Sunday, April 28, 2019

Genealogy Goals

I think it would be a good idea if I set some genealogy goals for myself.  Because work management has always been rating me and my allergies always interfere, goals don't work well in my personal life.  However, it's probably a good idea in genealogy because once your tree starts developing, you can go off any which way.

My goals:

  • Document Debra Winchell's wife to Anthony (Teunis) Brazee and if she was the daughter of Eliakim Winchell Sr.  Tricky since the Town of Egremont records burned and the family weren't church goers.
  • Find the parents of great-grandfather Alexander M. Thatcher. He probably did come from Chester County, Pennsylvania, or thereabouts.
  • Try to link gggreat-grandmother Sarah Livingston to the Livingston family of upstate New York.

Beware FamilySearch

FamilySearch provided by the LatterDay Saints is a wonderful source of documentation. However, its Family Tree is flawed and fails to promote professional genealogy standards.

Initially I created a tree on FamilySearch (FS) because I wanted to use the relative finder.  That didn't work very well because unbeknownst to me the default settings of the page lets other people contribute to your ancestral findings.  A few people made a horrible mess of my family.  Today I've discovered some people even deleted some of my entries.  Fortunately the information was still there and I was able to reattach it.  I could see how this file was abused.  I had to post a firm message.  Since there doesn't seem to be a check and balance system, this can lead to all kinds of genealogical fallacies.  This puts in mind the Victorian desire to connect families with either royalty or biblical characters.  These are still affecting genealogy!

FS is not very intuitive to use, so I may have messed up their trees to fix mine  Sorry about that.   Since then I've figured out the correct steps. In addition, if you do use one of the resources found, it's not clear to me if you're sent back to your own entry.  I think so, but it should be made clear.  A user shouldn't have to memorize all the individual codes. 

Some FS users do not know how to research common names and it seemed that they just just blithely assumed they were correct.  I'll charitably assume that's how most of this happened.  Personally I would never go so far as to physically change anyone's information.  That used to be considered rude. If you find there is more than one person of the same name in the same age group, you must research both people until you are sure which one is correct.  There were 27 possible Adam Bakers when I was looking for my great-great-grandfather.  I knew enough to know I had to have additional information to go further. If you don't know how to do that, you better look up how to research genealogical records.

There is a setting under a user's profile to turn off contributions as FS calls it.  I could eliminate all but one.  I assume it's a corporate address.  I let that user know I didn't want any messing around with my files.  I might have to confess to accidentally messing up other people's files in reply, but at least I will be able to point out the design flaws.  Even though I'm no longer working in an information technology department, I can still break applications.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Using Amazon a Different Way

I just realized there's another way to use Amazon as a perennially cash-strapped researcher.  I can compile a bibliography of books I want to read and then borrow them through inter-library loan.  In addition, if the authors are still alive, I am also able to contact them to ask for suggestions on resources. 

It is not easy trying to research ancestors when I live hundreds of miles from here they did.  There is no web site that has all the information you could ever need from any area.  Research is even more difficult when your ancestors were sociopolitical minorities in the area. 

I've been trying to find where my great-great-grandfather Albert Galatine Gatton came from for years.  He was born about 1819 in Ohio and Native American.  He died of pneumonia in Corinth, MS, while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, so there is no death certificate.  His marriage record to my great-great-grandmother lists no parents.  I was able to find a record for his first marriage to Hannah Wyckoff on 15 March 1838 in Muskingum County, Ohio, still with no parental information.  It still doesn't mean he was born there, either. 

James Gatton and his wife Rosannah Canner lived in the area with their family.  Tantalizingly one of their sons was named Galen.  I don't know if they were related or not. Even if they were, I would still have a Native American ancestor to find.  I think it's most likely it was a Native wife. 

Fortunately in this time period there weren't that many people in Ohio to research.  There is one core Gatton family. It has a son named Greenberry Gatton whose history goes unrecorded.  I don't know if that's because he died young or if the family lost touch after he became an adult.  The only way I can think of proceeding is to read about the early histories of Native Americans and Europeans in Ohio.  I think it's possible that Albert's father was trading with Native people and met his Native wife that way.  With any luck there might be an early record with Greenberry's name on it.

I have another mystery ancestry in the same area, Solomon Hise.  He is my mother's ancestor.  He was Native American.  He belonged to the United Brethren church.  That sect was the only one that Native people in Ohio trusted.  I don't believe the parents that people have documented for him because it shows no Native ancestry.  I really haven't worked on his background very much yet.  I hope to.



Sunday, August 12, 2018

New DAR Member

Friday after work I was absolutely amazed to find I'd been sent in the mail a certificate of membership to the Daughters of the American Revolution, with my member number.  I had given up hope completely that I would be able to get my Mohican-Wappinger-German ancestor Eliakim Winchell recognized as a patriot soldier during the American Revolution.  I thought the facts that the town records burned, he didn't go to church, didn't need to pay taxes and was illiterate were ones that the DAR couldn't accept.  I was wrong.  I was given no explanation, though.

I think I am still a little too radical for the DAR.  My main goal was to have Eliakim recognized.  I'll have to wait and see.  I may want to apply under a maternal ancestor in memory of my mother, though.  It would only be fair.

