30 December 2013

Case Study #1: Hammack & Mott

I've been wanting write a post about the research process for a while now. Even if you aren't a Hammack or a Mott I hope you'll find some helpful hints here. I'm actually not a Mott either but we'll get to that later. Here are the main characters in this story:
Sophia Ann "Annie" Hammack, my father's maternal grandmother
John Franklin Hammack and Martha Cornelia Mott, Annie's parents
Martha Cornelia Mott's name will change a couple of times during the course of this post.

Talking to Dad

The names of my father's maternal aunts and uncles were known to me, I had met them all. For anything beyond that I had to ask Dad what he remembered. His maternal grandmother's name was Annie Hammack and this case study is about her line. According to Dad the names of Annie's parents, his great-grandparents, were John Franklin Hammack & Martha Cornelia Mott. He never met them but he did have a memory of meeting one of Annie's sisters and thought her name might be Carrie. So with that I was off to try and find out something about his maternal grandmother's family.

Annie Hammack Loftice with my baby brother and me.

I had no problem finding Annie with her husband and children in U.S. censuses but finding anything prior to her marriage was my first road block. Annie was born in Missouri so there wasn't an immigration issue.

By Any Other Name

Most of my great-grandparents applied for Social Security. I had a list of applications to order. Ordering all of them was out of the question financially so I prioritized the list. Annie was not at the top. I had names for her parents and that would be the primary reason for ordering the application. As I was running out of alternate spellings and different searches to try I started moving her up the list.
Dad seemed sure of the names but I was stuck so I crossed my fingers and ordered her SS-5. A few weeks later I found out that Dad was right with one small, but very important, omission.

After the jump: The answer, more questions and contact from distant family.

23 December 2013

Junk Trees 2

Below are four trees.
Yes, people actually took the time to enter this $#!% onto Ancestry.com.

 Santa Claus
 B: UNK in North Pole
 D: N/A in N/A

 Wonder Woman
 B: 7-4-1812 in Mt. Olympus, Italy

Excluding private profiles this is the entire tree.

 Santa Claus The 18th
 B: 12,22,1894 in North pole
 D: 12,12,2004 in North pole

 Margraya Claut
 B: 12,22,1895 in North pole
 D: 12,4,1999 in North pole

 Santa Claus The 19th
 B: 12,24,1900 in North pole
Excluding private profiles this is the entire tree.

 Santa Claus
 B: 12/25/1200 in The North Pole
Excluding private profiles this is the entire tree.

 Santa Claus

 Mrs. Claus

 Pipi Longstocking
 B: September 20 1905 in Santa's Workshop

This tree has three other profiles that are too vulgar to include on this blog.
The tree was reported. Pipi and the vulgar profiles were deleted before support even got to them.

NEXT POST: Case Study #1 - Hammack & Mott

20 December 2013

Angel Baby

This tree's photo gallery has 364 pages. I have no doubt that if I had gone past page 15 I would have found more. Just like images of flags and faux coats of arms, angel photos are a sure sign of a tree copied from other trees.

Title: Four different titles
Gods'little angel-baby-boy
Gods'little angel-baby- boy
Gods'little angel-baby-girl
Gods'little angel-baby
Uploaded: 11 times

Uploaded: Twice

Uploaded: Once

Uploaded: Once

Title: Called to Heaven as a Child
Uploaded: Once

Title: Baby Boy Angel
Uploaded: Once

Thanks to Kristin for the link to one of these photos ;-)
If you have a photo or profile to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: Consider the Source
NEXT POST: Coming Monday

16 December 2013

Consider the Source

Updated 21 Feb 2014

There are endless instances where we as genealogists and family historians need to consider the source of our information. The story that Grandma told, was it a first hand account or was it information that had been passed down? The informant on the death certificate, was it a close family member or a friend of 5 years? The witnesses for a delayed birth certificate, how clear is their memory 20-70 years after the event?
We should be just as skeptical of certain record collections. Regular readers of this blog know that calling Ancestry Member Trees a "source" is laughable. Here are some other collections that should be ignored or considered leads to real sources.

