Specials to Share!

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 29 Apr 2015.

I had planned to write about my decision to obtain Certified Genealogist status but this week I discovered 3 special offers so I’ve revised my plan to let you know what I found.

DEAL #1

If you aren’t a Legacy member, you may not know that you can take advantage of their webinars; some cost, some are permanently free and others free for just a limited time.

For a list of their archived webinars visit:http://www.familytreewebinars.com/archived_webinars.php

I’m not a member of Legacy so I only watch the free ones.  I first learned about the webinars when I signed up for their weekly email newsletter after I purchased Legacy software last Christmas as a present to myself.  I ended up with Legacy because I was so frustrated with Family Tree Maker (FTM).  My extremely large public “Main Tree” on Ancestry.com stopped synching with my desktop FTM last May.  I called FTM customer service and they blamed Ancestry.  Called Ancestry and they blamed FTM.  This went on for several weeks.  I did what everyone does when you call a call center and can’t get help – hang up, wait a few minutes and call again with the hope you’ll get someone more knowledgeable.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work, either.  FTM reps did sent me a useless email with instructions several times but it didn’t fix the problem.  Next I posted on the Ancestry Message Boards asking for advice.  Surprise, surprise, discovered from the Message Board that I wasn’t alone with the problem so I began to explore other family tree software options.  Looking at them seriously made me start pining for my old PAF from Family Search!  Since that’s no longer available, for a temporary fix, I downloaded Legacy’s free family tree standard software

https://www.legacyfamilytree.com/DownloadLegacy.asp#Download

and was happy that it could quickly save my Ancestry tree.  I liked that it also gave me an error report.  I just wanted a product that would serve as a backup on my desktop in case I couldn’t sign on to Ancestry but the more I used Legacy, the more I liked it so I decided to buy the latest version.  I haven’t really explored all of its features yet which is on my to-do list.  I am trying to download my Ancestry tree monthly and save it to Legacy.  After a weekend thumb drive disaster, it’s something I really will make time to do on the first of every month (Famous Last Words!) but that’s another story…

On Monday I listened to the passionate webinar presentation by Bernice Alexander Bennett regarding her volunteer work at the National Archives and took the challenge she mentioned.  No spoilers here – this is a must listen to training offered through May 1st! on Legacy so sign on for the 1 hour class “United States Colored Troops Civil War Widow’s Pension Applications:  Tell the Story.”

DEAL #2

The second special offer with a limited time is that Fold3’s Civil War records are FREE for the month of April.  If you aren’t a paid member then you’ll really want to check this out by Thursday, April 30th at 11:59 PM!  You’ll have to register your email at

http://www.fold3.com/ 

but it’s well worth it.  I stayed up way too late last night but got all of my “close” Civil War records saved to honor the 150 years since the war ended.  This included my great great grandfather Ferdinand Kable (Ohio Infantry Unit 29 Company A), 2 times great uncles Thomas, Prosser, and Mark Duer, (Ohio 99th Infantry Regiment, Company F), my husband’s great great grandfather Samuel August Samuelson (Indiana Infantry Unit 73), and 2 times great uncle Thomas Charles Thompson (Illinois 1st Light Artillery Battery).  I also saved records for several coworkers whom I’m working on their trees for my Certified Genealogist portfolio.

Then I got totally side tracked and looked up the War of 1812 pension records for my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Polly Dennis Hodge Adams Elder Search.  Yep, GGGGrandma outlived 4 husbands.  Her first husband, John Hodge, died in combat and she was left in 1813 with twin boys in the Ohio wilderness.  And to think I thought childcare was a nightmare when my kids were small; I can’t even imagine what she went through!  Her second husband, Edward Adams, whom I’m descended from, died in 1822 leaving GGGGram with 5 kids.  She then married Owen Elder and after a 6th child, became a widow again in1830.  The pension records were under her last husband, William Search’s name. Someday I plan on writing more about the hunt for Mary and her family.

DEAL # 3

Got an email from our friends at geneablogger about an Ancestry.com contest to win a 6 month US Discovery Ancestry membership.  I don’t know what happens if you win and you’re already an Ancestry member – I figure I’ll do a pay it forward and give it away or negotiate with them for a discount. If you’re interested first go to

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440336180/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1440336180&linkCode=as2&tag=geneabloggers-20&linkId=A7V4AIHNDL6WSJ3D

and click on “Look inside” on the right hand side of your screen.  You want to go to the back of the book and write down the LAST PAGE NUMBER.  Then, enter the contest:
http://www.geneabloggers.com/giveaways/win-6month-ancestrycom-membership/?lucky=7964 
Simplest entry I’ve ever participated in but I did like Ancestry’s former October contests where you tried to use your research skills to discover the answers.  Never won but sure had fun!  Hint, Hint, Ancestry – do it again!

Next time, really, I’ll be writing about the reason I decided to go for the gold standard of genealogy – Certified Genealogist.

The Scoop on Salt Lake City’s Family History Library – Views of a First Time Researcher

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 26 Apr 2015

Yours truly, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 2015
Yours truly, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 2015

If you haven’t been bitten by the genealogy bug you don’t understand why anyone would spend a week of their hard earned vacation time in a library far from home researching dead people.  My work colleagues gave me polite bemused smiles last month when I shared my exciting news – I was FINALLY going to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Definitely not a dream vacation for any of them but it’s always been my hope to one day research there.

