Monday, February 16, 2015

Featured Family: Family of Freeman Manson Moore and Clarissa Abbott

Freeman Manson Moore
-b. ca 1809, Greenville District, South Carolina
-d. aft 1864
& Clarissa Abbott
-b. 1803, Georgia
-m. 5 Oct 1826, Newton County, Georgia
---William S. Moore
-----b. ca 1828, Georgia
-----d. aft 1870
---& Nancy A. Dulin
-----b. ca 1833, Georgia
-----m. 14 Aug 1850, Henry County, Georgia
---J. A. E. Moore
-----b. ca 1835, Georgia
---Sarah Clarissa Moore
-----b. 7 Jan 1832, Georgia
-----d. 8 Oct 1912, New Salem, Rusk County, Texas
---& Houston J. Skinner
-----b. 12 Sep 1829, Newton County, Georgia
-----d. 20 Oct 1904, New Salem, Rusk County, Texas
-----m. 4 Dec 1853, DeKalb County, Georgia

This is the family of one of the older brothers of my great-great grandfather, William Spencer Moore.  The gaps in my knowledge of this family are so big that you could drive a truck through them. With the exception of the youngest daughter and her husband, I know no dates of death and only approximate dates of birth.  Most of my information is based on the 1850 census, when this family was in Henry County, Georgia.  I know absolutely nothing about the subsequent history of J.A.E. Moore, a daughter.  F.M. Moore appears in Henry County on an 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia; he may also appear on an 1865 tax list and in an 1867 voter and reconstruction oath book, but I cannot be certain that he is the F.M. Moore in question in either case.

If you are a descendant of this family or know anything about them, please contact me!  Just click on the link “View my complete profile” in the “About Me” section on the left side of this blog.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Temptation Is Great, But

… resist it, anyway. The lure of the Ancestry hint.  The hint you have to shoehorn in to fit the established data.  You find “confirmation” elsewhere for the veracity of the hint, and if you just make a couple of "minor" assumptions (or maybe three or four … or seven) about the (lack of) accuracy of census-takers, then…

I have been doing some basic research on the children of Wiley Franklin Moore and Mary Hood Busby, or actually filling in some missing pieces in previous research on this collateral line (the line of Freeman Manson Moore, a brother of my great-great grandfather William Spencer Moore).  This has included filling out one of my Ancestry trees with data on this family.

I was working on Arthur Elton Moore, the sixth known child of Wiley Franklin Moore and Mary Hood Busby.  I examined the various hints suggested by Ancestry.  According to my previous research, Arthur appears with his siblings on the 1910 US Federal Census, then next on the 1930 census, plus there was SSDI information and a World War I Draft Registration Card.  He was missing from the 1920 census, as were some other Moores from this line. 

But Ancestry gave me a hint for the 1920 census:

1920 US Federal Census, Justice Precinct 1, Hopkins County, Texas, ED 65, p. 7A, 7 Jan 1920

Line 25 232 Infirmary Street 138 161

Moore, Elton A. Head R M W 30 M Yes Yes TX TX TX Yes Mail carrier Rural
            Neeley Wife F W 24 M Yes Yes TX TN TX Yes Shoe making At home W
            Hoyal Son M W 6 S No TX TX TX None
            Alleen Dau F W 3-3/12 S TX TX TX None

However, I didn’t trust it, so I decided to review the other hints first.  The hints included a couple of links to Findagrave.  There I found two children listed for Arthur Elton and Ruby McClain Moore:  Harley E. Moore and Vida Aleen Moore Handley.

This looked pretty good.  But there were discrepancies:

1. Instead of Arthur E. Moore (according the 1900 and 1940 censuses, and on the 1910 and 1930 censuses he is Arthur and Arthur L.), the name given is Elton A.

2.  His age is somewhat off.

3.  His occupation is listed as mail carrier rather than farmer (as it is in the other censuses).

4.  His wife’s name was Ruby, not Neeley.

5.  His son’s name was Harley, not Hoyal.

6.  According to the 1930 census, his second child’s name is Jewel B. Moore, not Alleen Moore.

7. There is no mention of third child Berney Elbert Moore who, according to the 1930 census, was born around 1919.

Here were my explanations:

1.  I have often seen ancestors’ first and middle names used alternately, especially in this family line.  Besides – Arthur E. vs. Elton A. – still basically the same initials.

