and Ends | |
|A Personal Web Site||
Family History: Introduction
Odds and Ends
Introduction to the Introduction
Up to now (May 2012), I have been delaying placing family history information on this web site. My idea was to wait until I had the information in a more “presentable form.” I have now decided to put information on the web, as is, for a fraction of those family members (for whom I have information). Hopefully, I will be able, from time to time, to improve the quality of what is on this site for these family members, provide more information about them, and add information for other family members.
What follows (after this Introduction to the Introduction) is a rambling description of background information about the site, covering things such as how the information was collected and organized and who is included and who is not included (not background about the families themselves). The description includes (among many other things) some of the improvements and additions planned for the future.
I began writing this Introduction in late 2011. However, it got out of hand with respect to length. This Introduction to the Introduction is intended to provide some of the key points, so no one will feel compelled to wade through the entire thing (unless they are very interested in finding certain specific details). I plan to continue to refine (and add to) this Introduction, along with improving and enhancing the family history information on the site.
I have been (ever so slowly) accumulating the family history information since the late 1990s. This introduction has also been developed in piecemeal fashion. Certain places in the introduction use phrases like “the current time.” A date will often be included in parenthesis to try clarify “current”, i.e., the time that section (or that version) of the introduction was composed.
Family history is probably always a work in progress. This web site is no exception. Information listed here is incomplete (to some degree) for each person. It is incomplete because (of course) it’s impossible to know “everything” about any individual. It’s also incomplete because it doesn’t contain all the information that I have. I have information about additional people (persons not yet incorporated onto the web site). I also have additional information about some people who are already included. The plan is to continue to add to this family history information. Please check back from time to time to see what has been added.
Visitors should bear in mind that some information on the site is likely incorrect. Hopefully, I will be able to continue working to make this site more complete and more correct, as time goes by. But, of course, a family history can never really be “finished.”
The endnotes (usually citations describing source documents) at the end of the narrative (or narration) for each individual are intentionally brief. In most cases, “clicking” the underlined number (a hypertext link) near the beginning of the endnote will transfer the user to a more detailed version of the note (as is discussed below, after this Introduction to the Introduction, the program used to collect and organize this data calls the longer version a “Full Footnote” – although here they are placed as endnotes). In a few cases, these “more detailed” versions run several pages, providing extensive information about certain topics. (A few of these “essay type” endnotes describe family “mysteries” that I’d appreciate help to solve.)
The initial version of the family history information on this web site (uploaded in December 2013) contains relatively few images (photographs). The small number of images that are present are of documents that were sources for some of the information in on the web site. The source document images are associated only with the detailed source citations (sometimes known as “full footnote” citations – these citations are accessed by mouse-clicking the source number link that appears near the beginning of each short form citation). These short citations follow the narratives for each person.
The presence of an image is indicated by the presence of a small icon at the end of a long form citation. The icon is in the shape of a camera. Hovering over an icon with the cursor will open a small “bubble” showing the caption associated with the image. Clicking on the icon should cause the image to be displayed (but this has not been tested for all types of browsers). The captions provide brief descriptions of each document. These captions often contain at least a portion of the file name for the image.
Navigation links to other portions of the site are provided at the top and bottom of each page. These generally take the user out of the family history section of the web site into other sections, which have a somewhat different format. The “back” button on your browser should enable returning to the family history section, but this may be browser dependent. During initial web tests, the locations on the display screen of the upper set of navigation links in the family history section seems to be especially dependent on brower settings and/or display monitor settings. The locations were optimized for the display on a desktop computer, but are not the same (and look rather unattractive) on a Dell 14-inch laptop. As of early December 2013, I'm working on a fix for this. The links appear to be functional. The issue seems to be cosmetic.
Again, please consider returning to this site from time to time to (hopefully) examine “new and improved” information incorporated into it.
I would love to hear from anyone who has additional information (or corrected information) about anyone listed on this site, or any of their family members. I would also like to hear from anyone who would just like to “chat” about these people – and would be especially pleased to hear from “cousins” (of any degree or distance). One reason for establishing this web site is for it to serve as “cousin bait”.
History of a Family History
I started family history research (as perhaps many others have done) primarily as a “name collector.” I tried to find the names of ancestors, going as far back in time as possible (and, of course, if I could also find basic information about them, such as date and place of birth, that was good too).
Later, I became more interested in “filling in details” about the lives of direct ancestors (and some family members who are not direct ancestors). I wanted to find out what their lives were “really” like (realizing, of course, that I could never fully understand what it is like to, say, travel 300 or 400 miles in a horse-drawn wagon, live in a time when, in most situations, not even messages could travel faster than a horse, or leave the place one has grown up, knowing there was almost a zero chance of ever returning).
I used a computer program to “accumulate” and keep track of information from the beginning of what might be considered “serious” family history research, around 1999 (although it’s very much a hobby, I’m looking for a better word than “serious” to describe what I do).
The first program I used was Family Tree Maker (FTM). I believe I used Version 6.1 of FTM initially. I think the highest-numbered version I used was Version 16, but I did not have every version between 6.1 and 16 (and, indeed, I’m not sure FTM actually had a version corresponding to each number between 6 and 16). FTM switched to something like a “model year” version numbering system around 2007, after Version 16. I think they are at something like “FTM 2012” now (as this is written in April 2012). Additional information about FTM is available at http://familytreemaker.com.
A few years ago (perhaps around 2008), I switched to (in my opinion) a more sophisticated (and complicated) program called The Master Genealogist (TMG). I believe I started using TMG at Version 7.02. They are at Version 8.08 now (October 2013).
The reason for switching was to enable creating better “reports” (to display collected information). TMG had a better capability to “automatically” write a “story” based on the information stored by the program. These “stories” are called narrative reports in TMG’s terminology (or possibly they are called narration reports). I used the word “automatically” even though it seems to require considerable manual interaction with the program to produce a (hopefully) interesting story. Narratives that are totally automatically generated seem to have been written by a fourth grader (or maybe a second grader). (My understanding is that after I switched to TMG, more recent versions of FTM introduced enhanced “automatic” report generation capability). Additional information about TMG is available at: http://www.whollygenes.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?screen=TMG.
The Second Site program is used to convert information in the TMG database to an HTML format to create this web site. HTML is a “web site construction language.” I believe HTML stands for something like HyperText Markup Language). Additional information about Second Site is available at: http://www.johncardinal.com/ss. The author of Second Site, John Cardinal, has also written a utility program called TMG Utility, which also described on his web site. TMG Utility was used to “groom” several aspects of the family history information.
I view Second Site as basically a post-processor for TMG. It controls the format (“look and feel”) of the web site and can control which narratives and charts are placed on the web site and (to a degree) the types of information in those narratives and charts. However, it does not affect or modify information stored by TMG, such as names, relationships, places, and dates. These are all taken as-is from the TMG database (databases are discussed below).
As indicated above, I began with the FTM program, then switched to the TMG program. The TMG program had the capability to automatically read my FTM document (or file) and rewrite it in the form of a set of TMG documents (or files). However, the conversion routine apparently had to, in effect, “guess” at how to treat some of the information in the FTM document (for types of information where the two programs treat things differently). I have had to manually straighten out the places where TMG guessed wrong. That process is still going on – a little at a time.
Several different computer programs (software applications) exist for handling family history or genealogy information. I have used only FTM and TMG. However, my understanding is most programs have several basic elements in common.
Typically, one starts using genealogy software by entering the name of a person. Then one enters various “facts” about that person. These “facts” are normally life events for the person, such as birth, occupation, marriage, high school graduation, birth of a child, death, etc. Each of these life events generally has at least a location (place) and a date associated with it. Some of the life events have other information associated with them, such as the name of a spouse or a child. Some events (such as marriage or birth of a child) introduce additional people who have family relationships to the first person. It is then possible to enter “facts” or life events about those additional people. This process builds up a “database” providing a list of names of people, the relationships among the people, and “facts” about each person.
The programs also have the capability to identify how one obtained each bit of information in the database (the “source of the information item). In family history research terminology, the program captures a citation for the source of each “fact”.
The word “fact” has been written in parentheses above because not all of the bits of captured information are really “facts”. For example, if one is fortunate enough to find information about a person appearing in (say) 20 different documents, it is common that two or three different birth dates (or birth years) can be encountered (or inferred). Conflicting or inconsistent information can appear for any other fact (including the person’s name). When multiple versions of a “fact” exist, both the FTM and the TMG computer program provide the capability for the user to characterize one of them as “primary.”
Because “facts” can be elusive in genealogy (as indicated above), the word “assertion” is sometimes used. The TMG program tends to use the term “tag” – apparently to call up the image of a piece of information tagged to a person, without a judgement as to the accuracy or validity of the information. TMG’s preference for “tag” is apparently to avoid what might be considered a value judgment from using the word “fact”.
This “fuzziness” or uncertainty in the information for an individual, together with many individuals having the same name (or similar names), means it is relatively easy for family historians to incorporate an incorrect person into their family tree. Inconsistent information can also indicate “facts” about a non-relative (possibly one with the same name as an ancestor) have been mingled with those of the ancestor.
The discussion above (and throughout this Introduction) uses the terms “database” and “web site”. The web site contains only a small fraction of the information in my database.
In a few instances, I have “collected” information about lines of descendants of certain individuals who are only slightly related to me. In some of these cases, the “collection” was from family trees posted on the Internet. As I have started to prepare my own web site, I have decided (for now) to include only a fraction of people for whom I have information. This is, in part, to focus on (1) relatively “close-in” family and (2) areas where I have done what seems (to me) to be “original” research (i.e., people and topics that few others, or no others, have researched -- fully realizing that others MAY have done this research but I don’t know about it). Thus, there are some individuals in my database for whom I have certain detailed data, but narratives for them do not appear on this web site. In some cases, individuals without narratives do appear on some of the charts and tables. In other cases, they do not appear at all. Narratives are discussed in the next section.
