|"Who has fully realised that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?"
Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)
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Lives of great men all remind us
"A Psalm of Life" (1839)
Your tombstone stands among the rest
When we record our heritage we take great pride in looking at our list of ancestors and admire their origins, migrations and accomplishments. But, what good is it - unless it's true?
We need stories and rumors, they are great and often lead to the truth! BUT - Help eliminate errors. Don't take anything as Fact! Check references for validity! If we don't our children's children will be led down false trails and they will never be able to find their true heritage.
Please take the time to read the following bits of information for insights which you may not have considered, or may have forgotten.
by Richard A. Pence [email protected]
As every genealogist knows, you can't be too careful when it comes to throwing things away. No piece of paper, book, periodical, pamphlet, program, syllabus, clipping, letter, post card -- whatever -- should be thoughtlessly discarded. You never know when you might need it.
I sensed trouble when it turned warm the other day. Every spring the cleaning bug takes a bite of my wife and eventually she reaches my office. This time, when I saw she had the stepladder with her, I knew it was big-time trouble!
Over the years I have developed some pretty good defenses to counter these annual spring cleaning rites. One method has been the "high-shelf shuffle." Way up high, beyond her reach, is where I put all the stuff that is beyond verbal justification.
She moved in, quickly got up on the ladder and began calling the roll: "Program for the 1987 NGS Conference?"
"I was on the program. It's got my name in it."
"There's a great article on finding ancestors in South America."
"You don't have any ancestors in South America."
"You never know."
"What about this pamphlet on GENEALOGY RESEARCH AT THE INDIANA STATE LIBRARY? It's dated 1986."
"That was the last time I was there. During Indy week."
"Summary of Your 1971 Employee Benefit Plan Options?"
"I was saving it in case I needed the notebook cover."
"For 30 years?"
"Here's a W-2 form for 1984."
"So that's where that went."
"What about these two boxes of genealogy magazines and journals?"
"There's good stuff in them!"
"When was the last time you looked at one?"
She had me there. "Well," I stalled, "I just can't throw them away without checking. Someone may need them."
"Maybe the library?"
"Call them. I'll get the number."
Trapped. My only hope was a sympathetic ear. Librarians know about saving things. If I can't keep all this stuff, at least I can find a decent home for it.
After pressing a couple of buttons, I got right through to the librarian in the Genealogy Room.
"Do you need any back issues of the NGS Quarterly?" I asked. "I've got about 25 years worth."
"Yeah. How did you know?"
"Third offer today."
"What about the Quarterlies?"
"Are you kidding? Not only do we get several offers a week, we're trying to get rid of ours. We have it all on CD-ROM now."
"Come to think of it, so do I," I mumbled.
I was getting desperate. "You've got to help me. My wife is in my office and she's throwing genealogy stuff away!"
"You could do what I do."
"Wait until the others are in bed and go out and salvage what you can."
"Worth a try, but she'll probably check."
"Maybe you could try some of the other libraries near by. You can see what they might need by checking their online catalogs. Or I can give you a list of libraries to call."
"Finding Your Ancestors In the Mississippi State Archives?"
"What about this stack of 'This Month at the Library's Genealogy Room'? There must be 200 of them."
"Wait a second, I'll check with the library."
If we can just get through spring without a flat tire, it may work out. By then I'll have most of the stuff I salvaged during the midnight foray back on the high shelves and we'll be able to find the spare in the car trunk.
As for next year -- the other day I saw an Office Depot ad for file cabinets with locks on them.
[Richard Pence is retired and up to his eyeballs in his one-name PENCE family study http://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/ He thinks he should have gotten the big bedroom when the kids moved out -- not the tiny one he now has to use as a combination office, library, archives, and computer center. His wife, only recently retired, divides her attention between creating a showcase guest room out of the big bedroom and scouting for fresh territory into which she can introduce those huge trash bags.]
[LIBRARIANS: Please e-mail your top five "wish list" of genealogical items to :[email protected] . Eds.]
By LeRoy F. Eastes
3 December 1999
When we record our heritage we take great pride in looking at our list of ancestors and admire their origins, migrations and accomplishments. But, what good is it - unless it's true?
