nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘family tree

snags in the search for my ancestors

with 4 comments

I have spent a lot of the weekend searching the genealogy records for information on the whereabouts of my great-grandfather before 1887 when he married my great-grandmother.  It seems he had a common name and a simple search turns up a bewildering array of possibilities.  Also, some of the facts do not seem to aid in the search.  For example, I know he was born in Bethany, Missouri, but the only person in the census record with his name is about 10 years too young.

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To find my great-grandfather, I have looked at endless family trees, searched through long lists of possible relatives on http://www.Ancestry.com and looked at every person who lived in southern Wyoming and vicinity in 1880!  I have come to know, quite well, at least three families associated with a person of the same name and age as my great-grandfather only to discover a fact that makes a connection with my family impossible.

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My post for today is only to appeal to you to think of your future family when you keep the records of your own life.  Someday, my descendants will look for me (I hope they will be interested) and they will be frustrated by three mistakes I have made in record-keeping:

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1. they will be disappointed to learn I have not been very consistent about my name. First, in my work, I used my maiden name as well as my married name. Second, I have always been called by my second given name but government documents refer to me by my first name.  Only last week, I was almost turned away for an appointment at the hospital because I forgot they might list me by my first name.

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2. they will be dismayed to see that, although I have nice, legible handwriting, I have not always been careful about filling out forms.  In fact, I know I have been very sloppy on several occasions.

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3. they will cry when they find all the photos I have taken over the years.  I have only identified people and dates in a small percentage of our home photos.  When I look over our photos, I try to add information, but often I only  scribble the first names of the people in the photos and I frequently have to guess at the date a photo was taken.

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When I look at my own assemblage of family information, I encounter these problems quite often.  For example, who were the young women whose photos I have in my family history collection?  My Mom thought perhaps they were friends of her grandmother at nursing school in Boston.  I treasure their photos, but I will never know who they were.

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And I may never find, with any certainty, the whereabouts of my great-grandfather in 1860, 1870 and 1880.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

May 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

the unknown thousands – family history

with 8 comments

Today, I will divert a little from my usual topics and mutter about genealogy.  Along with my other projects, I try to keep learning about my family.  Fortunately, I have a lots of materials to look at: family letters, post cards, diaries, well-researched family trees and so on.

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I am always surprised at how much is lost.  Some of this is due to the loss of records, some is due to the overwhelming numbers of people involved in the family history of just one person. When I first became interested in family history, I thought about how many lives have contributed to make ‘me’.  The numbers of ‘grandparents’ add up quickly as I go back in time.

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Generation Numbers of parents/‘grandparents’
1   (me)
2   (my parents) 2
3   (my grandparents) 4
4   (my great-grandparents) 8
5   (great-great-grandparents) 16
6 32
7 64
8 128
9 256
10 512
11 1024
12 2048
13 4096
14 8192
15 16384
16 32768
17 65536
18 131072 … and so on …

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So, to make any one of us, it took thousands of people.  I knew this before, but knowing I have 131 thousand ‘grand-parents’ in 18 generations is unsettling.

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I began by just trying to know the names of those 16 great-grandparents in the 5th generation.  I have them almost figured out.  Those with an * beside their name have a published family tree.  Those with a ? are uncertain.

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Charles Clark (*) (farmer)

Margaret Aitcheson

James Johnson (farmer)

Mary MacIntosh

Lewis Norramon (?) (farmer)

Mary  …….  (?)

Josiah Hawk  (*) (shoemaker) https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/occupation-shoemaker/ )

Sara Kresge (*)

William Spavold (carpenter) (shipwrecked off Briar Island) (https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/briar-island-rock-2-the-shipwreck/ )

Phelena Warner

Robert Manzer

Eleanor Evan

George Cook

Eliza Jane Smith

George Sabean  (*)

Jane Mullen

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About some, like William Spavold, I know quite a lot (thanks to the efforts of my Dad).  I am also gradually assembling a history of my great-grandmother Ella Hawk (daughter of Josiah and Sara) (thanks to the efforts of my aunt).  The sad thing is, all I will ever know about most of these people is a name.  In spite of this, I owe them my existence.

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my drawing of William Spavold, his mother and brother after their shipwreck

my drawing of William Spavold, his mother and brother after their shipwreck

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Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 9, 2014 at 9:40 am

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