More on the Post Office

October 11, 2016

Over the weekend, I listened to the Board of Certified Genealogists / Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Great job to the presenters and a Thank you to Legacy Family Tree Webinar for making these recording available.

Specifically to Judy G. Russell‘s BCG/Legacy Family Tree Webinar “When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records” you can now catch it for FREE for a limited time! http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=1310

The point that I picked up on, was that we can, at some point in time, put one of our time consuming, reasonably exhaustive research (or search) aside. That was important because I have been spending a lot of time trying to determine how this Post Office indication, in this 1870 Census record played a role in locating this farm. Was it an important “issue” to walk away from.

Not willing to just walk away from it, I took one more try. I went to another website, in this case FamilySearch.org to see what I could find there. Went to their Wiki and located their Census Records.

I wanted to look at the same data, but from a different angle. It was easy to locate the Township Census Records, found what I was looking for and went to the First Page for the township. Sure enough the same Post Office. Went to the last page, same Post Office. Because of the way this website presented the data, I thought about the notion of a page or two before you entry, and a page or two after your entry. Just did that for my township. What about the neighboring township? Sure enough, I finally found my “permission” to put this “issue aside. The next township also had the SAME Post Office on all of it’s pages.

But, did the township borders change? Earlier I had located a Google Book entry for the History of the County, so I located a hint about that:

Washington_Township-Pg-22

No impact there. So, the Post Office issue, for the 1870 Census is off of my plate. Thanks Judy.

Before “this chapter” is closed, I am in the process of going page by page (image by image) through that 1870 Census, to locate all of the households for the family I am searching for. The earlier Map I share before clearly showed that at least two farms had the right names associated to the property. Now can I find them on the image. So far, using the usual search hasn’t found them, but if I browse the images, I may find what I am looking for.

My current thinking is that if the Civil War widow is asking for an increase in her Pension, specifically mentioned 120 acres of land, in 1907, I should be able to find that farm.

One more bit of information. I found another map that had the farm owners name AND the acreage and year of purchase of that property. Not, the farm wasn’t listed there either.

Back to the Historical Society, but with new questions.


Follow Up on the Post Office, Pension Challenge

October 10, 2016

As a follow up you my earlier post

1870 Census and Post Offices–A Challenge

I decided to put some data into a time line so see what that might show me.

Here is a time line of what I found about the Post Offices that appeared in the Pension file.

Ort-PO-TimeLine

(remember, spelling doesn’t count)

I have started a spreadsheet to help be catalog the 126 pages of pension files. For this pass, the only concern that I had was to capture dates and Post Office names. I have a few notes to go back to, but trying to see of the Date and Post Office would tell me anything.

 

Ort-Pension-PO-TimeLine

From the Pension file, Schooleys Mountain was the Post Office in the file from 1870 until 1907. That would indicate that they were living “on the mountain”. As you can see, 1907 and 1908 the Post Office changed to German Valley (the post office in “the valley”). Then, in 1910 returned to Schooleys Mountain.

So, something happened in 1907, right? Well, the Civil War Soldier, died 21 Oct 1907, so it appears that the Widow relocated to “the valley” with family. Several of the documents in 1908 talked specifically about 120 Acres that she had.

The 1900 Census shows that my Civil War Soldier was on “the mountain” with his wife and 4 children. I know where that property is located. The youngest son, would purchase a farm “in the valley” in 1916 (our 100th anniversary farm). But, the widow, returned to “the mountain”.

Why did she go back up “the mountain”? Could it be that a grandson still owned the farm on “the mountain” after he purchased the farm “in the valley” ? There was still family about where I think the farm is located today in the 1940 Census. Could that be the 120 Acre Farm?

But, why the 1870 Census Post Office being 22 miles away, with other Post Offices still active at the time.

Back to the Historical Society, for another look at their information on the Post Office and to see if they have any other Maps. I have already reviews the Online Maps, but before the 1900’s. They may also have access to or  can point me to, Deeds for the Property that I know about, and to the size of that Farm.


1870 Census and Post Offices–A Challenge

October 10, 2016

I recently received a Civil War Pension file, indicating that the Soldier and his wife (after his death) owned 100+ acres of land. The letters in the file had the suspected post offices mentioned. I know, from census records, that the family had property as early at 1860 in Washington Township, Morris County, New Jersey. It wasn’t really a question of the township, but where in the township. Later census records were very clear where the farms were, including the current farm, celebrating 100 years at the current location.

I can also go back to the next previous farm, also in the township. In this area, one my say “in the valley” and “on the mountain”.

A visit to a local Archive was in order. The Archivist very nicely pointed me to where some old County Maps were located, and found an 1868 Map, that had the Civil War soldier’s father and sibling mentioned on the map.

