I was just at my parents and ran into someone that traced their line WAY back…. And to admit it I have a tree that has that too. I know what I need to do to my tree and what’s wrong with it….. It needs SOURCES! and in reality to go back that far the odds of finding sources are pretty near impossible. Though how far really is that back, how many generations? If you think that each generation probably got married younger as you go farther back – up to a point – my grandmother Richter got married at 14 I think…. But I would say an average of 20 to 25 years old. So taking the year 2000 minus the year 600 and an average mother’s age of 25…. You get 56 generations back! Looking at the chart below I suppose by the time you get that far back you pretty much have most of a country (or all of a country) in your family tree….. My tree does go back and I know I need to work on my sources. I have a few places that I need to shore up my documentation definitely.
What do you use for documentation once you get back a certain number of generations? The census and other government records are great here in the US to document back to 1850, but going beyond that you run into what to use? For one side of my family we have a family bible. Family bibles can be a great source of information! There are also newspapers that have some information, church records, and military records. I’ve found probate records for wills that have also helped.
Going back beyond the 1800s though becomes tougher. For some members of my family that are well known there are books that I can find where others have taken the time to trace the tree. I’ve collected all I can find as these books get harder to find as time passes. For regular family lines it gets almost impossible though. Add to that the records being oversees and frequently not in English and the search gets tougher. I’ve slowly been working through my records to add sources, but wondered about everyone else’s trees. I’m also ordering the DNA kit. I thought I may as well give it a try.
I think the biggest mess in family trees on ancestry comes from the family tree merge…. I know when I first started out and saw it…. I made that rookie mistake and am still trying to clean it up. Ancestry allows you to merge other peoples trees to your tree. I also started tracking my family tree when I was about 14… Commodore 64 and paper time, and was just questioning relatives. I didn’t document anything and relied on my memory for some. I do have the paper copies of what I wrote, but my wonderful relatives from the time are all gone. Between family member sources that aren’t documented and merged trees with unreliable sources, I am now using my tree as a source of hints that need researched. I don’t have my tree set to public knowing there is information out there that shouldn’t be relied on. I do have a lot of great information and I have documented almost all of my direct line as well as a lot of other great pictures and documentation, but ughhh! cleaning up a tree with thousands of people is a mess. I never merge family trees now. I will turn on that feature and look when I want new hints, but I won’t link the information…..
What do you use for hints? Sources? How far back does your tree go?
When looking up family history I keep running into family with the same name. The most recent is Edwin Littler. Edwin Littler is my g-grandfather a few generations ago – Mary Ann Littler (wife of Edward Corbly)’s father – his son is also Edwin Littler.
In Stearns Cemetery is the tombstone for Edwin Littler with no birth or death information. It does include information about Civil War Service though.
Edwin Littler (the son) – 1843-1862 can be found in the Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Roll Database .
Edwin is listed as being in the 125th Il US Infantry which matches his tombstone. He joined August 11,1882, mustered September 3, 1862 and was declared dead on November 25, 1862 at Bowling Green, KY. It includes that he was 19, with black hair, light complexion, dark eyes, and was 5’8″.
Not knowing a lot about the battles in the civil war I am lost as far as cause of death. According to a civil war driving tour write up:
By late 1861, Bowling Green became the heart of the Confederacy’s efforts in Kentucky. The new year brought serious worries to the Confederate occupation force. A Union victory at Mill Springs in Eastern Kentucky, on January 19, 1862, and General Grant’s victories at Forts Henry and Donelson to the west, made Bowling Green untenable for the Confederates. Union General Don Carlos Buell advanced his Army of the Ohio southward from the Green River. Under the command of General Ormsby Mitchel, Bowling Green was bombarded from across the Barren River. The Confederate army evacuated the city, and by mid-February 1862, the city fell into Union hands. Federal troops controlled Bowling Green and Kentucky for the rest of the war. By 1864, there was a vigorous effort by the federal government to recruit and enlist slaves in Kentucky. Bowling Green and seven other military camps were designated to receive and protect those recruits. Source
This makes me wonder if there was a push in November by the Confederate army to take back Bowling Green, or possibly Edwin was sent out with troops to take more ground and wounded in battle – returned to Bowling Green for care and to ultimately pass away.
Edwin’s father, also being named Edwin was more difficult to find in history. He had moved from Ohio, bringing the young Edwin as a child, and set up residence in Vermilion County. Some database records have him recorded as Edward also, making identification a more difficult task. Currently I’ve identified Edwin the father in the 1840 and the 1850 census files.
Verifying that ancestors with the same name and place can be difficult. When in doubt I have been linking information to both individuals and editing later. Not the most ideal, but definitely helpful to keep from losing information. Original sources are critical also.
I’ve been trying the new ancestry. I do like parts of the new site. So far I’ve mostly played with hints and the facts view. The new site includes and updated LifeStory view, the Facts view (with lines linking facts to sources), and a media gallery. If you want to sign up to be added to the waitlist, sign up at:
Ancestry recently posted on their blog the list of features they are working on. One thing that is super annoying to me is the extra step on hints. After choosing to review a hint, I receive a preview of the information and am asked if this looks like my relative, (yes, no, or maybe)… after answering yes I get to go on to the screen to match up the details to my tree. Previously it was assumed if you chose review you thought it was a match…. so why the extra step?
I can’t wait to see where Ancestry goes with this though….
Scheduled to be available in the next couple of weeks:
- Web Links: quick links to web pages
- Media Gallery features:
- Save: Save photos to your family trees from the new media viewer
- Edit: change the description and details on a photo or story
- Create/upload story: create and upload a new story in the media Gallery
- Audio/video file support: view and listen to audio and video files
Planned to be available in about a month:
- Profile picture cropping: edit/crop a profile photo to fit in the circular photo space
- Quick Edit: edit an ancestor’s vital information directly from the tree viewer
- Media Gallery sorting/filtering: sort and filter by media type, chronological order
- FamilySearch integration: LDS Account holders can share information between their Ancestry tree and their Family Tree on FamilySearch
Exact Functionality/Timing still TBD:
- Member Connect features: Find other members researching a similar ancestor and save info from their family trees
Lower-priority features/not currently being addressed: These features have very low usage. We will evaluate these once we have taken care of the more important needs and features represented above.
- Family Group Sheet: a family view of the tree data
- Military Pages: tribute pages for ancestors who served in the military
– See more at: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/06/05/new-ancestry-feature-update/#sthash.FrP27dn6.dpuf