Re-Read what you have

I have made a family connection that came as a surprise. Some of you know that DearMYRTLE and I are cousins. That came about by some computer screen sharing during a couple of presentations. The new cousin, Crista Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist was giving a presentation on livestream/ancestry, and like Myrt saw a name, location, and timeframe that I knew.

Now, this IS a challenge. Related to someone at Ancestry?

What a golden opportunity to try to demonstrate how I use a connection, through an Ancestry Member Tree (AMT), to collaborate. I live within 2 hours of the “common place”. It was a Quaker Meeting, had hoped with an attached Burial Ground, so I started to see if we had a connection. I certainly knew the Surname that got my attention, found it very quickly in my genealogy database. We shared our links to our AMTs, sure enough, not just one surname but several.

I have blogged about this in another Blog, if you are interested:

FTM2014 – Ancestry Member Tree Connection – Part 1

FTM2014 – Ancestry Member Tree Connection – Part 2

FTM2014 – Ancestry Member Tree Connection – Part 3

But, I haven’t looked at that branch for a very long time. I better get to work and clean it up, as I have been doing. So, I thought I would share a lesson, already learned in the past, GO BACK AND LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE, and I have.

I started with about 300 Family Group Sheets from my Dad’s first cousins. I worked with them over 10 years ago. So, I had all of those Family Group Sheets entered into my database.


So, I am taking this time to Scan these Family Group Sheets, putting the Citations into the correct Source Template for this type of document. Then I go back and check that all of the facts / events on these sheets are properly cited. Although done 10 – 12 years go, I hadn’t done too bad of a job.

So, why blog about that ?

Because I also read the notes that I already had in my database. It came from this page of that Family Group Sheet.


I am sure you can’t read that, but this is what it said, that got my attention and the reason for this blog post.

“Sixty or seventy years ago [that would be ca 1800], some of the farmers of Little Egg Harbor, who had not farms for all of their sons, sent the farmless over to Philadelphia to lean the brick layers trade, and especially this was the case among the Willits; and this is the cause of so many of them being residents of that city. Those who were sober and industrious amassed clever fortunes, but those who embarked in the craft of dissipation, went down to the grave in utter destruction, “unhonored and un____”!

“Among the youngsters of Little Egg Harbor who were apprenticed to the brick layer’s trade, was Allan, son of Thomas Ridgeway, 3rd, Eben, John, and James, sons of Thomas Willits, Sr. Jeremiah [18], son of Jeremiah Willits, Sr., [36] and Archelan R., son of Timothy Pharo, Jr., also Job, Nathan and Edmond, sons of Nathan Bartlett, 2nd.”

That little, re-read note, with 10 years of learning under the belt, NOW I have a Hint about why this family left Little Egg Harbor and moved closer to Philadelphia. The family did have a large farm, and I need to go back to Little Egg Harbor to find the farm, but the mentioned children headed to Philadelphia to learn a trade. Sounds like a reasonable reason to relocate.

That last name, Nathan Bartlett, may be connected to The Barefoot Genealogist family.

Lesson Learned: Re-Read what you already have. You may have learned something between the time you entered it, or last looked at it. May have given you new eyes to see what you want to find.


12 Responses to Re-Read what you have

  1. Great story, Russ! I am doing the same thing as you are I blogged about it today as a matter of fact. Take a look at Even though this is such a HUGE task it is so rewarding! I am finding all kinds of things that I didn’t notice before, just like you 🙂 🙂

  2. Lisa Gorrell says:

    Great post, Russ. I think that this is the FIRST step one should take when stuck on a problem! Not only read, but write about it. Rewrite what is written, in table form or on spreadsheets, or in Evidentia. Anything to help you see new stuff that has been there all the time.

    • Russ Worthington says:


      That is what I like about Evidentia, it MAKES you Slow Down. You are right, Use what every tool works for YOU.

      Thank you for your comments.


  3. Russ, you may have helped me amazingly today. I have a Loyalist from Baltimore that we are beginning to think was (earlier in life) a mason from Philadelphia, and Little Egg Harbor keeps coming up in searches (which I ignored; it’s a common name).

    The blog post was here:

    Now I will revisit all that. Can’t WAIT to show my fourth cousin your blog post. And yes, I really do appreciate the real point of your post. Ten years? I think I forget stuff after a year.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if your aunt’s note helped me as well.

    • Russ Worthington says:


      Surname ?????

      At least to of MY Surnames came from New England to Little Egg Harbor and at lease ONE Rhode Islander. I remembered that from some data I was looking at this morning.

      Haven’t figured out WHY the move INTO Little Egg Harbor (Tuckerton), but that there was a move in that direction.

      Quakers by any chance?

      Thank you,


    • Russ Worthington says:


      There are Andrews and Bartletts in this burial ground

      I am working on the pictures I took 2 weeks ago, and am putting the needed one on Find-A-Grave..

      I didn’t look at your entire Surname List by saw Andrews and Bartletts in the same list, I looked like the Find-A-Grave list, including a Hannah Andrews, but from an earlier century.


      • Hi Russ. When I got home today and looked this up, I realized it was JESSE ANDREWS that kept showing up in Little Egg Harbor (and in the cemetery that you just linked to). Although Jesse Andrews is another mystery of mine, there is no way this is the right one because he would need to have a wife named Sarah, plus he’s a bit too old. It’s funny that in your quick look you came up with the same combinations of names that always turn up for me! That’s why Little Egg Harbor was so familiar to me.

        However, just seeing something about young men going to Philadelphia to learn bricklaying is heartening for me, because I think that’s what James Anderson did.

        thank you!!

        • Russ Worthington says:


          Very Interesting. I hope to get back to some more where in Little Egg Harbor shortly. I am trying to get my Tombstone Tuesday Blog ready for some pictures tomorrow from that Burial Ground. I will also take a closer look at your Surname list and compare that to my Long Island / Rhode Island names that came down to Little Egg Harbor.

          There is a book on Ancestry that you might want to look at.

          Ancestors and descendants of James and Ann Willits of Little Egg Harbor, N.J.


  4. Jana Last says:


    What a great reminder to look again at the documents and other items of genealogical value we already have.

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. […] several surnames that I am very familiar with. I did a blog post on that not too long ago.  Re-Read what you have that really talks about what I am doing with my […]

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