ANCESTRY FAMILY TREES

I have now been introduced to Ancestry family trees. They are extremely creative. I am pretty sure it is inappropriate to use “genealogy” and “Ancestry family trees” in the same sentence.

I am amused by all the “hints” which lead to other family trees. Those trees have misinformation, creative information and no sources. They obviously copy from one another because the same errors are repeated over and over again.

I am not so amused to find they have stolen and used as their own my personal family pictures. In a couple lines the number of descendants is extremely limited. I don’t know the authors of those trees. They are clearly not descendants of the people in the photos. There is no way they would be the owners of the photos. Some still have my date stamp or other identifying marks on them. They have been stolen from places such as these blog posts, my web sites, ILGenWeb and FindAGrave.

I think the thing that upsets me most is having my family photos attached to the junk family trees.

Someone suggested I complain to Ancestry. Have you seen the process? Do you really think Ancestry cares?

Is this the price we pay for sharing information?

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FindMyPast

When I first saw FindMyPast I was particularly struck by the maps which show you the person’s location on that census. I could see many uses for that. And the census maps in FindMyPast would be useful — IF they were dependably accurate. But they aren’t. And there are too many I know aren’t to trust those I don’t know.

Robert Downing arrived in Illinois and settled along Salt Creek in the center of the state in 1821. I know what land he bought and where it is. It hasn’t moved since.

In the 1830 Census for SANGAMON County, Illinois, I found Robert Downing. There he is on a page with the folks that were his neighbors at the time, many of whom, or their descendants, would continue as his neighbors the rest of his life. With the transcription is the map of his location. He is found somewhere north of the Decatur airport. Decatur is in Macon County, Illinois.

From the 1840 census for Mt. Pulaski Precinct, LOGAN County, Illinois, I find Robert Downing. He didn’t move. In 1839 Logan was created from Sangamon. The transcript is correct. I know it is the right person, right neighbors, etc. Yet according to the map he is now northeast of Paris in EDGAR County, Illinois, just west of the Illinois-Indiana border. In 1850 he is in the same location in Edgar County. When I began to look for the 1860 census for him FindMyPast crashed.

In 1870 Robert is still farming but he is doing so from a house in the town of Mt. Pulaski according to the map. The census sheet show his neighbors, all those farmers. Amazing that they all moved to town together isn’t it? In 1880 Robert, now a man of 86, retired farmer, living with his wife, son, daughter in law and grandchildren, is again located in the town of Mt. Pulaski according to the map. Unfortunately the actual census page shows his neighbors to be people living on farms. At this point it crashed again. It seems to do that a lot.

FindMyPast also has the Social Security Death Index. The searches I did returned what I expected. You can get the SSDI free at FamilySearch.org though.

Posted in census, Downing, FindMyPast, Logan County, Sangamon County, SSDI | Leave a comment

Birth Certificates

Birth certificates have gone big time. Everyone wants to see your birth certificate. Like genealogists they see them as accurate proof of birth.

I am looking at a certificate of birth issued by the State of Illinois. Dwight H. Green was Governor. I know, just as trivia, he was the governor before Adlai Stevenson so that gives me a date range and sure enough, it was issued in 1947. 
It was created at the county level. I personally knew every person who is named at that level and am familiar with their signatures. I know therefore that it is a transcript of the actual certificate and the signatures are not real. While I would think that would be obvious just looking at it you just never know who has questions.
The birth, however, took place in the prior century. Nowhere on the document does it say “delayed” or other term that would indicate same.
The father’s birthplace, city, is not listed and the state is wrong. The mother’s birthplace, city, is not listed. The person giving the information states: “I HEREBY CERTIFY that I had actual knowledge of the facts as stated in this RECORD OF BIRTH at the time the birth occurred, and know them to be be true; and that I am related to this person as mother and that I am at least one year older.”
The “I am at least one year older” always amuses me. One year olds have “actual knowledge of the facts…at the time the birth occurred…” Really?
So we have the person and her mother and then the Notary Public who attests to all this. The Notary is the signer’s youngest son. 
The informant, who is the mother, doesn’t know exactly where she was born and she is wrong about even the state of her husband’s birth. All of the persons who signed off at the county level are members of the same family. No other person signed off on it at the county level. It went to the state and was duly issued. 
Why do we think birth certificates are reliable sources?
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Death Certificates

It’s good genealogical practice to collect as much documentation as you can and certainly of critical facts. Birth and death are some of those critical facts. So we dutifully go to the courthouse or write or call and we spend a lot of money on vital records. We get them home, scan them into our computers and then what? Buy a bigger file drawer to store paper? Why are we doing this? The courthouses do not need our business.

