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Relatively Speaking . WARDian Relativity: Genealogy in the 21st Century. What is Genealogy?. Genealogy is ‘the history of the descent of a family’ It’s about collecting and preserving family history. Why is genealogy interesting?.

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Relatively speaking

Relatively Speaking

WARDian Relativity:

Genealogy in the 21st Century


What is genealogy

What is Genealogy?

  • Genealogy is ‘the history of the descent of a family’

  • It’s about collecting and preserving family history


Why is genealogy interesting

Why is genealogy interesting?

  • Everyone, no matter how humble the family, has a history and a pedigree

  • It is unique to each individual except direct siblings

  • It helps us understand who we are and where we came from

  • Grandparents love to tell stories about what it was like for them growing up

  • It makes history real

Amos Jackson, 1824-1917


What is a family tree

What is a Family Tree?

  • Pedigree chart

  • Events

  • Relationships

  • Siblings

Typical Pedigree Chart, from Genealogical Research Associates (used without permission)


What s this twice removed stuff

What’s this twice removed stuff?

‘Half 6th cousin three times removed of the husband’

  • ‘Xth relation’ indicates number of generations between individuals and common ancestor

  • ‘Removed’ is difference in generation between two individuals if not the same

  • ‘Cousins’ might be nieces or nephews

  • ‘Brothers’ or ‘Sisters’ might be in-laws

  • ‘In-laws’ sometimes included step-kin

  • ‘Missus’ didn’t always mean married


What is an ahnentafel

What is an Ahnentafel?

  • Ahnentafel is a German word meaning 'ancestor table'. Used by genealogists, it's a way of numbering the ancestors of a given person. The starting person is given the number 1. Their father is number 2 and mother number 3. To find the father of any person, double their number.

Beth’s Ancestor Report, in Ahnentafel format


How far can we go

How far can we go?

  • X generations

  • To Civil War, Revolution, etc

  • To each arrival in America

  • Until we are stuck

    (generally in the 1600’s)

Our earliest ancestors


Where do we start

Where do we start?

  • Living relatives & friends

  • Family records

  • Photo Albums

  • Church records

Receipts found in the family Bible of Henry H. Haggard


Where else can we look

Where else can we look?

  • US Census

  • Local Records

  • Archives

  • Immigration records

  • National Archives

  • Web sites

  • Any place or organization that an ancestor might have been involved with

1909 Subpoena involving one of Henry Haggard’s daughters


What s an index

What’s an Index?

  • Most original records were unsorted paper lists, often handwritten

  • Searching required reading every line of every page in every book

  • Volunteers make sorted indexes of every name that appears and the page number

  • Usually comes in book form, such as ‘Index – Missouri, Dent County Marriages 1913-1943’

  • Often ‘informally published’ by local historical societies - many written out in longhand, later copied, bound, or microfilmed

  • More recently, some are entered and computer sorted


The us census

The US Census

  • On microfilm in archives

  • Generally includes Head, Spouse, children, others

  • May include state of birth of each person & their parents

  • 1790- Today

  • 1930-on still restricted

  • 1890 census destroyed by fire

  • Many special census

Sample from a microfilm of the census of 1850. Entries are all handwritten, film quality varies. Originals no longer exist.


Local records

Local Records

  • Generally must physically visit county unless microfilmed and archived

  • Births, Marriages, Deaths, Taxes & Wills

  • Cemeteries

  • Newspapers/Obituaries

  • Churches

  • Library/Historical Society

Typical county history. Many were prepared during the Nation’s Centennial, or that of the town


Immigration records

Immigration Records

  • Passenger lists

  • Citizenship/Naturalization records

  • Port of entry records

I have no idea who these people are


National archives

National Archives

  • National Archives

    & Records Administration

  • www.NARA.gov

  • NATF Form + copy charge

  • Military Service Records

  • Military Histories (Official Record of each unit)

  • Pension Records

  • Pension Land Grant Records

Civil War Payroll records of Amos Jackson (from the National Archives Trust Fund)


Genealogical archives

Genealogical Archives

  • LDS Family History Library

  • LDS Family History Centers

  • Reynolds Collection, Ft. Wayne

  • St. Louis City/County Library

  • Local Historical Societies

  • State Archives

  • Museums

The LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT, houses the world’s largest collection of genealogical records


Some research sleuthing techniques

Some research sleuthing techniques

  • Comb the neighborhood for relatives in the census

  • Follow related branches; look for in-laws living with family

  • Understand the political and economic situation

  • Make some guesses

  • Remember the difference between a fact and a rumor

Frank and Fred Williams at the Williams Feed & Grain, Timewell, IL - circa 1942


Some research roadblocks

Some research roadblocks

  • Not everyone was counted

  • Some records are just wrong

  • County boundaries changed

  • Name and spelling changes

  • Many records hard to read

  • Many records lost, damaged, or miss-filed (as good as lost)

  • Some family stories are lost, confused, or ‘improved’

Patent issued to John Knouff of Wilmot, IN in 1917 for a ‘Grindstone Attachment’


Leaves moss and birds nests in the tree

Leaves, moss, and birds’ nests in the tree

  • Pictures

  • Locations

  • Stories

  • Documents

  • Artifacts

  • Family histories

  • War histories

  • Personal biographies

Mary Grace Ward & Levi Bennett Ward - 1906 wedding photo


What can we do with all this stuff

What can we do with all this stuff?

