thegenealogygirl


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This and That

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My littlest darling battling a yucky stomach flu.

The last week has been rough at our house.  The stomach flu made it’s way through all of us with the exception of my husband.  Despite spending the majority of my time being a human pillow for my feverish, sleepy little lad, I did have some cool genealogy moments.

But first!

Exactly one year ago today, we said goodbye to our missionary.  One year down, one to go!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉  Here is my favorite picture from that day.

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And Second – 

Momma C is a woman in South Carolina who loves Mormon Missionaries.  She adopts them, trains them to say “Yes ma’am”, take out her garbage, and bring in her groceries.  In return she feeds them – a lot, calls their mothers every week, and sends text messages with pictures.  My missionary has been in that area for exactly 8 days.  I’ve gotten 2 phone calls, 17 text messages, and 16 photos from Momma C during those 8 days.  What an awesome service!  What makes it even more remarkable to me is that Momma C is a staunch Baptist, raised by a Baptist Preacher whose best friend happened to be a Mormon Bishop.  What a great reminder she is that we really don’t have to have the same beliefs or viewpoints to just love and serve each other.  And as she said, “We really do believe mostly the same things”.  Bless her, for focusing on our similarities, not our differences.  ❤️

Now for the genealogy.

 

 

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to teach a group of 15 and 16 year olds a little bit about Family History.  I love doing that!

In preparing, I revisited one of my earliest “hunts” – Helen Boles.  Helen is my 3rd great grandaunt.  Learning her story took quite a bit of digging.  I planned to tell her story as part of my class, so I wanted the details to be fresh in my mind.  While reviewing, I also reviewed my Ancestry hints for Helen, her husband John, her children, and grandchildren.  Ancestry had a hint for a FindAGrave entry for Helen’s husband John.

The hint was accurate.  But even better was the fact that someone had uploaded a photo of the headstone!  Helen had paid for a monument and included information about her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson on the stone.  This act of love just added to my depth of feeling for Helen.

This headstone find sent me on the hunt for other cemeteries in Scotland that might have been added to FindAGrave.  Then I just branched out and found a handful of headstones for my Boles family from Scotland.  Among them:

  • James Thomson Boles (grandson of Helen Boles), wife Mary Ann Storey, and sons James Thomson Boles and John Albert Storey Boles.  Scotland
  • James Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), wife Jessie Ferguson, and daughter Annie McFarlane Boles.  Scotland
  • Barbara Crow Boles (granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband Robert Smith Yuille.  Scotland
  • Isabella Boles (mystery great granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband James Moffat Marr.  Scotland
  • Isabella Muir Boles (niece of Helen Boles), and husband Alexander Kirkwood.  Ontario, Canada
  • John McLaren Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), and wife Jean/Jane Penman.  Ontario, Canada

There were a few other Boles entries in these cemeteries, but without the stones for confirmation, they are still hanging out on my “likely” list.

In the past, I haven’t had much luck finding cemeteries or headstones for family members outside of the US.  These new finds were especially exciting.

I am so grateful for the individuals who photographed the headstones and added them to FindAGrave.  This act of service helped me learn more about many of my family members.  But even better than learning more, was the connection I felt when viewing the stones, particularly the one that Helen had made for her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson.

 

How about you?  Have you found any cemeteries or headstones on FindAGrave outside of the US?

 

Or even better, have you helped to photograph a foreign or obscure cemetery and uploaded the photos to FindAGrave?

 

If so, I commend you for your great service.

 

Happy Thursday!  My kids start school next week – more time for genealogy.  😉

 


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The Mixed Up Case of the Two James Youngs & Janet Robertsons in Renfrewshire, Scotland

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In May of 2014, I had a happy breakthrough moment when I added another generation to my tree on my Young line in Scotland.  It was a major victory that had just been waiting there for me.  That discovery led to additional discoveries when I found parents for both James Young and Janet Robertson.  In just a few short weeks I had added two full generations and plenty of descendants.  It was exciting!

My excitement quickly came to a halt.

You see, I like to participate in building the Family Tree in FamilySearch.org.  So once I have researched a family well, I go into FamilySearch and try to update, source, add, merge, or whatever is needed, to help that Tree be as correct as possible.

When I went into the tree to add or attach James Young & Janet Robertson’s parents, I was faced with the most convoluted mess I’d come across yet.

