SOURCES

I know I like to rant about sources! It (or they) or one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to genealogy research. I recently came across an old set of notes I’d recorded including the following definition of primary and secondary sources and I thought it was appropriate to reprint it here. The source of this article was a UK-based website, http://www.explorers.mlfhs.org.uk/genealogy_george_explains.htm

What is the difference between a primary source document and a secondary source document?

In family history research we use two types of source material. They are considered either primary or secondary sources of information. A primary source document or record would be one that was created around the time of the event. This is always the best and most accurate record to find. For example:
• birth certificate
• marriage certificate
• death certificate
• census enumeration
• military record(s)
• will
• gravestone (editor’s note – some define this as a Secondary Source)
• ships passenger list
(And some additions by JT)
• Deeds and other land ownership records
• Eyewitness newspaper accounts
• Family Bibles (if recorded by someone witnessing the event shortly after it occurred)
• Letters describing the events as they are taking place by a person involved
• Passenger list
• Photographs

A primary source document would have been created by someone with direct knowledge of the event and recorded at the time it happened. These records are considered very accurate and are the best source to find in order to make sure that your information is correct.

Secondary source records are those that were not created at the time of the event. These could be something like:
• books
• old letters (editor’s note – If the letter was written after the fact by someone not present or otherwise directly involved)
• indexes
• any second hand account of an event

Because things like books and letters tend to be the recollection of an event the information may not be entirely correct. Primary and secondary sources of material can be found in many types of places such as online, in libraries, archives or family history societies.

DNA: THE GOOD, THE BAD

I think that, as it pertains to genealogy, DNA will eventually be the big mystery solver. Technically it is still in its infancy but it is already opening doors that researchers thought were nailed shut and would always stay that way …. wrong!

However, here’s the issue I have with the Ancestry.com DNA Project (and I’m sure the same issue would exist with anyone’s program) ….. I get a notification from Ancestry.com that my DNA shows a match with member charly123456 and the relationship is 5th-8th Cousins and the match results is rated “Confidence: High”. Well, I pull up the report and it says that our common ancestor is Joseph Bryan (1752-1844). At face value this is fantastic news because it establishes the connection I’ve been seeking between the Bryan family and the Daniel Boone family. Unfortunately however, when you pull up Charly’s tree you mentally hear alarm whistles & bells going off for at least two reasons … first, beginning with his great grandparents ALL of Charly’s sources are “Ancestry Family Trees” that were compiled by other researchers (and you & I know that this source should only be used as a hint or a guide – not a real source!) …. and second, the listing of “other shared surnames” includes PARKER (and five other surnames) which is my paternal grandmother’s line, so who is to say the the true DNA relationship isn’t between me, Charly, and some PARKER relative that he’s yet to identify. If Charly’s sources all the way up to Joseph Bryan had been valid primary sources or even acceptable valid secondary sources I would feel comfortable in claiming a DNA relationship with Joseph Bryan but I just can’t do it based on his flimsy trees sources.

In essence it boils down to this … just because a person is identified by DNA testing results as being your cousin DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE A VALID DNA KINSHIP TO INDIVIDUALS IN YOUR NEW COUSIN’S BLOODLINE … not by a longshot!

Here are some suggestions to avoid making false claims on alleged DNA validated kinships ….

1. Get a copy or obtain online access to your new cousin’s family tree

2. Closely examine this tree as follows:

a. Eliminate any other possible relationships you might have to individuals in this tree by identifying similar surnames to those in your tree … study any similarities carefully and if the names, dates, and/or geographical locations are identical or very close then continue focusing on those individuals until you can rule them out as a relative or include them (which might mean the original common ancestor identified in the DNA report was incorrect or there were multiple common ancestors.

b. Did your new cousin use sources in his tree … how valid are the sources. Regardless of how tempting it might be YOU CANNOT ACCEPT SOMEONE ELSE’S ANCESTRY FAMILY TREE AS A VALID SOURCE! The one exception to this rule would be if you can study the Ancestry Family Tree that was used as your cousin’s source and that tree proves to have been properly sourced. Quasi sources such as Ancestry Family Trees, One World Tree, stand-alone Message Board Postings, and many more, can only be used as hints or guides … THEY ARE NOT AN ACCEPTABLE PRIMARY SOURCE!