2.  Census-taker or information provider error.

3.  The census did say “Rural” after mail carrier, so the change in occupation was possible.

4.  Ruby’s middle initial was given as “N” in the 1930 and 1940 censuses – that could be Neeley.

5.  Census-taker error – and the approximate year of birth – 1914 – did match.

6.  Hm, this one was a head-scratcher.  But the approximate year of birth – 1916 – did match.

7.  This one was also a head-scratcher, and I actually forgot it in my excitement at seeing Aleen Moore listed as one of Arthur Elton’s children on Findagrave.

OK, so I blew it. 

But I didn’t let things stand at that.  After changing “Jewel B. Moore” to “Vida Aleen Moore” on my Ancestry tree, I started to examine the hints for her.  One was the California Death Index.  One item on it gave rise to a gnawing unease:  her mother’s maiden name – Blunt.

So my next step was to see what I could come up with for a search on Neeley Blunt.

And then my little house of straw started to collapse.

Among the items for Neely Blunt Moore were a picture of her with her children, Vida Aleen Moore and Hoyal Moore. 

And a picture of Aleen’s father, Elton Alexander Moore.


Though one interesting item was that Aleen’s mother’s name was actually Ruby Neely Blunt (or Blount).  No wonder people are so confused about these two families.

On my Ancestry tree, the damage was already done.  Now I had to figure out how to remove the 1920 census from the list of sources (it took me a while).  And even then, the “fact” – residence in Hopkins, Texas in 1920 – had to be removed separately. 

And I should have known to be more skeptical, because I had just gone through something like this with Arthur’s brother, Wiley A(u)gustus Moore, and with his uncle, Samuel Alexander Napoleon Moore. 

A lot of people want Wiley to be Wiley William Moore.  After all, as one researcher has pointed out, his name on the 1900 census is “clearly” given as Wiley W. Moore.  I guess you just never know when to be skeptical of census-takers.  And this is another case where Findagrave duplicates the assumptions made by some readers:  He is listed as Wiley W. Moore and is linked to the Wiley Franklin Moore family. 

The two census hints given by Ancestry are the right guy:  even if he is Wiley W. on the 1900 census, he is with the right family, and since he is listed as being in the Kansas State Reformatory in 1910, I’m pretty sure that’s right, too.

But the next two hints are not so hot.  The World War I Draft registration card for Wiley William Moore lists his mother and father as dependents (Mary Hood Busby Moore died in 1905) and the California Death Index information for this same Wiley William Moore (the date of birth for both is 20 April 1889) lists his mother’s maiden name as Smith.

Then there is Samuel Alexander Napoleon Moore.  I have 11 rejected Findagrave hints for him, starting with the Findagrave hint for an Alexander Nepolin Moore.  It lists his father as Israel Moore (my guy’s father was William S. Moore), although it does have Nancy “Dublin” (= Dulin) Moore as his mother.  The death certificate for this guy also indicates that Isrial Moore was his father.  But on the 1860 census there is an Alex N.B. Moore of about the right age – and his father is Israel Moore. The woman who appears to be his mother/his father’s wife is named Caroline, however.   And this Alexander Moore eventually married a Mary Delaney Cheeves.  And a lot of other Ancestry family trees, probably following the lead of Findagrave and ignoring that inconvenient bit about Israel Moore being the father, have Mary Delaney Cheeves as “our” Wiley Moore’s wife.

In other words, these families are totally confused with one another.

So even when Ancestry hints “seem” to be confirmed by information found elsewhere, when there any sort of conflicting information, it pays to be super-cautious.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Research Week: 25 Jan 2015

Despite some Short Attention Span Theater – flitting from one family to another – in my research, I can call this a productive and interesting research week. 

Though I am not participating in the Geneabloggers’ “Do Over,” I did go back to revisit my research (hence the flitting) on closer generations (grandparents, aunts, and uncles) and found quite a few “new to me” things:

- One of my aunts by marriage committed suicide
- I finally learned the maiden name of the second wife of one of my uncles
- I learned more about the German background of an uncle’s wife
- Discovered that my paternal grandfather had filled out a World War II registration form.
- Found a picture of an aunt for whom I had no pictures showing her as an adult; the picture also included her second husband and two sons.
- Entered a lot of 1940 census information.

Although I am continuing to build up my 23andMe family tree on My Heritage, I have decided not to subscribe to My Heritage, since at this point it does not look like there is a lot I can get out of the documents they have.  I have to admit I was tempted when I saw that one item was a death notice for my paternal grandfather (I do not have an obituary or death notice for him), but I suspect it was just a brief notice.

