Your Quick Tips, 19 November 2007

Family History Christmas Tree
I have had a family history Christmas tree for a number of years and it is always interesting to hear the comments. When I did the first one, we didn’t have the extra money to buy ornaments, so I used construction paper (a different color for each surname) and pasted the copies of photos on the paper. The size of the background depended on the size of picture I wanted to use, but most of them are about 2 1/4″ by 3″. I used a larger piece for a picture of my husband and me and placed it at the top of the tree. His ancestors are on one side of the tree and mine on the other side. When the children come for Christmas they look to see if I have added any pictures.

Betty Rose Gregory

Don’t Make Assumptions About Ethnicity
My name is Barbara Glasgow and I married a Glasgow. We always thought we were from Scotland. Then I started doing the genealogy of the Glasgow family. From what we have learned thru Ancestry and the Family History Center, my husband’s great-grandfather came from Fourthtown, County Antrim, Ireland. I began reading up on Ireland and how people moved there from Scotland or were lured there because Ireland had so many Catholics. So all of you Glasgows, don’t just assume that your ancestors were from Scotland. I imagine that if I go far enough on this that I will eventually get to Scotland–maybe.
Barbara Glasgow

Don’t Make Assumptions About Occupation
Do not assume that your ancestor’s occupation never changed and that your farmer ancestor in 1860 cannot be listed as a lawyer ten years later. Occupations may change; what typically does not alter drastically is social or economic status.

I am reminded of a problem I have encountered with censuses before 1880 or so. Given the handwriting of those days, it can be very difficult to determine whether a man’s occupation is listed as “Lawyer” or “Sawyer.” Checking other examples of the enumerator’s L’s and S’s helps, as does considering economic status. It was not unusual for a “farmer” who owned his land to become a lawyer. Farming one’s own land was the dream of many people and a respected occupation, and it was not necessary to go to law school to become a lawyer. It was less likely that a “farm laborer” or “tenant” or a farmer who did not own land would become a lawyer. If you are lucky and the next census lists him as a “timber-getter,” that settles the question.

Laura Keyes Perry

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One thought on “Your Quick Tips, 19 November 2007

  1. Barbara Glasgow’s note regarding assumptions was interesting in its parallel to my information trail.

    My Grandfather on my Dad’s side, a devout Catholic, was born in Belfast in 1865, his parents both Irish born. By 1891’s census the family was in Port Glasgow working in local industry. From there began their US emigration in the early 1920’s.

    The members of Dad’s generation always took pride in their Scottish heritage, when in reality they were of Irish blood.

    Brad Cupples

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