c. This is the big one! COMMUNICATE with your new cousin (preferably via email so you can study whatever information is exchanged). Discreetly and POLITELY ask him/her to explain why they listed their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th great grandfathers using no sources. Who knows … they may have an old Family Bible that lists all those generations and they just didn’t know how to identify that bible as a primary source because the Ancestry.com software didn’t just “plug it in” for them on their tree. If they just don’t have a valid source then back up with them to the last generation that can properly source and then try to work forward together … this will take some degree of finesse, discretion, and politeness, so you have to be very careful not to “turn off” your new cousin.

I don’t want to leave you after being so critical (but honest) without repeating something good about Ancestry.com DNA …… it truly does identify blood cousins for you. BUT, then it is your responsibility to interact and communicate with that cousin and make sure you are comfortable with each other’s sources up through the generations until you arrive at and validate your common ancestor. I have been able to do this successfully with my TAYLOR, WALKER, PARKER, & RISENHOOVER lines and I have about four other lines that the sources look very good so I am about to validate them as being DNA proven lines.

My Missing Taylors

After many hundreds of hours of research and with the help of many fellow researchers, I’ve documented my TAYLOR line back to the Immigrant Ancestor and also documented genealogical data on thousands of people from associated lines.  However, it has always been a great source of frustration for me that I’ve never been able to properly document my great-greatgrandmother Taylor and five of her six children.

In the hopes that someone will read this and help provide me with some of the missing information, I am listing the basic information that I do know about my missing TAYLORs.

Mary E. (THROGMORTON) TAYLOR  [my great-greatgrandmother]

b. abt. 1842 IL  and  d. aft. 1880

Mary and her children appear twice in the 1880 census of Lawrence Co., AR.  Due to     the census taker’s error, she and half the family appear on one page and then she and     the other half of her family appear several pages over.  After this there is no known information about Mary.

When and where did Mary die and where is she buried?

1st spouse:  Drury Matthew TAYLOR 1838-1870  [he is well documented]

Son:  Leander J. TAYLOR  b. 1860 MO  [he is basically documented until his death     which must have occurred prior to June 1887 because his spouse, Patsy Bunch,     remarried then in Lawrence Co., AR.  She and Leander had married 1884 in Lawrence     Co., AR and they had one child, Bettie, b. 1885 (no info known about Bettie)]

When and where did Leander die and where is he buried?

Son:  Jefferson Davis TAYLOR  b. 1863 IL  d. 1899 MO  [he is basically documented except not much is know about his first wife,  Sarah Sallie Bunch, whom he married in Jefferson Co., AR in Jul 1884.  She must have died prior to Dec 1889 because he remarried and had a family with his second wife.]

When and where did his first wife die and where is he buried? Did they have any children?

Dau:  Elizabeth A. TAYLOR  b. 1865 IL  [absolutely no documentation found on this     child other than the 1870 Jefferson Co., IL census and the  flawed 1880 Lawrence Co.,   AR census.]

What happened to Elizabeth after 1880? Spouse, children? When and where did she die and where is she buried?

Son:  John Riley TAYLOR  b. 1869 IL  [he and his family are the big mystery and I     find this especially frustrating because he is the twin brother of my great-greatgrandfather, William Wiley TAYLOR!]

John Riley married Francis Freer Jul 1893 in Lawrence Co., AR … after that, there is     no documentation on either John Riley or Francis.

I have been informed by Lawrence Co., AR sources that Willie Lee (Pete) TAYLOR  is the son of John Riley TAYLOR.  Willie Lee was born 11 Jan 1893 in Lawrence     Co., AR.  Since this birth was seven months prior to John Riley’s marriage to Francis,  it brings into question as to whether Francis was Willie Lee’s mother or perhaps John Riley had had a previous spouse?  I do know a little about Willie Lee and his family;  he had  two sisters, Frances (b. 1894) and Clara F. (b. 1898).  Thanks to a very detailed account in a recent history book about Lawrence Co., AR, I have a great deal of information about Willie Lee TAYLOR’s spouse and children BUT NOTHING  ABOUT HIS PARENTS!

