It would be a gross understatement that I’ve recently become re-obsessed with office supplies. After making a Genealogy Binder, it was all downhill from there. Unfortunately, I was very sick all week and I’m just now coming back around. Funny how that happened. You get sick on Saturday and then by time Saturday rolls around again, you’re finally feeling human again. I hate being sick, I’m so glad it doesn’t happen often. I’m not one to sit still for long!
Before the “Great Illness of 2012”, I had started to decide what my next project was going to be, since I’m going to finish my new file soon. Okay in a couple of months is still soon, it’s been two years! There’s one thing that’s been bugging me and I figure it’s going to have to be that… I have to go back to the Mays and finish them off.
You may be a little surprised to hear me say that. However, when I got lost in the Mays’ the first time around, I was sinking fast. They’re hard to comprehend on the best of days. This project had seemed to be going on forever and most of that time was on the Mays’. So I made a decision to not go insane researching all of the Mays’ children who descended from William Mays and Frances Adkins unless I could find solid links to them. So there are four Mays children who I skipped the first go round because there was no clear (i.e. easy) connection between them and their parents. Mostly because they were not living with or next to their parents in the 1850 US Census.
To give you an idea of how many were skipped from my Original file, the ones highlighted in orange have been added and sourced in my new family file.
That’s a 9 page report. I definitely have my work cut out for me. I only hope that I can make some sense of it. These Mays’ don’t like to make it easy.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
William and Anna’s third daughter, Rebecca. She is not named after her mother.
William and Anna’s second son, John Harmon. Anna’s father was named John, so this fits with the pattern.
William and Anna’s third son, William. He does have the same name as his father.
William and Anna’s fourth daughter, Elizabeth. Anna’s eldest sister was named Elizabeth.
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.
As anyone who researches their genealogy knows, the women can be hard to track down once they leave the house. It gets doubly hard in very rural areas where records might not have been kept. I run into this problem a lot in my Kentucky/Ohio research. One of my more recent “brick walls” is Margaret Slusher. I say “brick wall” because technically it isn’t. I know who her parents are and I know who her husband is. I even know the year she married. However, in 1860, she’s not living with her new husband or her parents. I’m a stickler for the details, so it bugs me when I can’t find people in certain censuses. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but most times it’s just you’re not looking in the right place. The key to the problem is Margaret’s marriage to James Mays happened in September of 1860.
What a lot of people forget is that most censuses take a few months to complete, however, the enumerator is supposed to record the data as it reflects the household on a certain day. In 1860, that day was June 1, 1860.
I was transcribing the surrounding households of Joseph and Nancy Slusher, Margaret’s parents, when I came across William Jenkins household. At the very end, it shows a 20 year old Margaret Slusher. Since I don’t know my Margaret’s exact birth date yet, this one definitely fits with her estimated birth. The birthplace of Virginia fits. It’s the little tick that the blue arrow points to that interests me now. That tick is to show that the person was married within the year. I’d say this is my Margaret. I got very lucky that she didn’t get missed in the census all together since her marriage fell at such an awkward time of the year for the census. 🙂 I also got lucky that the Jenkins household gave Margaret’s maiden name. If they hadn’t I might have just had to live with not locating Margaret on the census.
List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!
Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.
Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.
If you have done this before, please do your father’s matrilineal line, or your grandfather’s matrilineal line, or your spouse’s matriliuneal line.
Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?
MY MATRILINEAL LINE
Emogene Taylor (1929-2005) married to (1) Stanley Lee Mays (2) Harley Wayne Utter
Lula Applegate (1901-1978) married to Marshall Howard Taylor
Elizabeth West (1868-1938) married to (1) Unknown (2) James William Applegate
Zeroah Black (1837-?) married to Isaiah West
There is actually a bit of a controversy for Elizabeth West’s mother. There are a lot of online trees that show Isaiah West marrying Zerelda Jane McClanahan. There is even a Kentucky marriage record for this fact. However, all of Isaiah’s children list Zeroah Black as their mother on the death certificates. Also, the marriage record shows the marriage as happening 10 years before I estimated it from different sources. So for now I’m on hold with the West family until I can sit down and timeline the family so I can find out where I can attack it from next.