In summary, what I plan to do in this web site (as I’m writing the first draft of this portion of this introduction, in March 2012), is to provide narrative reports for only a relatively small fraction of the total number of people in my overall database. Most of the others will be described only on charts and tables, which (primarily) indicate how various people are related to one another. These charts and tables (when I get around to actually placing them on the web site) may provide a small amount of information about these “other” individuals (such as their birth, marriage, and death dates and locations, if I know those dates and locations).
Narratives for individuals generally contain only a fraction of the information in the database for that individual. However, much of the information that has been left out is repetitious, near repetitious, approximate, or (likely) incorrect. For example, the database might have 6 birth “dates” for an individual, such as 4 Dec 1898, Dec 1898, 1898, 1898, 1899, and “before 1904.” The web site would typically report only 4 Dec 1898.
The TMG program has (among many other things) a capability to write “sentences” for each “fact” or (in TMG’s terminology) each “tag”. A narrative is a collection of these sentences that tell the story of an individual’s life.
An example of a TMG sentence might be something like “Ralph Fields was on born 17 February in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas.” The program’s ability to generate these “programmed sentences” makes it sort of a genealogy “word processor” to create narratives about individuals included in the family histories. The ability to generate these narratives was one of the reasons I use the TMG program. Notice this paragraph does not say TMG provides an easy way to create narratives.
The sentences in the TMG program’s built-in tag types (the types of tags that “come with” the program, and their corresponding sentences) are relatively simple. There is normally one declarative sentence per tag. The program has features that enable users to modify the sentences associated with these built-in tags, create new tag types, and compose sentences for the user-created tag types. These program features enable one to use several sentences for a single tag.
When a narrative report for an individual is created with TMG, the sentences corresponding to various tags (or “facts”), selected by the user, are printed (some of them combined into paragraphs) approximately in chronological order. This creates a “story,” or narrative, of the individual’s life. The narrative-like paragraphs composed using the TMG computer program are converted to HTML by the Second Site program (mentioned above).
Names appearing in the narratives that are in bold and underlined are links to narratives for those named persons. A mouse click should “transport” web site visitors to these other narratives.
I have, for most individuals, tried to make most elements of the narratives fairly short and crisp. In most cases, any lengthy explanations are placed in notes at the end of the narratives (i.e., endnotes). Generally, visitors to this web site have to link to the “full version” of an endnote to access these longer explanations. This is discussed further in two sections appearing later in this Introduction: “Personal Recollections (And Other Long Endnotes)” and “Sources and Source Citations.”
During the time I used the FTM program, I created several special types of “facts”. For example, special types of “facts” were created to describe land grants in the United States in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The conversion process from FTM to TMG created TMG tags and sentences associated with these non-standard or special “facts.” The TMG program’s conversion feature did the best it could, but most of the created sentences for TMG non-standard “tags” were not very good. One important step in the process of changing from the FTM program to the TMG program has been to manually modify and/or correct the sentences from these conversions. This is still in progress as the initial version of this introduction is being written in April 2012.
Information from United States and United Kingdom censuses has been extremely useful in researching the family histories covered in this web site. Effort has been directed toward developing tags and sentences to incorporate information from these censuses into the narratives (the census-related portions of the narratives are somewhat of an exception to the statement above about making elements of the narratives short and crisp). The construction of portions of the narratives dealing with censuses is described in the next two sections. Charts, an alternative form of displaying the information in the databases, are discussed after the two census sections.
The built-in TMG sentences associated with population census tags are fairly simple. I had entered a good deal of census data during the time I used FTM. Censuses are a standard “fact” or “tag.” When I changed to use the TMG program, the FTM census information was converted to a TMG tag having a simple sentence (which did not require much editing for grammar or clarity). These simple tags just said something like an individual was included in a certain census and gave a date for the census and the location when the person resided. I also employed these simple sentences for several census-related entries made during the first few months after I adopted TMG.
I later became aware of more elaborate formats for sentences associated with census population schedules. These can provide a “word picture” of a household and (often) the structure of a family making up the household. They also provide placeholders for “extra” information included in certain censuses, such as the value for certain types of property.
As this portion of this Introduction is written (April 2012), I am in the process of converting to a more elaborate “census sentence” format based on material described in a web site by Terry Riegel at: http://tmg.reigelridge.com/index.htm. This format enables much of the information from the census population schedule to be incorporated into the narrative. The resulting sentences are readable and grammatical (although not necessarily elegant).
The more elaborate sentence/paragraph format for census population schedules is generally used only for heads of households (and their spouses). Other individuals living the household (such as children) generally get a relatively simple sentence that identifies the name of the head of the household in which the “other individual” resides (the spouse of that head of household may also be identified). Visitors to this web site should go the narrative for the head of household (or the spouse of the head of household) in order to see (1) the overall family structure as described in the population schedule and (2) “extra” information that appears in certain census years, such as (for example) the values of real and personal property that appear in the 1870 census population schedules.
As I am (1) writing this section of this introduction (April 2012) and (2) preparing to place the first pieces of the family history data base on a web site, only a fraction of the older (simple format) census population schedule sentences have been converted to the more elaborate formats. I expect (and hope) to increase the number of households described by the modified format for time to time over the next several years.
Much of what is written above about obtaining detailed insight into the structure of a household of family from population census schedules applies only to US censuses conducted between 1850 and 1940 (this portion of the Introduction is being written in April 2012, shortly after the 1940 census schedules were released to the public). Only limited amounts of information can be obtained from earlier US censuses (1790-1840), which list only heads of household by name. These early censuses do provide tables listing information about the number and gender of others in the household and, for the years 1800-1840, the number of individuals within certain age ranges.
This means more detailed information is available about the heads of households in the 1790-1840 era than is available about their spouses and children (until children become adults and establish households of their own). In many instances, one can presume the (unnamed) others residing in the household were a spouse and children of the head of household, and possibly (in some households) an elderly parent or in-law (although these presumptions are, of course, guesswork, to some extent). [A similar situation exists with certain city directories. They listed the names of heads households, but (often) did not list spouses (and seldom listed children, until the children became employed – or, at least, attained an age of about 17).]
Information about family structures is sometimes known from sources other than these 1790-1840 censuses. In these cases, it is sometimes possible to associate names with individuals in the census tables that list the numbers of household members in various age groups for each gender. Such assignments are almost always uncertain, to some degree.
I have usually not attempted to figure out (or guess) the names of various individuals represented by numbers of people in each age group in the tables in the 1790-1840 census schedules (there are a few exceptions where I did try this). Thus, in this web site, for these census years, generally only heads of households are listed in the narratives as having appeared in censuses (a similar treatment was used for narrative information derived from information in city directories). Visitors to this web site will find that narratives for heads of household are often more detailed than those of spouses of heads of household. This is largely related to how the 1790-1840 censuses (and certain other sources) contain relatively little information for spouses.
The tabular information in the 1790-1840 US censuses has been converted to a paragraph format. In addition to the age ranges indicated (on the census form) for each gender, I have included the approximate range of birth years corresponding to each age range in these paragraphs.
For enhanced “readability” ranges of ages (and birth years) are included in the 1790-1840 US census paragraphs only if a member of the household was recorded in that range (age ranges populated with zero household members have been eliminated). These sentences are not elegant – and not very ”readable” – even with these edits. With a few exceptions (usually in endnotes) I have not tried to speculate on what family member corresponds with the unnamed individuals in the various age ranges.
Although the 1850-1870 US censuses listed names for each individual in each household (or were supposed to), they did not identify the relationships between these individuals. Generally, it seemed obvious (from the names, genders, and ages of persons making up the households) that many of them consisted of a married couple and their children, and this was generally presumed in collecting this family history data. In some cases, these presumed relationships were consistent with other information (independent of the census information). However, there are probably several cases where these presumptions could be wrong (for example, some of the presumed sons and/or daughters in a household might instead be nieces, nephews, or younger siblings of an adult in the household – or children of only one of the adults in the household). The presumed nature of relationships is generally not pointed out in the 1850-1870 census material on this web site (largely because, in most instances, I was unaware at the time that I was presuming anything).
The US censuses from 1790 to 1860 collected information on slaves. I have not yet (as of April 2012) run across a family I was interested in that owned a slave. Thus I have not had to learn much about slave population schedules.
Agricultural census information is available for many states within the United States for the years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. The census data was recorded by hand on large, pre-printed forms that contained tables with blank spaces, most of them to be filled with numerical values (such as the acres planted in barley and the bushels of barley harvested). Several people in my database were farmers in the mid-1800s and were included in these agricultural censuses. (Sadly, the detailed agricultural census schedules from other years, such as 1890-1940, were never released to the public and apparently no longer exist.)
The agricultural census tables have been converted to paragraph form for the narratives given on this web site.
The majority of the numeric values entered on the agricultural census schedules are zeros, for each individual farm that I have encountered examining these agricultural census schedules. This is reasonable, since it is unlikely a single farm would produce some of each of the major crops grown in the United States (as well as each type of livestock).
For the narratives on this web site, I decided to display all of the numeric values reported for each of these four agricultural censuses, including the many values that are zero (the spaces for many entries were actually left blank on the census schedules, but I have used zeroes in the paragraphs for blank entries). Although this can be viewed as “wasting space” in the narratives (the zeroes, in effect, list things not produced on the farm), it seems to me to provide a more complete characterization of the farm.
