Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves


BOAZ FLEMING condensed from Rootsweb threads
b Jan 3, 1758 d Mar 20, 1830
married 1st Elizabeth Hutchinson and 2nd Eliza Laidley
served in Revolutionary War as pvt in Delaware Continental Line.

Upper Monongahela Valley, p. 406:
William, Robert, Archibald and John Fleming settled in 1741 in
Penn’s Colony on the Delaware. In 1789, John, with three of his brother
William’s sons, Nathan, Boaz, and Benoni, removed to West Virginia and
settlred on lands along the Monongahela River. Of John, there is no
account. The three nephews remained and were joined by their sister, Mary,
and their step-mother, Ann Hudson.

Boaz Fleming son of William Fleming and Jane/Jean Frame. William born in
Scotland 6/5/1717 arrived in America about 1740 with his brothers, Archibald,
Robert and John. Boaz born in Kent Co., Delaware 1/3/1758. He married
Elizabeth Hutchinson abt 1785. In 1887 they removed to VA with their daughter
Clarissa. Boaz founded the town of Middletown VA, now Fairmont, WV.
Children of Boaz and Elizabeth:
Clarissa b 1786 Kent Co., Delaware
William b 12/161788 VA
Mary b 4/1/1791
Elizabeth b 5/23/1793
David b 3//7/1796
Sarah b 11/18/1798
Lemuel b 8/15/1802
Jane b 4/14/1804
Joannah b 9/23/1810
Margaret b 3/22/1814
Elizabeth Hutchinson Fleming died in 1823. Boaz married Eliza Laidley in
1826. They had one child Dexera b in 1827. Eliza died a few months after her
birth in 1827. Boaz died 3/20/1830. For more info on this Fleming family
and others see the book "The William Fleming Family – a Genealogy" by Frank
Brand published in 1941. This book is available from Higginson books as a reprint
and I have some of it here on my blog.


July 17, 2009 Posted by | family, genealogy | 1 Comment


Zoho Writer – a free web based app gives you 1 GB of file storage FREE or you can upgrade that for a fee. This is a great service and the apps are more powerful and capable than Goggle Apps. If you use the service to store only your most important documents and folders as zip files you’ll find the free 1GB of storage goes a long way. Photos and multimedia can be stored, too but you’ll quickly use up the storage space. I use it exclusively for documents and emails that I really want to keep secure.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | genealogy | Leave a comment

Ancestry’s Trees Reviewed

You know the old saying – “You can’t take it with you?” That, in a nutshell, is the problem with’s latest iteration of online Family Tree software. I’ve been experimenting with it and developed a 6000 person tree just to try it out – it has some cool features that make it positively addictive.

First, instant linking of source material found on Ancestry. Found great Aunt Mable in the 1920 census? Great, just click to link the census image to your tree and a couple more licks and the census entry for each person in her family is attached. There are just 2 catches – first, the indexing is horrific. My Gould line finds the surname indexed variously as Gael, Gault, Guild and Goray. Normal variations be damned – some of these indexed names are very, very baaaad. Almost as if someone with no experience in reading documents whatever indexed them. Wait a minute! They WERE indexed by people with little or no experience at reading documents! Volunteers did most of the indexing, and while that is both boon and curse to online genealogy, I’ll accept the indexing problem as a necessary evil going along with the need to find cheap resources to index the billions of pages needing input.   The second problem is – “You can’t take it with you”. If you output your tree to GEDCOM you lose the images and are left with a generic source. In order to keep the image you’ll still need to download it to your hard drive, and in order to keep the info on the census you’ll need to transcribe it to the notes section of the individual on your tree. Don’t put it in Stories, or Comments sections of the tree because anything put there? Well – “You can’t take it with you” Comments are lost and Storie end up as a link in your program’s Notes section. That of course is of no help whatever if you decide to drop your subscription, or for anyone else without a subscription.

If you put a lot of work into your online tree – adding phots, source record, stories and comments? Well, they gotcha. In order to keep reading that material you’ll have to maintain your subscription. Oh, btw, did you read the fine print? You can delete your tree, you can alter your tree, but guess who OWNS your tree? of course. Yep, that’s right – that tree you deleted can be saved to their archives and used on CDs they sell, it can be freely used for any purpose Ancestry chooses in the future. When you create a tree “You c’t take it with you” and they own it, lock, stock and barrel.

SO what else is good and bad?

