Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Is This The Top", "Where And When Do We Stop"

                  When is enough, how do we say clear and convincing?
This is a hard question to answer as this is different for everyone. I like to form an idea or theory about my subject, then dis-credit my theories by my research. Many times however, I find something factual and it leads me to other theories. A preponderance of evidence was the term used when primary resources were unavailable. Such as someone born in say 1830 may not have a birth record. where do we go from there. A Census record is a great secondary source as well as a Family Bible. If we can gather from these sources we can build a clear and convincing series of documentation that will establish our subject's.

Definition for clear and convincing evidence:

Web definitions:
The burden of proof (onus probandi) is the obligation to shift the accepted conclusion away from an oppositional opinion to one's...

Definition for preponderance of evidence:

Web definitions:
The burden of proof (onus probandi) is the obligation to shift the accepted conclusion away from an oppositional opinion to one's...

As we can reasonably see, the two phrases are basically the same. 

These are my tool for determining the where and when I stop looking for records, 
when they begin to get sketchy. That doesn't mean the road has ended, only
 that we mustn't lose the sight of our goals. My goals are to find as many primary
 records as possible, then as many secondary records (which are many times
 a majority of our evidence). I do look at specialty records and have found good
 records, but use them only if they coincide with my primary and secondary records
 beyond a reasonable doubt.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Ancient Genealogist"

Anselm Of Saint Mary
                     Anselm Of Saint Mary, also called Father Anselm, French Anselme De Sainte-marie, or Père Anselme, original name Pierre De Guibours   (born 1625, Paris—died Jan. 17, 1694, Paris), genealogist and friar whose history of the French royal family and nobility is a valuable source of detailed and unusual information.

Anselm entered the order of the Discalced Hermits of St. Augustine in 1644 and, remaining in their monastery (Couvent des Petits Pères), devoted his entire life to genealogical studies. Among his early works are Le Palais de l’honneur (1663–1668; “The Palace of Honour”), concerning the genealogy of the houses of Lorraine and Savoy; Le Palais de la gloire (1664; “The Palace of Glory”), dealing with the genealogy of various illustrious French and European families; and La Science héraldique (1675; “The Science of Heraldry”).
Father Anselm

His most important work is the Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, des pairs, des grands officiers de la couronne, et de la maison du roy et des anciens barons du royaume (2 vol., 1674; “Genealogical and Chronological History of the Royal House of France, the Peers, the Grand Officers of the Crown, and of the Royal and the Ancient Barons of the Realm”). After his death this history of French nobility was continued by Honoré Caille, seigneur du Fourny, who had encouraged its publication, and by two other friars at the monastery. The third and most complete edition is that of 1726–33. A valuable source, it contains in its notes exact references to many original documents.

Bonaventura Salimbeni "Glorification of the Eucharist"

Monday, September 10, 2012

"What To Do When There's Nothing New"

                      Well now, we've all been here before. I've been researching an ancestor for quite a while (over a year). I've poured over census records, birth, death, books, naturalization, and specialty records. I've contacted historical societies in all surrounding areas. I've called and interviewed every living relative on numerous occasions. I've searched all of the surrounding families according to the multiple census records (Federal and State). Still at this point, the only records I have are secondary resources. I've made a clear and convincing case; although, the perfectionist in me doesn't want to let go. I'll explain in greater detail below how to use Anthropology as a Genealogy resource.




  1. The study of humankind, in particular.
  2. The comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development.
More info »Wikipedia - - - Merriam-Webster 
Source of definition:

              Luckily, I have a portrait of my difficult to brick-wall to evaluate his physical characteristics
                    The photo I have, was taken in the (Davidson County) Tennessee area, in around ~1850, dark hair, dark eyes, medium build, substantial high hairline, and low cheek bones, as well as a prominent jaw line. Let me walk you through this and my photo is at the bottom to compare with my findings.

Germanic Phenotypes(Borrebys)

Mostly unreduced, brachycephalized, and depigmented Upper Paleolithic survivor of Cro-Magnoid stock, related to Dalo-Falid and Brünn on one hand and Alpinid on the other. The affiliation is essentially with the former, but a partial process of alpinization establishes an evolutionary relation to the latter. The southern and south-western border with fully alpinized central Europeans is blurry, and has resulted in a number of local intermediate types, such as the Belgian "Walloons type".

Modern Borrebys are derived, historically, from the old northwestern European coastal fishing population. In many places, such as the Norwegian coastal district of Jæren, Borrebys seem to have been among the first humans to settle permanently, during the late Mesolithic.

In modern times the Borreby type is found nowhere as a true population, except perhaps in Jæren and on the island of Fehmarn, off the German coast, where it exists in relative purity. Elsewhere it is strongly diluted with other elements.

Germanic Phenotypes(Borrebys)
            This is the closest match that I personally have observed, below is my ancestor
My Great Great Grandfather, "William Riley Rediker I"

                    If anyone try's this and likes it, please let me know I would love to hear any thoughts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Universal Genealogical Abbreviations and Symbols"

                     While conducting research I've filled page after page with names, dates, places, and side-notes. I developed my own style of grouping facts from my research using key-board symbols, symbols and abbreviations that appear globally on a daily basis.

