US President Barack Obama related to all US presidents but one

7th-Grader: Obama, Most US Presidents Related – Central Coast News Story – KSBW The Central Coast:

SALINAS, Calif. — A seventh-grader and her 80-year-old grandfather are allegedly the first people to discover that President Barack Obama is related to all other U.S. presidents except one.

BridgeAnne d’Avignon, who attends Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, traced that Obama, and all other U.S. presidents except Martin Van Buren, are related to John ‘Lackland’ Plantagenet, a king of England and signer of the Magna Carta.

Hat-tip to Father Milovan.
BridgeAnne claims that President Obama is her 11th cousin. I wonder what relation he is to the other US presidents.

Keeping track of paper files

One of the perennial problems of genealogical research is keeping track of paper files. As time goes by you accumulate mounds of paper, piles of paper — notes, letters, family group sheets sent to by related and unrelated people, certificates, photocopies of wills, and much much more.

How do you keep track of it?

There are all kinds of systems that are recommended, but most of them are too complicated, and too difficult to catch up with if you fall behind.

The easiest filing system I have ever seen is one recommended with the early versions of the Personal Ancestral File program (PAF). It even came with a program to support it, the Research Data Filer.

The simplest solution is this: number each document with a serial number, and file them in numerical order in a lever arch file (or, if you’re American, a 3-ring binder). Use a computer program to keep track of the contents of the paper file.

The Research Data Filer had (has — I still use it!) two files – Documents (.DOC) and Data (.DAT). The document file contains a description of each document. The data file indexes the people in the documents, and allows you to enter the kind of information contained in the documents – the fields are: Document Number, Page, Name, Sex, Id, Event, Date, Place, Rela(ations), Relations Id numbers (up to 3) and Comments. For Id I use the RINs allocated by my genealogy program, since they are unique to each person.

Thus if you are looking for a person, you can search on name or Id, and it comes up with a list of the documents that contain information on that person, which you can then find easily, because you’ve filed them in numerical order.

You don’t have to use the Research Data Filer (RDF) to index your paper files. You could use a spreadsheet or general database program, or a specialised program like Clooz. But I still find the RDF program best because it was designed for the job, and adheres to the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid. I only wish that someone would update it with a Windows version, because printing output from DOS programs with a Windows printer is a pain in the neck.

If course you can’t store all research documents in a lever arch file — for example, if it is a book. The book must stay on the bookshelf. So what you put in your lever arch file is a sheet of paper with full bibliographical information about the book, and, if it is a library book, which library you found it in, and when you consulted it. You can also add photocopies of relevant pages, under the same document number.

The advantage of this system is that it is simple and easy to maintain, and you can start anywhere, with any pile, or any document. Just punch the holes, file it, and give it a number, starting with 1, or 00001 if you prefer. Some genealogy programs, like Legacy, let you include this document number in your source notes on a person.

The Research Data Filer program allows you to sort on any field. You can also “focus” on any kind of information – say a surname, and then a first name, and then a place. This is like the “filter” function in most database programs, but it is not just in the form of a report, but a view of a particular set of records that can then be edited or printed.

Cottam family of Lancaster

Yesterday I found another generation of my Cottam family in the Lancaster area, and so was able to link to a lot of descendants.

My great great great grandfather, Richard Cottam, was born at Heaton-with-Oxcliffe, near Lancaster, but I had not been able to find his baptism, and thus his parents.

At the LDS Family History Centre in Johannesburg I ordered the film of church records for St Helen, Overton, and found Richard Cottam was baptised there in 1811, along with 10 siblings, including his brother Adam Cottam, whose whole family I had recorded in censuses etc, without knowing how he was connected.

They were the children of John and Mary Cottam, John being recorded as “Farmer of Oxcliffe Hall”. The only other Cottams found there in abundance were the children of Henry and Alice Cottam. Henry was a “Farmer of Heaton”. The next step will be to find if John and Henry were brothers and who their parents were.

