31 December 2009

New Years GeneaResolutions 2010

My 2010 New Years GeneaResolutions:
  • Order one record a month. I have a backlog of modern bdm certificates I want, but have a limited budget. Mostly this is for actually remembering to place the order
  • Finish updating my database. This involves going through person-by-person and making sure I have all of my information sourced and that my sources are cited. I'm not even half-way finished yet, so there's lots of work still to be done.
  • Update/rebuild my website. The family pages need updating. I'm also planning on redesigning the entire site. Can't complete this until my database update is done
  • Get my professional certification through the Board of Certified Genealogist (my goal is to have my portfolio done by April).
  • Apply, get accepted to, and go to graduate school. I'm looking at schools with a dual History/Archives program.
Carnival of Genealogy, 87th ed. - New Years Resolutions

    30 December 2009

    The Genealogical Proof Standard, step 2

    Plagiarize - to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source[1]

    Have you ever plagiarized something? If you do not cite your sources then you are plagiarizing someone else's work. A family tree posted online, a book of census abstracts, or a birth certificate; all of these things need to be cited, not matter how insignificant you think it might be. You also need to attach the record’s source citation to every item of information collected from it.
    Step two in the Genealogical Proof Standard:

    2.  We collect and include in our compilation a complete, accurate citation to the source or sources of each item of information.[2]

    When you are using a record you need to note the following, to (a) write your source citation, and (b) help you analyze the information you find:
    • Who
      • Who created it (author, transcriber, etc)
    • What
      • What exactly is it? (birth certificate, marriage record book, interview, online image, etc).
    • Where
      • Where is it kept? (Repository, Courthouse, Website)
      • What is the locator? (call number, page number, URL)
    • When
      • When was it created?
      • When was the information you are looking at created? (in cases of transcription, extracts, databases, abstracts)
    • How
      •  How was it derived? (in cases of transcription, extracts, databases, abstracts) 
    For analysis, it is also a good idea to know:
    • Why
      • Why was the record created?
    Who, What, Where, When, Why, How. Remember that from your school days? Creating a source citation does not have to be difficult. Try this: when you copy a page from a book, also copy that book's title page and/or copyright page and clip them together. Notate what database you used and the date you used it.

    It is like a treasure hunt: the source is your treasure and the citation is the map to finding it.

    There are several guides specific to genealogy available to aid you in citing records (as well as analysis):
       Lacky, Richard S. Cite Your Sources: A Manual for Documenting Family Histories and  Genealogical Records. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1980.*
       Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence!: Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co.,1997.
       Mills. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2009.
       Mills. Quick Sheet: Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images, Evidence! Style. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2009.
       Mills. Quick Sheet: Citing Online Historical Sources, Evidence! Style. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2007.
    *Lacky's Cite Your Sources was the first genealogy specific citation manual. It is in MLA (Modern Language Association) style, which is not correct per-say. In the field of history (genealogy=family history) we use the Chicago Manual of Style. All of Elizabeth Shown Mills' works use this citation method. If you have been using Cite Your Sources, then keep using it. Otherwise use one of Mill's manuals.

    Several universities have online guides to using the Chicago Manual of Style. These will show you how to cite books, journals and basic websites among others. It will not cover genealogy specific records (federal records such as censuses, home stead files, pension files; family Bibles, tombstones, online digital images, etc.). I suggest Purdue's OWL.

    To confuse you even more, there are three different ways to phrase your citation. I have used two of them in this post. (1) The first is the list of books I gave. It is in bibliography or source list style. (2) The second is footnote/endnote style, which I have used in my endnotes (the little numbers [#] which are explained at the bottom). For repeated use of a source in your footnote/endnotes you can abbreviate. (3) The third type is in-text. Example:
    "Sources are artifacts, books, digital files, documents, film, people, photographs, recordings, websites, etc." (Mills, Evidence Explained, 24).
    The in-text citation is what is in the parenthesis (). In-text citations are always paired with a bibliography.

    I know that writing citations for every little thing sounding like a daunting task. Get in the habit of writing down the information you need to write a citation for every source you use. You don't need to memorize the format for citations, just use one of the guides. Many software programs now also support Evidence citations, including RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker, where you just fill in the fields with the information and they spit out the proper citation.
    [1] Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com : accessed 6 December 2009), “plagiarize.”
    [2] The Board for Certification of Genealogist, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1.

    29 December 2009

    Tombstone Tuesday - Old Woodlawn Cemetery

    Old Woodlawn Cemetery
    Rutter - Wilson family plot
    Sweet Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota


    1882 1957|1878 1959


    [ornament reads: "U.S. AMERICAN LEGION"]

    FLORA R.


