No, Not the movie. I'm talking about the importance of having all the facts when you are researching and documenting your family history. We all know that to err is human. We are ALL humans. There is no point in hiding it. Though, not all families want to face their fears. And that's totally ok.
Let's talk about the family scandals and to what degree you fear facing them. Is it a criminal matter? Did your great grandparent have a child out of wedlock? Was there a nasty divorce? Perhaps your grandmother had a scandal with a foreign immigrant? Maybe it's worse than all that? Perhaps you find out through DNA that your parents aren't your parents, or that you have a sibling you didn't know you had.
First you have to face the facts and that's a scary thing. So the people you know and love aren't the people you expected them to be. Does that mean you love them any less? Of Course not! Does it change things? Maybe, or probably yes. But you don't have to let it be the deal breaker in your research.
Think about how you handle the information in your files. If you're digital and have a tree program, can you document the family scandal yet keep it private so only you know? (Well, you and whomever gets your research in your will.) Is it something you think other families may wish to know but are afraid to approach them? Get advice from one of the many groups that are on Facebook for a mirade of reasons - adoption, dna etc. Trust me, you are not alone in your journey and many are experiencing the same things.
In the end, you decide how to handle this as it is your feelings and your family. No matter what you decide. I hope you think about how to save that information so others don't experience what you are right now. These Adventures In Genealogy aren't always roses and cupcakes. But don't let that stop you from enjoying the Adventure!
When it comes to making a family tree, a vast majority of people now are using online programs such as Ancestry. I have used Ancestry for years, even prior to the addition of an online social sharing feature of seeing other people's information in their Family Trees. Back then, I looked up things, printed them out on actual paper and then hand wrote the information into a paper tree or manually typed it into spreadsheets or other software.
With the addition of being able to see everyone else's research, more and more people I find are taking other people's work for granted and not checking the accuracy of either their tree or the information provided for the sources. It's easy to just look at someone else's information and save it for fact. There- done!
But how do you ensure you are climbing your OWN family tree and not someone else's? Let me give you this Ancestry tip of the month:
Let me first say that I am assuming if you use this tip that you are familiar enough with Ancestry to understand the process of the Hint System. If you aren't, please do feel free to send me a message. I will be glad to walk you through the process. If you are not familiar, but can follow along with what I'm saying, please make sure you double check ALL the info given.
So You have opened up your family tree in Ancestry and a Green Shaky Leaf appears on your 3rd Great-Grandmother and you didn't know who her father was! You are so excited! (I would be too!) You click on the hint tab and see the items.... But what do you click on? Obviously Ancestry is asking you to "REVIEW" your hint or "IGNORE" your hint right??? Well why would you do such a thing? Why ignore it?
Wait!! Don't click that Review button!!! I know - that's what you want to do. That's what they want you to do. DON'T Do it! Just trust me. ; )
But what do you click on then?
I would like you to get in the habit of clicking on the Title of the Record INSTEAD of the Review button. Yes, that's right. There is no real need to accept the hint from this screen. A matter of fact, I'll respect you more in the morning if you don't.
Here is why: When you look at these items in the sample above, I want you to recognize that some of these things may actually be your person, while some of them might not be. Many times, clicking the title will take you to the same page as the what the Review button will..... but if you get in the habit of checking each item before you click that actual review button, you will have a much more reliably sourced tree.
Once you get in the habit of clicking on THIS part of your hints, I want you to follow that trend. On the next view you should also get in the habit of clicking on the actual document page and not relying on the listed information just seen here.
There are a few reasons you want to do this. But mainly, the reason is so you can ensure that ALL of the information that you need is the right information. If there is something that isn't right, you should question yourself and the document and follow through with seeing why you think it's wrong. Maybe it is just information you might not know, perhaps it's a new child you've never seen... but on the other had, it could just be the wrong family... with very similar names and ages in the same town. Trust me, this happens all the time!
Don't worry, the same options of Yes, No and Ignore (Maybe) are still available! But you can then see the information first hand! and that is a good thing. Spelling might be off, user comments might be wrong, ages might be transcribed wrong making birth years inaccurate.... a whole list of what if's when you aren't all the way into the document itself.
If you do this, with every document, every single time and you analyze the information, I will guarantee that you will have the most complete and rewarding tree available to you. These tools are very important. Just blindly accepting every hint that comes to you or not fully reading hte information and ignoring it if you don't think it is your person, is a mistake that we have all made - even myself when I first started. I hope that as we learn more and more in our research we also accept the fact that we all can help make the information reliable for those new to the research who will make those same mistakes.
