Motivation Monday — I’m On The Clock!

While I was at FGS 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama I took the plunge and started my CG clock.  I was being nudged.  Mark Lowe said something about steel toed boots! I  had been considering doing this since I graduated from my BU course and the time seemed right.  I’m also doing this with 3 friends….a little encouragement along the way should be a good thing.

So I have a year to complete the following tasks:

  1. Sign an ethics statement.  This seems like a reasonable thing to do. :-)
  2. Write a resume from a genealogical point of view.  I can do that.
  3. Do a transcription, abstraction, and research plan for a document selected by BCG.   I can do this, I’ve done in class and I get the idea.
  4. Same as #3 but for a document of my choosing.  I’ve got an awesome chancery case.
  5. Client Report.  Needs to be meat enough to show off my skills.  And given that I’ve never had a paying client, it has to be pro bono work.  If you’ve got a big southern problem, let me know.
  6. Conflicting or Indirect Evidence.  I know how to write a proof, the trick on this one will be selecting something that is complex enough to show off my skills.
  7. Narrative lineage.  I’ve picked 3 couples from my tree and I’m looking forward to this one.

After listening to many current CGs talk, I’m looking at this next year as not a OMG I have to prove myself, but a really good learning experience.    This is not about being the most brilliant genealogist but about proving to myself I understand the process and how records are used to illustrate the lives of our ancestors.

Oh, and reading instructions.   Critical for every application!

I am really excited.

How Is Genealogy Like The Oldest Profession? And Other Happenings from FGS 2012

So I was at FGS 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama this week and I meant to post.  Really I did.  But between meeting with librarians, attending classes, spending time with old friends, meeting new friends and maybe spending just a little time at the bar, it just didn’t happen.

My first day was Librarian’s Day and it was great fun.

Librarian’s Day 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Great speakers and great company.  I ate lunch with Sedalia Gaines and Valencia King Nelson.  Valencia is the pioneer in web based African American research; Sedalia also works on Afrigeneas.org and they entertained and educated me with stories on their past and how to do African American research.  I will be catching up with these ladies at a later date to learn more!

The next day, I took the plunge and put myself on the clock for certification.  I have a year (until the endo of August) submit my application for BCG Certification.  There is no going back now.  I’m excited, more about that to come.

For me, the highlight of Friday was our focus group with librarians.  This was very work related and I learned quite a bit about how they use Ancestry.com in libraries.  If you don’t have an subscription to Ancestry.com, check your library, they might.

Saturday, I caught up with more friends, attended more classes, talked to more librarians and then flew home.  It was a great conference.

And in case you wondering, how is genealogy like the oldest profession?  First you do it for love, first you do it for friends and then you do it for money.  (It’s funny if you are a genealogy geek like me!)

I should be back to regular posts this week!

Sorting Saturday — Good Source, Bad Source, Exhaustive Search

To abide by the Genealogical Proof Standard you must do an exhaustive search. 1

We know that includes vital records, deeds, probate, tombstones and a wide variety of original and derivative sources.  But in the age of the internet, what else does it include? How many sites should we look at?  Random Google searches are not the answer I do believe, but are sites that we know to hold sometimes questionable research part of a exhaustive search?

A Southern Sleuth mentions in Treasured Find, how a SLIG instructor mentioned that “one of the instructors reminded our class of the value of checking online trees to determine what research may have been done by other individuals.”  She continues to discuss how she has often rejected online trees because there is quite a bit of bad research or just complete fabrication in those trees, but she decided to add them to her list.

A capture of my paternal grandfather’s online tree.

I have also stopped looking at online trees because sifting through them looking for nuggets is much like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

I also received a comment on this blog from a reader who didn’t have a lot of faith in Find A Grave because there is some bad information on the site.  And indeed there is.  There are plenty of memorials without any kind of documentation, even tombstones, and extra information is added without supporting documentation.  This is a function of the site, it is not set up for supporting documentation other than photos.

This memorial of Mary Hartigan Cash, my ggg grandmother’s memorial on Find A Grave has information supported by the picture of the tombstone, which states her birth year, death date and that she was the wife of Ready Cash. 2

Find A Grave Memorial for Mary Hartigan Cash

It also states that she and Ready had three children, Franklin, Mary E and Virginia, and there is no supporting documentation.  This doesn’t mean the information is wrong, it is actually correct, although my gg grandmother, Martha Jane Cash is left out of the list.

So what is a good source? What is a bad source?

SOURCES provide INFORMATION from which we select EVIDENCE for ANALYSIS. A sound CONCLUSION may then be considered “PROOF.”

— Elizabeth Shown Mills 3

When the information is selected from the source, it’s validity depends on the informant and what their knowledge is of the event.  The source itself is not good or bad.  It is just a source.  The question being asked determines if the information is evidence and analysis determines if the information is part of the proof.  Conflicting evidence must be considered and explained.