Here’s what I learned from my adventure…

BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME:

  • Form a goal – mine was finding clues on how to climb over at least one of my top 10 walls in the four days I would be visiting.
  • Make a list of the people you want to search – what you know, how you know it, & what you want to know.  Then, narrow your list down as you aren’t going to have time to check out every one.  I used a small pocket notebook as a backup to my electronic tree.  I have my tree saved to a cloud (Dropbox and ancestry.com) so it’s available in case I needed to view saved original records. The notebook enabled me to write down call numbers, page numbers and thoughts and was a backup if the electricity went out.  (Ok, I realize that would be highly unlikely but being from Florida where we have the power go out frequently, I was going to find a window and keep working from my paper notes.)
  • If you haven’t already done so, join FamilySearch – like the library, it’s free. Then, use the online catalog  to identify resources you’ll be checking.  If you’re not sure how to use the catalog check out this Youtube video.  Make sure you remember to print and bring the list you’ve compiled! You’ll be using the catalog as you find new information at the library but this initial search is a great way to identify a starting point.  If you see “Vault” on an item request that it be pulled for you so it will be available on the day of your visit – you can do that from home.
  • View these YouTube videos so you are familiar with the library procedures:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_umqQmaGvM  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sAr7NltMaY
  • You’ll quickly get acclimated to the floor collections: British Isles-Basement 2, International-Basement 1, Surnames and Canada books-1st floor, US/Canada microfilm-2nd Floor and US Books and Maps-3rd floor. Here’s a floor plan of the library: https://familysearch.org/locations/library_floor_plans
  • Go online to verify the library hours (Typically Monday 8AM-5PM, Tues-Fri. 8AM-9PM, Sat 9 AM-9PM). I saw a sign while there of an upcoming closure so do check ahead of time or you may be in for a disappointing surprise.
  • Google Earth your hotel and the library (35 North West Temple Street) so you know the route.  The blocks are much longer than in my area but it was a pleasant walk as passerbys were very friendly.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Kindle Fire/IPad/Tablet if you have one.  Don’t go out and buy one if you don’t!  I used my Fire to take notes, sign on to the free wifi to check my tree, use Google translator and do quick searches of the catalog while in the stacks or at the microfilm area.  Saved time getting up and walking over to a computer.
  • Digital camera, scanner or your phone with a fully charged battery.  I took pics of the book pages and microfilm discoveries.  If none of those suggestion work for you, purchase a copy card.  I wanted to come home without killing a forest and be able to quickly import what I found to my tree page so the camera worked well for me.  I bought an extra sd card but didn’t need it. Make sure you bring the charger to recharge the battery overnight!
  • Office Supplies I found useful were a pen (there are pencils with no erasers and scrap paper everywhere), stickees to tag book pages that I wanted to photograph, and a highlighter to highlight the microfilm index pages I wrote down so I knew that I checked each page. (I so despise microfilm even though that’s where I seem to find my most amazing discoveries!)
  • A magnifying glass – seriously!  Some of the records are small and difficult to see.
  • A bag to carry your research goodies.  I used my airline carry-on purse but a backpack would also work.  My hotel was several blocks away and it rained so the bag and the rain poncho I brought kept my stuff safe and dry.

WHAT TO LEAVE HOME OR IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM:

  • Laptop – there are plenty of computers to use.  I brought mine the first day and it was heavy to lug around as you don’t want to leave it out unattended.  I used it in the hotel in the evening to upload my discoveries, record the source citation while they were still fresh in my mind, and plan for the following day’s research but I really didn’t need to bring it at all since I had the tablet.
  • A thumb drive – always have one on me but didn’t use it.

WHAT OTHERS RECOMMEND THAT I DIDN’T FIND USEFUL:

  • Change – I used the lockers on the first day only to store the laptop I didn’t need.
  • Orientation  Room– Since I viewed the YouTube videos I didn’t need to spend time there, though I did a quick walk through of the eye appealing displays in the room.
  • Snacks-I was so consumed by what I was doing I wasn’t hungry.  I brought a box of granola bars but never ate them. There is a vending machine area if you do get hungry.
  • Meals at the Blue Lemon in City Creek Center that everyone raves about because the line was long (there was a conference in town).  For a quick bite, eat at JBs, the old fashion restaurant on the corner – a nice salad bar, daily specials and a to die for chocolate chiffon pie to celebrate your finds! I figured I burned a 1000 calories using my brain to research so the calories didn’t count.  JBs online reviews weren’t so hot but due to inclement weather, I didn’t want to venture far.  Wish I had discovered them on day 1!  Also did Johnny Rocket and Jimmy Johns for lunch, Olive Garden, Squatters Pub, and Blue Iguana for dinner.  Used the hotel breakfast bar which had a nice selection of different items every morning.
city-creek-center
City Creek Center with real trout in the creek!

I’M HERE, NOW WHAT?

  •  First Day – I admit that I’m a research nerd and I got so excited when I walked in that I announced to the world that my dream had come true.  I guess that got me tagged as a Newbie which resulted in the staff asking me throughout the day how things were going.  Each morning staff welcomed me back and asked what I’d be working on that day.  By my last day I was hugging several volunteers and staff members good-bye as their genuine interest in my research bonded us.  I sent a few email thank you’s upon my return home as one genealogist’s neighbor was from my childhood hometown and I had pictures to share. Another volunteer was researching the same surname (Coke) from the same areas (Virginia and New York) and we hit it off.
  • On each floor is a podium with helpful volunteers.  I call them the Greeters.  On your first time on each floor they can give you useful tips for their resources.  For example, on the 3rd floor on the left wall is a notebook cheat sheet to quickly locate state-county-city books on the shelves.  I wouldn’t have found it if the Greeter hadn’t told me about it.  After you’re familiar with the floor I found myself going to the podium behind the podium – that’s where you ask for specific genealogical assistance.
  • Ask For Help – I liked to get there at opening because there are no crowds and you can quickly speak with a genealogist.  If there is a wait, they’ll give you a restaurant style pager.  I never waited longer than 5 minutes.  Getting a new pair of eyes on your quandaries can open up a new direction for you. Blue lanyards are research helpers, red lanyards are collection helpers.  Even if you forget which is which you’ll be directed to someone that can help you.
  • Pace Your Day – I varied my activities between looking at books, microfilms (which tires my eyes), following a new lead online after using their other resources, and talking with a genealogist. I tried to speak with a genealogist first because both of us are fresh first thing in the morning, there is no wait and the advice might have revised my plan for the day.  I looked at books next because they don’t circulate to my home library for review like microfilms do so I didn’t want to miss them.  On my last afternoon I browsed the surname books on the first floor.  I found 2 books on Leiningers I didn’t know about and was surprised they didn’t have the 2 that I have, nor any of the 3 Harbaugh books.  It’s important to remember they don’t have everything.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for it still may be out there somewhere so don’t give up!
  • Classes – I didn’t think I would have time to take a class so I didn’t look at the schedule from home.  Thank goodness that the daily classes are posted and an announcement is made about 30 minutes before the start of one.  I found I did have time so I took Scotts-Irish Research Ideas and French Resources.  Both were awesome, FREE and gave me additional direction to pursue.  I wish I could have squeezed in the German class, too.
  • Have Fun Outside of the Library, Too!  All research and no sightseeing makes for an exhausted and grumpy travel companion so do see the surrounding area.  There is a Visitor’s Center next to Salt Lake Palace Convention Center (with a nice small gift shop) a block away that can assist you.  My travel companion and I took the UTA light rail which is very inexpensive to the University of Utah to visit the “Dino” Museum and the botanical gardens next door.
Dino Family Tee at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake
Dino Family Tee at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake
magnolia-at-red-butte-gardens
Magnolia at Red Butte Gardens

