Wednesday, March 31, 2021

MyHeritage Announces View Genetic Groups and Updated Swedish Household Records

Viewing Genetic Groups of DNA Matches

As part of our continued improvement of Genetic Groups on MyHeritage, you can now compare your Genetic Groups to those of your DNA Matches! Previously, you were able to view the Ethnicity Estimate of your DNA Matches and see which ethnicities you share. Now, you can drill down even further and see which Genetic Groups they belong to, and which ones you have in common. This addition has important genealogical value, and may enable you to narrow down which side of your family a DNA Match comes from. Read more about this exciting new addition in the blog post.  


Significant Update to Swedish Historical Records on MyHeritage

We recently added 19.35 million records to our collection of Sweden Household Examination Books. The new records cover the years 1820–1839, and bring the total number of records in this collection to 144.5 million. The records in this collection are the #1 source of information about families and individuals who lived in Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is great news for all genealogists with Swedish roots, who may now be able to date their family tree back even further and make new discoveries.


You can search the collection now, and read more about it on our blog

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 31 (what's next?)

The month flew by, but I feel that I ended it with a much stronger family tree on FamilySearch Family Tree, especially my paternal side, but also my maternal-side ancestors. There are still things to do, but I think that I learned enough that the month-long experiment was worth doing.

I encourage anyone who has never used the FamilySearch Family Tree to explore it. And I encourage those who have tried it in the past but who were disappointed with all the problems to look at it again, and consider doing it, at least in part.

There are other collaborative trees out there. WikiTree is one, and I will be expecting to write about my experiences there sometime in August. Between now and then, I may take a closer look at Geni. There are other sites, too, but one can only spend so much time with these things. I also will continue to work on my "official" tree on my own computer, and I will upload copies to public sites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc.).

I am hopeful that my actions will result in collaborations with previously unknown cousins. Part of the fun of doing genealogy is doing it with others. Imagine working with a distant cousin to attempt to break down a brick wall involving common ancestors!

I would love to hear about your own experiences in using FamilySearch Family Tree, especially successes. I want to hear about any tricks you have learned. I posted links to this entire series on Facebook in The Genealogy Squad group, and that is a great place to engage with other genealogists, including me!

I am also going to talk to the folks at FamilySearch who are the official Family Tree managers. I can give them the benefit of my own experience and perhaps suggest ways to improve it.

I hope you enjoyed my "march" in March. If there are other sites or tools you'd like me to spend a month exploring, let me know.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 30 (what I've learned)

With only two days left in the month of March, I realize that I won't have time to review all of the descendants of my maternal-side ancestors. So I have decided to use these two days to reflect on the past month in terms of what I've learned about my own family tree and about the FamilySearch Family Tree.

First, I learned that I hadn't spent nearly enough time collecting sources to support the conclusions I had formed about relationships and the facts of my ancestors' lives. The Family Tree system made it easy to find many relevant sources and to connect them to my relatives, and its suggestions were nearly always right. In so doing, I had less reason to believe that the work I had done would be undone by others.

Second, I learned that it takes work, and a good family tree isn't really built in a month. Of course, I wasn't starting from scratch. Some of my lines I had researched as early as nearly 30 years ago, although in other cases I had learned about some direct ancestors only as recently as the past few years. 

Third, I learned that the Family Tree had been designed extremely well in order to enter new information, to change existing information, and to remove duplications. On the negative side, in one sense, a lot of duplicates had been created by an automated system where birth records for siblings might generate a new set of parents for each child, which meant that all of those parents would need to be merged together. But at least they were findable by those descended from those particular children.

So what's next? I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 29 (descendants of the earlier Smiths)

Once I had taken care of Mary Ann Bannon's siblings and their families, it was time to look again at my Smith ancestors and their descendants. On Day 5 I had worked my way back through my grandfather William Henry Smith, my great-grandfather Charles Henry Smith, my 2g-grandfather James Smith, and my 3g-grandfather Philip Smith. It was time to come forward in the Family Tree.

Philip, the immigrant ancestor (together with his wife Catharine and their 4 children, including my 2g-grandfather James) arrived in Newark in 1842, according to a letter that Philip sent his married daughter Anna years later. She had married a Kelly and settled in Mobile, Alabama. Fortunately, one of their descendants, living in Houston, had found me and emailed me a digital copy of the letter. Life in Newark wasn't pleasant. Lots of cholera. The letter also talked about who Philip had heard from back in County Cavan (and nearby), Ireland, and who he hadn't.

I added Anna (and her husband), James, and Catharine to Philip and Catharine's record.

I then moved down to my 2g-grandfather James. I had already added his and Mary Ann Reilly's children, but I needed to fix some middle names and add sources, so I proceeded to do that.

Then I looked at the spouses of the Smith sons. Oldest son Philip Smith was married to Jane Stephens, so when I went to add her, it turns out that there were already 5 different Jane Stephens married to a Philip Smith. This was going to take some work to look through them and see if they were the same couple. I decided that it was easier to add her as a new person, then let FamilySearch find all the duplicates again so that I could compare them more easily. Once I started this process, even more duplicates were found.

As I worked my way down through the children of Philip and Jane, I found individuals who were already in the Family Tree, but who may have had some errors in their records. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 28 (the Bannons and Hylands come together)

William Bannon married Mary Ann Hyland while his sister Elizabeth Bannon married Mary Ann's brother Peter Hyland. Fortunately, William and Mary Ann had a much smaller family than most of their siblings, with only 3 children: my great-grandmother Mary Ann Bannon who married my great-grandfather Charles Henry Smith, her brother James Joseph Bannon who married Elizabeth Monica "Lizzie" Kearns, and her sister Catherine R. "Kate" Bannon who married Patrick J. O'Connor.

I knew that my great-grandparents were buried in the same plot with Charles mother Mary Ann Reilly Smith, but had no idea where William Bannon and Mary Ann Hyland Bannon were buried, and originally I had no idea what happened to James Joseph Bannon or his sister Kate. But then I had a DNA match to an O'Connor, and in his tree was his ancestor Patrick married to Catherine Bannon. When I then looked at their burial site, it was in the same cemetery as my great-grandparents (Holy Sepulchre in Essex County, NJ), and in the same plot were William and Mary Ann Bannon. A major mystery solved in part due to DNA testing!

I worked on the children for James Joseph Bannon and his wife Elizabeth Monica "Lizzie" Kearns, merging together duplicates and attaching sources. I ended up with 20 sources for James and 24 for Elizabeth.

Then I worked on the children for Patrick J. O'Connor and Catherine R. "Kate" Bannon. By the time I was done, I had added all 10. Kate now had 9 sources.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 27 (you take the Hylands and I'll detach the sources)

Peter, John, and Mary Ann Hyland are the only siblings I have children for, other than Robert, who also married a Keeley (probably a relative of John's wife Margaret). So I wouldn't expect a lot of duplicates for Catherine, first James, Robert, or second James (I presume the first one died). But you never know. So let's go through them and see.

