23 March 2014

Scrapbook Sunday - 52Ancestors - Emilia Kiesel

According to my maternal line great grandmother's confirmation certificate, Emilia [Emilie] Kiesel was born 20 May 1895 in Wistka Szlachecka, Russia [today Poland]. She was confirmed at Evangelish Lutheran Kirche Nowa Wies on 2 May 1909.1 She died 4 March 1974 in Bristol, Connecticut.2

She married August Ginter 6 May 1914 at Evangelical Lutheran Immanuels Kirche in Bristol.3  Together they had six children; Edmund born 1916,4 Ruth [my grandmother] born 1917,5 Helen born 1917,6 Lydia born 1923,7 Ernest born 19298 and Dorothy born 1938. All lived to adulthood, married and had children except Dorothy, who passed away in 1939 at five months old.9

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!
Let’s Remember!

This challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is provided by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small  (Don't you just love that title?). I am jumping in on week three, which will be my week one, but I am omitting the number count in my title so as not to confuse anyone...or me. Thank you, Amy, for this challenge. Weekly recaps by Amy can be read here

As a bonus, because I am the Scrappy Genealogist, each of my posts will include a heritage page featuring my ancestor. Hope you enjoy them! 

17 March 2014

A Bit of Nostalgia on St. Patrick's Day

hanging near my front door
I am feeling a wee bit nostalgic, not for the Emerald Isle, but for the family, my ancestors and my relatives, who came from there. Some of them were Irish and some self identified as English. They came from Northern Ireland and Ireland. I can feel them, behind me, floating, somewhere off to the right and somewhere off to the left and some unreachable. 

My grampa, Bubba, initiated the spark of this ability (or self invented perception) of being able to feel close to my Irish ancestors. He instilled in me the importance of family and keeping close. Wearing green and celebrating St. Patrick's day was first and foremost about family and, yes, it included the eating of corned beef, an American tradition. Bubba was proud of being 100% Irish and, although he teased my sister and me about being stubborn Germans like our Grandma, on St. Patrick's day I felt 100% Irish too. I wore my freckles and orange (Why do people call it red?) highlights with pride. 

Family is family, dead or alive. This may be peculiar to genealogists or family historians, but because of the research I have done into the lives of family members I have never met, I feel like I know them, like I have sat with them and had tea and cookies at the kitchen table. Yup, feeling nostalgic, tears prickling. I miss them all, the ones with whom I have walked in this life and the ones I continue to know in my dreams and the ones I will someday meet again. 

until we meet again, may G-d hold you in the palm of Her hand

Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

15 March 2014

Reasonably Exhaustive Not Thoroughly Exhausted - MPG2 Study Group 2 Chapter 3

With planning “reasonably exhaustive” research, according to the criteria for thorough research in Mastering Genealogical Proof  by Thomas W. Jones¹, does not have to be thoroughly exhausting. In Chapter 3 Dr. Jones explains and makes plain the first element of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), “thorough (“reasonably exhaustive”) searches in sources that might help answer a research question”.²

Homework: Measuring My Research
The homework for this chapter asks us to evaluate a research report against the criteria for thorough research. It becomes increasingly difficult to complete these assignments with the goal of sharing them online as I feel I am walking a fine line between sharing my thoughts and sharing too much of the book’s content. I also tend to overthink things and worry ahead, traits I have thoughtfully handed down to all three of my children. For this public homework assignment I will be taking another look at my great, great grandfather, William Henry Brainard. Does my research yet live up to the “reasonably exhaustive” goal?

The original challenge I had with William was mentioned in Not Who We Thought We Were, the catalyst for which is found on page 150 of Vol. II of the Brainerd-Brainard Genealogy, “William Henry Brainerd of Mystic, Conn., had his name changed to Brainerd from Shailer. He m. Harriet E. Lamb, of Groton, Conn. He was son of Henry and Elizabeth (Cushman) Shailer, 2ch.”³ This conflicting evidence for William’s name and parentage led me to form the following research questions.

Who were the parents of William Henry Brainard, who married Harriet E. Lamb 19 February 1879 in Stonington, Connecticut? Where and when was he born?

Let’s see if my research meets the six criteria for “reasonably exhaustive” as laid out in Mastering Genealogical Proof.

1. Two or more independent “Evidence items in agreement4 for birth place, time & parents:

For the year of William’s birth, several sources provide independent evidence all reporting that he was born in 1853. These include the 1860 and 1870 censuses for Colchester, Connecticut5 and the 1880 census for Groton, Connecticut.6 Also providing evidence of his birth in 1853 is his 1879 Groton marriage record to Harriet E. Lamb.7

Two sources have information providing evidence in agreement for William’s birth in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. These are the 1879 Groton marriage record and his 1902 death record.8

Two evidence items identify William’s parents as Henry and Elizabeth (Cushman) Shailer. One is the mention in the Brainard genealogy. The other is a later book, Genealogy & Record of the Shailer, Shaler, Shailor, Shaylor family : ...lineage and narrative based upon computerized, detailed, but incomplete records as of February 15, 1997 Are you judging this book by its title? You should be. It gives a clue as to whether or not these two works might be reporting information provided by the same person or work. Is the later Shailer genealogy based in part or in whole on the previous Brainard work? Is the earlier Brainard work based in part or in whole on any of the works cited in the Shailer genealogy? In fact several items in the Shailer genealogy are dated before the date of publication of the Brainard one. These two items of evidence cannot be included as part of a “reasonably exhaustive” criteria until all of the sources cited within the two genealogies have been investigated.

