thegenealogygirl


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52 Ancestors – Finding Andrew Brown’s Parents

Thankerton-Gardens-00027

Thankerton, photo by Frieda Oxenham, used with permission. Originally posted here.

 

Short lives, lived by people with common names, before civil registration began, are difficult to trace.

Difficult, but not impossible.

My fourth great-grandfather, Andrew Brown, led one of those short lives, with a common name, before civil registration.  Learning his story seemed impossible when I first began researching my Scottish ancestors many years ago.  But it was not, in fact, impossible – just slow and difficult.

For many years, the only trace of Andrew came from the records of his wife and children.  Until I found him on a marriage record, the first record I found in which he appears for an event about his own life.  As years passed, additional bits and pieces were gathered.  Some were promising, others confusing, and plenty were missing.  Last year I found a handful of records that tied it all together.  But I was still missing two highly desired documents.  Just last week, I found one of those two records.  The remaining item, still missing, was for his child.  But the record that was found helped clear up some mystery surrounding that child.  So now it is time to tell the story of Andrew Brown from the beginning.

 

A Challenging Beginning

 

Andrew Brown entered this world in 1828 at a disadvantage.  He was born to unmarried parents at a time when illegitimacy was considered shameful.  His baptism record states:

 

Brown       James Brown in the parish of Liberton and Margaret Thomson in this Parish a natural son named Andrew born August 18th bapd Decemr 21st 1828″1

 

Natural son.  Not lawful son.  A slightly kinder way to say that Andrew was illegitimate.

My Scottish family members were poor.  They were usually laborers, servants, or miners.  There were many illegitimate births in the Scottish branches of my tree.  Those children, precious to me, but labeled and shamed, were often raised by grandparents.  The mothers did not always go on to marry.  The stigma had a lasting effect.

But for Andrew, his birth did not prevent him from being raised by his mother.  Nor did it prevent his mother from marrying.

Six years after Andrew’s birth, his mother Margaret married John Baillie on the 17th of October 1834 in Wiston and Roberton, Lanark, Scotland.2

While discovering that marriage cheered my heart, finding Margaret, John, their children AND Andrew living together in Wiston and Roberton on the 1841 Census3 filled my heart to bursting.  Not only did John Baillie marry a woman who would have been labeled as a fornicatrix, but he welcomed her young, illegitimate, son into their home.  In my family, that is unprecedented and has been matched only once more.  At least, in the records I have found so far…

 

Beginning His Family

 

On the 15th of June 1849, Andrew married Mary Robertson in Wanlockhead, Dumfries, Scotland.4    Andrew was living in the parish of Wiston, Mary in the parish of Sanquhar.  A record for banns can be found in each parish.5

Mary was older, but exactly how much older is difficult to determine.  In reviewing the records of her life, she has an approximate birth year that ranges from 1821-1827 making her somewhere between one and seven years Andrew’s senior.

Andrew and Mary’s first known child is William Brown, born in about 1849 in Muirkirk, Ayr, Scotland.6

In the Spring of 1851, Andrew is found living as a servant in the household of David M Lapraik in Muirkirk and working as an agricultural laborer.7  Mary and William are also in Muirkirk, living in the village.  Mary is listed as a handsewer.8  Both Andrew and Mary are listed as married despite being in separate households.

Andrew and Mary welcomed their second child, Alexander Robertson Brown, 27 September 1851 in Pettinain, Lanark, Scotland.9  I hope this move provided a job and living arrangements that kept the family under the same roof.

Exactly twenty-five months later, a third son, Andrew Brown, was born to Andrew and Mary on 27 October 1853 in Covington and Thankerton, Lanark, Scotland.10  On the baptism record for Andrew, son of Andrew, an address of Mainz is listed.  This becomes very important in the quest to find Andrew Brown’s death record.

At this point in 1853, Andrew and Mary have three known children – William, Alexander, and Andrew.  In FamilySearch, there is a fourth child listed for Andrew and Mary.  A daughter named Catherine, ID# KNHZ-Z8V, who is listed as being born in 1854 in Scotland.  I can find no trace of Catherine.  Is she really their daughter?  I don’t know.

