Saturday, April 5, 2014

Common Mistakes, 2

Genealogy tip for the day: Common Mistakes, 2

We are continuing our numbering of common mistakes and actually, wrong assumptions, that genealogists make - especially beginners. We listed 1-8 yesterday.

#9. Do not accept family legends as fact.  There may be a kernel of truth in them, so don’t discount them totally. Just keep them in the back of your mind and see what pans out.

I have a situation in my own family to illustrate this. My grandmother wrote down (in print!), that her grandfather was the great-grandson of a famous Revolutionary War general. It turns out he was not, but is related. So that was the kernel, but slightly different version!

#10. Don’t start with the famous relative or foreign country! That’s exactly what I did above and could not come down to present day family, so it was actually a waste of time. It’s always better to start with yourself and work UP the tree; not down the tree and hope to come down to you.

#11. Abbreviations aren’t always abbreviations. Sometimes they are acronyms. For example: “NA” – usually means not available, or not applicable, depending on the context. “NMI” is another one. It usually stands for No Middle Initial. Similar is NMN=no middle name.

#12. Watch the context of the ages. Do they seem logical for the situation? Is the mother age “12”?  Not totally impossible but highly unlikely, especially in this country! Is the soldier “40” and signing up for war? Not likely either, unless he was already in as an officer and being recalled. If that is the case you should be able to find previous records to the fact.

#13. ALL genealogy records are found and are on the Internet. NOT!  This isn’t necessarily a mistake you make, but a mistaken idea that lots of folks have. I would be guessing at how many, but I know there are a lot of records that have not yet been digitized. If you are able, it’s most helpful to travel to the area of your research, especially stateside. If not, you will want to periodically check on line and see if they have been found, digitized and uploaded.

When I first started using they had about 61 million records on line. Today they have over 112 million! So more and more are being added all the time. Other websites like Ancestry for example, are continually announcing new records that have been added to their collection.

#14. Children are NOT always with their parents on the census records. Watch for “relation to head” when it’s provided. Watch for different surname. That gives you a clue. But sometimes they are with patriarchal relatives, (you know – the father’s side, thus the same surname). Here could be an example of say a 12 year old boy being listed with a man 72 years old. It could be grandparent/grandson. These should throw up red flags.

#15. Records and Informants are always right. NOT. Again, it partly goes back to “everything you see in print is accurate”. Not Always! Also the person providing the information may have misunderstood the question, or the recorder may have misheard what was told him.

When my mother died, my father was the informant for her death certificate. When I saw it there were 5 mistakes on it. We were able to get them corrected, but I suspect my father’s hearing issues may have played a part. 

#16. Same names prove a connection. NOT. You may find a John Smith, two or three times in the same time frame and locality. But it doesn’t prove kinship. Even less common names repeated, as in my family – Caleb Trask, doesn't prove anything. Uncommon names today, may have been more common at another time period. Although naming patterns can be a clue, that is all they are; they are not proof. (btw, have you ever head of the John Smith Society??? It’s for anyone with that name, as was our insurance man at one point in our life.)

We will pause here for today and give this a little time to soak in. Next week we will continue with some more.  As I’ve been working on this I’ve realized I could have split these into categories: your mistakes, their mistakes, assumptions and hard & fast rules. But I’ll leave that up to you this time.

Maybe you can think of some. Leave your ideas in the comment section below. We would LOVE to hear from you, really. And we will NOT use any personal information, if you are concerned. We have no way to use it, any way. J

Recently we talked about message boards. 
I found this today and thought I would put on here for you.
This comes from here. (The website on the picture is misspelled.)
 This is a new website even to me - I'll have to check out. You, Too!

“History is who we are; Genealogy is who I am” sg


Cat-in-the-Hat is today!!!

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Pocohontas and John Wolfe

April 5

Russian troops repel an invasion by Teutonic knights.

Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.

George Washington casts the first presidential veto.

Queen Victoria proclaims Hong Kong a British crown colony.

Gideon Wells, the Secretary of the Navy issues official orders for the

As the Confederate army approaches Appomattox, it skirmishes with Union forces at Amelia Springs and Paine's Cross Road.

The Japanese Army reaches Yalu River as Russians retreat.

Eamon de Valera becomes president of Ireland.

Mahatma Ghandi defies British law by making salt in India instead of buying it from the British.

German commandos secure docks along the Danube River in preparation for Germany's invasion of the Balkans.

The British 8th Army attacks the next blocking position of the retreating Axis forces at Wadi Akarit.

Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death for espionage.

Winston Churchill resigns as British prime minister.

A bomb explodes in a West Berlin disco packed with American soldiers.
Born on April 5

Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (Leviathan).

Joseph Lister, English physician, founded the idea of using antiseptics during surgery.

Robert Smalls, black congressman from South Carolina, 1875-87.

Booker T. Washington, former slave, educator, founded the Tuskegee Institute.

Washington Atlee Burpee, founded the world's largest mail-order seed company.

Spencer Tracy, actor (Adam's Rib, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).

Bette Davis, film actress (Jezebel, All About Eve).

Gregory Peck, film actor (To Kill a Mockingbird).

Robert Bloch, novelist (Psycho).

Arthur Hailey, (Hotel, Airport).

Nguyen Van Thieu, president of South Vietnam.

Colin Powell, U.S. Army general, Secretary of State.

Spencer Tracy



noun: A person or organization having great power and influence in the selection of a candidate for an important position.

The term was originally applied to Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, as "Warwick the Kingmaker" during the Wars of the Roses. Earliest documented use: 1595.

"In recruiting them for SNL, Lorne Michaels has played kingmaker to some of US comedy's biggest names. 'Think the Godfather with a whoopee cushion', one critic wrote."
Jon Swaine; The Inscrutable Kingmaker of Comedy; The Guardian (London, UK); Feb 17, 2014.

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. -Maya Angelou, poet (b. 1928)

Today’s Recipe
April – Tomato Month

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 (6-ounce) snapper fillets
2 tablespoons dry vermouth or white wine
1 cup diced zucchini
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over fish. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan; keep warm. Add vermouth; cook until liquid almost evaporates. Add zucchini, shallots, oregano, lemon rind, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
2. Combine zucchini mixture, tomato, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, basil, and juice; toss gently. Serve with fish.

Apr 1st   Caprese Stacks


Now You Know!