Example: ([-] for birth)([ _ ] for death)([=] for marriage)([@] for place)([~] for about)([<] for before)
([>] for after)                                      ([=II] for 2ND marriage)


"The Countries flag can be added to your research instead of the text"
Religious Signs and Symbols
This would be a fantastic idea in my humble opinion. I would love to have further input and ideas...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"The Source Too Turn To"

                      When we look for ancestors the basic stone we have to turn first is, where to start.
That's simple, in the best place that suits that ancestor. Okay, maybe that's a little broad complex. Below,
I'll list a few examples that are of my own personal opinion.

Let's see here...
                        *If I'm looking for someone born after 1940, where would I look?
                                                                           Answer = "City Directories"
                        *This is a great start and a bountiful secondary source.

                         *If I'm looking for someone born after 1880 &  before 1900, where do I look and why?
                                                                            Answer = "Birth Indexes"
                                                                                 Why = Missing 1890 U.S. Census Records.
Further Still...
                         *If I'm looking for someone who died after 1880 & before 1900, where would I look?
                                                                            Answer = "Newspaper Obituaries"
                                                                                 Why = No other stable record's unless your lucky.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Decoded and Deciphered"

decodedpast participle, past tense of de·code (Verb)

  1. Convert (a coded message) into intelligible language.
  2. Analyze and interpret (a verbal or nonverbal communication or image): "a handbook to help parents decode street language".

decipheredpast participle, past tense of de·ci·pher (Verb)

  1. Convert (a text written in code, or a coded signal) into normal language.
  2. Succeed in understanding, interpreting, or identifying (something).
In many forms of Genealogy their comes a time when we must take text provided and decode or decipher it into plain
written text that's easily understood.


Deciphering Old Handwriting - From a
genealogy course taught by Sabina J. Murray

Old handwriting in genealogy research

Not only have our words and their meanings changed throughout the years, the way we form the letters have too.
In order to get the most information from the records that are available, we have to decipher these records and put meaning into the symbols we see on the old documents or papers that we find.
As we read old Bible, census, courthouse, archive and Church records to obtain the names, places and dates, often we are unclear at the words before us. Also, the further back we go - the harder it is to read.
An important note to remember is that much of the writing is "phonetic." They wrote the name the best that they could by how it sounded.
This on-line tutorial will help you understand these old records better.

The Leading "s"

One of the most dramatic changes in letters has been the letter "s."

Here is a regular lower case "s" and another "s" that looks like a backward lower case "f."

Over 100 years ago the "s" was often written like a backward "f." This strange symbol for "s" was used very commonly in instances where there was a "double s." The unusual s first, called the "leading s." Then the regular s.
Sabina came across this name, early in her research experience, in the U.S. Census. She interpreted this name to be "Jefse" (after all, there are some very unusual names on these records) Later on she found out about the correct translation and felt a little foolish. The true translation is "Jesse."

Here's how the "leading s" looks in old genealogy documents

Old Style Abbreviations
Some of the writing looks like our modern day shorthand. To save paper and time, abbreviations were used often. Here are some of the things you will encounter:

Lines were often used in abbreviations. They can be found over, under and through any given abbreviation.

Smaller letters (both top and bottom) are common.

Single and double dots are used in a variety of positions.
Here are some great examples of abbreviations in old style lettering that you will find on the US Census and many other types of records:

Proper Names | Places of Birth | Occupations


When we think about someone's mark, we usually think of an "x." But, there were many different kinds.
Many of our ancestors could not write. Many of the signatures on wills and other legal documents were signed by a court clerk, while the person made his or her "mark." Even if they could write, many people still used marks.
Look at some of these examples of marks:

Numbers were also different.
Here is a good example of how an "8" can look much like the number "6."

Are ready to try for yourself? Try to decipher these:

Here's a genealogy document with old handwriting that you can decipher. Apply what you have learned in this lesson.

Try your skills deciphering the old handwriting on this old genealogy document.

Now you are ready to try to solve the old handwriting mystery that had Sabina stumped for many years?

This is from the will of Doctor Jonathan Eammis from Montgomery County, Georgia in 1797.

The good Doctor left his dear friend Sands Standle, his still (medicinal purposes only), a rifle, a barrel shotgun, his notes of hand, personal estate, and even his wearing apparel.
He also left Sands Standle's wife a silver watch and...

a horse named Clumse.

Here is the big mystery...

What is the name of Sands Standle's wife???

This old handwriting puzzle was presented to many experts in the genealogical field over a period of 4-5 years. No one could give Sabina an answer.
This was the only record that Sabina had found that mentioned this person's name. She wondered why the letter "t" was in the name. And it seemed that there should be a CAPITAL "T" instead of the apparent lower case letter.

How the Answer Was Found...

Sabina deciphered many documents over the years. One day she saw the letter "A" in a document that looked just like the one in the mystery name.

Here are some examples of CAPITAL "A's" that are all squished together.

She immediately made the connection to her
long time puzzle. The mystery was solved!

Here is the name again. Can you tell now?
Try to decipher this for a minute before going to the answer. Remember it took her years.


About Sabina J. Murray:
Sabina J. Murray is an accredited genealogist, teacher and expert researcher based in Northeast Florida. She is a former director of a Family History Center and her old handwriting course has been enjoyed by millions since it went on-line in 1995. She has additional tutorials published on the Treasure Maps genealogy Web site at - Your resource for genealogy, family tree and family history products, research tools and other genealogy search helps.

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