Brooks of the Isle of Axholme

Not long ago I wrote about the Axholme Ancestry web site, which seems to have some very useful information for people whose ancestors came from that part of the world. The Isle of Axholme is in north-west Lincolnshire, bordering Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

One of my ancestors from there, John Vause (1747-1823), married an Elizabeth Brooks in Epworth on 4 January 1780. They had four children: Richard, John, Samuel and Sarah. Elizabeth died when Sarah was a couple of months old, and Sarah herself died a few months later.

Since I first visited the site a month ago someone else has added some more information, including the probable parents of Elizabeth Brooks, Samuel and Sarah Brooks. They had a daughter Elizabeth baptised on 6 September 1745, which makes her about the right age, and since the third son and first daughter were named Samuel and Sarah respectively, it seems that Samuel and Sarah (senior) were probably her parents. So that takes another family line another generation back.

New Growden marriage discovery

I’ve found a possible marriage in FreeBMD for Elizabeth Ann Growden (RIN 3976), my great-grandfather’s older sister.

Marriages Mar 1869   (>99%)
GROWDEN     Elizabeth Ann          Bodmin     5c    122
Kendall           Nicholas Dunn     Bodmin     5c    122
PARSONS     Elizabeth                Bodmin     5c    122
Sturtridge          Thomas                Bodmin     5c    122

It seems to be confirmed by FreeCen 1871:

Piece: RG10/2268 Place: Mevagissey -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1
Civil Parish: Mevagissey Ecclesiastical Parish: -
Folio: 13 Page: 18 Schedule: 105

Where her age fits with Elizabeth Ann Growden (b. 1849)

They are in the 1871 Census as Kendall, but in the 1881 Census the spelling is Kendle, which appears to be an enumerator’s or transcriber’s mistake. I could find no trace of them in the 1891 census — perhaps they had moved away, or it hasn’t been fully transcribed yet.

My great-grandfather, William Matthew Growden (he later used the spelling Growdon, as did all his South African descendants) came to the Cape Colony in about 1876 to build the railway line from East London  to the interior.

At the time of the 1861 Census he was living at 3 Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, aged 10, with his father Matthew, aged 61, his mother Christiana, aged 51, his step-brother Thomas Pope, aged 23, his sister Elizabeth Ann (12), and brothers Mark (7) and Simeon (5).

Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, Cornwall (Photo taken 5 May 2005).

His brother Simeon died a couple of years later at the age of 8, and Mark died at the age of 28, within a few months of his marriage to Elizabeth Dymond. So I didn’t expect to find any relatives from that generation, so it was quite exciting to find a possible marriage for great-grand aunt Elizabeth Ann, and they appear to have had four children by the 1881 census, so there are possibly more third cousins just waiting to be discovered!

Not far from Higher Bore Street is Scarlett’s Well, where the family lived at the 1851 census, and I can imagine the children playing in these leafy lanes after school, or helping their father gather wood (which, as a woodman, was how he earned his living).

ScarWell

Near Scarlett's Well, Bodmin

Maternal lines

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Matrilineal Line suggests:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Note or status line on Facebook.

Well here’s my matrilineal line:

a) Steve Hayes
b) Ella Growdon (1910-1983) married Frank Wynn Hayes
c) Janet McCartney Hannan (1882-1946) married George Growdon
d) Ellen McFarlane (1858-1933) married William Hannan
e) Amelia or Emily Livingston (c1826-?) married David McFarlane – of Glasgow, Scotland

and here’s Val’s line:

a) Valerie Greene
b) Dorothy Pearson (1823-1984) married Keith Dudley Vincent Greene
c) Martha Ellwood (1885-1968) married William Walker Pearson
d) Mary Carr (1847-1897) married Thomas Ellwood
e) Isabella Little (1822-1895) married Ralph Carr
f) Ann Akin married Edward Little — of Cumberland, England

Neither of us have had our mitochondrial DNA tested.