Overlaying that map with Google Maps, I knew where the farm would have been. I drove to where I thought it was, and in fact, it is still a farm. All of the bends in the road were as they should be, the stream was where it should be, present day and that 1868 map. BUT, where was my Civil War Soldier. Certainly a 100 acre map would have some indication on that map.

Ort_J-1870-Map-MiddleValleyPO


I went back to the Census Records, reread my citation, and noticed something really weird. The 1870 Census has a Post Office name listed.

Ort_WH-1870-Census

The Post Office in Succasunna, NJ, and the Census says Township of Washington. Clearly, there is a problem here. Succasunna is NOT in Washington Township.

Back to the maps

1868-BeersMap

Succasunna is in the next township. Also, that was also one of the post office names in the Pension File.

Next stop, the Washington Township Historical Society. As it turns out, the person I spoke with knew exactly what I was talking about. The 1870 Census. She ready knew my question, where did Succassunna come from for that census record.

She had some information on the Post Offices in the township over time. Someone had already done research on them showing that they opened and closed over the years as the township grew.

I went back to verify my Census Records (image above) to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I did my usual back a couple of pages in the Census, forward a couple of pages. Many familiar and sometimes family names were listed, as expected in Washington Township, not in Roxbury Township, where Succasunna is located.

Well, if Post Offices opened and closed, there has to be a history of that. In fact I had looked for this before, but for Post Masters, not Post Offices. The notion in my mind was that the Washington Township Post Offices had closed or that the family was closer to this post office then ones on the other side / end of the township.

I did find a listing for Post Offices in New Jersey, and had dates that they were in “business”. Well, the Succasunna Post Office, didn’t open until 1888. BUT, in looking at that map again, besides Succasunna there was also “Suckasunny” (1808-1888).  OK, my usual “spelling doesn’t count” clicked in.

So, I am confused, as well as the folk at the historical society, about the 1870 Census with a Post Office listed in the next township. and trying to see which of the 8 or 9 Post Offices that have existed in Washington Township might have been closed in 1870 to have the Census bureau use the neighboring township. Oh, and it’s not that close.

The other problem here, is that Enumeration Districts had not been established, from what I can tell for the 1870 Census.

I know that I am missing something here, but am not sure what that is. With a 100 acre farm, I should be able to find it on one of these historic maps. I have seen the 1868 map and a 1878 map and have located the father Jacob but not my Civil War soldier.

Ort_J-1867-1887-Map

Am heading back to read the Civil War Pension file to see if there is a hint that I missed. I’ll pay closer attention to the Date and Post Office mentioned in the 125+ pages in that file, to see where this farm is.


Today, in the mail

July 5, 2016

I have been expecting a letter from my Colorado cousin. Today it arrived. There are two pieces, one about a family story that is DNA related, but the most important item can only be shared with a picture.

EOS_0904

I’ll take a better photograph later. But, couldn’t wait to set up my Studio in a Box.

This is a lock of hair from my Great Grandfather Samuel Worthington (1843 – 1897).


QUERY: Worthington Springs, Florida

May 22, 2016

Hello.

I’m trying to determine if we are related to Samuel Worthington who founded Worthington Springs, Florida. My grandmother told me stories of somehow we were related through either her mother, Martha Lucinda Shepherd or her father, Ezra C. Fisher. My grandmother’s name was Esther Ina Fisher. I’ve puttered on Ancestry.com, but couldn’t find a connection…in fact the trail runs cold at Martha and Ezra – I can’t find any records of their parents. Any insight would be much appreciated.

Blessings –
Ronda Mitchell
rondirooboo@gmail.com


Homework: ESM QuickLesson 6

April 18, 2016

The Research Plan: Two-step Next Steps?

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “The Research Plan: Two-step Next Steps?” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage(https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/research-plan-two-step-next-steps : accessed 30 Sept 2015).

ESM_QuickLessons

Two-Step Next Steps, was an interest question, based on a project I am working on, in a Class I am teaching.

The basis for the class is a chart I created based on a number of other resources. Mostly from Cyndis’ List, but also from the Genealogy Class that DearMYRTLE Study Group did.

HV_00-ResearchProcess

I like the image of going in circles. Starting with ONE Question and trying to find the answer.

A student presented her question. It was a very simple question, where was this person born.

Using the Google Sheet we used with DearMYRTLE: bit.ly/CousinRussResearchSheets we did a search for a Census Record for this person, using the search feature on FamilySearch.org. We were successful.

The next day, I ran into my student and she was all excited that she FOUND the ANSWER to her question.

