About Me

Kitty Munson Cooper

image of Kitty Cooper

Kitty Munson Cooper at her son’s wedding in 2010

I am a blogger, genetic genealogist, genealogist, programmer, retired web designer, speaker, mother, grandmother, gardener, dog lover, cat lover, and World Champion Bridge player. For more about my web design company go to my business site Open Sky Web Design which has my resume as well. For more about my genealogy try my family history site. For more about my bridge career go to to my bridge teaching site.

In the late 90s I got the genealogy/family history bug after a beloved Aunt died with too many of her stories unrecorded. What happened was that I remet a second cousin who was a genealogist at her funeral. He showed me many charts of our ancestry. I had always loved listening to family stories from the older generation but now I felt that I had to preserve them. So I started a family history web site for my family with the pictures and stories that I collected.

Then in 2012 I did the NatGeo test, then 23andme, then Family Tree DNA for my Dad, then I got a few cousins to test and my brother. Found many cousins on the Norwegian side who helped break a few brick walls. Next we tried Ancestry.com DNA testing as well … yes I caught a severe case of the genetic genealogy bug and even started blogging about it, mainly to keep everything where my family and I could find it. Soon I found myself presenting and speaking about my passion as well; click here for my upcoming talk schedule.

ISpeaker Badge wrote my first program in 1966 and went to work as a programmer after I graduated from college (Harvard ’72 cum laude). I had intended to be an architect, combining my art and math skills. While in college, I decided to become an animated film maker instead. However I fell in love with computers along the way and took a job as a systems programmer to save up the money for grad school in film. Programming was so much fun that I never did go back to school.

When the internet got graphic, I saw a way to combine my artistic bent with programming and quit my corporate job to develop web sites as a free lancer.  That developed into my own business, Open Sky Web Design, with subcontractors and interns and my husband doing the back office work. Life is good.


10 thoughts on “About Me

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  1. Hi Kitty,

    I love your insightful articles about genetics and geneology.

    I am curious if you or anyone you know has ever tried DNA Spectrum’s test?

    I love getting information and feedback on comparisons, and also just stories about how the information our (or other tests) from your DNA have influenced your life.

    Best regards,

    Alice Edwards
    DNA Spectrum

  2. Hi Kitty,

    Do you do MySQL programming? I have a need for someone to create a program to search markers in a Y-DNA haplotype database. Please send your answer to my private email. Thanks!

  3. Wow, who knew? Have seen your name in many North American Bridge Championship Daily Bulletins, and here you are. Good to see another bridge player into genealogy. The age range for the two groups is about the same. Wonder why more aren’t into genealogy. Maybe genealogy people are a little older. I’m trying to grasp chromosome browsing after taking Ancestry, 23andme and FTDNA DNA tests (Y-chromosome & Autosomal with FTDNA) & uploading results to Gedmatch. Subscribed to your blog. Thanks!

    • Bill – There are a few bridge players that I know of who are into genealogy. The most notable one that I know of is Peggy Sutherlin, but very few also do DNA. Yes I agree it is surprising that there are not more of them. After all it is a wonderful and endless puzzle, much more interesting than a card game …

  4. Some months ago, you presented to the San Diego Genealogical Society. In neither your handout (still online) nor my notes can I find the sequence of “cheap” ways to do ONE full DNA test and then send – sequentially – the resultant database to other services. Help, pls?

    North San Diego County Genealogical society and Randy Seaver from SDGS both suggest the full blown Ancestry test, then sending the database result to FamilyTree & GEDMatch. It seems, though, that there was more.

    Ready to spit….

    • Yes, do a DNA test at Ancestry unless your family is very recently in the USA, then prefer 23andme. After results are back, upload to the others Randy mentioned plus MyHeritage and DNA.land

  5. See you are the site manager for the Beckjord family that immigrated from Norway. I bought a image of Knute H. Beckjord on e-bay and spent some time this afternoon researching his life. The image I have must be from the 1860s. I have not looked at the census records but he must be born around 1825-30.
    His sister or aunt was Joran Halvorsdatter (Julia) Beckjordan). Knute was a tailor in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was naturalized in Ramsey, Minnesota. He married a woman named Nellie and by the end of his life was living in a nice neighborhood in St. Paul at 788 West Osceola Avenue in a Georgian Revival built in 1890. By 1913 Nellie is a widow. Would you like an image of Knute?

  6. Dear Kitty,
    I am an adoptee and have tested through 23, Ancestry and Family Tree and am wondering if you assist privately, apart from your blog. I would certainly pay for the service.
    I have tested through 23, Ancestry and FT. I’m fortunate to have found my maternal family through extensive research and have been in contact with a (confirmed) half-aunt and uncle. My half-aunt and I tested and she came up as my 1st or 2nd cousin.
    I I’ve recently encountered a couple of 1st and 2nd paternal cousins on 23. I’m half Jewish, so I’m certain they are related through my father. My mother was Irish etc.
    I have a couple of things I would like to explore. First, my half-aunt’s DNA and segments on 23 are really close to my 2nd paternal cousin. I’m wondering if he might be a nephew or something other than cousin.
    To complicate things, my half-aunt has questioned whether her mother is her real mother (long story), and so I was wondering if you could read our results to help clarify.
    Second, I’m wondering if it’s possible to tell more specifically how the two paternal cousins are related. I know that the “cousin” rating can be any number of things. The first cousin is new to 23 and recently contacted me. Our shared DNA is 13, pretty high. From his writing style/language, I sense he is a good deal younger than me (I’m 66). He initially showed interest in exploring our relatedness, but I sense he may have some apprehension. .
    Thank you for reading through this long winded message! Hope it makes sense.
    If you are interested in assisting, I would be grateful, but I want to pay for your time. Please let me know how much you charge and all.
    I tried enrolling at GEDmatch but not sure I’m doing it right.
    Best Wishes, Lynda

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