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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

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

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.

Here is today's subject for Project Nine (not to be confused with Plan Nine):

Here is what we have on this person's family so far in the Family Tree.

Here is how I am related to this person.

If you have read the posts about any of the previous projects, you should know that the first step is to clean up the entries. One of the hallmarks of opportunities in the Family Tree is finding entries where the names, dates, and places have not been cleaned up or standardized. The idea here is to try and find her parents and possibly additional ancestors who are not presently in the Family Tree. If you look at the previous projects as case studies, you might realize that the outcome of choosing a particular relative may or may not produce additions to the Family Tree. I have not chosen the subjects of these projects because they were "easy" or "hard." I am merely using them to show how to do research using the information that is already in the Family Tree.

One question that will always come up is whether or not I am really related to this person. In one or two of the previous projects, I have come to the conclusion that there is no relationship. But in this case, I can see some substantial research and sources that indicate that her husband is my relative. But as the investigation proceeds, I may find that the wrong person is in the Family Tree because I am writing these posts as I do the research and so when I start, I have no preconceived end.

Right off the bat, even before I clean up the entries, I see that there is a Record Hint.

I also see that my daughter, Amy Tanner Thiriot, has been merging some duplicates for this person.

If I see any Record Hints, I usually process them before I do anything else. In this case, I get a bonus, the death record has a specific death place and the names of her parents. The place listed in the entry is St. Thomas, Hackney, Middlesex, England. There is a Stamford Hill St. Thomas next to the Hackney parish but the Hackney church is St. John. This minor mystery is resolved when I find a list of parishes that were once part of Hackney evidently caused by the growth of the population of London. The parish should be called St. Thomas the Apostle, Stamford Hill created in 1828. The FamilySearch standardized form of the parish name is "Stamford Hill St. Thomas, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom."

Now it is time to check for duplicates. This step incurs a blizzard of duplicates for her parents and siblings. It also develops a lot of Record Hints.  OK, it looks like her mother died before Maria Louise Sewell was born. There are some serious issues here. Not to worry, anytime there is an end-of-line in the Family Tree, there are usually issues.

Well, I got into the duplicates and found myself in a "Duplicate Storm." Here is what I have at the moment.

There are still a number of duplicates to process.  For example:

I am sure that some researchers just give up when faced with what seems to be an unending series of duplicate entries. However, there is no other solution than to plow your way through the duplicate. Be careful, as you might be able to see from the screenshot above, there are more than one "Ann" entries and some of them are likely not the right person. I will probably spend almost an hour merging individuals before the children and parents are sorted out.

How did this situation come about? Multiple submissions of these people have been made to FamilySearch and its predecessors over the years and the information about this family has never been consolidated into a single entry. It turns out that there are quite a few sources to work with and also quite a few children have been added. But no one would know this without the mechanism of merging that has been implemented in the Family Tree. Here are the sources so far.

When I finish with this family (not really finish because that will never happen) or move on to another family, I will have added a well-documented family to the Family Tree. I may or may not end up with any additional Temple ordinances, but ultimately, I will as I continue to work on this line.

I will have to come back to this family in a Part Two, so stay tuned.

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 or 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. In this particular case, I found a cousin who lived in the latter half of the 1800s. Finding a person who has no apparent ancestors in the Family Tree is relatively easy for those who lived in or into the 19th Century by much harder the further you go back in the past.  To clarify this project, I will not be reserving any of the people I discover for my own Temple List, unless, as in the case with this family, I am related to those I find. 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.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this series! It's such a great inspiration for those of us working to make Family Search as wonderful (read "accurate") as possible. I spend Sundays (when not at church) cleaning up Family Search, and this series has given me some great ideas of what that looks like. Thanks so much! I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I read everything you write, and I am very grateful for the work you are doing.