A few oddities popped up as I added James and Robert. Apparently these same individuals were attached to a different James Hyland as father with a mother named Orney (no first name given), as were all the other siblings. I suspected that these were duplicates so I pursued the records. 

One of the problems I was starting to see was that the records for my Mary Ann Hyland's siblings, especially census records, were being attached to the wrong people. For instance, Peter Hyland (Mary Ann's brother who married Mary Ann's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Bannon) appeared in the 1851 and 1861 England censuses, but someone had attached those records to a completely different Peter Hyland. So I had to detach the inappropriate sources.

Fortunately, the source linker provides a warning when the same record is attached to another person. So I was able to start this clean-up process.

I then attached Peter's wife, Elizabeth Bannon, who was already in the Family Tree, and this added all of Peter Hyland and Elizabeth Bannon's children after I merged everyone together. At this point, I had a lot of sources for Peter, including him in the 1851, 1871, 1881, and 1901 censuses. What about 1861 or 1891? A search in FamilySearch turned up widower Peter in 1911 in the home of his daughter Mary, who had apparently married Thomas Kelly. No sign yet of him or Elizabeth in 1861 or 1891. 

I also went back and added children (a lot of them) to John Hyland and Margaret Kealy.

Friday, March 26, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 26 (the many clones of John Hyland and Margaret Kealy)

My 3g-grandparents James Hyland and Catherine Delaney of Queen's County, Ireland, left there for Oldbury, Worcestershire, England sometime between the birth of their daughter Mary Ann (my 2g-grandparent) in 1845 and her next younger sibling Catherine in 19 January 1847 in Oldbury. I know of 7 children for James and Catherine (the 3 oldest born in Ireland, the 4 youngest born in Oldbury). So I set about adding all these Hyland children to James and Catherine.

Nothing odd happened when I added the oldest child, Peter, but when I started to add the next child, John (born about 1841), up popped two possible matches in the FamilySearch Family Tree. One was born in 1843 and died in 1897, married Margerett Keely, and was the son of a James Hyland and a Catherine Delany. The other was born in 1845 in England, died in Newark, NJ in 1897, married Margeret Kaley, and was the son of James Hyland and Catherine Keely. I felt fairly certain that these were all the same person. So I set about merging all the duplicates that had not previously turned up. As I went through this process, even more duplicates turned up. By the time I was done merging all the various John Hyland clones, I had 6 different entries for a Margaret Keely (various spellings of Margaret and of Keeley)

And before I was going to merge all the duplicate Margarets, I went back to James and Catherine, now that 2 new duplicate couples had been found for them. One was definitely the same couple (even had 2 censuses attached which I had previously seen for my own James and Catherine). And even for the one I knew that was mine, someone had attached a source to James and Catherine that didn't seem to have any connection to them at all, so I detached that one.

The other James and Catherine had ended up in Cumberland, England, with their son John born in Scotland. So I set about detaching that set of parents from my John.

Once I had John figured out, I went back to all the entries for his wife Margaret. It took a while to merge all her duplicates, but I was able to do so.

What would I find tomorrow when I looked at all of the other siblings of Peter, John, and Mary Ann?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 25 (the Bannon descendants)

At this point, with one week to go in the month, I have enough of my Jewish relatives done that I should be easily found by any cousins on those lines. It's time to move on to the Irish. The Smiths will take a while (I have a lot on those already), and I don't have any relatives for my Reilly ancestor yet, so I will focus here on the Bannons of County Laois, Ireland, and deal with the Hylands tomorrow.

William Bannon, born between 1803 and 1806 (probably in County Laois) and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown) had 6 children that I'm aware of, but I had not put any but my direct ancestor William (born 1843) in the Family Tree, so I added William the younger's siblings: Margaret, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Ann.

The most interesting part about adding William's siblings was that it standardized on the birth location as Queen's County (prior to 1922). It also suggested that I change "Maryboro" to "Maryborough". 

I had spouses for all of the siblings, so I added those next: Margaret's husband Patrick Hickey, John's wife Mary Ann Parker, Joseph's wife Mary Burns, Elizabeth's husband Peter Hyland (a brother to William's wife Mary Ann), and Ann's husband John Kinsella. I didn't go any deeper with their children on the Family Tree, but I figured I had enough to interest any cousins.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 24 (the Grodowitz descendants)

I actually went through all of my great-grandfather Louis Weinglass's children, mostly adding records that FamilySearch had found. This took quite a while! 

Once I turned my attention to the Grodowitz descendants, I was dealing with a lot of work there, too. By now, I have 18 sources just for my great-grandmother, Sarah Grodowitz. As I moved back to her parents, Anschel Grodowitz and Hanna "Annie" Siegel, I started to focus on her siblings. Her oldest sibling, brother Harris "Hersch" Grodowitz, remains a mystery, as I have no conclusive evidence for him other than his appearance on two different ship's passenger lists. 

Sarah's younger siblings, sisters Rachel "Ray" and Dora, were easier to track down. Again, I needed to take something like 18 actions for Rachel, adding 6 sources and connecting her to her husband, Sam Wexman, as well as adding or correcting her 5 children: Hyman Lewis, Alice, Esther "Estelle", Frank Myar, and Helen. I added their spouses and tracked one line forward in time several generations. 

I connected Dora to her spouse, Isaac Morris "Moe" Horowitz, and added or updated her 6 children: Eva, Ervin Samuel, Louis, Alice Helen, Estelle, and Frances Anna. As I looked at the records for Isaac Horowitz, I discovered another child for the couple and was able to add him to the tree. I worked my way down through the children and came across an obituary for Ervin Samuel that had provided a death date but didn't really fit. Several siblings were new and others were missing. But the birth date in Find A Grave seems to match. I was going to reject the obituary but I changed my mind again.

At this point, I'm connecting Grodowitz descendants to people who were added to the Family Tree by others, who may be related to their spouses. This may lead to more collaboration!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 23 (turning Weinglass into Wein)

Harris (Hersch) Weinglass was my great-grandfather Louis' only known brother. Immigration records strongly suggest that their father, Mendel, came to the United States from Makowa, Poland first, arriving on 22 March 1873. His son-in-law, Herman Fox, is listed as the witness on his naturalization. Then Hersch (age 16) and Louis (age 10, listed as Leiser on the Hamburg passenger list) came on 25 August 1877. Finally, mother Frumet and daughters Sara (age 17), Hinde (age 9, this must be Anna), and Taube (age 11 months, this must be Tillie) arrived on 11 December 1878.

