I had started another blog several years ago at http://myfamilyresearchadventures.blogspot.com/, but when google plus ended some how I messed things up and now it is very difficult for me to get into that blog to post. So I decided to start a new blog that I can get to easier.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 7 Revisited

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proofalso availablein Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 7 RevisitedGPS Element 4 & 5 Resolving Conflicts and Assembling EvidenceThe Written Conclusion


We are suppose to use what we have learned and write a proof. It does not matter what kind of proof, just a proof. So I will do a proof summary. I will be doing some analyzing of information found in a Mother's Civil War Pension Packet.  A copy of the pension file can be found at http://bakerrootsresearch.weebly.com/wilson-l-starkey---mothers-pension-papers.html]


Would Wilson and Sarah Lambert have been old enough to witness the of marriage of Benjamin Starkey and Mary Ridgway?



In the Pension Packet we find the following statement:


That he [Wilson L Starkey] was the son of Benjamin Starkey. That said Benjamin was the first husband of Deponent [Mary Ridgway Starkey Lewis] and she was legally married to him by Elder Kirkpatrick November 27th 1821 at the house of Wilson Lambert in Lambertsville Hunterdon County in the state of New Jersey. That she has not for about forty years known said Minister and she believes he is now dead as he was then an old man. That she never had any certificate of said marriage. That she knows of no public Record thereof and believes she cannot obtain any legal or church Record and that none was kept as she believes, after due inquiry: That she has not any family Record and that the [manor and ------?] or family Record was taken to one of the western states by her son.....

[and continued] That she is the same person who was married to said Benjamin Starkey as stated in the affidavit hereto annexed of Wilson Lambert and Sarah R Lambert.

  Mary C Lewis letter dated 12 June 1863, in Mary C Lewis, mother’s pension packet, Pension No. 90,060, for service of Wilson L Starkey (Corporal, Co. C, Reg’t 15, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Civil War); Pension Packet in possession of Betty-Lu Baker Burton [A copy of the  pension file can be found at http://bakerrootsresearch.weebly.com/wilson-l-starkey---mothers-pension-papers.html]


State of New York
Ontario County
On this 29th day of May 1863, before me the subscriber, personally appeared, Wilson Lambert and Sarah R Lambert, residents of Geneva in said County who being duly sworn says That on the 27th day of November 1821. Benjamin Starkey married Mary C Ridgeway at said Lamberts dwelling home then situate in the Town of LambertsVille County of Hunterdon in the state of New Jersey by Rev. Mr Kirpatrick
                             Wilson Lambert
                             Sarah R Lambert
Sworn to before me this 29 day of May 1863.

 Wilson Lambert and Sarah R Lambert dated 29 May 1863, in Mary C Lewis, mother’s pension packet, Pension No. 90,060, for service of Wilson L Starkey (Corporal, Co. C, Reg’t 15, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Civil War); Pension Packet in possession of Betty-Lu Baker Burton [A copy of the  pension file can be found at http://bakerrootsresearch.weebly.com/wilson-l-starkey---mothers-pension-papers.html]


So first, who are Wilson and Sarah Lambert? and how are they related to each other.
The 1860 US Census does not give relationships, but there is a 1865 and a 1875 New York State Census that does give relationships and they are listed as husband and wife.



1855
1860
1865
Wilson Lambert age
68
73
78
Birth place
New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey
Est Year of birth
1787
1787
1787
Sarah Lambert age
58
63
68
Birth place
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Est Year of birth
1797
1797
1797
Location
Seneca, Ontario, New York
Seneca, Ontario, New York
Rochester, Monroe, New York

Wilson Lambert would have been about 34 years old and Sarah Lambert would have been about 24 years old in 1821 when the marriage took place. So both Wilson Lambert and Sarah Lambert would have been old enough to have witnessed the marriage between Benjamin Starkey and Mary Ridgway, as the statement said. They would of also have been old enough to have been married to each other at the time of the marriage between Benjamin Starkey and Mary Ridgway, thus allowing the marriage to happen at their home as their statement said.


New York, State Census, 1855, Ontario County, Seneca, First election district, page 15, Wilson Lambert household (Lines 8 and 9); digital image, LDS FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org: accessed 6 July 2015), image 8 of 46; count clerk offices, New York.

“1860 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 3 July 2013); entry for Wilson Lambert, born in New Jersey, age 73, and Sarah Lambert, born in Pennsylvania, age 63,  Post Office Genoa, Seneca, Ontario County, New York, page 88, lines 37 and 38.