The trees are SLOW to input from scratch. There is no merge, so duplicates become this jigsaw puzzle of “How do I get rid of the extra Aunt Henny” without losing the downline info? If both duplicates have linked people you either need to leave it as is, or delete the entire line of people in one of the duplicates. No way to merge them.

Did I say slow to input? You wait for every single field you want to edit to download, enter your info, then wait to return to the profile, then you do it again. I have cable and it’s a fast connection but I still spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for pages to fully load so I can edit or add info. I also did a tree using a gedcom transfer and adding it to the Ancestry Tree program. It works but you still have to link each person to any source material and not everyhting in your gedcom will cross over in the conversion.

Still, the photos section is a great feature. You can search for any photos posted by cousins of your family members, as well as stories. I found hundreds of photos of cousins, and a few pertinent to my direct line. I added some of my own. Easy to upload if you have fast connection with space for full exposition, and an upload tool that will take up to 500 photos at once if you need it. As a photo album, however there are many much better places to put your photos online. And some people have crazy ideas of what makes a photograph genealogically important.  One I found of my cousin’s shadow. That’s right – it was a photo of my cousin’s shadow on a wall. Not him. Just his shadow in noonday sun. It wasn’t even a profile. So now I can prove that my cousin cast a large a shadow and lived in a white house with clapboard siding that received full sun. It’s very easy to link these photos to your own tree, too. Takes seconds and you’ve got a pic of Uncle Larry smiling out from his branch in your tree. Of course, if you decide to remove your tree and convert it to gedcom – well, “You can’t take it with you”. The process of downloading the photos to your harddrive isn’t very arduous but takes a bit of time – and for crying out loud rename them or you’ll never figure out who it is! Ancestry’s naming is a computer generated string of characters necessary to archive millions of photos. If you forget to rename good luck. Unless you can recognize them from memory you’ll never figure out who it was you downloaded. Is that Uncle Harry or cousin Dick? One last – once you upload your photos – guess who now owns them? Oh yes. You’ve given them full license to use your photos for promotion, on CDs or in any way they see fit.

Okay – what else is good or bad? Well, next is the trees themselves. Because there is no merge feature, easy linking to records and a confusing clunky input, a lot of the trees you find have really weird junk in them. I thought trees on World Connect were inaccurate. Ancestry trees suffers from technical nightmares. Seems people use that easy linking to records to link ANY record Ancestry’s hints engine suggests. Ancestry’s Hints enguine is fairly smart but it’s still inaccurate enough to wreak havoc with unwary, or unsavvy tree builders. I constantly find trees with incorrect censuses linked to families with the result the info in them becomes a hodgepodge of correct and incorrect data in a crazy quilt alphabet soup of messed up dates, places and people.  One ancestor of mine, a Fleming, had 27 children. When I checked the linked censuses there were 3 different William Fleming families linked to the same person. 2 were in Marion county, West Virgina and the William’s were born just a year apart – that I can understand someone fairly new at this getting confused. But the third William’s family hailed from Alabama, they spelled the name with two M’s in the middle, not a single kid’s name coincided and he was 12 years younger. The wife’s given name was the same, though, so the result was a woman giving birth to 6 children at age 49 -51-54-56-57 and 59 and 6 younger ones at 20-21-24-27-29-31. Evidently they rested 18 years before giving lovemaking another try. To top it off William’s other wife in this conglomerated tree had her children BETWEEN the first wife’s kids.

This isn’t uncommon in these Ancestry Trees and much of the problem is a result of the program’s shortcomings rather than the genealogist creating them. Sometimes you try and try and can’t figure out how to fix the problem. I also found in converting to gedcom and then into my Legacy software that there were lots of glitches like several same sex marriages that really weren’t. Somehow the Ancestry tree mixes up the gender – or else I’ve inadvertently switched the gender during an edit. The Online program won’t warn you, either. You can make any kind of mistake. Parents born after  the ir children, same gender marriages, endless loop parent-child-parent again links. It lets you do them all. That’s a big problem with the program – it doesn’t protect you from yourself. Even the best genealogist can click the wrong button, make a typo on a date, or inadvertently link incorrectly. All the major genealogy software offers protection – warnings, or refusing to perform parent to child to parent again loops. Ancestry Trees will let you, though. And its cumbersome enough to make it easy to do.

