Civil War–150 Years Later and Ridgely Howard

July 3, 2013

My cousin, Dear MYRTLE, made a comment on Facebook about the Civil War and that she and Mr. Myrt were watching a program on Gettysburg. Last night, I found a link to a program on Gettysburg online, so I decided to watch this 88 minute program.

What I didn’t realize, until about 50 minutes into this program, that I had seen this program before. I knew that I had from how the program was done, but didn’t connect the dots as to what this program was about.

“Ridgely Howard” was mentioned, as a 33 year old, slave holder from Baltimore and that his grandfather served with George Washington during the War of Revolution, and that this family was of the “plantation class”. I know this guy. I spend a summer researching Ridgely Howard trying to find out who he was.

I did a series of blog posts on my search for Ridgely Howard:

There may be a couple of blog posts in that series that is not about this research, but about the 3rd blog post is the end, at that time, of my search.

It turns out that David Ridgely Howard (1844 – 1927) was my 5th cousin, 4 times removed.



I was reminded about James Wallace, whose grandfather served in the same regiment as did Ridgely Howards grandfather with George Washington.

What I didn’t catch the first time, was that David Ridgely Howards house has been reported to be haunted. I’ll have to look into that.

After Ridgely was wounded, on this day, in the morning of 3 July 1863, he would return and be wounded a second time, but this time he lost a leg. The amazing thing is that he lived until 1927.



Robert J Driver Jr, First & Second Maryland C.S.A. (Bowie, Maryland:  Heritage Books, Inc, 2003), page 205 – Capt. James McHenry Howard (left), 1st Maryland Infantry, and his brother David Ridgely Howard, Co A, 2nd Maryland Infantry, were photographed in Canada in their Confederate uniform at at the war’s end. David has a metal “cross button” pinned to his breast, which is believed to have been the insignia of the Maryland Line (see Plate H2, Dave Mark Collection).  H. R. Worthington – Book Shelf

Technical Tuesday – To Start over again ??

July 2, 2013

A topic that came up on Monday’s with Myrt was Do I start my research over? Hmmm. With all of the new “stuff” I am learning about family history research, for a moment I thought that was a good idea. Several expressed similar reactions. But with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), Inferential Genealogy, Evidence Explained!, Mastering Genealogical Proof, not to mention features in our genealogy database management programs and this new program Evidentia, one might think about starting over.

Now, my database is far from perfect. I didn’t know about the items just mentioned. But I did learn to cite my sources. I even thought how important that was for those who might look at my research “later”, but more so that I could answer one question, Where did you get that information from?

At some level, I was doing some of the ‘right things’, just didn’t know what I was doing. But to start over, I don’t think so.

I really want to see how “bad” my database really is, while applying the principles of this “new”, to me, steps and processes in my research before I jump to any conclusions. Where have I heard that from.

So, here is my plan.

My daughter is considering in applying to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In fact, she could join from a number of our ancestors and probably a couple I haven’t documented yet. The ancestor that we are going to work on, is Ann Cooper Whitall. There is a chapter in south Jersey that bears her name. But, no one has applied for membership for her in years, and has a ‘red flag’ (my term) linked to her name.

I exported the descendants of Ann Cooper, from my database, to a GEDCOM file so  that it could be imported into Evidentia. That worked well, easy to do, but Evidentia does not import sources and citations. Oh, right, it is Evidence or Source based, and I am trying to make is the ‘traditional way’ of name based. BUT, that lack of importing of my information makes total sense now that I think about it.

My Evidentia database now has a bunch of names, from Ann Cooper down to my daughter. I have my sources in my genealogy database, so I can work on each source, enter it into Evidentia, follow the steps that are included to create a “GPS” like file or profile for the people in my file.

I am NOT going to do everyone, but will concentrate on my “direct line” from Ann Cooper Whitall down to my daughter.

Since I have already spent some time figuring out how to get my Evidentia data into Family Tree Maker, my genealogy database management program, I know how I want to get the information back into the program, so I have a better documented file to submit.

Here is a link to the work that I did Evidentia and Family Tree Maker. Please remember that the Blog shows the most recent post at the top of the list. The real trick here, will be to see how merging individual people from Evidentia, back into Family Tree Maker will look at the “end of the day”. I do expect some clean up of that merge, but hopefully it will be to move some information around, from my old way of doing things, and to clean out unwanted or unneeded source material.