Harris Weinglass:

Harris appears as Herman in the household of Mendell and Fanny Weinglass in the 1880 New York City census, together with Marx (who must be Louis), Sarah, and Tillie. (No sign of Anna.) Harris married Rebecca "Beckie" Cronson on 1 February 1884 in Manhattan. His naturalization was filed on 16 October 1890, 2 days after the one filed by his brother Louis. Harris and Beckie appear in the New York, New York City, Police Census in 1890 together with a number of their older children. One child died between 1890 and 1900: Hattie (born 1891, died 25 December 1891) who appears to be the same as Ida Annie (born 23 July 1891, no death record found). The family is in the 1900 U.S. census: Harris, Rebecca (Beckie), Sarah, Ettie (Etti), Jacob (Jack), Rachael, Rueben (Rubie), Celia/Dora, plus 2 more children born after 1900 who appear in the 1905 N.Y. State census: Emanuel and Sam. Rachel Leah, born 22 November 1892, does not appear in the 1905 census although she reappears with the family in 1910.

By the time of the 1910 census, Harris must have died, as Rebecca is listed as a widow. In the household with her are children Sarah (Sadie), Etta, Jacob, Rachel (Ray) L, Reuben, and Emanuel (Manny). Celia/Dora and Sam may have died young. Unfortunately, Rebecca herself dies later that year (10 December 1910), leaving the children orphaned. 

Several years ago I was about to attend the conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) in Orlando, Florida, and so I made a special effort to research Harris and his descendants. I had expected little problem in finding his sons due to the unusual nature of the surname Weinglass, so I was puzzled when I was making no progress. I finally linked one of the sons under the name Wein, and I eventually connected with a descendant of Jack who told me that at least two of the sons (Jack and Manny) had changed their surnames from Weinglass to Wein. Emanuel "Manny" Loeb Weinglass changed his name to Manning Loeb Wein and died 2 March 1997 in Los Angeles, married Marian (or Miriam) Weiss, and had 2 daughters. Manning was quite the marathon runner in Los Angeles! Several articles appear about his running marathons well into his 80s.

Little is known of what happened to the other son (Rubie) or to any of the daughters.

Monday, March 22, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 22 (The Little Foxes)

Mendel and Frumat Weinglass, according to my records, had 7 children. Of these, we've already looked at my direct ancestor Louis (although we'll come back to him to discuss his other descendants) and his sister Anna. I believe that there was a daughter who married a Cohen, but I have no more information on her. And another child who I have no information on, not even the sex. There was a daughter Tillie (or Tilly) who was born between 1873 and 1877, but other than her birth location, I have no other info. That leaves us with son Harris and daughter Sarah. Harris is an interesting study, but I'll save him for tomorrow. Today, I'll focus on Sarah J. Weinglass, born about 1861 in Makowa, Poland, who married Herman (Hyman) Fox.

Sarah J. Weinglass:

Herman (Hyman) Fox:

Sarah was already in the FamilySearch Family Tree as she had been automatically added by FamilySearch based on her 13 August 1882 New York City marriage record. I merged the duplicate Sarah into the one I had created, which brought along her spouse Herman (with his surname spelled Foks). I then modified Herman's surname to match the more common Fox (as their 10 children had). 

My records showed 10 children for Sarah and Herman born between 1883 and 1902, so I had to get to work to add them: Austin (Austin) Pinkus/Pinkerton Fox, Anna "Annie" Fox, Jacob Fox, Harold M. "Harry" Fox, Abram Isaac Fox, Simche "Samuel" Fox, Abraham "Abe" Fox, Rebeccah "Beckie" Fox, Samuel "Sam" Fox, and Mary Fox.

As I went to add the oldest child, Austin, I realized that he was already in the Family Tree under the name Pinkus Fax, with parents Flyman Fax and Sara Weinglas. This record had been automatically added by FamilySearch, with an obvious mistranscription for Hyman. I stopped to merge the duplicates into the existing Herman and Sarah. This led to finding Sarah in the 1900 census and suddenly the Family Tree could find a number of other duplicates for Sarah. So I was back to dealing with those.

Once I attached records and deleted duplicates again for Sarah and Herman, I was back to adding any children that had not been automatically added. 

Austin/Austen Pinkus/Pinkerton Fox:

I added his wife, Fannie Blaurock, and their 4 children: Harold, Rose, Lillian, and Jules S.

New records were suggested, including some for Herman and Sarah, such as a previously undocumented son Solomon (born in 1896). 

The only other Fox child for whom I had marriage information was Anna "Annie" Fox (born March 1885), who married Samuel Newman. 

Anna "Annie" Fox:

I followed Anna and her husband Samuel through the 1920, 1925 (NY), 1930, and 1940 censuses, and it does not appear that they ever had children.

I decided to leave the little Foxes at this point, and move to Sarah's brother Harris. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 21 (the Feinstein descendants)

Yesterday I looked at one of my great-grandfather Louis Weinglass's siblings, Anna, and her husband, Marks Feinstein of New York, NY. Today, I'm going to focus on their children and grandchildren.

Anna and Marks had 3 living children after 1910: 

Jacob Feinstein (born 17 December 1887 in NYC):

Sarah "Sadie" Feinstein (born 15 April 1889 in NYC):

Morris "Mosses" Feinstein (born 22 November 1890 in Jersey City, New Jersey):

Looking for Jacob after 1910 results in finding his World War I Draft Registration Card, and it's definitely him because it's the same street address (125 Essex St.) in Jersey City as the 1910 census. The 1920 census shows him living at the same address with his parents, and indicates that he is married, but no spouse in the household. In 1930 he's living next door to his parents, with his wife Bessie and 2 children (daughter Matilda "Tillie" married died in 2012, but her brother appears to still be alive so I won't name him at this point). Supposedly he and Bessie married around 9 years previously, so did Jacob have a previous marriage, or was Bessie still living elsewhere, or was it simply a 1920 census enumerator's error? In 1940 he's living with brother Morris (more on Morris later) at that same 125 Essex St. address, and still married, but no sign of Bessie or the children. According to the New Jersey Death Index, he dies on 6 February 1979 in Jersey City. A search for the son results in a World War II record that matches his birth year and location and says that his mother is now Mrs. Bessie Mann in Newark. Did Jacob and Bessie divorce prior to 1940?

What about Sarah (Sadie)? Unfortunately, I could not at first pin down what happened to her after the 1910 census, so I didn't know if she had ever married before she died. But then I saw her brother Morris' obituary, which gave her name as Mrs. Sarah Gold, and that confirmed that she was the Sarah Feinstein who had married Jacob Shepard Gold in 1912 in New Jersey. And that brought me to a 1920 Elizabeth City, Union County census record with Sarah, her husband Jacob S. Gold, and their 2 daughters, Florence and Ruth. The 1930 census (same city) showed the same people (plus a servant). By 1940, Sarah was widowed and living with Florence, as Ruth was now married. A public Ancestry tree gave the married names of the daughters and indicated that they were also deceased.

