Saturday, September 25, 2004


I once had a woman point out that I needed to "clean up those nicknames" in my database. I always include nicknames, such as Robert Milton "Bob" Hamby. She really complained, thinking it was quite silly to say someone named "Robert" had the nickname "Bob"...

Well, she chose an awkward example there, since in my family I have Roberts who go by, respectively: R.W., Bob, Rob, Bobby, and one who has gone by Robin. And what about Elizabeth? Lizzie, Liz, Beth, Bessie... and there's the confusion so many people have over "Eliza". It was not a nickname for Elizabeth (generally speaking) and it was very common to have one daughter named "Elizabeth" and another named "Eliza". I frequently see people try to conflate the two or to call both "Elizabeth". Nope. One is Elizabth and the other Eliza.

In any event, not only do I like noting what they actually went by (this is really all about finding out what their lives were like, and a big part of that is what name you use!) but it helps with searches. If you put "Bob Hamby" into the rootsweb database, you get my grandfather.

It gets really helpful if someone only shows up in census records with their nickname. I know of a man named Oliver Scott (as his name appeared in his marriage record) who shows up in every census as "Olly" or even "Olla". If you put that nickname into the search engine you will find the right fellow...

But I think she got the idea you were supposed to "fix" the nicknames from Family Tree Maker, which tells you in no uncertain terms that it is a "Data Entry Error" if you put a nickname in quotes with the name. They have an AKA line for that - but you can't see that AKA from the main page and it creates an annoying second entry in the database, making it look as if you've got the person twice.

Family Tree Maker is just bossy anyway. If you accidentally type over a name it will note:
By changing this name you are making Scott the child of Daniel McRae. Is this what you mean to do?

At which point I hit the "No" button and wait, annoyed, for its final chiding:
If you are trying to fix individuals who are incorrectly shown as related, use the People-Fix Relationship Mistakes commands.

To which I have to meekly agree, "OK", before it will let me go on.

The whole thing is incredibly frustrating because it is always a mistake. I will click the button for the Index and start typing without noticing that it hasn't come up and that my cursor is in the "name" box, so I'm already annoyed with myself, and then it points out that ridiculous possible reason for the error: I can't even imagine how someone would think that typing over someone would fix a 'relationship mistake'. Not to mention that I've got some new idea or document, etc. concerning said 'Scott' and having to wait while the program tells me I'm a bad little girl can make me completely forget what I was doing...

Really, really dumb.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Elizabeth Alice/Alice Malinda

It's one of those annoying problems of genealogy caused by the very people you are tracking down.

They change their names, or at least what they go by.

My first problem with this was the girl known in my Brown family as Ethel, who in her first census is called Kattie E., is in her second as Catherine E. (not that different...), so I'd always called her Catherine Ethel "Ethel" Brown. But then her sister Alice (in a letter) comes out with this one: Catherine Ethel Elizabeth Brown. Okay, that's a solution, add another 'random' name just to confuse the issue. This sister Alice is listed in every census as a young person as "Sarah A.", but otherwise seems to have never used the name "Sarah" at all.

It is extremely common to see a child go by one name in one or two censuses and then pop out with a new one for the rest of their lives. Most frequently they are going by a middle name as a child and then as adults they 'revert' to their 'first name', though the whole idea of a 'first name' doesn't seem to have really been important. These people lived at a time when such things as birth certificates did not exist and names could be changed readily.

I see them all the time: Cleo William/William Cleo, Raymond Bert/Bert Raymond, etc. used interchangeably to the point that you can't even tell for sure what they went by, which is part of the point.

I came across another example today. Young Edwin Capps is listed with his parents in Tahlequah County, Oklahoma in 1910 and 1920, but come 1930 and he's married and on his own and he's suddenly Edward! And it apparently stays that way, as it is the name on his tombstone, though he obfiscated the whole thing with Social Security by going as "Ed".

One of the most frustrating ones was a girl who is clearly listed as Elizabeth Alice or E.A. in her father's Civil War pension file, but on subsequently (and on her tombstone) her name is given as Alice Malinda. And you can see the lack of birth certificates created problems: the family bible was considered (for purposes of these pensions) a legal document. Elizabeth Alice/Alice Malinda's father's name was Horton Cox, but his uncle Horton Cox actually died (of disease) during the Civil War. His wife had to reproduce the children's names from the Bible record and when she misspelled one she nearly lost her pension.

"in and for said county [Greene Co., TN] Personally appeared Nancy Cox widow of Horton Cox and makes oath that this only explenation she can give in regard to the discrepency in the name of her Second child named in her decleration for pension is she is no schollar herself, and did not know how the name of sd child was written wither in the original decleration or Suppemental affidavit she first gave the name of sd child to the person who made out her decleration did not know how he spelt it, and when her Supplemental affidavit was made up she handed the person who made it up her family Record and from that the names of the children was taken, and on now being called on for this explination she has the name cearfully examined, and find it Spelt Manday which is the way the father of said child did Spell it as he did write the names in the family Record the affiant further swers"

I do like to know what they 'went by', but the practical problem is how to refer to these people so that other people, other researchers, have some idea who you're talking about. Someone who came across the records in the later half of her life might never make the connection between Alice Malinda and Elizabeth Alice.