 

Death & Leaving Mary to an Uncertain Future

 

Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days after the birth of Andrew, Andrew Brown dies on 26 October 1854 in Covington and Thankerton, Lanark, Scotland.11  That record holds little information and reads:

 

Octr 26        Andrew Brown, Mains        aged 25

 

With the overwhelming number of death records for an Andrew Brown born in 1828, the address of Mainz/Mains was a crucial detail to tie this death record to my Andrew Brown.

Twenty-five years is a short life.  Andrew spent his years as an agricultural laborer or ploughman.  For part of those years, he lived in the beautiful area of Covington and Thankerton as seen above.  I am glad to know he lived and worked in such a lovely place.

His death left Mary as the widowed mother of at least three young children.  She would go on to have a daughter named Christina Greenshields Robertson, twenty-eight-and-one-half months after the death of Andrew.12  Like Andrew, Christina was illegitimate.  For many years, other genealogists listed Christina as a Brown, daughter of Andrew and Mary.  But she was not.

Like Andrew’s mother Margaret, Christina’s illegitimate birth did not prevent Mary from going on to have a second marriage and additional children.  But that is Mary’s story, not Andrew’s.

In just twenty-five years, Andrew was able to experience work, marriage, and fatherhood.  I hope that he experienced joy.  I hope that he loved and was loved.

At the end of his life, Andrew left behind a widow and at least three sons.  Those three sons would go on to give him a large posterity.  The last time I counted in 2014, I knew about 169 descendants of Andrew.  As of today, I have identified 188 descendants.  There are likely many, many more, but Andrew left behind sons with the surname of Brown and tracking everyone down has not been simple.

Thank you, Andrew, for being part of my story.  And thank you for helping me find the details of your birth, childhood, and adulthood.  I felt your nudges and now your story has been told.

 

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery this week!  Have you considered joining the 52 Ancestors challenge?  You can learn more here.

 

 

Thankerton photo originally posted here.

 

 


  1. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Births and baptisms (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 25 May 2017), entry for Andrew Brown baptism, 21 December 1828, Wiston and Roberton Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 660/ 20 24, p. 24 of 130. 
  2. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Banns and marriages (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 25 May 2017), entry for John Baillie marriage, 17 October 1834, Wiston and Roberton Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 660/ 20 109, p. 109 of 130. 
  3. 1841 Scotland Census, Lanarkshire, Wiston and Roberton, enumeration district (ED) 1, page 14, line 920, Newton Toll, John Baillie Household; database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 January 2018); citing Original data: Scotland. 1841 Scotland Census. Reels 1-151. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. 
  4. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Banns and marriages (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 25 May 2017), entry for Andrew Brown marriage, 15 June 1849 in Wanlockhead, Banns registered in Sanquhar Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 848/ 20 196, p. 196 of 209. 
  5. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Banns and marriages (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 23 January 2018), entry for Andrew Brown marriage, 15 June 1849, Wiston and Roberton Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 660/ 20 123, p. 123 of 130. 
  6. 1851 census of Scotland, Ayrshire, Muirkirk, 607/ 2/ 14, p. 14 of 37 (stamped), lines 4-5, Village, Mary Brown Household; image, Scotland, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 23 January 2018). 
  7. 1851 census of Scotland, Ayrshire, Muirkirk, 607/ 4/ 11, p. 11 of 15, line 10, 36 Hall, Andrew Brown in Household of David M Lapraik; image, Scotland, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 23 January 2018). 
  8. 1851 census of Scotland, Ayrshire, Muirkirk, 607/ 2/ 14, p. 14 of 37 (stamped), lines 4-5, Village, Mary Brown Household; image, Scotland, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 23 January 2018). 
  9. Pettinain Parish (Lanarkshire, Scotland), Old Parish Registers OPR 653/1-3, p. 66, Alexander Brown baptism, 2 November 1851; FHL microfilm 1,066,603, item 3. 
  10. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Births and baptisms (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 5 November 2010), entry for Andrew Brown baptism, 6 November 1853, Covington and Thankerton Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 634/00 0020 43. 
  11. Scotland, “Search Old Parish Registers (OPR) Deaths and burials (1553-1854),” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 14 July 2009), entry for Andrew Brown death, 26 October 1854, Covington and Thankerton Parish; citing OPR Registers no. 634/ 20 66, p. 66 of 66. 
  12. Scotland, “Statutory Births 1855-2016,” database, Scotlands People (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 14 July 2009), birth entry for Christina Green (Greenshields on image) Robertson, 12 March 1857, Pettinain in Lanark; citing Statutory Registers no. 653/ 6. 


