Release Of Photographs

Dear Cousins,

As some of you may be aware, I have taken a break from genealogy research for most of the past two years due a number of deaths within my immediate family and also demands of my business. Several weeks ago something happened to end my genealogy break …. I unexpectedly came into possession of a cache of family photos which appear to have been originally in the safekeeping of my grand aunt Evie Walker (Loosier) who was the daughter of John Alexander Walker and the grand-daughter of James Berry Walker and his second wife, Sarah Parker (Stills) (Walker). In addition to photos of James Berry and Sarah, the collection includes photos of individuals from these families: Walker, Loosier, Curl, Lassiter, Hightower, Hiler, Smithen, Stockard, Sabo, Seals, and others. Also, there are many photos of unidentified persons.

I plan to share ALL of the photos online … they will be posted on my Ancestry.com tree (where I am username 1jtay) and also my personal genealogy website located at www.genwebsite.com which is a free access site. For way too long many old photos have been withheld from other family members and fellow researchers for various reasons that may have begun with good intentions but still resulted in the photos being kept “hidden”. I hope my gesture of total release of these photos will encourage others to share theirs. Only two stipulations will apply to these photographs …. (#1) You may not rename or relabel any photo … in other words, in your mind & heart you may not believe that that’s a photo of L.D. Walker but you may not change, rename, relabel or otherwise alter that photo in any way … my grand aunt Evie knew her family members names and she wrote them on the photos during her lifetime, 1904-1975. (#2) You should properly cite the source of the photo when and if you reprint it elsewhere. The citation should read, “Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016”.

With all my best wishes,

Johnny Taylor

(Standing L.) Myrtle, James Dewey, Evie. (Seated L.) John Alexander Walker, Mattie, Laura J. Hiler Walker, Clarence. c. 1915-15 (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

(Standing L.) Myrtle, James Dewey, Evie. (Seated L.) John Alexander Walker, Mattie, Laura J. Hiler Walker, Clarence. c. 1915-15 (Photograph provided by and in the collection of Johnny Taylor, Marshall, TX, 2016)

Perpetuating Misinformation

At least when it applies to information, especially genealogy information, undoubtedly the Internet is the easiest and most convenient resource to perpetuate misinformation.

Last week I came across the FindAGrave.com memorial page for one of my Taylor cousins buried in Arkansas. I had been wanting to verify this cousin’s middle name and I was elated to find his full name listed on the memorial page as well as information about his parentage and his Civil War service. Then, I realized that he was listed as having served in a Confederate regiment from Georgia … this struck me as odd since this man was born and died in Arkansas and likely never left the state. Well, I threw down the gauntlet and began an investigation.

First, I contacted the FindAGrave.com contributor who had created the memorial page and verified that he had indeed eyeballed the headstone and personally took the photograph. He informed me that the stone was very difficult to read but he could make out the inscription … then he added that, “Some of the other information was found using Ancestry.com.”

I went online and beginning with Rootsweb (i.e. Ancestry.com) I followed link after link finally finding a 2007 survey of the cemetery on a page of USGenWeb archives. I contacted the county coordinator only to discover that the contributor of the 2007 survey was deceased. I explained my suspicions about the information to the county coordinator and she immediately joined the investigation to find the truth … (editor’s note – this is a phenomenon that you rarely find anymore … someone with integrity willing to cooperate in finding the truth and correcting an error !). While she was researching elsewhere, I went to Fold3.com and checked Arkansas Taylor’s who fought for the Confederacy and found that there were two in that Arkansas county with the same initials … one from GA who fought with a GA regt, and, one from AR who fought with an AR regt.