I haven’t had my DNA tested but I plan to once I finish the family file cleanup. I’m fascinated by the process and would love to see what kind of results I would get.
I’m always on the lookout for distant cousins! No extra spurring needed!
As if life wasn’t hectic enough, the universe threw us for another loop. It’s really amazing how your perspective changes when adversity strikes. It really made me see how important the people in my life are. I know you can’t tell through the computer, but I’ve mellowed out so much in the last few months. My perfectionism is limited to my quilting and I go days, sometimes even more then a week without sitting at the computer for more then a half hour.
Last night I was in need of a break from my current reality. My sister needed it too. So we got into our pajamas, booted up our laptops and we had “sister time”. For us that means watching a movie and futzing around on the internet. She was trying to “build” a new car after hers was totaled on Tuesday and I decided to pick up my genealogy. Thanks to a bookmark in Family Tree Maker, I knew exactly where I left off.
It was wonderful. It was relaxing. It was the Mays Family! How is that possible? In fact it was so much fun that I decided to carve a few hours out of today for a little more. I guess sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder because I was pretty fed up with deciphering the Mays family!
Do you want to know the even better news? I might almost be DONE with getting the Mays family re-entered into my database. I can’t say for certain because I have to research the leads I have on the other children of William Mays and Frances Adkins. Currently, I’m not putting them in my file or onto my website without some kind of documentation. So I might have a lot more, or I might be almost done. This genealogy thing is always changing!
Now that I’ve come to the top of my Mays Family information, I’ve run into a dilemma. Except it’s not really a dilemma. I’m determined not to clutter up my new family file with sourceless information. The only problem is I don’t think most of my Mays family information is sourced. I’m starting to believe what I have is second hand information. So the dilemma is what to do about all those Mays children that I’m unsure of.
The obvious choice is don’t put any of them in. It’s the right thing to do. The problem is, there’s a lot of people I’d be leaving out.
As you can see from the graphic above, in my old file there were seven children for William and Frances Mays. In my new file, there are only two. Hopefully I can find documentation for the others. Part of the problem is that I have census and vital records for a lot of them, but they don’t lead back to William and Frances currently. So I have to find a way to link them back before I add them.
I just wish they didn’t make it so tempting! Look at all them just sitting there! How much more obvious can you get. The Mays family was always right next door to each other.
Today is a beautiful day, and it’s making me feel very productive. I’m sitting in the living room on my laptop and talking with Grandpa Moore. He’s already cleared up some Thorward things for me that I was unclear on. Today is devoted to the Mays family though. I’ve got to keep moving forward towards my summer goal.
I’m up to Millard Mays in my family file. I know he married Nora Barker. I was looking in the Kentucky Birth Index on Ancestry.com to verify some of her children on the census. I ended up having to go to some more extreme measures to find one of the children, because they just weren’t showing up for some reason. When I did that, I might have found out what happened to Millard’s sister Barbara.
It just so happens there was a Barbara Mays who was giving birth to Barker children. Knowing the Mays family like I do, this isn’t at all surprising for me. To be honest I’m finding that I look for these connections more then not. It’s just the marriage pattern of the family.
I was mainly looking for the younger children, but there are some things I really like about this 1930 census record. Barbara has a son named Millard! Lorene from the Birth Index is there, but Robert, the youngest is not. A quick check of the Kentucky Death Records gave me a big idea of what Robert and Barbara Barker went through with their children. They had three stillborn children and Kline who died at one month of meningitis.
Unfortunately, nothing I found actually gives me clues on whether this is my actual Barbara Mays. I haven’t fleshed out enough of the Mays family to know how many other Barbaras there might be. I’m going to add this family into my FTM file, without identification numbers but with sources. That way when I find out where this Barbara fits, it’ll be an easy merge.
The next task I might work on is linking Nora Barker, Robert Barker and Lela Barker (wife of Luther Mays).
