Saturday, March 30, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Genealogy Fools Day Is on Monday

I always associate April Fools' Day with my brother and myself, because my mother told me that she was told her due date for each of us was April 1.  It's one of the few times I can say I'm happy I was late.  But this week, for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver is asking when we genealogists were fools.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision. 

1.  April Fools Day is Monday.  When were you a Genealogy Fool?  What wrong, funny, or silly genealogy effort did you make?

2.  Tell us about them in a comment on this post or in a Facebook post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

One of the biggest genealogy mistakes I have ever made, and which lasted an extraordinarily long time, was trusting an index entry without looking for the original record from the beginning.

In the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI), I found an entry for what appeared to be the marriage of my great-great-grandparents Joel Armstrong and Sarah Deacon Lippincott.  It stated that Sarah's parents were Jesse and Elizabeth Lippincott.

Because I knew that information in the IGI generally came from actual microfilmed records, as opposed to unsourced family trees, I trusted this and added the information to my tree, then researched the people listed as Sarah's parents.  I took the tree back two or three more generations, which was the result of some effort, because you pretty much can't go around New Jersey, and particularly Burlington County, without tripping over lots and lots of Lippincotts.  They're everywhere.

Then FamilySearch added images of church records from New Jersey to its online record collection.

And I discovered that there were actually two different Sarah Lippincotts who married close in time to each other in Burlington County.  Mine did marry Joel Armstrong, but her parents were not Jesse and Elizabeth Lippincott.  They were Abel A. Lippincott and Rachel R. Stackhouse.  Jesse and Elizabeth were the parents of the OTHER Sarah Lippincott.

Somehow the two different marriage entries had been conflated in the IGI.


So I excised a huge amount of my research and started over.  And yes, I absolutely felt like a fool.

On the other hand, at least I was willing to admit I was wrong and start over.

My cousin's husband, who had made the same mistake I had, refused to believe it was a mistake and stuck to his guns, even when I sent him the information about the two different Sarahs' marriages.  (And it's even correct in the IGI now.  Well, somewhat correct.  Now it says that Sarah's parents were Abel A. Armstrong and Rachel R.  At least the given names are right.)

As of the last I heard, he still had Sarah's parents as Jesse and Elizabeth.

You can lead a horse to water . . . .

Monday, March 25, 2024

My Father's Photos for National Peacock Day

I have written about how I recently received a photo bonanza from my sister.  Four years after my father passed away, my sister's niece finished scanning (or at least finished scanning a good portion of) the photos that were in my father's home.  My father was a semiprofessional photographer for many years and would take photos of just about anything and everything.

As I have been going through the photographs and attempting to identify people and places in them, I found many that were of various animals that apparently caught my father's eye.  I tried to figure out how I could go about posting and sharing them and discovered that there are many, many "national days" of more things than I had ever imagined.  So I decided to pair photos with national days when I could.

Today, March 25, is National Peacock Day.  There's a lovely informative page about the day with fun facts about peacocks and a list of 25 ways you can celebrate peacocks.  Believe it or not, #7 on the list is share photos of peacocks on social media.  Every now and then even I can follow instructions!

So here are the peacocks I found among my father's photos.  Unfortunately, my father was really bad about labeling his photos (I'm still working on all the cars), so I have no idea where or when he took these.  But at least they are absolutely recognizable as peacocks.  My best guess is a park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, but I could be horribly wrong.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Top End-of-line Ancestors

The Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post that Randy Seaver posted tonight is a rerun from 2018, and I don't have anyone else in my extended family I have researched to the same degree where I could readily pull up that information, so instead I went back and found an older Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, from September 2023, that I did not write about at the time.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible music!):

1.  Show us your pedigree (or fan) chart.  Who are your end-of-line ancestors?  Describe the top five or ten of them.

2.  Write your own blog post, leave a comment on this post, or write something on Facebook.

Okay, bowing out of showing the pedigree/fan chart.  I have tried to create those in the new version of Family Tree Maker that I have, and I must be doing something horribly wrong, because it just isn't working.  So, feh.

But I can write about the end-of-line ancestors!  Not sure what Randy means by the "top" five or ten, though.  Top problem causers?  Top frustration generators?  Maybe just furthest back in time.  I decided to write only about my father's side, since I don't have a lot of real concrete data on my European-born ancestors on my mother's side.