Maternal American  Revolutionary War Ancestors

Berryman Brown
Richard Brown
Samuel Brown
Noah Hayden
William Hayden
Edward Houchins
Christopher Peavler
Cornelius Vanderveer
Richard Wells
Sampson Wickersham
Nathaniel Wilson

It's possible a Daniel ancestor served, too.  I have my choice, don't I?  I think it should be under Nathaniel Wilson or Cornelius Vanderveer.  It's difficult to document Wilson's service because he signed so many applications as a judge for other men! 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New Thatcher Information

For years I've been stuck on the parents of my great-grandfather Alexander M. Thatcher. It appears he was born in 1818 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I've been researching for 24 years. Today I've finally found something useful on Ancestry. It's a census of Chester County in 1779 listing all the Thatcher men. It also has wills of Thatcher men in Pennsylvania. I'm sure not all the men had wills. I can use this information to research these men to see what sons they may have had in the county later on, who would be potential fathers or grandfathers of Alexander Thatcher. I wonder what I will find.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Still Here

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've written.  I was concentrating on my mother's side of the family.  A while ago I created Wabash Valley Families for her side of the family.

On 4 March 2017 my elderly mother broke her lower right leg in two places.  She was sent to a very poor rehabilitation center where first she was neglected and then she contracted the antibacteria-resistant gastrointestinal infection clostridium difficile that took her life a year and a month later. She also contracted a skin infection that the staff completely ignored. Even before breaking her leg, Mom was experiencing serious side effects from the cholesterol and high blood pressure medicines she was taking. I tried to get her out of the nursing home, but I couldn't.  The only way my mother got out of the center was through a septic episode that sent her to the hospital.  She didn't go back.  The second place was so much better it was like night and day, but it was already too late.

My mother wanted me to continue with my research and publish the books I intended to.  I'm hoping sometime soon I'll have the energy and desire to do so.  I hadn't realized how stressed out and tired I'd become, as the only adult child.

Juanita Wilson Winchell
1932-2018
Juanita M. Winchell, 85, lost her long battle against the antibiotic-resistant gastrointestinal bacteria clostridium difficile on 4 April 2018. at Timberlyn East Nursing Home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Juanita was a long-time resident of Columbia County, residing in Philmont and Hudson, N.Y. She most recently resided at Bethany Village in West Coxsackie, NY. She worked in several sewing mills in Columbia County. She retired from Sunoco Crellin Plastics in Chatham, N.Y. where she was a press attendant, head trainer, and member of the initial McDonald's product team, receiving an award at corporate headquarters for process improvement in 1998. She was a Girl Scout troop leader and participated in bowling teams in Hudson and in the Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Juanita also obtained training in reflexology, Reiki and furniture refurnishing. Decades ahead of business trends, Juanita attempted to establish a business sewing and selling reusable fabric shopping bags. After retirement, she earned her real estate license and worked for Barns and Farms Realty in its Germantown and Hudson offices. She adopted several cats from the Columbia-Greene Humane Society. She greatly appreciated her British Isles, colonial Dutch, and Native American ancestry.
Juanita was born in Torrington, Conn., the daughter of Frederick E. Wilson and Mary M. Vandivier. She is predeceased by her parents; brothers Harvey, Sidney, Richard, Everett, Donald, Raymond Wilson; sisters Mildred Alstrup, Florence Davis, Dorothy Baccei, Nina Joyce Carrozzo; and her former husband Avery Winchell. Survivors include daughter Debra, sister Edna Westmoreland and many nieces and nephews.
There will be a private funeral service at Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home in Torrington, Conn. Internment will be in Hillside Cemetery, Torrington, Conn. next to family members. Contributions in Juanita's memory to the Peggy Lillis Foundation, 266 12th Street #6, Brooklyn, NY 11215 would be appreciated to help prevent further clostridium difficile deaths.




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Winchell Family Reunion!

I have almost achieved another goal of my family research, attending a family reunion, and I didn't even have to put it together.

My Aunt Kate has told me more than once that her father always wondered what happened to everyone else in the family.  I won't say that's what compelled me to research my family, but it was probably a contributing factor.

It wasn't until I was fully adult that I met someone outside my immediate family with the same last name.  I started researching my family in earnest in 1994, finding out where the family came from and what happened to its members. It was only a few years ago, after 2009, that I came into contact with someone from another branch of the family.  That led to my invitation to the family reunion.

It also led to the awareness of old family photos being held by some family member.  I am hoping somehow that the family reunion leads to my viewing of the photos.  I guess those have been my Holy Grail.

I'm hoping to put together a display for the reunion.  It hasn't seemed to me that the family knew much about its history.  It's going to be something of a challenge.  My elderly mother has to go into a rehab center to rehabilitate from the neglect she suffered from the awful rehab center that she was originally sent to March 10th.  While I am pretty sure that the new center will be a good place for her, it's also an hour's drive from home.  My personal life has suffered greatly in my efforts to support her, rescue her from the original center's grip, and find a better place for her. Normally I would greatly enjoy preparing from this.  I hope I can tap into that joy.  Wish me luck!