Technical Tuesday – Change on how to search on

July 1, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the changes at and how we search. According to 2% of their current users, continue to use the “old” search, while 98% of us, use the “new” search. My only question is why have TWO different ways to search. Or in words that I have seen “two different search experiences”.

I don’t normally, for my own research, use either, or use the search on Ancestry that “is there”. I have learned how to use it. What ever the current version “it” is. BUT, I attended the Fairfax VA Genealogy Conference earlier this year and attended a presentation on how to get the most out of Ancestry. I came home so excited that I offered and was able to give two presentations to two different groups to take advantage of the new search engine.

So, when all of this discussion came up over the past few days, from what I am guessing is the “2%”, I was scratching my head. Then I read Randy Seaver’s Geneamusings Blog. Also, from reading earlier blog posts by Randy, he was giving similar presentations in local groups near where he lives.

Here is my take and how I am able to take advantage of the “new” features. I must say, that I did not try to answer my Genealogy Question with the “old” search, so I can’t compare Old vs New, but only can show how I answered this question.

Where did Ready Cash reside for the 1840 – 1880 Census?

What I knew, is that Ready Cash was born about 1800, and was located in Rockbridge, Virginia. I wanted to be able to pick him up specifically in the Census from 1840 until 1880. Before then, I might not be able to locate him, but I did for each census year mentioned.

Going to and entering Ready Cash, Born 1800, and was in Rockbridge, Virginia. When I entered the Location, I started to type R O C K, and stopped and selected Rockbridge, Virginia from the drop down menu. I made sure that I did not have Exact Only selected at the top, Only Historical Records from the US Collection at the bottom of the search screen.


The results were overwhelming. 4,251 Records from Census and Voting Lists. Far too many (for me)


I have to do better at this. So, I put a check mark in EXACT ONLY at the top of the Edit Search window. Not marked in the screen capture above, but I can go in and EDIT my Search criteria by clicking on the Edit button just above the Census and Voting List “red box” on the left.


You will notice that each entry has a check box next to “Exact Only” or the text below the box that says “Restrict to exact”. This should shorten my list.


And it did, but now I am down to only 2 categories of records with Ready Cash listed. 1840 and 1870. Too far. But, lets look at the Records and not just the Categories, to see if there is any hints there.


Looks like my person, but missing a couple of census years.

My experience with Census Records is Ages of the person, implying the year of birth, so I left the birth year at 1800, but added the /- option of 5 years. Again, the green Edit button, and in the pull down menu selected 5.


Tried my search again.


Gee, added 1880. When looking at the Records Tab, I just wanted to make sure that I was seeing the results for the right person. I see his name spelled three different ways, different birth years, but they do look some what consistent and that I am seeing the right Ready Cash. BUT, I am still missing 1850 and 1860.

Back to the Edit button, I wanted to loosen up the Location a bit. The New Search has an option for Adjacent Counties. Maybe he moved for those two census years. I am picking up the name differences and birth year differences and am not picking up any other “Ready Cash” names. Looks like there is only one person in the area with that name.


It’s a pull down menu under the Location field.

Selecting and searching from here I see:


1850 and 1860. More details are below.


He was in Boteourt, Virginia for 1850 and 1860.

I have been able to answer my research question. I started with 4,251 hits and got it down to 1840 – 1880 census records for my person.

In reality, the first search I did, there were 1,342,175 hits. The 4,251 were only Census and Voting Lists.

Bottom line, for me is, I like the New Search at It’s a change for me and others, but in about 10 minutes I was able to answer my research question. Where did Ready Cash reside for the 1840 – 1880 Census?

Burial at Arlington National Cemetery

June 27, 2013

Did you ever notice how “family” issues show up at weddings and funerals? Today, for me, was one of those days.


Yesterday afternoon, Patti and I drove to south Jersey to pick Carrie and Patrick (my oldest daughter and her husband), had dinner, then drove to Washington, DC. Rosslyn, Virginia actually, because we wanted to be close to Arlington, as we needed to be at “the gate” at 8:30am and in the Administration building at 9:00. And we were early.

Backing up a bit, my uncle Americus Lamberti (Uncle Max) died on Christmas day 2012. He was a 2nd LT in the Army in World War II. Early on, we were told that he would be cremated and buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. I made is very clear to my Aunt and my brother that I WOULD BE THERE and to please let me know when.