        Old Woodlawn Cemetery (Sweet Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota; north of Pipestone, west of quarries), Rutter-Wilson-Landry, block B, lot 151, spaces 1-5; photo by author, 7 June 2009.
        Old Woodlawn Cemetery (Sweet Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota), lot card, block B, lot 151.

    27 December 2009

    The Genealogical Proof Standard, step 1

    I am presenting a lecture as part of the Southern California Genealogical Society's Lunch & Learn series on the Genealogical Proof Standard. It will be January 9th, beginning at noon (lunch, lectures start at 1pm) at the SCGS library in Burbank, CA. Charlotte Bocage will presenting first with a lecture on "So You Thought You Were Organized?" I invite you to come. In preparation I will be posting a series on the GPS. Please feel free to rip it apart, question anything you don't understand, point out anything that I didn't explain, etc.

    My B.A. is in Secondary Education—History. I consider myself first and foremost a historian. From this perspective it's hard a times to understand that people are trying to pass off information as researched when it was in fact not. Do you think of your genealogy as research? You should, because it is. You can view it as historical or scientific research, both have the same end. Now, look at the data you've collected for you family tree. Have you fully researched everything? The first step in the Genealogical Proof Standard is:
    1. We conduct a reasonably exhaustive search in reliable  sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question.[1]
    First, what is a "reasonably exhaustive search?" Standard no. 19 in The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual reads:
    19. Reasonably extensive research is prerequisite—regardless of whether the problem is simple or complex—and includes appropriately broadening the search beyond the person, family, event, or record of the most-direct impact on the project. The search effort extends to discovery of information that does or might illuminate (or conflict with) the other items of collected data.[2]
    You want to find every possible record that your ancestor was mentioned in. It seems like a daunting task because it is. This is what keeps us researching year after year, decade after decade, and without getting bored. Have you read through all of the local newspapers for mention of your ancestor? Have you searched collateral lines? What about land, court, probate, military and church records? Have you read that county or city history? It might surprise you where information can be found.

    Mark Tucker at ThinkGenealogy has created a Genealogical Proof Standard road map that is extremely useful and amazing. I suggest downloading and/or printing it. He has suggested a few organizational tips for the first step of the GPS:
    • Set a research goal, it should be a
      • Statement
      • Question
      • Hypothesis
    • Create a research plan
      • Where will you be searching
      • What records will you be searching
    • Keep a research log
      • What records have you searched and what did (or not) you find in them? 
    If you know what you are searching for and what you have (or have not) found, if cuts down on the extra stuff. How many of us have searched a source several times because we could not remember if we had already done so? Also think of your research log as a check list. What sources have you not yet searched that might hold a clue?

    Do not settle for the sources you already have. Okay, so you have a birth certificate. Do you also have a copy of the birth announcement, posted in the local newspaper? Were there birth announcement cards mailed out to family? Is there a letter letting someone know of the birth?
    Keep looking!
    [1] The Board for Certification of Genealogist, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1.
    [2] ibid, 8.

    25 December 2009

    December 25

    On this day in 1856 Alonzo J. Rutter married Mary E. Finch.

    On this 24^th day of December 1856 Alonso
    J. Rutter applied for License to marry Mary
    E. Finch & filed written consent of her
    Parents & produced the testimony of Charles
    Moris that the said Alonzo J. Rutter is
    over 21 years old.
    F. B. Doalitle
    County Judge

    X This certifies that on the 25" day of December
    AD 1856 I John Baldwin a minister united
    Alonzo J. Rutter aged 19 years and Mary E. Finch
    aged 17 years in the Holy Bands of Matrimony
    Witness my hand this 25" day of December AD 1856
    John Balduin A Minister
    of the Baptis Denomination
    Recorded 9 of May 1857

    I like how on the 24th Alonzo is over 21, but on the 25th he is 19 years old.  For the record, he was in fact 19, and his bride was 16.

    Merry Christmas

        Delaware County, Iowa, "Marriage Record, 1851-1861," p. 189, Alonzo J. Rutter-Mary E. Finch marriage license and return, December 1856; Delaware County Recorder's Office, Manchester.

    18 December 2009

    Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case

    I've had this on back order for a while, and it finally came today:

           Rose, Christine. Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 3rd ed. San Jose, CA: CR Publications, 2009.

    Follow Friday - Favorite Blogs

    I'm calling these my "favorite" blogs because of the knowledge I learn from them. I love blogs for allowing us to share our stories. To those who go beyond that and share their knowledge, I am immensely grateful. We grow as genealogist and family historians by increasing our know-how.