Two of my favorite blog posts this week are:

“Does this couple in Missouri own your relatives on Find aGrave, too?” on the Young and Savvy Genealogists blog (it includes a hilarious and alarming story about David Tennant in the shower – knew that would get your attention!).

Also this one on the Personal Past Meditations blog on “link rot” and “citation rot”:  “Going,Going…Saved.”

And here is a new blog that I have been enjoying – this author definitely has some colorful ancestors! -  Leaves on my Family Tree.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


2014 was obviously not a banner year for me, either in terms of genealogy blogging (I wrote a total of one post) or in terms of genealogy research.  My main genealogical activity consisted of keeping up with my DNA results and matches on FamilyTree DNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry (whose adamant refusal to add a chromosome browser is frustrating and discouraging).  In May I attended the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond, Virginia, but my attendance at lectures was greatly reduced by ill health (which has improved a great deal since then).  In October I attended Fairfax Genealogical Society’s Fall Fair, featuring presentations by John Philip Colletta, and was inspired to get back to serious genealogical research.

Even in the area of reading genealogy blogs my activity was much reduced, especially since a number of my genealogy blogging friends had also cut down their posting activity.  I did manage to start following at least two (new to me) genealogy blogs that have provided fascinating reading:  Hoosier Daddy? and The Legal Genealogist.

2015 shows a bit more promise, however.

There was one enormous (sort of genealogy-related) development that happened in 2014:  my husband and I bought a second house in Greenville, South Carolina, the destination of a genealogy research trip we made in 2010 (described in several of my 2010 posts).  Not only did my husband and I fall in love with the place, our daughters became almost as obsessed as we are when we stopped in Greenville on our way back from the National Genealogical Society Conference in Charleston, South Carolina in May 2011.  Since I am still working, I can only make a few trips a year to Greenville, but eventually I plan to make it my “base” for Southeastern US (SC, NC, GA, TN, and KY) research.

My research has started to return to “almost normal” – it may be only a few minutes on weeknights, but I can usually shoehorn at least a few hours of research into my schedule on the weekends.  Which brings up some of my current research….

The “Ew” Factor

The current line I am researching involves a few pretty scuzzy characters (who shall remain nameless to protect … I’m not sure what); these are not direct ancestors (though there is plenty of scandal in my direct line as well), but part of my “all descendants of” research.  A number of the men show up in various prison and reform school lists.  One guy in particular inspires the “Ew” response.  He abandoned his wife and their nine children (and did not take responsibility for the children after her death in 1931), appears with two different women on the 1930 census, and eventually decided in the case of one of these two women that he preferred her 15-year-old daughter (his step-daughter), with whom he eventually had a number of children.  He is shown on the 1940 census living with this woman, the 18-year-old stepdaughter, and what I can only assume are two of his children with this stepdaughter (listed as his grandchildren).

Other research-related activities at this time are:  trying to get my genealogy materials and files better organized (not exactly a genealogy “do over,” but still pretty labor-intensive) and working on my family tree on MyHeritage, since 23andMe family trees will now be hosted there.

“Real life” may sometimes interfere, but I will always find my way back to my ancestors.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Endless Loop

All I want to do is check the Collin County, Texas, Marriage Index, 1800-2010 results for the surname Brinlee.  So, while working in one of my Member Trees on Ancestry (more about Ancestry Member Trees and New Search later), I obtain results for Martha Jane Brinlee that include this database.  I then click on that database to do a search therein.  I enter the surname Brinlee and click the box for “Exact Search.”  This brings up a nice, juicy list of 102 results.  I click on one of the names in the list.  That brings me to the following page:

Not only is this not the page I want, I have to log back in!!!!

And this is the 17th time this has happened to me today (yes, I have been counting).  

So I log back in.  And get this page:

Um, now to get out of this promotional page I have to go up to “My Account” and then hit the Home page, because there is no other way to get out of this promotional.  Sorry, Ancestry, I’m just not that interested in “Jumping the Pond.”  This is the third time I have been put into this loop (the other 14 logins I have had to do happened right in the middle of searches - and this has not been an uncommon occurrence, especially since the transition to New Search).  I have even tried pulling up the Collin County, Texas, Marriage Index through the Card Catalog - same results.  So obviously I can forget doing “card catalog” type searches.  

Not that I’m paranoid or anything (well, actually, I am), but Ancestry takes every opportunity to log me out and offer me a World Membership, but what I’d really like is Ancestry Pro:

For Pros and Serious Amateurs:  Ancestry Pro

Tailor your own searches!