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Tuesday’s Tip: What to do when your FS change log presents you with a tangled mess.

FS change log mess

 

This video is most applicable to FamilySearch users who participate in the Family Tree.  But it also contains some gems that may help FamilySearch users who do not participate in the tree.  Here are the items covered in this video:

  • FamilySearch watch lists.
  • The change log in FamilySearch’s Family Tree.
  • Command/Control click – which I wrote about here.
  • Reviewing record attachments in FamilySearch’s Family Tree, detaching records, changing the focus person in the attachments screen and then attaching the record to the correct person.
  • Ancestry’s FamilySearch button.  Using it to link people in your Ancestry Tree to the same individual in FamilySearch.  Using it to add someone new to the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  Using it to compare the version of a person in your Ancestry Tree with the version of a person in the Family Tree on FamilySearch, and sending data between the two websites.
  • The FamilySearch internal messaging system.  Making a plan with another user.
  • FamilySearch record hints.

 

 

Remember to click the ‘HD’ button on the bottom right of the video.

 

I went on to spend some time updating both Annas.  If you are interested in viewing each woman in the Family Tree on FamilySearch, Anna Graf can be found here, and Anna Evelyn Shoffer can be found here.

 

Confusing changes and tangled messes are part of working in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  Frankly, that is why many genealogists stay away.  If you choose to participate the Family Tree, I hope this was helpful for you.  If it was, please feel free pass it on to other Family Tree users.

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you don’t come across any tangled messes on your genealogy adventures today!  😉

 

 


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Tuesday’s Tip: Indexing!

Indexing!

 

In honor of FamilySearch’s worldwide indexing event this week, I am bringing you a few indexing tips.

This video is geared toward beginning indexers but it also includes a few of my personal indexing tips that would apply to anyone.

If you have never indexed, I promise it is not hard!  Give it a try.  If I haven’t convinced you yet, watch this video.

 

 

Be a Genealogy Superhero – index!

 

gg - indexing superhero - small

 

 

ps – I am having a hard time letting go of the old indexing software.  When indexing that way you ‘download’ a batch.  The new web indexing tool is great, you don’t download, but I think I said the phrase ‘download a batch’ a few times.  Sorry!  Old habits and all of that.  😉  Also, if you use the new web indexing, you can access your batches from any device and index anywhere you have internet access.  Pretty cool.

 


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Tuesday’s Tip: FamilySearch Record Hints & Ordering Sources

Tuesday's Tip

I’m starting something new around here – Tuesday’s Tip.

 

Many of you know that I volunteer once a week at my local Family History Center.  I’ve been doing that for about 5 years.  During that time I have been able to help people of varying experience and ability.  All of that one-on-one time helping different people has been very enlightening.  We all do things differently.  All of these differences have highlighted some best practices and shortcuts that I will share in short videos.

I don’t promise to post one every week.  But, probably for a while, I will.

Here are a few things you can expect from me:

  • I will try to make the title as descriptive as I can.
  • I will include video notes in each post to help you know some of the main points covered in the video.
  • I will add a few additional pieces of information relevant to the general topic.

Hopefully, this will help you know if the video is something you are interested in watching.

 

So, here is my first Tuesday’s Tip:

 

Be sure to click ‘HD’ at the bottom right of the video screen.