Morris was already found in Jersey City in 1940 (as brother Jacob was living in his household) together with wife Fay, sons Lionel and Samuel, and daughter Dorothy. Fay appears to be Frances in the 1930 census, with the two oldest children. Some of his records indicate an 1892 birth, or a birth date of 14 December or 15 December, but it's certainly him given the same street address. The Veterans Administration Master Index gives his death date as 15 May 1962. A digitized Metuchen, NJ newspaper from 7 July 1983 provides an obituary for Frances R. Feinstein and indicates that son Lionel had died in 1978 (of a heart attack while visiting his uncle in Jersey City, who was most likely Jacob). Dorothy married a Kaplan and died in 2008, while Samuel Henry died in 2015.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 20 (the Weinglass descendants)

Once I got back to Nathan Bodie Sr., I realized that I would be dealing with ancestors in all my family lines for whom I had no original research, and therefore, no good way to argue for any changes. But clearly, there was more to be done with the FamilySearch Family Tree. What if I started going forward in time, and cleaned up the descendants, for whom I have access to a lot of original research and easy-to-access records? And so I decided to take that route.

Starting with Mendel Weinglass, my great-great-grandfather, I attached several records to him that FamilySearch suggested. I moved next to his daughter Anna (Annie), who had married Marks (Max) Feinstein. It turned out that she and her husband were duplicated in the system, so I merged those.

Anna Weinglass:

Marks Feinstein:

As I began to add their children, I discovered additional duplicates in the Family Tree for their parents. I also found that for some of the sources that I had attached to their children (such as a birth record), I had neglected to attach those to the parents. It will show "Unfinished Attachments" in the list of the person's sources, "Compare" for the other individuals if they aren't yet attached, and then "Detach" if they are attached (giving you the option of undoing it if it was an error).

Did their children Jacob, Sarah (Sadie), and Morris marry and have children? I'll save the Feinstein descendants for tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 19 (Nathan Bodie Sr.)

One issue that I haven't resolved so far is when to start using the Boddie spelling instead of the Bodie spelling. I know that the spelling was Boddie in Virginia and North Carolina (and continued in that way in later generations in North Carolina), but at least by the time of the 1850 census, Nathan Jr. and his family were using the Bodie spelling. What of his father?

Nathan Sr. appears as head of household in South Carolina census records prior to 1850 (1790, 1820) as Bodie, as do other relatives. Some other members of the family, also in Edgefield, were using the Boddie spelling. So I'll continue using Nathan Bodie Sr. (and save the Boddie spelling for his father).

Nathan Bodie Sr.:

John Bennett Boddie says that Nathan Sr. was married twice, and had 7 children with the first (unnamed) wife and 2 children with the second wife, Elizabeth (no surname given). It was suggested that Elizabeth was Elizabeth Warren, but John Bennett Boddie said that it wasn't clear if she was a Warren by birth or by a first marriage. With no other sources to go by, I removed an unsourced marriage (with a Jane B. Warren) that had no children. 

This left me with 3 marriages that needed some merging and realignment of children. I knew that Nathan Jr. had a sister Hannah who had married a Bartley, so I began by merging two entries for Hannah into one.

This left me with 2 marriages to the same person (Elizabeth Green), with overlapping children. I decided to take a break on Nathan Bodie Sr. until I could communicate with someone who had added info into this family as recently as February 17, 2021. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 18 (Nathan A. Bodie, Jr., his spouses and children)

OK, in everything that I had done so far with the FamilySearch Family Tree, I was able to fix things with small corrections, deletions, and additions. But I knew from previous experience that I would eventually encounter some real messes, and when I went to my great-great-grandfather Nathan A. Bodie, Jr., that's exactly what I found:

Nathan A. Bodie Jr.:

For background, I knew that Nathan was married 3 times, first to my great-great-grandmother Mary Edna "Edney" Eidson, then to Elizabeth Warren, and finally to Elizabeth's sister Nancy A. Warren. Nathan had 11 children with Mary Edna (which I had already fixed), 2 with Elizabeth (Virginia and Daniel Prescott), and 2 with Nancy (Elizabeth Catherine "Betty" and Emma).

So what did the Family Tree show?

It showed the marriage to my great-great-grandmother, and their 11 children (which I had already fixed).

It showed a marriage to Nancy Warren, with their 2 children.

And it did show a marriage to an Elizabeth Catherine Warren, but it assigned to that marriage 9 children, 5 of whom were born before Elizabeth Catherine. These appeared to be some of Nathan's siblings, instead. Among the remaining 4 children, 2 were duplicates of each other (Virginia and Jenny), and finally one named Andrew that I hadn't heard of before. It also showed a marriage to a Mary Thomas, with a child Ann Elizabeth Boddie, but that didn't fit into the timeline of Nathan, either.

And it showed one more marriage (spouse unknown), with a child born when Nathan would have been 16. 

Time for some major surgery.

I removed the mystery marriage and the connection to their child, and the marriage to Mary Thomas. (The person who entered this may have confused Nathan with a distant cousin, Nathan Boddie of Nash County, North Carolina, who married a Mary Thomas Smith.)

I then removed all of the nonsensical children of Nathan and Elizabeth (those that were born before Elizabeth herself). I merged Virginia and Jenny.

I later found Andrew mentioned in John Bennett Boddie's book, indicating that he died young. The Family Tree had his birth year as 1854, so perhaps Elizabeth (his mother) died in childbirth or Andrew died shortly thereafter. He does not appear in the 1860 census with the household.

That seems to have fixed the problems with Nathan Jr. and his spouses and children. Am I ready to move back another generation?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 17 (Jane Belle Bodie's children and spouses)

I already knew that most of my work on the FamilySearch Family Tree would involve the family I had done the most research on over the past nearly 30 years. I took another look at the record for my great-grandmother Jane Belle Bodie:

Jane Belle Bodie:

I reviewed her children and spouses. 

Someone had added a son Jackson Long to her marriage with Wiley Long, but I knew of no evidence for such a person. Perhaps he had been confused with a 17-year-old Jackson Long in the 1880 census, but that one was in the household of George W. Long (and no sign of Jane). So I detached him from the parents.

I also added the middle initial for Jane's 3rd and final husband, John C. Farmer. It appears on his tombstone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 16 (Martha "Patsy" Pitts)

Martha "Patsy" Pitts:

I know little about Martha "Patsy" Pitts, except that she may be a descendant of a well-known Pitts line that originated (as far as British America goes) in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in the late 1600s, and was spelled Pitt before that (and if you go back far enough, possibly Pyts, Putte, Pyte, de la Pitte, and de la Puette). Personally, I'll be happy if I can get her reliably back to that earliest Isle of Wight County ancestor.

I grew up in Newberry County, South Carolina, in the Piedmont area. To the northwest was Laurens County, where my Grandmother Martin's family was from and where I still had cousins living. To the southwest was Saluda County, created from Edgefield County, where my Grandfather Martin's family was from. So far as I knew, my ancestors were not from Newberry County itself (my mother was born there in 1920).