Get a Chromosome Browser with your AncestryDNA!

But Ancestry is not geared toward pros anymore.  It is geared toward the Tree People. the people who never get out of the public member trees, whose research consists of creating a tree, using the matches with other trees to attach to their trees (and sometimes the records suggestions).  I have to admit, it is easier to pull up good, relevant results that way than it is through New Search.  

And yes, I know how to tailor New Search in Advanced Search - but that is far more time-consuming than Old Search and does not visually present the results in the manner that works best for me.  The old, crisp, space-saving arrangement of search results by category let me know at a glance what the records situation for a particular ancestor might be.  Need to tweak? I’d add a couple more searches, this time with wildcards or common misspellings or (when possible) the Soundex option selected - that might add a few records. This would take a few minutes and let me know what things might be missing and need some special tweaking to find.

I could put up with New Search if it weren’t for these Endless Loops.  I just want the option of a decent records search, whether while I am inside an Ancestry Tree or working through the card catalog.

By the way, just now, as I was writing this post, I hit the “Home” button and got this screen:

Logout Number 18.

Instead of logging back in, I hit the back arrow to get back to some search results, and got the first screen above.

Perhaps this is a bug that has just hit the system this weekend.  But that paranoid voice in my head keeps telling me:  “This is Ancestry.  Do not leave the Tree.  Do NOT leave the Tree!!!”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Continuing a Tradition: Forgetting My Blogoversary

Almost.  If it hadn't been for Grant Davis of The Stephen Sherwood Letters, who was kind enough to leave a congratulatory comment on this blog, I would have forgotten my blogoversary.

My relative lack of blogging activity notwithstanding, I have not abandoned genealogy and it has not abandoned me.  As you can see from my previous post, I recently broke through a brick wall.  I am taking this as a sign not to let my research go dormant, and to keep plugging away, even if it is just a bit every night.

My husband and I have reserved hotel rooms in Richmond for NGS 2014.

We have a trip planned next month to my favorite ancestral stomping ground, the Greenville-Anderson area of South Carolina.  We are even discussing possible future research trips to Dallas, Texas and Greene County, Illinois.

And even when I am not doing much of anything, this blog (as well as my website, Greta's Genealogy) continue to work for me.  So while I miss the regular interaction with readers that accompanies regular posting, the blog is still doing what it was created to do.

Many thanks to those of you who have "stayed tuned."  There are a few posts in the planning....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gen Zen

The best results often happen when you aren’t even trying....

There is no other way to describe it. It’s the Zen of genealogy. 

But I should back up and explain. During my one year plus of self-imposed exile from active genealogy research, I have become pathetic. My research has become pathetic, not to mention almost nonexistent. 

My research muscles are flabby. And I have come to passively accept the existence of my many brick walls. Not brick walls many generations back, but early brick walls, many at the great-great-grandparent level and even one at the great-grandparent level.

 But still, I flit around aimlessly some evenings. I check out blogs on Feedly. A couple of nights ago I checked my genealogy mail, found a Family Search newsletter that links to new databases on family Search. I saw some databases for Vermont, and thought about checking out the Floyds in these records. Hey, look at all the hits I got.

But I needed to have a better idea of specific locations in Vermont to search. I decided to get that list of the names of the siblings of my great-great grandfather George Floyd, one of those brick walls that I just accept as a permanent part of my family history landscape. I thought I’d try to find a sibling who stayed in Vermont, and start with those locations.

So I looked around in Ancestry, starting with George Floyd’s two sisters. No luck with Harriet - she ended up in Wisconsin. But for Rachel, who married a Wilkins, I had better luck. Searching under both Rachel Floyd and Rachel Wilkins, I turned up a bunch of documents in the Vermont Vital Records database: a record of Rachel’s marriage to Nehemiah Wilkins, death records for a couple of young children, and ... a death record for Rachel.


I was not looking for this. But I found it, or more accurately, I found them: Rachel’s parents. My great-great grandfather George’s parents: William Floyd and Betsey Wilson. And even a place of birth for Rachel: Monkton (there’s the location!).

 A brick wall came tumbling down, and I wasn’t even trying.

 [One of my favorite Geneabloggers, Cynthia Shenette, has a blog named Heritage Zen. Wise lady.]

[I must also give a huge amount of credit in this endeavor to two very generous Floyd researchers, Rich and Randy, who a couple of years ago got in touch with me and provided some wonderful old Floyd family letters, including that list of George Floyd’s siblings. Those materials and specifically that list made this discovery possible.]