What happened to John Riley TAYLOR and Francis Freer Taylor after their 1893 marriage?  When and where did they die and where are they buried?  Who were their children?  Did John Riley have any other spouses?

Son:  William Wiley TAYLOR  b. 1869 IL  d. 1939 TX  [this is my greatgrandfather and he is very well documented other than the fact that I can’t find him in the 1920 census even though he never left Red River Co., TX from 1910 till his death in 1939.]

2nd  spouse (of Mary E. (THROGMORTON) TAYLOR  [my great-greatgrandmother]  Greenberry TAYLOR (Drury’s nephew)  b. 1847 MO  d. bet 1872-80 Lawrence Co., AR?  A handwritten marriage document indicates that Mary married Greenberry in Lawrence Co., AR 17 Jul 1872.  Since Robert L. Taylor b. 1873 shows up on the 1880 census then I am assuming this is Mary’s son with Greenberry.  However, Greenberry completely disappears after the marriage document and I have no other documentation about him.

What happened to Greenberry TAYLOR after his 1872 marriage?  When and where did he die and where is he buried? 

Son:  Robert L. (Littleman?) TAYLOR  b. 1873 AR  [absolutely no documentation has been found about him other than the flawed 1880 Lawrence Co., AR census and a brief mention in some family correspondence of a half-brother of William Wiley named LIT  (maybe short for Littleman)

What happened to Robert L. TAYLOR after his appearance in the 1880 census? Spouse, children? When and where did he die and where is he buried? 

My grandfather had already died when I started my genealogical research and my great-grandfather was long dead.  According to my grandmother and at least one grandaunt here is the family legend ….

Mary Throgmorton TAYLOR, her mother and her children all moved to Lawrence Co., AR after the Civil War.  There, she married her late husband’s nephew and had a son by him.  Then, the entire family, except my great-grandfather William Wiley Taylor, died of an epidemic.  William Wiley lived with and worked for a Dr. Richardson in a place called Oil Trough which was either in AR or MO.

Well, the problem with this legend is that ALL of William Wiley’s brothers obviously lived to adulthood because we find documents proving marriages and children for them.

Actually (research-wise) it would have been easier to explain all the missing answers IF the family had all (but one) died off from a horrible epidemic.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) that wasn’t the case so I need a lot of help and I hope someone reading this will throw me a few bits of useful information ………….

I first published this article online on numerous message boards many years ago.  The few responses provided almost nothing of any significance.  I’ve decided now in early 2015 to take “a shot in the dark” and place the article online again……   jt

 

The Black Sheep?

Many people would say that my GGGrandfather, James Berry Walker (JBW), is/was the Black Sheep of the family.  He has been labeled a scoundrel, a coward, a deserter and a bigamist.  Based on years of research by myself (I stem from the Ohio/TX side of the family) and a fellow Walker cousin (from the Georgia side of the family), I believe that the first two labels couldn’t be further from the truth but the latter two are technically correct!

Rather than launch into a lengthy narrative (which will be forthcoming), let me simply say that I believe JBW found himself having become a pawn in a terrible war that was separate from the North-South Civil War, and as a result, he was forced into having to make an unimaginably dreadful decision.  It was a life/death decision that would alienate him forever from his Georgia family and result in a new family in Texas.  It was a decision that only a man with strong stamina and conviction could possible make regardless of the fact that he must have known the burden he would carry for the remainder of his life!

(Note – The lengthy narrative mentioned above will be posted in 2015 or 2016 and the Walker Family Tree, which has been kept private thus far, will also be made public several places online.  In the meantime I would strongly encourage those hungry to know more about JBW’s Civil War dilemma to read A Separate Civil War: Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South written by Dr. Jonathan Dean Sarris in 2006 … the book is available in a Kindle edition by Amazon.com.)

