Saturday, October 8, 2011

Isn’t an Ahnentafel all about Who the Parents Are?

Producing a credible work product means employing the qualities of trustworthiness and expertise. How can we achieve a greater level of expertise? One way to show competence is to use better quality sources. With those, we show that we can weigh sources and that we have knowledge of where to find such sources. In a brief hour in Hartford weeks ago, I was able to gather index entries that will lead me to better sources.

Being an avid genealogist, I did enjoy digging around to find the sources for the events regarding Homer and Charry. It was satisfying to link the actual contents of the sources with the facts they supported. One overarching “fact” however is not stated explicitly in their entries or in most ahnentafels. That fact is the identity of each individual’s parents. As I continue to explore reliable sources for Homer and Charry, I will start noting which sources identify parents.

I posted the ahnentafel entries for Homer and Charity “Charry” (Everett) Curtiss earlier using the sources originally provided in the online family tree which originally misled Wikipedia. A quick search of slip indexes at the Connecticut State Library revealed  a few more details. Those are indexes and thus they point us to original records. I haven’t spent more time yet, beyond a brief attempt to read the Salisbury church records prior to 1797. Even so, I’m making an interim update to the Homer and Charry entries using what sources I’ve seen so far.

[Travelogue Warning - 1 paragraph] I write as I research. My preferred work style while I’m at a library is to run back to my computer and update the word processing file or genealogy database as soon as I find something. It’s the only way I keep things straight in my head. For now, until I get another free hour in Hartford, the indexes are the closest thing I have to better records. They are what I will cite. I also plan to find Evidence Explained here in Salt Lake City so I can double-check the citations to the Barbour Index. If I were at home, it would be on the shelf next to my desk.

#122, Homer Curtiss, b. 30 May 1787 in Warren, Connecticut, the son of Augustin and Lodema Curtiss;[1] bapt. 31 Aug. 1800 in Warren on the right of his mother Lodema, wife of Augustin Curtiss;[2] d. 30 Apr. 1886, bur. in Waverly, Morgan Co., Illinois;[3] m. 25 Oct. 1810.[4]

#123, Charity “Charry” Everett, b. 16 Oct. 1790;[5] bapt. 20 July 1800 in Warren by right of Abner Everett and his wife;[6] d. 30 Dec 1876, bur. in Waverly where she shares a headstone with Homer.[7]

It makes me a happy genealogist to know which records confirm Homer and Charry’s parents, who will later become numbers 244, 245, and 246, Charry’s mother, number 247, just needs a tad more work. A name would be nice. From the structure of the baptism record, it appears that she herself was a church member, so that is a place to start a search.

On October 2nd a handful of lucky New England genealogists attended a three-hour, hands-on workshop about footnotes and source citations presented by Thomas W. Jones, Sr., PhD, CG, CGL, FASG. He made the point that a citation has two over-arching goals. One is to permit you or anyone else to find the source again. The second is to provide enough information about the source that the reader can assess and weigh it.[8] In the realm of the practical, the workshop has helped me to understand better how to combine two sources into one footnote, which this ahnentafel project requires.

[1] Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records, Warren Vital Records 1:21 [slip index], Connecticut State Library, Hartford.
[2] Connecticut Church Records Index, Warren Church of Christ [slip index], Connecticut State Library.
[3] Laura Guthrie Curtis Preston, The Curtis Family: a Record of some of the Descendants of Deodatus Curtis of Braintree, Massachusetts (Marietta, Ohio: self-pub., 1945), 33. Photograph of gravestone: Cheryl Behrend and Paula Berry Nelson, “Homer Curtiss,” Memorial # 11767168, Find-A-Grave; : 6 Oct 2011.
[4] Preston, The Curtis Family, 33. Note that the wife’s name is unidentified in Charles H. Weygant, The Sacketts of America: Their Ancestors and Descendants, 1630-1907 (Newburgh, New York: [journal print,] 1907), 254.
[5] Preston, The Curtis Family, 33.
[6] Connecticut Church Records Index, Warren Church of Christ 2:43 [slip index].
[7] Preston, The Curtis Family, 33. Photograph of gravestone: Behrend and Nelson, “Homer Curtiss,” Find-A-Grave.
[8] Thomas W. Jones, Sr., “Seeing the Forest AND the Trees: Mastering the Craft of Genealogical Documentation,” workshop presented to the New England Chapter of APG, 2 October 2011, Boston University. The chapter plans to make this available in DVD format.

1 comment:

  1. Will you please expand on the availability of the DVD when it has been prepared? I am wondering if you plan to sell it to the public or to the members of APG in general or to your chapter only?

    I am learning a lot by following your posts. Thank you.