 

 

Video Notes:

  • Family Tree on FamilySearch has a ‘Record Hints’ section.  Only 3 hints can show in the box on a person page – there can be more in the background.  Watch to learn how to find those additional hints.
  • Learn how to review the data in a hint and determine if the hint should be attached.
  • Trying to save time?  Page load time matters, I’ll show you how to save a bit of it.
  • Sometimes hints are records about another person, like a death record for a child.  Learn how to understand these types of hints.
  • After you review and attach a record, learn how to put the sources in chronological order.

 

And a few last notes.  When dealing with record hints it is important to remember:

  • Not all record hints are accurate!
  • If there is a record image linked to the index, ALWAYS view the image before attaching the record.  Remember, the image often has more information than the index and you can usually learn new information about the person and their family.
  • If you don’t know that the record is about your person, don’t attach it.  Learn more about the person and the record and then make a decision.  If you still don’t know for sure that the record belongs to the person, leave it alone.
  • Many records in FamilySearch have been indexed more than once.  If a record is about your person, attach it!  Even if that means there will be two or three of the same record attached.  The algorithm that generates those hints is a learning algorithm.  If you tell it that it was wrong when it wasn’t, you’ve just given it bad information.  If it bothers you to have multiple versions of the same record attached, just move the duplicates to the bottom of the source list.

 

 

 


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Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection

Utah_St__Livestock_Assn___Booth__John_E___Schramm__Clemm__Peterson__Rulon_P___Shot_4

Yesterday, while reading a post from the NGS blog, I noticed a link to a Utah photo collection that is new to me.  It’s the Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection.  I clicked on over to check it out and discovered this cool photo of my great grandfather.

This photo was taken 1 February 1957.  These fellas were somehow connected to the Utah State Livestock Association.  My great grandpa, Rulon Powell Peterson, is on the right, holding his hat and wearing glasses.  He was a very successful cattle rancher.  The other two men are named as John E Booth and Clemm Schramm, but I don’t know which one is which.

I did a little perusing of the collection and didn’t find anything else related to my family.  The collection is hosted by Utah State History.  They have a few other collections.  If you have any Utah family, you may want to check it out.

And once again, I am so thankful that I quickly read a post listing various online collections.  You just never know what you might find in some obscure online collection.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a surprisingly delightful genealogy discovery today!

 


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Dear Genealogy Bloggers, I love you!

I heart genealogy bloggers

For several weeks now I have been wanting to send a big thank you to two bloggers.  Randy Seaver of Geneamusings and Gail Dever of Genealogy à la carte.

Randy regularly posts lists of new and updated record collections.  These are not the blog posts I usually spend much time on.  (No offense Randy, I’m just a busy mom with a preschooler still at home…)  But for some reason, I started reading them more carefully lately.  Well, on May 12th he posted a list of new records available on FindMyPast.  Among the many collections was “National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914.  He noted that, “Over 34,000 York School records have been added…” to that collection.

Guess who lived in York?

My Hyde family.  Including Robert and Rosey.

Now, I have looked through the indexed school records available on Sheffield Indexers and found several records for my Hyde family.  But I thought I’d give it a look and see what was there.

Guess what?

There were SEVERAL records for my Hyde family on FindMyPast that have not yet been indexed on Sheffield Indexers.  And even better – there are images!

Like this one:

HYDE, Muriel Grace, 1909 to 1910 School Record

Do you know what that is?!

It’s a record of Muriel Grace Hyde, Rosey and Robert Hyde’s oldest daughter, being enrolled, and re-enrolled, and removed, and removed again from the Western Road Infants School in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.  This means that I have several more dates for my timeline.  Yippee!!

Thank you Randy!

 

Now let’s talk a little bit about Gail.

Gail also posts quite often about new collections and other genealogy news.  On May 16th, she posted about an update to the WWI Canadian Expeditionary Force service files.  If you remember, that very collection gave me a hint of Norma.  And from there, well, the ensuing research took me on a crazy trip down the rabbit hole.

But here’s the thing.  My 2nd great grandfather, Francis Cyprien Duval, was also a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.  I had looked for his file before.  A few times.  After all of the “D”s were supposedly indexed.  I never found it.  But when I read Gail’s post I thought I’d give it another try anyway.  Just in case.