New York, State Census, 1865, Monroe County, Rochester, Fourth Ward, page 69, Wilson Lambert household (Lines 23 and 24); digital image, LDS FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org: accessed 6 July 2015),  image 47 of 64; State Library, Albany.

The next step would be to determine if Sarah Lambert is Mary Ridgway's older sister.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 7

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 7
GPS Element 5
The Written Conclusion

The Written Conclusion, the meat of proof, is what this book has been leading to. It also is scary. Scary, to me, because it requires clear and logical language. I have never been good about writing essays or papers. So here we go. I will be working on the question "Did Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Coulton in 1797 die in 1803". I have found many published and unpublished genealogies on this family and the majority have Dillaplain Ridgway dieing in 1803. The rest have no death date for him. As Russ Worthington has said many times "I try to prove the printed work wrong as a way of determining if it is correct".

Dr Jones talks about 3 types of proofs. They range from the simplest to the most complex. They are:
  1. Proof Statement - This is the simplest form of a proof. It deals with simple facts that can be gleaned from a source.
  2. Proof Summary - This contains several Proof Statements to come to a conclusion. Most Proof Summaries do not resolve any conflicts. If there is a conflict then it must be easily explained, such as name variants.
  3. Proof Argument - It is the most complex form of proof. A Proof Argument is used to solve conflicting information,and to prove things that have no direct evidence such as who are the parents when there is no record that states it directly.
Proof Statements used in my proof:
  1. Dillaplain Ridgway is the son of John Ridgway and his wife Postrema.
  2. John Ridgway is living in Mount Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey in 1797.
  3. Dillaplain Ridgway married Hannah Colton in 1797 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Quaker Marriage Records, Northern District, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Section A, page 110-111 Dillaplain Ridgway and Hannah Colton, 31day 1mo 1797 (31 Jan 1797), Microfilm # 20473 (A copy of this record can also be found on Ancestry.com in their Quaker Collection)


Proof Summary: Is the Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Colton the same Dillaplain Ridgway that was executor for John Ridgway's Will proved in 1809?
  • Using the proof statements from above, we know who the parents are of Dillaplain Ridgway. They are John Ridgway and Postrema.
  • The children of John Ridgway and Postrema are: Thomas, John, William, Aquila, Anna, Dillaplain, Mary, Martha, Thomas Shinn Jr, Elizabeth, and Edward.
  • Thomas died in 1761, Aquila died about 1799. Edward died in 1805.
The Society of Friends, Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey; Salt Lake Family History Library; Microfilm No. 20464, 1-2, page 8 (The family of John Ridgway and Postreme) (A copy of this record can also be found on Ancestry.com in their Quaker Collection)

  • John Ridgway's Will written in 1801 lists the following children: John Ridgway, William Ridgway, Dillaplain Ridgway, Anne Burr, Mary Night, Martha Ridgway, Thomas Shinn Ridgway, Elizabeth Ridgway, and Edward Ridgway. It also mentions grandson Aquila Shinn Ridgway the son of Aquila Ridgway.
"New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980." images, FamilySearch.org: (accessed 23 June 2015) Burlington Wills 1804-1820 vol A-B, images 281 of 1220; county courthouses, New Jersey.


  • John Ridgway's will, written in 1801, and codicil, written in 1803 was proved in 1809. The full will and codicil can be found on FamilySearch.org. The will names his sons Dillaplain and Thomas S as executors with William Burr. All three men affirmed they were willing to be the executors for John Ridgway's estate. The affirmation happened in 1809 when the will was proved.
 
"New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980." images, FamilySearch.org: (accessed 23 June 2015) Burlington Wills 1804-1820 vol A-B, images 284 of 1220; county courthouses, New Jersey.
*The complete Will can be found on images 280-284, in Will Book A

Comparing the names found in Little Egg Harbor's records and the names listed in the will, we can tell both records pertain to the same family. Also the marriage record not only lists his parents, but if you look at the names of those attending the ceremony you will find the names of some of the siblings of Dillaplain listed. Thus proving that the Dillaplain Ridgway that married Hannah Colton was still alive in 1809.

