Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Building a Family Tree: An Example on -- Project Seven

This post is another in the unending series of Projects I am doing to research different people in the Family Tree. See the comment at the end of this post for a further explanation of the Projects.

This is how I am related to this person.

It is relatively easy to find these opportunities in the Family Tree. I can often see the opportunity when I notice that none of the date or place entries have been standardized. This indicates that no consistent work has yet been done on this person and by implication her family line. As a cautionary note, I am using this person as an example of research methodology. Although her husband is my cousin and her children would be my cousins, technically, she is not my cousin and I am not related to her parents or ancestors. Hmm. However, this brings up an interesting issue. Assuming that during this time period, people married their cousins, I am very likely related to her and her family if I do enough research.

The first step is to standardize all the data.  Don't forget to standardize the marriage information is there is any. The next step is to add any Record Hints that might be available.

Once this is done, we need to look at the information we have available and examine all the sources to make sure the information is reflected in the main entries. We already have a conflict in that the birth name is variously recorded as "Naomi" or "Laomi." I am guessing that the name is Naomi, and a quick check by a Google search for "Laomi" indicates that the word probably does not exist and is an error but it is possible that the name was unique.

After standardizing the dates and places, I begin with a search on by clicking on the link in the "Search Records" sidebar. The record already shows the name of her mother and husband, but no children.

Are there any additional records beyond the sources already listed?

She should show up in subsequent England and Wales Census records and possibly elsewhere. There may also be a death record. The listed birth records only show a mother's name. This may reflect that she was born out-of-wedlock or simply that the father was not recorded. After searching on FamilySearch, I note that I should pay attention to the county because there are a number of women with the same given name and similar surnames around England. I also add in the husband's name and change her surname to Harrington. When I do this, I find the 1881 Census.

Still no children, I search for her husband and I remember to add in her name as a spouse and come up with a marriage record. The rest of the search is inconclusive. Now, I turn to  I immediately find a more complete marriage record this time giving her father's name.

However, in the course of working on this family, I began to verify the connections through the Harrington line. Oops. That's where I should have started. My ancestor Sarah Harrington is definitely the wife of Joseph De Friez. But from there the line needs to be verified. Like so many of the entries in the Family Tree going back this far in time, there are some serious problems. I guess this is where this example ends for the time being.

An added note: With help from my daughter Melinda, we are verifying the Sarah Harrington family line. It looks like what was in the Family Tree was generally correct but needed some additional sources. Make sure you are related to those in the Family Tree.

Explanation of how this project began and why I am pursuing it.

In this project, I started out by picking a somewhat random person from my ancestors' descendants who lived in the 20th Century from the Family Tree and to hopefully show, step-by-step, the research needed to extend that person's family tree back several generations. Finding a person who has no apparent ancestors in the Family Tree is relatively easy for those who lived in or into the 20th Century. However, I am not able to use any of my own family lines because my direct lines all extend at least six generations. To clarify this project, I will not be reserving any of the people I discover for my own Temple List. I will simply leave the "green icons" on the Family Tree for that person's descendants to find and use for themselves. Please refrain from doing the temple work for people to whom you are not related.

Now, after I got going doing the research, I got a couple of requests to research some people further back in time. These turned out to be old, established "end-of-line" situations. Since my original idea was to demonstrate finding people, I started with easier challenges. But in any event,  I may or may not find new people to add to the FamilyTree. Since the families I choose are in an "end-of-line" sort of situation independent of the time frame, there is no guarantee that I will be any more successful than the average user of the Family Tree in finding additional family members. In any event, I hope that my efforts as recorded will help either the family members or others to find more information about their ancestral families and relatives.

Why am I doing this? For the past 15 years or so, I have been helping hundreds (thousands?) of people find their ancestors. I simply intend to document the process in detail with real examples so that you can see exactly how I find family lines. I simply want to show where those "green icons" come from. Since the Family Tree is entirely cooperative, I will simply assume that when I find a family that needs some research that I am helping that family. By the way, this is Project Five of the series because I intend to do this over and over with different examples.

There is another reason why I am doing this. Because I constantly offer to help people find their ancestors and I get relatively few that take advantage of that offer. I need to spend some of my excess energy.

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