I hope that tip helps some of you with good working tree habits. Just like brushing your teeth every day is a good habit, so is Checking your Clicks! Your Adventures in Genealogy are important, just like your teeth! Enjoy them!
~ The Original ~
William Rufus DeVane King came to Alabama during the period of westward expansion in 1818. He purchased land on the Alabama River between was is now Selma and Cahaba. Though he was a Unionist, he grew his wealth with the establishment of his large cotton plantation based on slave labor called "Chestnut Hill". His family and relatives forming the largest slaveholding family in the state with upwards of over 500 slaves.
He was the first and only Alabamian elected to the Vice Presidency. He suffered from Tuberculosis. After having been elected as Vice President and failing to take the oath of office before he traveled to Cuba where he hoped his health would be restored, it was reported that he took an oath of office while in Cuba. He died shortly there after in April of 1853.
At the end of March 1853, Mr. McCullough from Perry County, Alabama visited with him and reported back.
Many of you know I have a few "irons in the fire". Yesterday was a very productive day for me which is rare! I am quite often distracted by BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects - code in the genealogy world for "oh look, a squirrel!").
On this AIG website under the "MORE" in the menu bar you can scroll down to General Genealogy/ Resources and find the menu item "FORMS". (I know that's a lot of pop out menus, but I have a lot of info to share) Or you can use that Search feature in the top right corner.
I've added and updated the Forms with some lessor known census document samples. Sometimes we forget there are other census out there than just the Federal Census taken every 10 years. Those I've added are just a few that I have used on a regular basis to solve issues but each state had their own census taken in between the federals and several times throughout history.
As well, there were Veteran Schedules taken, Indian Census, Voters Schedules taken after the civil war, and so many more. Check out these downloadable PDF files. Most of them have Source information printed on them so please make sure you don't alter them or sell them - that would be a problem.
Many of you may already be familiar with the USGenWeb organization through the years. If you aren't, there are some valuable resources you have missed out on. Not only is this a gold mine in resources, but each state and county has their own page as well. Volunteers (like myself) adopt a page and keep the links and donations flowing with free resources shared by other volunteers and researchers.
Each page has information such as bibles people have submitted, marriage records that researches have dug out of the dust piles, photos of personal collections, biographies written by researches, local resources such as churches, cemeteries, town histories and I can't even begin to tell you how valuable some of these things are when they are not anywhere else on the internet! Trust me. Check out a state/county where you research today!
I am over the Perry County Alabama ALGenWeb page. You can find this at: algw.org/perry/index.html
I've added some lost files of transcriptions from cemeteries using the WayBack Machine. These websites are pages that have been archived on servers and no longer remain on the world wide web. Eventually, they may disappear completely. Whenever you have a website that has a 401 File Not Found (Page Not Found) make sure to check the WayBack Machine! It can be a lifesaver! AND - if you do find what you are looking for there, make sure you save a copy to your hard drive of the information you want or need (properly noting the source and originator).
This upcoming week, I hope to be able to make a few updates on other projects that I have going. I've been bouncing through the Bank Robbery Story and reviewing some things. I've also GOT to get over to the local Historical Society building. I've made a commitment to help them and I've been so busy this summer that I've yet to start this project. One thing about school resuming and fall showing up is that you have a little more time during the day to just yourself and that is one of my goals this month!
Anyone who hasn't volunteered lately should get out and do so! Find your Local society or organization and do some socializing! Find a niche to fit into that works for your schedule and abilities. It's definitely key to Enjoying your Adventures in Genealogy! Make it a great one!
I don't always do a "This day in history" post. But today was a pivotal point in history with the beginning of the Second Great World War known to us generally as WWII. There is plenty to read out there about it and except for the youngest generations, there may be a Veteran in your own family who served during this time. I'm not going to talk much about it. I will however post an image of a Newspaper from that day. Remember what our Veterans had to go through by preserving their legacy and history. Make your day GREAT and enjoy your Adventures in Genealogy.
It's a contradiction of terms isn't it? Future History.
Some of you may know that we have been preparing for the future here in our home. My oldest daughter is about to issue my first granddaughter any day now. It's an exciting time in a family when a new life blesses and renews the youth in all of us.
While thinking about the new little one coming, I often contemplate remembering the moments in the future. How will we document these times so when she has her first grandbaby, she can remember them and pass them on? Of course there are the standard baby books and photos that we all do now, but what are some of the unusual ways that we may remember history in our families?
I read a trending story of a dad who had a famed children's author book signed by every teacher the child had and gave it at graduation. I've seen people memorialize children's clothing through life, and team sports jerseys in large quilts.