Research at the LDS Family History Centre

Val is on leave and last Friday we went to Johannesburg and did some research in the LDS Family History Centre in Parktown.  One of the things I always enjoy when going to the LDS Family Centre is the walk through the garden between the car park and the reading room. It is a pleasant place with ponds and lots of shady trees, and is especially enjoyable on hot summer days.

Garden at the LDS Family History Centre

Val was checking Methodist records from the Cape Colony, looking for the Stewardson and Morris families of Damaraland (now part of Namibia), who were said to have had Cape connections, and to have been Methodist missionaries.

I (Steve) was looking at microfilms of the parish registers of Lancaster, Lancashire, England, where the Cottam and Bagot families came from. I managed to find a fair number of entries relating to the siblings of my great-great-great grandmother, Maragaret Bagot, who married Richard Cottam in Lancaster in 1835, and I’ve been reconstructing the families from the parish records.

We also met Gwyneth Thomas there, who is indirectly linked to the Stewardson family through the Gunning family of Walvis Bay — John William Gunning married Charlotte Caroline Stewardson (sister of Val’s great great grandmother Kate Stewardson who married Fred Green) exactly 135 years ago today — they were married at Omaruru on 13 April 1875. Gwyneth Thomas is descended from John William Gunning’s younger sister Sarah Petronella Gunning (1845-1930) who married Thomas William Thomas in Cape Town.

We’ve been trying to exchange GEDCOM files with Gwyneth, but though hers reached us OK, ours seems to get mangled in the transmission, and ends up unreadable.

MyHeritage.com — another scam site?

I keep getting messages from MyHeritage.com, saying that there are SmartMatches for my family tree, or that various people want access to my tree.

When I go to their site, however, I cannot do anything about these, because I get this message:

Your family tree has 10,592 people. This exceeds the Basic subscription plan of your family site.

In order for your family tree to display all people, you must upgrade the site plan.

We have an Easter special: 30% discount on our Premium plan! But hurry up, this offer expires very soon.

Now I never subscribed to their site, with a basic plan or any other. I did not enter those 10 592 people on their site, so if it “exceeds” their basic plan, that is their problem, not mine.

They never asked me for my permission to put their data on their site, yet they seem to have done so, and now want me to pay them to have access to my own data, and to respond to the 19 other people who have asked my permission to access it because they think it matches something in their family tree.

There seems to be something unethical about this whole operation, in fact it seems to be yet another genealogy scam.

They stole my data without my permission, and now they want me to pay them to access it, or to give other people access to it.

Mystery cousins and royal legends

Our Green family, which we have traced back to Canada, has a family legend that William John Green, alias William Goodall Green, was the the son of Edward, Duke of Kent, and his mistress Julie de St Laurent. This legend has been fairly conclusively refuted by Mollie Gillen in her book The prince and his lady, so there is no need to go into that here.

William Goodall Green was in fact the son of Eliza Green, the daughter of James Green, a Quebec butcher, and William, Goodall, a London merchant. He was born in Quebec on 28 August 1790, before Edward Duke of Kent had set foot in Canada.

The legend did, however, become something of an obsession with some members of the family, and gave rise to some other minor mysteries.

William Goodall Green married Margaret Gray, the daughter of John Gray, the founder and first president of the Bank of Montreal. They had 15 children, born between 1815 and 1842, and Margaret died shortly after the last of them was born. William Goodall Green then went to the Cape Colony, in the Commissariat Department of the army, and two of his sons, Henry and Fred, remained in southern Africa. The eldest son, William, lived in Northumberland, England, and is son, also William, was the main propagator of the legend of royal descent.

It was William Goodall Green’s grandchildren who appeared to believe most firmly in the legend, and two of them changed their names as a result. Not only did they change their names, but they also seem to have disappeared, and therein lies the mystery.

