Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Starting a mini one name study

Recently, I've started looking again at my Jackson line. Years ago, I traced it back from my grandpa to John Jackson, born around 1838 in Huddersfield, pretty easily. But as it turns out, finding more information about John Jackson, son of William Jackson, is no easy task. There are a LOT of John Jacksons in West Yorkshire!

Therefore, I've joined the new One Name Studies project on WikiTree. I've started a one name study of all Jacksons in and around Huddersfield. I know focusing on such a small area is a far cry from a full one name study, but even this is no small undertaking.

Basically what I'm doing is creating WikiTree profiles for all the Jacksons I find records for, whether or not I'm related to them. My hope is that this will help me to sort out all the different families. To give you an example of how important this detangling is, right now I'm looking at the records for Joseph Jackson and his wife Martha. I've tried to find their marriage record, and I've discovered that there were three couples named Joseph and Martha Jackson who got married in the 1830s in West Yorkshire. Seriously! So, I think this Martha might be Martha Scargill, based on the location, but she could also theoretically be Martha Moor or Martha Holdroyd, because they weren't too far away.

So wish me luck with this! And if you have Jackson ancestors in the Huddersfield area, let me know! Maybe we can work together to sort them out. Also, I ordered a yDNA test for my grandpa, so soon I might have another source of leads!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tracking Frances Armitage through the censuses

My great great great grandmother, Frances Armitage, was born around 1829 in Lockwood, Yorkshire, which is now part of Huddersfield. On 11 July 1847, she married William Broughton in nearby Almondbury. From her marriage record, I know that her father's name was Joseph Armitage.

With this knowledge, it was easy enough to find Frances and her family in the 1871 census. Once I looked on Ancestry I also quickly found them in the 1861 and 1881 censuses (Ancestry subscription required for those last two links). But I didn't have enough information to find Frances before her marriage.

I've found various records that seem promising based on the name, approximate birth date, and father's name, including a birth record on FamilySearch. They all have a mother named Martha. So I figured, if I could just determine that Frances' mother's name was Martha, it would be a pretty safe assumption that these other records belonged to her as well.

Enter the 1851 census (Ancestry link). The image is nigh unreadable, but looking at that and the transcription together I was able to figure out some things. Frances' family group was transcribed as William Broughton, age 30, head; Frances Broughton, age 23, daughter; Benjamin Wetherhill, age 24, lodger. Now, obviously this is a mistake in relationships, since Frances couldn't be William's daughter when she's only seven years younger than him.

But it all started to make sense when I looked at the people listed right before this family: Martha Armitage, age 61, head; Ann Armitage, age 15, son [weird...]; Richard Armitage, age 13, grandson. And, it appears that this household and the Broughton household are actually all at the same address! So, I figure that Frances Broughton is listed as daughter because she is actually the daughter of the head of the household, Martha Armitage, and for whatever reason William was listed as head instead of son-in-law.

So, the result of all this is that I'm reasonably certain that Frances' mother was named Martha, and therefore I'm reasonably certain that I have the right birth record, meaning I now have Frances' exact birth date! Next step: get her birth record from the parish records. This is a step I haven't taken yet in any of my English lines; I always just get back to the beginning of the civil BMD records and then stop and work on something else. This is because I tend to shy away from things that I can't do online. But eventually I'm going to want my English lines to go back pre-1830s, so this is definitely a skill I need to learn!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The brand-new Society for One-Place Studies

There's a Society for One-Place Studies now! While I'm disappointed that the free listing of one-place studies appears to be gone, at the same time I'm quite excited about the creation of this society, and have already joined and registered my one-place study.

For only £10 (currently about $16.37 Canadian) a year, plus a one-time registration fee of £10 for each study registered, you get access to the forum, a regular e-newsletter, an email alias (mine's, and a page for your one-place study in the listing.

If you have a one-place study, you should consider joining. And if you don't have a one place study, you should consider starting one! They're a great way to add local context to your genealogy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My mtDNA results!

A few days ago, I got the results back from my Family Tree DNA mtFullSequence test, the most detailed mtDNA test available. It turns out I'm in haplogroup H1c1.

So, I guess the next step is to start contacting matches and seeing if we have any common names in our maternal lines. A few matches contacted me as soon as my results were ready, but sadly we haven't found any connections yet. But there are plenty left to try; I have 144 matches that match in HVR1, HVR2, and the coding region, and 45 of them are exact matches! Since apparently those have a 50% chance of being related to me within 6 generations, surely I must find something.

What I'd really like would be if everyone in my haplogroup had their maternal lines on WikiTree, so we could all easily compare and connect our trees together! I think I'll mention that idea to the people I talk to, and see if they'll either join and put up their tree, or give me a GEDCOM of their maternal lines that I could manage on WikiTree for them. A DNA project like that could be really interesting!