A student we met on the light rail gave us a short walking tour of the University which was also nice.  There is a free campus van that will drive you from the light rail to the museum/gardens.  It’s about a 10 minute walk but it’s all uphill!

One night we did the Grimm Ghost Tour which was fun but a little creepy – I skipped out on visiting the serial killer’s basement.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir had a dress rehearsal on another evening which was wonderful.  (No pictures, no audio and they check your bags).

mormon-tabernacle-choir
The choir was in the building across from the Temple

We also rented a car to go to Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake.  This is where the bison and the antelope play.

great-salt-lake
Great Salt Lake
bison
Bison

WHAT I WISH THE LIBRARY BIGWIGS WOULD KNOW:

Your knowledgeable and dedicated employees and volunteers are beyond awesome!  I so appreciated their wonderful recommendations, encouragement and patience with my many questions.  I am thankful that I was able to visit your beautiful facility and plan on returning again and again!

 Only suggestion I have is to remind your Elders if you want the Millennial generation to become interested in genealogy, they need to be encouraging. On two separate days, my travel partner was questioned by Elders as to why I was asking all the questions.  She responded politely that she was new to genealogy and was in town for the conference.  The response of both was, “Hrmph.”  My advice, Elders, is listen to the Sisters. They always said, “Glad you’re here!”

WHAT I TOLD THE ‘KNOW AT ALLS’ WHEN I GOT HOME:

IMHO, there are 2 kinds of people in the world – the glass is half full and the glass is half empty.  Before I left home I had several people tell me I wouldn’t find anything. WRONG!  I found and learned so much that I only wish I had more time to spend and lived closer.  I am truly sorry for the folks that never found what they were looking for.  I know it’s frustrating but it is what it is. Just because you didn’t find anything doesn’t mean no one else should go.

I also had acquaintances tell me that I would be accosted by Mormons who were going to repeatedly attempt to evangelize me.  WRONG!  No one ever tried to persuade me to join the Mormon faith.  No one ever asked me what my faith is.  The ancestors I was researching had been Quaker, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Dutch Reformed, Puritan, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist.  No one cared that they weren’t Mormon.  No one tried to ‘baptize’ them.  Just because a Mormon woke you up too early on a Saturday morning does not mean it’s going to be a problem in the library.  It won’t be.  So go visit – you really must!

Next time I’m going to share my thoughts on how the library experience pushed me to pursue becoming a Certified Genealogist.

Euripides was right! Why you should leave no stone unturned.

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 23 Apr 2015

stonesSometimes in genealogy we get so consumed with the names, places, and dates of our ancestors that we overlook the details that tell us much about their character.

The cemetery records transcribed by Josephine Frost from an earlier book by Henry Onderdonk broke through a 16 year genealogical brick wall and gave insight on the spiritual beliefs of the Wilson Williams Family:

“Williams,   Wilson Williams:  died March –?, 1831; aged 76 years.”

“Williams, Margaret.  Wife of Wilson Williams, died April 26, 1807               in her 64th year

F.W.  A common field stone marked “F.W.”

W.W. A common field stone marked “W.W.”1

The obvious information provided by these records are the name of the deceased, month and year of death, age at death and type of grave marker. For Margaret, her spouse’s name is also provided.  F.W. most likely is a mistranscription of Wilson’s father, Thomas Williams.

There is much more information provided that isn’t initially obvious, however. The first hint is the mention of a common field stone.  Onderdonk and DeHart (1884) tell us that the Dutch Reformed denomination custom “In early times farmers often interred their dead on their farms and put up at their graves a rough flat stone with the initial of the name, and year of decease rudely cut thereon.”2  From the record we know that Wilson and F.W. are following the Dutch Reformed tradition of burial.

But what about wife Margaret?  There is no mention of a common field stone marker for her.

To locate picture of the markers, death dates were inputted into Find-a-Grave. No record for F.W, W.W., Thomas or Wilson Williams was found.  The common field stone markers may be missing or may have been missed by the volunteers who photographed the cemetery.  There is a record for Margaret Williams; she is noted to be buried in Christ Church Cemetery, Manhasset, Nassau, New York3. :

margaret-williams-stoneWe know this is our Margaret because the death date, spouse’s name and her name match the church burial record of Frost’s transcription.

Margaret’s headstone reveals that she did not follow the field stone custom as did her husband.  Margaret also did not follow what Walter (1987) notes is “the traditional Dutch practice of the wife retaining her maiden name” on her marker.4

A more careful examination of Margaret’s tombstone will give a better insight of her belief system.

Margaret’s stone is worn so a transcription is needed.  Enlarging the picture uncovers:

In Memory of Margaret

Wife of Wilson Williams

deceased the 26th of April, D. 180_

In the 64th year of her age

Behold my friends, as you pass by

As you are now so once was I

As I am now you soon shall be

Prepare for death and follow me

By researching the poem more knowledge about Margaret becomes available. With some variation in the third line, the poem was commonly used in colonial times.5  Meyer (2006) noted that the poem was “Influenced by the ‘British pre-Romantic graveyard school’ of poetry” and the ‘Americanized Puritan mind-set’.”6 He cites George and Nelson (1985) who identify it as a “mori gravestone epitaph found throughout New England” between the 16th-17th century.7

Wilson and Margaret lived between 1754-1831.  Margaret was born, lived and died in Long Island, New York and there is no record that she ever ventured to nearby New England.  The use of a common New England epitaph tells us that:

  • Margaret or her spouse’s ancestors were originally from New England or
  • The area in which Margaret lived was influenced by New England

History tells us that Long Island was populated by former New England colonists and during the Revolutionary War, some Long Islanders fled back to New England for safety.  Thus, New England’s influence could result from either Margaret’s childhood or later, during her adult years.  Only further research of Margaret’s parents can determine when the origination of her spiritual influence occurred.

