Manuscript Monday: Booth Antecedents

Among my family papers is this document: “Antecedents of Male Booth Line.”

“Antecedents of Male Booth Line” – manuscript

This line is accurate as far as it goes, but it leads to a different Booth family in the United States.

I have no idea who in my extended family created this document. It may have been Charles Booth Gessner, or someone else at the intersection of the Booth and Gessner families.

Part of the problem arose due to confusion between two early lines of Booth families. One detailed in Walter S. Booth’s genealogy and the other detailed in Donald Lines Jacobus’ genealogy. Booth’s line goes into County Cheshire, England, and Jacobus’ goes no further than the New England colonies.

Walter Booth has additional detail in his interesting volume which discusses this line, but it is not mine.

Thoughts?

NPM

Review: Genealogy of the Burbank Family by George Burbank Sedgley

Sedgley, George Burbank. Genealogy of the Burbank Family and the Families of Bray, Wellcome, Sedgley (Sedgeley) and Welch. Farmington, Me.: Printed by the Knowlton & McLeary Co., 1928.

Sedgley goes far deeper into the Burbank fmily than I do in my paper of ten years ago, John Burbank of Rowley, Massachusetts and Some of His Descendants.

His research into the family’s early generations is exceptional, covering original records such as deeds and town papers. Extensive extracts and transcriptions are given as well as discussions of their content. While few explicit sources are listed in Sedgley, he provides enough hints for the reader to start tracking them down in their respective repositories. I, on the other hand, relied more on published sources which are open to error and are possibly less reliable.

One of the primary differences between Sedgley’s book and my paper is that Sedgley accepts as given fact the marriage of Lydia Burbank, who was born on 7 April 1644, to Abraham Foster about 1655. I noted that the whole family group is suspect because of the age differences between the two individuals.

Another difference is the discussion of Mary Burbank’s family in Arundel, Maine. Mary was born about 1733 and married John Fairfield in 1751. Sedgley orders the children in a different manner than as laid out in my listing. I agree with Sedgley’s statement that good records on Arundel families are hard to find. My own family has origins there, so knowing where to look is important.

Overall, I see this genealogy as a good starting point in the research of the Burbank family. It is well written and explains a great number of sources.

NPM

Updates to the Wyeth Family Project

One of my current projects is to document the Wyeth family of New England through the 1600s to the 1900s. The progenitor of the family was Nicholas Wyeth, born in England and emigrated to Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts during the early part of the Great Migration. He died in 1680. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

The genealogy itself, while only partly documented, is coming along nicely. I’ve been touching it off and on for several years now. Parts of this genealogy I’ve lifted off of the Internet. I’ve been looking for documents to back up the assertions made in that version. Some of the undocumented materials seem to be based on personal knowledge and recent events, so there should be documents online.

The genealogy as it exists right now is about 25 8.5” x 11” inch pages with footnotes. It is in a fairly strict NEHGS Register style. I plan to post it somewhere in the future, but not just yet since there is unfinished business with the more recent family sketches. Since it is a fairly short document, perhaps growing to 50 or so pages, I’ll probably not publish it on Amazon or Lulu, where my other publications are available.

One of the more interesting parts I’ve found is: Ruth Shepard, who married William Wyeth (1657-1703), was not the daughter of Thomas Shepard, born say 1635-1637 and died at Milton, Massachusetts 26 September 1719, and Hannah Ensign, born probably at Scituate, Massachusetts circa 1638 (baptized at Hingham, Massachusetts 6 July 1640) and died at Malden, Massachusetts 14 March 1697/8. [Robert E. Bowman, “Ensigns Revisited,” The American Genealogist, 73 (October 1998), 249.] Who she was seems to remain a mystery.

Some of the families covered, in particular the New England families, I’ve fairly completely documented, but trailing the others will be a challenge. Since they seem to have dispersed across the country, some to Washington state and some to the western states, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Review: Family Trees by François Weil

Weil, François. Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. 2013. ISBN 9780674045835.

Family Trees begins by detailing the basis for keeping many of the records that our ancestors kept. He goes on from there to detail the large pictures over the next several hundred years of genealogical research. Weil goes into some detail to discuss how the people and the methods they use are changing over time.

The book is well organized. He weaves each major section of the book together expertly and places each major player in their respective time lines: the record keepers, fraudsters, and reformers all have their places.

The discussion toward the end of the last chapter is especially pertinent today as it deals with the democratization and commercialization of genealogy and family history research. Weil details the industry and its effect on genealogists.

Using Off-beat Record Sources in Genealogy

One of the points the National Genealogical Society makes in its “Standards for Sound Genealogical Research” publication is to:

“seek original records, or reproduced images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not been altered, as the basis for their research conclusions”.

is a good one. One of the major sources of genealogical information is Ancestry.com. They offer a huge amount “reproduced images” of “original records.” The images however, have sometimes been altered to show ownership of that record. This is an improper practice given that the original has been modified in ways that sometimes cut their validity and use as primary sources of information.

Notwithstanding the policy of Ancestry, Inc. to give accurate records, they are claiming ownership of materials that are in the public domain and/or not eligible for copyright protection. These records have become compilations, according to the NGS’s standards.

“use compilations, communications and published works, whether paper or electronic, primarily for their value as guides to locating the original records … ”.

By citing directly to the record compilation as provided by Ancestry.com, one is effectively using a secondary source. Even though Ancestry does offer a clue about the original source, it remains a fact that their records are only “guides to locating the original records”.

Many genealogists find that the records provided by Ancestry.com to be enough for their purposes. This is unfortunate, however, as using this record group is only one step in the research process. Finding the record closest to the original is the next step.

Using the census as an example, one would best go to the nearest National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility to view the record on microfilm. This is what I do for my research and I cite the record as such. I also do this research professionally for those researchers who prefer the best sources available.

The records from Ancestry.com are useful only as “contributions to the critical analysis of the evidence discussed in them”. This analysis aspect is good for all records found online as the majority of records we use as genealogists are not found online. The originals are found in repositories such as the NARA facility in Seattle, Washington where I do my research.

As a genealogist for hire, I find an obligation to do this type of research not only for myself, but also for others. It is one way to give back to the community. Although I do ask that my expenses be covered, as a professional ought to, it is a business transaction of the simplest sort. You can contact me and arrange for lookups in a number of primary records available through NARA or another repository in the Pacific Northwest region.

NPM

© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes Family History & Genealogy Research