OneWorldTree – Not A Source!

Every so often I write a rant about using valid sources.  Since it is the beginning of a new year I thought it would be a good time for another rant!

To sum it all up in one sentence, “THE ONEWORLDTREE IS NOT A VALID GENEALOGY RESEARCH SOURCE!”

OneWorldTree, owned by Ancestry.com, is simply a huge storehouse of various types of  data … some comes from actual primary sources but most (in my opinion) does not.  Instead, it comes from user-submitted trees and there was no attempt to verify this data before it was published.  This means that you might be copying MISINFORMATION that was submitted by: (a) a child who is writing their family tree based on hearsay and family myth, or (b) a well-meaning family member who is attempting to correct or cover embarrassing information, or (c) someone who is determined to prove that they are related to someone else even if it means fabricating data, or (d) someone like me who publishes information thought to be properly sourced which later proves to be wrong but it is too late to remove it from OneWorldTree …. and the list goes on and on ….

Even Ancestry.com has this to say about their OneWorldTree, “OneWorldTree can give you hints about your family history but not necessarily facts. There are a number of sources consolidated in OneWorldTree and it’s impossible to know if there were errors in member-submitted family trees.”

Please don’t misunderstand the intent of this rant.  OneWorldTree is okay to use as long as you recognize that IT CAN ONLY PROVIDE YOU WITH HINTS BUT NOT NECESSARILY FACTS!!!

 

The Children of Samuel & Margaret Parker

Margaret S Power and Samuel Parker were married 28 Jun 1872 in Clark Co. Arkansas (which borders Pike Co.).

In the 1900 census for Pike Co. Arkansas, the listing for Margaret S [Power] Parker indicates that she had 4 children and 2 are living.

In the 1880 census for Pike Co. Arkansas, two children are listed with their parents, Samuel & Margaret Parker: Larken C. Parker, age 6, and Della Parker, age 1 mo.

The existence of the son Larkin Calvin Parker is well sourced and proven. He is known to have died 18 Jul 1910 in Salem, Pike, Ark.

Several other Ancestry.com online trees list the family as having a son named Rayford Parker b. 20 Mar 1872 in Pike, Ark .. d. 18 Jul 1910 in Salem, Pike, Ark. Other trees list a Thomas Parker with the exact same b. & d. data. Unfortunately none of these trees offer any proof or valid sources about Rayford or Thomas Parker. Those which do list sources only cite other (unsourced) family trees or The One World Tree which is, by no means, a factual source.

If anyone has valid information about the other two children of Samuel & Margaret Parker, I’d very much like to hear from you….

Throgmortons and Taylors

The THROGMORTONs & TAYLORs of Jefferson County IL & Lawrence County AR

The name THROGMORTON is an obvious derivative of the name THROCKMORTON; the spelling variations are far too numerous to list. The most common include: THROGMORTEN, THROGMORTIN, THROGMARTIN, THOGMORTON, THOGMORTEN, THOGMARTIN, THRAGMARTEN, FROGMARTIN, TROGMORTEN, etc.

The association or connection of the THROGMORTONs and the TAYLORs is first documented in the 1850 census of Jefferson County, Illinois, which shows the families of William Trogmorten and Elizabeth (widow of Drury, Sr.) Taylor to be neighbors.

On October 22, 1853, William C. Taylor (son of Drury Sr.) purchased 40 acres of land near Elk Prairie in Jefferson County, IL. On April 5, 1855, William Thogmorten purchased the adjoining 50 acres of land.

Two of William Throgmorton’s daughters married two sons of Drury Taylor, Sr. Jefferson County, Illinois records indicate that Mathew William Taylor married Eliza J. Throgmorton on February 7, 1855, and, Drury M. Taylor married Mary E. Throgmorton on November 5, 1859.

In the late 1850’s (probably 1859) the family of Drury Taylor, Sr. moved to St. Genvieve County, Missouri, and the William Throgmorton family accompanied them as the 1860 census for that county shows dwelling numbers 889, 890, and 891 to be Taylors, and then number 892 is listed as the family of William Throgmorton.

