth, which is strange, because her name was Anna Henrietta, and this is the only record that records her by this name.  Her occupation by then is that of a cook for a convent.11

Later, Anna would move in with her daughter Mae and her husband John F. Stamm.  In 1940, they are living at 14 Plymouth Street, Hempstead, Nassau County on Long Island. She was no longer working at that time, and was supported by her daughter and son-in-law.  John Stamm was working as a printer and earning $5000 a year.12

She lived with Mae and John for the rest of her life, dying in January 1967 at the age of 85.13 1910 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Operations Inc., 2006.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910.  Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Serial: T624, Roll: 977, page 3B, Enumeration District: 0783, FHL microfilm: 1374990. 1920 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Operations Inc., 2010.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920.  Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 22, Kings, New York; Serial: T625, Roll: 1179, page 9a, Enumeration District: 1409, Image: 968. 1930 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Operations Inc., 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930.  Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Serial: T626, Roll: 1540, Page: 13A, Enumeration District: 0483, Image: 563, FHL microfilm: 2341275. 1940 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Operations Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940.  Census Place: Hempstead, Nassau, New York; Serial: T627, Roll: 2689, Page: 11a, Enumeration District: 30-178. New York State Census, 1892 [database]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education. 1892 New York State Census. Albany, NY: New York State Library. New York State Census, 1905 [database]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original Data: New York State Census, 1905. Population Schedules. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Election District: A.D. 21, E.D. 19, City: Brooklyn, County: Kings. New York State Census, 1915 [database]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: State Population Census Schedules, 1915. Albany, New York: New York State Archives. Election District: 44, Assembly District: 22, City: New York, County: Kings, Page: 43.

“Anna Noteboom”, Stamboom Dusseljee, Geneaologieonline,, accessed 7 January 2015.

  1. 1900 United States Federal Census [database].  Provo, UT: Operations Inc., 2004.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.  Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900.  Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Serial: T623, Roll: 1064, page 2A, Enumeration District: 0467, FHL microfilm: 1241064. 
  2. New York State Census, 1892
  3. Letter from Gerald Thomas to his daughters, April 1979. Photocopy in collection of author. Original location unknown. 
  4. 1900 United States Federal Census
  5. New York State Census, 1905. 
  6. Letter from Gerald Thomas. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  7. Letter from Gerald Thomas. 
  8. New York State Census, 1915. 
  9. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  10. New York State Census, 1925
  11. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  12. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  13. Letter from Gerald Thomas. 

Walter Noteboom’s Netherlands Birth Registration

I came across a website with images of vital records in the Netherlands.  Excitingly, it contained the records for several members of the Noteboom family, including my 3rd great grandfather, Walter.  Below is a rough translation I was able to do using Google Translate.  Some of the handwritten words, particularly the names may not be exactly right.  This is an exciting find because it confirms his parents’ names, and his father’s occupation.  I had seen an unsourced notation that his father was a fabric dyer (confirmed!), who died in 1850 of indigo poisoning (unconfirmed).

Birth Registration for Wolter [Walter] Noteboom, born November 12, 1844 in Winschoten, Netherlands

Wolter Noteboom Birth Registration

Wolter Noteboom Birth Registration

In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, the thirteenth of the month of November for our undersigned Councillor official of the Civil State of the municipality Wins
choten, District Winschoten, Groningen Province, appeared Wolter Noteboom, thirty-nine years old, of professional Dyer and [Squeezer] and Calenderer, residing Winschoten, which stated that on the twelfth of the month of November in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, in the evening at six o’clock, within the municipality of Winschoten, a child is born of the male sex, to which the first name Wolter shall be given; of which child’s Mother is, Henderina Weerdt, and Father Wolter Noteboom said spouses.

And this declaration and statement done in the presence of William Guits Strootman, aged sixty years, occupation Hatter, residing in Winschoten, and Frederik Jan Hockzema, aged fifty-one years, a professional Book Seller, residing in Winschoten, as to do so elected witnesses selected by the party.

Of which this deed and immediately enrolled in the [twice] in the birth registry of this town, and this deed after them was read to witnesses appearing and signed by them beside us.


Original Dutch:

In het jaar duizend achthonderd vier en veertig, den dertienden der maand November voor ons Ondergeteekende Wethouder ambtenaar van den Burgerlijken Stand der gemeente Winschoten, Arrondissement Winschoten, Provincie Groningen, is verschenen Wolter Noteboom oud negenendertig jaren, van beroep Stoffenverver en Perser en Kalender, wonende te Winschoten, dewelke heeft verklaard, dat op den twaalfden der maand November des jaars duizend achthonderd vier en veertig, de avonds te zes uur, te Winschoten, binnen deze gemeente, een kind is geboren van het Mannelijk geslacht, aan hetwelk de voorna um Wolter gegeven zal worden; van welk kind Moeder is, Henderina Weerdt, en Vader Wolter Noteboom voornoemd echtelieden.

En is deze aangifte en verklaring geschied in tegenwoordigheid van Willem Guits Strrotman, oud eenenzestig jaren, van beroep Hoedenmaker, wonende te Winschoten, en van Frederik Jan Hockzema, oud eenenvijftig jaren, van beroep Boekverkooper, wonende te Winschoten, als daartoe door den belanghebbende gekozene getuigen.

Waarvan deze akte dadelijk is opgemaakt en ingeschreven op de beide dubbelen van het geboorte-register dezer gemeente, en is deze akte, nadat dezelve aan comparant en getuigen was voorgelezen door hun nevens ons ondertekend.

Discovering the Notebooms

My understanding of the Noteboom line of  my family history ended with my third great-grandfather Walter Noteboom, who was born in 1845 in the Netherlands.  That’s  it – nothing more.  The Noteboom line was an enigma… until recently. I had the fortunate luck of receiving some assistance from a visitor to this blog, Peter Miebies.  He pointed me to a database for Dutch genealogy at

On that site, I found a pedigree that included Walter Noteboom (though this pedigree listed his first name as Wolter).  The Stamboom Dusseljee [Dusseljee Pedigree] was published by J. Lodewijks in 2008.  We’ve exchanged preliminary emails and information – she’s sent me information from her database and I’m sending her information about what happened to Walter and his family in the United States.

I’ve been spending time going through all the information in her tree – it documents four more generations back from Walter.  It’s a lot of data, and there is not a lot of source documentation, so at this point the information is largely anecdotal and/or unproven.  However, there is a lot of really interesting information that will be fun to delve into.

Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

One of the first things to pique my interest was the marriage 6th great grandparents Sjouke Sijes Noteboom and Jannetje Zweersen. Sjouke Sijes Noteboom was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church on October 2, 1707 in Oenkerk, Friesland, Netherlands.  As an adult, he was a master carpenter.  He married Jannetje Zweersen on May 1, 1733 at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam.  Jannetje was born on February 8, 1713 in Zwolle.

According to Wikipedia, the Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest building from circa 1213, and its oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306.  Saint Nicolas is its patron saint.  It is situated on Oudekerksplein, the square in the main red-light district of Amsterdam.  Following the Reformation in 1578, it became the home of the Calvinist Dutch Reformed Church.

Wood vault ceiling, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

Some interesting historical notes about the Oude Kerk:

  • Rembrandt’s children were all christened there and his wife is buried there.
  • The wooden roof vault dates to 1390.
  • The floor is gravestones.  Citizens of Amsterdam were buried there until 1865 and there are more  2500 graves within the confines of the church.