Generally, I steal Sarah Alice "Alice" Brown Wiley's solution and list all the names. It gets long sometimes, but at least it's (somewhat) clear.

So, some 'stand outs':

Elizabeth Alice "Alice" Malinda Cox

Nancy Matilda "Tildie" Ellen Pierce

Catherine Ethel Elizabeth "Ethel" Brown

Laura Pearl "Pearl" McRae

Thursday, September 16, 2004

More about sources

So much of genealogical research is based on instinct and guesswork, but so many people completely fail to cite their sources. I don't know if it's just ignorance, or if it's an attempt to obfiscate, in which case the whole thing is made personal: "Trust me, I wouldn't lie to you."

But it's not about 'trust', it's about relative value.

I mean, if I want to say that I had a dream in which my ancestor convinced me that her middle name was 'Shazam', fine, but if I want to tell other people that her middle name is 'Shazam' then I'd better say that my source was a dream.

What I find over and over again is that people don't then cite either my source or me and then it begins to look like 'fact'. What's that old saying? If you say something three times it's true? What does publishing it online make it? That you've said it 1,000 times?

I discovered today that I'd made a mistake in my database - typed "David J. McRae" when all my sources said "Daniel J. McRae" (and it was the name of his uncle), so I fixed it. And then noticed that three other database on rootsweb had the same 'spelling' error. Obviously they had used me as their source and not even looked at my sources. They did not note a source at all.


That's how mistakes get passed on...

Friday, September 10, 2004

Such a geek

Here it is!

The Census Update Report from Ron and Kathy at

MO / Jackson / 1850 (Partial)
Dist/Twp/City Kaw Township
Transcribed by Tara Painter
Proofread by Bill Painter
3 census files
2 index files


I am such a genealogy geek.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What's wrong with this picture?

50th Wedding Anniversary, 1907Posted by Hello

Standing L-R: Ferrell Taylor, Ernest Cox, Lewis Taylor, Myrtle Taylor Gladden, Hannah Goas Taylor, Thomas Cox, Melinda Goas Cox, Nora Taylor, Verna Cox and Sylvia Taylor
Front row: Ethel Gladden, Henrietta Fluxton Goas (seated), Lela Cox

This is the family picture from Lewis and Henrietta Fluxtin Goas' 50th Wedding anniversary. This picture would have been taken in Pulaski County, Missouri on the 19th of July 1907.

Lewis and Henrietta are an interesting couple.

Henrietta A. F. L. Fluxton (her name according to her marriage license) was born in Saxony (then a Kingdom) the 23rd of August 1838, and is said to have arrived in the U.S. from Germany in 1852 on the "Tennessee", coming with her mother and step-father to St. Louis, Missouri.

Lewis is said to have been working on the steamboats, and she working in a hotel in St. Louis when they met. They were married in Jefferson County, Missouri, near St. Louis, in 1857. Henrietta died in Pulaski County, Missouri the 27th of March 1919 and was buried in Colley Hollow Cemetery.

Lewis Goas was born in Pennsylvania to Andrew and Hannah Lewis Goas. Family tradition is that his family was Scottish living in a predominantly German area. This is extremely unlikely. Not only is the name 'Goas' normally German, it is not normally Scottish. It is amusing to note that the probable 1840 census of Andrew Goas in Beaver County, Pennsylvania shows him nearly entirely surrounded by families with traditionally Scottish names.

See my genealogy report for current guesses on Andrew Goas's origins.

Lewis died in Pulaski County, Missouri the 10th of April 1920 and was buried in Colley Hollow Cemetery.

Lewis and Henrietta had five children, 3 of whom lived to adulthood. Standing behind Henrietta in this picture are two of them: Hannah Goas Taylor and Melinda Goas Cox. The young Taylors in the picture (Ferrell, Lewis, Myrtle, Nora and Sylvia) are all Hannah's children, and the Coxes (Ernest, Verna and Lela) are Melinda's children. The adult man in the back is Malinda's husband Thomas Cox. Neither Hannah's husband nor their sister Mary Agnes Goas Hargett are there.

Family tradition is that Lewis Goas had his name spelled 'Goss' instead of 'Goas' on his tombstone because he was so upset at having no surviving sons to pass his name on. According to the online transcription, however, it's his son Willie's tombstone on which the name is 'misspelled'. Willie was his final surviving son.

But, back to our picture. Isn't something missing? I mean, we have Henrietta and Lewis's death dates confirmed by their tombstone readings. Lewis didn't die until 1920. Henrietta died first, just the year before. In fact, he is in the 1920 census, living with his daughter, and listed as widowed.

So, my questions is, this is his 50th wedding anniversary: just where is Lewis Goas?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

It's online!

My transcription of the Kaw twp., 1850 Jackson Co., Missouri census is online!

And isn't it a pretty thing?

Washington's ready to go, once Bill proofreads it. Blue will take a lot longer...

But, whew!

And, how fun!

Friday, September 03, 2004

-berry names

I've just added 10 new- berry names.

I like to save them up and add them in bunches.