  • Build a database

  • Write a family history or biography

  • Build a family web site

  • Post your tree on the web

  • Brag about your (in)famous ancestors


A ward family story

A Ward Family Story

In about 1928, the Central Lake farmhouse burned to the ground after Mary Ward unwrapped a new set of dishes and the wrapping paper caught fire from the stove. The rest of the summer, the family lived in a tent on the farm. When winter set in, the family rented a house in town. Levi Ward worked as a laborer rebuilding the nearby YMCA lodge (which had also burned recently), and saved bent nails & other odd scrap to use in building a new house, which they returned to about 1930.

Tent on the farm after the farmhouse burned, c. 1928. Note the 1925 Chevrolet touring car

Stanley R. Ward, at the new farmhouse near Central Lake built by his father - July, 2000


Another ward family story

Another Ward Family Story

The well on the Central Lake farm went dry in about 1932. A Dowser came up from Bellaire, MI, and walked the farm with a dowsing rod balanced across his shoulders, waiting for one side or the other to dip. The spot which the rod repeatedly dipped toward regardless of the direction of approach (about 50 yards from the old well) was selected to dig and drill. Water was struck at this spot, and at a shallower point than the old well.

An electric pump has replace the original, but the

‘new’ well on the farm still flows – July, 2000


A pioneer story

A Pioneer Story

William Fuller, living at the mouth of the Miami river near present-day Cincinnati, was kidnapped by Indians in August, 1791 and held in the Upper Wabash valley.

He escaped after two years, killing Tecumseh’s half-sister in the process of his escape. He was pursued by Indians all the way to Detroit, where he was hidden by friends.

His eventual return to his family, who had given him up for dead, was nearly four years after his capture.

From an account in theLawrenceburg, Ind.. “Independent Press”, Jan 16th, 1852


A few things we have discovered

A few things we have discovered

  • We started out knowing only the names of our grandparents

  • We now know of over 1600 direct or indirect ancestors

  • One was a founder of the first traveling circus in the US in the 1850’s

  • Another was granted a US patent on a piece of machinery in 1917

  • One worked on the first oil wells discovered in PA in the 1870’s

  • One was a well-known writer (Lloyd Cassel Douglas, 1895-1951)

  • Three founded Mennonite churches

  • One was born in Ohio in 1777, when it’s control was still disputed between the British and the French


Our family s ethnicity

Our family’s ethnicity

  • Earliest documented ancestor was born in 1624 in Germany

  • Nearly all ancestors on paternal side are English

  • Nearly all ancestors on maternal side are German

  • One Welshman, one Scott, one Irish, and three were ‘Indians’

  • Three direct ancestors were the result of rape, two by Indians

  • We are eligible for membership in the DAR

  • We are eligible for membership in the Welcome society

  • We have spoken with a living tenth cousin three times removed


The great wars

The great wars

  • Every single family branch was in the US prior to the Civil War

  • Three branches known to be in the US prior to the Revolution

  • 2 in the Revolutionary war

  • 8 Yanks, 1 Rebel in Civil war

  • 2 in War of 1812

  • 1 in Black Hawk war

  • 1 in Winnebago war

Amos Jackson spent the winter of 1861 at Camp McKim, MD (from the letterhead of the commander, 6th MI Regiment)


Known immigrations

Known Immigrations

  • William Gehman, 1680 in PA, predates the ‘Welcome’

  • Lord Haggard, ~1685 from England

  • Anthony Jacob Knouff, 1743 in PA, on the ship ‘Brawley’

  • Owen Seaney, 1720, Wales

  • Jacob Lambarth, ~ 1720, Wurtemburg, Germany

  • Hans George Mack, 1735 in Germany

  • John Merker’s father, ~1825 from Prussia

  • Joseph Williams & family, ~1855 from England

  • Duane Albert Ward’s father b.~1845 in England


Web sites

Web Sites

  • www.FamilyTreeMaker.com

  • www.Genealogy.com

  • www.FamilySearch.org

  • www.MyTrees.com

  • www.EllisIslandRecords.org

  • www.NARA.gov

  • www.WardsOnline.net


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