Generally, the number of items to be reported increased from census to census. That is, more information was collected from each farm in 1860 than in 1850, more in 1870 than in 1860, etc. The 1880 census information was considerably more detailed than the three earlier ones. This 1880 census data was collected on tables with quite complex descriptions for each item. These 1880 tables were especially difficult to convert to a paragraph format.
In addition, the 1880 form has some questions where the person filling out the form is expected to place a checkmark in a column (such as choosing if the farm is owned or rented), rather than providing a number. These “check mark” questions have been incorporated into the paragraph format on this web site by converting them to questions with yes/no answers.
Certain information on the 1880 form appears in pairs or triplets. Examples of paired questions are the number of acres in the farm planted in barley and the number of bushels produced. An example of a triplet of questions is the number of acres in fruit trees, the number of trees, and the number of bushels of fruit produced.
Any readers who are interested in a more detailed understanding of the agricultural census information in detail can examine the column headings of the agricultural census forms (tables) describing each item. There are available at: http://coronagensoc.org/hintshelps.html (select the menu item on the web page that comes up that deals with nonpopulation agricultural censuses – I was unable to find a URL that went directly to the web page containing these headings). This information may also be available at other web sites.
The initial version of the web site (as this is written in May 2012) is not expected to contain any charts. This section of the Introduction will be expanded when charts are added to the web site.
A possible exception to the initial absence of charts is that pedigree (ancestor) charts may be available as links from the narratives of some individuals.
Who Is Included Here
Simply put, this web site covers “My Family.” However, things are not quite that simple.
The “family” information in my database is not limited to direct ancestors. I have generally tried to find information for siblings of direct ancestors and (in many cases) follow their lines for at least one generation. In several instances, information about the siblings enabled “finding” direct ancestors at certain stages of their lives. For example, records of the 1840 marriage of my great-grandparents, William C Fields and Keziah Jarman, were located -- in microfilmed records from the Livingston County, Kentucky courthouse -- because Keziah’s (presumed) brother, John Jarman, was living in that county at that time. She was apparently living with her brother’s family, not with her parents, who lived in Tennessee.
I have not (yet) tried to be consistent as to how I research family members other than direct ancestors. The families of some siblings of ancestors have been traced for 2 or 3 generations down. Others have not been researched at all.
I’ve done research on several individuals who, although not closely related, interested me for one reason or another. For example, a history of a portion of my mother’s family (written by distant cousins in 1984) mentioned one of my grandmother’s aunts, identified only as “Mrs Slobodien”. It took research on the (to me, fascinating) Slobodien family to determine which of several “Mrs Slobodiens” my grandmother was related to. Thus, I accumulated Slobodien Family information, even though I’m related to only one branch of that family. Some of this Slobodien Family information is on this web site (or will be someday).
A second example is that a small group of (apparently) unrelated people has been included because they were associates of ancestors. Two of these are William Liverman and William Banks, both of whom shared a land grant with my (probable) great-great-grandfather John Jarman in Tyrrell County, North Carolina in 1795. These documented close associates have been included in the database to facilitate possible future “finds” that could reveal they are relatives (possibly relatives by marriage). Narratives for some of these “associates” will probably eventually be added to the web site.
In a few instances, “connections” between family members shown here are uncertain to some degree. For example, I am aware of only circumstantial evidence that Josiah Jarman (born about 1784) is the father of my great-grandmother, Keziah Jarman (born about 1819). The evidence is convincing to me, but at least a small amount of uncertainty exists.
Generally, endnotes identify these somewhat-uncertain relationships. These notes also describe bases for certain presumed relationships. These endnotes may also discuss alternative possibilities. The notes dealing with “uncertain” family connections are generally “attached” to one or two individuals nearest the uncertain relationship. These notes are not repeated for each descendant of the “uncertain” individuals. Endnotes are discussed further in two sections appearing later in this Introduction: “Personal Recollections (And Other Long Endnotes)” and “Sources and Source Citations.”
As discussed earlier in this Introduction, the information on this web site is a subset of a larger set of data that exists on my computer. The database contains all almost of the information I have collected for every person I have ever done research on. Names of a fraction of the people in the database will someday listed on charts, which are primarily intended to give an overview of family relationships. More detailed information for a fraction of the people listed in the charts is given in narratives (including endnotes, which are a part of the narratives). The word “almost” appears earlier in the paragraph because (as of October 2013) I still have at least one file folder full of notes and page image prints and photographs from a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake around 2010 that have not yet been entered into the database.
Stated differently, some information exists on my computer about some people who are not covered on this web site (not even in the charts), but who are connected to people covered here. For example, in a few cases, the database contains information about distant descendants of siblings of certain people included here, but those distant descendants are not on the web site. In many cases, I would be happy to share information I have about such connected-but-excluded-from-the-web-site people.
One common reason for excluding people from this web site is that most (or all) of the information I have been able to find for them is from family histories listed on the internet – that is, the information is not from my own research. Some information from these Internet sources does appear on this web site, but I have tried to minimize the amount. I’m generally uncomfortable about “lifting” data from Internet listings (even though I give credit when I use them). This is, in part, because it seems like “cheating” and, in part, because in some instances I can’t be sure of the basis for the information (this is discussed further in the “Sources and Source Citations” section, below).
As indicated above, there are certain people whose narratives are not (or not yet) on the web site, but whose names may appear in some tables and charts on the web site. Also, a few people do not have their “own” narratives, but may be mentioned in narratives of others.
I’m willing to share the identity of my sources for information in the database for excluded deceased people. In a few instances, source endnotes in this web site provide hints to the location of information about excluded family members (family members not listed on this site).
The “Family History Links” section of this Introduction, below, provides information about where to look for additional information about certain family members who are not on this web site (or who appear only on charts and tables, which contain minimal information other than the person’s name).
Another reason people are excluded from the web site is to protect the privacy of living people (or, in some cases, people who MAY still be living). My personal computer databases do contain some information about several family members who are living (probably a few dozen of them). I am unwilling to share this information, except to very close family members.
As indicated above, most of the information given here has been recorded and organized using two family history computer programs: FTM and TMG. These computer programs also generated the charts, lists, and narratives for the individuals on this web site (well, the computer generates first drafts of these charts and narratives – sometimes things have to be cleaned up a bit).
If I have used these programs correctly, information about living people (or possibly living people) should always be excluded from charts and lists and should generally be excluded from the narratives.
There is one known type of exception to the exclusion of living people: the names of a few living (or possibly living) people may sometimes appear in sentences in the narratives for their parents -- if excluding those names would make the sentence awkward or garbled. No other information (except for names, in these few cases) for living people should appear on this web site.
It is possible there are unknown exceptions due to errors on my part. If any information about any living person appears here (and that person objects), please let me know. I will remove the information.
The exclusion of living (or possibly living people) can lead to some puzzling situations for visitors. For example, the list of children in a given family might omit a family member that you are aware of. That could mean I am unaware of the existence of the person. However, it could also be that I am aware of the existence of the person, but the person is living (or I thought the person might be living).
In most cases, the symbol “(--?--)” (without the quotation marks) is used when a name is unknown. This symbol can be used for both forenames and surnames.
The following two sections discuss the names used for people on this web site.
Forenames (First Names and Middle Names)
I have encountered multiple forenames for many of the individuals included on this web site. In most cases, the “alternative” names seemed to be obvious variations of their formal name (including middle names). These obvious forename variations are usually not explicitly mentioned in the narratives on this web site. Thus, the narrative for (my father’s first cousin) Ted Roosevelt Fields, does not mention that his forenames appeared as Ted, Teddie Roosevelt, T. R., and Roosevelt (in documents created over his lifetime; there may be other name variations that I have not encountered).
Nicknames that appear in documents are generally not explicitly called out in the narrative, if they are commonly associated with specific forenames (and the person has that forename). Examples of this are Betty, Liz, and Lizzie for Elizabeth; in most cases only Elizabeth will appear in a narrative.
Nicknames that seem to have been commonly used, and which are not obvious variations of an actual name, are listed in the narrative (if I am aware of them). Examples of such nicknames (those not obvious from the person’s actual name) would be “Lefty” or “Smoke”.
Obvious abbreviations are generally not explicitly mentioned in the narratives; an example would be the use of “Wm.” for “William.”
Similarly, name variations that appear to be typographical errors are generally not mentioned in the narratives, such as “Fieds” for “Fields.” This applies to both forenames and surnames.
There are several instances where I am unsure of the “correct” spelling of a name. This is often because the name has been spelled in several different ways in various documents. In such cases, I may have arbitrarily selected one of the alternatives to be “primary” name for that person. Some of the alternative names may be mentioned in the narrative in these cases. The types of documents in which the various spellings appeared might have influenced which name (or which spelling) I selected as the “primary” one.
I have tried to list alternative names (including nicknames) if they seem to have been used more often (or as often) as the actual name.
Some situations have been encountered where people who are members of the same family (or people believed to be in the same family) used different surnames. These are generally (but not always) slight spelling variations. In these situations, the surname that seems to have been most generally used by the individual is given as the primary surname on this web site (although guesswork has been involved for some individuals). Thus, “full” siblings can be listed on this web site with different surnames. Also, children can be listed with different surnames that their fathers. (TMG has the capability to vary forenames and surnames from tag to tag. I have not used this capability much. My thought is that swapping names in and out for the same individual was likely to be even more confusing than the approach taken here.)
One possible explanation for spelling variations is that people may not have been able to write their own surname. When documents were prepared (census schedules or property transactions) census takers or clerks would have spelled the surnames phonetically – and may not have all heard the name the same way (or rendered it the same way). This could be the reason a surname like Jarman has sometimes appeared in forms such as Garman, German, and Jarmon (among others).