The poem, however, does provide us more insight into Margaret’s belief system at the end of her life.  It is considered to be memento mori, Latin for “remember, that you have to die,” a Medieval theory that the Puritan community espoused.8

We know from Frost (1941) that at the time of Margaret and Wilson’s burial, Christ Church Cemetery belonged to the Reformed Dutch Church.9 Today, the cemetery belongs to the Episcopalian Church. 10  Is there a relationship between these denominations?

Boettner (1932) notes that “it is estimated that of the 3,000,000 Americans at the time of the American Revolution, 900,000 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, and 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed.  In addition to this the Episcopalian’s had a Calvinistic confession in their Thirty-nine Articles…”.11  The interrelationship is explained further by Monsma (1919) “The Pilgrims were perfectly at one with the Reformed (Calvinistic) churches in the Netherlands and elsewhere.  In his Apology, published in 1619, one year before the Pilgrims left Holland, Robinson wrote in a most solemn way, ‘We do profess before God and men that such is our accord, in case of religion, with the Dutch Reformed Churches, as that we are ready to subscribe to all and every article of faith in the same Church, as they are laid down in the Harmony of Confessions of Faith, published in that name.”12 Clearly, the Puritan English, Dutch Reformed and Episcopalians have a shared history.

“You never really understand a person

until you consider things from his point of view” –Harper Lee

What were Margaret’s spiritual beliefs?  Although we may never know for certain, based on the selection of the epitaph, Broker (2003)13 cites Stannard (1977), “the Puritan worldview included the following beliefs:

  1. The earth is positioned at the center of the Universe [a decidedly pre-Copernican belief].
  2. The world is infused with design and divine purpose.
  3. God is omniscient and omnipresent, and the course of every man’s life is predestined.
  4. God is inscrutable.
  5. Death is inevitable, and it is God’s punishment for the original sin of Adam.
  6. Children are born with and imbued with this original sin.
  7. Evil spirits and evil men occupy the earth. In fact, all suffer from “utter and unalterable depravity.”
  8. Death is a reward, at least for the chosen few.
  9. Upon death, the soul is released from its earth-bound world.
  10. The millennium is at hand, whether one takes it to mean the apocalyptic Day of Judgment or the thousand-year reign of Jesus prior to the Day of Judgment.
  11. The most glorious purpose to which a Puritan can espouse is to work to ‘bring God’s kingdom home.’
  12. Some will receive eternal salvation as a gift bestowed by God, but most face eternal damnation. Hell is a place of ‘unspeakable terrors.’
  13. It is impossible to know with confidence that you are among the saved. The best you can do is to examine your life constantly and maintain faith in your own goodness and God’s own justness”14

There is one piece of evidence that is atypical, however, for both Puritan and Reformed Dutch believers at the time the marker was made.  Margaret’s stone has NO artwork.  Shortly after the Revolutionary War, stone cutters from Great Britain arrived in the New York area.  The most typical motif for the Dutch Reformed in New Jersey was a tulip, shell, or fan; in Long Island, as in New England, urns and willows became dominant over the cherub or winged skeleton found on grave stones from the pre Revolutionary times.15

Why Margaret has no artistic design on her marker remains a mystery. Perhaps it was Wilson’s decision to keep the marker plain as was his own marker years later or maybe Margaret adhered to the earliest Puritan custom of no artwork. Without family records we can only surmise.

Analyzing death records and grave markers can provide the researcher with more than just vital statistics.  Careful study can unlock further clues about the family’s convictions.  Euripides was certainly right!

Your comments are most welcome.  Next time I’ll take a break from the scholarly and give you IMHO the ins and outs of visiting the Family


1Frost, Josephine C. Microform p. 41 & 47. Church Records from Reformed Dutch Church at Success, Long Island, Later Known as North Hempstead, and Now Known as Manhasset, 1731-1878 (1941): 17748 item 1.

2Onderdonk, Henry, and De Hart William Henry. History of the First Reformed Dutch Church of Jamaica, L.I. Jamaica: Consistory, 1884. 33-34. Web. 19 Apr 2015.

3Dyane. “Margaret Williams ( – 1807) – Find A Grave Photos.” Margaret Williams ( – 1807) – Find A Grave Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

4Watters, David (Ed). “Markers : Association for Gravestone Studies : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.” Internet Archive. University Press of America, 1987. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

5Meyer, Richard E. “”Death Possesses a Good Deal of Real Estate”: References to Gravestones and Burial Grounds in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American Notebooks and Selected Fictional Works.” ” by Meyer, Richard E. Studies in Literary Imagination, Vol. 39, No. 1, Spring 2006. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

6Palmer, Sara A. “Spinning Wheel Magazine.” Google Books. 417., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

7George, Diana Hume, and Malcolm A. Nelson. Epitaph and Icon: A Field Guide to the Old Burying Grounds of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Orleans, Mass: Parnassus Imprints, 1983. Print.

8“Memento Mori.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Web 19 Apr. 2015, Translation from the Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, June 2001.

9Frost, Josephine C. Microform preface. Church Records from Reformed Dutch Church at Success, Long Island, Later Known as North Hempstead, and Now Known as Manhasset, 1731-1878 (1941): 17748 item 1.

10Dyane. “Christ Church Cemetery – Find A Grave Photos.” Christ Church Cemetery – Find A Grave Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

11Boettner, Loraine. “28.” The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1932. N. pag. Web 19 Apr. 2015.

12Monsma, John Clover. What Calvinism Has Done for America. Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1919. 72-73. Print. Web 19 Apr. 2015.

