Friday, May 17, 2013

Lately in Geneaology

The last two weeks have been kind of a whirlwind of activity for me where genealogy is concerned - without a whole lot to blog about in great detail (yet).

First, after tons of research on various companies and having had it on my list of "stuff I want" for quite some time I got my DNA done at  Their price dropped to $99 and it was an offer I just couldn't bypass. I'm really impressed with the process so far and I'm itching to get my results back.  It could take another month or so.  I'm curious what it turns up in the way of surnames and I'm really interested in learning more about my mitocondrial haplogroup and migration across the globe.

I rescued some family member's memorials at Find a Grave and touched them up with accurate names, dates, family members and bios.  I love that Find A Grave has such a broad network that I was able to find some family headstones that I didn't have before.  I went on a local graveyard excursion to get a picture of some headstones for some strangers on Find a Grave too... it was surprisingly rewarding.

I ordered some death certificates from Florida and Georgia for my grandparents that have passed.  I would like to have hard copies of them.  From there, I think my next step will be to order my great grandparents - although several of those were available online.  It's funny to me that they are so readily available after a certain number of years.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Alexander Yarbrough

Alexander Yarbrough on a wagon
Alexander Yarbrough on a Wagon [4]
Alex Yarbrough (aka Alex or Allie [4]), my great, great grandfather, was born on the 6th of January in 1862 in Shiloh, TN to Weldon and Millie Yarbrough. [2]

Alex married Laura Belle Martin in Stewart County, TN on the 25th of April 1882. [1]  My family all calls her Laura Belle, just like her daughter.  I matched her with Laura Martin via her marriage to Alexander Yarbrough and her death date, which matched family stories.  There is some confusion over Laura Belle Martin's birth date though.  Her headstone (in this post) and her Social Security Death Index record says Sept 12, 1861, the marriage record says she was 18 in 1882, making her born about 1864 and the census says she was 37 in 1900, making her birth year about 1863.  The marriage record could have been a transcription or miscalculation error as I have not seen the original, the census is written very clearly and I am not sure of the source of the date on the headstone.  So take that for what you will but she was born sometime between 1861 and 1864.

The 1900 census shows Alex, 37, his wife Laura, who is also 37, married for 17 years, at that point, with seven children.  Oscar, 16, Mary, 13, John, 11, Ella, 8, Ethel, 6, Effie, 3 and Millie, 1.  [7]

On February 12, 1901, Laura Belle Yarbrough, my great grandmother, was born to Alex and Laura Belle.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Legacy Family Tree : Why I Like It and You'll Like it Too

If you've never had the pleasure of compared genealogy software, I'm about to save you a whole lot of headache.  Genealogy software is not the polished application you would expect from say - Microsoft.  It's built by genealogy companies who hire a software developer or happen to know someone who does 'software stuff', not software development houses.  Software development and UI design are complex.  And so is genealogy   The combination of the two, regrettably, mostly winds up being a clunky interface with lots of features that are really difficult to use.

I took my first foray into genealogy several years ago.  And at first, there is this process of information overwhelm.  There are thousands of people out there who have done massive amounts of work and there is tons of data there for the taking - sometimes even entire family trees.  I was in internet research hog heaven!

During that phase, I collected what I could and put it together the best I could so that I could kind of wrap my head around what was there.  I found Legacy Family Tree on a free software site and used it to create my own gedcom file  so that I could send it to my grandmother to say "Hey - look what I found!"... but I didn't do much else with it.

Fast forward five years and two computers later.  I picked up genealogy as a hobby again.  This time, I was far more conscious of approaching it as actual research because I wanted to resolve some long standing questions in a couple of my lines of ancestry.  I was careful about making sure what I gathered was properly sourced and making sure anything I sent out had my information on it and all of the finite details that ensure that genealogy remains accurate.  As I realized the breadth of data I'd be collecting, storing and organizing, I realized I'd need software to do it.  And so I started doing genealogy software comparisons.  And by comparison, what I really mean is tragically crash testing my ancestry against meager feature sets with the assistance of copious amounts of Tylenol to take the pain away.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Google-Fu for Geneaology

Google-Fu Master / scott_hampson / CC2.0
Google-Fu : (n) The art and science of crafting google searches to give you precisely what you need.  Example : GoogleFu is strong in you.

