Monday, October 6, 2014

Beginning Genealogy Tip - Capitalize Your Direct Line

I don't know how many times I have looked at families far back in my tree and I wonder to myself which one of these siblings is MY ancestor again?? So to make it easier on my memory I just learned this tip - type only your direct ancestors in capital letters. I know some people type all their surnames in capital letters. I hate when they do that. What is the purpose? But with this method of capitalizing only my direct ancestors I can look at a group of siblings and right away see my line.

Tim McGraw - Daniel Smith Connection

(This is especially for my Indian Creek Nikitie study group) I was watching a re-run of Who Do You Think You Are? - Tim McGraw - and I heard them mention our Daniel Smith who lived at Indian Creek, Virginia. He was best friends with our Thomas Mastin. They were friends at Indian Creek and then decided to move to Tennessee together where Daniel Smith became senator. The episode of WDYTYA touches on a lot of our genealogy. They even showed a map that Daniel Smith (he was also a surveyor) made. Here is a map he made of the headwaters of the Clinch:

(Click on Image for larger size) I circled our Indian Creek in red. He includes "Burk's Garden" and Abb Valley - both important places for our families.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Polygamy and Divorce

Found something interesting while I was checking out the changes at Family Search. I was following one of my lines and I found an ancestor named Winthrop Farley. I wanted to know more about him so I Googled him and found out he had 5 wives. Polygamy is not unusual in a Mormon family but 5 is a lot! I found a paper written by Diane Stokoe saying that one of his wives divorced him - Mary Ellen Reed. Mary Ellen Reed was my 3rd great grandmother! I don't really care one way or another if people have polygamous marriages but I feel like she must have really been strong willed to have decided she wanted no part in it. And imagine asking for a divorce in 1859! I am amazed. I can't wait to tell my mom.

The sad part is she had to leave her children behind - they were raised by Winthrop's first wife Angelina Calkins. Here is a portrait of Angelina:

Isn't that a beautiful painting? You can read more about Angelina here. I'm going to try to find out if Mary Ellen Reed lived near Winthrop so she could see her children. I wonder what all the arrangements were like? Although Mary Ellen Reed married again soon after her divorce, to another Mormon, he did not take other wives. Here is a photograph of Mary Ellen Farley, my 2nd great grandmother who was raised by Angelina Calkins:

Now that I know about the divorce and I am figuring out which children go with which wife - I am going to use this family to explore how polygamy was reflected in the census records. More on that later...

The Mormon LDS Family Search Site Now Has Shaky Leaf (Hints) Technology

This is to let some of you part-time genealogists who may not keep up with the news know that Family Search - the Mormon - LDS free genealogy site now has "hint" technology. Most of you are familiar with the "shaky leaf" at that lets you know if there are documents or census data that might match your ancestor. You can now use that technology at Family Search. Family Search is free. And they have and will continue to expand their photo archive. I looked up one of my lines and there were all kinds of new-to-me photos that are not on Ancestry.

Family Search is a collaborative site like WeRelate. That means there is only one entry per person. Unlike Ancestry where there are 100s of pages for each person and wrong information gets copied over and over again. The future of genealogy is collaborative sites. I don't know how Ancestry is going to compete. We'll see!