This was my James & Janet with some of their children:

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Everything looked pretty good.  Some facts, sources, children, and grandchildren were (and still are) missing, but otherwise, this was all correct.

But then a troubling duplicate reared it’s head when I went looking for James Young and Janet Ferguson, James’ parents.  I found this:

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So what is the trouble exactly?  Oh goodness, where do I begin…

This James Young has the same birth and death dates and places as my James Young.  He also has parents with the same names as my James Young’s parents.  His wife also has the same name as my James Young’s wife.  His first two children listed have the same names, birth dates, and birth places as my James Young’s first two children.

But then.  There are problems.

The marriage date and place are different by two years and 1 parish.  This James Young’s wife Janet Robertson has a different birth date and place, and different parents from my Janet.  And, who are those last two children?  They don’t seem to belong to my James Young and Janet Robertson.

The more I tried to unravel this, the more confusing it was.  I started by looking at the marriage records for both couples.  I wondered if they were a duplicate couple who had banns read in a neighboring parish?  Had the record of the banns been indexed incorrectly?  It’s a pretty big stretch since the entire date is so drastically different, but I wasn’t going to rule it out.  Looking at all of the records – all four – made it quite clear that there were two couples.  One who married in Renfrew, Renfrewshire in 1823 and one who married in High Church, Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1821.

At this point I decided I needed to complete a surname study for both parishes.  For the next three years I slowly went through the microfilm records for these parishes every time I went to BYU to research.  I had a notebook.  Every event for someone with the surname of Young was recorded.  It was slow and tedious.  I didn’t have much time to give to it.  It felt like it would take forever.

But then!  Ohhhh, this is about to get good…

About six weeks ago, I started helping two different people with Scottish research.  I hadn’t been working on my Scottish lines recently.  I knew that the ScotlandsPeople website had been updated.  I’d gotten lots of emails about it.  I just hadn’t tried it out yet.  There were so many complaints about glitches at first, that I thought I would let the dust settle before I used it.  I had other parts of my tree to work on, so it was just fine.

As I helped these two different people discover the joys of Scottish research, it started an itch for me.  I wanted to work on part of my Scottish lines again.

One afternoon, about 4 weeks ago, I was zipping around my house getting stuff done.  I had the strongest impression that I should revisit one of my brick walls – Andrew Brown, my 4th great grandfather.  I dropped everything and gave it a look.  Over the next three days I completely demolished that brick wall and had the best time pushing my tree back several generations.  But that, is a story for another day.

As my Andrew Brown journey was winding down, I thought about my dusty notebook and my Young Surname Study.  It hadn’t gotten any attention for a few months.  ScotlandsPeople is so different now.  I thought I could probably complete the project from home now without having to buy too many records.  So I pulled out my notebook and got to work.

I am sooooo happy to say that on Tuesday, the 13th of June, 2017, I tackled the main goal of my Young Surname Study.  I had enough information to accurately separate the two James Young and Janet Robertsons and their children.  I carefully fixed everyone, sourced them, and made sure they are attached to the correct family members.  That Tuesday was a long and wonderful day.

Without going into too many confusing details, this is what I discovered.

The James Young who was attached to my James Young’s parents is a different man.  He did in fact marry a Janet Robertson in 1821 in High Church, Paisley, Renfrewshire.  But after that, there is no trace of either of them.  No children, no death records, no census.  I don’t know where they went.

The first two children – James Young b. 1824 and Thomas Young b. 1828 were actually the children of my James and Janet and were duplicates.

The daughter, Jean Young, who did not belong to my James Young and Janet Robertson, did not belong to this James Young and Janet Robertson either.  She is the daughter of John Walker Young and Janet Robertson who were married in 1828 in Neilston, Renfrewshire.  Her complete name is actually Jean Anderson Young and this little darlin’ has two birth and baptism records in two different parishes.  Luckily for me, the father’s unusual occupation of (Calico) Printer in Grahamston was listed on both of her records, along with the detail that she was the couple’s 2nd child and 2nd daughter.

The last son listed, Robert Young, was not the child of my James and Janet or of this James and Janet either.  He was the son of a James Young and Janet Robertson who married in Paisley, High Church, Renfrewshire in 1831, four years before his birth in the exact same parish and ten years after the marriage of the couple he was attached to.