Millennium File

"The Millennium File is a compiled source and is similar in form to other linked databases, such as Ancestry World Tree. Databases like these are great starting points for beginning your research. It is always good to find out what others have already learned and compiled about your ancestors." Of course that assumes that those "others" have done actual research. A great starting point for your research is records, not trees.
"Many of these lineages extend back to nobility and renowned historical figures. In fact, one of the things the Millennium File focuses on is linking to European nobility and royalty." So this is a clickophiles dream collection. "Source information is also provided in this database, making it easier to verify the accuracy of the research done." This is what you should pay attention to. If the source information is trees or family group sheets walk away.

Family Data Collections

These include the following:
Family Data Collection - Births
Family Data Collection - Marriages
Family Data Collection - Deaths
Family Data Collection - Individual Records
Originally these were a single collection, divided into smaller collections after being added to Ancestry.com. When an "individual record" includes birth, marriage, and death information Ancestry suddenly has four records instead of one. Great way for them to pad their numbers.
The Family Data Collection is extraneous data from a genetic study. "Citing the source of every genealogical fact in the electronic gene pool was deemed unnecessary and cost prohibitive by medical researchers." While there may be valuable information in these collections these are not records but essentially trees and should be treated as such.

U.S. and International Marriage Records

This collection is data compiled from family group sheets. While this is also not a source there is a link in the "About" section to order copies. The copies may or may not have sources listed but should include contact information for the individual researchers. I am going to place an order and post an update once I have it.
UPDATE: The family group sheets are purchased by surname. They are relatively inexpensive, especially if you order the PDFs, because they do not search the pages for your family. You get them all at once and sift through them yourself.
The sheets do not have space for formal sources so at most there may be a brief list of sources. Anything from "MO death cert., Greene Co. mar. cert., Probate rec. for [name]" to "Letter from [name]" or "Notes from [name]." There are submitter names and addresses on each sheet so you can write to the person if you have more questions. Of course there is a possibility the submitter has moved or passed on. Each sheet is stamped with the date received. The ones I ordered have stamps from about 1985 to 1999.
In the sources lists you may find the name, and author, of a family book that you didn't know existed. You may find multiple sheets that involve your family or you may find just the one that was indexed in the U.S. and International Marriage Records collection.

Gravestone Index

The indices of Find a Grave and Billion Graves are the most popular of these. Data on these sites is created by users. I'll focus on Find a Grave since I haven't used Billion Graves.
On Find a Grave users can add memorials without photos or proof that the person is buried in that particular cemetery. Personally I give more weight to memorials that have a photo but even then, the stone could have been placed on the grave yesterday. It could have been purchased by a descendant who never met the person. Unlike the Family Data Collection, which I generally ignore, these records should be examined closely. Click through to the actual memorial. A user may have added a bio, obituary or photo of the person. If no family members are linked click on the name of the cemetery and search the cemetery for other members of the family.
These records should be viewed with a critical eye but can potentially be a treasure trove.

If you have a question about any collection's validity go to the search page for that collection and scroll down to the "About" section.

NEXT POST: Angel Baby

13 December 2013

The End

I only looked through the first thousand or so photos on this tree. I'm sure if I'd looked through the other 10,000+ photos the "uploaded to" number below would be higher. Other than this photo the images are of flags, ships, coats of arms, crowns and royalty. 

Title: End of line
Uploaded to: 203 profiles
Many only have UNK as a name or UNK with a surname.
Attached to: numerous other trees

Thanks to Kristin for the link to this photo gallery ;-)
If you have a photo or profile to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: African American, The Profile
NEXT POST: Consider the Source

09 December 2013

African American, The Profile

Comments after the jump.