The narrative for an individual will sometimes mention alternative surnames. However, they are more commonly mentioned only in endnotes.
In some cases, one branch of a family uses one name, while another branch uses a different spelling (or a totally different name). In these cases, the alternative names are generally discussed only in association with the family member who seems to have first used the alternative surname or alternative spelling.
As this is written (3 Jan 2012), women are generally listed under their maiden surnames (if I know that surname). In almost all cases among the people listed on this web site, married women took their husband’s surnames. Women’s married surnames are generally not used in the narrative (this seems to be standard practice in writing family history). This convention can be confusing (and potentially misleading) at some places in the narratives. For example, when census schedules are discussed in the narratives, a married woman is generally listed by her maiden name, although she was (almost always) actually listed in the census schedule under her married name (and can be head of a census household under her maiden name).
In most cases, once a woman has married, documents (and artifacts, such as grave markers) will refer to her by her maiden name. In most instances, descriptions of source citations for married women will used whatever form of the name that appears in the document (or artifact) that is being cited. In some instances (in an attempt to enhance clarity), maiden surnames have been inserted in citations, even if those maiden names do not appear on the document (or artifact) being cited. Thus, for example, the citation for a grave marker might use the name Sarah (Levine) Kramer, even if the grave marker itself uses only the name Sarah Kramer.
In a few cases, such as the “Segal” family, the version of women’s maiden surname used (by other family members) after immigration to the United States is used, even though the women may have married before the family surname was changed. In these cases, the individual was never really known by the maiden surname used on this web site (she would really have been known by the “old country” version of the surname before her marriage). This was done, in part, because Americanized versions of the maiden names have shown up in US records in a few cases (I have never – yet -- encountered the “old country” version of a maiden surname in a US record). For example, the California Death Record for John Slobodien (who died in 1943) lists his mother’s maiden name as Siegel, even though she married (in Russia, probably around 1883) long before that “Americanized” version of the family surname began to be used. The Siegel surname was used by some males in the family after immigration to the United States – some branches of family used “Segal” and others used “Siegel”.
Many of the various types of alternative names (described above – both forenames and surnames) that do not appear in the narratives do appear in endnotes (especially in citation-type endnotes). For example, an alternative name used in a certain source document will sometimes be mentioned in a description of that document appearing in a source citation. Similarly, the various types of alternative names mentioned above may be listed in indexes – and may possibly appear in Internet searches.
At the time the preceding paragraph is written in April 2012, only a few “test cases” have actually been placed on the web site. Because of this, I’m unsure how complete the web site’s indexes will be (the indexes might include information from the database that is no otherwise included in the site). I’m also unsure as to whether names that appear only in indexes will show up in Internet searches from outside the web site. If index entries do show up on Internet searches, I may try to revise things in the future to ensure “old country” maiden names also show up on Internet searches.
As with respect to names (discussed above), I have also encountered multiple birth “dates” (or birth years) for several people (in some instances, I’ve encountered multiple dates for other life events, such as marriage and death). Some of the multiple “dates” (especially for birth years) come from census records, where people seem to have a tendency to not age exactly 10 years between (US and UK) censuses. This can come about, in part, because US census have, indeed, not always been held exactly 10 years apart: some years the census was taken in August, some years in June, some years in January, and some years in April.
Except for the census of 1900, US censuses released up to now (April 2012) have asked for the age of individuals, not their year of birth. The (approximate) year of birth has to be deduced from the person’s age – and that inferred birth “date” is only a year (or a two-year range), not a “full” to-the-day “date”. The 1900 US census asked for month and year of birth, in addition to the individual’s age on the official census date.
As was the case for names, for some people, a date or year of birth has been more or less arbitrarily selected from the possibilities in various source documents. A note – or possibly the main text of a narrative – will generally identify when this has been done. Notes will sometimes also discuss possible alternative birth dates or birth years.
Personal Recollections (And Other Long Endnotes)
This section discusses how long “stories” or explanations have been “attached” to the narratives for some individuals. In most cases, these longer items (such as “stories”) appear in endnotes to the narratives. However, they occasionally appear in the narrative itself.
Two forms of notes are used on this web site. These are identified within TMG by the words “short” and “full.” The next section of the Introduction provides additional information about “short” and “full” notes and the relationship between them.
The format for the narratives for individuals used on this web site includes a list of notes at the end (endnotes). The endnotes are numbered corresponding to superscript appearing within each narrative.
Most of these endnotes for narratives are citations to source documents.
A small fraction of the endnotes for narratives are not citations. Instead they contain additional information to supplement information in the narratives.
This section of the Introduction focuses on these “additional information” endnotes. The endnotes that are citations to source documents are discussed in the next section of this Introduction.
Some of the “additional information” “long form” endnotes are quite long (several typed pages in their earlier “on paper” form) and could be characterized as essays. These are referred to on the web site in various ways, such as “Notes and Observations”, “Recollections”, “Personal Recollections”, and “Additional Information”. The longer pieces have been usually been placed “out of sight” among endnotes to prevent “slowing down” the main narrative with these longer reminisces and essays (and then put even further “out of sight” by including them among “full” endnotes, where the user has to reach them via mouse click).
As indicated above, a few (shorter) essay-type passages appear within narratives for individuals. These are usually characterized as “Notes and Observations”. When essay-type passages appear within a narrative, they are always at or near the end of the narrative.
These “essays” include the following types of material: (1) personal memories of specific individuals written by me (Carl Fields, author/creator of the web site); (2) recollections or other “essay-type” material written by others; (3) descriptions of how certain conclusions have been reached (these sometimes appear when a “fact” given in the narrative is uncertain, including when there is conflicting information about the “fact”); and (4) longer pieces (essentially research reports) documenting research on specific topics (usually topics associated with several different family members).
Several of the “essay-type” items written by others were adapted from the 1984 Segal Family Tree Book. I incorporated the “stories” from the text of the “Segal book” into my database in August 2005 by scanning the pages of the book, converting the scanned pages images to a Microsoft Word document using an Optical Character Reader program, and then using a “copy-and-paste” to “capture” text from the “Segal book” and transfer (“paste”) it into these notes.
In some cases, the “stories” from the “Segal book” relate to married couples or to entire families. On this web site, some of these “couples” and “family” “stories” may have been “assigned” to only one member of the family. In some cases I have edited the “Segal book” items. When the editing involved adding words or phrases, the added material is usually set off by double square brackets.
The notes describing conclusions by the author/compiler of the information in this web site generally refer to the author (Carl Fields) in the third person. Use of the third person is intended to (possibly) minimize future confusion if people extracted the material for use in documents and/or other web sites.
The notes containing personal recollections about people who the author/compiler remembers are usually written in the first person. These “personal recollections” include a few instances of hearsay, where I relate stories I’ve heard from others. A few “hearsay” items involve general family folklore, where I’m uncertain where I heard – or first heard -- the information. The legend that the Fields Family has some distant Native American (Indian) ancestry is one of the “family folklore” stories.
These personal recollections (some of which are quite lengthy) are always placed in full endnotes, to keep from “slowing down” the main narrative. Some of the personal recollections deal with families, not just individuals. In a few cases, a personal recollection about a person might be “hidden” in a recollection for a spouse or other family member.
In a few places, my research tends to discredit or disprove a family legend or family folklore. These instances are sometimes the subject of essay-type endnotes, or, in some cases, the subject of comments added to “full” citation-type endnotes. (Citation-type endnotes are discussed in the next section of this Introduction.)
Similarly, in a few instances information on this web site conflicts with information that appears on other web sites (such as family trees appearing on other web sites). Again, an essay-type endnote will sometimes explain the basis or rationale for the version that appears here. The topic of family trees on other web sites is discussed in the next section of this Introduction.
Some of the essay-type endnotes refer (internally) to sources, such as documents or web sites. In most cases, these internal references are not “formal” citations (in part because I couldn’t figure out a good way to have endnotes or footnotes inside the endnotes). Instead, what usually appears is a brief, informal, description of the item – one that does not meet the types of “evidence” standards discussed in the next section of this Introduction. The description is normally sufficient to enable the reader to identify the source. In many cases, the sources used in these essay-type endnotes are cited formally elsewhere on this web site.
Over the last few years (approximately 2006-2011), I have occasionally written long e-mails concerning some aspect of family history. The e-mails will often include an attachment, such as an old family photograph or an image of a document, such as a census schedule. One of these long e-mails might typically describe the transmitted photograph or document and point out specific features of the attachment (and sometimes also describe its significance). These e-mails have generally been sent to several family members (perhaps 20 or 30 people – in some cases I’ve felt like a spammer).
Some of these long e-mails have been modified (reworded and reformatted) to become essay-type notes appearing on this web site. Some of these modifications have been done rapidly. Traces of the original e-mail may remain.
Some of the essay-type notes began life as brief “memories” about certain individuals that I contributed to the “Segal Family” Geni.com web site. Again, the modifications were done rapidly and traces of the origin of the note may remain. The Geni.com site is briefly discussed in the “Links” section, below.
Some of the essay-type endnotes may repeat certain information in the narrative. The repetitions are primarily associated with essay-type endnotes developed from earlier forms, such as e-mails. Also, portions of some of the endnotes derived from other forms may appear in endnotes for other individuals. These near-duplications of material are generally associated with situations where the original e-mail dealt with more than one person.
Sources and Source Citations
A source is a “thing” that provides family history information. Sources include (but are not limited to): books, documents, interviews, magazine and journal articles, newspaper articles, grave marker inscriptions, web sites, maps, computer data bases, and photographs.