In recent years there are more and more genealogical assumptions and misleading information being circulated due the coming of the internet. I know most of it is unintentional, as I have found myself guilty of doing the same thing in the past. This innocent practice comes about by picking up information that is not documented or if it is we don't check the validity of the references. Then with all good intentions, we record it and pass it on not knowing if it is true or not!
An element of error has always existed in genealogical research. If we look closely at public documents, errors have been found in almost every type of legal record that ever existed. Wills, marriage, birth, land, court and military records. Many times these are the results of human error but some have been intentionally induced for a variety of personal reasons.
The coming of the internet has been a great boon for genealogical research. At the same time it's multiplying errors and is out of control like a contagious disease. There are many individuals and organizations that collect files from donors everywhere they can be found, which in itself is fine. Unfortunately, not all of these records are correct. Many do not show any documentation, others are found with misleading and often inaccurate information and references. Also unfortunately, some researchers are too eager to grab the first thing that "sounds reasonable" and treat it as a gospel fact. These records are copied by the unwary, passed on to an untold number of others, accepted as fact and the problem is perpetuated into the future.
There is nothing wrong with recording and passing along estimates of dates, places and even theories and stories. This is where we find the key elements that lead to the true picture of the past. However, information of this nature must be recognized and treated as such by all of us.
This is a very serious problem and recognized by the National Genealogical Society. They felt it to so important they published a Special Edition to their quarterly publication, titled, "Evidence" - Volume 87, 3 September 1999.
The following are the Standards recommend by the Society and can be found on the internet at -
(I suggest everyone take a look at Consumer Relations while on this site)
(Recommended by the National Genealogical Society)
Remembering always that they are engaged in a quest for truth, family history researchers consistently -
Š1997 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.
This is followed by two more sections titled:
I encourage everyone to consider these guide lines. All of us who are searching for our ancestors should make an attempt to minimize the possibility of errors. If we don't, our children's children will be led down false trails and they will never be able to find their true heritage.
Reprinted with permission of Roy Eastes
by Juliana Smith
My husband Mark and I both love to cook. We love nothing more than creating a great meal from scratch, working from the ground up using "whole foods" to make a delicious meal. We both have our own specialties. While Mark makes incredible spaghetti sauce, lasagna, steaks on the grill, and salmon that seem to get better each time, my "specialties" include chicken paprikash (like my grandma used to make), pork chops, soups, and my own special recipe of ground turkey, rice, and veggies. (OK, enough of that, I'm getting hungry!)
When we cook, rather than reaching for processed ingredients and seasonings that may have lost some of their flavor or nutritional potency, we try to use only whole unprocessed foods and seasonings. Sure during the busy workweek, you will catch us eating the occasional tacos, pizza, burgers, or even the dreaded fast food fare, but we try to maintain a good balance and lean more toward home-cooked meals. Thankfully with two cooks in the house, this is a bit easier on us time-wise.
Similar to cooking, I like my family history research to include "whole," or original records. While it is a huge convenience to have "processed" records in the form of indexes, extracts, abstracts, databases, etc., when it comes to putting out a "healthy" family history, nothing beats the real thing! Here are some reasons why:
Many of the records we use to document our ancestry, do not pertain specifically to our ancestor, but rather record an entire group Census records, passenger lists, directories, military rosters, congregational records, and cemetery records are all examples of this. With this type of records, it is often very helpful to see your ancestors in the context of the whole group.
Census records are extremely helpful in this aspect. The obvious reason to view the actual census record versus the index, would be the additional information that it contains, particularly in later years when more questions were asked in these enumerations. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Other families residing at the same address or nearby often turn out to be relatives. Since travel was often difficult, you may find women marrying "the boy next door," particularly in rural area. In addition, since immigrants often traveled in groups, the neighbor in an immigrant's new home, may have been a neighbor in the old country as well.
When I locate an ancestor in the census, I like to browse the entire district. Not only does it give me a glimpse into the social nature of the neighborhood by looking at the various occupations and nationalities, but I have also occasionally found other family members or in-laws living nearby. Furthermore, the surnames I see in the area, often turn up as witnesses or spouses in later records.
Passenger records are another good example, since traveling companions were often family or neighbors in the old country. Families often came over in waves, with some coming over early to find work and a place to settle, and the wives, children, parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles coming over later. By seeing who came over together, you can see how the entire family assembled in the new country as time progressed. This can be helpful in identifying your family in other records when there were others with the same surname in the area.