• Paternal grandfather Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr. (1903–1995):  Born out of wedlock to his mother, with no father listed on the birth certificate, he gained the name Sellers when his mother married Cornelius Elmer Sellers seven months later.  I proved with Y-DNA testing that he was not biologically a Sellers, but I'm still trying to find his biological father.  (I researched the Sellers line back to 1615 in Weinheim, Baden, so not much to worry about there,)

• 2x-great-grandfather Joel Armstrong (1849–c. 1921):  I know two more generations back on his paternal line (see below), but I still don't know who his mother was, because his father was apparently widowed by 1850.  With more information available nowadays than when I got hung up on this, I probably should be able to resolve this question if I simply get back to working on it.

• 3x-great-grandmother Rachel R. Stackhouse (c. 1826–aft. 1885):  Married Abel A. Lippincott before 1846, probably in New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandfather Joel Armstrong (c. 1798–1854):  Married Catherine Stackhouse in 1823 in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandmother Catherine Stackhouse (c. 1798–c. 1865):  Married Joel Armstrong in 1823 in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandfather Stacy B. Lippincott (?–?):  Married Alice Parker before 1826, probably in New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandmother Alice Parker (?–?):  Married Stacy B. Lippincott before 1826, probably in New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandfather John Gibson (?–?):  Married Mary before 1833, probably in New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandmother Mary —?— (?–?):  Married John Gibson before 1833, probably in New Jersey.

• 4x-great-grandmother Jane Coleclough (c. 1811–1865):  Married Richard Dunstan in 1833 in Manchester, England.

• 4x-great-grandfather Thomas Winn (c. 1792–?):  Married Mary Parr(?) c. 1812, possibly in Shropshire.

• 4x-great-grandmother Mary Parr(?) (?–bef. 1842):  Married Thomas Winn c. 1812, possibly in Shropshire.

So I included twelve ancestors, nine of whom are 4x-great-grandparents.  I really need to get back to work on this!

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Are You a Descendant of Irish Ancestors?

I knew Randy Seaver would be asking about Irish ancestry on this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, because tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day.  Are you a descendant of Irish ancestors?  Who are your most recent ancestor(s) who were born in Ireland?  Do you have DNA Irish ethnicity?  Have you performed any Irish genealogy research?

2.  Tell us about your Irish ancestry, ethnicity, and research in a comment on this post or in a Facebook post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

Well, this is one of those topics that has been discussed in my family for a while.  You see, my mother insisted we had Irish ancestry — on her side of the family.  Which was Jewish.  There are indeed Irish Jews, and I have even visited the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin, but my mother didn't have a drop of Irish blood in her.  I guess she just really wanted to be Irish, because don't we all.

When I received the results of my AncestryDNA test, they said that I was 12.5% Irish, which would be about the amount expected if I had one great-grandparent who was Irish.  But I knew about my ancestry and pooh-poohed the mere idea.  I was 50% Jewish, 25% English, and 25% German.  What did those silly people at Ancestry know?

Let's keep in mind, of course, that the ethnicity estimates are the most useless part of the DNA results.  They're not based on statistically significant numbers, and they are primarily based on self-reported information.  Judy Russell calls the ethnicity information "cocktail party conversation"; I call it smoke and mirrors.

But I had begun to suspect that my paternal grandfather's biological father was not, in fact, Mr. Sellers, which is where that German ancestry came from.  I have researched that line and taken it back to 1615 in Weinheim, Baden.  Before that some of the ancestors were probably Swiss.  But definitely not Irish.

I was fortunate in that my grandfather had a brother, who had sons, who had sons.  My father had taken a Y-DNA test, so I tracked down one of my male cousins descended from my grandfather's brother and paid for his Y-DNA test.

And the results were clear:  My grandfather and his brother did not descend from the same man.  The two Y-DNA results were worlds apart.  My cousin descends from the family from Weinheim, Baden.  My father and me, not so much.

Coincidentally, I had bumped up my father's Y-DNA to the maximum number of markers available at the consumer level.  And who did he match at that level?  Two guys named Mundy, who apparently are Irish.

So do I have to admit that Ancestry might have been right?

I'm still working on trying to figure out who Grampa's biological father was.  But I might have Irish ancestry after all.

Now, separately from that, I have done a bunch of Irish research.  My ex is half Irish, and I did a ton of research on his family.  His best friend is also half Irish, and I've worked on his family history (mostly because my ex thought the two of them might be related, but they're not).  My half-sister's mother was all Irish, all day long (although I think it's going to turn out that she was at least partly Welsh, and that they came to Ireland as mercenaries, but I'm still working on that also).  A friend whose genealogy I still work on is one quarter Irish.  So I know a fair amount about researching Irish ancestry.

Maybe one day I'll research my own.