    Genealogy and Family History
    Genealogy's Star
    Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

    16 December 2009

    Blog Caroling

    footnoteMaven has a tradition of blog caroling. I've decided to join in this year with my favorite Christmas carol: 

    Hark, The Herald Angels Sing!

    Hark the herald angels sing
    "Glory to the newborn King!
    Peace on earth and mercy mild
    God and sinners reconciled"
    Joyful, all ye nations rise
    Join the triumph of the skies
    With the angelic host proclaim:
    "Christ is born in Bethlehem"
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    "Glory to the newborn King!"

    Christ by highest heav'n adored
    Christ the everlasting Lord!
    Late in time behold Him come
    Offspring of a Virgin's womb
    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
    Hail the incarnate Deity
    Pleased as man with man to dwell
    Jesus, our Emmanuel
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    "Glory to the newborn King!"

    Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Son of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings
    Ris'n with healing in His wings
    Mild He lays His glory by
    Born that man no more may die
    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    "Glory to the newborn King!"

    The Open Hymnal Project (http://openhymnal.org/ : accessed 16 December 2009), "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

    15 December 2009

    Tombstone Tuesday - Old Woodlawn Cemetery

    Old Woodlawn Cemetery
    McLean family plot
    Sweet Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota


    Old Woodlawn Cemetery (Sweet Township, Pipetstone County, Minnesota; north of Pipestone, west of quarries), Alice & John A. McLean, block K, lot 38, spaces 4 & 5; photo by author, 7 June 2009.
    Old Woodlawn Cemetery (Sweet Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota), lot card, block K, lot 39.

    12 December 2009

    Advent Calendar - Charitable/Volunteer Work

    December 12 - Charitable/Volunteer Work
    Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

    I remember the first year I was allow to go. My mom had made me a green elf costume to wear. My job was to direct everyone coming off of the buses to where Santa was. It was Christmas Eve and we were at Pitchess Detention Center, a California prison in north Los Angeles County. The families would park their car and take a bus back to the prison to visit. When they come back and get off the bus, we had Santa (and his elf!) waiting for them with presents. Few of those there that day knew what awaited them. Santa, on Christmas Eve was a treat. Asking him for a present and having him hand it to you? Priceless.

    07 December 2009

    December 7

    68 years ago today Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. Thousands of lives were lost. The United States responded by declaring war on Japan. This was our official entry into World War II. All of us have someone who served during the war, as soldier or sailor, or civilian. Do you know how they contributed? Did a child lead a scrap drive? Did a mother plant a victory garden? Did a son, father, brother join the service? This generation is fast disappearing. We should not let their hard work disappear with them.

    In 2003 I visited Hawaii with my high school band. One of the place we went was Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona memorial is something I urge everyone to visit. It sits above the ship, which is visible. In the harbor are white mooring blocks with the names of all of the ships, placed where each ship was on the morning of December 7, 1941. Footnote has created an interactive USS Arizona Memorial that is currently free to access.

    06 December 2009

    SCGS GENEii Family History Writers Contest

    I recieved a reminder e-mail today and though I'd pass it along, This is open to everone:

    The Southern California Genealogical Society sponsors one of the very few writing contests designed specifically for family historians that is open to the general public.  Membership in SCGS is not required to participate in the contest.

    The GENEii Family History Writers Contest, now in its tenth year, offers cash prizes in two categories:

    Category 1: Family or local history articles of 1,000-2,000 words in length, published or unpublished. If previously published, entries must be accompanied by the written permission of the publisher allowing article to be reprinted by SCGS.

    1st Place, $200
    2nd Place, $100
    3rd Place, $50
    Honorable Mentions, certificate
    Finalists, certificate

    Category 2:  Family or local history articles of 1,000 words or less, published or unpublished.  If previously published, entries must be accompanied by the written permission of the publisher allowing article to be reprinted by SCGS.

    1st Place, $100
    2nd Place, $50
    3rd Place, $25
    Honorable Mentions, certificate
    Finalists, certificate

    The deadline for submissions for the 2009 contest is December 31, 2009.

    All of the details and contest rules can be found on the SCGS Website at www.scgsgenealogy.com.  The FAQs can be found at http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/2009contest-faq.htm

    You can read examples of some of the entries on the website as well. Look on the left-hand side of the screen for "Writing Contest" and click on that link.

    In November, 2005, Heritage Books, Inc. published an anthology of some of the most memorable entries to our contest in the contest’s first five years. The anthology is called Celebrating Family History, and is available for $25 plus shipping and handling through the SCGS website.