 African American
 B: 1664 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester Co, VA
 D: 1737 in Virginia, United States

 John Hall (1664-1737)
 ✿ George Hall
 ✿ Joseph Hall
 ✿ William Hall
 ✿ Mary Wilson (1680- )
 ✿ Mary Hall (1684- )
 ✿ Mary Hall (1684- )
 ✿ Thomas Hall (1685-1735)
 ✿ George Hall (1686-1763)
 ✿ John Hall (1687-1764)
 ✿ William Hall (1687- )
 ✿ Ann Hall (1688- )
 ✿ Deborah Hall (1690- )
 ✿ Joseph Hall (1691- )
 ✿ Sarah Hall (1692- )
 ✿ Thomas Hall (1697- )
 ✿ Ann Hall (1699- )
 ✿ Deborah Hall (1701- )
 ✿ Joseph Hall (1703- )
 ✿ Mary Hall (1703- )
 ✿ Margaret Hall (1704- )
 ✿ Sarah Hall (1706- )
 ✿ William Hall (1708-1764)
 ✿ Joseph Hall (1710-1760)
 ✿ Sarah Hall (1722-1790)
 ✿ Thomas Hall (1865- )


 ✿ Family Data Collection Individual Records
    John Hall; spouse Hall Elizabeth; parents Clayton Thomas Margare; birth place Gloucester Co, Abingdon Parish, VA; birth date 1664; death date 20 Oct 1737
 ✿  U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
     Eliz Hall; arrival year 1680; arrival place Virginia
 ✿  U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
     Elizabeth Walker; spouse John Hall; children John Hall
 ✿ 12 Ancestry Member Trees
    11 trees with an Elizabeth married to a John Hall, 1 tree with "Unknown African American" married to a John Hall

06 December 2013

African American, The Photos

None of these photos are titled. They were all uploaded to a profile with the name "African American" and dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. That profile will be featured here on Monday. They have all been uploaded numerous times to this tree to various other profiles. The first two have been attached to one other tree. Thankfully the others have not been attached to other trees.




Kimberly Guilfoyle, 6 Jul 2010
Photo credit: Brian Bedder, Getty Images North America


Venus Williams


Venus Williams
Photo credit: AP




If you have a photo or profile to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

NEXT POST: African American, The Profile

02 December 2013

Not Too Bright

 David B. Bright
 B: 1810 in South Carolina
 D: 1852 in Blount, Tennessee

 Wood Bright (1840-1902)
 Margaret Jane Williams Bright (1845-1932)

 David Bright (1810-1852) m. 26 Jul 1837

 Jane Key (1815-1865) m. 26 Jul 1837
 ✿ William Wood Field Bright (1840-1902)
 ✿ Mary Bright (1844- )
 ✿ Esther Bright (1848- )
 ✿ Peter Bright (1848- )
 ✿ Hannah J. Bright (1851-1924)
 ✿ Mary Goodwin (1851- )

 CHILD with UNKNOWN SPOUSE m. 26 Jul 1837
 ✿ Sarah Carpenter Chance (1812-1894)


 ✿ Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
    David Bright & Jane Key, 26 Jul 1837
 ✿ 1850 US Federal Census
    David, Jennett, Wm, Mary, and Peter; all have the Bright surname
 ✿ 1880 US Federal Census
    William W. F. (age 39), Margarett J. (33), Martha J. (8), Susan E. (6), Hannah R. (4), and David B. (1); all have the Bright surname

The crazy seems to go on forever but this post won't. I'll try to boil it down to just a few sentences.
David is born 30 years before his father who is also his son. At the age of 2 he becomes a father and is born again in 1879. In a single day he marries himself and two women. Did I miss anything?

Thanks to Lizzie for the link ;-)
If you have a profile to suggest please send a link to buwtree(at)gmail(dot)com.

PREVIOUS POST: Once Again, WHY?!?!?!
NEXT POST: African American, The Photos