Summing up, I’d give the program an A for effort but an F for results. There still isn’t a reasonably good alternative to offline genealogy software. Ancestry’s attempt misses too many of the things necessary besides the speed problem. No problem checker. No merges. Incomplete and sometimes erroneous gedcom conversions. Difficulty moving around. No name prefixes. No name suffixes. No ability to format all dates for a consistent look. No date checking. Inability to double date. Handing Ancestry ownership of YOUR work.

It has many good things – Easy linking to records, decent hints (hey it misses some but its pretty smart actually, but you HAVE to check the suggestions not just link anything it offers). A massive selection of records that grows every day. An family view/pedigree view interface that is fairly clear and uncluttered, member photos, stories and comments that are easy to find, download and link up.

All-in-all I’m waiting for FamilySearch to bring on an online tree program. Even with the same problems it would be free to all, they don’t claim ownership of your work. And I’ve volunteered indexing to both but from now on my indexing work will be for Family Search – they are promulgating their records free for everyone. Pay sites are a necessary evil I suppose, trying to get the massive amounts of records still offline available on the internet but my labor is going for free so I figure the FREE sites like Family Search deserve my efforts much more than the profiteers.


June 16, 2009 Posted by | genealogy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lute and Liza Gould

Charles Luther and Eliza Ann Conaway Gould. “Lute” with one of his ever present beagles, they are outside the old homestead on Hanna Ave in Loveland, Ohio. Eliza’s father was Edmund Macaulay Conaway, Lute’s was George Washington Gould, both of Marion County, WV. They are my great grandparents.

gould-lute-lizaLute was a carpenter and farm worker in season and built 4 houses on Hanna Avenue. He loved coon hunting with a pack of beagles that ran the nights along the Little Miami River hunting.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | family, genealogy, photo gallery | , , , | Leave a comment

My Take on Legacy 7

I’ve used several genealogy programs through the years, from PAF to Heredis to The Master Genealogist, to Roots Magic, FTM and Legacy. Each has some things to recommend it but in my opinion Legacy 7 is the best program for genealogy overall.

Heredis, a french offering, is confusing (or it was to me anyway) with a clunky interface and was difficult to use.

PAF is too simplistic and lacks too many features commercial programs offer but if someone brand new to genealogy asked me I’d tell them to use either PAF, or the Legacy free edition as they get started and to migrate later when they are better equipped to know what they want from a program and some basic genealogical experience. It’s easy to migrate from PAF to just about any of the commercial programs since it’s basic features are included in most offerings and work about the same.

The Master Genealogist has rabid adherents, and some claim its THE program for professionals but that’s bunk. Professional genealogists can use any of the top programs successfully and without a lot of trouble – the genealogist makes the program, not the other way around. ANY of the major players in genealogy software are well equipped to be used professionally – the trick is learning the program you come to prefer until you can tweak it to do what you want it to do. To that end I’ll say that users become emotionally invested in these programs to extraordinary degrees, claiming the program they use is vastly superior and deriding the other programs. They are ALL good programs. Each has enough of different look, feel and usability to make which one you choose a matter of comfort and preference rather than any feature set exclusive to one or the other.

I happen to love Legacy but I’ve given many others a serious look, owned iterations of FTM, TMG and RootsMagic and have stuck with Legacy every time. Legacy feels like home to me – for reasons I’ll try to explain. TMG, while a great program, just seemed too darn complicated – too many things to set up and adjust, and it was, for me, very slow to enter data, and lacked some automation that Legacy had that makes data input very quick and easy. TMG’s customizability is ahead of the others, though, and it breaks info down into small chunks or tags. I just found it too busy. Others love it.

Roots Magic is a very good program – if I was forced to leave Legacy it would be my choice. I am not going to knock Roots Magic, I just like Legacy better myself and that may simply be because I am used to the feel and look of Legacy. Claims I’ve read that RM is better or Legacy is better? I honestly think Legacy is ahead of RM in a few things and that Legacy is easier to use, slightly more feature laden and capable. A long time RM user would undoubtedly make the same claim for Roots magic. Both claim “their” companies customer service is better. On that front all I can say is that it would be nigh impossible to have better customer service than what I’ve gotten from Legacy through the years.

You’ll notice I rarely mention FTM. That’s because I really, really don’t like it. Personally, I think it’s the dog among the major offerings. It’s so commonly used because they have mass marketing and and’s clout behind them. TMG, RM and Legacy are all light year’s ahead in just about every facet but one area -FTM does a good job with charts and reports. Not a lot better than the others, really but very good in that area.