Some original sources have been converted into other forms (or media). For example, microfilm and digital images have been made of census schedules that originally existed as paper documents. Also, full and partial transcriptions have been generated of some of these census schedules (with the names in some of the partial transcriptions alphabetized so the partial transcriptions can serve as indexes). These transcriptions and indexes can also exist in various forms, such as microfilm, microfiche, and electronic/digital images and databases.
Citations are the written descriptions of sources. For example, if John Doe wished to use the family history information on this web site as a source, one possible full citation for it could be: Carl Fields, “Family History,” personal family web site, XenonSheepdog.org, (http://www.xenonsheepdog.org/familyhistory : accessed by John Doe, 10 May 2012). It would also be acceptable (and perhaps desirable) to provide a more precise citation, such as one that “pointed” to the narrative for one particular individual on this site.
The basic “rule” in genealogy is that the citation should correspond to the form of the source that was actually seen by the researcher. However, when the thing actually seen was a derivative form (such as a digital image of a census schedule, where the digital image was made from a previous microfilm image of the original page), the citation should try to describe both the form that was seen and the parent source item. This can result in complicated citations.
I was fortunate that when I started family history research I had access to (1) several “how to” guidebooks which stressed the importance of documenting sources for each “fact” that is collected and (2) computer programs (described elsewhere) that facilitated recording source citations.
The current (2012) “gold standard” for the content and formatting of citations for genealogical source documents is described in the book Evidence Explained (or EE), by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Unfortunately (1) the various features in the computer programs are not fully consistent with EE and (2) (I’m pretty sure) that, even if the computer programs were perfect, generating sources that are fully in compliance with EE would be a lot of work. [There is also a second edition of EE, which I have not seen.]
The source citations in my data base are currently (April 2012) sort of a hodgepodge, but (I think) come very close to meeting a minimum standard of enabling me to re-locate (or reproduce) the source of (almost) each piece of information. Ideally, the source citations would also enable a different person (someone other than myself) to re-locate the information (or reproduce my logic, for those “facts” that have been inferred, in one way or another). This second objective (involving someone other than myself) is not met (partly because some sources are things I’ve been told in conversations or private e-mails). However, the second objective has probably been met for over 90% of the “facts”. A third objective or standard is to enable an outsider to assess the validity or reliability of a source. I’m unsure as to how the web site stands with respect to that one.
One of the future enhancements I hope to make is to “clean up” many of the source citations. However, I don’t expect to ever really come up to full consistency with the Evidence Explained guidelines.
For certain types of documents the final citation I’m aiming for intentionally deviates from the EE standard. One type that comes to mind is US Civil War pension files, which each generally contain several individual documents. I believe the EE standard is to treat (cite) each item in the file as an individual document (but, in October 2013, long after this section of this Introduction written, I read something suggesting this interpretation of the EE standard for Civil War pension files is incorrect, so what I have done might be consistent with EE after all – I haven’t yet had time to investigate this). My current plan (as of February 2012) is treat (cite) the file as a single document and to summarize the information derived from each item in the file. Another example of an intentional deviation from the EE standard is described later in this section.
A few paragraphs ago, it was stated that source citations exist for almost all of the information that I have “collected.” I believe this is true. However, there are several instances in which the source citations have not yet been transferred from the database to the narratives that appear on this web site. Thus, this web site may “look” as if some “facts” are unsourced. This is especially so (as of April 2012) where I have tried to combine tags to avoid a string of similar sentences (examples are most sentences starting with words such as “Between 1921 and 1925, …” – these are discussed further below). Completion of the transfer and/or development of source citations for these relatively new sentences is an improvement I hope to make in forthcoming months.
Some source information has been collected by using a digital camera to “copy” documents at various repositories, such as the North Carolina state archives. This includes photographs of “viewscreens” of microfilm and microfiche viewers. The information was collected in this way to more effectively utilize my limited time at these repositories (my local Family History Center, where I view “rented” microfilm and microfiche, is counted as a “repository” in this context).
Generally, I would not look at the material (that is, the photographic/digital images of the material) carefully until I had left the repository and returned home. In a few instances, after examining the information at home, I discovered portions of certain pages were missing or illegible (or almost illegible) on the photographic image. In particular, several page numbers from city directory pages (photographed from a microfilm viewer “viewscreen”) are in this category. These are indicated in the source citation by an appropriate remark (or by a question mark) in cases where the information exists in the image, but the image is unclear.
As indicated above, much of the information on this site was at first collected using various versions of the FTM computer program. That information was then converted to the TMG format, and subsequent information has been collected with TMG.
These two programs have different methods of documenting sources (and different source information formats) and citations. The process of converting the FTM source citations to TMG source citations was especially imperfect (partly, and likely entirely, due to me being somewhat “loose” or “creative” in developing and entering the FTM citation). Because of these factors (and possibly others) the source documentation in this web site (as this is written on 3 Jan 2012) is incomplete and employs inconsistent formats. As indicated above, I am working on correcting (or at least improving) this situation as time becomes available. The citations in the database are in better shape than might be indicated by those in this web site (as of April 2012).
Another factor contributing to lack of consistency is that source templates built into the TMG program were based on an earlier book by Elizabeth Shown Mills, which was titled Evidence! (E!). The earlier book treated few types of sources and (for those source that a treated in both volumes) seem to be slightly inconsistent. The inconsistencies seem to be fairly cosmetic, mostly dealing with the order in which various elements of the source description appear in the citation.
For some people documented on this site, a large number of source documents have been found for certain basic information, such as the person’s name. Examples of this are several people who are listed in perhaps 14 or 15 editions of Perth Amboy (New Jersey) city directories (these directories were sometimes published annually, but at other times there was as much as a 5-year gap between volumes). In many cases, citations for these multiple documents have been suppressed (to avoid having a long list of superscripts following the individual’s name in the narrative -- long lists of superscripts might also have been associated with other items in the narratives). Typically, only three or four sources are listed in such cases. The reader should be aware that if, say, an edition of a city directory is cited for a person’s occupation, that edition almost certainly also listed the person’s name and residence address, even if that edition of the city directory is not explicitly cited here as a source for that name and address information.
In some cases where (1) a relatively large amount of nearly-year-by-year information is available for people from city directories and (2) people remained at the same addresses and/or occupations for many years, sentences have been constructed to describe the residence or occupation extending “between” a “starting year” and an “ending year.” This was done to avoid a boring series of similar declarative sentences in the narrative, such as, “He was a storekeeper in 1921,” “He was a storekeeper in 1922,” He was a storekeeper in 1923,” etc.
Since (1) the information in a city directory published in a given year may have actually been collected some time during the previous year and (2) city directories were not published each year, these starting and ending years are somewhat uncertain, so they should be modified by the term circa, which is Latin for “around.” In some instances, I may have inadvertently neglected to include the word circa. In addition, in some places circa was abbreviated by the letter ”c” (which should be in Italics, but might not be).
Another factor that relates to “ending year” (in the sequences of years described in the previous paragraph) is that I have viewed Perth Amboy New Jersey city directories only up to 1949. This means that when someone is described as (say) living at a certain address from 1940 until 1949, it is possible they continued to live there after 1949, but I don’t have any information beyond 1949. [A few later editions of city directories exist, but have not yet been consulted (as of April 2012). I have seen reels of microfilm containing page images from them in the Perth Amboy public library).]
There are also several instances (as this is written in February 2012) when individuals seem to have “left” Perth Amboy for intervals of several years and then returned. I’m uncertain if these instances represent a real move and then a return, if the compilers of the city directories “lost” or misplaced these individuals for a time, or if I somehow “missed” these people for some editions of the city directories.
The design of family history software packages (described above) to collect information means that the date and location for certain events (e.g., birth, death, and marriages) are reported together. The source citations for these types of events are generally listed (e.g., referenced by numeric superscripts) at the end each sentence reporting both the date and location information.
In some instances, a cited source document for a life event will give only a date or a location (not both). For example, US census returns generally report only an age (for which an approximate birth year can be deduced) and a state of birth (for native-born individuals) or a country of birth (for foreign-born individuals), but not a city, town, or county. Because of this, in cases where (1) full dates and specific locations are listed and (2) several source document citations are listed, it may be necessary to carefully parse the full citation of the source documents (and possibly the source documents themselves) to ascertain which document is the source of the various portions of the date and location information. In some cases, information within the source citation(s) may indicate what portion of the date and location information is from each cited source document.
In a few instances where several sources are cited, some of them may contain information that only approximately matches the primary information in the sentence. These citations are listed to provide confirmation or support for the reasonability of the primary information. For example, in some instances, the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) lists only the month and date of death. There are some cases where the exact date of death is known from other sources (such as from a grave marker), but a month-and-date-only SSDI entry is cited as supporting evidence. Also, the SSDI lists only the date of birth (not the location) and (often) not a death location. Nonetheless, the SSDI is sometimes cited as supporting evidence for a statement in the narrative that lists both the date and location of these events.
The following several paragraphs describe how long and short versions of endnotes are employed in this web site. The descriptions in the next 6 paragraphs, generally refer to the endnotes as if they are all citations to source documents. As indicated above, some endnotes are of the essay type (described above). Also, sources can be things other than documents, such as inscriptions on grave markers. The endnotes associated with a specific narrative can be mixtures of citation types and essay types.
Superscript numbers in the narrative are related to the number of each endnote at the end of the narrative. A specific endnote number can appear at several different points in the narrative. The endnote numbers usually do not appear in order in the narratives. (I have only a partial understanding of how the program selects the sequence of endnote numbers for a specific individual narrative.)
The TMG program has the capability to generate both long and short versions of source citations (usually these are called the full version and the short version). In TMG terminology, they are usually referred to as footnotes, although I more often employ endnotes (which appear in the narrative reports in this web site).