Whoever supplied the information for Mary’s tombstone, not the Find A Grave memorial,  probably had good knowledge of her death date, 29 Aug 1887.  In fact, he or she may have been a primary informant if present at her death. But given that she was 87 years old when she died, it is doubtful that they were a witness to her birth, so that person was at best a secondary information.

As for the children of Ready and Mary, the person stating the information, most likely did not have direct knowledge of the children and their parents.  However, the supporting documentation may be there, but we don’t know because it is not listed.

So what does all this mean? The Find A Grave memorial may or may not be good evidence, it depends on the question. There are four possible questions that pop to mind that be answered by this particular source:

  1. When did Mary Hartigan Cash die?
  2. Who was Mary’s husband?
  3. When was Mary born?
  4. Who were the children of Ready and Mary?

The quality of the evidence from the Find A Grave source depends on which question you are trying to answer.  To do good quality genealogy you must do a exhaustive search.  You may choose to reject the evidence because of who the informant is, other conflicting information, or lack of documentation.  But you must examine all the sources available to you.  And online trees and Find A Grave and other online sources hold both good and bad information that must be included in an exhaustive search.

Footnotes

1. Board for Certification of Genealogist, “The Genealogical Proof Standard,” BCGCertification.org (http: //www.bcgcertification.org/resources/standards.html : accessed 25 Aug 2012).
2. Find A Grave, Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 2 Aug 2012), memorial page for Mary Hartigan Cash, Find A Grave Memorial no. 41042042, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
3. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3d ed., digital ed. (Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 2012), 3.

Follow Friday — Senseless Vandalism and Other Posts to Make You Think

Here is what inspired, moved and made me think this past week:

Treasure Chest Thursday — Gillespie Marriages from Amherst Virgina

Here are couple of the images I pulled from the Amherst, Virginia Register.

I’ll transcribe underneath.  Page 8. 1

William Gillespie and Ann Hudson and Sherrod Moore Gillespie and Sally Horsley

  • 1777 Dec 23; Gillaspie, William; Hudson, Ann;Security and Witnesses: Joshua Hudson; Edm Wilcox
  • 1777 Dec 28; Ware, William; Davis, Patty (Patta); Security and Witnesses: Thos. Waugh; Jno Ware, James Franklin
  • 1778 Jan 4; Fitzhugh, Thomas of Stafford Co., Rose Ann (Anne); Parents or Guardian of Wife: Rose, John, father of Anne; Security and Witnesses: Patrick Rose; Edumund Wilcox, Charles Rose, Jo. Alen
  • 1778 Jan 5; Stovall, George (minor); Mitchell, Ann (Anna); Parents or Guardian of Wife: Mitchell, Archelaus, father of Anna; Security and Witnesses: Joseph Cooper; James Franklin, Thomas Stovall
  • 1778 Feb 12; Galespey (ie), Sherod Moore; Horsley, Salley; Security and Witnesses: John Thurmond; Roland Horsley, William Loving
  • 1778 May 4; Shepherd, David; Penn, Betsey; Parents or Guardian of Wife: Penn, Gabriel; Security and Witnesses: Patrick Rose; Wm. Loving, Richard Alcock
  • 1778 July 6; Oglesbey, Richard (widower); Cash, ? (widow); Security  and Witnesses: Richard Ballinger; Wm. Loving
  • 1778 July 8; Herd, John (Heard); Montgomery, Mary; Security and Witnesses: David Montgomery, jr., Wm. Loving, Jean Montgomery, Wm. Reid, Jr
  • 1778 Nov 11; Vaughn, Cornelius; Carter, Nancy; Parent or Guardian of Husband: Edward, Joseph (guardian); Parent or Guardian of Wife: Carter, Job; Security and Witnesses: William Carter, John Vaughan, William Loving

