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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 21, 2001

Recognizing Your Ancestor - Part 2
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Continuing with the gardening theme, family members can clearly define where their garden ends and new growth begin. Knowing where the corn plants ends and where the pea plants begin is easy when you know what each plant looks like. Part of this is experience, and part of it comes from training. In genealogy the sources and the facts used to arrive at our conclusions are easier to discern, if sources for the information we gather are entered right along with the names, dates, and places of our ancestors, it makes it easy to understand these records.

Study the Leaves

I have a friend who can tell any tree by looking at its leaves. It can be just as easy with ancestors. With so many points of evidence to be considered, it becomes increasingly clear that each particle of evidence we find should be recorded in our notes if we truly want to find others who link into our family trees and "weed out" individuals who do not apply. Many relationships made by poorly designed automated search engines or amateur genealogists without evidence from multiple sources are at best inconclusive and may be a deterrent to correct research. We can actually study aspects of relationships, as we would study each leaf of a potential tree we were looking for.

Age of Parents

Let's begin with the ages of the parents on the pedigree chart you are considering. Mothers 45 years or older who are bearing children are subject to additional research. While it is possible to bear children at this age, it is not as probable. Likewise men may father a child in an advanced age, but once again it may not be probable. In both cases, children born late in life to couples in their advanced years, may be grandchildren or children of other's in the community with the same names. Other records should be located for proving the relationship besides the name of the child.

Spacing of Children

In the earliest days of this country, the years between births for children in a family was shorter at the beginning of the marriage and longer as the parents aged. For example children could be born every one and a half years, then every two years, then every three years.

Birthing patterns within the same family should also be considered. If a mother is giving birth every two years and then nothing is recorded for four of five years, it could be an indication that a child is missing in the family unit. Obtaining all the children in a family is important for several reasons. One reason is that without the names of every child, naming pattern clues may be lost. Naming pattern clues often distinguish one family from another. One example of a naming pattern that might be helpful in finding an unknown parent or grandparent would be when the first child born in a family, whether male or female, would be named after the first names on the father's parents side of the family. The second child born would be given the first name from the mother's parents side of the family. Then the third and fourth child born would be given the first names derived from the father's and mother's first names. In this way, if you have the first four children in correct order, you might be able to identify the grandparent's and parent's first names by knowing each of the children and their order of birth.

In the early years of our country as well as just a century ago, it was also quite common for large families to exist. Unless one of the parents died young, we must be suspect of families with only four children. Chances are we are missing several children.

Religious Affiliation

Religion, just a generation ago, was more important in the lives of people than it is today. It is truly a unique identifier for a person. Is the Joseph Brown married in the Catholic Church, the same Joseph Brown in the same county who was unwilling to take an oath in the county due to his religious convictions as recorded in county records? Are clues to the individual's religious affiliation evidenced in these marriages of his or her children? While we have used very common names in these examples, the same can be true of more uncommon names if there are more than one family in the area using the same name. By following the migration path of marriage records for the parents and/or children, you can sometimes find additional records in other parishes giving you clues to additional related family members.

Occupational Clues

Clues to a person's occupation are available in a multitude of sources, which will be discussed in a future newsletter, but if the occupational clues are not recorded in the notes, these valuable differentiating pieces of evidence are lost.

How Do You Find Such Clues

To view some sample notes on the MyTrees.com site, click through to the notes provided on this sample page. Sample of Individual documentation including source notes

Conclusion

There are so many ways in which we are unique individuals. It goes beyond the name, the age, and the locality to include relationships, associates, affiliations, and occupations. By studying all the possible clues, we will truly recognize our ancestor when we see him/her.

It's summertime and reunions are being planned. Next month, we will discover ways to easily share family information either before or after that great family reunion.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 21, 2001

Recognizing Your Ancestor - Part 2
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Continuing with the gardening theme, family members can clearly define where their garden ends and new growth begin. Knowing where the corn plants ends and where the pea plants begin is easy when you know what each plant looks like. Part of this is experience, and part of it comes from training. In genealogy the sources and the facts used to arrive at our conclusions are easier to discern, if sources for the information we gather are entered right along with the names, dates, and places of our ancestors, it makes it easy to understand these records.

Study the Leaves

I have a friend who can tell any tree by looking at its leaves. It can be just as easy with ancestors. With so many points of evidence to be considered, it becomes increasingly clear that each particle of evidence we find should be recorded in our notes if we truly want to find others who link into our family trees and "weed out" individuals who do not apply. Many relationships made by poorly designed automated search engines or amateur genealogists without evidence from multiple sources are at best inconclusive and may be a deterrent to correct research. We can actually study aspects of relationships, as we would study each leaf of a potential tree we were looking for.

Age of Parents

Let's begin with the ages of the parents on the pedigree chart you are considering. Mothers 45 years or older who are bearing children are subject to additional research. While it is possible to bear children at this age, it is not as probable. Likewise men may father a child in an advanced age, but once again it may not be probable. In both cases, children born late in life to couples in their advanced years, may be grandchildren or children of other's in the community with the same names. Other records should be located for proving the relationship besides the name of the child.

Spacing of Children

In the earliest days of this country, the years between births for children in a family was shorter at the beginning of the marriage and longer as the parents aged. For example children could be born every one and a half years, then every two years, then every three years.