Here is where “family” shows up. As long as I can remember, my brother was the favorite with my mother’s sided of the family, and I guess I was favored on my father’s side. After all, he had my mother’s birth surname as his middle name, and I am the III (3rd). As a family researcher, I research both sides, had found lots of stories on both sides, the “family” stuff is not an issue for me. (I don’t think)

When I was first married, I moved to Washington, DC, specifically to be near my Aunt, and your second, but new husband “Uncle Max”. Visiting them, and listening to my aunt and uncle, I got a job in DC, and would stay with the company for 30 years. My uncle and I rode the bus to and from work together with a couple of his buddies, we fished, and did other things together. My first wife was a nurse as was my aunt.

Things changed, we bought a house, had kids, they moved to North Carolina, so that my uncle could play golf, and be a ranger at Whispering Pines. They did a lot of dancing. We didn’t visit them in NC, my bad, but I had kids, we camped, had a tendency to go to where it was cooler in the summer, so only saw them on the holidays that they visited my folks.

My brother kept it touch with them, visited them, etc. Enough family “stuff”.

Back to reality. Knowing that my uncle was going to be buried in Arlington, letting my brother and aunt know about my wished, we still contacted Arlington and the funeral home about our wished to “be there”. Six months later, I get a text message from Patti that the burial was the 27th. The Funeral Home called her to let her know. Just to complete the circle, she contacted her “person” at ANC. The long and short of that is, is she had not contacted the ANC, we would NOT have been able to be part of the ceremony, as their instructions, from my Aunt, was the no one would be there. Our very helpful contact, got in touch with my Aunt, who said it was OK for us to attend. Then, I get an email from my brother, letting me know that my uncle was going to be buried today, but at 10:00am and not 9:00am.

The ceremony was awesome, the “family” was the four of us. We were thanked for being there. That made me think about how many other veterans are buried at the Arlington National Cemetery without any family there at all.

Uncle Max, Americus Lamberti, is now with his (an my Aunt’s) twin baby boys. Born and died on the same day. It was years before I even knew they existed, as I was in Vietnam when they were born. I have visited their burial plot before, was able to take my parents there, before they died.

My daughter asked me a question, who were his parents? Oops, I couldn’t answer her, as I have not done a lot of research on him. My bad. He was still alive and I didn’t ask him about his life. I know there are storied to tell, like “I wonder why HIS daughter wasn’t at the burial today?” Perhaps she was at the memorial service where he lived, but don’t think so.

I now have a mission, to do some research on Uncle Max, and have it ready for Veterans Day 2013, so that I can tell HIS story.

He is home, with his son’s, in the Arlington National Cemetery and he was buried with FULL Military Honor’s, as he deserved.



Note: There is a PS to this story.

Within an hour of posting this, I had an email from a cousin, with the 1920 Census for my Uncle AND a Find-A-Grave memorial for Uncle Max’s parents. THAT is Family. Thank you Dr. Don.

A Find-A-Grave Experience

June 24, 2013

I am not sure how I feel about this:

On Thursday, I am going to Arlington National Cemetery for the burial of my uncle, Americus Lamberti (1917 – 2012). We knew he was going to be buried there, just not when. We have been in contact with Arlington and the funeral home. On Saturday, we received a call from the funeral home and checked the Arlington National Cemetery website to get the information that we knew would be posted there.

I decided to go to my uncles file in my genealogy database program and there was a shaky leaf. Now I know I haven’t followed all of them, and hadn’t looked at Uncle Max’s profile for a while. The first HINT, from Ancestry, was to their index to Find-A-Grave.

It looks like the funeral home created the memorial in Find-A-Grave 2 days after my uncle died.

Find-A-Grave Memorial #10230107

Since I have been to the twin’s plot, took pictures, I checked to see if I have posted the pictures on Find-A-Grave. I had not. Took care of one of the twins and I realized that the second twin was not listed. Took care of that, with a picture. Will post a picture of Uncle Max after the service on Thursday.

I have seen conversations, in blogs and online, about how quickly information is posted on Find-A-Grave. I now “get it” and what that means. His obituary was online, on Find-A-Grave 2 days after he died, a memorial was created on Find-A-Grave, but he won’t be buried for 4 more days. Also, it was picked up by and I had a shaky leaf.

Now if some of our other ancestors would show up that fast.


Mastering Genealogical Proof–Chapter 1 Homework

June 18, 2013

Chapter 1: Genealogy’s Standard of Proof



Home Work Assignment

Name: Russ Worthington

Chapter 1 exercises[1]

OK, so I am not a good student, but I will do my best with this open book exercise. I’ll attempt to answer the questions, but will try to explain what it all means to me.