Apparently, it is common that (unlike in the narratives on this web site) when a source is initially cited in a written report, the full-version citation is given. However, if the same source is cited again, later in the report, only a limited amount of information is given (the short version) in order to save space (but still provide enough information to identify the source -- the short version will often “point” the reader to the full version, which contains the complete citation).
In this web site, these two types of citations are used differently. Short version endnotes are listed at the end of each narrative. Each short versions endnote begins with a source number in parentheses (such as “S226”), which is a link to the long (or “full”) version of the citation. Users of this site can (if they wish) display the full version by (for example) holding their mouse cursor over the number and pressing the left mouse button (“left mouse button” implicitly refers to a Windows computer; I’m unsure how this is done on a Mac-type computer). The source number is a sequence number carried forward from the information assembled by the TMG computer program. It is basically a sequence number assigned when the source was input (keyed into) the computer database.
A “full version” citation appearing on this web site can include more information than the minimum required to identify a source. The additional information can include (but is not limited to) a summary of the information in the source, an assessment of the reliability of the source, and comments in the legibility of the source. The may be some overlap between the additional information in (non-citation) “essay-type” endnotes and additional information included in certain citations. The additional information included with citations is usually related to the source, not to the person who is the focus of the narrative. However, they may be some exceptions to this.
In a few instances, the additional information in source citations describes where I found some books and other publications that seemed to be fairly rare (the EE standard does not call for repository locations for books). The summaries and comments in these full-version citation-type notes are likely to use the version of the name that actually appears in the document, which may differ from the version that appears in the sentence within the narrative that called out the citation. For example, for married women in censuses, the narrative will generally use her maiden name, but the census would likely have used her married name.
Short version endnotes immediately follow the narratives on this web site. Short version endnotes make the list of notes at the end of each narrative relatively concise. As indicated above, the full version of any note can be seen by linking to the source number in parentheses at the beginning of each short version endnote.
The narratives on this web site are designed so that users (readers) will see the short version of the source citation before they see the full version. This is different from the probable order in which the user would see the two types of citations in a “traditional” text document (one printed on paper). The EE formats were created with the “traditional” viewing order in mind. Because of this, the EE formats for some types of source documents seemed to me to be cryptically brief to a user seeing them as the initial introduction to a cited source. For clarity, I have modified some of the EE short-version formats to include some additional information. For example, I have added the term “e-mail” to the short version citation listed in EE for e-mails. This is the “other” type of intentional deviation from the EE standard that is mentioned above.
For essay-type endnotes, the short version endnotes on this web site are usually not very informative. Users must link to the full version to read the full text of essay-type endnotes. The full versions of a few of the essay-type endnotes are lengthy (several pages if printed out). One reason the short version endnotes are used in the narrative reports was the fear that endnotes appearing after a long essay-type endnote could be difficult to spot (i.e., the item could get lost in the verbiage of the essay-type endnote).
One of the format shortcomings of the information on this web site (for the first batches of family history information to be uploaded) is that (for various reasons) detailed, “long format”-type information has found its way into some of the “short format” endnotes (or notes that should have been in the shorter format). One of the improvements I hope to make in the next year or so (as this is written in early 2012) is to “groom” these short-format citations.
TMG does not have a good system for citing sources for parental relationship information. Superscripts identifying these relationship sources follow those sources cited for primary names for individuals.
As indicated above, some of the essay-type endnotes discuss instances where relationships (and possibly other types of information) on this web site may disagree with corresponding information at other locations on the Internet. One of the “problems” with Internet family history research is that some web sites (such as Ancestry.com) have made it almost too easy to find ancestors – or, at least, individuals with the same names or ancestors, or similar names. This has led to questionable family trees at various places on the Internet. This is sometimes (unkindly) referred to as junk genealogy.
In a few instances, I have looked at Internet family trees that should contain some of my ancestors. The information on some of these family trees disagrees with my research. These Internet family trees also sometimes disagree with one another.
The basic reason for the incorrect family trees is probably that many people have identical names (or similar names). If a person knows an ancestor is named John Jones who was born in Tennessee, it is easy to accept the first John Jones (or one of the first) that is encountered in Tennessee (in the ancestor’s era) as the correct John Jones. Often, that “first” John Jones is not a valid ancestor, but is placed in a family tree anyhow. Then, even if the correct parents, grandparents, etc. of that “first encountered” John Jones are found, the tree is incorrect (mis-linked).
Some commercial (and non-commercial) web sites (such as, again, Ancestry.com) have, in the past, facilitated these mis-links by providing “hints” to who your ancestors are likely to be. Beginning family history researchers apparently sometimes accept the “hints” uncritically. (Having said what is in this paragraph up to this point, I should add that I have recently – as this is written in April 2012 -- encountered a couple examples where Ancestry.com “hints” seem to have “pointed” to exactly the correct person (and to only that person). I suspect they are continually improving the logic in the software that provides the “hints” on the web site.)
Other Miscellaneous Information
This section briefly describes (and hopefully clarifies) certain aspects of the information contained in this web site.
Clarifying words have been added to information derived from source documents at a few points – words that are not necessarily in the original source documents. For example, I have, on one or two occasions, converted the word “Yekaterinoslav,” which appeared in a source document, to “Yekaterinoslav Governate” (this is essentially a province that once existed in what is the current nation of Ukraine). The intent was to provide clarification. Hopefully, none of these additions has inadvertently changed the meaning of the original source document. [I should add that the name “Yekaterinoslav” is sometimes written without the “Y”, that is, as “Ekaterinoslav,” and other ways too. Also, the word “Governate” seems to be a translation (from Russian, probably). The word often appears in what is probably a transliteration of its untranslated form: “Guberniya”.]
Another example of a clarifying word is that I’ve often added the words “County” or “Township” after the name of these local government units in the United States. The convention among family history researchers in the US has apparently to save space by (especially) leaving off “County.” I figured clarity is better than brevity in this respect, since I doubt that many people reading this will be “serious” researchers (although I hope some are or are inspired to become so). Thus what might be often be written as (for example): Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, I have (usually) written as: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.
As of late March 2012, the highest sequential ID number in the database is 3726. However, a few numbers in this sequence are unused. This is usually because of mergers of people whose data was inadvertently entered twice. The total number of individuals in the database as of this time is probably slightly over 3700.
I have been accumulating family history information, on and off, since about 1999. A good deal of information has come from various Internet web sites. During the time I have done research, several organizations have merged, been purchased, gone out of business, etc. In some cases, source citations for Internet sites may no longer active or available under the URLs (universal resource locators) that were in effect at the time I initially looked at the information on the web site (and created the source citation). This is especially the case for web sites put up by individuals and local historical societies (who may have changed Internet providers and/or redesigned their sites).
Mergers, buyouts, reorganizations, etc., may have also affected source citations of large organizations (for example, I suspect the names and/or addresses of a few government agencies have changed). Two changes to organizations during the last few years, which affect some source citations on this web site, are the purchase of Rootsweb by Ancestry.com and the name change for Footnote.com to Fold3.com. Both of these organizations (Rootsweb and Fold3) have a major web presence. The current URL of Rootsweb sites has the name “ancestry” in it, which differs from the URL prior to the merger. In addition, I believe Rootsweb was previously a “.org” domain and it is now a “.com” domain. Again, the citations in this web site are generally to what existed when I “collected” the web information. I have not made a systematic effort to update to current URLs. Also, I have run into several instances where state agencies have changed over the years. For example, I have sent away to state agencies for the death certificates for several individuals (these agencies often have names like Department of Health and/or Bureau of Vital Statistics). In several instances, the form I received back indicated that the name of the agency at the time the death certificate was filled out (perhaps 50-70 years ago) was somewhat different from its name at the time I wrote for the certificate.
Another issue that affects older citations deals with the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). This is a searchable digital index of deaths reported to the US Social Security Administration since about 1962. As this is written (early May 2012) versions of it exist on several web sites, including Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The public availability of the index has been criticized (perhaps unjustly) in recent months due to the possibility that it might have been source of some stolen Social Security numbers used in certain identity theft cases. Several bills have been introduced in the US congress to restrict public access to the information in the SSDI (or eliminate public access entirely). Various web sites have made anticipatory changes in how they treat this information in response to this criticism (and the proposed legislation). For example, the SSDI has been removed from Rootsweb (which used to have it) and certain information has been removed from the index in other web sites, such as some Social Security Numbers and some information about locations where final benefits were paid. Thus, some information on this web site that is cited as having been obtained from the SSDI may no longer be available at the cited web location. The next three paragraphs provide additional information about the SSDI.
The SSDI was apparently initially made public to prevent identity theft. The idea was that, for example, a credit card company could check information on a credit application to make sure the person (and social security number) were not listed as deceased on the SSDI. If the name and number were listed in the SSDI, there was a possibility the credit application was a fraudulent attempt to use the identity of a deceased person. The cases that triggered the current (May 2012) proposed legislation apparently dealt with fraudulent use of social security numbers to obtain tax deductions for recently deceased children (by persons other than their parents). My understanding is that the Internal Revenue Service has rules that prevent IRS employees from comparing tax returns to SSDI information prior to issuing tax refunds.
The name term SSDI (and the longer name abbreviated by it) are apparently inventions of the genealogical community for use in referring to this index. The official name is apparently something like: Master Death File of the Social Security Administration. The abbreviation SSDI is unfortunate in one respect: it could cause the term to be confused with Social Security Disability Insurance.