    05 December 2009

    SNGF: Letter to Genea-Santa - I want a letter

    Randy Seaver at Genea-Musing has posted this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

    1) Write a letter to Genea-Santa and ask for only ONE thing. It could be hardware, software, a missing family Bible, a record that you desperately want, etc.
    2) Tell Genea-Santa what a good genea-girl or genea-boy you've been this past year and give examples.
    3) Exhibit your letter on your own blog, in a Facebook post commenting on this note, or in a Comment to this blog post.
    Dear Genea-Santa,
    I would like to find a letter. It was up for auction on e-bay several years ago and I have found part of the listing. The e-bay people don't keep records for that long ago so I have no idea what happened to it. From the listing (via the Way Back Machine, via a cousin):
    This stampless letter has a circular date stamp for CUBA N.Y., a handwritten 25 cent rate, and is addressed to Mr. Jotham Meriam, Clapp hill, Worcester county, Mass, and is a lengthy three+ page 'Dear Mother' letter written by 'your affectionate daughter' Mary Rutter. that line is inside, on the margin of the inner fold. The back page, on the folds adjacent to the front cover, is all written by Emerson Rutter to 'Dear Father' [in-law]. The headline is Cuba Jan 14 [?], 1839. I think that's the year date, it almost looks like 1831. Spelling is a bit phonetic in places. Some abstracts:"I feel dear mother that we are a great distance from you and all our relations but we are contented and happy, we are surrounded with christian friends ...""... we have joined this presbyterian church to day with many others, I know not the exact number but the was 21 baptized ...""... when I lived in Uxbridge and visited you I stod up for the unitarians and I new when I did it that I was injuring your feelings ...""I was separate from my husband 5 months which was a lonesom season, I left Carolines the 2 week in Oct ..."Mr. Rutter came out here last spring and got rite into business and has not ben out a day cense and the prospect is the will be enough for the future.""We live in the vile[???] which is in a florishing state ... ther was but one or 2 decent houses here they hav built 2 meeting houses this season, presbeterian and baptist. Mr. Rutter has ben the head workman on both there is 2 taverns and 4 stores besides grocery shops and it is but 15 years cense the wild beast romed here ...""... dear still lingers in the forrest where once was herd the howl of the woolf the sound of the chirch bel echos from hill to hill, and gathers the people far and near to the worship spot."[Emerson] "Soil is much better here than in Madison but the country is new and the farmers have not got fairley into the business of farming as yet as most of them ware poor people when they came in here but they begin to pick up their crumbs and they have everything to encourage them for the present.""The Genesee vally canall goes directly through this village from Rochester to the naviagable watters of the Allagany river, and it makes business ...""There is a railroad located through this village from New York city to Dunkirk through the southern toes of county ..." Condition of the letter rates average, there were some separations along some folds, which were mended lightly with archival tape, in order to hold it together well for reading. All the words are there, and readable. As usual with stampless letters, after writing on one or more sides of a sheet of paper, the letter was folded several times and mailed. An interesting letter good for genealogy and history research. See my other auctions for similar items. Terms and conditions: Shipping for a single cover or letter is $1.00 via USPS to USA addresses. Shipping to Canada and United Kingdom is $2.00. Other countries please write and ask first. Save on postage on multiple purchases.Unconditionally guaranteed authentic. Member of American Philatelic Society.Money order or cashier's check ships within 24 hours. Personal checks require 7 days to clear unless you've purchased from me before. Paypal is fine, use their main web site and my email address for payment via Paypal.Thank you for sending payment within 10 days. Powered by eBay Turbo Lister.
    I have been a good girl this year, making sure all of my information is sourced and cited. I started a blog to share my experiences with others and have begun to get involved with SCGS as a lecturer and possibly a librarian.

    03 December 2009

    Advent Calendar – Christmas Tree Ornaments

    Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

    Ornaments are big in my family. We have very few of the generic round color ones, and most of those are old (or at least older than me). Each member of the family has "their" ornaments that they hang every year. These are things that person has made, a "first birthday/Christmas," or a wacky something. Usually we get one ornament a year per person that represents something that happened during that year. We have a lot of homemade ornaments, but they don't look like it; my mom used to have a craft company and made a lot of things. We have my maternal grandmother's glass bells and lanterns. One tradition that she started and that my mom carried on was the bells. Different bells are hung around the tree on the lowest branches. This alerts my parents to when my sister or I were getting into the presents. Or when the dog decided to sleep under the tree.
    Decorating the tree this year.

    01 December 2009

    Advent Calendar - The Christmas Tree

    Did you have a real tree or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree? What types of Christmas trees did your ancestors have?