Now finally my Proof Argument: Did Dillaplain Ridgway who married Hannah Colton die in 1803?
This may seem like a ridiculous question since it was already established in my Proof Summary that Dillaplain Ridgway was alive in 1809. However, I have found several published and unpublished genealogies that list his death date as 1803. The Genealogy Proof Standard requires you to resolve conflicting evidence and a Proof Summary only handles minor conflicting evidence. I have some ideas as to where this death date came from and why it was used:

  • This family has been researched since the early 1900's and if an earlier researcher made a mistake then it may have been passed along to others and just kept spreading.
  • There is a Dillaplain Ridgway who was the son of John Ridgway that died in 1803. This Dillaplain was 9 months old.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Northern District; Births and Deaths, 1754-1806 
  • Earlier researchers may have thought that there was only one Dillaplain Ridgway who was the son of John Ridgway. However the Ridgway family had lived in the area of Philadelphia and Mount Holly for several generations and had large families. They also used the name John several times. Thus not realizing that this Dillaplain Ridgway was an infant and could not have been the one that married Hannah Colton in 1797.
  • It is clear from these records that the assumption that there was only one Dillaplain Ridgway is wrong. In fact I have seen the name Dillaplain, Delaplaine or any number of different spelling for some one who served in the Civil War.
So my conclusion is that Dillaplain Ridgway, who was the husband of Hannah Colton, did not die in 1803 but at some point after 1809.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 6

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 6
GPS Element 4
Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence

What is conflicting evidence in genealogy? It is when 2 or more pieces of evidence (usually in different sources, but not always) do not agree. For example the death certificate lists a different birth date than the birth certificate.

Why does a genealogical proof require us to resolve conflicts with a conclusion?
If we want an accurate record for our families, than we have to resolve the conflicts. If we want to share our work with others and have it stand the test of peer review, then we need to write down our thought process when resolving the conflicts. This written down thought process is called a genealogical proof.

The rest of the homework is using the proof summaries in the back of the book. Instead I will try to provide examples from my own research, as I learn what to do with what I have gathered.

Dr Jones mentions 5 ways that evidence can be assembled or grouped.

1) All records provide direct, primary evidence and nothing conflicts. The simplest way to assemble the evidence. In my research that would be for my birth, using my birth certificate.

2) Resolving conflicting direct evidence. First you would have to decide if any of the evidence is primary or secondary. An example of this would be my grandfather's birth. His Birth record states he was born in 1905, but his christening certificate states he was born in 1904. Upon reviewing the 2 records you realize the birth record itself had conflicting information. The birth record stated he was born in Oct of1905, but it was registered in May of 1905. This is easy to resolve by stating that it was so far into 1905 the clerk just made a mistake and wrote the current year and not the previous year.

3) Resolving conflict between direct, and/or indirect, and/or negative evidence. Again you would have to identify which sources are primary, secondary or derivative. For example: A published book containing Will abstracts list Phebey Coulton as a grandchild of William Coulton. However, the will itself lists her as a daughter. In the Will she is treated the same way as the other daughters that were listed in the abstract as daughters. Further research found a church record (made about the time of Phebey's marriage) also states she is the daughter of William Coulton. The conflicting evidence here is the abstract which is an authored, unknown informant record. Therefore, baring any more evidence the conclusion is that Phebey Coulton is William Coulton's daughter and not granddaughter. The person making the abstract apparently made a mistake.

4) Indirect or negative evidence or both that do not conflict, and no direct evidence. In this case there is no conflict and everything agrees. For example a person ages 10 years every census. Or every record on a person you have indicates the person's father was born in Ohio.

5) Indirect or negative evidence or both that does conflict and again no direct evidence found. For example my ancestor Delaplain Ridgway in family records and authored works is listed as having died in 1803. However, I have found land records (buying and selling land) for him after that date and he is listed as an executor of his father's estate in 1809. I have yet been able to locate his death record or will or probate. I have narrowed down is death to around 1813 and either in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 5

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 5
GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation

This chapter has to do with Analyzing a record to determine how accurate it is. It also has to do with compering two or more records to come up with a conclusion.

Analyzing: There are two things you need to consider when analyzing a record: 1) What kind of a record is it? and 2) What kind of information is given?

What kind of a record is it helps determine whether you need to look further or not. A record can be:
  1. Original, meaning that the record is at its earliest state. This may be the actual record or an unaltered copy of the actual record.
  2. Derivative, meaning it can be an index, abstract, transcription or some other form of the original record, but it is not in the original form. You should try and locate the original if at all possible because a derivative record has a chance of having errors and may also contain additional information.
  3. Authored work, meaning a compilation of information some one has gathered and put together. The work may or may not contain source citations. If the work has no source citations than its accuracy is questionable.
What kind of information is given?
  1. Primary is where the person giving the information is not only a witness, but also the record was made at or near the time of the event. This is the most accurate, but you need to consider the length of time between when the event occurred and when it was recorded.
  2. Secondary is also referred to as hearsay. It is when someone who was not at the event is providing the information. A person giving his birth date is secondary, because he was to young to know the date. The person is going by what he was told by those who were present for his birth.
  3. Indeterminate is where you do not know who gave the information like in an obituary and census.
My biggest challenge analyzing a record is that I look at the whole record instead of just looking for one piece of information. For example a death certificate can have direct and indirect information and it can also contain both primary and secondary information. So I have problems when analyzing the record on how to separate these things out.

