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Discovering Female Ancestors > Who are you applying the research to?

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message 1: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments I've identified 3 ladies that I am going to focus on while reading the book. Two are dead-ends - one I don't even have a surname for and the other I have many clues about but haven't yet followed them up. They were both born in the late 18th - early 19th century. The third lady is more recent. She was a widow who disappeared in 1880 and I've yet to find a remarriage or death record. I may have to change my focus once I actually get the book. I've requested it from the library and it should arrive soon!


message 2: by Didi (new)

Didi (penathey) | 22 comments Born in about 1852, she was a Native American. The family story goes, "Something happened to her father and her mother could no longer raise her, so she was raised by a family named _____d." Aagh. So far I know all about the foster family and have some clues on her maiden name and possibly even what tribe she was from, but the problem is now (in contrast to my usual problem) that there are too many likely suspects for her biological mother and father.


message 3: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Didi wrote: "Born in about 1852, she was a Native American. The family story goes, "Something happened to her father and her mother could no longer raise her, so she was raised by a family named _____d." Aagh. ..."

You are going to have your hands full with this one. Hopefully there will be some new clues in the book. Otherwise you will be searching a ton of folks. :(


message 4: by Didi (new)

Didi (penathey) | 22 comments Liz wrote: "Didi wrote: "Born in about 1852, she was a Native American. The family story goes, "Something happened to her father and her mother could no longer raise her, so she was raised by a family named __..."

Yes, this has become a true "cluster" genealogy. Over the past year of working on this, I have become well acquainted with about half of the families who were in a very large area at some point as transients (refugees) or as residents. The primary period was the Civil War in the most war-devastated location in the US--southern MO and northern AR.


message 5: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Didi wrote: "Yes, this has become a true "cluster" genealogy. Over the past year of working on this, I have become well acquainted with about half of the families who were in a very large area at some point as transients (refugees) or as residents."

When I am faced with a situation like this, I create a bullet chart. In the center I place my target person. The first rung out is for any people who appear on 'family-type' documents with my target. Family documents are those that usually involve other family members witnesses to wills, letters, diaries, people involved with estate settlements, witnesses to marriages, etc. The next ring out is for those appearing on less personal documents, witnesses to deeds, etc. The final ring is for people who are neighbors, casual acquaintances, etc. Within the rings I can move folks around based on geographies, townships, etc. I can also prioritize further by the number of times the person appears on a document with my target person or by the nature of the document (the more personal, the higher the priority). I then go after the person most likely to be a family member. It works about 70% of the time. The failure rate is highest with military families - it seems that their military connections become 'like family'.

However, it sounds like document destruction will make finding any records difficult. Have you tried newspapers?


message 6: by Didi (new)

Didi (penathey) | 22 comments That is a very interesting idea! I will try that. In fact, these people did have military connections. The families who followed one another around had in common mainly that they were (probably) Cherokees who fought in the Mexican War and the Civil War and possibly some conflicts before, in the interim, and afterward. A group of 28 families (out of about 65 I have been working on) went together in a wagon train to strike it rich in CA in 1850, escorted by some of those soldiers. And you are right, some of the most important clues I have came from newspapers. Particularly during the time of many refugees being created by Order #11 and other military "civilian removal" orders, newspapers and other such resources (schools, churches, diaries, tax and voter lists, etc) are in some counties in MO are some of the only records to have survived successive burnings, thefts, and other deliberate destruction of records.

It was common for men to destroy their personal and unit military records--particularly in the last several years of the war--in order to reduce the chances of being prosecuted later for their brutalities. One of the combined service and pension records I received from NARA had previously been stored at a state repository, and it was stripped of every one of a large number of numbered military documents. An exhaustive search to determine if these items were misfiled turned up nothing. The man is known to have been a "partisan ranger," aka lowdown criminal and terrorist.


message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Didi wrote: "It was common for men to destroy their personal and unit military records--particularly in the last several years of the war--in order to reduce the chances of being prosecuted later for their brutalities."

Given the military connections, have you connected with any re-inactors? Civil War history buffs researching the particular units? I had the wonderful fortune once of receiving a clipping file from a man researching a Civil War unit. He had all the relevant newspaper articles on my ancestor, the service and pension files (I already had these), marriage records, etc. It was a fabulous time saver!


message 8: by Didi (new)

Didi (penathey) | 22 comments Good idea. I need to expand the number of locations where this might produce some information. I did contact the reenactors at a major battlefield near the main research location, and at a fort in Kansas where the primary family of interest and some related families went for protection during the KS/MO border wars. There was one man in KS who reenacts a daring wagon drive to fetch a cannon. The character he plays is one of my main likely suspects for the father of my primary target. Unfortunately, when I talked to him, I knew infinitely more about his man than he and his fellow reenactors did, so I shared my research with him and also gave them a bibliography of titles they had never seen. One group in AR whom I need to contact has a great website, and I feel confident that these men have spent a lot of time studying the history and the people.


message 9: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Didi wrote: "One group in AR whom I need to contact has a great website, and I feel confident that these men have spent a lot of time studying the history and the people. "

Good luck! Nice of you to share with the folks who hadn't yet done much research. What goes around, comes around. :)


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I was primarily researching my gggrandfather, but I suppose I need to look at the female, since Cherokee is matrilineal. I heard she was a squaw, on furthering my reading squaw sachem or sunsquas were like someone of respectability. Now I am further in the hole, I don't know what her true last name was. At this point I am on a hunting search.


message 11: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Robin wrote: "I was primarily researching my gggrandfather, but I suppose I need to look at the female, since Cherokee is matrilineal. I heard she was a squaw, on furthering my reading squaw sachem or sunsquas ..."