13Broker, Stephen P. “03.02.01: Death and Dying in Puritan New England: A Study Based on Early Gravestones, Vital Records, and Other Primary Sources Relating to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.” 03.02.01: Death and Dying in Puritan New England: A Study Based on Early Gravestones, Vital Records, and Other Primary Sources Relating to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

14Stannard, David E. The Puritan Way of Death: A Study in Religion, Culture, and Social Change. New York: Oxford UP, 1977. Print.

15Watters, David (Ed). “Markers : Association for Gravestone Studies : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.” Internet Archive. University Press of America, 1987. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Wilson William’s Wall

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 19 Apr 2015

brick-wall

The term “brick wall” in genealogy means an impasse has been reached and further knowledge is unavailable.  Conferences are always filled to capacity when the topic of how to break through a wall is presented. Those blocks affect us physically, through wasted time and resources, and emotionally, as frustration and disappointment.  It’s no surprise we’re interested to find a way through that obstacle.

Remember, though, that there are two sides to every wall.  The frustration of needing to detour from my intended route may cloud my view of a solution.  What I can’t clearly see ahead is probably safe and sound, just not yet accessible.  Isn’t that the reason why walls were built in the first place – for protection?  Next time you encounter a brick wall ancestor have a Zen moment and know the missing information is most likely safe somewhere just waiting to be found.

When a family member invited me to be her travel partner on an upcoming business trip to Salt Lake City I was delighted.  The Family History Library has always been on my bucket list but with work and other commitments, a vacation there wasn’t visible on my horizon. With the hotel and plane reserved, I forged ahead with research goal setting and planning, my fourth rule of genealogy.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” –Alan Lakein

My goal was to find clues on how to climb over at least one my top 10 walls in the four days I would be visiting.

To accomplish my goal, I identified who I would be researching.  This was difficult as I have a large family tree which results in many walls.  I decided to select 5 from my family and 5 from my husband’s side.  I cheated a bit and included spouses so my actual 10 was more like 15.

Then, I followed my number 1 rule of genealogy – write down everything you know and what you want to know – for each of the selected individuals. I also added where I found the information to prove what I did know.  Why?  Through experience I’ve learned that family lore is just that – a word of mouth tradition that someone may have misheard, misunderstood or mythologized. Think the childhood game, telephone, where a sentence is whispered child to child with the last player repeating aloud what he/she heard.  The last oral sentence is not the same as the first oral sentence. Just like the game, there is some similarities in family lore from the time of the original telling but not necessarily the whole story.

In the late 1990’s I discovered the truth about family lore the hard way. Happily clicking away on an online tree I had discovered and saving the info to my own tree, I never stopped to look where the poster had found his sources.   I spent several days adding many individuals to my husband’s side only to learn late one evening that, according to the online tree, he was the great grandson many times removed of Odin and Frigg, the Norse god and goddess.  My spouse is an awesome husband, a devoted dad, a dedicated employee and a loyal friend but it’s a stretch to believe his Grandpa was the founder of the runic alphabet and his Grandma was a sorceress.  He, understandably, liked what I found.  I had to spend many hours deleting the line one individual at a time and have since checked sources before including new information in my tree.

 “Genealogy without sources is mythology.” -Unknown

Definitely a painful but valuable learning experience!

I have also found it useful to review my previously discovered sources before researching further on a line I haven’t looked at for a while.  There may be a hint in plain sight that I missed earlier or by reviewing the record, I may gain a new perspective.

So in preparation for my trip, I pondered my sources for my husband’s 4th great grandfather, Wilson Williams, born in 1754 in Roslyn Harbor, Nassau, New York.  He is found in the 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820 and 1830 Federal censuses as living in North Hempstead, Queens, New York and he has been documented in several texts for his service during the American Revolution, as a witness in two court cases, and for being appointed to maintain the highways as he operated a stagecoach and a ferry to bring visitors between Long Island and Manhattan.  An accomplished carpenter, two of his homes still stand and have been on the Roslyn Landmark Society’s home tours several times. What I could not discover was when he died and where he was buried.  Collaborating with four cousins I met online, a hired genealogist, two research trips to Long Island and Troy, New York where his son had moved in the 1820’s, calls to numerous churches where he may have been a parishioner, cemeteries where he might have been buried, library and historical society visits and hours spent searching online over 16 years uncovered nothing.

I placed Wilson as my 10th brick wall as I was fairly certain that the five of us had checked every possibility in determining his death and burial.

At the Family History Library, I shared my information on Wilson with a genealogist and asked for her suggestions on where to go next.  She recommended checking microfilms of birth, marriage and death records for any church denomination of which Wilson may have been a member.  I narrowed the search to Presbyterian, Quaker and Dutch Reformed as Wilson’s grandchildren were members of those churches and his wife, Margaret, was buried in the Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery.  Many of the microfilms did not have indexes and the process was exhausting.  After several hours I got a text from my family member who asked if I was ready to go to dinner.  “On the last microfilm, be done soon,” I responded.  “Meet you there,” she replied.  Minutes later she appeared on the scene and asked if she could help.  “I’m looking for a record for Wilson Williams.  I’ve been through this film already but found the index at the very end.  I’m just double checking that I didn’t miss him.”  “I’ll do that,” she volunteered as I collected the other films to refile.  In less than 30 seconds she asked, “Is this who you’re looking for?” I glanced at the screen.

wilson1

Stunned, I couldn’t respond.  I reread the words.  Tears of joy moistened my eyes.  If I had not found the index and double checked, the wall would have remained.  Ironically, the family member who found the record is a DAR because of Wilson.

The next day I found another microfilm source for the cemetery where Wilson’s wife is buried:

wilson2

So the “W.W” on the “common field stone” buried in the same plot as wife, Margaret Hicks Williams, was Wilson Williams and he had been where he should have been the whole time.  The answer was clearly right there but none of us had found it.  How had Wilson remained invisible for so long?

“Leave no stone unturned.” -Euripides

Most likely, the field stone with just initials was either missing entirely or not noted by the Find-a-Grave volunteers transcribing and photographing the cemetery because they would have no idea what W.W. stood for.