As I worked on the Laurens County lines, the Pitts line caught my attention, as it appeared that it traced back into Newberry County in the 1700s. If so, I had Newberry County ancestors after all!

So had anyone already done a well-documented descendancy of the Pitts line in British America/United States? A search of the FamilySearch Catalog for the surname Pitts gives 152 hits. Even after I narrowed it to a few books, they either didn't appear relevant or weren't available online. 

Then I searched the FamilySearch Books, looking for references to Thomas Pitt and Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Up popped a book already in my collection: John Bennett Boddie's Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County Virginia. Had he written significantly about the Pitt/Pitts line? He had. Chapter XXVIII (pages 505-512) was entitled "Pitt of Blanford in Dorset, Bristol and Isle of Wight County, Virginia". Unfortunately, it does not take the family out of Virginia and into South Carolina.

Then I looked for mentions of Henry Pitts in Newberry (presumably the ancestor of Martha "Patsy" Pitts). I found two books that contained such references but that were not available online, as they were still under copyright. So I placed an order from an online book sales site, and those books are on their way.

I'll return to working on Martha after I've had a chance to see what previous research has been published about her and her Pitts ancestors.

Monday, March 15, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 15 (John Eidson)

In the first two weeks of this march, I've looked at the ancestries of my father, my maternal grandmother, and part of my maternal grandfather's. As mentioned previously, my matches on the Relatives at RootsTech app were all from either my Bodie lines or my Pitts lines, with a small number from my Eidson lines. So I'll continue on with the Eidson lines, coming back later to the Pitts lines and finishing with the Bodie/Boddie lines.

Mary Edna Eidson's parents were John Eidson and Martha "Patsy" Pitts:

John Eidson:

Martha "Patsy" Pitts:

Much of the work done on Eidson research is from Wanda Carroll Eidson (1922-2004) of Weatherford, Texas, who spent more than 30 years researching her husband's Eidson ancestors and relatives. Very early in my own genealogical research, I communicated with her about my own Eidson connection. As a result, my contribution is documented in her 1995 2-volume set It's Spelled E-i-d-s-o-n: The Origin, History, and Genealogy of the Surname Eidson in England and America. I am fortunate to own a copy.

In the Family Tree, there don't appear to be any duplicates for John Eidson. As for his children, they appear to be the same as the 10 I have in my own research, although two daughters are in different places in the birth order. 

I'm not sure that I have time at present to do original research on John Eidson's ancestors, and what I already have is probably the same as what Wanda wrote in her book. So I think I'll leave the Eidsons at this point and focus instead on the Pitts family.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 14 (Mary Edna "Edney" Eidson)

Although all of my Relatives at RootsTech matches were through Jane Belle Bodie, those that weren't through her siblings were almost all through her father, Nathan A. Bodie, Jr. So this means that it would be easier to work through Jane's mother's family first, that of Mary Edna "Edney" Eidson.

Mary Edna "Edney" Eidson:

The entry for her in the Family Tree has her with 11 children, but they aren't an exact match to the 11 that I have in my own files. The Family Tree has the following children for Mary Edna (among others):

Rupel and James Russell

Amorilla and Amanda

This is my first time in encountering a "Rupel", and based on where "he" falls, it occurs to me that someone has misinterpreted the long "s" of "Russell" as a "p". So I merged those 2 together.

I previously mentioned John Bennett Boddie as having researched these families, and in his 1938 book Seventeeth Century Isle of Wight County Virginia, he devotes Chapter XIX to "The Boddie-Bodie Family in South Carolina". On pages 387-389, he lists the children of Nathan A. Bodie, Jr., including my great-grandmother Jane. (He is unsure as to exactly which children belong to which of Nathan's wives.) In his list, he has "Manda, m. Willis Holmes" (no birth year given) and "Amorilla" (born 1839). 

When I saw this many years ago, I was immediately struck by the oddity of the name Amorilla. Why would anyone in 1840s South Carolina name a child something almost exactly like the Spanish word for yellow? Unfortunately, John Bennett Boddie did not provide sources for his work on this family, so I examined the 1850 census for the Nathan Bodie family. Not only did I see Russell using the long "s" (which to an untrained eye, does very much look like a "p"), but also I saw Amanda, whose name might be misread as Amorilla. John Bennett Boddie had taken one girl and turned her into two. There was just Amanda. So I merged those together.

Removing these two duplicates got me down to 9 children. The other 2, which I then added, were unnamed males who appear in the tick marks for earlier censuses but who must have died prior to 1840 or 1850. I added them in. This helps to eliminate warnings from the Family Tree that there may be missing children.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 13 (Jane Belle Bodie)

I've left the most difficult branch of my family tree for last. Not difficult in the sense of difficult to research. In fact, among all the branches of my family, it's one that I've been able to link further back, all the way to immigrant ancestors during the time of British America. But to be honest, that research is mostly second-hand, taken from previously published works that, as I discovered over the years, had a few flaws.

My great-grandmother, Jane Belle Bodie, and her ancestors.

Learning about Jane led me to a fascinating surname. Not as rare as Weinglass, to be sure, but rare enough that it didn't even compare to names like Smith, Martin, or King. Over time, I spent the vast majority of my genealogical research time identifying not only my Bodie ancestors but also the descendants of the immigrant. And that led to a Bodie One-Name Study. 

One of the first things I learned, as I went back through the generations, was that the name was originally more commonly spelled as Boddie and that the two primary branches in the United States, one in upstate and central South Carolina (my branch) and one in North Carolina, had chosen to spell the name differently. The South Carolina branch, for the most part, dropped the second "d", and this eventually led to many modern descendants changing the pronunciation away from being identical to "body" and to having a long "o" sound in the first syllable.

The next thing I learned was that a prolific genealogist and distant cousin, John Bennett Boddie II, had written multiple times not only about the Boddie/Bodie family but also about many other families of the Southern U.S. Born in 1880, he was a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. Much of his work was published between 1918 and the early 1960s. I soon obtained copies of two of his books that were specifically about our common Boddie ancestors: Boddie and Allied Families and Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia. But let's get back to Jane, specifically.

Just a week ago, I participated in RootsTech Connect 2021, which included the ability to link to my ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree and see if any other attendees were related to me. I had over 9500 matches, and every single one of them was through the ancestors of Jane Belle Bodie. So this means that this part of the Family Tree may require the most work to confirm and correct.

Jane Belle Bodie:

Jane was married 3 times, first to Wiley Long (who I know almost nothing about), second to my great-grandfather Edmon Manley Martin, and third to John Farmer, who she is buried next to. She had children with both of the first two husbands (apparently 5 each).

Her entry in the Family Tree seemed reasonable enough, and no duplicates were found. I added a few sources where she appears. 

But tomorrow will be the complex day, as I know that there are some interesting entries in the Family Tree for Jane's parents.

