Monday, 24 February 2014

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2 Chapter 1 Homework

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]
Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof

Question 1. 
The dictionary definition of genealogy is a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor (1).
This translates in laymen’s terms to the study of kinship and pedigree, which is conducted by using oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records.
Many genealogists can also be called family historians because they go further than defining the relationship and use the records they find to build a fuller picture of the families they discover and how they lived in their place and time.

Question 2. 

   A search needs to have been done of sufficient records that a conclusion can be drawn; the number of records will depend on the reliability of the records that have been found. To draw a conclusion you must be reasonably certain that you have not overlooked a source that any competent researcher would have used.

The sources that are used need to be completely and accurately recorded in such a manner as to make them retrievable.

The information discovered in the research process must be analysed to ensure that it refers to the same person or persons, in the same place and at the same time.

Any conflicting evidence should be reviewed in such a manner that any discrepancies between different sources may be coherently explained.

A written conclusion should be drawn which pulls together all the previous elements. (2)

Question 3. 

I believe for research to be of value it needs to be referenced in such a way that anyone can confirm what I have found and build a conclusion. 
If any piece of information is later found to contradict what I have concluded then further analysis of all the evidence will be possible. 
Without proper sources and reasoning, research does not stand up to review and incorrect conclusions may be perpetuated by other researchers.

Question 4. 

The conclusion is the result of an analysis of all the gathered information. If there is sufficient evidence then the conclusion is a proof. 
If there is insufficient evidence or a conflict cannot be resolved then further research is required until a conclusion is possible. 
Without fulfilling all the criteria in question 2 any conclusion is not valid.

Question 5. 
What questions do you need to answer?
Assess what you need to discover before you start any research.

1 Online Oxford Dictionary accessed 19th June 2013.
2 The Genealogical Proof Standard accessed 19th June 2013.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Occupations of Our Ancestors

 - Should we consider exactly how we view them with 21st century eyes.

This blog post was triggered by a comment Jill Ball made on Google+ about a fellow cruiser’s comment about social media.
She said that a blog post had reminded her of this comment. This post deals with the reactions of individuals to changes.
Although we all have to cope with changes in our lives many of us adapt to change better than others and some of us actually relish change as a challenge.

I am not going to discuss the management of change so much as how change has influenced our lives and those of our ancestors.

My son has grown up in a world where technology particularly computers are commonplace. Whilst this may not be the norm everywhere most “westernised” and many asian countries are similar. Trying to explain to his generation that we did not have such technology when we were growing up can be difficult. If so much has changed in one generation how can we ever truly put ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors and think and feel as they might have done. To be able to visualize their lives we need to know exactly how they lived and what affected their lives.

Museums, reenactments and newspapers can all play a part in piecing together their story, but can we ever truly see things as they would. Were they the ones who took the changes on board or did they dig their heels in and try to resist change. After all changes are not always for the better.

My husband and I both have family members who worked with animals such as horses, they would have been important in a society without automotive transport (cars, trains). Many of the trades associated with horses are dying out or practically non existent today. How can we even picture such a society ?

Today we worry about pollution from various sources contributing to “Global Warming” but would knowing about such possibilities have made any difference to our ancestors, many of whom would have been unable to read or write and would have been struggling to survive.

Knowing what someone did can be important when fleshing out our family histories, but understanding how that impacted on their standing in the community could be more important in explaining how they were and why they did what they did. If we truly wish to understand what makes us who we are today we need to study the history of the village, town and even the county or country.

However you carry out your research do not forget the Friends, Acquaintances and Neighbours.
In other words look out for the FAN club.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Piecing it all Together - A Family Story Part 1

Much of the pleasure many family historians get when researching their family is from using detective skills to discover the truth.
We gather the evidence and piece it together so that using the genealogical proof standards we can say that given all this evidence this is what I believe to be the conclusion.
This Sunday see the start of DearMyrtle's Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2. I shall be one of the panelists and you will hear more from me then if you care to follow the hangouts on air see DearMyrtle's blog post [].

I have one part of my husband's tree which has and still is proving difficult to  establish.
My husband's paternal gt grandmother died in Lincolnshire in the late 1960's at the age of 90.
On her death certificate the place of birth had been changed, from Gunby, Lincolnshire where she died, to Aldershot and her maiden name was recorded as Clark. This information came from her unmarried son who lived with her all his life. Her marriage certificate recorded her name as Elizabeth Agnes Clarke and her father as George Augustus Clarke whose occupation was Army Pensioner. The witnesses were Frederick Agustus Clarke, Samuel Gadsby, Jane Emma Gadsby and Ruth Avendar. Three of these were obviously relatives but what about the fourth one with a somewhat unusual surname.
I thought nothing more about a possible connection to the family maybe she was a friend or cousin.
Next to find Elizabeth on the 1901 census, she had married in 1900 and was found with her husband and eldest son and her birthplace recorded as Hants Farnboro. Farnborough is on the Hampshire/Surrey border near Aldershot which is known for its connection to the British Army and fits with information found on the death and marriage certificate. Both places are in the Hartley Wintney registration district and I found a birth registration for her and the copy birth certificate was obtained. The date of birth matched that given on the death certificate and the parents were George and Elizabeth Clarke late Perry formerly Flowers.
The index to the 1881 census was available on the Family search website and I found the family living in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth had 2 older siblings Frederick and Rebecca the eldest age 5. This indicated a marriage 6 years earlier or possibly longer all the children were born in Farnboro so this was the first place to search for the parents marriage. George was recorded as being born in Ireland and his wife Elizabeth in Marston, Lincs.
Their marriage had taken place in Farnborough and the church record is now available on the Ancestry website. The copy marriage certificate which tallies with the church record indicates that both George and Elizabeth were widowed her surname at marriage was Perrey and their fathers were William Clarke Pensioner and William Flowers Labourer respectively. Ages were not recorded but both stated they were of full age.
So far things are straightforward. It was relatively easy to pick up Elizabeth on the earlier census with her parents. She is recorded in the 1851 census as Eliza Flowers living in Marston, Lincolnshire.
The marriage to George took place in 1874 so I needed to find her in the 1861 and 1871 census.
I also needed to find her marriage to the first husband a Mr Perry/Perrey.
Who was George Clarke's deceased wife?
Were there any children from the previous marriages?
There were no older children on the 1881 census what had happened to any children from previous marriages?
It may have been at this point that I made contact with a fellow researcher. She is a distant cousin, a descendant of William Flowers by a brother of Eliza/ Elizabeth. She sent me a skeleton tree that she had built of the family and I set out to confirm what she had sent was correct.
At the time I was doing this research there were much less digital records available online and I had limited time to make research trips.
I shall continue this in my next blog post.