When I returned home and was adding the pictures and citation to my tree I noticed that the cemetery was in Success, New York.  Success?  I thought the cemetery was in Nassau.  The microfilm noted that North Hempstead became Success which became Manhasset.  Sometime after the book was published it became Nassau.

So why weren’t the records at the church?  The church secretary I had contacted told me the church does not have records of the burials.  Doing a google book search I found that Onderdonk’s (1884) History of the Dutch Reformed Church mentions that the early records were sketchy.  To complicate the situation, a minister had died and the congregation was not in agreement on hiring a replacement.  Half wanted to have a new pastor sent from the Netherlands while the other half wanted to hire a pastor from New York.  Consequently, the church ended up with 2 pastors.  After ten years, one pastor took half the congregation and started another church a few miles away.  He took the records with him.

The records I was viewing were a transcription from the 1940’s copied by a Josephine Frost.  She noted that her transcript was from a book by Onderdonk that was in disrepair.  Frost was unable to find the original church records that had been donated to the Long Island Historical Society but they were available when Onderdonk published his book.  There are only 12 copies of Frost’s book.  They are in Cincinnati, OH, Indianapolis, IN, Harrisburg, PA, Ann Arbor, MI, 2 in Chicago, IL, Ithaca, NY, Independence, MO, Edmond, OK, Albany, NY, Provo, UT, and La Jolla, CA.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a microfilm of one of these books.

Wilson Williams spent his entire life in Long Island, New York yet the 13 records of his death do not reside where he lived and died.  Sometimes looking in the most logical place will not give you the answer.  I had to detour more than 1900 miles to get over the wall.

The microfilm record gave me far more information on Wilson then just his date of death.  Next time, I’ll tell you more about the meaning of Wilson’s fieldstone marker.

Springing Into Genealogy

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 16 Apr 2015

spring-bird

Warm Days – Cool Nights

Flowers Blooming – Birds Aflight

I just love spring, don’t you? It’s a time of new growth, gentle rain and fresh scents.  After a recent trip to Salt Lake City I have become inspired to begin a new journey; one that will hone my research skills, showcase my discoveries and validate my dedication to a field to which I have long aspired.  You are welcome to follow me on my quest to become a Certified Genealogist.

Since all successful trips start with a kernel of an idea, first, a little background about my roots.  My maternal grandmother, Non, was a wealth of family lore.  Her powerful stories of her people’s lives in her native Croatia were inspiring, magical and guaranteed to tug at the listener’s heart.  These tales encouraged me to persevere against adversity and dream that one day, I, too, would lead an exciting life.

Although I had a vision of my Non’s side of the family, I had no knowledge of my dad’s lines.  Since my parents separated when I was five and my paternal grandmother died when I was seven, I had to rely on the limited information my mother gathered while married.  “Your dad is German, Scotch-Irish, English, and Welsh.” When I pressed further she would add, “Something about the Indians, I’m not sure.”

I wanted to know more. Who were his people? What kind of lives did they lead?  When did they arrive in the US?  Why did they settle in Indiana?  So began my odyssey to trace my heritage.

My questions arose in the prehistoric time before the internet. Back in the day, there were only two methods to obtain genealogical information – call an old family member or go to the library.  With method 1 not an option I sought out my local librarian’s help.  My hometown library was small and the local history section limited.  The librarian suggested I write down the names, dates and places that I knew and what I wanted to know, then visit the main county library. Her sound advice was the first and best tip I have ever received and something I still do today.

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”  -James Baldwin

Unfortunately, the larger library was also lacking in materials so I put those questions aside for a time.

After our first child was born, my husband and I were given a family record book to note our new family’s special events.  One of the pages was a pedigree chart – and my lopsided tree gnawed at me.  My mother-in-law had given me my husband’s family history which went all the way back to April 1699.  Yes, 1699!  Imagine that!  His family stories were as exciting as those my Non had told me – a Pennsylvania family member who was an acquaintance of Ben Franklin, a Long Island sea captain who fathered 19 children, early pioneers traveling to Chicago via a Conestoga wagon and a great aunt who had belonged to the Mayflower Society.

Since I was determined to fill in my skewed tree but now lived 1200 miles away from my childhood home, I wrote to my dad for help.  He promised to give me his family tree book when he died.  What?  He has a family tree book?  I have to wait til he dies?  Huh?  This became my second lesson in genealogy – some folks just don’t want to share their knowledge – even if they are closely related to you.

“Knowledge is power.  Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. “  – Kofi Annan

I practiced patience and was determined that someday I’d have the answers and when I did, I would share it with the world. My father passed away 12 years later.  I reached out to my step-mother who said she’d see if she could get the book to me.  Months passed and I tried again.  She was too busy, then the weather was bad.  I despaired that I would never find my family’s past.

One hot summer Sunday I was reading our local newspaper when a headline caught my eye.  The reporter had interviewed several historians who predicted that the rapid growth of the internet would result in genealogical records with a click of a button.  The article listed a few websites for further information. Hmm, could this be the right time to make my discoveries?

Dialing up (yes, we had to dial to get on in those early days!) I typed in the limited information I had and discovered – NOTHING.  I did find a web posting site and placed a note requesting further information on my surnames.  To my surprise, within a day I received an email from a distant cousin I had never met who had a copy of the family tree and the email address for the author of the book my dad had. In a week I had the electronic copy of the book from the author and a hard copy of my pages in the mail.  And so began my journey into the past. Genealogy lesson number 3…

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” -W.E. Hickson

In the years that followed I have used many resources in addition to the internet to make my discoveries.  Some information was found in moments, others took years to gain. No matter, each was a happy dance and a shout of joy.  Next time we’re together, I want to tell you about my latest and greatest find – his name is Wilson Williams.

Your comments are always valued and welcomed. Please post!

An Update on Submitting the BCG Portfolio

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 22 May 2016

I’m finishing up with my portfolio for submission to the Board for Certification of Genealogists and I have butterflies in my stomach!  Officially, I have until late October but since I selected several papers that I had previously done for clients last fall and winter, I am about finished.