Friday, March 12, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 12 (my maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother)

Sarah "Sallie" Neely (1814-1861) of Laurens County, South Carolina holds the distinction of being the last of my great-great-grandparents to be identified, due to a combination of communication with cousins, traditional documentation, and DNA matching. I share DNA with Neely and Grant descendants (Sarah's first husband was Addison Grant). One is my 4th closest match on Family Tree DNA (my brother is first,  a first cousin twice removed is second, and an adoptee is third).

Sarah "Sallie" Neely:

I did find a duplicate that had her other marriage and all her children. So I merged the two.

Then I had to remove children that were not hers (from Benjamin's previous marriage).

And then I had to go back to merge a duplicate for her daughter, my great-grandmother, Sarah Ann Elizabeth "Bettie" Foshee.

I think it's done now, which means I can now go back to Sarah's parents, George Neely and Margaret.

The only record I have at the moment for Sarah's parents is Sarah "Sally" Neely living with George Neely and Margaret in the 1850 census, together with others and her Grant children (presumably she's a widow and we know that she will marry Benjamin Foshee later the same year. I recognize that the 1850 census does not indicate the relationship to the head of the household, so it's entirely possible that George and Margaret are not her parents, but some other Neely relatives, such as her uncle and aunt. But I'll go with it out of probability.

George Neely:


Margaret is currently a dead end. George has been attached to parents, but I don't know what sources support that. I plan to leave it for now, and come back to it when I focus on Neely research (perhaps involving all the Neely descendants).

Thursday, March 11, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 11 (my maternal grandmother's maternal grandfather)

At this point regarding my maternal grandmother's ancestors, I'm left with her maternal grandparents (including the relatively newly discovered Sarah "Sallie" Neely). Let's start with the Foshee family.

One of the toughest issues with the Foshee family is the many variant spellings. On the other hand, genealogist Velma Jean Lowman Foshee (1923-1998) had done an extensive study on this family, and I communicated with her briefly in the early-to-mid 1990s. 

A complication is that there were at least two and most likely 3 generations of men named Benjamin Foshee. A few folks have trees that have omitted the middle one, and that causes some strange ages for their spouses, too. 

I messaged someone on Ancestry who had a public tree with only two generations of Benjamins. We'll see if I get a response there.

Meanwhile, here is the current tree entry for Benjamin Foshee:

This is going to take some work to clean up. 

First, it gives his name as Benjamin Foshee II, but I've seen no record giving his name that way. He's just Benjamin Foshee (the third in a line of Benjamin Foshees). So I fixed the name.

Second, it shows marriages to two different women: Ann Grant and Sarah "Anny" Grant. It's certainly true that Benjamin married Mrs. Sarah Grant, but she was Sarah "Sallie" Neely, who had previously married a Grant.  I fixed the second one, changing her surname to Neely.

The problem with the other entry (Ann Grant) is that it has children born in 1828 and 1829, but it's highly unlikely that a 15-year-old male was married and had a child.  So I need to detach them.

Then I found a duplicate (Benjamin Fooshe), so I merged that one and all his children into Benjamin Foshee. I also added the source document from the 1860 census.

There are multiple marriages listed here to deal with, including a duplication of Benjamin's wife Sarah. I'll fix that tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 10 (my maternal grandmother's parents and paternal grandparents)

Grandmother Martin was the grandparent that I knew best, as she lived in the same town I lived in and I was 16 when she passed. Her parents were Robert Benjamin King (born 1839 in Laurens County, South Carolina and died in 1911 in Laurens County, South Carolina), and Sarah Ann Elizabeth "Bettie" Foshee, born about 1851 in Laurens County, South Carolina, and died in 1928 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Robert Benjamin King:

Sarah Ann Elizabeth "Bettie" Foshee:

Starting with Robert, there are questions concerning his birth year. The tombstone says 1834, but this doesn't accord with his entries in the census. He's 11 in the 1850 census, 21 in the 1860 census, 40 in the 1880 census, 64 in the 1900 census, and 75 in the 1910 census. (No idea where he is in 1870.) The 3 earliest censuses point to an 1839 birth year, which is more believable than the later ones.

No apparent duplicates. On to Bettie. Even Bettie's first name has been a bit of a mystery to me, as I normally referred to her as Elizabeth, and in most records, she appeared either as Bettie or as "Mrs. R. B. King". Only in the past few years have I come upon evidence found by cousins that she was Sarah Elizabeth (in one census, she is "S. A.", giving support to the idea that she was Sarah Ann).

An even bigger mystery was the identity of her mother. I had reason to believe that her father was Benjamin Foshee, but I had learned that Benjamin was married more than once. From a newspaper entry, I learned that Benjamin Foshee married (for his 2nd wife) widow Sarah "Sallie" Neely Grant on 8 October 1850. So was Bettie born before or after? Her tombstone says 1845, but what does the census say? She's 26 in the 1880 census, 52 in the 1900 census, 64 in the 1910 census, and 75 in the 1920 census. I can't find her in 1870, when she should be just married to Robert but not yet having children.

This leaves 1850 and 1860. If she was born in 1845, she may appear in the 1850 census, but how old is she in the 1860, before she marries? The 1860 census for Benjamin and Sarah Fooshe (yes, there are lots of spelling variations on this surname) doesn't show a 16-year-old female. What it *does* show is an 8-year-old Sarah, which strongly suggests that Sarah Ann Elizabeth Foshee was named for her mother, Sarah "Sallie" Neely, and that she was born in 1851 or 1852. Oh, and I can't find Benjamin in 1850 with his first wife.

So I'm going with a birth year for Sarah between 1851 and 1852.

Returning to Robert Benjamin King, census records indicate that his parents were Charles "Charley" King and Letty/Lettie (maiden name unknown). A newspaper story also confirms Charley King to be his father.

Charles King:


Nothing really to add to these.

Tomorrow, a return to the Foshee and Neely family lines.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 9 (my maternal grandfather's paternal ancestors)

Granddaddy Martin was a neat guy, from whom I inherited a black fishing rod! (My favorite aunt would take me out fishing to the ponds at the local country club to go fishing.) I also found an old 1910 almanac in his home that nobody else wanted, so I have that as a memory, too.

His mother, Jane Belle Bodie, has occupied a great deal of my genealogical research, including a Boddie One-Name Study, and the sheer number of descendants of her ancestors is intimidating, starting with the immigrant Boddie who arrived in Virginia in the 1600s.

But for today, enough about the Bodie/Boddie family. My thoughts are about the Martins. I don't have much, just Granddaddy's father, Edmon Manley Martin (born about 1827 in Edgefield District, later Edgefield County, South Carolina, and died between 1894 and 1900, presumably in South Carolina):

Edmon(d) Manley Martin:

Things are clearly complicated here. It correctly shows that Edmon was married twice, first to Eliza Paulina Adams, then to my great-grandmother, Jane Belle Bodie. But it lists one of his sons (Eddie) as the child of Paulina, not Jane. The problem revolves in part around the death year for Paulina and the marriage year for Jane. I'm not sure that I can yet untangle this (so I will come back to it later).

