Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Petition of Free People of Color Asking that an Act to Impose a Poll Tax be Repealed - South Carolina

This petition, and the associated statement of supporters, was filed 20 April 1794 in South Carolina in an effort to overturn the Poll tax. Among it's signers are the Turners, the family of my 5th great grandfather, John Turner, which is how I encountered this document.

This entire journey through my own history, dove tailing my experiences with inequalities that still exist in our modern society, has been an eye opening experience in the most horrific of ways.  This post isn't about politics, it's about a thing that happened that my ancestors were involved in -  but I believe that I would be remiss in my understanding of the experiences of my ancestors, which is the point of my research, without noting two things about this document that highlight the stunning inequality between people of color and white people, at the time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Millie Turner, Daughter of John and Patience Turner - Genetic Connection Found!

It seems like all I blog about these days is the Turner connection.  I admit, their story is so intriguing, that I've been focused on it for a good while now.  It's the tiny little sliver to the left there - the light pink one, that has just been itching to have a story told about it.  Also, it helps that I have some distant cousins hoping to find their own Turner DNA connection and I probably get the most email from them.

At any rate, today, I finally had the breakthrough I was hoping for.  I have definitively pinned down a segment of DNA that came from John Turner's daughter, Millie.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seeking Turner or Weathersbee Gedmatch Kits

Some time ago, I posted about John and Patience Turner.  Since then, several people have contacted me to say that they have also traced family trees to John and Patience.  Two of those people have gedmatch kits - but the combinations of matches and lack of matches have left me more perplexed than ever.

If you have a gedmatch kit and have traced your family tree to John and Patience Turner or to Thomas Weathersbee, John's slave owner, I would love to compare kits.  Leave a comment and I'll email you back.

Update : I found one match!  Here are the details.

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Stop the Circulation of Bad Family Tree Data

When I first began into geneaology, I was astounded and delighted with the amount of information I found in already-created family trees online.  With the click of a few buttons, someone else's entire gedcom could be integrated with me.  Hundreds - or even thousands of years of ancestry scored in a matter of a few minutes!, and other similar genealogy research sites have made it easy to research, publish, share and copy family trees, even if you have zero genealogy research experience.  They have also made it terribly easy to amplify the errors of the inexperienced exponentially.

So, then came the part where I realized most of what I got from others was trash.  I spent days - nay, weeks, weeding out individuals and relationships that were not possible or were not borne out by proof. Amidst all my grumbling and complaining and kicking myself for ever having used them to begin with, I started to see some common threads between the inaccuracies.  I think much of it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes proof versus evidence, some of it is wishful thinking and some of it is just an honest mistake.

Whatever combination of these it is, some "genealogists" leap over impossible hurdles to make connections that are not there.  Mothers give birth to babies posthumously or at the age of two.  Father's father children years after their own death.  Mothers have children a mere two months apart.  Mothers and fathers live to a hundred to give birth to a baby.  There was a king or queen or famous person once, who lived in the same city and they had an unknown child when they were 205 years old who was my 32nd great grandfather.  What?

I have, in my own family, several examples of these myths becoming fact without any real logical foundation. One of them is the myth of Jordanus de Sheppey who is, 90% of the time, mistakenly reported to be the son of King Harold II.

The Norwood line can be traced fairly unerringly back to a man named Jordanus de Sheppey.  The myth in the Norwood clan (in short) is that during his life, Harold Godwinson (King Harold II) had a son who hid away on the Isle of Sheppey and changed his name to Jordanus, becoming Jordanus de Sheppey. There is absolutely nothing in the way of proof tying King Harold to the Norwood family and it is actually mathematically impossible that Harold's son is 'our' Jordanus.  [3]   But despite the story failing basic proof and logic tests, it continues to be propagated - and even argued - mostly because, I think, being related to a king is better than being related to a.... brick wall.