At the National Genealogical Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, I was able to view successful portfolios that were submitted.  I also found it useful to be able to pick the brains of some of the Certified Genealogists (CGs) that attended the “On the Clock” dinner.   So glad I was able to attend and meet several other “On the Clockers” and those on the other side.

Additionally, the National Genealogical Society conference enabled me to further refine my skills and now I pulled out the Kinship Determination Paper I finished last month and reread it yesterday.  I caught one missing comma and changed one sentence.  I’m satisfied with the content and the numbering so I just need to take another look at my footnotes.  I had bolded a few that I knew weren’t quite right as I was so into the writing I didn’t want to stop and lose the momentum.  I also need to make sure I’ve been consistent with my citations. The next few weeks I’m busy with other tasks so I probably won’t revisit it until mid-June.

I’m still uncertain if I should hold off portfolio submission until after an upcoming trip to DC this summer or not.  On the one hand, I want to submit before I get extremely busy with my full time job in late July.  On the other hand, I have this nagging feeling that the missing record in Pennsylvania will miraculously show up if I look one more time.  The document was supposedly misfiled in the 1960’s and hasn’t been found since.  Why in the world I think if I look again I’ll find it now I don’t know!  I’ve already looked twice over the past 5 years AND hired someone to try to find it.  Clearly the “3rd time’s the charm!” as my mom used to say didn’t happen and a fourth visit would be beyond reasonably exhaustive.   My thought process is bordering on irrational and I realize that.  This certainly is like the tongue in cheek meaning of insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result!

Reflecting on my behavior I see this as déjà vu – I did the same thing when I was ready to submit my portfolio to the National Board of Certified Teachers several years ago.  One morning I woke up and I knew that there was no more I could do so I just packed it all up and mailed it off.  Even so, I stood in Office Depot and just stared at the box.  The clerk was nice, though I’m sure she thought I was nuts.  She told me to take as long as I wanted.  As soon as she said that, I was able to let it go.

Now I have to decide if I’m going to send it snail mail or electronically.  Decisions, decisions!  Another way to procrastinate finality!  Will keep you informed…

Learning Patience as I complete by KDP

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 31 March 2016

Spring Break has come and gone and I didn’t make my goal of having the rough draft of my Kinship Determination Project (KDP) completed.  I’m not complaining, though, as three events occurred that threw me into a tizzy!

First, less than a month ago, I received 30+ years of a diary written by the sister-in-law of one of the individuals I’m writing about.  It is a genealogical gold mine!  After reading and rereading I took notes based on individuals and then by types of events.  Spent the last three weeks incorporating the information into the KDP as it was quite useful and enhanced the paper.  Long term plan is to create an index of the diary for future use.

Second, our desktop system bit the dust.  I had my work saved in numerous places so that wasn’t awful but instead of a double screen I was back using (and sharing) an old laptop.  Really slowed the process down.

Last, I had changed my mind about taking a trip during my week’s vacation and instead, I had decided to spend that week working on the paper.  Plans changed when my husband fell off the roof.  Miraculously, he’s fine, however, we spent the week quite differently than expected.

Since he’s okay, a co-worker’s son was able to recover the data on our crashed system and the new information I added gave the paper more character, I’m fine with not meeting my goal.  My revised plan was to finish by the end of March, put it away for the month of April, check out the portfolios that will be available at the upcoming NGS conference in Ft. Lauderdale, revise through June and after taking one more trip through the archives to make sure that I left no stone unturned, submit in July.  Well, it’s the last day of the month and I’m not done.  I’m still waiting for six records to arrive that apply to the last generation. Have to read through about 100 handwritten letters that are 100 years old to mine for details.  New goal is mid April completion. That’s only obtainable if I work all day the next 3 weekends, spend at least 2 hours a night during the week AND get the records.  Genealogy is definitely a study in patience!

The Kinship Determination Project and Its Emotional Impact

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 24 Jan 2016

The Kinship Determination Project, aka KDP, has been looming as the last requirement I need to complete before submitting my portfolio for analysis to become a Certified Genealogist.  I had started writing before I submitted my application but in November, a few weeks into being “on the clock,” I rewrote most of it.  I changed from end notes to footnotes so the judges would have an easier time tracking citations,  I wrote for many needed documents to give a more thorough look at the individuals’ lives.   I  added additional background data, too much, in fact, which I removed yesterday. Not to worry, it’s full of very interesting stories of the ancestors I’ll be focusing on later so I’m keeping it safe for another project.  I think that it was good to start 3 generations prior to the 3 generations I’m focusing on as it gave me a better perspective of my main characters’ lives.  We often become who we are because of the influence of our parents, grandparents and perhaps, our great grandparents.

Back in the day, meaning when submitting more than 3 families was permitted, my paper would have been fine but I’m trying to stick to the application guide.  I had viewed Judy Russell’s webinar, “Kinship Determination:  From Generation to Generation” which is free to view on the BCG site (click Skillbuilding, then click Webinars, then scroll down.)  I loved Judy’s passion about her project!  I share that passion when I start analyzing the evidence I’ve accumulated;  the humanness behind the paper record is revealed and I begin to understand what occurred in their lives.  Sometimes it’s something personal from my own life that I can relate to and sometimes, not.  Makes me wonder how I would have reacted if the event had happened to me.

I just reread what I wrote about the first generation and I’ve very excited.  I didn’t quite finish that first generation individual’s life but plan on doing so today after my company leaves.  I want to get back into the story as there were two twists of compassion that I hadn’t known existed prior to analyzing the records.  Although I can’t share much due to the requirement of submission, I will say that those tick marks on early census returns come alive when you attach a name to them.  Pondering why you have extra marks is important – was their a child or two that died prior to being revealed in later censuses or other documents?  Did other family members, an apprentice, an indentured servant, or a neighbor reside with the family the day the census was being enumerated?  Did the family provide the enumerator misinformation, meaning the missing son was marked as a daughter or did the enumerator err?  That’s a lot to think about and oftentimes, later records will help explain what was happening in the household.

The impact on a child when there’s a change in a household unit is important to consider.  When community influences and national events occur there are additional effects.  Such was the case with my generation 1. Now I think I better understand why the individual exemplified compassion, an interest in politics and education, and safety for future generations.