    Growing up we always had a real tree. I remember one Christmas we were living in a house with a vaulted ceiling two stories high. My mom made sure we got a tall tree, and at 19 ft. it was. We stood on a ladder to decorate the top. Everyone always participated in decorating the tree; we each had our own special ornaments to hang.
    When I was in high school we got an artificial tree. Most of my family has allergies and we has started getting the tree closer and closer to Christmas to avoid the brunt of them. We were after Christmas shopping at Michael's (a craft store) and my mom liked one of the trees they had on display. It turned out to be the only tree they had and it didn't have a box. I think we paid $10 for it; took it apart and stuffed it in the car. I do love our tree. It is 6 ft. tall and very full, with no bad side.

    30 November 2009

    1776 Census of Maryland

    My new book came today from Amazon.

     Carothers, Bettie Stirling. 1776 Census of Maryland. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 2005.

    COG: Lee Rutter - How Do You Connect?

     Carnival of Genealogy, 85th ed.: Orphans and Orphans

    The first time I encountered Lee was Dora Emily Rutter-McCall's obituary: "Survivng are three daughters and one son: Mrs. Rose Thomas, Seaside, Ore.; Mrs. Nina Evans, LosGatos, Calif.; Mrs. Maude Linner, Minneapolis; and Lee McCall, White, S.D."[1]  I've never heard mention of my great-grandmother (Maude) having a brother. I have numerous pictures and stories of her with her sisters. I had not run across a Lee McCall in any of my research either. I chalked him up to a newspaper misprint.

    The next time I ran into Lee was in two photographs my aunt sent me. The first was "Uncle Lee," Maude McCall-Linner (great-grandmother), my aunt, Bertram Linner (great-grandfather), and Dolores Linner-Mattson (grandmother) in front of a car. The second was Bertram, Maude, and "Uncle Lee." They were taken at the same time (the three in the second picture are wearing the same clothing in the first picture), crit. 1948. Perhaps Lee was an honorary or adopted member of the family?

    I went through my research and found that I did have a record of Lee: The 1905 Minnesota state census for Maude's uncle and Dora's brother, Adelbert, had a "Lee Rutter" listed immediately after his family.[2]  The census is not broken up by family, nor does it list relationships. However, it does list place of birth for the person and his/her parents. Lee Rutter is listed as having been born in Iowa, father born in Rhode Island, and mother in Pennsylvania, the same as Adelbert "Dell" Rutter. Lee's age is listed as 26 years, making his date of birth about 1879. Dora and Adelbert's parents, Alonzo John and Mary (Finch) Rutter, have a well documented lineage, and I have never run across mention of a son named Lee. No one by that name, nor that approximate date of birth appear in any of the family records (censuses, AJ's pension file, other family member's obituaries, other researcher's trees).

    I was able to find Lee Rutter's World War One draft registration card which lists his date of birth as 28 December 1879.[3]   He states that his nearest relative is Dora McCall.&

    Lee Rutter died 30 May 1955 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota. I ordered a copy of his death certificate.[4]  His parents are listed as Richard and Dora E. Rutter. The informant is Mrs. B.G. Linner (Maude McCall-Linner). His birth is given as 28 December 1878 in Little Rock, Iowa.

    Conclusion: AJ and Mary had children born in 1878 and 1880, making it unlikely that Lee is their child. The family had a farm in Elgin Township, Lyon County, Iowa in 1878/9. Little Rock would have been the closest post office upon its creation in 1884 (however, the family had already moved by then). His birth was not recorded in Lyon County, however, none of the Rutter children births were. Dora would have been 17 or 18 years old when Lee was born. All of the evidence points to her as his mother.
    The earliest record I can find of Lee is his enlistment in the army on 2 July 1898.[5]  This past June I was visiting my aunt (the same one who had given me the photographs) and was presented with Lee's original discharge, a thank you leaflet from the city of Augusta, Georgia, and a tube containing his pass while in that city. He spent his entire enlistment (2 July 1898 - 27 March 1899) state-side.

    I do not know who raised Lee or where. His mother was probably an unmarried Dora Emily Rutter. I know that as of 1905 his mother's family acknowledged him. On 19 November 1920 Lee married a widow named Gertrude A. Taylor-Hardy.[6]  They ran a cafe in White, South Dakota for many years. Gertrude died 2 November 1934.[7]

    Uncle Lee continues to be a brick wall. I'm hoping that his military and pension files will shed light onto his early years. He has been a solitary figure on my tree for quite a while and I would very much like to give Lee his place among the branches.