The SSDI contains (or did before recent changes) information about where the “final benefit” was paid, which often provides a clue as to where the deceased person lived near the end of their life. This can be confusing because this information is often available for people who died too young to be receiving Social Security old age pension benefits. For example, a “final benefit” location is listed for Elvis Presley, who died at age 42 in 1977. This final benefit apparently refers to the ~$250 paid to certain survivors when they notify the Social Security Administration of the cardholder’s death. Alternatively, this could, in some cases, mean the younger-than-normal-retirement-age person had been receiving other types of benefits, such as disability payments (this was not the case for Elvis Presley, of course).
As indicated above, in many instances “full” source document citations on this web site (the longer citations requiring use of the mouse on a source number of the short-from citation following a narrative) will provide “extra” information, such as an abstract of the information in the document or a discussion of some feature or aspect of the document. Up to the time I’m writing this introduction (February 2012), I have generally included an abstract or summary of US census information as part of each long form census citation (these abstracts include items that do not appear elsewhere, such as, for many census years, a – highly coded – indication of the birthplace of each individual and each of their parents). I have included similar abstracts for certain other types of source documents, such as World War I draft cards. I will probably discontinue this abstract/summary process in the future (especially for population census schedules). It takes too much time.
Abbreviations that appear at various points on the web site include:
FHL = Family History Library. This is a large library in Salt Lake City operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons or LDS Church). The church also has many satellite Family History Centers (often at LDS church buildings). These it is possible to (in effect) rent FHL microfilms via these Family History Centers. In the last few years, new FHL acquisitions of copies of primary source documents have largely been by digital images, rather than microfilm. Also, much of their older microfilm collection is being digitized. Many of these digital images have been, or will be, placed on their web site, FamilySearch.org. Thus some of the documents described on this web site as being on microfilm reels may now (or someday) be on the Internet as digital images.
NARA = National Archives and Records Administration. This is the US government organization that runs the National Archives in Washington DC. There are also several regional archive centers and at least one “overflow” building in Maryland (called Archives II, I believe). This organization also runs presidential libraries. They also have a web site (which includes a versions of the 1940 census – but that census is also available on other web sites). The only places I have done research are the main archives in Washington DC and the regional one just outside Atlanta Georgia.
Other abbreviations, such as FTM, TMG, and SSDI are described elsewhere in this Introduction.
Copies of several documents cited as sources in the narratives on this web site exist in digital form (usually as digital images) “on” my personal computer(s) as of June 2012. Some of these are on external hard drives connected to the computer, with various types of backups (that is, several copies exist of some digital images). In most cases, the digital images are in the form of “picture” files, such as the “tif” and “jpg” file types (which might have slightly different files extensions, e.g., “jpg” is sometimes expressed as “jpeg”. These often exist in a “documents” subfolder to a folder called “FTM Data,” and/or in various subfolders under “My Pictures” or “My Photos”. E-mails (generally not stored as digital image files) are stored with other e-mails in various subfolders related to Genealogy. The names of these subfolders generally start with the abbreviation “Gene”. Some e-mails have been “captured” from items sent of various “lists” (not sent to me personally). These are generally stored under folders that contain family names (such as “Jarman”) or by county using file names containing abbreviations for various counties. For example, lists dealing with counties in the state of Tennessee generally start with the abbreviation “TN”.
I have a fairly large number of digital images (many of them documents). In preparing the first “installment” of family history information to go “online,” it became apparent I would have to cut down the size (and the amount of detail) in some (jpg-type) image files in order for them to work "smoothly” in the family history material prepared using Second Site. This is especially the case, at least, for digital images (usually of documents) “embedded” in source citations. The files were reduced in size so that, when opened, the entire width of the image will generally fit on the display monitor of a desktop computer (although this may be hardware-dependent and browser-dependent). The idea was to reduce the need to use horizontal scrolling to read the document on the display screen.
At the time of the initial upload of the family history information to the web site, the only images (photos) in the family history section were of document. At some point, I hope to begin adding photographs of individuals. It is likely that additional image size reductions will be necessary for those photos to fit onto the narrative page and other types of pages on the family history site.
Users should be aware that I might have a more detailed version of the image of a source document (more detailed that can be directly downloaded from this web site). In the unlikely event that someone would want a more detailed version of one of these document images, please contact me. We may be able to find a way to get a better version out tot you. The presence of “cut down” images as the largest available image in the family history section of this web site differs from the general practice in other sections of the website, where the largest available image is often available on the web site.
The captions for many of the images are the file names. The image documents on the web site often use a file name system where information about the document is incorporated into the file name. The general format is name of individual, type of document, date, and location. When the document includes several individuals (such as the census return for a family) the name of the individual used is the file name is usually a principal (such as the head of household). A few exceptions exist, where the individual used for the file name is a person of special interest for the family history research in the web site.
One “good practice” with respect to citing “sources” is to provide a citation for an unsuccessful search. That is, when a source (such as a document, but possibly something else, such as a cemetery) is examined for the presence of information (such as the names of family members), that source should be cited (in some manner), with the notation identifying the primary information being searched for was not “found.” I have generally not done that up to the time this portion of this Introduction is written (July 2012). I do not plan to “backfill” to try to add citations for unsuccessful searches that were I have done up to now. However, I will endeavor to provide them (to some extent) for research I do going forward from July 2012.
In some states within the US, some small communities are inside larger townships. Some census schedules list both the township and the incorporated town within the township. In most situations of this type, I have listed only the incorporated town (not the surrounding township). However, there are probably exceptions to this practice.
The preprinted forms or schedules for the every-ten-year US censuses between 1850 and 1930 included spaces (columns) for the census “takers” or enumerators to list sequential dwelling numbers and sequential household numbers, as they visited people in their assigned districts. The 1940 census departed from this practice; it does not include sequential dwelling numbers. Because of this, there are instances – usually in rural areas -- where the census is unclear as to whether or not two related households (listed one after the other) lived in the same dwelling or in adjacent dwellings. In cities and towns, it is usually possible to identify cases where several households live in the same structure by street address (the forms provide spaces to record the street name and house number on that street). An example where three households (containing people who are related to one another) appear in succession in a rural area is the households headed by Turner, Woodrow, and Leonard Cantrell in Christian Township of Independence County Arkansas (Arkansas Enumeration District 32-6, sheets 7B and 8A). It is not clear from the census if these three households occupy one, two, or three dwellings (in this instance, Gearldene Moss, a granddaughter of Leonard Cantrell, remembered visiting these people and remembered there were three separate dwellings, one of them actually some distance from the other two).
The 1940 census included questions on employment and income that often provide interesting insights into people’s lives. I have transcribed several items from these 1940 census sheets into the TMG sentences used in narrative or narration reports. In some cases, information from these census sheets will differ from the “best inference” information given elsewhere in the narratives. Birthplace is an example of where a difference may occur. These differences could be present for any one of several reasons. For example, in many cases one member of a household seems to have provided information to the census enumerator for all members of the household. It is possible the person providing the census data was mistaken (or guessed at) certain information (such as birth location) about one or more of the others in the household.
One of the questions on the 1940 census population schedule form (Column 30) deals with “Class of Worker”. A common entry in this column is “PW,” which refers to a salaried or hourly worker in something like private industry, as opposed to a salaried or hourly worker employed by some government agency or organization (such as a schoolteacher), which would be designated by the symbol “GW”. When I began abstracting the 1940 census information into narratives for households and individuals, I initially misunderstood the “PW” to mean “paid” worker, rather than (approximately) “private worker” (in the sense of private industry). Some of these instances of “paid” (rather that “private”) probably still exist in the narratives. I have not looked to check (as this paragraph is written in August 2012), but I believe that in some prior censuses, the “PW” symbol was used for “paid worker,” as opposed to someone who operated his or her own business.
Some types of source documents are available from several different repositories or locations. For example, US census schedules are available (1) on microfilm at branches of the US Archives (formally National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA) and at many libraries and (2) at various internet sites, such as Familysearch.org and Ancestry.com. In some cases, I have accessed information, at different times, from more than one such location. For example, when I began doing research (around 1999), I “found” some census records on microfilm. However, I later re-examined those same census “pages” via digital images (such as via Ancestry.com – it’s possible that Ancestry may not have had the complete set of census digital images in, say, the 1999-2002 era, or I may not have known about it or had access to it). Similarly, I have examined 1940 census records not only at the web site (that is, in 2012, as this paragraph is written) associated with NARA: (http://1940census.archives.gov : accessed July 2012), but also at sites belonging to other organizations, such as Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org (for various reasons, it was sometimes most convenient to use one of these site, what on other occasions it was most convenient to use another one). I have “cheated” (a bit) by generally providing a source citation to only one of these sites that contain similar information (usually identical, or nearly-identical information).
In a few instances, this family history research has uncovered “sensitive” information about certain individuals – potentially embarrassing things they might not want revealed within their lifetimes (and that – even after their deaths -- they might not want their children or grandchildren to know about). In a few instances I have included information of this type in my computer database, but have “excluded” it in various ways, so that it will not be printed in reports generated by the TMG computer program. My intention is that (in some cases) I might someday remove the “exclusion” control, if and when I can confirm that all descendants who have a living memory of the individual are themselves deceased. This paragraph is included in this Introduction to provide background information for any individuals who might someday have access to my computer database. In a few cases, “sensitive” items are implicit within information that is not excluded, but the significance of the information is not highlighted or pointed out.
In 2010, during a visit to California, I stopped in Sanger, California and visited the town library to examine back issues of the local newspaper, The Herald, (a weekly), which the library had on microfilm. I had with me a list of the name and dates of death of several family members who had lived in and around Sanger during portions of their lives. I was looking for newspaper obituaries for these people. In most cases, when I did find an obituary, I photographed the article off the display screen of the microfilm viewer. I also tried to photograph the dates those particular issues of the newspaper were published (along with page numbers, when I remembered them. In most cases the page number were not legible and the publication date was barely legible. I have “deduced” the most probable publication date in some cases, where the date on the image is questionable. In almost all cases, no page number is given (but it’s a relatively thin newspaper, so the obituaries should be easy to find if anyone tries to replicate my work). The overall quality of the images of these off-the-viewscreen photos is poor.