Sometime after the beginning of the Civil War (probably 1862) the Taylors and the Throgmortons left Missouri and returned to Jefferson County, Illinois. Drury M. Taylor had died in early 1870 and his widow, Mary Throgmorton (along with Drury’s five children) is shown on the 1870 census living in Dodds Township with her parents, William and Lucy Throgmorton. Elizabeth, widow of Drury Sr., and most of her children and their families are shown living nearby in Blissville Township.

The 1870 census also finds a Taylor – Throgmorton connection in Missouri. The Washington Co. MO census shows William Taylor (Mathew William Taylor son of Drury Sr.), his wife, Eliza J. Throgmorton, and their family living next door to Eliza’s brother, Edward (actually Edmond G. Throgmorton) and his family.

The Taylors and the Throgmortons left Illinois and migrated to Lawrence County, Arkansas sometime between late 1870 and mid 1872. The 1872 membership list of the New Hope Baptist Church in Lawrence Co., AR includes William Throgmorton, his wife and two sons (and several other Throgmortons) and, Matthew M. (could be “W”) Taylor, Duain M. Taylor and Mary E. Taylor (perhaps Drury M.’s widow, Mary E. Throgmorton). On July 17, 1872, the widow of Drury M., Mary E. Throgmorton, married Greenberry Taylor in Lawrence Co., AR. Greenberry was a son of Godfrey Taylor, Drury M.’s older brother. The Throgmorton family was already represented in Lawrence County, Arkansas as one of Mary’s cousins, Robert Pinkney Throgmorton had married Elizabeth Foreman there on April 1, 1869. As early as the 1850’s and 60’s, several related Throgmorton lines had moved into Arkansas counties adjoining Lawrence.

Lawrence County Arkansas courthouse records indicate a great deal of official activity during the 1880’s and 90’s in which a Taylor or a Throgmorton was listed (oftentimes jointly).

The 1880 census for Lawrence Co., AR lists the following:
John L. D. Taylor, son of Drury Sr.
Sarah Jane Taylor (Wells), dau of William C. Taylor
Mary Throgmorton (Taylor), widow of Drury M. & Greenberry, along with her sons & dau
L.F. (Lucy) Throgmorton, widow of William Throgmorton & Mary’s mother
Duane Marion Taylor, son of Drury Sr.
Eliza Jane Taylor, widow of William C. Taylor
Martin William Wyatt, widower of Elizabeth A. Taylor (Drury Sr’s dau), along with two sons
Littleman L. Throgmortin, Mary Throgmorton Taylor’s bro & son of William
Isiah Minson, son of Sarah Jane Taylor (dau of Drury Sr.)
E. G. Throgmorton, Mary Throgmorton Taylor’s bro & son of William

The county marriage records include too many entries to list here, but five significant ‘joint’
listings are:
L.L. Throgmorton to Rosanna Taylor 11-20-1881 with J.M Wells as security
Isaiah Minson to Margaret Ward 4-2-1884 with L.L. Throgmorton as security
Jefferson D. Taylor to Sallie Bunch 7-11-1884 with E.G. Thogmartin as security
Leander Taylor to Patsy J. Bunch 8-1-1884 with E.G. Throgmartin as security
John Riley Taylor to Francis Freer 7-8-1893 with E.G. Throgmartin as security

After a mere half century the two families appear to have separated themselves from each other. Just before and during the turn of the century the Lawrence County AR Taylors and Throgmortons migrated again …. only this time they scattered throughout the region as individuals and small family units making them extremely difficult to track. Many of the Throgmortons moved into Craighead County AR where they live today (spelling their name Throgmartin); others may have moved back to Missouri. Many of the Taylors are believed to have died in Lawrence County. Some moved into Oregon County MO, some to Craighead County AR and further into southern Arkasas. By the 1910 and 1920 censuses, several of the original Lawrence County Taylors were in Oklahoma and Red River County, Texas.