    [1] "Death of a Former Pipestone Woman: Mrs. Phil McCall, Sister of Mrs. J.D. Wilson, Dies in Minneapolis Sunday," Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 3 April 1936, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
    [2] 1905 Minnesota state census, Rock County, Luverne north ward, population schedule, p. 56, p. 23 (penned upper left corner), p. 38 (penned), lines 45-51, Rutter surname; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 25 May 2007); citing Minnesota Historical Society reels 1-47 and 107-164, MNSC_152.
    [3] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2007), Lee Rutter, serial no. 1739, order no. 1549, Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; FHL microfilm 1675777.
    [4] South Dakota, Department of Health, death certificate 285257 (6 June 1955), Lee Rutter (informational copy); Central Location, Pierre.
    [5] Franklin F. Holbrook, Minnesota in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota War Records Commission, 1923), 401; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2008).
    [6] "South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 13 May 2007), Lee Rutter and Gertrude A. Hardy, 19 Nov 1920, Codington County; South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health.
    [7] Minnesota Historical Society. "Death Certificates Index," database (http://people.mnhs.org/dci/ : accessed 27 May 2009), entry for Gertrude A. Rutter; citing death certificate no. 1934-MN-012981, Redwood County.

    Thoughts On Certification

    I have mentioned before that I am seeking my profession genealogy certification. I am going to do this through the Board of Certified Genealogist, although it is not the only avenue. My goal is to have my portfolio completed by the NGS convention in April. No, I have no started the application process yet. This entails sending in the application and fee. Then I will have a year to send in my portfolio. My torture resume is up to date. There are several things I could pull from my files for the transcribe/abstract part. I actually have a client lined up for after New Years, so I will use that client report. I've decided on the topic for my case study. I was wavering between Lee Rutter and Annie Linner. Both would also work as my kinship study.
    • Lee Rutter is one of those orphans on the family tree. I know "Uncle Lee" connected somewhere. I'm almost positive now that he is the illegitimate son of my gr-gr-grandmother, Dora Rutter-McCall.
    • Annie is my gr-gr-grandmother. She m. (1) Joel Linner, my gr-gr-grandfather. I would cover my search for her maiden name and parentage, which I discovered by tracing her siblings.
    I've decided to use my hunt for Annie's family as my case study; there is a finite ending. While I'm almost positive on who Lee Rutter's mother is, I have not found that definite proof yet and I will probably never discover who his father is. There is also a lot of things on my to-do list for Lee that might shed more light on to his parentage. Actually, stay tuned, I'm thinking about discussing Lee as my Carnival of Genealogy submission.

    While writing this post I realized that I should explain something. You might have noticed that I hyperlink all of the names in my blog. The link is to their family group sheet on my website. If you're interested, you can click on the link and learn more about that person and their family.

    You'll notice that my website is not up to date. I will be completely rebuilding it after my database update is done.

    27 November 2009

    The Genealogical Proof Standard, part 1

    In a group of genealogist, how many can list all of the steps of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)?
    • A reasonably exhaustive search;
    • complete and accurate source citations;
    • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
    • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
    • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
    The GPS is not just for professional genealogist. Everyone should be following these steps. But the problem arises when people don’t know how to. This past Sunday I presented a lecture at the RootsMagic user group at the Southern California Genealogical Society on sources and citations. I covered steps 2 and 3 on the GPS. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was getting everyone to understand the difference between a source and a citation. I was dumbfounded that researchers don’t understand this basic difference. From my lecture:
    • Source - the information; e.g. death certificate, Bible, homestead file, census, book, necklace, website, interview, etc.
    • Citation - the record of the source; what and where
    Are these definitions confusing? Why aren't beginners being taught basic definitions? If someone does not understand what a citation is, then they cannot write one. I have not taken a beginners class in a while, but perhaps the GPS should be covered and stress?

    What about those who are not beginners; are you following the GPS? Do you follow some of them? Are certain ones more important than others?

    I'm issuing another challenge. The next time you spend any time doing research, keep track of exactly what you are doing. How many steps of the GPS do you usually follow?

    As a beginner I had never heard of the Genealogical Proof Standard. As I am going back through all of my research (see this post) I am finding that I have a lot of information that I didn't know I had. For example: I was messaging a cousin of a cousin on Ancestry.com. She listed the information she had for William Eugene Rutter (a sibling of my gr-gr-grandmother, Dora Rutter-McCall). On the 1910 census his occupation is "farmer, homestead." I've transcribed this census multiple times, but it never clicked until she had written it out. The BLM database has a William E. Rutter listed in the same county as the census. If I had followed all of the steps of the GPS I would have discovered this information years ago when I first found the census.

    So the Genealogical Proof Standard is for everyone all the time. Get the word out: use it!

    22 November 2009

    Black Sheep Sunday

    My great-grandparents were disowned by their some of their family.