Essentially every page in the web site has a “Contact Us” link in the lower portion of the page. This link is intended to generate an-mail message to me without revealing my e-mail address (I’d hoped to minimize the amount of junk e-mail I receive). The Family History Section includes this “Contact Us” link, but it also has my name on certain pages (as a link). This link will begin composing an e-mail message where an e-mail address is visible (there are probably other ways of viewing this e-mail address from within the Family History Section of this site).
John Cardinal, author of the Second Site program, has requested that users of second site who place sites on the web include an e-mail address. His experience has been that when site users have no way to access the creator of a web site, they sometimes contact him. This places an unnecessary strains on his resources.
Those people who have communicated with me personally in the past may notice that the e-mail address(es) for contacting me via this web differ from my “personal e-mail address (which ends with “@bellsouth.net”). That older (primary) e-mail address is still valid. New addresses have been created solely for receiving messages from this web site. Those who have been using the primary e-mail address should continue to do so (although you are also welcome to communicate through the contact devices built into XenonSheep.org).
There are many people covered on this web site who are lost to human memory. Everyone who ever knew them is deceased. The only sources of information we have about them are documents, photographs, grave marker inscriptions, and (possibly) second- or third-hand hearsay. We don’t know how representative these surviving scraps of information are about their true hearts, the true centers of their lives. For example, for one or two people, I’ve found court records about a dispute over a property boundary. That sort of thing leaves a record. However, I don’t know if the dispute was something they were passionate about, or if it was only a minor annoyance. Other things, which might have been central aspects of their lives, have probably not left any traces – things such as: did the person pray every night, tell bedtime stories to children every night, or get drunk every night? Those things are probably forever hidden to us for so many people. The “selection” of documents that are available about people who died even as recently as, say, 35 or 40 years ago often seems to have been made by whim and/or accident of history.
I’m hesitant to provide links to web sites giving general information about family history. This is mostly because there are so many good ones that assembling any kind of even somewhat comprehensive list would be much more work that I want to do. Also, I would feel badly about the many excellent sites that would be left off of any reasonable list.
Instead I will provide a link to what is probably an all-inclusive directory of almost all existing sites:
Cyndi’s List – http://www.cyndislist.com/
There are several excellent sites that focus on the TMG computer program. I will list the three that I have referred to the most:
Wholly Genes – http://www.whollygenes.com/ This is the company that develops and markers the TMG software.
Reigel Ridge – http://tmg.reigelridge.com/ This site contains several articles on the effective use of TMG and second site.
Lee Hoffman – http://www.tmgtips.com/index.html This is another site with tips and advice on using TMG.
The items that follow provide pointers (primarily links) to where more additional information may be found about several clusters of individuals. In at least a few cases, these web sites are also cited in certain endnotes in the narrative reports.
Ramey Family Tree (www.ancestry.com) – Private tree on Ancestry.com. Contains information on Magness family (among others). I believe part of this is based on a report prepared on the Magness family in the late 1950s and published at that time in the form of a booklet.
Geni Web Site ("Segal Family"), http://www.geni.com, Web Site Started by Itzhak Shoval (in 2007). This is an ongoing private tree prepared as a joint project by many family members (a process which continues as of May 2012). Apparently started with the Segal family, and later extended to many others, including the Slobodien and Komisaruk families. I believe one has to be invited to join the tree (i.e., be a connected family member) to view it, but it could be that Geni Pro members have access to it, to some extent. This site contains personal information about living people. In addition, the number of “distant” relatives one is “allowed” access to with a free membership seems to have decreased somewhat over the years.
Rootsweb WorldConnect Project Database: 2153854, Archer, Beaman, Cox, Freeman, Johnston, Rees, Warren, http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=:2153854. Rootsweb WorldConnect site by Kimberly Archer. This web site contains (among many other things) a large number of descendants of Alabeth Ball and Aaron Posey Freeman. The Freeman family portion of this site seems to have been based, in part, on information from the Dawes Commission registry of claimed members of the Mississippi Choctaw tribe around 1903-1904. The Dawes Commission was concerned with dividing land previously held in common by several Native American tribes in what is now eastern Oklahoma. I initially saw a 2002 version of this tree, identified by the Worldconnect Number 2153854. It now (as of May 2012) appears there is also a 2008 version, with the WorldConnect identifier “blueraine” (or perhaps “bluerain1”: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=bluerain1&id=I0377 : accessed 2 Sep 2013) .
Rootwseb WorldConnect Project Database: Belle’s Genealogy, identifier: davenbelle, a Rootsweb WorldConnect tree by David Myers, http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=davenbelle. This site deals contains information about certain lines of descendants of Henry Jarman, born c1788 (in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, not in the location given on the davenbelle site), and Margaret Peggy Jarman (later Sawyer).
Rootsweb World Connect Project Database: Luke & Edwards, identifier: sugarbear1945, a Rootsweb WorldConnect tree by Walking Eagle, http://wc.rootweb.ancestry.com, then search of Josiah Jarman and Select Database sugarbear1945. This tree contains information on descendants of Lucretia Tennessee Jarman, Rhoda Carolina Harriet Jarman, Scott Euphrates Jarman, James Edward Jarman, and William Robert Thomas Jarman.
Rootsweb World Connect Project Database: Clarks of Houston County TN, identifier: 2254232, a Rootsweb WorldConnect tree by linda clark, http://wc.rootweb.ancestry.com, then search of Josiah Jarman and Select Database 2254232. This tree contains information on descendants of Scott Euphrates Jarman (given in the database as Euphrates Scott Jarman), James Edward Jarman, and William Robert “Tony” Jarman.
Rootsweb World Connect Project Database: Breeden Family of Virginia and parts West, identifier: breeden1, a Rootsweb WorldConnect tree by Carl Preston Breeden Jr., http://wc.rootweb.ancestry.com, then search of Josiah Jarman and Select Database breeden1. This tree contains information on descendants of Lurana B. Jarman.
A few people are named more than once in conjunction with the last four sites that are listed above. I have not (yet, as of May 2012) compared the information on these sites to see if the lines of some of the duplicated (or more than duplicated) people are covered in more depth at one site moreso than the others.
I have been fortunate to have certain ancestors who chose to be born in a Tyrrell County, North Carolina, which has a very comprehensive web presence:
Many thanks to the following people who have provided information, help, guidance, and/or encouragement: Ralph Fields (deceased), George Ann Magness Ramey (deceased), Alinda Miller, Carol Roberts, Stan Slobodien, William Milwitt, Susan Gumenik, Delmer Horton, Lois Horton, Katrina Jarman, Dianna German Anderson, Bonnie Heenan, Paula Ramey, Gordon “Toad” McGowan, Barbara Moody Smith (deceased), Donna Fields, Mel Comisarow, Clifford Fields (deceased), Linda Johnson Wright, Jeannie Castells, and Gearldene Prince Moss. This list was made up from memory (and from a quick examination of e-mail addresses). I suspect there are many others – and apologize to those who were omitted due to the shortcomings of my memory.
The title of the family history section was derived from a quotation from Shakespeare:
" ..... death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns...."
"Hamlet" (Act 3, Scene 1)
Comments? Suggestions? Errors? Corrections? Request for Assistance?
For much of my working career, I worked as a nuclear engineer. In this work, I often prepared detailed technical work packages (sometimes called Calculation Notes). These were, in effect, technical reports, with accompanying supporting documents and analyses (with the supporting work often included as appendices). The final work package would sometimes run to several hundred pages in length (and would sometimes be part of a larger product consisting of several related packages – sometimes prepared by several individuals). Some of my work experience and “training” may be evident in the material on this web site (for example, to me, some of the “essay type” end notes seem awfully similar to “appendices” in certain of my work-product Calculation Notes generated several years ago).
Our engineering procedures were such that 100% of the information in these “packages” was independently reviewed by a second engineer (and with both the preparer and reviewer having previously gone through a documented process demonstrating they were qualified to perform the analyses). Then the package would be reviewed and approved by a manager (a second independent review, the management review was generally less than 100%, but almost always covered key inputs, assumptions, and conclusions). Only then, after all this, the “package” would be issued. Most issued reports and packages were subject to further review by independent quality assurance organizations and by government regulators (and some of the Calculation Notes were later revised to resolve comments generated after they were issued – they majority of revisions, however, were triggered by changing circumstances, such as changes in facility missions or design changes to reduce costs and/or improve efficiency).
Having this background, I’m a bit uncomfortable with family history research and documentation. I haven’t yet found a way to get anything close to the level of independent review that I am accustomed to, prior to “issuing” this information (where here, “issuing” the family history “reports” means placing charts and narratives on this web site).
What I’m trying to say is that the information on this web site likely contains errors. If you spot an error, I would very much like to hear about it.
For simple errors (such as typos and possible transcription errors), it is probably enough to briefly describe the error. Just tell me the identity of the affected individual and what piece of information relating to that individual is wrong.
For what might be called “higher level” errors (for example, if you think I have the wrong parents for an individual – or if I have omitted a child or a marriage), you may have information that I do not have access to. In these cases, I would greatly appreciate a brief (or not brief) discussion of why you think the actual information is different from what I have here. (As indicated elsewhere, some people I do know about are omitted here because they are still living – or might still be living.)
The author aimed for workmanship-like prose (not for elegance) in essentially all of the longer endnotes. However, suggestions for places where clarity can be improved will also be appreciated.
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