I’m pretty sure my ancestors hate me. This may be going out on a limb, but I really think that the Mays family did everything they could think of to be very deceptive about who they were and what they were doing. I’m not going to feel guilty about all the attention I was giving my Dad’s side of the family now. I’ll probably annoy you with the amount of rants I’ll end up posting here while trying to figure out the Mays line of my family tree. In fact, I’m debating setting up an Elliott/Rowan County genealogy file. I’m tempted to just go through all the available records and map out the major surnames. They’re all in my tree somewhere so it may even help me later down the line. It’s just so confusing trying to find the right people when they were all named the same thing at the same time. Last night, I had a first for me though.
That’s two death certificates for the same person. Here’s where things go squirrelly. The death certificates give different birth dates. I actually had recorded the May 28th date into my database as the preferred date because that’s the date that Walker gave on his WWI Draft Card. I’m confused that there are completely different causes of death on each certificate. If that wasn’t enough, there are even different dates of death. I’m wondering why his hometown would have a death certificate done when he most likely died at the hospital in Boyd County.
So here’s yet another reason why I am beyond frustrated trying to sort out the Mays family.
Thanks for your opinions on my dilemma yesterday! Both on twitter and in the comments. 🙂 I decided to have a little fun today before I got started on work and last minute wrapping for Christmas.
I’ve been catching up on The Generations Project. I’ve been recording it on my DVR for the last few weeks and I’ve finally found some time to catch up. While I was watching, I realized I’d like to see if there were previous episodes available to view online (there is!). While I was there, I decided to do some of the fun activities they have on their site. I usually skip by those things but for some reason I decided to do them this time. As a website designer I really want to make more of an effort to view bells and whistles on other websites so I can learn more!
The first activity was to make your own family photo tree! This was really fun for me. The only thing I wanted was one more generation because I actually have photos that far back! Very fun, In fact, I might even try printing this out at some point and framing it for my wall! Why not, right?
The second activity was to make your own family crest. I chose the cell phone and book as our symbols because that’s what we usually talk about. Books and gadgets! The rest were picked as personal preferences by me. 🙂
There was also a lookalike activity that I did not do. I have phobias about people looking at my picture and judging it. You should try it if you don’t have that phobia though! The activities were definitely fun to play with though! Try it yourself at The Generations Project on byu.tv.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with BYU or The Generations Project. I was just wanting to play with stuff and their stuff was there for the taking. I don’t own any of the images except my own personal family photos.
There are a few reasons that I chose to highlight this tombstone. In all my hijinks into my family history, I have stumbled onto learning how to do certain things. One of the first things I realized is that even official records can be wrong. I’ve also learned that spelling doesn’t matter in the early and late 1800s.
An important thing to remember about tombstones is that they aren’t always accurate. Take the example above. The names are mostly right, spelling mistakes aside. I also need to state that the death years are all correct (hard to get that wrong, right?)
John (1853-1927): His death certificate states his birth year as 1842. Since John is living in the 1850 census and listed as age 5, either date could be wrong but 1853 is more wrong then 1842.
Cecilia (1842-1914): I’ve only seen her referred to as Celia or Cela. That could be a shortened nickname but I might never know unless I find her birth record. Her death record also lists her birth date differently. I have 1840 and her age in censuses always matches that.
Harmon (1872-1952): Everything here is correct too!
Ivah (1897-1949): Iva’s name has been spelled a million different ways and that’s not including her maiden name (Moyer/Meyer/Myers). Once again I have her death certificate and her birth date is listed as 1894 and not 1897. The 1900 census actually gives her birth date as Sep 1894 too, which is spot on with her death certificate!
So basically what I’m saying is don’t always trust the tombstone. You never know who was giving the information at the time of your ancestor’s burial. In fact, it’s usually the same person giving the information for the death certificate. That’s why I’m so surprised the death certificates and tombstone varies so much here.
In fact, even newer tombstones can be a bit wrong. This is my grandmother’s tombstone inscription. Everything is spot on except the fact that she was actually born on April 13 and not April 15. Oops! Be sure your family knows that they can come to you for correct dates!
Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging theme used by many GeneaBloggers.