    On 2 April 1917 Luciano "Louis" Spedale and Nicholetta "Clara" Geraci applied for a marriage license:

    "Rose Spidale" is Clara's mother... and Luciano's sister.

    Louis and Clara had three sons and a daughter, none of whom had any inherent health problems.

    Paper Ahnentafel

    When was the last time you wrote out an Ahnentafel? We have computer programs and databases that will do this for us. Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings puts out a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Yesterdays prompt: Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name. I decided to write about my gr-gr-grandfather, Philip McCall. I needed his Ahnentafel number, so I quickly jotted one out. Looking at it I realized that I had two Unknown Ancestors with lower numbers (but same generation) than Philip.

    My challenge is for you to sit down and write out your Ahnentafel. How many generations back can you go from memory? What is your highest number that you have research for?

    I went back 8 generations. From memory I was able to trace one line all eight generation and another seven. I can trace the first back further, but it's kind of cheating; the next three generations of men are all named John Nichols. The highest number I can trace is (that I have research for) is 16008 Robert Tucker, he is generation 14 and my earliest immigrant to America.

    21 November 2009

    Come and Learn - Sources, Citations, and RootsMagic

    Sunday, November 22nd, the RootsMagic user group at the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) will be meeting from 2-4 pm at the SCGS library in Burbank. The user group usually meets the third Sunday of the month.

    I will be the speaker at this meeting. The focus will be on sources and citations. I will cover: Why cite? How do you cite your sources? How do you analysis your sources? For the second part of the meeting we will break into two groups. One for beginners and one for more advanced users. I will lead the second group through how to use the source wizard in RootsMagic4. We will focus on figuring out which source template to use and how to write templates. Bring your questions.

    I invite anyone who uses RootsMagic, is interested in the program, and/or interested in the lecture topic to join us at the meeting.

    Disclaimer: I am not associated with RootsMagic beyond using their program. I am a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society.

    18 November 2009

    Wordless Wednesday - Two pictures 65 years apart


    17 November 2009

    Tombstone Tuesday - Hopkinton Cemetery

    Hopkinton Cemetery, South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa

    [unknown image-possibly a lamb]
    Feb. 20, 1873
    2 yrs. & 2dys.

    APR. 21, 1891
    88Ys. 5Ms.
    25 DAYS.
    Gone but not forgotten

    E.S. & J.A.
    JUBAL E.
    & MARY E.
    M. & E.

    Son of
    H.E. & M.E.
    Aug. 25, 1873
    11 months.

    Hopkinton Cemetery (section 18, South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa; east of town on 3rd St NE (Hwy 38)), 3 stones: Arthur Fay Rutter, Emerson Rutter & others, Stephen H. Rutter; photograph by author, 7 June 2009.

    16 November 2009

    Madness/Methodology Monday - Lost Burials

    In June I visited Riverview Cemetery, which is owned and operated by the city of Rock Rapids in Lyon County, Iowa. I know Alonzo John (hereafter A.J.) and Mary Rutter are buried there because their names are on online indexes of the cemetery. Both of their obituaries also state that they were buried in this cemetery. I know that daughter Nina Rutter is buried there because of her second obituary.[1] I know from all three obituaries that daughters Julia and Elma are buried there (Nina's obituary states that she "will be laid along side of a brother [misprint, should be sister] and sister in the family burial place."[2] A.J.'s obituary states that his "remains were taken to Rock Rapids, Iowa, for internment, where rests the remains of three children."[3] Mary's obituary says that her remains were taken "for interment in the cemetery where the husband and three daughters of the deceased are buried."[4] So there should be five people in the family plot: A.J., Mary, Nina, Julia, and Elma. The city is surprised to hear this. It seems that record keeping was done poorly when the cemetery first started. The first entry for the family plot reads: "C all 11, A.J. Rutter. Rock R., June 2" 1884. $5 cash."[5] There are several issues with this entry. A.J. Rutter did not live in Rock Rapids in 1884. He had a homestead in Elgin township, Lyon County until July 1883 when the family moved to Pipestone, Minnesota (Rock Rapids would have been the post office when the family resided in the county). I do know that Nina was buried on or about May 30, 1884, per her second obituary. This entry is most likely the fee record for Nina’s burial. A.J. is buried in space 2 and Mary is in space 3. These are the only two burials that the cemetery knows of since they both have markers. I do not believe that the family was wrong about the two other daughters, Julia and Elma, being buried there, but where? The city has since re-sold the "empty" space in the plot, although no one has been buried there thus yet. They were going to look into it and let me know.