Birthing patterns within the same family should also be considered. If a mother is giving birth every two years and then nothing is recorded for four of five years, it could be an indication that a child is missing in the family unit. Obtaining all the children in a family is important for several reasons. One reason is that without the names of every child, naming pattern clues may be lost. Naming pattern clues often distinguish one family from another. One example of a naming pattern that might be helpful in finding an unknown parent or grandparent would be when the first child born in a family, whether male or female, would be named after the first names on the father's parents side of the family. The second child born would be given the first name from the mother's parents side of the family. Then the third and fourth child born would be given the first names derived from the father's and mother's first names. In this way, if you have the first four children in correct order, you might be able to identify the grandparent's and parent's first names by knowing each of the children and their order of birth.

In the early years of our country as well as just a century ago, it was also quite common for large families to exist. Unless one of the parents died young, we must be suspect of families with only four children. Chances are we are missing several children.

Religious Affiliation

Religion, just a generation ago, was more important in the lives of people than it is today. It is truly a unique identifier for a person. Is the Joseph Brown married in the Catholic Church, the same Joseph Brown in the same county who was unwilling to take an oath in the county due to his religious convictions as recorded in county records? Are clues to the individual's religious affiliation evidenced in these marriages of his or her children? While we have used very common names in these examples, the same can be true of more uncommon names if there are more than one family in the area using the same name. By following the migration path of marriage records for the parents and/or children, you can sometimes find additional records in other parishes giving you clues to additional related family members.

Occupational Clues

Clues to a person's occupation are available in a multitude of sources, which will be discussed in a future newsletter, but if the occupational clues are not recorded in the notes, these valuable differentiating pieces of evidence are lost.

How Do You Find Such Clues

To view some sample notes on the MyTrees.com site, click through to the notes provided on this sample page. Sample of Individual documentation including source notes

Conclusion

There are so many ways in which we are unique individuals. It goes beyond the name, the age, and the locality to include relationships, associates, affiliations, and occupations. By studying all the possible clues, we will truly recognize our ancestor when we see him/her.

It's summertime and reunions are being planned. Next month, we will discover ways to easily share family information either before or after that great family reunion.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 21, 2001

Recognizing Your Ancestor - Part 2
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

Continuing with the gardening theme, family members can clearly define where their garden ends and new growth begin. Knowing where the corn plants ends and where the pea plants begin is easy when you know what each plant looks like. Part of this is experience, and part of it comes from training. In genealogy the sources and the facts used to arrive at our conclusions are easier to discern, if sources for the information we gather are entered right along with the names, dates, and places of our ancestors, it makes it easy to understand these records.

Study the Leaves

I have a friend who can tell any tree by looking at its leaves. It can be just as easy with ancestors. With so many points of evidence to be considered, it becomes increasingly clear that each particle of evidence we find should be recorded in our notes if we truly want to find others who link into our family trees and "weed out" individuals who do not apply. Many relationships made by poorly designed automated search engines or amateur genealogists without evidence from multiple sources are at best inconclusive and may be a deterrent to correct research. We can actually study aspects of relationships, as we would study each leaf of a potential tree we were looking for.

Age of Parents

Let's begin with the ages of the parents on the pedigree chart you are considering. Mothers 45 years or older who are bearing children are subject to additional research. While it is possible to bear children at this age, it is not as probable. Likewise men may father a child in an advanced age, but once again it may not be probable. In both cases, children born late in life to couples in their advanced years, may be grandchildren or children of other's in the community with the same names. Other records should be located for proving the relationship besides the name of the child.

Spacing of Children

In the earliest days of this country, the years between births for children in a family was shorter at the beginning of the marriage and longer as the parents aged. For example children could be born every one and a half years, then every two years, then every three years.

Birthing patterns within the same family should also be considered. If a mother is giving birth every two years and then nothing is recorded for four of five years, it could be an indication that a child is missing in the family unit. Obtaining all the children in a family is important for several reasons. One reason is that without the names of every child, naming pattern clues may be lost. Naming pattern clues often distinguish one family from another. One example of a naming pattern that might be helpful in finding an unknown parent or grandparent would be when the first child born in a family, whether male or female, would be named after the first names on the father's parents side of the family. The second child born would be given the first name from the mother's parents side of the family. Then the third and fourth child born would be given the first names derived from the father's and mother's first names. In this way, if you have the first four children in correct order, you might be able to identify the grandparent's and parent's first names by knowing each of the children and their order of birth.

In the early years of our country as well as just a century ago, it was also quite common for large families to exist. Unless one of the parents died young, we must be suspect of families with only four children. Chances are we are missing several children.

Religious Affiliation

Religion, just a generation ago, was more important in the lives of people than it is today. It is truly a unique identifier for a person. Is the Joseph Brown married in the Catholic Church, the same Joseph Brown in the same county who was unwilling to take an oath in the county due to his religious convictions as recorded in county records? Are clues to the individual's religious affiliation evidenced in these marriages of his or her children? While we have used very common names in these examples, the same can be true of more uncommon names if there are more than one family in the area using the same name. By following the migration path of marriage records for the parents and/or children, you can sometimes find additional records in other parishes giving you clues to additional related family members.

Occupational Clues

Clues to a person's occupation are available in a multitude of sources, which will be discussed in a future newsletter, but if the occupational clues are not recorded in the notes, these valuable differentiating pieces of evidence are lost.

How Do You Find Such Clues

To view some sample notes on the MyTrees.com site, click through to the notes provided on this sample page. Sample of Individual documentation including source notes

Conclusion

There are so many ways in which we are unique individuals. It goes beyond the name, the age, and the locality to include relationships, associates, affiliations, and occupations. By studying all the possible clues, we will truly recognize our ancestor when we see him/her.

It's summertime and reunions are being planned. Next month, we will discover ways to easily share family information either before or after that great family reunion.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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