Specifically then, what do I love about Legacy?

Multiple Tabbed Views. Let me show you:


Family view is common to all programs and Legacy’s is its weakest link, imo. The children columns can be set for 2 or 3 columns but its difficult to see any info about them unlike with TMG or RootsMagic. You can customize what you see in many of the panes, set colors for ancestry lines, preferred lines, play with fonts. Pretty much most programs can do most of the same but I am so used to Legacy’s views that its shortcoming in the children view doesn’t bug me – much. I still wish they had an option for full line child displays like RM, or siblings columns like TMG, and TMG’s very customizable pane arrangements.

Pedigree view


Again this is common to all programs. I don’t find any having an edge here

Legacy Home


See what’s new, update, coolest thing is it is a browser right in the program – enter url and go – then turn on the split screen and cut-paste, type-edit into program from the web page without leaving legacy and without having to flip back and forth. Cool! Or take a Legacy tutorial and follow along in the program so you can use and see the features being taught as you go. And for tutorials Legacy has the best, imo, from videos, to slide presentations to printed manuals if you wish, a top notch help system built in, a very helpful forum and support. Very responsive, quick, friendly. Shows your version whether its the latest build, how many individuals are in the file, your to do list and a birthday and anniversary reminder. Did I mention Legacy works extremely well as an address book, too? Support is listed too prominently – they don’t hide or make you look hard to find the contact.

Descendant View


notice the options on the right? Customize the display, print, edit individuals right from the screen.

Chronology View


My favorite screen for studying and researching. Info is timelined, including births and marriages, notes are displayed and editable, and it can be printed or sent to .rtf, text .pdf for polishing before pasting back into notes, and you see on the right buttons to customize to make a report, to edit the person’s individual screen, and a powerful feature is using chronology and split screen on 2 persons to compare movements and dates and information to see how they interacted. Legacy comes with a bunch of timelines but you can create ones of your own, too. For instance, create a timeline of a county’s history so you can add it to an ancestor who lived there and see how they might have been affected – it is a powerful tool for suggesting new research possibilities, too.

Index View


All programs have a drop down name index as does Legacy but this is a full page view and you can select what is displayed.

Research Guidance


I love this tab! As you can see in the screenshot this tabbed pane gives you the ability to make a survey of your ancestor using trees, ancestral file, IGI, etc. and it will link you directly. Then go on to specific sources.



This tab suggests a large range of source possibilities and includes a bibliography, repository list and you can select items to include in your to-do list for that person. Finally the to-do tab


This is a research log that can collect all the sources you’ve checked, mark them when done and it records whether you found anything or not. Gather them all from the whole database, just tagged individuals, or just one person, or a specific record type then print it and take it with you on research trips.

Legacy 7 also includes a Geo Database and can tell you that a county wasn’t formed when your ancestor was born for instance, prompting you to find the actual county of his birth so you can search that county’s records as well. It helps you format correct locations, spelled correctly and in the correct time frame. If it bugs you turn it off. Your choice.

Reports and Charts?


Legacy has a wide range of reports, book capability, charts and includes blank forms for censuses, family groups, pedigrees. Compete customization. I use reports a lot more than charts and love the program’s capabilties. So far, it gives me everything I ask of it.



This is a big one. Legacy 7 now has source templates conforming to Elizabeth Shown Mill’s “Evidence” and they are GREAT! I’m still converting my sources over as I go but they are easy to use and understand and output great looking citations, footnotes and endnotes. FTM has templates but I think they’re clunkier, clumsier and harder to use. Let’s face it, sourcing is perhaps the slowest part of genealogy data input. Correctly formatting sources, including the right information, and placing the citations correctly is often skipped or glossed over. No program makes sourcing fast but Legacy comes as close as possible to making it fast – and easy. Enter a source properly once, then use it again and again using the source clipboard for multiple entry. One click sourcing for repeat citations, with a detail screen that can prompt for specific details like page number. Multiple sources can be stored on the clipboard and switched back and forth as you work. Different clipboards can be saved and reloaded as you work on different lines.



Legacy also adds mapping to your bag of tools. Incorporating MS Virtual Earth, you can view maps in formats like 2D, 3D, Road, Aerial and flags locations your ancestor(s) events occurred at. Hover on the “flags” or “pins” and a popup shows you what events occurred there. See where they were born, married, died, were buried. Compare for migration patterns. This is freakin’ incredible and according to Millenia it’s going to get better in the future with icons that represent types of events, animation, etc.