    [1] "The remains of Nina Rutter...," burial notice, Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 30 May 1884, p. 3; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
    [2] ibid
    [3] "Death of A. J. Rutter," obituary, The Farmer's Leader (Pipestone, Minnesota), 22 September 1910, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
    [4] "Death of Mrs. A.J. Rutter: An Old And Esteemed Pipestone Lady Passed Away Quite Suddenly," Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 23 January 1912, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
    [5] Riverview Cemetery (Rock Rapids, Iowa), plat books, 2 June 1884, A. J. Rutter, C 11. This entry is most likely the burial fee for Nina E. Rutter.
    [photo] Riverview Cemetery (Rock Rapids, Lyon County, Iowa; south end of S. Tama St.), Alonzo J. Rutter and Mary E. Rutter, section C, lot 11, spaces 2 & 3; photograph by author, 6 June 2009.

    Smile for the Camera - The gift of a picture

    Where to start my tale...

    My grandparents divorced when my mother was 2 years old. Her father died when she was 10. She was never allowed to visit his family after that.

    My grandfather is Leonardo Luciano Spedale. He was born 20 May 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio to Italian immigrants. On 3 December 1941 he joined the US Army.  However, on 12 June 1945 the ship he was serving on as a Merchant Marine docked in San Fransisco. I've never heard of someone changing branches of the military during war. I've contacted the Veterans Administration (VA) in hopes that they have a copy of his service record. He died in February 1966, so if they sent his records back to the National Personal Records Center, then his file was destroyed in the 1973 fire.

    In January 2006 I found someone on Ancestry.com that had made a correction to the ship manifest for Leonardo's mother, Nicoletta Geraci. I sent him a message asking how he relates to this family. He is a descendant of Nicoletta's aunt, Lena. My mom and he started e-mailing back and forth. They discovered that they had met as children. After learning where we live, he told us of another cousin that lives in Southern California, the daughter of Nicoletta's Aunt "Jossie." My mom gave her a call, and it went something like this:

    " Hi, is this [cousin]? This is [my mom]."
    "Oh my god, we're been trying to find you for 30 years."

    It gets better. Our cousin lives 5 miles away. Her daughter lives on the same street as my mom, one block down. We've all lived in these places for the last 20 years.

    One of the first thing our cousin gave my mom was a stack of photographs of my grandfather as a young man. In that stack was a picture of him in his army uniform.

    Smile for the Camera, 19th ed.

    * I've tried not to use names of living people.

    13 November 2009


    I am posting the comments I have on have made on my website, www.shawgenealogy.org, here on my blog. They are back posted to the date I originally posted them on the website. Sorry if this confuses anyone. I am going to be changing the website around a bit and don't want to lose these. Feel free to read and comment on them.

    12 November 2009


    This is my first post as a blogger. I've sort of posted things on my website, www.shawgenealogy.org, in the past, but nothing regular.

    So, about me... I am a high school history teacher, currently looking for work in that field. I consider myself first and foremost a historian. Since genealogy is a branch of history, the jump was natural. I'm looking into get my professional certification.

    Currently I am still working on switching from RootsMagic3 to RootsMagic4. Sounds easy? I wish. Essentially I am going through person-by-person and making sure my sources are cited properly and that I don't have any information not sourced. When I first started my researched I created the classic mistake of name collecting from various family trees online without double checking the information or sourcing the trees. I know, I know... I feel the shame. I cannot move forward with my research until I truly know what I, in fact, do know.

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with RootsMagic in any way. I simply own and use the program.

    04 October 2009

    Backpost 4 October 2009

    Wow, it's been almost a year since I posted anything. This past summer I did a cross-county road trip, which included stops in Minnesota and Iowa to do research on my Rutter and Linner families. I found a LOT of information, from newspaper articles, land records, vital records, and more. While in Stillwater, Minnesota we attended a Linner family reunion (my first). I got home just in time to attend Jamboree, which was great. In July I switched my database from RootsMagic3 to RootsMagic4. This has consumed me! Sounds simple, huh? NO. I am literally going through every since person (I have close to 4,000 names in my database) and making sure everything is sourced. Then I am making sure the sources are cited properly. My database keeps growing as I do this. My general rule is to research through grandchildren of my direct ancestor. Some of my early research is information pulled off of trees posted online without any sources. As I am sourcing everything, I am finding more people. My sister also tackled the elusive Putnam family. She found a sourced family tree online, and now she gets to confirm all of it. Hehehe, I'm sort of throwing her in the deep end with verbal instructions on how to swim. Once I get my database updates done, I will re-do this site. It will be updated to include everyone in my database and I will be taking down all of the citations and notes. Sorry, but I am at the point where I have put my blood, sweat and tears and untold amounts of money into this research and I want to know who is using it. On a side note, I am looking in to becoming a Certified Genealogist.