Monday, April 7, 2014

Common Mistakes, 3

Genealogy tip for the day: Common Mistakes, 3

Continuing our quest in common mistakes to avoid we will look at 9 more, today. Some are mistakes we need to avoid, some are assumptions we have that end up giving us problems. Let’s see what we have today ---

#17. Spelling doesn’t matter. False! Spelling does matter, even when it is misspelled. When you are searching records and need to transcribe information, you need to spell everything just as it appears in the document, even or especially if they have misspelled something. But if you know the correct way to spell something, then you spell it the right way when you are creating your own records.

For example, a woman’s name may appear as Jayne Dough in a census record, but you have found her name 3 other places as Jane Doe. Birth certificates especially are apt to have the correct spelling (but not always).  When you transcribe (writing down word for word, letter for letter) what the census says you will write J-a-y-n-e D-o-u-g-h. But in your own forms, or genealogy software you may have her under J-a-n-e D-o-e.

This is when you are correct in spelling and misspelling a person’s name. But be careful you don’t create yet another version of spelling yourself. It is easier to get it right when you are personally acquainted with the person than when you are working on your 7th great grandfather!J

[There are always exceptions to every situation. My above statement reminds me that my grandmother wrote my cousin's name one, way - only for me to find out many, many years later after she had passed away, that she had misspelled it all along. But no one had corrected her.]

#18. Transposition of letters and numbers: This sort of falls close to misspellings. You might find where someone died 1907 but he was born in 1749. Some people have longevity, but I don’t think it lasts that long! When people are used to using a particular date in daily life (1900’s for example) it’s easy to type one NINE zero seven (1907) instead of one EIGHT zero seven (1807). The same is true with words. They can easily get mixed around, especially if you are typing! (and you don’t have auto-correct). Other people may also have that problem. So if you are reading something that sounds odd, check and see if maybe there is a transposition there with either the numbers or the letters. Be Very Careful when you are entering data into your charts that you don’t transpose numbers or letters, yourself.

#19. Relationship designations and meanings change.
          Step mother didn’t always mean, dad married again and the step mother/his new wife is raising his children. Step mother may mean the mother-in-law. Cousin can sometimes mean any relative. Sometimes widow/er is used to refer to someone who is divorced, separated or a polygamist, if these categories aren’t provided in the form being used. So be careful of using designations you find. They may or may not be exactly as we understand today.

#20. Don’t assume that all children came from the same mother. Often especially in times past, if a woman died in childbirth, the father would sometimes marry again quickly to have help to take care of the children. In some cases she may be just a few years older than the oldest child. Or, occasionally, she may be even younger than the oldest child, especially in large families. That ties in with “age within context.” Compare Mom’s age with the ages of the children.

#21. Can’t find a record? Not every record got recorded, and there are those burned out courthouses, especially during the Civil War. Some were recorded later – much later. Don’t restrict yourself to a few days to a week to record something. It may have been a month later  (or more) before they ‘went back to town.’

#22. Migration patterns don’t guarantee that’s how your ancestors went. These are only patterns, not regimented. So don’t limit yourself to just one way or one direction of moving. The patterns themselves may suggest looking in a different place. Think outside the box!

#23. A person that can no longer be found on a census doesn’t necessarily means he or she has died. People are missed all the time. They may have moved or weren’t home at the time and the census taker may have never gone back. There can be all kinds of reasons. You can record however that a person died after such-and-such a date of the last known point he was living. This is a given! They have to die at some point! J But be careful.You might find them again on the next census after the one that was missed. So don’t assume they are dead, yet. Do your research.

#24.  Same surnames in a given area aren’t proof of kinship. It may be a possibility but it is not proof. Just ask anyone researching the surname Smith! More digging is required to come up with actual proof of kinship. Once you’ve found the proof the rest are cherries on top!

Last one for today:
#25. “Jr.” always means ‘son of.’ No, sometimes you will find it in reference to a mother/daughter situation.  It can sometimes be found in isolated situations like a document, to differentiate between two people with the same, whether or not they are related. What is the most common use isn’t always law!

