In April 9 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
"We're expecting to have a pretty good turn out," Danny Coffey said. "Some are coming from Washington State, Virginia, Iowa, and Oklahoma. They're just coming from everywhere."
Danny Coffey, of Jamestown, is hosting the Coffee/Coffey Cousins Convention scheduled Friday, May 1st through Sunday, May 3rd at Lake Cumberland Resort State Park.
About 55 cousins from across the U.S. have made reservations to attend and more will probably show up for the annual event.
The group meets at different locations around the country each year to make it available to people in different regions. Next year, the convention will be held in Wilmington, Delaware.
Fred Coffey of Houston, Texas who has been researching his family tree for 6 years, will speak to the group about the DNA project and census research Friday, May 1 at 1 p.m. at the Activity Center at Lure Lodge.
Collaboratively, Fred Coffey and his cousin Kevin Coffey have been examining all the Coffey names found in the 1830 through 1880 censuses of Russell and surrounding counties. The two are attempting to connect all Coffeys found in the censuses to a Coffey Family Genealogy.
"As far as we can tell," said Fred Coffey. "It seems that essentially every Coffey/Coffee in Russell and surrounding counties is descended from the Edward Coffey who appeared in Virginia in 1699."
Saturday morning many of the Coffee/Coffey cousins will head to local libraries and county clerk offices to research. Some will visit the Rock House and Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.
Any Coffee/Coffeys who are interested are welcome to attend. There will also be a banquet at the State Park at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 2, 2009 for the cousins.
Another program this Saturday of interest to folks beginning the process of researching and documenting family history, is Genealogy Basics, Parts 1 and 2 held 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST at the Thomas D. Clark center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.
The free workshop hosted by the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) and Kentucky Genealogical Society (KGS) will feature genealogist and publisher Sandi Gorin who will discuss how to get started researching ancestry.
For the avid researcher like Danny Coffey, another popular tool these days is DNA testing to identify connections to other family members DNA records.
"The DNA test proves we have a common relative," said Danny Coffey.
Coffey says when he first signed up for the testing Family Tree DNA sent him a kit with swabs to collect DNA samples from inside his mouth.
Many different tests are available from Family Tree DNA, the company Danny Coffey used to test his DNA. The tests range in price from $99 for a single panel to $839 for a combination of several tests at once.
Researchers may order one test and then add others individually over a period of time.
"[Family Tree DNA] saves the sample that you send them and test the same sample so you don't have to do it again," Danny Coffey said.
Danny Coffey received positive results regarding his family heritage.
"The DNA test proves I'm from the Edward Coffey line that came from Ireland in the early 1700's," Danny Coffey said.
He says he did have some apprehension about what the results would prove before receiving the assessment.
"I thought 'What if it comes back that I'm not a Coffey?'" said Danny Coffey. "When I got my results back I chuckled and said 'What a relief.'"
At least one of the cousins has discovered he came through an adopted branch and the DNA project helped him to locate his biological family.
"It's very interesting," said Danny Coffey. "They've linked up a lot of families with this information."
Danny Coffey says his ambition is to eventually find all the pieces to his family tree puzzle. He hit a wall with his great-great grandfather, Jackson V. Coffey who helped build the original Russell County Courthouse. As yet, Danny Coffey has not identified the parents or grandparents of his great-great grandfather or even located the burial site for Jackson V. Coffey.
"I'm going to keep digging and hopefully I'll learn something," said Danny Coffey.
For additional information about the Coffee/Coffey Cousins Convention, call Danny Coffey at 270-343-3576.
To make a reservation for the Kentucky Historical Society's workshop, Genealogy Basics, Parts 1 and 2, call 502-564-1792, ext. 4460 or email RefDesk@ky.gov. The deadline for registration is Friday, April 10 by noon EST. Learn more about the Family-History Workshop programs and other resources for genealogical research on the KHS website www.history.ky.gov.