While I'm thinking about these future memories I wonder if those who came before us truly thought that these things would be preserved for us and how they thought they would be saved. What stories did you hear? How did they save these things? How will you save them for your family?
Most of all - will you enjoy your Future History Adventures?
It's been a while since I've talked about the "Bank Robbers" as I call them. I've grown a little discouraged as there are a couple key elements that have remained unsolved and keep me from actually finishing this chapter.
I've had a lead set out that has fallen through three times. Today, I'm approaching it from a different level and direction so I hope that maybe this will work.
These pesky guys will tell me all their secrets. If they don't, I will start the book from scratch and take it to an individual project level where you have to decide if they are the "who-done-it" or not. I would rather lay it out for you, but without these key facts to tie them together, it would be impossible to do. I can tell you they are true, but without the documents, it doesn't matter.
Sometimes research projects are frustrating even after years and years of collecting information. I'm still open to other theories and evidence so hit me up if you have some!
This adventure has been wonderful and frustrating. Are you enjoying each Adventure in Genealogy?
Let's face it. The television is always bombarding us with choices. Choice in clothing, choice in lenders, choice in food, choice in doctors, lawyers, car dealers and the list is never ending.
In Genealogy, we have choices too. DNA testing is offered by dozens of different companies now and several of them advertise in magazines and on television. The choice is yours and completely personal. You should do a search and read about the abilities of each test and compare them to what it is that you are looking to get out of the test.
Do you want to find your heritage make up? (I'm 6% Italian).
Want to find a missing Grand parent?
Are you adopted and want to know your family?
It's all part of the options for each test. Knowing your end goal is key to picking the right one. Lately I've had a great deal of results with a test I took on AncestryDNA. My main goal in this was heritage and building my family tree. While a nice perk of it is finding out who might be my 7th cousin 4x removed, I am happy just browsing and expanding my ever growing tree.
DNA options may not always be clear when you don't know what you want out of it in the first place. There are groups on social media (Facebook for instance) that are for Newbies (anyone new to DNA testing). There is a group for each particular testing place, groups for tests of specific family surnames, states, counties, regions, locals.. you name it. There are multiple sites you can place your tested results on to help glean more information from them and there are places to go with study groups that chart and watch male line only related results.
The Dilemma is real. But so are the helpful groups and resources that can get you on your way. I hope you get a chance to further your own research in some way with a DNA test from which ever site you eventually will choose. But don't be afraid to take your time, research the options and learn about the process.
After you've chosen one - don't forget to Enjoy your Adventures!
In Uniontown, Perry County, Alabama there is a Greek Revival Plantation home of Phillip Henry Pitts. The giant home completed in 1853 was dubbed "Pitt's Folly" for the foolishness that locals believed building such a large building was. Henry Pitts reportedly had 75 slaves and his 10 children another 68. You can read more about Phillip Henry Pitts and Pitt's Folly Here: Pitt's Folly Wiki
While researching different towns in Perry County via Newspapers.com, I came across this news article. I haven't done any research on it yet to see which particular Pitts family this person was associated with, but I wanted to direct the attention to an important detail in American History that we tend to forget. While slavery was a practice for large plantations for the entire country, we only ever really hear of the tragic and awful treatment of people. More and more I come across the humanity, the love, kindness and gentility of those who treated people with dignity.
Please don't assume that anyone who retained the moniker of "Slave Owner" was automatically inhuman tyrants. Some most definitely were. But such it is with all things - there are good and evil in every area of society. Read about the love of a family for a servant in this article published in "The Charlotte Observer" 19 Jun 1878.
There is a movie I love that I watch every time I get the chance. It's a quirky, funny, sweet little family movie called My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Oh, you've heard of it? Well it has a sequel. I of course haven't had a chance to watch it, until today. It's just as quirky, funny and sweet as the first one and I love it just as much - which as you know most sequels fail to compare, but this one hit the mark.
If you haven't seen it, I have to warn you - spoiler alert. You were warned.
In this movie Gus explores his family history while we watch the future family of Greeks grow and explore their lives. Gus sends away for his documentation that he is a direct descendant of Alexander the Greek. Ok, I won't give away any more. I promise.
Each of us has a unique story to tell. We may not all be descendants of great Greeks. But what we do have is an ever evolving history. I reflect on this as I watch my oldest daughter become ready to give birth to my first grandchild. Someday, I'll be watching as my grandchildren marry and move on and have kids of their own. *Lord Willing*.
I hope while you are researching your family tree that you remember to write what is important to you today. Also record your present, and your future for those who come after you so that they may truly recall how you looked at the world. Enjoy what's around you and enjoy your Adventures in Genealogy.
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