Page 11.2

Marriage Register for Robert Hudson and Lucy Gillespie

  • 1779 Oct 23; Hudson, Robert; Galaspie, Lucey; Parent or Guardian of Wife: Galaspie, George; Security and Witnesses: Sherred More Glaspie (Sherod Moore Galaspie), William Glaspie
  • 1779 Nov 12; Perkins, Richard jr., 21 years of age; Moore, Betsey; Parent or Guardian of Husband: Perkins, Rich’d; Parent or Guardian of Wife: Moore, Benjamin; Security and Witnesses: George Purvis; Charles Martin, William Pearce, William Oglesby, John Morric
  • 1779 Nov 19; Davis, Moses; Carter, Millacent; Parents or Guardian of Wife: Carter, Soloman, Carter, Mary; Security and Witnesses: John Ware, William Ware, Peter Carter, John Eubank
  • 1779 Dec 25; Woods, Samuel (widower); Rise, Sarah; Security and Witnesses: John Loving jr; Neonemo Loving
  • 1779 Dec 29; Massey, John; Tucker, Lucretia Edee; Parents or Guardian of Wife: Tucker, Matthew; Security or Witnesses: Christopher Irwin, Louisa Irwin
  • 1780 Jan 17; Bell, Samuel; Mitchell, Sally; Security and Witnesses: David Shepherd
  • 1780 Jan 28; Fortune, Williamson of Albemarle Co. born 4 Dec 1758; Henderson, Sarah; Parents or Guardian of Husband: Fortune, John of Albemarle Co.; Parents or Guardian of Wife: Henderson, William, jr; Security and Witnesses: William Henderson, Josh. Taliaferro, William Loving, (?)orge Purvis
  • 1780 Feb 1; Powell, Richd; Muffitt, Elizabeth (widow); Security and Witnesses: Thomas Powell; John Walker, John Buchanan
Footnotes

1. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 8; FHL microfilm 30273
2. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages,” p. 11.

Wisdom Wednesday — Review Your Work and Why Sources are Important When You Have Conflicting Evidence

I’ve probably been at this about 10 years, give or take, and I’ve been a lot more serious about it in the last couple of years.   I made a vow to go back and review and fix all of my sources and I started with my paternal grandfather’s line.  Slow work, but I am making progress.

I’m so glad I’ve done this.  This is the first line I started working on, and my lack of experience and my willingness to jump to conclusion and accept them as fact is quite stunning.

Last night I had a few free hours before my plane left  and I stopped by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I looked up microfilm for Amherst, Virginia and came across Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853.

Now, I will admit, that I’ve looked at many a microfilm, and gone back to it thinking that I hadn’t seen it only to find that I had.  But this was not the case.

From reading the description, I expected to find the actual marriage bonds, and for the most part, the film seemed to be a typewritten index (for which I was very grateful) and a hand written register of all of the marriage bonds that they had seen.  The register was recorded in chronological order, so the index, that was alphabetical was quite useful, as I decided to do a Surname survey for the name Gillespie.

I found 20 records most of which matched people in my tree.

The record for my great great grandparents Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie was there on page 408. 1

Register Entry for Jeremiah and Mary E Gillespie, Bond Date: 21 Nov 1848

Jeremiah is listed as under age and his parent or guardian is Talton Gillaspie.  (This is actually Tarlton who is his father.)

Close up of names for Jeremiah and Mary

And the Security and Witnesses are listed as James Gillaspie, J Powell Jr, and Richd Waugh.

Witnesses for Jeremiah and Mary

I do not know who these men are.  I suspect that James is a relative.  A cousin or an uncle.  Jeremiah’s older sister Editha marries a Roderick Waugh 2, maybe Richard is related to Roderick.

I’ve also have in my tree that Jeremiah is born on March 4th, 1826.3 This information comes from my interpretation of a family bible that was handed down to me.

Jeremiah Gillespie’s birth date which appears to be March the 4th 1826

But if this date is true, then he would have been 22 on November 21, 1848, and he would not have been under the age he could be married without consent.

The dates in the bible appear to have been written in 1860.  Jeremiah was married in 1848.  It is hard to imagine that he would state that he was not 21 when he got married if he wasn’t.  It would just complicate matters more.  Given these two sources and what we know about when they were recorded and the legal situation implied by the marriage bond, I believe that he was not born in 1826.  I would suggest 1828 and that he was twenty.

It is probably reasonable to think that his birthday was March 4th.  And it is hard to imagine that whoever did the entries in the bible subtracted wrong, or just didn’t know.

So until I get better information, I’m going to assume that he was born in 1828 or later.  Just because it was written in a bible doesn’t make it true.  When it was written and by who are important. Sources are important!

And now that I’ve been cleaning up my sources and I’m about half done with this line, well, it is a lot faster to write a blog post.  More to come on the marriage register.

Footnotes

1. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853,” index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 408, entry for Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E Gillespie, bond date 21 Nov 1848; FHL microfilm 30273. Parents or Guardian of Husband: Talton Gillaspie; Security and Witnesses: James Gillaspie; J Powell Jr; Richd Waugh.
2. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853”, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 391, entry for Rodk Waugh and Editha Ann Gillaspie, bond date 28 Mar 1845; FHL microfilm 30273. Security and Witnesses: Taillor A Gillaspie (most likely Tarlton).
3. Gillespie Family Bibile, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, p840; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. The sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1860.

Follow Friday — Uencounter.me, Family Stories and Motivation

This is two weeks worth of Follow Friday, since I missed last weeks.  Lots of good reading in here!

A couple of posts about uencounter.me:

The mapping stories always make me think we need to try to represent our families without trees to break through walls.

Family Stories:

Motivation:

And a few more posts to get you thinking:

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