To try and shorten the story of the investigation … here are the results: (1) in the 1970’s a volunteer made a survey of the cemetery in question .. instead of simply recording the known facts (although she did include the vital fact that only the initials for the deceased’s first & middle names were engraved on the headstone), she added a comment that the person buried in that grave was listed as dwelling #000 in the county’s 1850 Federal Census…THIS WAS TOTALLY INCORRECT INFORMATION since that dwelling was occupied by the other Taylor! (2) many years later in 2007 another volunteer compiles an updated survey of the cemetery. She (no doubt with all good intentions) sees the earlier comment and expounds in it with additional information and this time part of the information belongs to one of the Taylor’s and part of it belongs to the other. (3) in late 2009 a FindAGrave.com contributor walks the cemetery in question, takes photos and enters his findings on FindAGrave.com. Unfortunately, he decides to include additional information available on the Internet and includes the misinformation found in items (1) and/or (2) described above.

Conclusion… As a result of items (1), (2), and (3) described above, we have a grave in an Arkansas cemetery clearly identified at least in three different locations on the Internet (which probably equates to dozens if not hundreds of locations) and the information is (partially) incorrect on all three and in two of the listings even the name of the deceased is wrong because it belongs to another individual! Item (3) was easy to correct … the FindAGrave.com contributor cooperated fully and changed all the misinformation on the memorial page he had created. Item (1) cannot be corrected or changed because it was done in printed form back in the 1970’s and no one knows what libraries it was sent to, and worst, what genealogical publications might have reprinted it. Item (2) has so far not been corrected and may not be. Although the county coordinator is very willing to correct the document, she is unable to locate the Internet repository where the document/folder is located in order to make the changes. At least her efforts are continuing.

The LESSON TO BE LEARNED … Anytime you compile, compose, write, or otherwise generate a document or something that others might view as a secondary or (God forbid) a primary genealogy source, ALWAYS stick to the known facts ONLY. If you can’t help yourself and you just must add additional information then label it as such … for example, write, “Editor’s note .. or, Compiler’s note .. or, Contributor’s comment .. or, Personal observation” .. or, whatever it takes to differentiate the facts from the non-facts!!!!

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.

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!!!

 

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 …………

An Addendum …. I’ve long been aware that I was related to the Woodson family who arrived on the Virginia coast a year before the Mayflower made the trip. Well, I’ve now confirmed the relationship which is the ‘good news’ … unfortunately (and this is the ‘bad news’), being kin to the Woodson Family means I can now identify a new 6th cousin 4x removed as one, Jesse Woodson James. Obviously, we all know this individual as the infamous outlaw, Jesse James! This plot just keeps getting better because along with kinship to Jesse, I also can now claim his outlaw brother, Frank James …. and, hopefully I am wrong but I seem to recall that Jesse & Frank were kin to the Youngers, the Daltons, and to Johnny Ringo ….

Pritchett’s In The Civil War

Muster roll for Company F. 60th. Regiment, Gordons Army of Northern Virginia C. S. A. Gilmer and Whitfield Counties, Georgia, Gilmer volunteers:

James M. Pritchett Pvt. Sept. 19 1861, captured and paroled at Fredricksburg, Virgina Dec. 13 1862, Captured at Spotsylvania Virginia, May 20 1864, Paroled at Point Lookout, Md. and transferred for exchange March 15, 1865. He was son of Lewis Pritchett and father of John Robert Pritchett. He married Delilah Spears. .
J. N. Prichett, Pvt. April 25, 1862, Captured at Gettysburg, Pa. July 3 1863. Exchanged at Point Lookout, Md. Feb. 18, 1865. He is Jasper Newton Pritchett son of Lewis Pritchett.

M. R. Pritchett, Pvt. Sept. 19, 1861. Surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. He is the son of Jasper and Barbary Pritchett Sr. born in Gilmer County, 1838.

James M. Spears, Pvt. Feb. 25 1862. Sent to hospital in 1863. Died in Burton’s Hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia Feb. 1 1863. Buried there in the Confederate Cemetery, No. 10, 4th, line lot 189. He is the son of Friend Spears, who married Mary Caroline Pritchett Gilmer County, May 2, 1860. Mary Caroline is the daughter of John Wylie Pritchett, the brother of Lewis. Some researchers have this Mary Caroline as the daughter of Lewis this is in error\\

D. F. Spears, Pvt. Sept. 19 1861, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. This is David son of Friend Spears.