More tomorrow.

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

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Lunch and Learn is TOMORROW! Our topic this month is SEARCHING FOR FOSSILS IN THE HEART OF AFRICA. J. Michael Plavcan of U of A will be presenting the program. Bring your sack lunch, and learn! Drinks and cookies provided.

Thursday night’s Teen movie is Despicable Me 2. 6 pm.

Saturday, 1 pm is our Geek The Library event with MINECRAFT!

You can find our website at 

And our other blog at RPL's Movies and Music


The Dutch establish a settlement at Cape Town, South Africa.

A slave revolt breaks out in New York City.

The territory of Mississippi is organized.

General Ulysses S. Grant defeats Confederates at Battle of Shiloh, Tenn.

The British House of Commons passes the Irish Home Rule Bill.

U.S. Secretary of Interior leases the Teapot Dome naval oil reserves in Wyoming.

President Franklin Roosevelt signs legislation ending Prohibition in the United States.

British and American armies link up between Wadi Akarit and El Guettar in North Africa, forming a solid line against the German army.

The Japanese battleship Yamato, the world's largest battleship, is sunk during the battle for Okinawa.

Yugoslavia proclaims itself a Socialist republic.

President Nixon pledges a withdrawal of 100,000 more men from Vietnam by December.

The United States breaks relations with Iran.

Specialist Story Musgrave and Don Peterson make first Space Shuttle spacewalk.

John Poindexter is found guilty in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Born on April 7

William Wordsworth, English poet laureate ("The Prelude," "Lyrical Ballards").

John Pierpoint Morgan, U.S. industrialist.

Walter Camp, father of American football.

W.K. Kellogg, cereal magnate and health guru.

Walter Winchell, American newscaster and columnist.

Billie Holliday (Eleanora Fagan), jazz and blues singer.

Donald Barthelme, writer.

Daniel Ellsberg, anti-war activist, released the Pentagon Papers.

Walter Camp Football Foundation card
Walter Camp

Word for the Day
A camera was once a specialized gadget, costing lots of money. Who would have guessed that one day most of us would carry a camera or two in our pockets as part of a smartphone?
That brings us to selfie, a self-portrait taken by a camera phone. Some people have misinterpreted the word as cellphie. You have to admit this interpretation makes sense; after all, it's a picture taken by a cell phone.
While the chance of the spelling cellphie taking over selfie is slim, changes in spelling do happen. This week we'll see five words that had their spellings changed owing to misunderstandings or errors.



1. A bell tower; also the part of a tower where a bell is hung.
2. Head. Usually in the phrase to have bats in the belfry, meaning to be crazy.

From Old French berfrei, from High German bergan (to protect or shelter) and Old English frith (peace). Originally the term was berfrei and it was a siege tower or watchtower. Since it had bells, people began to think the term was belfry.
Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhergh- (high), which also gave us iceberg, borough, burg, burglar, bourgeois, fortify, force, bourgeois, inselberg, and sforzando. Earliest documented use: 1300.

"I received a rap on my head accompanied by a deluge of water. I carefully examined my belfry and found out I was not dead."
Jerome A. Greene; Indian War Veterans; Savas Beatie; 2007.

"Lula put her finger to the side of her head and made circles. The international sign for bats in her belfry."
Janet Evanovich; Twelve Sharp; St. Martin's Press; 2006.

The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. -William Wordsworth, poet (1770-1850)

Today’s Recipe
April – Tomato Month

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes
1 8-oz. piece Halloumi cheese, cut into 16 cubes

1. If using wooden skewers, soak 8 in warm water for 30 minutes. Whisk garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, juice and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Stir in oregano.
2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Place 2 tomatoes on each skewer, piercing crosswise, followed by a cube of Halloumi. Continue alternating tomatoes and Halloumi until each skewer has 5 or 6 tomatoes and 2 cubes of Halloumi.
3. Whisk vinaigrette and lightly brush onto skewers. Oil grill. Grill skewers, watching closely, until cheese is lightly browned and tomatoes are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes, turning halfway through. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Apr 1st   Caprese Stacks


Now You Know!