I'll move on to Edmon's parents, James S. Martin (born about 1797 in South Carolina, died after 1880) and his wife Elizabeth "Betsy" (born about 1797 in South Carolina, died after 1880). I do not have a maiden name for her, but...

James S. Martin:


She has been put into the tree as Elizabeth McDonald, born in North Carolina. But I have no sources (yet) that provide her maiden name. What about the birth state?

In 1880 she is listed as born in South Carolina of a South Carolina father and a North Carolina mother.

In 1870 she is listed as born in South Carolina.

In 1860 she is listed as born in South Carolina. (This is the one that identifies her as "Betsy".)

In 1850 she is listed as born in South Carolina.

So unless and until some other record appears, I feel comfortable in changing her birth state to South Carolina. 

Now, where did someone get the name of McDonald for her? I've messaged the person who may have entered that surname, and I've already heard back. She's not sure of the source, so she's going to check her other records to see.

Based on the lack of documentation to suggest that Elizabeth McDonald is the spouse of James S. Martin, I have replaced her with this Elizabeth:

Monday, March 8, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 8 (my maternal grandparents)

Based on my experience last week with Relatives at RootsTech, the feature of RootsTech Connect 2021 that allowed me to opt-in to matching with anyone else registered for RootsTech who also had put their ancestors into the FamilySearch Family Tree and who had opted in to be matched to another registrants, I knew one thing: I matched over 9000 other attendees, but *all* of those matches were on my maternal side, through a few very specific lines.

I was not totally surprised, as my maternal ancestors have been in British America and then the United States since the late 1600s, especially in the U.S. South, while my earliest paternal ancestors had arrived no earlier than 1842. And my matches were all focused on particular lines, those of my maternal grandfather's mother, Jane Belle Bodie, either through her Bodie/Boddie ancestors or her Pitts ancestors. Both lines were apparently connected to a huge number of other genealogists.

So that also told me that I should expect to run into my biggest complications in the FamilySearch Family Tree with my Bodie/Boddie ancestors (and their Pitts ancestors), leaving fewer issues with my Martin, King, Foshee, or Neely lines. 

So let's begin with my maternal grandparents, and I'll then move on to the Martin and King lines from there.

My mother was the last child of my maternal grandparents, George Washington Martin (born 1882 in Edgefield County, South Carolina, died 1964 in Newberry, South Carolina) and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Estelle King (born 1884 in Laurens County, South Carolina, died 1973 in Newberry, South Carolina):

George Washington Martin:

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Estelle King:

I found no duplicates for either one, so tomorrow I'll move on to the Martin family line.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 7 (my paternal grandfather's maternal-side ancestors)

The only part of my paternal-side family tree left to deal with on the FamilySearch Family Tree is the maternal side of my paternal grandfather. The Bannons and the Hylands originated in County Laois, Ireland, and then left Ireland for Oldbury in England, before some of them left to come to Newark, New Jersey. After the Bannons and Hylands arrived in England, William Bannon and Mary Ann Hyland married (as did his sister and her brother).

William Bannon:

Mary Ann Hyland:

I couldn't find any duplicates for either, so I moved on to their parents (William Bannon and his wife Mary, and James Hyland and Catherine Delaney).

I couldn't find any evidence of William (the older) and his wife Mary in the FS Family Tree, so I added them:

William Bannon:


Finally, there are Mary Ann Hyland's parents, James Hyland and Catherine Delaney:

James Hyland:

Catherine Delaney:

And here is where things got a little tricky. Someone already had a James Hyland and a Catherine Delaney in the tree, but with a child in Wisconsin. This made no sense, as James and Catherine left County Laois (also known as Queen's County, Ireland) for England, but never came to the United States. So there is some confusion here. I disconnected that child from my James Hyland and Catherine Delaney (I suppose there could have been more than one couple with the same names).

And with that, at the end of Week 1, I completed cleaning up my paternal-side family on the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 6 (my paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother)

Time to tackle the Reilly ancestry, although it's limited to my great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann Reilly, born 1829 in County Cavan, Ireland and died 1897 in Newark, New Jersey:

No duplicates suggested or found, and so I spent my time reviewing and attaching a lot of sources that FamilySearch suggested (primarily either census records or birth records for her children). 

One surprise: A final child who did not appear to survive more than 3 years at most, and the only daughter born to Mary Ann out of 9 children. I did not have this daughter in my tree, and now I do.

There was also a marriage record attached to Mary Ann presumably for her son, John, but the middle initial for John didn't match and Mary Ann's son John was long dead by the time of the marriage of the John in the record. So I detached that one and explained why.

Tomorrow, it's on to the Bannons and the Hylands!

Friday, March 5, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 5 (my paternal grandfather and his Smith ancestors)

If I were to go only by my experiences with my paternal grandmother's family, I would come to the conclusion that it is easy to clean up my direct ancestors on the FamilySearch Family Tree. But I realize that I may have very few relatives on that particular line, so none of them would have created unnecessary duplicates or added incorrect people to the families (although I do need to do a little cleanup on my grandmother's siblings).

Today I'm going to tackle something a bit more challenging: my Irish ancestors through my paternal grandfather, including Smith, Bannon, Hyland, and Reilly. I expect this will be more complicated but more enlightening as to the issues dealing with a collaborative family tree.

My paternal grandfather was William Henry Smith, born 1889 in Newark, New Jersey and died 1961:

At some point, I'll need to add his children other than my father, but I'll leave that for now and focus only on him and his ancestors. I didn't notice any duplicates for him, so I'll keep with the Smith line and move on to his father, Charles Henry Smith, born 1859 in Newark, died 1906.

No problems there, and no obvious duplicates. We move on to his father (my great-great-grandfather), James Smith, born about 1825 in County Cavan, Ireland, died 1872 in Newark.

FamilySearch suggests one possible duplicate, based on an 1871 John Smyth born to a James Smyth and Mary Reilly in Ireland. But since my James Smith left Ireland in 1842 and his last child was born in 1867 in Newark, I have marked the suggested duplicate as not a match.

Finally, James Smith was the son of Philip Smith and Catherine (surname unknown), so I will need to add those to the tree. 



And with that, I'm done with the direct Smith ancestral line (I'm sure I'll need to do some checking on the Smith descendants). 

I'll save the Bannon, Hyland, and Reilly lines for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 4 (my paternal grandmother's grandparents)

So far, I've run into minimal problems with cleaning up a few duplicates for my paternal grandmother and her parents. So I want to finish his ancestry by taking on her grandparents (I don't have any research myself that goes any farther back than that). 

