Inferential Genealogy Study Group in 2nd Life–Names

October 2, 2011

After taking a quick glance of about 200 photos from yesterday, I am almost confused.

It’s all about names, right?

This project started when I watched the PBS series Gettysburg. I heard the name Ridgely Howard. In my research in my own family both of these names are surnames. As I started the research Ridgely was his middle name.

No problem, been there, done that. I go by my middle name. Simple reason, I am a “III” (3rd), and there were three generations living on a small family farm. My grandfather went by his middle name, the Surname of a Grandfather, my Dad by his first name, and I was called the same way my grandfather was. This worked and still works, although my Dad has passed away. To clear the confusion about who you were talking to. Grandfather, Father, on me.

So, we now have David Ridgely Howard. (there’s a twist, a common first name for a Surname). “My” Howards were in Virginia, soon there after into Maryland. So, Howard, to me, as a Surname is OK. Got that.

Looking at Census Records, for the Howards, McHenry as a Middle name was appearing, and a First Name. Good thing I didn’t jump to any conclusions here. Could that Census Record have recorded McHenry, like Ridgely as the first name?

The biggest problem at this point is the names of member of the Households. For example, McHenry Howard and James McHenry Howard households had similar members of the household, living in close proximity of each other. At this point, it’s pretty clear that they are not the same family (yet).

The cemetery visits may have also separated the families (house holds) as well. Two different cemeteries, different parts of town. BUT, it may be a common Church. Working on that.

So, I looked at my pictures from the 3rd cemetery and I run into the same issue. My brain had told me that I had taken pictures of Howard headstones and McHenry headstones. Both of which were true and I clearly remembers one of the Howard children as Julianna Howard. So I took a bunch of pictures of the plot (10 – 15 stones).

Her stone was Julianna Howard McHenry, whose father was James Howard McHenry. The dates for Julianna were not right.

I have been putting off looking at the history of Fort McHenry, also in Baltimore.

A couple of years ago, while visiting my brother-in-law in a Veterans Hospital in Baltimore, we went to a historic cemetery that was next to where I had parked the car. In my search for the 1st cemetery, where “Betty Lou” was giving me a fit, you know “recalculating”, I saw an old cemetery, then realized it was the same one we had visited a couple of years earlier.

My car has a bumper sticker “I stop at cemeteries”, so I did. Went in where Edgar Allen Poe is buried, but so is James McHenry, of Fort McHenry fame.

So how does James McHenry Howard, James Howard McHenry, McHenry Howard related to David Ridgely Howard?

What did I learn from this: Where did THAT Name come from? Naming patterns ….


Inferential Genealogy Study Group in 2nd Life–Cemetery Visit

October 2, 2011

Some of you may know that I contribute to and use the Find-A-Grave website for useful information. I have contributed several hundred pictures, have given a number of talks on the subject. Oh, and I use it for research. Some times you can get relationships in some of the information associated with a memorial. I have been doing that for this project.

However, I have not been able to find David Ridgely Howard, a Civil War Veteran on Find-A-Grave. I found that quite interesting, considering all of the Civil War headstone pictures I have taken, especially around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. He just wasn’t there.

I decided I needed to take a short, day trip to Baltimore. The purpose of the trip was to actually see some of the places that the Census Records had shown me, and to visit one cemetery.

Now, I worked in Baltimore for 2 years, so I had some idea where some of these places were (are). They were only blocks from where I worked. How difficult can this trip be.

So I made the trip, spent an hour or so on the USCGC Eagle, (USCG Barque Eagle, America’s Tall Ship), then found a couple of the addresses that were in the Census Records. The relationships between the addresses, Church, and Cemetery all made sense to me. Street Names, a Monument were all in line with what I had mapped out in my mind. Thanks to GPS, (more of the time) the trip was easy.

The first cemetery was chained and locked, with no parking in the area to stop more then a minute to take a picture of the lock and chain. Went by the Church that was associated with the Cemetery and then a light bulb went off. I have been to this church before. A line from Capt. John Worthington was a member at that church. A Duh moment.

Re-programmed “Betty Lou” to take me to Green Mount Cemetery, to see if I could find David Ridgely Howard there. His Civil War records said he was, but not listed on Find-A-Grave. I have paperwork to send for information, but since I was there, why not look around.

The Cemetery was not far away, 10 minutes or so, and the gate was half open, but a caretaker was there who let me in. 45 minutes until closing. Nice gentlemen, but he didn’t have access to any information. So, a ride around the cemetery to get a overview of who I might find there. There were a number of family Surnames that I know from the Baltimore / Annapolis area were resting there. Will have to review my pictures to see if any of them were in my files. But, where is Pvt. Howard.

The rain was starting, the time was running out, but there was one road I hadn’t tried. At the top of the hill was a large, flat HOWARD stone. The Howard I knew there was Benjamin Chew Howard. Of course my Droid Find-A-Grave AP helped, and since is was ‘famous’ in the area, certainly I could find him. But, again, Find-A-Grave didn’t have a picture, only a Memorial. Could this large, flat, stone hold the remains of this family? It might be the reason why the others aren’t listed on Find-A-Grave. I’ll be on the phone on Monday to see if this theory doesn’t pan out. I can then order more detailed information that they have on their website.

Not done for the day yet, Since I am now pretty sure that I was dealing with Two Families, and have a pretty good idea who belongs to whom, though sharing some comment names, I needed to go to a third cemetery.

DearMYRTLE and I have some common ancestors that the next cemetery. my wife and I have visited this church and cemetery before, but hadn’t made this Howard Connection here. I had only made a Worthington connection. It’s the same connection with the Church in Baltimore.