Why did the two families leave Illinois … Why did they settle in Lawrence County Arkansas … What happened to separate and scatter them???? After more than a hundred years time which has eliminated any evidence that might have existed, here’s some speculative answers ….. The Civil War decimated many families and our Taylors and Throgmortons were no exception. The move from Illinois to Missouri and then back to Illinois was probably precipitated by the war and must have been extremely expensive for the families who’s meager funds were already stretched by the existing conditions. When the war ended, the families probably followed thousands of others searching for either free or inexpensive land and new opportunities in the southwestern United States. One of the primary migration routes from the northeast to the southwest was the Old Military Road that crossed right through Lawrence County Arkansas making it a typical ‘way station’ for weary travelers. Unfortunately, the Ozark foothills did not provide a very hospitable environment. A yellow fever epidemic killed hundreds during the period of 1897 though 1899 (followed by a meningitis epidemic in 1899). The harsh post-war reconstruction imposed on the southern states caused poverty to be even more epidemic; not one of our Taylors’ names is listed on the 1890 tax rolls of Lawrence County (although two Throgmortons do appear!). With this in mind, and having personally heard the sad stories of misfortune from my grandparents, I believe that disease and poverty finally caused the large family groups to break up (many must have died) and scatter as individuals.

Undesirable Genealogy Findings

Sometimes genealogy discoveries can be undesirable, embarrassing, and even repugnant. With that said, it almost sickens me to report that I just learned that I am related to Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde gangster infamy.

I would like to think that any normal person would regret a kinship to this despicable murderer but it is even a heavier burden for me …. You see, I am a retired Texas police officer and my father was a former Texas Highway Patrolman from the 1950’s. When he attended the patrol academy in 1953 the instructors still talked about the 1934 Barrow Gang killings of two Texas Highway Patrolmen near Grapevine Texas and how Bonnie personally is alleged to have “finished off” one of the young patrolmen. It was a crime so heinous that the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately offered a $1,000 reward for “the dead bodies of the Grapevine slayers” — not their capture, just their bodies! Dad so despised the pair that I (still in high school) was forbidden to see the 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

At this particular point in time, I cannot specifically detail my relationship data to Bonnie Parker but I am informed that the proof has been verified with DNA evidence. When the family individual names are available, I will post them accordingly to my online tree.

Someone once said, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family!” How sadly true …………

PARKER Online Tree Resource

If your PARKER family has roots in the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and/or Texas, then there’s a fair chance that Wayne Parker’s online tree may be a valuable resource for you … it is located at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=REG&db=parker_2008&id=I16149 … Wayne is a very serious, very effective researcher … he updates his tree at least weekly. Wayne is part of the Parker Y-DNA Project Family Group #7 and utilizes DNA evidence in his tree. More about the Parker Y-DNA Project can be found at: http://web.utk.edu/~corn/parkerdna/

Andrew Calvin Parker

Andrew Calvin Parker (ACP) is believed to have been born 27 Apr 1824 in Fayette Co., Alabama. His father may have been Samuel Parker (1795-1865) and his mother’s given name may have been Eleanor (1802-1849).

ACP married Mary Elizabeth Mcknight abt 1848 and we find the couple living with her parents in the 1850 Choctaw Miss census.

ACP & Mary haven’t been found on the 1860 census. Although of age, no Civil War service record has been found for ACP. It is interesting to note that five of Samuel Parker’s sons (possibly ACPs bros) all fought for the 4th Ark Union Cavalry.

ACP & family are living in Antoine Twp, Pike Co., AR in both the 1870 and 1880 censuses.

According to censuses, ACP & Mary had eleven children: John (1848-1890), Ellender (1850-), Samuel (1853-1918), Malinda (1855-), James (1858-), Melvina (1860-), Francis(1861-1926), Mary J(1863-1929), Sevilla(1868-1903), Thomas(1872-1955), Julia A(1875-1906).

Although unsourced, some trees state that ACP died 10 Sep 1896 in Pike Co., AR. (Mary is listed as a widow in 1900).

Can anyone help by providing sourced information about Andrew Calvin Parker? Especially: (1) Date of birth & location, (2) date of death & location, (3) Civil War record, and last and most important (4) confirmation of his parentage.