Category Archives: 12 Steps of a Problem

What I Learned Today

Okay it’s time for another lesson learned by me! Actually I think it’s two lessons learned in the grand scheme of learning.

I started off on The Evergreens Cemetery website. I wanted to see if their database was updated enough to include some of my Moores.

I’m using the information that was handwritten on the back of this cemetery deed. I actually have two deeds to this cemetery lot. One is the original from 1896 when William H Moore‘s wife passed away. The next is when ownership of the deed transferred to Mary J Moore, William’s daughter in 1928. The handwritten notes are on Mary’s copy of the deed.

It was when I finally found Mary’s record, that I came to my first lesson learned. I had assumed that whoever wrote the notes on the back of the deed, had written the dates down as death dates. That was where I went wrong. What I think is that whoever wrote the notes (my great grandparents most likely), went to the cemetery, and got the information from them. Now I know, that the cemetery lists Mary Jane Moore‘s (first mention of her middle name too!) burial date as May 21, 1940. This happens to be the same date written on the back of the deed.

Lesson 1: Don’t assume anything about dates written down by another person.

Lesson 2: Cemeteries are in the market of knowing BURIAL dates, not death dates.

Okay, so I learned three lessons. After realizing my mistake today, I had an epiphany. I was always blessed when other localities would look for my records in the whole month. Obviously, they knew subconsciously that I’m not good with dates.

Lesson 3: Repositories are not required (rightly so), to do your research for you. Therefore, if you give them an exact date. They’re only going to look for that exact date. If they are nice enough to search the whole month, then you’re very lucky. If you’re not sure about the date your are requesting for your record and you’re not doing the searching yourself; then I would say it’s okay to go ahead and be vague about the date of the record. Not every place requires an exact date. Most just require a month and year.

If I had learned these lessons when sending away to New Jersey for my vital records, I might have actually gotten records in return for my money. Instead, my William H Moore request came back to me, unfound, because unbeknownst to me, I sent away for the date of his burial, and not his death. Oops!

My Obsession with Naming Patterns

I’m coming clean today about my addiction to naming patterns. My brother is a 4th generation William Moore, and that wasn’t even the beginning of the Williams. In my old “Original” family file, I had 180 Williams in a database of 4,349 people. That’s 4%  of my tree being made up of men named William. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things but in my new revamped file, where I still have two branches of the tree to add, there are 49 Williams out of 923 people. That’s already 5% without adding in the Taylors, Crabbs, or Webbs. To anyone but me that doesn’t seem like much but I know for a fact I have 475 people with the Taylor surname in my old “Original” file.

I think it’s this over abundance of Williams that has led to my fascination with naming patterns. I’ve used naming patterns for the Scottish ancestry on my father’s side of the tree. I’ve talked about naming patterns on the blog. I’ve printed out every naming pattern variation I’ve ever come across online. I’ve tried to find patterns in my families that don’t follow a naming pattern. When I say obsession, I mean OBSESSION.

One thing I haven’t done with naming patterns is see if they pertain at all to my Mays line. The Mays family were the most prolific of my lines, so it would be really interesting to dissect them!

Click for full size

The naming pattern rules I’m using were found on the genealogy.com website. The article was written by Donna Przecha. An important part of the article is that you can’t put too much credence in naming patterns. They are very helpful if your family happened to follow them, but not everyone did. Especially if there are skeletons in the closet or a lot of children. A lot of times you can also count on a “regional” or “period” name. You’ll see it most in census records where you see so many names at once. I have only heavily researched the Ohio/Kentucky/Virginia and New Jersey areas. However, I can tell you the names Mahala and Arminda are more common to the rural Ohio/Kentucky area then New Jersey. In New Jersey you’ll find a lot more traditional names; Catherine, George, Lewis, Josephine.