What really struck me was discovering that three of the siblings of the individual I’m focusing on relocated in the mid 19th century across the continent.  I can’t imagine the anguish that must have been felt when communication was cut off.  Strangely, I happened to visit 2 of the 3 places that the siblings had moved to this past year.  I even blogged about one of the buildings in the town that I visited.  Most likely, that building played an important role in the lives of the sibling’s children!  It was such a strange feeling when the realization hit.  I began to wonder how many times I’ve walked in the footsteps of my ancestors and never known it. It’s one thing to purposely go to a location you’ve discovered to visit.  I’ve dragged my family on many vacations to visit homes where prior family members resided, ports they disembarked and battlefields where they were injured but I’ve never had the experience of visiting a place, feeling quite at home there, writing about it and then discovering months later that there was more of a connection then I was aware of at the time.

Today, I hope to make more headway on the KDP as next week, I’ll be traveling for business and won’t be able to work on it.  My new goal is to try to get the draft complete by the end of February as I may be making a trip to obtain a few documents during my spring break.

I hope your week is filled with wonderful discoveries!

Becoming a Certified Genealogist – An Update

A FABULOUS FIND of 15 Jan 2016

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 13 Jan 2016

The clock is still ticking and now that we’re in the new year I’ve got less than 10 months to submit my portfolio requirements.  I actually accomplished way more than I thought I would during the holidays. My family kids me that I must be channeling the dead.  I don’t know about that but I certainly had some awesome finds that propelled me forward.  Here’s where I am and what I have to do:

1.  Preliminary application was submitted in October 2015 – DONE

2.  Signing the Genealogist’s Code – that’s easy!

3.  Background Resume – completed but needs to be reviewed and possibly updated right before submission – Almost Done

4.  Document Work – BCG Supplied and Applicant Supplied.  All transcribed and written, just need to review and make a final edit. – Almost Done

5.  Research Report prepared for another person – started this in late December.  This was unexpected but I loved the hunt so decided to switch what I originally had planned to submit that was already finished. Completed the newly started report on December 31st and gave it to client on January 4th – DONE

6.  Case Study – used a client’s second report I was working on instead of what I had originally thought I was going to do.  I finished it over the holidays with some wonderful documents that simply showed up!  Wish I could share this with you – a real twist and turn type of case. – Almost Done (haven’t given it to client yet but have appointment scheduled)

7.  Kinship Determination KDP- have a great start but didn’t work on it much in the past month.  I’m still assembling documents and my problem is I don’t live anywhere close to the areas that the family lived.  I’m planning on a trip in March to one of the states but that still leaves me with a hole on the east coast and I wasn’t planning on being close to that area until July.  So, it’ll be slow going with this item.  I figure, unless a miracle occurs, I won’t be done with this until September and will just make the deadline but who knows?  I put the rest of the requirements together in a much quicker time period than I planned so maybe this will come together, too.  KDP 1/3 Done

In hindsight, I’m glad that I had a skeletal idea of what I would be submitting before I actually committed to the process. I’m also thankful that I took the webinar about what certification entails so I had clear expectations of what was expected.

Here’s an update on my 2 past blogs regarding Ancestry.com and member family tree’s that reported a co-worker’s mother as deceased when she isn’t – I received an email from Ancestry staff on Monday directing me to have the deceased email them with her request to correct the records and to provide Ancestry with the URL’s of the trees.  I pulled the URL info and included it with the forwarded email to my co-worker who sent it off to her mom.  I was impressed that Ancestry responded so quickly, especially after the phone conversations I had with their support staff.  I didn’t think there was going to be any resolution!  I’m also very pleased that Ancestry stayed true to their confidentiality statement and understood how the problem impacted the affected family.  Kudos to Ancestry!

Lost Mail May Be A Genealogical Gem Someday

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com 6 Dec 2015

Don’t know if you saw the recent article about undelivered mail found in an old trunk.  When I say old, I mean really old – as in 17th Century.  You can read about it at A Postal ‘piggybank’.

We have terrible US Mail service, receiving several pieces of mail a week that don’t belong to us.  It makes me wonder how much I don’t receive.

If it was junk mail I wouldn’t care but it’s been affecting important correspondence lately.  The most recent “lost” mail was from the Board of Certified Genealogy (BCG) with a much needed portfolio requirement enclosed.  Thank goodness I was notified via email the first week in November that I would be receiving a packet with a document to transcribe within 2 weeks.  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I gave it extra time – 3 weeks – but it still didn’t come.  I contacted BCG and they verified it was mailed to my address on November 14th.  They will resend if I don’t receive it by week’s end.

In the past, I’ve spoken in person to my Postmaster who shrugged his shoulders when I tried to find out what happened to the last important piece of mail that never arrived back in June.  He told me that the mail service doesn’t guarantee delivery.  Clearly!  My son had sent a time important document within the state as certified, return receipt requested and it had been lost.  Postmaster said they’d put a tracer on it but that was it.  I thought the barcode scans were a way to trace but obviously they aren’t very useful.  That document was found in the wrong city and arrived a month later, way past the deadline needed.  No explanation as to why it was in the wrong city.  No apology, either.  Since it was found and eventually delivered we were told that we couldn’t get a refund on the postage because again, “there’s no guarantee” mail will be delivered in the time frame that is posted in the Post Office.

Since there’s nothing I can personally do (except avoid using snail mail as much as possible) to insure my letters are delivered I’m seriously considering sending my portfolio to BCG electronically.

I also have had the thought that just maybe, in 400 years, the BCG letter will arrive and it will make an interesting new story.  Don’t know if there’s an explanation in the envelope explaining why it was being sent but if not, it will have created a mystery as to why a copy of an old record was mailed to someone.  My poor future relatives will be all confused as to how we’re related to the individual and perhaps spend time trying to make a connection.

Bet you’re like me and love to solve genealogical mysteries, not create them. If so, read this article 

in the New England Historic Genealogical Society weekly newsletter as it’s equally important that we leave our stories for our descendants. Happy Hunting!