So what else do I love about legacy?

Split screen views – open 2 windows at once, either the same database or another one. Compare side by side. Cut and paste back and forth, edit, merge. Indispensable. Any program without this feature is automatically a notch beneath Legacy without going farther. Maybe if you have a multiple monitor setup it wouldn’t be a big deal but for single monitor users it’s incredibly useful.


One click copying of events from person to person. Have an event that includes several people? An obituary for instance – copy the event after typing it once and paste it to every person’s events. I use this all the time for censuses, obituaries, death and marriage records – first for the primary persons, then I paste to the witnesses and executors etc. and make a quick edit in notes to suit. Recopy then paste to the rest of the witnesses etc. Very, very fast and easy.

Record source once then click to add it to one field or add it to all filled fields with a single click – either way, flip back and forth between multiple sources from source clipboard, detail screen can be set to pop up or not. (Source clipboard puts several sources on clipboard that lets you make ‘single click’ citations when you work from a source)

Sentences used in reports for events can be redefined to read how you’d like, or overridden for individual exceptions.

Info displayed in views can be customized to display the info you want to see, plus colors and fonts can also be customized. The whole look can be changed quite a bit.

File can be opened in access just by changing extension to .mdb. When using this though be sure to back up your file or work from a copy. Advised for experienced users who underastand the concepts of databases. In fact same sex marriages can be recorded using an Access work around. It’s explained here: workaround for same sex marriage

The Free edition is free without strings and is useable from the git go. No limits on the number of people, import your full db from a gedcom (and used correctly you can remap to the tags you choose in Legacy) or directly from PAF or Ancestral Quest. Use it until you learn enough to decide to buy the deluxe features (and none of the deluxe features are “basic” and necessary to make the free edition completely useable – they really are deluxe features that are very nice to have but not absolutely essential). This “trial” version is a useable program and without the restrictions ones like RootMagic impose (limit 50 people etc). If you’re really strapped right now, Legacy’s free version is great until things turn around for ya!

Media – create slideshows, presentations, link photos and videos and sound clips, link documents and pdfs, media backups. Makes Legacy a filing cabinet for all your documents, photos and digital files. Link ’em and then decide whether to include in reports or not or to display or not. I used to use Clooz but not anymore. Legacy works just fine for me and is easier to input, although legacy will import and export right into Clooz, if you use and like Clooz.

Create web pages, nice layout, indexes, customizable, save and edit html if you’re an advanced user. No need for outside utilities to make your genealogy pages. However, I freely admit that John Cardinals “Second Site” for TMG makes incredible sites that Legacy can’t match. But Second Site is an add-on to TMG. Do the same thing with Legacy, or Roots Magic, for that matter with “The Next Generation v7”. Same price (30 bucks) as Second Site and works with Legacy or RM and creates sites that rival or exceed what Second Site can do.

See an actual site built with TNG –

This isn’t my site, just an incredible example of what can be done with Legacy and The Next Generation.

Finally, Legacy’s support has always been superb. It’s darn near instant. I’ve had answers by email within the hour at times, never more than the next business day. When I reformatted my hard drive and lost my Unlock number I emailed them at 10 pm and the next morning had a new code from Legacy. After buying Legacy 6 they phoned after a month, and then almost a year later just to ask if I was still satisfied and if I had any questions (and no, they weren’t trying to sell me an upgrade or anything either).

Importantly to me, I also did not notice any uptick in email from outside vendors when they got my info, either. They mean it when they say they don’t give out your e-mail. Great user forums, excellent newsletter and great training tuorials, many are free at their website:

Just as a disclaimer, I do not now, nor ever have worked for any of these vendors, I don’t get a kickback or an affiliate commission. I just love Legacy the product, and really admire the company and the way they’ve done business with me. Try Legacy. Its free to try out and you just might find the same thing I have. It’s a “can’t be beat” genealogy program!



February 23, 2009 Posted by | genealogy | , , , , | 1 Comment

Chasing the City Past

As genealogists we are intimate with death. We chase dead people through records every day, and we become involved with the records of those deaths. What caused them. What happened in those last days?

Medicine was backward, doctors often trained simply by working with another doctor for a few years then taking exams often administered by the same doctor. Later, as more credentialling was required, and medical colleges opened the methods were crude, the things learned often wrong, and discoveries were made by experiments with the poor unfortunates of the slums. There was no regulation of medicine to speak of.