  • First son: Father’s father.
  • Second son: Mother’s father.
  • Third son: Father
  • Fourth son: Father’s eldest brother.
  • First daughter: Mother’s mother.
  • Second daughter: Father’s mother.
  • Third daughter: Mother
  • Fourth daughter: Mother’s eldest sister.
The family I’m using this time is the family of my 3rd Great Grandparents, William Mays and Anna Click.
  1. William and Anna’s first son, James. I don’t know the name of William’s father, so there is no way to see if the pattern holds up.
  2. William and Anna’s first daughter, Frances Susan. Frances gets both her names from her grandmothers. Her first name after her father’s mother and her middle name after her mothers. Frances went by both names at different points in her life.
  3. William and Anna’s second daughter, Nancy. I don’t see any instance of Nancy in the immediate family, but I know they use this name often in future generations.
  4. William and Anna’s third daughter, Rebecca. She is not named after her mother.
  5. William and Anna’s second son, John Harmon. Anna’s father was named John, so this fits with the pattern.
  6. William and Anna’s third son, William. He does have the same name as his father.
  7. William and Anna’s fourth daughter, Elizabeth. Anna’s eldest sister was named Elizabeth.
  8. William and Anna’s fourth son, Thomas Lindsey. As far as I know, William’s eldest brother is named James. So this doesn’t fit in with the pattern.

So I came up 4/8 on the first four of each gender. That’s actually not bad especially with quite a few holes in the family picture. Another thing I noticed while looking over the siblings of each family for a few generation is a few middle names that most likely came from surnames that married into the family (ie. Harmon, Lindsey, Hudson). For the sake of research sake I also must mention that William’s brother, Nathan, had at least 18 children and I don’t think any of them followed any type of pattern.

Now the fun part would be to see if the Mays family follows their own pattern. Maybe I can make a chart and dissect the family names myself. Do you see what I mean by obsessed now?

Disclaimer: I am no expert at naming patterns. I’m not even sure about most of the information a generation above William and Anna. I used my “original” file to analyze this hypothesis. I haven’t delved deeply into Anna’s family yet, because I know it twists and turns amongst the Mays/Slusher/Whitt lines, so I decided to hold off until I had the rest of the tree re-added. That way I can keep moving forward instead of continuously going sideways for now.

I have Genealogy Fog Brain

I’m not sure if Genealogy Fog Brain is an actual condition or if I just have regular Fog Brain. Lately though, I find myself being a little… slower to make things click in my brain. It might be that I’m slowly but surely kicking my caffeine habit, it might be the 5 days a week of exercise I’m trying to adhere to. Who knows why it’s happening, the important thing is that it is in fact happening.

I recently had to “repair” my Windows installation. Except a “repair” doesn’t fix my recurring problem, so I ended up doing a new installation of Windows. I know it’s probably overkill on my part but when the problem spread itself to Roots Magic, I’d had enough. So now that my computer is cleaned out of most of the clutter on the main drive, I’m back to working with my family files. My only issue is that with Fog Brain, I haven’t been able to wrap my head around much. So instead of getting nothing done, I’m working on going through and searching for alternate sources on my Dad’s side of the family. Eventually, I’ll find that one clue that leads me to a discovery of something that’s going to break down the walls for me. Not brick walls, but the wooden ones that have built themselves in front of me. With a little hard work, and a hammer, I should be able to get them down!

One of the things I know is that my first known Moore ancestor, William H Moore, had three sons and a daughter. The daughter, Mary, took care of him for his whole life after her mother passed away after a lengthy illness. The logic tells me that she most likely took care of her sick mother too. The youngest son, Robert (my great-great grandfather), was a house painter. The other two boys, apparently went into the printing business. It wasn’t until I discovered the Moores in the Brooklyn City Directories that I realized the two brothers might have been working together. I knew that William H Moore Jr was a lifelong compositor/printer.  What I was unaware of, was his brother John‘s involvement in his printing business.