Rachel's paternal grandparents are Mendel Weinglass and Frumat "Fanny" Zorkel, and her maternal grandparents are Anschel Grodowitz and Hannah "Annie" Siegel. All 4 appear in the FamilySearch Family Tree here:

Mendel Weinglass:

Frumat "Fanny" Zorkel:

Anschel Grodowitz:

Hannah "Annie" Siegel:

I was not previously following Anschel and Hannah, so I fixed that, and I fixed Hannah's surname. 

And that appears to be it. No duplicates here. That means I'm finished with checking on my paternal grandmother's ancestry (although there are still fixes to be done to her siblings and others).

Next up tomorrow: I begin to tackle my Irish ancestors (the Smiths, Bannons, Reillys, and Hylands). This should prove much more complex, and I suspect, educational.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 3 (my paternal grandmother's parents)

 I started this march through the FamilySearch Family Tree two days ago with my parents (no fixes needed to be made) and yesterday on to my paternal grandmother (merging two duplicates into her record). Now it's time to move to her parents, Louis Weinglass and Sarah Grodowitz.  

Great-grandfather Louis Weinglass (what I would consider my official entry for him) is here:

I will eventually need to clean up some duplicates for his children, but I don't want to lose focus on Louis himself (and then his wife, my great-grandmother Sarah Grodowitz). 

So I first merged a record for a person named Luy Weinglass for his daughter Anna's birth. Then I merged the same incorrectly transcribed Louis Heinglas that was part of another birth record.

That seems to have taken care of Louis. On to Sarah.

As for Sarah, the Fanny in Anna's birth record has to be her, and of course, the Sarah Heinglas whose surname was mistranscribed. So I'll merge them the same way I did for Louis.

That went quickly, including adding many of the sources that were linked to the duplicates.

Next up, Louis' parents.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 2 (my paternal grandmother)

Yesterday I explained what I have set out to do this month, and why. I've reviewed the entries for my parents (no duplications and the facts appear to be correct). Today I move into my grandparents' generation.

When I first began researching my family back in 1992, I realized that there were some big differences among my grandparents. 3 of the 4 had extremely common surnames: Smith, Martin, and King. Smith is acknowledged as the most common surname in English-speaking countries, and Martin and King both appear among the 100 most common surnames in the United States as of the 2010 census (Martin is ranked 20th, King is ranked 34th).

This means that, unless my ancestors all have very unusual first names, I'm going to be working through a lot of possible duplicates in my Smith, Martin, and King lines. But that leaves my 4th ancestral line, that of my paternal grandmother: Weinglass. The Weinglass family is also the last one to arrive in the United States (in the 1870s), and so I would expect to see fewer duplicates and other problems. So let's begin with Rachel Weinglass, my paternal grandmother.

A search for Rachel Weinglass in the Family Tree gets a large number of hits, although I would get far fewer if I marked the search fields as "Match All Exactly". I can also slide the switch to Show Exact Searching Fields, which gives me a checkbox for each field.

The first result is my grandmother's cousin, also named Rachel Weinglass (my grandmother's father was Louis, her cousin's father was Harris). The second entry is my grandmother:

I am already following her entry. As I continue to scroll down the list, I see a number of other individuals, including my grandmother's siblings. Then I get to one for Ray Weinglass. Same parents, and I know that my grandmother went by "Ray" as her nickname. So I decide to merge this person into the entry for my grandmother, using the Merge By ID option in the right-hand menu. It warns me:

"Merging is a complex process in which you decide if two people are the same person. If they are, you choose which information should be kept. Please take the time necessary to carefully review each possible duplicate."

I enter the ID for my grandmother (the one you see in the URL above) and click Continue. I now see the profiles side by side.

Because I was looking at Ray when I chose to do the merge, it lists Rachel as the duplicate and Ray as the surviving profile. It will keep Ray and delete Rachel, which is the opposite of what I want. Fortunately, there is a Switch button at the top, and when I click it, it explains which profile survives.

I continue, and it shows the details of what will be kept. I click the "Yes Continue" button.

I don't need to bring over any other info from the duplicate profile, and Continue.

In the 3rd and final step, it asks me to provide a reason. I write: "Rachel went by 'Ray' as her nickname. All other details are the same (or very nearly so), including the names of the parents."

I click Finish Merge.

One more step here: I decided to edit her first name so that it reads as: Rachel "Ray", so that it will be clear that it's the same person.

Am I done with my grandmother? Not quite. FamilySearch alerts me to another duplicate, this one with the name Rachel Heinglas. I click on that one. Yup, same person as my grandmother, even with the right parents, but the surname has been incorrectly transcribed as Heinglas. Apparently the info was taken automatically from the New York Births and Christenings collection.

So I merge those, too. (It tries to add her incorrectly transcribed parents, too, but I'll get to them another day.)

That's about it. FamilySearch also warns me that using "Manhattan" is non-standard, so I change her birth location to "New York City". 

Finally, it suggests that I attach her birth record from another collection, so I do. And now I'm done.

Tomorrow, I tackle her parents.

Monday, March 1, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 1 (my parents)

One of the most common discussions in The Genealogy Squad Facebook group revolves around the Family Tree on FamilySearch. Unfortunately, many people seem to associate the word "FamilySearch" only with the Family Tree, ignoring the separate record collections, and as a result, new genealogists may think that they should not use any part of FamilySearch at all.

You can certainly use the records on FamilySearch without ever viewing the Family Tree, and that's what I do 99% of the time. But this month I want to turn my attention specifically to the Family Tree, to dispel any myths about it, and to demonstrate a way to use it in a productive manner.

The FamilySearch Family Tree is a single, collaborative tree. This means that instead of completely separate trees (such as the many public and private trees on Ancestry), there is only one tree that is worked on by anyone who wants to contribute to it. In this way, the Family Tree is structured much like a wiki (like Wikipedia), allowing millions of people to work together to create, add to, and maintain the tree.

The FamilySearch Family Tree is not the only online tree structured in this way. Geni and WikiTree also use a collaborative model to allow users to contribute to the same tree.

The upside to this process is that everyone can focus on the ancestors they know best and contribute information about them to the single tree. But the downside is that people are only human, and make mistakes, and they may add incorrect information to the tree or change correct information to incorrect information. They may connect unrelated individuals or confuse two people who happen to have the same name.

Fortunately, when an error is discovered, it can be corrected. The problem arises when the same error is repeated over time, even changing corrections back to incorrect versions. 

The best solution is to (1) "follow" all individual profiles that you have contributed to, to see if any of them are being changed, (2) add source material to support the facts provided, and (3) politely address any misinformation that is published.

This month, I'm going to run an experiment and see what happens when I go through my own ancestors on the Family Tree, confirming information and correcting any misinformation. 

I've already looked at my own parents, and their information appears correct (or close enough but I could tweak it a bit and add sources):

George Thomas Smith (my father):

Altha Corinne Martin (my mother):

Starting tomorrow, I'll begin work on my grandparents, and I hope that you will come along for my march through the FamilySearch Family Tree.