W. B. Spears Pvt. March 4, 1862, wounded at Cold Harbor, Virginia June 27, 1862, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia April 9 1865. This is William son of Friend Spears. He married Louisa somebody cannot make out the last name in Gilmer County, Aug. 21, 1851.

Muster Roll of Company D. 11th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, C. S. A. Gilmer County, Georgia, known as the “Gilmer Boys”.

Francis Marion Pritchett, Pvt. March 3, 1862, died of Disease at Richmond, Virginia Jan. 20, 1862. He is the son of William Pritchett.

Major L. Pritchett, Pvt. July 3 1861. Wounded at Gettysburg, Pa. July 2 1863. Surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia April 9, 1865. He is the son of William Pritchett.

William Messer Pritchett, Pvt. July 3, 1861 wounded at Malvern Hill, Virginia July 1, 1862 Killed at Gettysburg, Pa. July 2, 1863. Also Williams son.

Muster Roll of Company A. 65th, Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry Army of Tennessee, C S. A. Gilmer and Pickens Counties, Georgia. “Gilmer Light Guards”.

Henry Pritchett, Enlisted in the Inf. Battn. Smith’s Legion, Georgia Vols, May 15, 1862. Appointed 2nd, Corporal. Transferred to Co. A. 65th Reg. Georgia, Inf. March 1863. Wounded in battle of Chickamauga and reported missing. Sent to hospital Feb. 22, 1864. Paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865 with rank of 4th Corporal. He was also Williams son.

Major Pritchett and William Messer Pritchett Joined same day, July 3, 1861.

James M. Pritchett, M. R. Pritchett and D. F. Spears all joined Sept 19th, 1861.

William Messer Pritchett killed at Gettysburg July 2 , 1863.

Major Pritchett wounded at Gettysburg July 2, 1863.

J. N. Pritchett was captured at Gettysburg July 3, 1863.

Miles W. Lewis family researcher Gloria Davis has a lengthy report on this man in the Davis family tree] Was wounded in the groin at Gettysburg July 2, 1863 and died in the hospital at Gettysburg July 22, 1863 from his wounds.\

M. R. Pritchett, Major Pritchett, D. F. Spears and W. B. Spears all surrendered at Appomattox April 9, 1865.

There is a Major Pritchett that was wounded July 2, 1863 in Gettysburg and surrendered at Appomattox. He and his wife Aleva show up on the Gilmer County Census for 1860, 1870 and 1880. Both are buried in Turnip Town Baptist Church Cemetery in Gilmer County. Also on the same census is Henry W. Pritchett and his wife Sarah also buried in Turnip Town.
This is a good place to state how this family was involved in the Civil war and suffered from it. Three brothers and a brother-in-law were in the same company for the South. There were other brothers-in-laws that died while in other companies. Jasper Jr., and his brother-in-law Thomas J. Wells, James Marion and Jasper Jr… Jasper Jr. his uncle James and Jasper Newton all were part of Company “F” of the 60th Confederate Army were captured and sent to Federal prison and released, different times.

SOURCE OF THIS STORY:

The Steve A. Pritchett — Skinner Web Site/Page — Genealogy
The Descendants of Jasper Pritchett
http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/p/r/i/Steve-A-Pritchett/BOOK-0001/0 002-0005.html#IND1429REF47

A Great Resource

FindAGrave.com is a fantastic genealogy research tool.  Thanks to the multiple parameters of their search engine, you have a good chance of finding the burial location and possibly a photo of their headstone IF your ancestor’s grave is included in the ever growing database of approximately 87 million listings.  Occasionally, you’ll find that someone has posted a photo, obituary, death certificate, and other valuable genealogy information about the deceased.  Always remember though … data included on headstones, obits, and death certificates is typically provided by well-meaning relatives or neighbors of the deceased and should be verified from another source.