Today I did a Google Search for “William Moore, printer, 1567 Broadway” just for fun. It led me to a Google Book listing for “Printing Trades Blue Book for the Greater New York and Surrounding Towns Edition“. You can read the excerpt in the image above. What’s interesting is it gives an established date of 1898. It also shows the the brothers had a partnership. I had always assumed that William was the more involved of the two. That’s what I get for assuming! After combing through the Brooklyn Directories, I found something today that I should have noticed months ago.

At the end of every MOORE section in the Brooklyn Directories, there is an entry for MOORE Bros, printers, 1567 Broadway. Oops. Not only does it happen every year from 1898 to 1913, but the brothers are shown working out of that address for the previous 3 years also. So while they might not have established their partnership until 1898, they were already working in that space, as printers as early as 1895. Another fun fact is that their father, William H Moore Sr, was also doing business at that address in 1895. So maybe their father was using the space for his carpenter business, but after the death of his wife in 1896, he left the business space for his sons? I don’t know, there I go assuming again!

Where is my Genealogy sponsor?

Almost a year ago (Yikes!), I posted about a bad habit of mine. I’ve tried my hardest to beat this habit, but I learned today that it’s still there. I’m admitting it for the second time. I sometimes have a hard time checking the whole page of a source. There I’ve said it out loud. I’ve admitted it to the internet masses. I have learned to check the whole precinct of a census, however this hasn’t bled over into the other sources I use. Which are a lot.

In my defense, sometimes things don’t seem important at the time. To extend that thought, sometimes you just don’t have enough information at that time to know something is important.

1906 Brooklyn City Directory
1906 Brooklyn City Directory

I’ve had this image saved on my computer for quite awhile now. Probably about a year, now that I think about it. I always thought to myself, “How cool that I knew where William H Moore was living in 1906!” The problem comes today. You see my internet has been in and out all month. Mostly out. Thankfully, the company is coming out tomorrow to look at it. However, I’ve been going through and linking my image files with my Family Tree Maker file. I hadn’t done that yet and I figured it was something I could knock out while the internet was down. Then I noticed something.

William H Moore Jr is listed right underneath my William H Moore. So I brought up William’s son, William in Family Tree Maker. Turns out this is the right guy! So now all those city directory images and sources can be added to the son also. (Not to mention Robert J Moore, the painter, and my Great Great Grandfather.) Then I decided to have a little bit of fun when my internet briefly came back on.

1567 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
1567 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY (Image Credit: Bing Maps)

For the first few years of directory images, this Broadway address was the only one given. Then it started being listed as his place of business and his home address from the censuses turned up. So now I have to wonder. Did his family live above the business until they made enough money for the house? Was he living somewhere else and just not listing it? Why am I always full of questions? Why did I eat my emergency ice cream last night? These are all the things that run through my mind.

The address actually boils down to the yellow awning storefront. I wonder if it’s the same building there? I need to learn more about dating architecture because I love architecture. It looks like it’s probably pretty old but I have no idea about these things.

Hopefully this taught me the lesson for the last time. Be more aware of everything on the page!

Genealogy Communications

Late Night Snack Ice Cream

I am adapting my blog writing habits. Obviously what I was previously doing wasn’t working because I have slowed down considerably. I am not a stay at home mother, but technically I am. (Don’t you love how that works). I’m home all day taking care of the laundry, the dishes, cooking breakfast and lunch, watching The Price is Right with Grandpa, and whatever else may pop up from 7am through whenever I’m no longer needed. So now I am taking these quiet moments when the house is asleep or almost asleep, and I’m answering emails and writing in my blog.

Since it’s been a tougher week then I was expecting and it’s only Monday, I’m also having my emergency ice cream tonight. The stores have just been restocked after the hurricane. Imagine my surprise last week when I went in search of a new pint of emergency ice cream and the WHOLE ice cream section was EMPTY. The only ice cream or frozen foods in sight were what had been ordered before the hurricane. Unfortunately, my favorite Jimmy Fallon ice cream was not one of those.