So, medicine was one problem pioneers faced – had I been born in 1854 rather than 1954 I would be dead for a half century now since I had rheumatic fever early, developed a heart murmur and then followed that with scarlet fever. Approximately in 1858, my mother would have wept, my father would have measured and built for me a small wooden box, and you might be hunting my records to complete some pioneer family’s history.

Another problem that led to death was the bathtub. Or the lack of them. And any other form of cleanliness. People rarely washed. Lice weren’t unusual – it was unusual not to have lice, or sleep with bedbugs.

Food spoiled easily, especially in summer, yet it was too precious to waste so you’d cook it anyway. In a stew or soup with lots of pepper or some other pungent herb to mask the flavor. You’d cook it with rain barrel water that you swept clear of flies or mosquitoes with your unwashed hands, and dice the rancid meat on a table that was pitted, scarred and creviced with grime that couldn’t be scrubbed completely out, with an unwashed knife that you also used for a dozen other things that day, cook it on a small iron stove top, and you served it in the few pieces of crockery you possessed, also unwashed, simply scraped clean.

The kids came in for dinner after running barefoot all day in filthy streets coated in horse dung and pig manure and urine. You’d serve Granma, and Aunt Nell, your spouse and your 9 kids, all of you living in a 2 room 14 x 22 foot unheated, brick tenement without running water or toilets. You tossed the slop bucket behind the curtain in the corner (called the necessary) through the back window into a trough in the street that was supposed to sluice it to the sewer. The brick wall outside that window had never been washed and was stained black all the way to the alley below.

You were lucky, though. At least your family didn’t dwell in the alley like so many others did. You faced the slightly less smelly street. You weren’t of the “unhoused poor” as the city’s newly formed committee to try and deal with those huddled unfortunates, orphans, and cripples was named.

Every single day of your life living in an early American city was a dance with death. You were only a chill, a cough, an infected cut from contracting one of the diseases that raged rampant through the streets and then you were at the mercy of a doctor who might be relatively skilled, given the time, or you might be at the behest of a butcher, a charlatan with little real knowledge at all. At the last, though, was the final indignity if you wouldn’t die fast enough. The hospital. This is pre-civil war when hospitals were more morgue than places of healing. The sick went there to die because not many ever came out. And through this horrid cityscape, this Dali like nightmare, you’d love and laugh and cry just like we do today because you never knew any better. You strived and attempted and survived, and because of what you lived with and learned, I, born in 1954, live and love and laugh and read about you with awe and wonder and can never, it seems, find out enough about you.

One thing I do know, though, TV and the movies have spoiled us into believing false portraits of what our forefathers lives were really like. They’ve cleaned them up and educated them and made them much more like us than they actually were. That’s probably a good thing, though, because not too many of us could handle the truth about them, let alone the work load or hardships they endured.


January 19, 2009 Posted by | genealogy | , , , , | 2 Comments

Free genealogy Updates

I have been busy updating the genealogy pages – quite a few additions and I’m soon going to revamp the whole page setup by renaming everything in an alphabetic hierarchy – should make finding anything easier since there are over 100 pages of info now. I also added trees on world connect (file id = grandpockets”) and I’m looking into a genealogy website.  I’ll update the files on each monthly as I make new additions and corrections to my master file. Meanwhile I want to get back to those deed transcriptions!

I found a major error in a classic Family Genealogy on the Durbin family by Betty Jewell Durbin Carson that had me sidetracked for a bit until I gathered the proof that she had made an error. Her book is well received by Durbin family researchers and she is an excellent painstaking researcher herself, so this isn;t meant to be a blast at her but a reminder that in genealogy EVERY “standard” work has errors – when compiling a book with several thousands of persons and families it is impossible to get it all right. Time is the enemy. Even with computers, tracking down and inputting the research to “prove” every person in a genealogy would be impossible. What genealogists do is create “anchor” persons – the beginning person, his children and spouses and prove them as exhaustively as possible. The same for prominent family members who have achieved some fame or notoriety. The far flung cousins and downlines are almost always derived from correspondence with families, donated registers and ahnentafels and bits of lines from other works. The best screen these for improbabilities and use as direct a correspondence with those families as possible but is every person thoroughly researched? NO. If the writer’s primary research on their anchors is thorough, if they filter and use secondary sources from other known-to-be-good researchers, and get direct correspondence from family members who actually witnessed events, a book may be surprisingly accurate for the number of people it contains. I guarantee you it will still have some whoppers imbedded in it somewhere.