Let’s look at death certificates. The more first hand experience dealing with death and the resulting death certificates I have the more inaccuracies I notice.

First, a death certificate is not a primary source. It is rarely if ever signed by a person who witnessed the death but rather the doctor of record for the person or the facility. S/he may not have seen the person in some time. Someone with some authority told them the person was dead and they signed off on it.  Hmm. I see a mystery plot here.

The person who provided the background information on the person may have no clue. They don’t have to be related or present at the death or even have seen the person lately. If you haven’t noticed this before look at some of those in your collection.

Ok, the death date. Has to right, right? Ever talk to a witness to the death of someone who died in hospice at night? It might be the next day before the official arrives to officially declare them dead. Same thing happens in facilities. What about a person who dies unattended and that fact is not known for awhile, maybe days?

The death certificate probably is accurate as to the name of the funeral director. Very rarely, old funeral home records are located and, even more rarely, are made available to the public. Somehow I don’t think knowing that is the reason we are collecting the death certificates.

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The Genealogy Police

There is a lot of jabber in the blogs now about fantasy genealogy. I agree there is a lot of it out there. As I have written before, my line back to Adam can be found online, free even. The fantasy genealogy needs to stop. I agree with that too.

But the alternative seems to be The Genealogy Police.

The Genealogy Police challenge every little factoid. “It says here your mother stubbed her toe in 1943? Do you have three pieces of documentation, in duplicate and properly cited, for that?”

Is the idea to drive everyone but the select few out of genealogy, make it an elite specialty field? It seems like that at times.

If that is not the motive – and I certainly hope it isn’t – then the police need to rethink their methods. If they drive people out of genealogy there will be no market for the field and the specialty product niche they are trying to create. Ooops.

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Grave terms of use | The Legal Genealogist

Grave terms of use | The Legal Genealogist

If you are thinking of contributing to a graves web site read this blog by attorney and genealogist Judy G. Russell.

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THREE BROTHERS

There were three brothers who went to Illinois. Most genealogists will tell you if it starts with “there were three brothers” or a descent from an Indian princess or royalty it is likely fantasy genealogy. Not so fast.

David Clark of Rahway, New Jersey, married Sarah Winans. They had nine known children, all born in New Jersey. The youngest three, all boys, were David, John Winans and Isaac – our three brothers who went to Illinois. They all went from Rahway to Miami County, Ohio, to Sangamon County, Illinois, although not together.

David Clark  went to Kentucky in 1798 and married Rachel Rutter there about 1800. She died in 1804. He went to Cincinnati in 1805, made brick for the first brick house there, then went back to New Jersey where in 1806 he married Sarah Winans. They became, like his parents, David Clark and Sarah Winans. In 1809 they moved to Miami County, Ohio. David’s oldest son Richard Winans Clark married John Winans’ second daughter Margaret Ann Clark in 1829 in Miami County, Ohio. The same year David, Sarah, the newlyweds and most of David and Sarah’s other children packed up and moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. David was a farmer and a Methodist preacher.

John Winans married Ann “Nancy” Isgrig in Bourbon County, Kentucky. They soon went to Miami County, Ohio. Family records indicate that their son Daniel was born in Ohio in 1812 but John Winans did service in the War of 1812 in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, mustering in on August 31, 1813. After that he was undoubtedly in Ohio. He did not settle in Sangamon County, soon to be Logan County, Illinois, until 1838 when he was 60 years old. At that time his eldest daughter Hannah and her husband Asa French also moved to Logan County.

Isaac, the youngest, first married Lydia Zeliph. She died before 1821. He then married the widow Sarah Royal Stought, in Miami County, Ohio.  In 1829 they went Illinois, almost certainly stopping first in Sangamon County, where Sarah’s daughter Hannah by her first marriage married David Ward Clark, a child of Isaac’s brother John Winans, in Sangamon now Logan in 1831. Note that John Winans was not yet in Illinois but several of his children were. Issac settled in Fulton County where he owned a water powered grist mill.

Three brothers did come to Illinois. So far no Indian princesses or royalty. My emigrant Isgrig ancestor was transported to America by his majesty, a prisoner from Old Bailey – does that make a royalty connection?

Posted in clark, french, Fulton County, Isgrig, Logan County, Methodist, Miami County, Old Bailey, Sangamon County, Winans | Leave a comment

Mapping My Ancestors

Mapping your family’s historical residences comes up from time to time. Recently blogger Randy Seaver wrote about it in his Genea-Musings. Genealogist Lisa Louise Cooke did an excellent webinar on the subject for RootsMagic. I have her  CD set “Google Earth for Genealogy.” It covers more than just mapping. There is a genealogy program “Map My Family Tree” which works with many genealogy database programs.