So here I am, eating my ice cream (I’m getting on the treadmill tomorrow don’t worry), watching my shows on my DVR and now I’m going to write about something that has come up for me. Genealogy Communications. I’ve never been the type to assume that I know more about something then someone else. I’m just not wired that way. So remember that for the next 15 minutes while you read the book I’m about to write.

The more I write on the blog and the more information I put on the website, it means I’m receiving more emails from various avenues. That’s a great thing! I’m not complaining at all!

The thing is, about 80% of the emails/comments/communications I get are almost un-answerable. The thing is, when I send out a genealogy communication, I explain who I am and how I am connected. Then I go on to ask a question or communicate the reason behind my email. Almost all these things are usually missing from the genealogy emails I receive.

So in light of this, I’m putting up my communication rules when it comes to genealogy. I am in no way saying anyone needs to follow this. I’m also not assuming that any of these things are the correct way of going about it. I’m just stumbling my way through this internet genealogy thing too. However, over the years of the website, I’ve been through a lot in terms of communicating.

Kathleen’s Guidelines to Genealogy Emails

  1. Kindly introduce yourself. It’s always great to give at least your first name and a brief explanation of how you are connected to the tree/family/individual that you are wanting to communicate about.
  2. If there is anything I’d like to share, I usually put it in the middle of the communication. This is always optional. I also try to break up each subject into it’s own paragraph. It makes the email much easier to follow.
  3. The purpose of my writing. Whether I’m trying to get sources for a word of mouth fact or if I’m just wanting to open communication with another person researching the tree/family/individual that I am.
  4. A brief goodbye and communication methods. Usually I’ll just say Good Luck/Hope to hear from you or something of that sort and sign my name. Then underneath my name, I like to write out my email address and website address. This gives the person I’m writing a way of looking into me before writing me back. That way they know I’m not some loon looking to do something nefarious.
  5. ALWAYS RESPOND. ALWAYS RESPOND. ALWAYS RESPOND. A few years ago I was not so tough on myself with this one. However, once I settled into one email address, I never ignore an email. If you’re still waiting on a response from me, it was lost in ‘The Great E-Mail Disaster’ 5 years ago, and you should probably contact me again. leeny.moore [a] gmail.com.

It’s very important to answer emails. Even if it’s just to say you don’t have anymore information on that person because it isn’t your direct line. People aren’t going to yell at you because you didn’t have the information they wanted (I hope not anyway). Most are just hoping you can help, but are understanding if you can’t. I like to keep a list of everyone who I’ve communicated with (a 2 sided communication), so I can let them now if I run across anything as I’m researching my lines.

I’m not going to put anyone on the spot because again, I’m just not wired that way. I’m just saying, emailing me one sentence that gives me no information except that your are the third cousin, twice removed of this person is not enough for me to go on. This is what runs through my head as I’m thinking about how to answer the email.

  • Are you just wanting to know who I am?
  • If you are contacting me through Find a Grave, are you wanting a copy of the picture? Or are you wanting to know if I am related to this person?
  • What exactly would you like from me? My whole family tree? All of my Jimmy Fallon ice cream? I don’t understand here.
  • Do you expect a response back? Since there was no question, how am I supposed to know?
  • Are you wanting to give me new information or do you want me to give you information? You can’t have my Jimmy Fallon ice cream. It’s the only pint in the county. (Not really, I’m dramatic.)

As a few of my distant cousins and readers can tell you, my responses can be quite lengthy, even when I have specific questions to answer. If you’re not asking me a question, I could go on for two years about each line of my family.  Not to mention it could take another two emails for us to communicate what we are wanting from each other.

Here is an example of what I’m trying to say:

DON’T:

I am the third cousin twice removed of Mollie Jane Webb.

DO:

Hello Kathleen,

My name is Jeremy Clarkson (Not really, I’m just watching Top Gear.) and I’ve been researching my mother’s side of the family. I recently ran across your blog where you were talking about the Webb Family.