1. What is genealogy?

Genealogy is a research field concerned primarily with accurately reconstructing forgotten or unknown people or identities and relationships. Many of these identities and relationships existed in the past, but genealogical research also includes living people. Genealogy emphasizes biological and marital kinships, but it also addresses adoptive, extramarital, and other kids of familial relationships within and across generations.

2. What are the GPS’s five elements?

  1. Reasonably Exhaustive search to help answer the research question
  2. Complete and accurate citations for each piece of information that help answer the research question
  3. Analysis, correlation, and comparison of sources and information that help answer the research question
  4. Resolve any and all pieces of conflicting pieces of information that help answer the research question
  5. Create a written statement or narrative that supports the answer to the research question

3. You have shared your family history with someone who wants you to omit all the proof statements, proof summaries, and proof arguments, including explanations of reasoning and documentation. How do you reply?

In order for our research to stand the test of time, undocumented information is mythology. However, with only documentation the reliability of that information may become questionable. Proof statements, proof arguments, proof summaries need to be included. In addition, explaining how we reached any conclusions will help improve the accuracy of our research.

4. Why can’t a genealogical conclusion be partially proved?

The five components of the Genealogical Proof Standard are interdependent and will not be able to stand on their own.

5. What is the first step in genealogical research?

Ask questions about the person or that person’s relationships that are presented in a document.

My comments:

First, I am not a professional, anything. What I have done, in the past, is to collect information about people and documenting where I found that information. I have not be one to who will say “I am a genealogist”. To me, that was a formal term that I couldn’t relate to. I was too new. I still am after about 15 years of doing this hobby. My view of a ‘genealogist’ was someone who collected names and dates at one end, or someone with a series of credentials after their name.

I learned very earlier on, about “citing your sources”. I got that piece, as I always wanted to be able to answer the question “where did you get that information from”. Why, because I was asking the same question of others research. And, I wanted to be able to go back and re-look at what I had found in that past.

I wanted to be able to create a database that I thought was somewhat reliable, and the anyone looking at my data would be able to look at what I had reported and see exactly what I saw. I also realized that these “names” had stories that might be of interest to find more about. There were “family stories” that sounded interested, but I wanted to prove or disprove those stories.

What I think I had been doing, was step one and two of the GPS process, and in a way did some analysis when comparing the data collected. But that is about as far as I got.

What this first chapter of this book told me was that genealogy is like other fields where research is involved. For me, that would be problem solving. That’s what I did before I retired. We had standards, guidelines, how to do things, and how we tried to resolve a problem. Someone would say that “something” is broken, we would try to determine what was broken and tried to fix it. If that didn’t work, re-test it, using the tools that we had.

This chapter told me, that the Genealogical Proof is like that. What I had missed was having a Question, or identify what didn’t work right. I knew how to ‘test’ what was broken, wrote down what I saw, what I did, go back and re-test to see if “it” was still broken, and continue that sequence of things until the problem was solved. Note that I said that I “wrote down” what I saw, and what I did. When I supervised others, I wanted others to do the same thing, so that I might help them resolve the problem they were working on. How can I help you if I don’t know what you did? So, my professional life, helped out, to some degree, my genealogy research.

An interesting comment in this first chapter was “no source is trustworthy in and of itself”[2] (Jones 2013) and that we deal with “sources that were imperfect the day they were created”[3] (Jones 2013). We have to interpret the evidence that we find along the way. We may have created a conclusion, but when we find new information, we should re-evaluate what was already found and ready a new conclusion. As Dr. Jones states “Our goal is to prove our conclusions”[4] (Jones 2013).

[1] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 6

[2] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 2

[3] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 2

[4] Jones, Thomas W. 2013. Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series. page 5

Evidentia–July 4th

June 18, 2013

As you may know, I use the program call Evidentia. It is a great Document or Source based program, where you start with the Source and the program provides the steps toward the Genealogical Proof Standard.

There is a link in the right column that will take you to the Evidentia website. Please use that link as the Evidentia Sales folk sent this special offer for me to let you know about.

Time for another affiliate only coupon code!

Between now and July 4th, your visitors can use the code JULY4 when checking out and save 20% on their order!
I will not be publicizing this coupon code – it is for the exclusive use of you – Evidentia Affiliates -  to offer your website visitors.

The code is active now, so invite your readers to take advantage of this great deal!

Evidentia Sales


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