Randy started in 1900. My rule of thumb is start with grandparents to protect privacy. Another reason is programs like “Map My Family Tree” and Google Earth have issues with names of locations that aren’t the same as they are today – it may be Logan County now but then it was Sangamon County – or no longer exist. Yankeetown and Bakerville, both of which were just west of what is now Chestnut, come to mind.

Here is the movement of my maternal grandfather’s paternal line, 1850-1975. I can tell you the rest of the lines look about the same although a couple did go out to southeast Kansas and look around temporarily before turning around and heading back home. Let me tell you, it is not terribly exciting to map moving across the field. There were no addresses, street or otherwise, so Downing Cemetery is pivotal to this story.

In 1850 my great great grandfather Samuel lived in a house (which still stands) next to Downing Cemetery. His son William Nelson, a minor, lived with him. William Nelson’s mother had died in 1847 which is the reason for Downing Cemetery. In 1862 William Nelson married Delilah Downing (yes, her maiden name was Downing). A couple months later he went off to the Civil War. William Nelson returned from the war to Downing Cemetery.

William Henry, my great grandfather, lived with his mother Delilah and her new husband David Shellhammer about a mile down the road east which was not far from where she grew up. When William Henry married in 1886 (to Eliza Harding who lived a little further down the road east in the next township) they moved to a house on land he owned across the field from his grandfather’s house, the one next to Downing Cemetery.

Things went well. Four sons were born. William Henry then built a new house across the field and down half a mile on a little high spot. High means a couple feet above the surrounding land. The new house was a mile due south of Downing Cemetery. In 1903 William Henry died in the typhoid epidemic. In 1910 his son Ellis married  Ethel Ryan and moved his wife into the house. Shortly before she died in 1975 Ellis and Ethel moved to a house in town. Ellis lived in that house in town until he died in 1978. Moving to town – probably two miles if you are a bird, about three by road – was the longest move of his life.

These places can all be viewed on one screen of Google Earth. That same screen can show the cemeteries where all of these people are buried, including Delilah’s parents, and the resolution will be high enough you can pick out houses.

Posted in Downing, google earth, map my family tree, Seaver | Leave a comment

Android Genealogy

Way back when I had a Palm which I loved. I had three before Palm stopped making the organizers. I tried other things but it was years before I found an iPod Touch. I have since added an iPad. I tried FamViewer, GEDViewer and Families on them. My comments on FamViewer are here . If you read the comments the developer tells about GEDViewer which I then tried and wrote about here.

Families is only for Legacy software. It allows you to put your entire database on it, add to it while out and about, sync back to your computer. You need to make sure you have the latest database on your idevice, upload it and sync back BEFORE you change something on your computer. If you take a computer along and forget to sync first there is a problem. I sat through the Legacy webinar on Families. While I like having my whole database I am not comfortable doing the sync thing as a general rule. On a specific trip maybe. Here’s the webinar. (Scroll down to April 11, 2012.)

This week I got a new phone, an Android. I had GedStar Pro on my Palm. It is not available for idevices (and never will be the developer says) but it is available for Android. I made haste to install it. It is simple but it has everything. You can look up names, families, pedigrees, descendants. You can view your sources, even the details. On some screens, including marriage and burial, you can get a map of the location. On all the maps I tried it got it right even though my locations do not always conform to naming systems required by my genealogy programs – and which their mapping programs whine about.

The program requires first converting your database. It converts directly from Legacy and The Master Genealogist, requires a GEDCOM for other programs. Once you have that there are several ways to get it on your device but the easiest – which they encourage – is to use Dropbox. The developer’s web site has all the documentation and it won’t take you long to read the whole thing. It is very simple to use.(Hints: install the program, open it on your device once, then proceed with making the file conversion. When making the conversion save the file to Dropbox rather than moving it there later.)

Families is also available for the Android. Julie Cahill Tarr has written a series of articles on apps she uses for her Kindle Fire (an Android device) here. She discusses Families for Android, the Ancestry app (which is available for Apple and Android) and a couple non genealogy programs she uses which I also use.

Posted in Android, Apple, apps, Dropbox, Families, FamViewer, Gedstar Pro, GEDviewer, Kindle Fire, Legacy, TMG | Leave a comment

FamilySearch Family Tree

You’ve been wanting access to FamilySearch Family Tree, right? The link tells you how:
http://broadcast.lds.org/eLearning/fhd/Community/en/FamilySearch/FamilyTree/pdf/familyTreeAccess.pdf

Be careful what you wish for though. I’ve been on it for about a year and, frankly, it’s a major mess. Here’s what James Tanner has to say:
http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2012/04/sorting-out-relatives-in-family-tree.html

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