Arches at Glendalough 2009

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Genealogy amongst friends

Last week I paid a visit with my two college friends. Unbeknownst to me my friend  was "doing" genealogy for nearly 30 years. Off on that path we went! He apologized to me at the end of our conversation for the length of his presentation and I laughed! No "deer in the headlight" look from me. I was impressed with his collection and his sourcing.

He was very careful about his sourcing. He uses primary sources whenever possible. In this day of quick information and poorly sourced documentation, his research was refreshing. He was extremely fortunate to have primary sources from his own family including memorabilia and photos from his family's store. Along with his wife, they spend time combing antique shops in pursuit of family advertisement cards from the store his gr-grandfather had. He had a wonderful collection of cards which enhanced his genealogy research.

Our conversation had me thinking-what could I find? Several of my recent finds have been from primary sources through online databases. Published Congressional records led me to obtain a copy of documentation from an admiralty case from the 1790s through NARA.  Of course there was the discovery of another gr-granduncle who sold reindeer to Alaskans. (Can you imagine how much fun I have with my third graders and that tidbit at Christmas?) Then there was the ophthalmology article I found through Google books that discusses how my gr-gr-granduncle was the first to advertise sunglasses, "white, blue, green, and grey glasses to suit all eyes."  A visit to an online antique store led me to a pair of sunglasses made by him! (Yes! I bought them!)

The importance of family history and passing it forward is a dilemma for all of us. Remembering who gave us the information, where it is found, and how we present it to others is always a challenge as we research. The one constant is sourcing. Remember to cite your sources...your descendants will love you for it. Thanks, Bob, for the reminder.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Revisiting Sources

Having time to rejuvenate and explore in genealogy is a blessing I have every summer. With hot temperatures cooking my tomatoes in the garden and my painting on hold until cooler weather prevails, I have been taking the opportunity to revisit my sources both in hard print and online. I am amazed at what is out there  and anxious for more data to be uploaded!

Trying to unknot my Caswell/Brown/Wilkinson lines, I revisited my binder on the Caswells. 20 years ago I was fortunate to have met my second cousin who had a copy of her grandmother's/my gr-grand aunt's Bible. Along with her sister, both cousins gave me information about our Caswell family. Rereading their letters got me thinking about how we couldn't get back before our Job Caswell and Sabrina Brown. After  reviewing our correspondence I had an, "Ah-duh!" moment. Breaking down the information I discovered that several generations of the family married Browns.
Job Caswell married Sabrina Brown...
Their sons, Joshua Bill Caswell and Joseph Caswell married Browns-Phoebe and Abby
Their grandson, Rueben Wilkinson married Isabel Brown 
Their granddaughter Harriet Caswell had children who married Browns.
All these Browns were reminding my about my tomatoes and other plants that I needed to water.

So, while watering the tomato plants and thinking about my notes, I realized that I had a huge clue from the two cousins from that Bible copy-Squire Richard Brown and Zeruiah Buttolph. These two people were related to one of these Browns; most likely my Abby. By now all these Browns were shriveling my brain so I decided to explore the Buttolphs to see what I could find. Two weeks later (and my tomatoes still surviving the scorching weather) I discovered if you play with the major websites like Heritage Quest, Family Search, and Ancestry, you can find some hidden gems in search engines like Google.

For example: Using the PERSI index on Heritage Quest I was able to find an article via Google Books. There was a  genealogy magazine simply called, "Genealogy." This weekly treasure, dating from 1910-1922, collected information from all over the US with emphasis on the three NEWs-New England, New York, and New Jersey. Don't dismiss it. There were family articles from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other locations. What was fascinating was discovering  my gr-granduncle's headstone information in the 1915 issue-11 years after his death! Can you imagine uncovering a little tidbit of information that could help you? Although  a complete run is  not available on Google, it gave me enough information to request a copy of a few pages from Allen Public Library. (I found it by typing "genealogy vol. 5 + New York" in Google books.)

Using Heritage Quest again, I put "Squire Richard Brown" in the "people" section of Books. Lo and behold, I discovered in the Cleveland genealogy four little footnotes. Two were about the Buttolphs and Browns. This information gave me enough to go back and look on Ancestry, Family Search as well as Find a Grave. Between the three sites and NEHGS, I was able to uncover an article from The American Genealogist, a Revolutionary War ancestor, more clues on the Brown families, and a mistake in the NSDAR lineage book.

Revisit your sources. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Time to pick tomatoes!