2. Did I check all of the sources a competent genealogist would view and analyze?10 No
I already know that I need to check the sources listed in the Shailer and Brainard genealogies, so the simple answer is no.  There is more to do. When I added Stafford Springs and a possible new identity for William, it was necessary to research the new potential sources for a new surname and locality. This needs to happen whenever we begin a new research project. After we have crafted our genealogical research question, our first steps involve researching the time and place of the question as well as the surname or surnames involved. Dr. Jones gives suggestions for this step as well as a table on page 25.

Google Tip: Want to speed your research for a locality? It is possible to search multiple websites for results for a specific search term. Here are a few examples [please don’t limit to the following sites]:
  1. "New Hampshire" AND "land records" site:familysearch.org OR site:ancestry.com OR site:worldcat.org OR site:americanancestors.org OR site:godfrey.org OR site:cyndislist.com
  2. Libbey AND Portsmouth AND “New Hampshire” site:genealogybank.org OR site:newspapers.com OR site: site:chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/ OR site:newspaperarchive.com
  3. (Shailer OR Shailor) AND genealogy AND Connecticut site:archive.org OR site: books.google.com OR site:worldcat.org OR site:jstor.org
Add as many sites as needed separated by ‘OR’ and as many search items as desired, separated by ‘AND’. Although many sites are searchable in this matter, not all are. Use google searches to research the records for the time, locality and surname; together and individually.

3. Do I have any primary information? No.
The answer to this question is no, I do not. Even though I have a great two page 1874 affidavit by William describing the events leading up to his birth, this does not count as primary. He would only know what was told to him. Primary information for William’s birth would need to be reported by someone who witnessed the event, i.e. his mother or someone else in the room. In other words, not even William could provide this and to date Elizabeth and Henry remain shrouded in mystery.

4. Do I have at least one original record? Yes or no.
The two genealogies are both authored works, so are not original. The census records are digital images of originals, but are used as original. The marriage record is a microfilm of the original, but is also used as original. The same goes for the microfilm image of the 1874 name change, image of the original. Do you notice a pattern here? I have all digital or microfilm images of original records. It would be worth a trip to Connecticut to look at the originals. One reason for this would be to see if there were any later additions or corrections to the marriage record [done after the imaging was completed]. Another reason for a trip to Connecticut would be to look through the divorce papers, the group in which I found William’s name change petition. I am still wondering if Henry and Elizabeth ever divorced. That is why I looked in the divorce papers. The notation at the beginning of the film indicated that the papers were NOT filed in any order, date or name or otherwise. It would be smart to look at this record group again for evidence of a divorce.

5. Have I replace authored works or derivative records with originals if available? If primary information is findable, get it. Don’t settle for secondary.11 No

Accuracy depends on eyewitness information recorded soon after an event took place. The primary informant for William’s birth time and place would be, most commonly, his mother. It could also be a birth attendant or another family member if we had evidence that they were present for the birth. I don’t think it likely that I will find primary information giving evidence of William’s birth and parentage. There are more records to examine including church records and several indexes for vital records available at the Connecticut State Library. These are also on my ‘to do’ list.
As previously discussed I have two authored works whose sources need to be researched and analyzed. I have a photo of the grave [original record with secondary information], but I haven’t looked at the cemetery record. I do have digital images of William’s death record as well as of the coroner’s report. The death record contains secondary information providing direct evidence that William’s mother was Elizabeth Cushman. The father’s name is blank.

6. Have I tracked down all findable sources that relevant sources and indexes suggest?12 No
Hopefully it has become clear by now that I have not conducted a “reasonably exhaustive” search for William’s birth and parents. I don’t have enough proof to make an accurate statement answering my research question. There are also a couple of pieces of conflicting evidence to continue to try to resolve.

Where do I go from here? It’s time to make a new plan for filling in the holes in my research, the first step of which will be identifying the sources I have not yet examined. Then, it’s off to Connecticut!