Correlation is where you compare and contrast all the records you have found for one event. Dr Jones gives several examples of ways you can correlate records.

  1. Use a table
  2. Make a list
  3. Make a timetable
  4. Draw a map


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 4

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/r/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 4
This chapter has to do with source citations.

Dr Jones explains that citations used for academic papers do not always work for genealogists.
Genealogists work with many sources that are not in published book form and some times we work with packets or loose papers. So how do genealogist write citations then. I have always heard the main purpose for the citation is so that some one else can find the source that I used.

Dr Jones states there are 5 things that need to be in a genealogical long-form citation:
  1. Who - meaning who is the author. Not all citations will have a who, if it is records from a court house of archives this may not apply.
  2. What - meaning some kind of source title, this may also include a database title, or a collection of papers.
  3. When - meaning the publishing date, the exact date of viewing it on line, the date of the record (for vital church records). There may be 2 dates if you are citing a birth certificate from an on line database.
  4. Where in the source - meaning the page or image number, the name on the will or land deed, the chapter, etc.
  5. Where is the source found - meaning the URL and name of the web site or database, the library, the court house, your own personal copy, etc.
There is also a short-form citation that is used when referring back to a source you have already used. The short-form citation usually contains the author, the title and the new item detail (a different page number or item of interest)

That is the first part of learning about citations. Dr Jones goes on and says there are 2 ways that you can list citations in your document.

  1. Reference Notes - These are used when you use footnotes or endnotes. Reference notes are used when you are citing each separate fact and use the form described above. This is where you will use both long-form and short-form citations.
  2. Source Lists - These are used when you are doing a Bibliography or listing all the things you have looked at whether you used something from the source. Source Lists help determine if you indeed looked at all the relevant records.
Now with all that I am going to need to practice making citations and will more than likely use short cuts. There are many places you can go and find examples of citations and most software programs have templates for making citations. Also, FamilySearch and Ancestry are providing citations for their records that can be used.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mastering Genealogical Proof Chapter 3

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]

Chapter 3
This chapter has to do with the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) Element 1 or Reasonably Exhaustive Search.

So, how do you know if you did a reasonably exhaustive search?
First, you need to know what you are looking for and what time period and location you will need to search in order to answer your research question. Looking for a birth day in the 1920's is different than looking for the same information in the 1820's.

Dr Jones lists 6 things to consider:

  1. Find at least 2 sources that are independent of each other. Records are independent of each if the individual records were made by different people and/or made for different reasons. A birth record recorded shortly after the birth and a census record would be independent of each other.
  2. Look in a Wiki and see what records might be used. You want to search the common records for the time and location of your research question. Ask yourself "If another genealogist looked at my sources would they suggest another record group?"
  3. Have you located any primary records. A record or records that were made at or near the time of the event. Or have you found an eyewitness account. If you use only secondary records you have a higher chance of coming to a wrong conclusion.
  4. Are you using original records or authored works as your sources? Authored works have more room for error. The further the record is from the original, due to transcribing or translation, the higher the chance of error.
  5. If you used an authored work or an index, did you locate the records used to make them. There is always a possibility that there was a mistake when an index or an abstract was made. I know of a well used abstract that had a wrong relationship. This abstract was used in several authored works with no one tracking down the original will.
  6. After you have done your research, have you looked at any additional suggested by the records you have. For example if the census record indicated your ancestor owned land have you located the land record.
Even after all this you need to keep in mind that later a record may come to light that changes everything.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Studying the book "Mastering Genealogical Proof"

Over the next few weeks I will be participating in a study group on the following book.


Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013). [Book available from the publisher at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof , also available
in Kindle format through Amazon.com]


Since some how I have messed up my Google Drive I will be posting my homework here.



Chapter I Homework:

1) Genealogy is the study of ones ancestors.
2) In my own words; the 5 parts of the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) are:

  1. Searching in as many different types of records you can think of and/or locate.
  2. Citing all the records you find in a way that you or someone else can go back and locate the records in case the originals or images get misplaced.
  3. Look at the records you have found and determine how accurate each record is and then compare the information and determine the best conclusion to the genealogical question.
  4. Reasonably explain any and all information found in the records.
  5. Write up your conclusion in a way that others will understand.
3) The proofs explain why I came to my conclusions. The proofs are there so others can understand my thinking and reasoning.
4) A conclusion is complete. A partial proof indicates a work in progress.
5) You have to first decide on what you want to know.