There, was a pretty good sized plot of the 2nd Howard family, are at least some of them.

Lots of pictures to review, post on Find-A-Grave and take the information from them an put them into my database.

Learning from this: Some times a physical visit to a place my help with new clues in resolving a brick wall. Do I have David Ridgely Howard’s grandparents yet? No! Am I still missing a puzzle piece? Yes! But, I DO know, my next steps.


Inferential Genealogy Study Group in 2nd Life – Step 3

September 29, 2011

With all of the research, I have forgotten to talk about the Steps involved with Inferential Genealogy.

Dr. Jones puts step 3 this way.

Step 3: Understand the Records
If we don’t understand the records, we won’t get all the information from them that we need to answer our research goal.
• Know why a document was created.
• Follow document creation processes from beginning to end.
• Note differences in records. Is there something that appears in your ancestor’s record that is different than the records of others?

I really focused on this step early on, and will cycle back through this with other records.

The first example is the understanding Civil War records. This study took me to look at these records. I really hadn’t looked at them, as my earlier research just hadn’t taken me there.

The two lessons learned with looking at these records is: 1) Where to look, and 2) the details that you might find.

Fold3.com (formerly Footnote.com) has a great collection (for me) of Civil War records. What I didn’t know is that the Union Records are Federal Records, while a CSA veteran records are archived by state. This is interesting for me, in that Maryland was on which side. This would be an issue if you didn’t know which side your person fought for. Do you look at Union Records or Confederate Records. I didn’t have a problem locating the records in Fold3. This was one place where I found that David Ridgely Howard had brothers in the Civil War.

The information included in the records I looked at were incredible. In these records I found that he was wounded in Gettysburg and about a year later lost his leg in another battle. What hospital he went to, when he “didn’t show up” for a muster, due to he being in the hospital. 18 pages in information. One of his brothers had 30 pages. Some can be read, some couldn’t.

The second area was understanding the Census Records. What information is important, which pieces in a specific census year should be recorded in my genealogy software, and how to record what was found.

Understanding the Census Records prior to 1850 may not have a lot of detail, I took a blank census record year, on a blank form, and marked up which columns I was going to record for each person listed.

Back in an earlier step, we were asked to check to see what relationships were recorded. Looking at the Census Records, 1850 – 1930, this information improves.

What I decided to do is to record the Household, with the Age of each member of the household, the name of the Head of Household, and put that information in the Name Notes field in my program.

This gave me the make up of the household and the age of the members of the household over time. When the 1870 Census Records started to show relationships, I could look at the specific person to see if the other information was consistent, or not consistent. So, looking at the data within the records, in this case Census Records, helped put the families together, then establishing the relationships.

As other records were reviewed, the relationships were recorded in the same place.


Inferential Genealogy Study Group in 2nd Life–Naming Conventions

September 28, 2011

One thing that has always interested me, is “Where did THAT name come from?

As one of those who has always been known by my middle name, I try to find out the answer to that question.

It took me a while to find my grandfather in the 1900 Census, as I knew where he was, but couldn’t find him. I knew he was living with his grandparents, and I knew where. Not there.

BUT, then I remembered that his grandmother remarried. As soon as I did a search for her 2nd marriage surname, I found her and my grandfather AND where my middle name came from, as it hadn’t been used up until this point.

The same thing happened when I started to look for Ridgely Howard, as that is the only name I knew. But, both Ridgely and Howard were “my” surnames.

The piece that I learned in the past several days was a little about Southern Traditions of the use of First and Middle Names. Apparently, those in the ‘south’ interchanged First and Middle Names at will. Sometimes call by their middle name and sometimes called by their first name.

In this study, I have also found this to be true, or at least I thought so. In my my review of some of the mid 1800 census records, I saw a James McHenry Howard and a McHenry Howard. Both with the same birth year, which for census records, that may be a 3 year time span, and in the same town (Baltimore, Maryland).

The good news, in my genealogy database, I recorded them separately, but kept in the back of my mind, and made note about this that they may be the same person.

For a while, I thought that James McHenry just reported McHenry, as he might have been going by his middle name, like I do.

Early on, Dr. Jones reminded us (in my words) “don’t jump to conclusions”.

Understanding, or being aware of Naming “conventions” for a specific area or tradition, is something to keep in mind when trying to break down a brick wall.

When I come to a new “name”, one that is appearing for the first time, I ask myself that question: “Where did THAT name come from?”


Inferential Genealogy Study Group in 2nd Life–Why Read Wills

September 28, 2011

Here is another example of Expanding your research. I have, sort-a, read Wills in the past. They were interesting, but don’t normally read and record what I find in them.

This project reminded me of why I should read wills.

Doing a generic Google search for Charles Ridgely, believed to be a brother of David Ridgely OR the father of another Ridgely, I came across a link to the Maryland State Archives for “a” Charles Ridgely. The search results were “in the ball park” for what I was looking for. But, check the wording in the Will:

Quote:

Charles Ridgely of Hampton (1760-1829)
MSA SC 3520-1446

Governor of Maryland, 1816-1819 (Federalist)

December 6, 1760 in Baltimore as Charles Ridgely Carnan.  His uncle, Captain Charles Ridgely, willed his estate to him on the condition that he assume the name Charles Ridgely; he did so legally in 1790.  He was also known as Charles Ridgely of Hampton.

End Quote:

[ This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user. ]

© Copyright March 31, 2011Maryland State Archives

It turned out that Carnan surname shows up in this line, so now I know “where that name came from”.

Learning: Read Wills


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