Posts Tagged ‘family research’


Rowan County,North Carolina Resources

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Genealogy, History, Research, Vital Records

I’ve spent a lot of time researching in Rowan County. I’ve found people there to generally be friendly, patient, and willing to help. Much of my research has focused on a specific line, and how that line moved from Maryland around 1776, into Rowan County, by 1800. There are a number of fabulous resources online, and I thought I’d make a list from my collection.

So here goes:


Double Dating, Genealogy Style

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Education, Events, Genealogy, History, Research

Genealogists who research far enough back – and it’s not really that far in genealogical terms – will have to learn about the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and how each one affects dates that we recognize today.

“New Years Day” has not always been celebrated on the first of January. Calendars were developed to make sense of the natural cycles of time: days and years are derived from the solar cycle, while months come from the lunar cycle. There are many calendars, as it took some experimentation before we finally settled on the current system of leap years. For our purposes, we’re only concerned with the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

The Julian calendar resulted from Julius Caesar’s changes to conform more closely to the seasons within a year. Started in 45 BC, the Julian calendar held March 25th as the first day of the year, and every year was 365 days and 6 hours long. Pope Gregory XIII determined in 1582 the gradual problem that had developed when using the Julian calendar: over time the calendar was 10 days off the natural solar cycle. So Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar, which is the one we use today. To compensate for the days which were out of sync, the Gregorian calendar dropped 10 days from October in 1582. The Pope also had everyone jump ahead by 10 days to make up for the lost days due to the earlier erroneous calendar.

Because of the calendar change in 1752 the calendar changed to a January 1st new year, and accommodations had to be made in the way dates were written to avoid confusion. Dates were designated O.S. (old style) and N.S. (new style). Such dates are usually identified by a slash mark [/] breaking the “Old Style” and “New Style” year, for example, March 19, 1631/2. Occasionally, writers would express the double date with a hyphen, for example, March 19, 1631-32. In general, double dating was more common in civil than church and ecclesiastical records.

Although current genealogical standards have us retain Old Style dates in transcriptions, historians and genealogists need to be aware that some people living at the time converted the date of an event, such as a birthday, from Old Style to New Style. George Washington, for example, was born on February 11, 1731 under the Julian Calendar, but changed the date to February 22, 1732 to reflect the Gregorian Calendar.

There are many pages online with more in depth explanations of the Julian and Gregorian Calendars. Simply search on Julian and Gregorian Calendars, or genealogy double dating.

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I am my own cousin

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Education, Genealogy, History, Research

No, it’s not some sort of kinky inbreeding – at least, not deliberately. We don’t think!

Pedigree collapse happens when there are shared ancestors in a pedigree. In some locations, cousins would marry as there were not many people to choose from. The days when families had 8 or 10 or more children meant that lots of the Jones family was available to marry the Smith family, and if the Brown family had plenty, that was all you needed! Bobby Jones married Susan Smith, and Bobby’s brother John Johns married Susan’s sister Sally. Parallel families who eventually re-intermarried cause some pedigrees to show the same ancestors two, three or more times.

You end up being descended from the same person or parents multiple times. Royal families do it all the time, and it turns out that “commoners” do it as well. Some people find it outrageous, while others are fascinated.

Isn’t genealogy fun?

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Society Saturday: Why Bother To Join?

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Geneabloggers, Genealogy, Research

Proven information! In a nutshell, there’s a TON of information out there in the societies.

Now, you still need to verify the information, especially if it’s fairly old. Organizations 100 years ago didn’t ask for documents to prove you were descended from somebody – normally you only had a letter from someone saying that Joe’s cousin Sally was your grandmother’s sister.. or something along those lines. So, you have to use a good dose of skepticism when you look.

My paternal grandmother is a line I know little to nothing about. In 1928, her DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) application was hand-written and while it does have her address on it, and it does state that she’s married to my grandfather, it does NOT tell us when she was born or married! The DAR at that time only asked where you were born: “I was born in _______, County of ________, State of ________.” That’s all. Her “proof” for her information consisted of “Family Bible” “Heitman’s Historical Register, page 299″ and “See National Number #145919″ After the application was verified, it was stamped, “Verified By National Number 145918″ Not a lot of information to help us out!

But I had two new applications to look at: numbers 145919 and 145918. 145918 – the ‘earlier’ application – was Rebecca Moore Darden Snow, whose grandmother was Rebecca Moore. Since the patriot for this line is Peter Moore, you can see there may be a naming pattern going on. But, this application does the same thing that my grandmother’s does: it only gives us names and years of birth, death, and marriage – no dates, no places. But certainly not a dead end!

On the later pages of the application, it tells me that Peter Moore was married twice: to Sarah Littleton at Franklin, VA in 1775 and to Mary Ellis at Franklin VA, in 1795. So searching on Sarah Littleton online, I found this information:

Peter Moore. b @1750; d 1820 Southampton County, VA
Married Sarah Littleton: children by her
  Elijah (no wife known)
  Littleton m Margaret Daughtery
Mary Ellis about 1795 in Southampton County, VA
  Sarah, m. Jason Gardner
  Mary, (never married)
  Nancy, (m Joseph Buxton)b @1798; d 1870
  John, (Delilah Edwards)
  James, (no information)

Nancy Moore m Joseph Buxton: children
  Elmina Cephus Buxton m Allen Hardy Cotton (1826; d 1894)
  Lydia Marian Buxton
  Margaret Buxton
  George Edward Buxton
  Joanna Buxton
He has two other wives and 4 more children

So by using the resources available to you through lineage societies, you can often find good leads to help you fill in your own genealogy. I’m off to follow up on this information and see what I can learn about this branch of the family tree.

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Have You Looked Yet

   Posted by: HystoryByts    in Genealogy, Projects, Research, Technology

Have you looked at the 1940 Census? The first day (Monday) was almost impossible – too many people trying to see, to the point where the servers were overwhelmed. The second day was pretty much the same for me, but there were a number of notices of different places getting the images online and so the traffic seemed to ease. (If you’d like to see more on that, NARA and put together a great little graphic that you can see by clicking the left hand graphic or here.) Today, I finally managed to peek online and within just a few minutes, found my mother’s family! It helps that they lived in a smallish town, and I had a pretty good idea where to look – there were only two enumeration districts to choose from, as well.

Fun things I learned: they rented their house for $26 a month, and my grandfather was making $5000 a year. Five years previously, they were living in Beaumont, Texas. I never knew they had lived there, and my mother was too young to have remembered it. So I picked up many small details just from the single opportunity I had to check them out.

If you’re interested in indexing, so that you don’t have to read through page after page of images, you can do that too! Officially known as the “1940 Census Community Project” you go to the site, read all about it, then if you’re still interested, download the software to your computer. (Sorry, tablets and cell phones won’t work.) Family Search says that online volunteers completed the indexing for the state of Delaware in the first 24 hours! But don’t think there’s not plenty still to do – next up are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. And there are other indexing projects that were going on before the census, including WWI Draft Registration Cards. So there’s plenty of work to go around. Join us – and have a great time!

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