And there it was!

In all it’s full color, 66 page glory.  It was very enlightening.  I thought Frank stayed in Canada doing work at home during his service.  He did not.  In fact, he lied about his age so he could join up and head overseas.  He was too old, so he fudged it.  I was so surprised by that.  He claimed to be 44 years and 4 months old when he enlisted.  A mere 8 months younger than the upper age limit of 45.  It didn’t work out for him though.

On page 58 there is this telling note from the doctor:

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.03.12 PM

“Is 54 years old and looks it.”  Hmmm, did he age considerably during the short time he was enlisted?  I mean visually.  Because just shortly before this note was written he got away with saying he was 44.  😉  There are so many cool details in this file.  It is awesome.

I have no idea why I never found it before.  I don’t know if it was indexed out of order and published well after the other “D” surnames or if I didn’t search carefully.  (That is soooooo not like me, but maybe I was distracted?)  Either way, I am very glad I read Gail’s post and decided to give it another look.

Thank you Gail!

 

So.  What is the lesson in all of this?  There are two.

First, I really love genealogy bloggers!  I think we are the friendliest bunch of bloggers out there.  We share our great finds, our search strategies, awesome websites and collections, cool stories, brick walls, research woes and wonders, and so many other tid-bits.  We all make the genealogy experience SO. MUCH. BETTER. for everyone.

And second, I will never again skip a “see what’s new at such-and-such website” post.  🙂

 

What do you think?  Do you love genealogy bloggers too?  Well if you do, share a little love today and thank your genealogy blogger friends.  Because they are just plain awesome!  ❤

 

 


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Can you spare 30 minutes? – An Indexing Update

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Close up shot of me proudly wearing an indexing button at RootsTech 2016

In March I shared my 2017 goal to index 6,000 records.  I am so happy to report that one of the indexing projects I have been helping with is soooooo close to being finished!

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On the right side of this screenshot you can see the stats on the 1881 Canadian Census, Part B.  So far, 53,664 images are complete, 10 images are awaiting indexing and 6 images are awaiting arbitration.  (I am pretty sure that means that the 10 images that need to be indexed will be added to the final arbitration list once they are indexed.)

This has been a fun challenge for me to help with.  I have been researching my Québec ancestors for about 4ish years now.  It was so painfully slow at first.  I don’t speak French.  But now I can zip right through things that felt impossible four years ago.  I’m still not a French speaker by any means, but I do know how to read most French Genealogy records for Québec.  Helping with the 1881 Canadian Census – which is in French – has really helped boost my understanding of the language and of names that I don’t have in my tree but sometimes see as witnesses to events for my family.

When I started, my accuracy percentage was not great.  I didn’t understand the diacritics well at all.  I’m still no expert, but I have memorized the keyboard shortcuts to help me type them and can recognize them in sloppy handwriting quite accurately now.

I was able to index 2,075 1881 Canadian Census records!

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Now that the project is nearly complete, and there are no batches available to download, I have moved on to the 1856 France, Saône-et-Loire Census.  It is stretching me even more.  I love it!

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My accuracy has gone way up.  There are occasional batches that are so hard to read and I get a surname wrong for a large family and my accuracy goes way down, but overall I’m doing pretty well at 97%.

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So far this year I have indexed 2,660 of my 6,000 record goal.  I’m a bit behind the pace I was hoping for but making progress.

Have you tried indexing?  If not, I promise there are plenty of English projects that need help.  Even a bunch of beginner projects.  FamilySearch is one of the many organizations you can index for.  They happen to be my preferred place to index because they provide their records freely to all.  If you have never indexed, check out the resources for indexers on FamilySearch.  The indexing page currently looks like this.

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I promise it is beginner friendly.

This infographic is a great summary of why indexing is so vital to genealogy.

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Have you indexed?  If so, who do you like to index for?

 

Do you have 30 minutes to spare?  If so, help “Fuel the Find” today by indexing one batch of records!