The problem was that she has jumped based a couple of steps along the way. We in fact had a 3 times “around the circle” plan to find her answer. The problem is that she Jumped to a Conclusion too quickly or she skipped “Evaluate Sources” step.

She did find AN answer, or the answer she was looking for, but not THE answer.

What she will learn in the next class is that she ran into the Genealogical Iceberg. That record isn’t only (yet) according to Family Search.

With the circle approach, for me at least, is that the Question needs to be changed a bit. Not the Town he was born, but was he born At Home or in a Local Hospital.

We. as a class. are developing a Research Plan, but need to make adjustments based on the “new information” that we find as we go along.

The QuickLesson told me, that a revision in THE PLAN may change, based on the current findings. But my caution to the class will be Don’t Jump to a Conclusion too quickly.

Lesson Learned: Stick to the plan and make adjustments as you go, as required.


Ethics and the Genealogist

March 26, 2016

I spend the day listening to my friend Judy G. Russell, JD, CGSM, CGLSM, The Legalgenealogist. I traveled a little over 3 hours to hear her speak. Not the first time, but I wanted to hear more about the Law and our research. All great stuff.

Until …. at least until her 4th Lecture. Oh, the presentation was awesome, it was the content of “The Ethical Genealogist” was presented. Then it became uncomfortable, but it was a follow up on my blog post of yesterday about my frustration with a specific website.

[ NOTE: all of my profiles were, in fact, remove ]

I uncomfortable reaction of yesterday, IF I understood Judy’s presentation correctly, was in fact what I should do, and should have done a long time ago.

Reading the Privacy information on the website, at the time I looked at it, left me with the impression that it was a Safe Place to gather information about living children. Some of my “problem” back then was not reading the information correctly, not understanding correctly, reading more into what was presented than was actually there.

When I saw “new” questionable behavior from the website is when my alarms when off. I did look at the Frequently Asked Questions to see what I had missed or what may have changed. A bit of an eye opening read. My gut reaction was to pull this tree off of the website. BUT, there was NO Delete Button. There was an FAQ page for that very question. I’ll not point to the website, nor post a link to that question. I further read where I could delete My Profile and the Tree. Attempted that and it could NOT be done. It went so far as to generating a system alert blocking me from further action.

Listing to Judy, I think that my action was appropriate. Lesson Learned so far, READ and Understand the Policies, Terms of Service and the Frequently Asked Questions. For me, I am sure that 4 years ago, I didn’t see that I could not delete the Tree later on. Common sense should have told me, not to publish living persons profiles on line. The way I read and understood the website at the time, the living persons profile were Locked and Private. I guess I really didn’t understand what Locked meant.

Having an understanding through testing, the Ancestry Member Tree could be Marked as PRIVATE. I did that, did some searching to make sure I couldn’t be found, so my understanding of this ‘new’ website had that as my understanding of what Locked was. I was wrong.

The issue of yesterday, from what I can tell, has been resolved.

BUT

What about my settings on my Ancestry Member Trees (AMT). I do some teaching and user AMTs to help the class members who might not have a genealogy software program, to demonstrate who you can use these Online Trees for research and collaboration. Some times its easier to demonstrate using the online trees.

When I got home a little while ago, I wanted to check how I had see ALL of my 25 Online Trees (guess I have some clean up work to do there). I normally put the tree online marked as PRIVATE, and a check mark telling Ancestry.com do not search this tree. Not looking for cousins, only using them for teaching. For the most part, they did not have children in those trees and not looking for cousins.

Of the 25, I turned 4 from Public Trees, to Private, no searching, 4 were Private, but had not turned to searching Off. They were my trees, some for testing, but some were for cousin bait, but I turned the search off. I ended up with 23 online trees, All Private, no searching.

The other two, were for DNA testing. Mine and a Cousin, whose DNA kit I manage. I left mine a Public, but turned the other one from Public to search only.

My gut reaction may be should have been to pull them all down off of the website, but I really need to think about the Privacy Settings that are available.

On the way home, I really thought about this, and really need to thing this whole Online Tree issue through and hopefully be part of The Ethical Genealogist presentation. My gut reaction is to create a trimmed down version of my online tree what would only include Names, Birth, Marriage, and Death information, stripping out all of the good stuff about my ancestors in those trees.

Is a trimmed down version of my tree enough? Can I trust the tree being Private but Searchable? Is the tree marked as Private and not searchable enough?

For DNA testing, results, and matching, is a Private, Searchable tree enough? I get very frustrated when I can not see a DNA Match Tree.

There are a number of websites that address this topic, starting on CyndisList.com.

Bottom line here, for me, is the Tension between “Cousin Bait” and the ethics of what my hobby is all about.


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