She sounds like a perfect person to apply the lessons of the book too. It is great that Didi is participating in this discussion as I am certain she will have insights along the way that will help you.


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes, I think for native american pursuits, esp. Cherokee you must look at the matrilineal line. But the thing is I don't have a name I have an Indian middle name that might prove useful, but other than that, I just don't know. Will continue to persevere, though. I am sure there is something out there on her.


message 13: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments I just got my copy from the library. I can't wait to get started! It looks like an excellent book.


message 14: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) My mother is trying to find not the matrilineal line, but the paternal side the English side of the same family. I would think it would be much more interesting to find the Cherokee side.


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Robin wrote: "My mother is trying to find not the matrilineal line, but the paternal side the English side of the same family. I would think it would be much more interesting to find the Cherokee side."

The matrilineal line is always much tougher. Just noticed that Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 are available on footnote.com

If you haven't looked at them already, they might provide a good starting point. Check with your local library to see if they have a subscription.


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Thanks Liz, Have been on the NARA website also, I have no last name, so I am stuck.


message 17: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Robin wrote: "Thanks Liz, Have been on the NARA website also, I have no last name, so I am stuck."

If you have a first name and a location, you can search that way. You can also include the approximate birthdate to narrow the search.


message 18: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I may have either a first but I am guessing on the location. Don't know actual birthdate.


message 19: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments If you can use the first and the guessed location with an approximate birth year, you may be able to narrow the field to a reasonable number to pursue further.


message 20: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Thanks Liz, will try that. Thanks for all your help. It is nice to chat or comisserate with someone about this bugaboos I am finding.


message 21: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Robin, the bugaboos are typical of the problems we encounter especially when researching women! One of the key strategies is to very carefully record everything we do know and then begin looking for sources that might fill in missing pieces. Our upcoming group read book contains many suggested sources! Hopefully one of them will pan out for you. Searching on "American Indian" and "Native American" in The Source: A Guidebook Of American Genealogy yielded a reference to The Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory and Index to the Final Rolls as well as a great many other research suggestions. The Source: A Guidebook Of American Genealogy is available on Google books at http://books.google.com/books?id=Jw3k...

Good luck!


message 22: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Thanks, Liz.


message 23: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Liz wrote: "I've identified 3 ladies that I am going to focus on while reading the book. Two are dead-ends - one I don't even have a surname for and the other I have many clues about but haven't yet followed ..."

YEA!!! The first one falls! I've found the names of the parents of the person that I hadn't yet researched much. Now, it's on to a new geography and additional sources.

Not a clue on the other two yet . . .

Keep us posted on your progress!


message 24: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Robin wrote: "I was primarily researching my gggrandfather, but I suppose I need to look at the female, since Cherokee is matrilineal. I heard she was a squaw, on furthering my reading squaw sachem or sunsquas ..."

This book, especially in the bibliography, has a number of Native American sources that may be of help to you.


message 25: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Again, thanks, Liz.


message 26: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes I have used some of the names listed and am doing my own search to see how far I can get into my personal research. Thanks Liz.


message 27: by Liz (last edited Nov 06, 2010 09:41AM) (new)

Liz (straea) | 25 comments The failure rate is highest with military families - it seems that their military connections become 'like family'.

However I have found researching military connections to be very rewarding for very different reasons. For example I recently discovered that my several-greats-grandfather and my one-less-greats-grandfather served together. As far as I've yet found, the latter and his wife (the former's daughter) appear not to have been married till after the war, so I'm now wondering if perhaps he met his wife through serving with his (then-future?) father-in-law.


message 28: by Liz (new)

Liz (straea) | 25 comments Given the military connections, have you connected with any re-inactors? Civil War history buffs researching the particular units?

I am friends with a professional genealogist who is an expert on military records, and one thing he always stresses is to study the whole regiment. Doing so can often lead you to records others produced that involve the person you are directly trying to find information about. Officers, especially, tended to produce more records (including things like letters, journals) and the records seem to have been more likely to have survived to the present day. Also, histories of regiments often featured photos of many of the veterans, and my friend says that the photos were often solicited by the author and then not returned to the family, so that the published photo may be the only copy that survives.


message 29: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Those who were interested in this book might also enjoy the Legacy's webinar, Chasing Women - Finding Your Female Ancestors on Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Preregistration is at http://goo.gl/nWCfQ


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