Saturday, November 14, 2015

A New Focus with Old Roots

My hernia surgery and too-lengthy recovery last summer convinced me that I cannot depend on having years left to complete the books on our ancestors for my descendants and relatives. I resigned leadership of the Magna Carta project, and WikiTree leadership, about two weeks ago, to focus on getting the book done.

It has been a very productive two weeks. Here are a couple of the profiles I worked on which will be in the first section of the book. They are part of a group in my tree who are all Quakers of New Jersey, beginning with several pioneer immigrants who were among the first settlers there.

Samuel Bacon

John Pancoast

Saturday, October 24, 2015

anachronism - - an object misplaced in time,

My favorite reading is science fiction and fiction set in the early 1800s. Reading a novel set just after Waterloo (1811), I found an anachronism. A character postulates wearing 'asbestos underwear', which led me on a hunt for the invention of asbestos.

Asbestos turned out to be a natural mineral which has been known for thousands of years for its fire-retardant qualities. But the wide-spread use of asbestos in clothing did not begin until about 1850, when it was spun with wool yarn in mills. A person would not have benn using the term for clothing in 1812, thus it was an anachronism.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WikiTree Brings Down My Brick Wall

For many years, Lois Webster has been listed as my husband's 8th great-grandmother, due to an error in "John Stoddard of Wethersfield, Conn., and his descendants, 1642-1872 : a genealogy", by Patterson, D. Williams (David Williams), 1824-1892. (Published 1873).
Surprise! She was William Peck second wife, and GoldiBear's 8th great grandmother is "name unknown".  However, the wonderful collaborators at WikiTree left clues for me in William's father's profile, and those sources extend the five generations of William's ancestors already online at WikiTree, an additional generation. By adding my tree to WikiTree, and paying careful attention to the sources in the related profiles there, my tree has grown in many branches, this being only the latest of them.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Greatest Knight

William Marshal was a legend in his own lifetime, known as simply "The Marshal", the greatest knight.

Blazon for William Marshal:
Per pale Or and vert, lion rampant gules.

William Marshal is the 24th great-grandfather of April Dauenhauer by his daughters Isabel and Maud.  William Marshal is the 23 great-grandfather of April Dauenhauer by his daughter Eva. 

William Marshal is the 23 great-grandfather of Leo Dauenhauer by William's daughter, Sybil Marshal.  William Marshal is the 24th great-grandfather of Leo Dauenhauer by William's daughter Joan Marshal.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

WikiTree Forum - the Power of Sharing Knowledge

A current discussion on William Marshal's grandfather at the WikiTree Forum shines light on how WikiTree works and a reason the ratings keep going up.

"Proposed changes for a Domesday generation figure" 

shows how collaboration on our mutual ancestors works at WikiTree, and shows how sources are vital to genealogy.  Take a look at the WikiTree process in action.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

WikiTree Rated #4

Genealogy In time Magazine is rating WikiTree at #4 of all free genealogy websites this year. In 2013, WikiTree was rated #33 overall, and in 2014 rose to #21. This year WikiTree is rated #15 overall. {{happy dance}} The magazine describes describes WikiTree as:

a free family tree website whose mission is to create a single worldwide family tree. It works on a system that encourages collaboration among members.

The article points to an alarming trend about the future of free genealogy on the Internet.

There are still several significant free genealogy websites, but there are fewer  of them with each passing year.

Who 'owns' your ancestor's data? The trend is towards a pay-for-access monopoly. As quoted on another page from the same Genealogy In time Magazine:

 As the genealogy industry matures, it is becoming more dominated by large firms. Ancestry, MyHeritage and brightsolid combined now control 51% of the genealogy marketplace.
For a breakdown of ownership for familiar genealogy websites see this table on this page.
I have seen a revolution in genealogy since beginning with letters to cousins and trips to cemeteries archives in 1989. Scattered records in inaccessible in repositories around the world are now digitized and searchable from my computer.

Sharing my discoveries at WikiTree has extended my tree and increased my understanding, working with far flung cousins interested in our mutual ancestors.

"Are you my cousin?" (with thanks to AJ Jacobs). Come join the fun at WikiTree.