My First Foray into DNA

Photo of Alice Carse Jackson.

Photo of Alice Carse Jackson.

As I sit writing this on a Sunday night, I’m wondering how another weekend came and went so quickly.  My wife and I were excited for this past weekend because it was the first in several months where we actually had no plans aside from church on Sunday.  Funny how “no plans” quickly turned into shopping, dog park, cleaning the house and the garage, and long sessions of tummy time and peek-a-boo with our son.  No wonder it went by so fast!  Not to worry though—I did find time to do my Family Tree University homework and some research.

I began the Google Earth for Genealogists class this week, and did a virtual tour of Rome!  I also learned how to get street-level views of my grandfather’s home where he grew up in Chicago.  As I continued trying to find when my ancestors came to America through the Irish Research 101 class, I was able to confirm that my Great-great-grandfather William Robert Lindsay arrived in New York on Sept. 22, 1888 from Ireland when he was 21 years old.  He came with his mother, Alice, brother, Thomas, and sister, Maggie.  I came across the record on months ago when putting together the tree for my mother (her maternal line).  However, like much of the other information I found at the very beginning, I didn’t take the time to verify that these individuals were actually my ancestors.

Last week I found William’s Naturalization Record and read the 1920 & 1930 census records to confirm the arrival date.  I also found a record from the Ireland Births and Baptisms collection that said William was born in County Down, Ireland to George Lindsay and Alice Jackson.  Then my grandmother, who was excited to see the tree, confirmed that William’s mother was, in fact, named Alice.  As a bonus, she even provided a picture!

A few months back, I came across a website devoted to research of the surname Lindsay, entitled   I found a researcher on there who described family origins similar to mine, so I emailed him what I had found and we began corresponding.  He was able to find records on another website that William had several other siblings, and that his father, George, died in 1887, just before William left for America with his mother and two of his siblings.  We weren’t able to prove our families were related, but he suggested that I ask a male Lindsay relative if he would agree to a DNA test through a Lindsay initiative with

It just so happens that the last living Lindsay in our family is my grandmother’s brother, Bill, whom I hadn’t seen in fifteen years.  At first I was hesitant. My only real familiarity with DNA came from crime shows like CSI.  I did some research and talked to my mom about it, and we began to feel more comfortable.  My grandmother was on board and reached out to him.  I sent him the details, along with a summary of the research I’d done on his family.  Just last week he agreed to do the test!  We immediately ordered the test and are now waiting for its arrival.  They said there’s a chance it won’t match anyone, but there’s no harm in getting my hopes up, right?

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.

Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:


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