¹Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical    Society, 2013).
²Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 8.³Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 23-32.
3Lucy Abigail Brainard, The Genealogy of the Brainerd-Brainard Family in America 1649-1908, 7 vols. (Hartford, Connecticut, 1908), II: Miscellaneous Records: 150; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 13 March 2014).
Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 23-24.
5 1860 U.S. census, New London Co., Conn., pop. sch., Colchester, sheet 66, dwell. 480, fam. 560, William Barnard. 1870 U.S. census, New London Co., Conn., pop. sch., Colchester, sheet 30, dwell. 201, fam. 226, William H. Branard.
61880 U.S. census, New London Co., Conn., pop. sch., Groton, ED 2-101, sheet 18, dwell. 134, fam. 182, William Brainard.
7Groton, New London County, Connecticut, Records of Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1876-1895, v. 5, FHL microfilm 1306249, item 5: 314-315.
8Groton, New London County, Connecticut, Records of Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1896-1910, FHL microfilm 1309869, items 2-4: 54.
9Lawrence L. Shailer, Genealogy & Record of the Shailer, Shaler, Shailor, Shaylor family : ...lineage and narrative based upon computerized, detailed, but incomplete records as of February 15, 1997 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1997), 101; digital images, Family Search (http://familysearch.org : accessed 14 March 2014).
10Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 24.
11Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 24-26.
12Ibid., 26.
Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[Book available from the publisher, 

12 March 2014

Sources, Information & Evidence in Pictures - MGP2 Study Group 2 Chapter 2

This post is part of DearMyrtle's Hangout on Air series, MGP2 Study Group 2, studying Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones.¹ Hangouts are every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM Eastern US time. Join us to learn more about the discipline of genealogical work and how adhering to its standards will improve your family history results. Your family will thank you.

Visual people draw pictures to help themselves learn new or complicated information. My margin doodlings for Chapter 2 in Mastering Genealogical Proof turned into this.

Genealogical Questions Lead to Sources:

There are three source types²:

Information is seen in or heard from 

the source: 
Information can be divided into 
three categories³:

Just as there can be many seeds in each pot, so there can be multiple pieces of information in each source

Information seeds becomes evidence:

There are three kinds of evidence:

Did you notice that I embedded citations in the graphic above? Although not quoted directly from the book, the evidence descriptions are similar to Dr. Jones' writings on the subject. Now, if someone downloads or borrows this genealogy evidence infographic, others will know where these ideas originated. 

Wish I could say that I quickly created these graphics for genealogical sources, information and evidence, but it has taken me the better part of two days. Let me know what you think.

¹Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical    Society, 2013).
²Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 8.³Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 11-12.
Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 14-15

Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[Book available from the publisher, 

11 March 2014

MGP 2 – My Chapter 2 Homework Thoughts – Crafting a Genealogical Question

This post is part of DearMyrtle's Hangout on Air series, MGP2 Study Group 2, studying Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones.¹ Hangouts are every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM Eastern US time. Join us to learn more about the discipline of genealogical work and how adhering to its standards will improve your family history results. Your family will thank you. 

As a hanger for Study Group 2, one of my responsibilities is to post my completed homework for each chapter. Because the answers are found at the end of your book, I will not post them (which would also violate copyright), but will post my thoughts about each question. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend that you purchase and use this text. I am not being compensated for my endorsement, although I am enjoying the benefit of the author's wisdom. 

It All Starts With a Question

How do we begin genealogical research? We ask ourselves a question. What do I want to know? Perhaps the answer is everything about the Burrell family from Weymouth, Massachusetts. This is a noble question, but one which might require a lifetime of research to answer. Unless embarking on a major project or possessing limitless time and funding (i.e. we won the lottery), our question must be simple and straightforward.

Crafting a Genealogical Question

1. Who is your person of interest? “a documented person”²
2. What do you want to learn about this person? 
     “specific information”³

In the case of my Burrell family from Weymouth, my person of interest is my 4x great grandfather, Alvan Burrell. My crafted genealogical question answers the two questions above:

1.   Who? the Alvan Burrell, who married Nancy Tirrell                  Burrell on 6 August 1825 in Weymouth, Massachusetts 
2.  What? Who were his parents?

and becomes, "Who were the parents of Alvan Burrell, who married Nancy Tirrell Burrell on 6 August 1825 in Weymouth, Massachusetts?"

Parentage is a relationship question. According to Dr. Jones, there are two other possible general genealogical question types; activity and identity.⁴

My third great grandfather is also named Alvin [i and a are interchangeable for both father and son] Burrell. There are many sources, which include information about an Alvan Burrell in Weymouth. The identity question is which one? In order to identify the correct Alvan Burrell, I would ask, “Which Alvan Burrell is referenced in the 9 Jan 1873 Deed from Thais Burrell to Alvan Burrell.”

An activity question answers a question about something your person of interest did; immigrated, performed military service, lived in a place, etc. About Alvin Burrell, the son, I might ask, “Did Alvin Russell Burrell, born 24 March 1830 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, serve during the Civil War?”

Crafting our genealogical questions leads to better and more effective genealogical search results. How do you craft your questions? Feel free to post one in the comments below.

¹Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia:                National Genealogical Society, 2013).
²Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, 7.
³Ibid., 7.
⁴Ibid., 8.

Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[Book available from the publisher, 
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