In the end, this meant that the convoluted James and Janet were left with no birth and death dates and places for James, no children, no parents for James, and still attached to the parents for Janet.  Parents that I did not research, so I can’t say for certain they are in fact her parents.

My James and Janet are now attached properly to their children and parents.  Well, aside from the few children I haven’t fully researched and added yet.

My surname study is not complete.  There are still plenty of family members I need to finish researching.  But these are my big takeaways from my progress so far:

First – Don’t be afraid of a mess in FamilySearch.  You can solve it!  Even if it takes three years.  No one messed with the mess because I left a very detailed note on both James Youngs explaining my research project.  If you want to work effectively in FamilySearch – communicate!  Leave notes, sources, and good explanations when you make changes or additions.

Second – A surname study is an AWESOME way to really get to know a parish and a family or set of families.  You get a good sense of how many people live there and how they are connected to each other.  It took my best guesses, and some surprise people and facts,  and turned them into concrete conclusions.

Third – There are A LOT of James Youngs in the county of Renfrew in Scotland.  😉

 

Have you ever completed a surname study?  Would a surname study help your research?

 


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Memorial Day 2017

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Memorial Day 2017 with my family was really wonderful.

 

Part One:

 

While driving north to begin our adventures, we talked about the origins of Memorial Day, our cousin James Boles and his life and sacrifice, and where we were headed.

Part Two:

 

A picnic lunch with my 4th great grandmother, Maria Amanda Dolby Skeen at Lehi Pioneer Cemetery.  This sweet little cemetery is just a grassy park surrounded by trees and a flowing irrigation ditch.  There is only one marker sharing the history of the cemetery.  We know that Maria is buried there.  She was the mother of 9 children, 4 who pre-deceased her.  She died in 1854 at the age of 36, leaving her husband with 5 young children.  Maria and her family were Mormon Pioneers who experienced extreme persecution and were driven from one place to the next, finally traveling with the saints to what is now known as Utah.  A few short years after their arrival, Maria passed away.

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Part Three:

 

A few hours in the American Fork Cemetery.  We had a list of ten of my husband’s ancestors to look for, and 16 little star shaped flags to post on any veteran’s graves that had no decorations.  This year I couldn’t find actual flags so I had to make do with my Dollar Store find.

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This little darlin’ was so fascinated by everything about the cemetery.  He wanted to know all about every headstone he came upon.  He was searching for “soldier headstones” and “B-E-C-K”.

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He was so happy when he found his first “B-E-C-K” headstone.  Of course I missed his huge smile and caught his explanation instead.  😉

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Jacob S and Elizabeth H Beck, my husband’s 2nd great grandparents

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With my camera in hand, I obviously had to photograph any headstone that caught my eye.  I have a bundle to add to findagrave.

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It was a lovely cemetery visit, to a beautiful cemetery, in a fantastic setting, on a perfect day.

Part Four:

 

We made some new family memories exploring the beautiful Cascade Springs.

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Even the drive home was picturesque.  The summit took us to an elevation of 8060!

It was a Memorial Day to remember.

 

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you preserve a special memory today.

 

 

ps – Why do 15/almost 16 year olds insist on being ridiculous in photos?  Sigh.  My 19 year old recently told me I need to lecture his teenage brother and tell him to just smile for photos.  Haha, he was the scowler/face maker not so long ago.  A normal phase I suppose…

 


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A Few Personal Updates

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My youngest throwing rocks into the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington.  You can just see the rock he has thrown clear up at the top of the shot.  He got a lot of height, not much distance.  13 April 2017

I am currently in my hometown of Kennewick, Washington hanging out with my Dad and my youngest son.  We’ve had a quiet few days and will be here for several more.  Last week we were able to enjoy a little time in Columbia Park.  They have a wonderful playground there right next to the beautiful Columbia River.  We ended our park visit with time along the river bank throwing rocks and sticks.  It was a beautiful day as you can see.  It was joyful for me to watch my son enjoy the river so much.

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My oldest, missionary son helping with a service project for refugees in the Lexington, SC area.  My son is in the center squatting down with his arm around one of the refugees.