Cemetery records also should be looked at in context. While finding Great-grandpa Joe in an index is helpful, it may not tell you that great-grandmother's family is in the plot right next to it!
Another important thing to remember is that with abstracts, extracts, indexes, and databases, facts that are of major significance to you might not have seemed as important to the indexer. The names of witnesses, addresses, causes of death, and other pertinent facts are often only found on the original records.
While errors will even be present on original records, the further a record is removed from the original, the more opportunity there is for more errors to be made. As it is transcribed into a printed index, the indexer may misinterpret a name. Later when the printed index is converted to database form, more errors can creep in.
Sometimes an entry can be missed entirely, leading you to believe that the record does not even exist. Too often we may find ourselves forming assumptions based on indexes that turn out to be false, which can lead to a lot of unnecessary frustration, head-banging, and hair loss!
While there are definitely inherent problems with indexes, extractions, abstracts, and databases, we probably would not get too far in our research without them. Apart from helping us speed up the research process by pointing us in the right direction, in some cases the index may be the only record that exists now. Courthouses burn, records deteriorate, and although the genealogist shudders to think of it, some are even destroyed intentionally. If they have been preserved in an index, or some other form, at least all is not lost.
Databases also give us ways to manipulate the data in ways that previously would have been impossible. A directory arranged alphabetically by surname can now be searched with the click of a mouse by address, occupation, and a variety of other ways that would have previously been difficult and time-consuming to say the least. Indexes previously only available in multiple volumes, can now be searched simultaneously. Huge database collections like those at Ancestry.com can help you search thousands of databases that span the globe all at once, as you look for those elusive ancestors that skipped town without leaving a clue.
While I truly enjoy cooking, there have still been hectic days when a pizza delivery has saved my sanity. But on the other hand, my fondness for cooking with good whole ingredients is important to our health. Similarly, original records will keep our research "healthy," while good indexes can help us to zero in on our ancestors and save our sanity and eyesight. The trick is to find a good balance.
Juliana Smith is the editor of the "Ancestry Daily News" and author of "The Ancestry Family Historian's Address Book." She has written for "Ancestry" Magazine and "Genealogical Computing." Juliana can be reached by e-mail at: [email protected], but regrets that she is unable to assist with personal research.
An archive of her Monday columns is available on the Ancestry.com site at:
If We Could See Our Ancestors
Visit Pauls's Site at: [email protected]
A topic more important to Internet Genealogy, and the one most overlooked, is the "Use of the Internet Search Engine".
Yahoo, Google, and Goto.com are just three of the many good Internet Search Engines out there on the Internet. You simply go to one of these search enginges, type a name in the Box and click on the Search Button and it will take you to a List of Sites which relate to the Keyword(s) you are searching for.
It seems that "Keywords" are something which many people find perplexing, and yet it shouldn't be.
The first thing people should know is that there is no law which governs the choosing of Keyword(s).
If you run a site which is about Comedians, you can choose a keyword of Angioplasty if you wish.
Web Masters/Designers have been choosing Frequently Used Keywords for years just to widen the audience they reach for their site. It didn't matter to them whether the word had anything to do with their site or not.
This means there is no such thing as the "Perfect" Keyword in searching for the sites you want. The best you can do is use the most logical words and hope for as few unrelated hits as possible. What could be simpler than that? :) Even asking those on the Mail List, or someone through E-Mail, often isn't faster -- for you have to wait for a reply. And sometimes replies never come. Some people even have typed in the name of an ancestor, or research subject, and found results useful for their searches.
So the use of the Internet Search Engines can be a valuable tool to utilize. And don't be afraid to try other search engines if the one you picked don't find anything to match your query. Quite often, one search engine will find information, where another won't.
by Juliana Smith
As family historians, we are like detectives. We spend much of our time analyzing the details of our ancestors' lives, collecting clues and stories, creating theories, and then proving or disproving those theories. We take great pride in our investigative abilities, but too often, we are swayed by the appeal of fast information and don't take the time to really look at the information that comes our way via the Internet.
Like many of the family stories we examine, the myths that surround Internet genealogy often contain a grain of truth, but the trick is in separating truth from fiction. So let's don our best Sherlock Holmes cape and magnifying glass and do a little sleuthing to get to the bottom of three common myths about Internet genealogy.