The tricky thing is that the best works have errors that are very hard to detect (because they spot the real improbabilites and implausibilities and get them corrected – the errors left are the ones that fit the facts and make sense but they are still wrong. Trust no one else’s research or conclusions until you see the evidence and can weight their position. I’ll buy another of Ms. Carson’s books should she publish one because what is right is far more valuable to me than the few mistakes – even the lollapalooza that almost threw me. Trust yourself! If you’ve done the primary research then just as likely to be right as any expert.

Think of books as the rough trail that you have to lay the firm pavement on. Books are secondary sources, by themselves all they prove is that someone printed some information. It may be the wrong info but its in print. Magazine articles, news clippings, books, gedcoms from the internet, ahnentafels and registers. All of these are simply shortcuts if they got it right – they get you to the right area, the right records, a lot faster. When they’re wrong though they can make a search frustratingif you’re not willing to assume they’re wrong until the proof is in front of you.

Ah hell, enough already! Happy hunting!


January 9, 2009 Posted by | genealogy | , | Leave a comment

More free Genealogy

Today I had a splitting headache for most of the day so I was slowed down a bit but I did manage some updates to the genealogy pages.

Biographies of William Fleming, Calvin Conaway, and George Bennett, the first two of Marion County, WV and Bennett from Orange County, Indiana. Uploaded and linked Death certficates for Billy Huffman, and Linda Durbin and Marriage certificates for Isaac Bennett + Linda McDonald, Charles Elledge + Dixie Huffman, and Leon Helm + Dixie Huffman; and gravestone photographs for Byron and Rebecca (Bennett) Miller; Joseph Elledge; Caroline Frentress Elledge, all at Ames Chapel Cemetery in French Lick, a gravestone photo for Dakota Ryan Elledge at Memorial Park Cemetery in Saint Joseph, Mo; and the gravestone photo for Cora Emily (Maddock) Elledge at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. I also typed out some will abstracts for James Clelland, Caleb Conaway, William Fleming (son of John), Boaz Fleming, John Pierpoint and Josiah Prickett from microfilm 250081 which has a lot of Monongalia County records.  I also added a short record of the death register for Conaways and Goulds in Monongalia County, and extended the Gould deed index (grantor) for Marion County by several years.

I need to get back to transcribing deeds for Marion county, West Virginia.  I still have a pile of them to complete. Thus ends the genealogy updates for another day.


December 31, 2008 Posted by | genealogy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Free Genealogy Added


Chugging along, adding a few more items, including a biography of Waitman Conaway, with photo and sources from several resources, a short biography of James D Joseph, who married nancy Conaway of WV and moved to Butler Co, Kansas, where he became a successful banker. The Thomas Maddock register and .pdf descendant book I promised yesterday, delving into the lines of this immigrant from Ireland who went to Cincinnati after arriving in Maine. Finally, a few minutes ago I completed assembling the biography of Aretas Brooks Fleming, the once Governor of West Virginia, with a good photograph. These last came from Google books but they do have to formatted and the images removed from the file and sharpened up a bit, so maybe I saved you some time anyway. I’m still working at it today, next adding some more deeds to the Gould of Marion County Deed index. Digging, digging, digging….


December 29, 2008 Posted by | genealogy, humor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More free genealogy Added

Today I mostly worked on the genealogy pages, adding a descendant register for Big John Conaway, and a download .pdf of him, as a Descendant Book, complete with sources and details, notes and stories.  I also uploaded another half dozen death certificates for different family members, Conaway’s and Maddock’s. Still not even a tenth done getting it all online. Takes time, plus I’m still actively working on the genealogy itself, so that needs time, too.

Tomorrow another register and accompanying .PDF of another family line, that of Thomas Maddock, of Cincinnati.

Then, I’ve had several people asking me to add more poems and galleries and stories to the regular posts. I hit 48 visitors yesterday, my highest count to date and in the 10 days since I started the blog’s it’s had 154 hits. That may not seem like much to y’all, but to me it’s amazing. That’s about how many hits I thought it would get in its whole first year.  They seem to be split down the middle on genealogy pages and browsing the posts.  To all who are browsing or reading, thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment even if its to say “Boy are you a dumbass”


December 28, 2008 Posted by | genealogy | , , , | Leave a comment