My missionary son is also doing well.  He recently sent me this fuzzy picture and I just keep thinking about it and what a good boy I have.  There he is front and center with his arm around a refugee he met.  They obviously made a connection.  My son mentioned this man and how tearfully grateful he was for the service my son and others provided in one of his weekly emails.  It is wonderful to see the goodness of a grown child.  To see that he is choosing to spread love and light with those he meets.  And that in this instance at least, that love and light was readily received.

There is too much sorrow and pain in this world.  But this week, I am feeling the simple joys of motherhood – of mothering that is bringing goodness to fruition, and of mothering in the moment and seeing beauty in the world with a tiny child.

Hopefully my wonderful middle son is enjoying his one-on-one time with Dad at home.  Lots of man time building a play structure and installing a sink.  🙂

 

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is filled with fabulous genealogy discoveries – or peaceful family time like mine will be.

 


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Awaiting the DNA results

I have been learning about the various DNA test options for a few years now.  I finally felt confident enough to decide which tests to purchase for specific family members.  The RootsTech pricing was a great opportunity so I purchased 5 kits.

  • Ancestry kit 1 – For my Mom.  I chose this kit for two reasons – the price was $49 (regularly $99), and because her mother and brother have both previously tested with Ancestry.  This will allow me to compare their results and look for differences.
  • Ancestry kit 2 – For me.  I chose this kit for the same two reasons as I chose the kit for my Mom.
  • Ancestry kit 3 – For my friend who watched my 4 year old during the day while I was at RootsTech.  They have a juicy little mystery in their tree and they know just who to test.  🙂
  • FamilyTree DNA Y-DNA kit – For my Uncle.  His Grandpa, my great grandfather, is a brick wall.  I can’t wait for these results!  I have been trying to find a way through this wall for years.
  • FamilyTree DNA autosomal kit – For my Grandma.  She has already tested with Ancestry.  Her great grandfather was born in France and immigrated to America as a child.  He is also a brick wall.  Because more Europeans test with FT DNA, I am hoping to make some connections.  I also chose this company for her because they store the sample for 25 years.  Grandma is in her 80s, if I decide to retest her sample in the future I can (if the sample is still good).

I took my test and mailed it on Thursday of last week.  On Friday afternoon I got an email saying that my sample was received.  Wow, so fast!  Now to wait 6-8 weeks for the results.  Or longer.  They sold a lot of $49 tests at RootsTech, I’m guessing that their lab is a bit behind.

My Uncle’s test was received on March 8th.  We have another month or so to wait.  Won’t we all be surprised if he matches a different surname than we are expecting?  That is a distinct possibility.

I have mailed the other kits to my Mom and Grandma.  More waiting.  Hopefully they test and mail the samples very soon.

While I am waiting, I need to start studying the book I purchased at RootsTech that was recommended by Tom Jones.  He is basically a genius, so I followed his suggestion.

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It is so exciting to begin a new genealogy journey!  I can’t wait to see what I can learn.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you make an awesome genealogy discovery today!

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa at 16

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Ronald Skeen Peterson, 16 years old

Wasn’t my Grandpa a handsome young man?  He looks so young and yet I know his face.  I know how it will change and age.  I also see my dad and his brothers in his face.

He was such a good man.  I can see that too, even in his young 16 year old eyes.  What a treasure to find this picture recently.

 


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Hello Friends!

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RootsTech was fabulous!

I have so much to say about so many things.  I’ll just start with a few headlines:

  • RootsTech.  Love, love, loved that experience once again.  So much learning!  If you didn’t watch LeVar Burton’s opening session, it is a must see.
  • My missionary son has been gone for 6 months on Friday.  It’s going so fast!  A few photos below.
  • A while back I wrote about a new church responsibility that was keeping me busy.  Well, it happened again.  Only this time I am serving in a busy calling with many, many children – my favorite.  The timing slowed me way down, about 7 weeks before my missionary left.  But I’ve got my sea legs and I’m trying to fit in some old loves once again – like blogging.
  • I have been organizing those piles of letters getting ready to start scanning.  Hooray!
  • I am about to foray into the DNA genealogy world.  I have several people I will be testing over the next few months.  Kits purchased, now it’s time to learn.  Please send any beginner tips you have my way.
  • I may not have been writing about family history, but I’ve still been doing plenty of it.  Which means I have many happy discoveries and tips to share.

 

Have a wonderful week, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!