MYTH #1 - THE SILVER PLATTER: Just get hooked up to the Internet, log on to a site, and your ancestry will be presented to you on a silver platter.
by Merrell Kenworthy
I went searching for an ancestor, I cannot find him still.
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Internet Safety is an item which is not stressed enough. It is a topic which often is taken as a joke and disregarded. For one reason or another people seem to feel safe from the "Real World" while sitting behind their keyboards typing out messages. Their error is they forget the basic Safety Tips which they often use in "Real Life" situations.
The most dangerous thing about Internet Messaging is the people's failure to realize "Real Crimes" can and do exist as a result of the Net. Often you will hear people make comments such as "But this is not the "Real World", but that is their mistake for:
Contrary to many of the opinions you hear out there, there is no real difference between "Real Life" and life on the Internet. The internet is an extension of the `Real World'.
Most of us know of the dangers of the the "Real World". Theft, Vandalism and worse things which happen on a daily basis. We can't help to know these things, for the media is more than happy to state these sad stories 50 or 100 times a day over the various news programs, and newspapers.
Many people also know that it is virtually impossible for the Police to always be around when needed. Those in many cities and towns knows that it can take the police hours to come when called. As a result most people takes some sort of precaution to help protect themselves from the dangers of the Real World.
In addition, we also hear public service announcements which tell of ways to protect ourselves in today's society.. especially around the holidays.
On the Internet, similar dangers exist -- as well as some new ones which don't easily compare to "Real Life". One of my favorite analogies is:
"Imagine the Internet as a country of it's own. Just as in any Country, you have Cities and Counties to deal with, and each city or county has a method of handling the day to day problems, which may be similar to other cities and counties.
Come, look with me inside this drawer,
Contributed by: Doņa ([email protected])
|McDOTS, McUNDERLINES, and McSPACES
by Diana E. Roche
For years, I have been searching various databases for the relusive ancestors of my great-great-grandfather, John McKINZIE, born 1810 in Maryland, under a variety of spellings -- McKINZIE, MacKENZIE, McKENZIE, McKENSEY, and more. One day I accidentally stumbled onto a group of McKINZIEs in a database who were listed as MC KINZIE -- with a space between the C and K. I did a new search with the space and came up with lots of new names that had been entered with the space in the name. By sheer coincidence, within a few days I had found yet other unusual ways the name (in all forms) had been listed in various databases. Some names had been entered with an underscore between the C and K (MC_KINZIE) and there were even entries for MC.KINZIE -- McDots!
With so many of my ancestors' names starting with MC it occurred to me that searching with a space or dot or underscore between the C and the next letter in any of them might yield more results, so I searched on all variations. Paydirt! There were my McGEEs listed as MC.GEE, MC GEE, and MC_GEE.
IRISH CEMETERY RECORDS
CEMETERY LINKS: LONELY HEADSTONES IN IRISH CHURCHYARDS
I found these headstones found on a visit to Ireland. Please e-mail me if you would like a picture e-mailed to you.
In the cemetery of the old Roman Catholic Church in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland I found one headstone for both McGURK, Patrick, born ? died 1910? and McGURK, Brigid, born ? died 1915? I was told there was no one left to take care of this large, once beautiful headstone that at one time held an equally large Celtic cross. Family members have long since taken off for parts unknown. I felt sorry for it, not wanting it looking so forlorn and forgotten during the annual Cemetery Sunday outdoor mass, so I took it upon myself that Sunday, dressing it up a bit with some flowers, as the picture shows.
In the cemetery by the Old Killaghtee Church, County Donegal, Ireland, I found one headstone for all those named below:
DEANE, Michael D., born 1858 died 1885
I took the picture close enough to the headstone to read the inscriptions, yet it is very worn so I am not saying the dates are for sure. I took this picture for a friend with this last name and he got a kick out of it.
PARLOR SONGS (MIDIs). Musical Reminiscences, stories about the songwriters, and history of the songs of years gone by.
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HUMOR. Thanks to Joseph O. Sherman, MD, of Evanston, Illinois who explains, "I found the following message and reply on the GALWAY ADVERTISER Message Board."
Final Resting Place (Mike O'Lewis, 01-01-2001)
Re: Final Resting Place (Margaret O'Cahan)
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