If your Google-Fu is strong, the sky is the limit for what you can find online.  I have often found amazing resources with a few tweaks to an otherwise useless search.  Free, electronic resources free for the taking - if only you know how to find them.

First up is Google Advanced Search.  If you use this advanced form, you can do all of what I'll show you in this post without having to type special stuff into the search blanks.  The google advanced search form is a really user friendly form that allows you to search just about anything with easy, user friendly explanations off to the right of each blank.  If you like google advanced search, add it to your bookmarks so that you can get there easily.

Although google is capable of doing a ton of things and you can do all of them from the advanced search form, sometimes it's quicker for me to do google-fu in the generic search blank.  Here are a couple search tricks that are at the top of my list for genealogy searches.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Laura Belle Yarbrough

My connection to the Yarbrough family comes via Helen Paulene Maynard, my grandmother.  She was born to Barnes Maynard and Laura Belle Yarbrough, November 7th in 1924. She married John Michael Sinks.  She died Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia.  [5][6]

Her mother, my great grandmother, Laura Belle Yarbrough, was born on 12 Feb 1901 in Montgomery Co., TN [3] [11] to Alexander Yarbrough and Laura Belle Martin.   The 1910 census shows Alex, 49, married to Mary, 24 with Laura's children,  Ethel, now 16, Effie, 14, Millie, 11 and Laura (Belle) who is now 9 years old.  [11]

When Laura Belle Martin passed away, my great grandmother, Laura Belle Yarbrough, was only three years old.  Alexander remarried to a lady named Mary (Dib) Kirlacy. Dib and Alexander had several children that would be Laura Belle's half siblings.  My family remembered Virginia, Sally, "Betsy", Sam.  [1] Bessie was 9 years old in the 1920 census. [8] I have seen on other family trees, but have not yet verified that Lorene (Sally) was born in 1924 and died in 2002 and Virginia Ruth was born on 03 Mar 1928 in Clarksville, TN and died on 26 Apr 1976.

Laura Belle Yarbrough married Barnes Maynard, the son of James (Jim) Henry Maynard and Callie Potter [2] on on 23 Sep 1917 in Clarksville, TN, becoming Laura Belle Maynard. [4]  According to a story I got from my first cousin once removed, Callie (my great, great grandmother) once told her (my cousin), Barnes and his family went out west in a covered wagon and settled somewhere in Oklahoma.  But Barnes and Laura had fallen in love before they left and Barnes wanted to come back and marry her so the whole family came back with him.[2]

Laura and Barnes had Robert Earl [9], Helen Paulene [9].  They appear in the 1920 census as Laura and Barnes "Mayner", 19 and 21 years old, respectively with a 5 month old Robert Earl. [8]  They appear in the 1930 census with a 10 year old Robert E and a 5 year old Helen P.[10]

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Importance of Genealogy Bibliographies

Bibliography \ Suzanne Chapman \ CC2
Have you ever played the telephone game?  One person starts.  They whisper something into the ear of the person next to them.  That person then whispers what they heard into the ear of the person next to them... and so on.  At the end of the line of people, the person says what they heard out loud and it's compared, usually with lots of laughter, to what was originally said.  It is never actually what was originally said and is usually something quite silly compared to what was originally said.

Geanology websites, unfortunately, often play out like the telephone game.  The same information is parroted over and over from family tree to family tree, becoming slightly skewed here or there, which is then skewed again later and before you know it, you have this individual on a family tree that has a different name or a different birth or death date which can wreck havoc on entire ancestry lines.  I've run across situations in researching my own family tree, where I noticed that an entire line of someone's tree was incorrect because they fudged someone's name.  

Further adding to this frustration, so often in my research, I've run across a blurb of interest from a book or family tree - but it wasn't properly sourced. So, for all I know, it could have been plagiarized directly from another author or could be an inaccurate paraphrase.  Often times, when I do a keyword search, I run across 20 pages that all have the exact text verbatim - so, in my experience, plagiarism is rampant, even in genealogy.