My mother grew up in Kentucky but left after she married. We don’t know anything about the family that was left in Kentucky but I’d love to know more about what happened with Mollie Jane Webb and her descendants. I am descended through Mollie’s brother Reuben Vincent Webb.

Hope to hear from you,

Kelly Clarkson (Not really, I’m just amused by all my celebrity name dropping.)

notarealperson [a] getalife.com

It’s much easier to answer the second example! I can form a quick, informative response based on what the sender is actually trying to accomplish.

Disclaimer: This is my favorite part. I am in no way affiliated with Ben & Jerry’s. (Unfortunately.) I am in no way affiliated with Jimmy Fallon or NBC.  I was not compensated for showing my love of Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack. (Unfortunately.) I am in no way an expert in communications, genealogy, or writing complete sentences. (Obviously.) If this post has offended you or upset you, I am sorry but you can not have my Jimmy Fallon ice cream, it was the last in the county. (Not really, I’m being dramatic again.)

Lesson Learned: Take Notes

About 2 weeks ago, I had a conundrum with George Yohn/George Thorward. The next step in my dilemma was to ask questions. Who else should I ask but my Grandpa Moore! The thing is I’ve had a lot of genealogy conversations over the years and the one thing I forget to do is take notes. I don’t know why I fail to do it everytime. It is what it is. This time was different though.

My next step in this process? Actually having specific questions first. I just realized out of the many, many hours I’ve talked family history with my Dad’s side of the family, we’ve never discussed the Moores except for a little nugget Aunt Lori had for me. So I need to ask Grandpa about what he remembers about the Moores. Then I need to verify the dairy information he gave me last time because I wasn’t clear on it before.

The inset of the picture above is awhat my original notes look like. I am a messy note taker but I can’t stand trying to read those kind of notes on a regular basis. So I got myself a separate notebook just for my neat notes.

I even took both sets of notes with my handy archival pen! I’m learning here folks! Slowly but surely!

Paying Attention to your Surroundings

When I was a kid, my Mom used to hate taking us to the store. It was a guarantee that one of us would get caught in the excitement at whatever store we were at, and we’d lose track of her. More than once my Mom has told the story of my sister walking into columns at the store, despite numerous warnings of  “Amanda. Amanda. Watch out Amanda. AMANDA.” BAM. Of course I never did that… I did use to follow the wrong Mom around the store though… Okay so I did that last week.

Never has this handicap of ours become more apparent then it did today. I have a few hours to myself. So I decided to finally add some tombstone photos I took at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell to Find A Grave. First thing I noticed when reviewing the photos I’d added a few years back was that I missed a few! Somehow when I got all the Thorward photos from my very helpful Photo Volunteer, I forgot to add some of them! He left it to me, and look what happens!

Step 1: Admitting you have a problem

It was shortly after adding Frank Thorward and his wife to the site that I noticed something. Do you see in the sidebar where it says “Find all THORWARDs in”? Well, that’s something that I’m sure has been there all along, but this is the first time I’ve ever noticed it. Please try not to hold it against me, you’ve seen I have a handicap of sorts.

Since I was working on the Thorwards and it isn’t a common surname, I decided to click on New Jersey instead of a lower area.

Step 2: Recognize a Greater Power

Only 12 Thorwards came up and 11 of them were added by me in Prospect Hill Cemetery! That 12th name at the bottom looks familiar too!

Step 3: Examine Past Errors

It just so happens, this is Frank S Thorward’s son. In Mercer County, New Jersey where I probably wouldn’t have known to look for him. The only thing that keeps me from being completely angry at my own inattentiveness is the fact that this record was only added in July.

So please remember the lesson I’ve learned… Always pay attention to ALL features of a website. I only went through 3 steps here, but I’m sure as I learn and venture more I’ll come across more instances.

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