My favorite right now is the brand-new "McGilberry", which has the distinction of being my first Mc-berry name.

Here they are:


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Having a Ball

I started out with the 1860 Bureau Co., IL Census:

Center Twp., Wyanett, Ills
Pg. 199/204
5 July 1860 by James S. Eckely
lne 26, 1446/1474 Daniel BALL 27 M do [Farm laborer] do [Ohio]
Mariah 26 F do [Ohio]
Laban 8/12 M Illinois
line 2, 1447/1475 Frisbe ANDERSON 42 M Farmer 3000/327 Maryland
Clarrissa 26 F Ohio
William A. 11 M do [Ohio]
Emmor 9 M do [Ohio]
Daniel 6 M Illinois
Eliza J. 5 F do [Illinois]
John W. 10/12 M do [Illinois]
Barbarie TRIPLETT 32 F Ohio
Arrilla 4 F Illinois
Daniel Ball is the brother of Clarissa Ball Anderson, next door, and their sister Celia Ann was married to Luther Triplett, but my question was, who is this Barbarie Triplett?

My first guess was that she was their sister Barbara Ball, although Barbara would have been 22, not 32. That didn't fuss me too much since census taking is a messy business, and I was really pleased to find a marriage record in Illinois for Barbary Ball and James Triplett in 1853, but then I found this biography of Charles Johnson written in 1915.

It was great, laying out Barbara's parents (Vachel and Fanny Bailey Ball), and her marriage date (1858) and their various moves in Illinois and Iowa, and listing their two children: Charles and Eugene. But it was the marriage date that proved problematic. She couldn't have been Barbary Triplett with a daughter in 1860 if she was busy being Mrs. Charles Johnson...

So now I'm thinking, aunt?

And I'm thinking I'd better set this aside. So I did.

Recently has added a partial index to the 1900 census (yeay!) and Iowa was one of the early accessible databases, so I started collecting the data. One of the useful questions they asked women in the 1900 census was how many children they had had and how many were still living. And I found Barbary and Charles in Audubon County, Iowa:

Melvill Township
S.D. 9, E.D. 30
Sheet No. 6A/320A
15 June 1900 by Walter F. Hoyt
line 4, 92/92 JOHNSON Charles Head WM Feb 1835 65 M 39 Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Farmer
Barbary Wife WF Sept 1837 62 M 39 6/3 Ohio Virginia Maryland
Monroe Brother WM Nov 1847 52 S New Jersey Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Farm
BROWN Jennie Servant June 1881 18 S Iowa Scotland Pennsylvania
Barbary had had 6 children, 3 of whom were still living.

All right now, hold the phone, that biography was very clear. She and Charles had two children. Okay, so maybe one of their children had died between 1900 and 1915 so that they weren't listed in the biography, but usually such a child would have been mentioned. So I thought, fine, I'll go find the happy couple in 1860.

I couldn't find them right off the bat, so I decided to collect their 1870 census record. No problem. They and their two sons were in Macon County, Illinois, as the biography had predicted. Er, told us they had been.

So back to the 1860.

Well, I found Charles right about where you'd expect him in Putnam County, Illinois (where they set up housekeeping after their marriage, as his biography described). But he was single. And there was no "Barbara Ball" to be found.

"No, really?" I thought, "back to Barbarie Triplett?!"

So I revisited the 1860 Bureau Co., IL census and saw, lo and behold, that the 32 was really a smudgey 22 and I checked the Illinois marriage records and found the marriage of the daughter Arilla Triplett:

Illinois Marriage Records online,
BARNES, William G m. TRIPLETT, Arilla Jane 07/22/1869 /00003763
Well, Sangamon County isn't very near to Macon County (the state capitol, Springfield, is in Sangamon), but how many Arilla's can there be?! So I started looking for William Barnes and wife Arilla in the 1870. And guess where I found them:

Hickory Point Township
Page No. 5/468A
11th July 1870 by Mad. S Collins
P.O. Decatur ILL, line 28
105/118 BARNS William G. 23 MW School Teacher Ohio
Rillis J. 16 FW Keeping House Illinois
line 30, 106/109 JOHNSON Charles 34 MW Farming /1000 Pennsylvania
Barbary 34 FW Keeping house Ohio
Charles 7 MW Illinois attended school
Eugene 3 MW Illinois
CAMPBELL John 27 MW Working on Farm Ohio

Right next door to Mom.

How fun is that? Oh, and married to the schoolteacher... Hmmmm. Wonder why they got married in Sangamon County? She would have been what, 15 when they got married? The same age her mother was at her first marriage.

So the marriage date listed in the biography had to be wrong. Good thing everything else was right. With a name like 'Johnson' it was very, very helpful to know where they had lived before. I suppose that Arilla wasn't mentioned in his biography because she wasn't his child.

I have not been able to find a marriage record for Barbary Triplett (as she would have been listed) and Charles Johnson. It appears that there are no Putnam County, Illinois marriage records for this period (although they said they were married in Bureau County). I can't find anyone mentioning it, but I'm afraid those records were destroyed. I've some other marriages that I'm missing from that area at that time.

I've got a bunch more on Vachel Ball's family on my website.