Cecil Hollings Shipley Green was the youngest son of Major Edward Lister Green, and was born in Napier, New Zealand, in 1870. He became a bookkeeper at Alrig (wherever that may be), and in 1904 went to America. In 1917 his sister Florence Rutherfurd, then living in British Columbia, Canada, mentioned him in a letter to their eldest sister, Louie, in New Zealand:

I am writing to send you Christmas greetings and to tell you about Cecil, or Charles Stuart his name now is. Just the same initials, C.S. Green. He would like to hear from you. His address is

No 2503041 C.S. Green
No 10 Winnipeg Draft
Railway Construction Corps
Broadway Barracks,
Winnipeg, Canada

He seems happier than for years and has been travelling about a great deal. He may have left for England so put if left, please forward. He has given my name as next-of-kin.

And that was the last (as far as we know) his family ever heard of Cecil Hollings Shipley Green, or Charles Stuart Green, as he preferred to be known.

And then there is his first cousin, William Alfred Goodall Esdaile Green, who was almost his exact contermorary, having been born in New South Wales about 1869.

He joined the Brisbane Volunteer Rifles in July 1887, was appointed Staff Sergeant in Feb 1892 and resigned in 1897. He was then appointed Second Lieutenant in the Queensland Defence Force on 30 July 1897 (1st Queensland or Moreton Regiment). He was a Lieutenant in the 4th Queensland (1st Imperial) Bushmen for service in South Africa, in the Anglo-Boer War, where he served from 18 May 1900 to 12 August 1901.

In 1902 and 1903 he applied for posts in the civil service in Natal and the Orange River Colony, and worked as a temporary clerk in the Public Works Department in Natal from 16 Aug 1902 until 31 Oct 1903, and then in the Treasury until 31 Dec 1904. On 13 Feb 1909 he was staying at 166 West Street, Pietermaritzburg and again applied for temporary employment.

After World War I he changed his name to William d’Este-Stuart-Grey, and that seems to have been the last anyone in his family heard from him.  (Letter from Kathleen Schrader to her aunt Louisa Cowley, see Cowley 1996:194).

Did he change his name to emulate his cousin, or to go one up on him, or did both of them do it quite spontaneously without knowing about the other?

Both chose the name Stuart, which had royal connotations, though Edward Duke of Kent was a Hanoverian rather than a Stuart. Perhaps they both had a rush of royal blood to the head, but it would be nice to know what happened to them.

Sandercock family forum

We started the Sandercock/Saundercock family history forum for people of Sandercock descent in October, and by the end of the month we have had some very useful discussuions.

Several members have been helped to make new family connections, or to solve mysteries with existing connections.

There are now 15 members, representing several different branches of the Sandercock families.

If you haven’t yet joined, please respond to this invitation to do so, and pass on the invitation to others who may be interested. The forum is open to anyone with the name of Sandercock, Saundercock and vatiants, or who is descended from Sandercocks, or married to someone descended from them.

To join, just send an e-mail message to:

sandercock-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

or visit the web page for the group at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sandercock/

Group Email Addresses
Post message: sandercock@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: sandercock-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe: sandercock-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
List owner: sandercock-owner@yahoogroups.com

The Sandercock family seems to have originated on the Cornwall-Devon border in south-western England, and have spread from there down and around Bodmin Moor. Some of the towns where the family has been established are St Gennys, Poundstock, and Jacobstow in north-eastern Cornwall; Altarnun, Launceston and neighbouring towns in Eastern Cornwall; Cardinham, Braddock, St Tudy and St Teeth on the south and west of Bodmin Moor, and various towns across the border in Devon.

Sander is said to be a nickname for Alexander, and so Sandercock probably originated as meaning “son of Alexander” — Sanderson is another name with a similar derivation. We hope by pooling our resouces, to track the various families back to the original hypothetical Alexander, though of course there is always the possibility that there were several unrelated ones whose children were given the epithet Sandercock.

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