In the meantime, for the sake of anyone who finds this post when googling H1c1 because it's also their haplogroup, here's my direct maternal line. Do let me know if you see any names from your tree here!

updated live from WikiTree

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trying out FamilySearch's Family Tree

Note: I work for WikiTree, but this blog is my personal space and any opinions expressed here are not the official opinions of WikiTree. I am not paid to blog here. Obviously I have a bit of a bias caused by my undying love for WikiTree, but I have tried to keep an open mind when trying out new things.

After hearing a whole lot about Family Tree while at RootsTech, I decided to try it out. I figured I at least should have more experience with which to answer people who ask me "Why should I use WikiTree when Family Tree does the same thing?" (Spoiler alert: The answer is "Because they don't do the same thing.")

One of my great grandparents was already in the tree, so I started by adding just enough of my tree to connect to him.

Positive first impressions at this point include the fact that a whole line of my tree, from my great grandfather all the way back to my immigrant ancestor, was already on the site. Also, the graphical tree that you can drag around and expand pieces of is really nice.

Negative first impressions include the fact that the immigrant ancestor had all kinds of incorrect parents and spouses attached to him, and there are duplicates coming out of my ears. (To be fair, that family was just as bad on WikiTree before I got my hands on it. But people keep talking about how Family Tree is "source-based", and therefore more accurate, and I'm just not seeing it.) Also, I don't really like how couples are grouped into one box in the pedigree chart. It means that when I look at my pedigree, only half of it is used, because the other half is reserved for my husband.

So, I started merging duplicates. It's what I do best, after all! Right away I ran into problems. Some of my 2x great grandparents' daughters were duplicated, with one copy of each being male. I quickly learned that you can't merge a male and a female. You also can't change the gender. Or delete a person. So, all you can do is disconnect the incorrect person from the tree, and leave it to float around forever, with no accurate information in it. I don't much like the thought of that.

The processes of editing and merging are pretty nice. When editing, you're asked to provide a reason why you think your info is true, which I quite like. When merging, you select data to save from the person that will be deleted, and it slides over to the other side, clearly showing you what will be kept. There's an annoying issue where some people cannot be merged, but apparently that will become less common when New FamilySearch is gone. In the meantime, it means there are duplicates out there that we can't do anything about.

Overall, I think once the kinks are worked out Family Tree will be a pretty good collaborative tree. But keep in mind that that's all it is. There is nothing but the bare bones here. There are no biographies. There are no pages for cemeteries, towns, buildings, etc. Right now, it appears that you can't even add photos. This is strictly names, dates, places, and relationships.

So, while I will try to improve the pages for my ancestors on Family Tree, because I hate to see mistakes in my tree anywhere, it's not something that will absorb a lot of my time. For me, there's a lot more to genealogy than raw data, so I prefer sites/apps that allow for that richer content.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Giving Bloglovin' a try!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm trying out various Google Reader alternatives as I prepare for its untimely demise. Bloglovin' seems to be popular amongst the bloggers I follow, so I've signed up there. It seems promising so far!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Going to Rootstech!

It's time for Rootstech!! It starts tomorrow, and I'm currently in Salt Lake City, excited for a few days of all genealogy all the time! I'll be working at the WikiTree booth, along with WikiTreer-in-Chief Chris Whitten, and two of the site's power users, Ed Burke and Mike Gabbard.

If you're at Rootstech, come by the WikiTree booth and say hello! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Never-Ending Search for Sarah Jane Elson's Marriage Record

You may have heard me complain about Sarah Jane Elson. My matrilineal great-great-great-great grandmother is both my favourite and my least favourite person to research. I'm rather obsessed with my maternal line, and the fact that Sarah Jane has been a brick wall for me for the last year has been very frustrating. It's really taught me how little I know about genealogical research. In all my other lines, I've been able to get by with the basic census records and vital records, mostly available for free online. Rarely have I ever had to look at a microfilm. But with Sarah Jane, it's become apparent that I need to expand my research horizons.

Some googling led me to learn that marriages in Ontario between 1858 and 1869 are recorded in county marriage registers. It's quite likely that Sarah Jane Elson and Henry Prince were married during this time. (It was definitely after 1852 and before 1861. They had their first child in 1861, when Sarah Jane was about 22.) These records are available to order to any FamilySearch Centre. So, for the first time, I have a reason to go to a FamilySearch Centre! How exciting! I'm kind of embarassed as a genealogist that I haven't been yet. :)

So I'm going to order the microfilm for the Middlesex County marriage registers. Sarah Jane shows up in censuses in that county both before and after marrying Henry, so it's pretty likely that that's where they would have been married.

It's only $8 (plus possible taxes) for me to get these microfilm records for at least two months, which is pretty awesome. And now that I'm working irregular hours, rather than business hours, I'll probably have more chances to get to the FamilySearch Centre during its very limited hours.

Once my order arrives, and I get a chance to take a look, I'll write more about my visit to the FamilySearch Centre, and about my continued search for this elusive marriage record! Wish me luck!