Friday, April 29, 2016

Weekend $hopper - great deals in genealogy related products

Welcome to Weekend $hopper
Check out my curated list for some sweet genealogy-related deals this weekend!

From our friends at Family Tree:

Check out April's collection of bargains before they're gone! (click link below)

Through April 30th! (click link below)

These CLEARANCE items won't last long! (click link below)

And From our friends at Evidentia:

From May 1st through the 10th get FREE shipping from the Evidentia Store.

Added bonus #1: On May 2nd anyone who buys the software AND the companion book will get the Evidentia Quickstart Guide for free! (click HERE)

Added bonus #2: readers of this blog will receive 16% off their purchase with coupon code AARCH (click HERE and enter code at checkout)

Want to learn more about Evidentia? Click here to watch this short video.

• Do you want your genealogy software to help you separate fact from fiction?
• Do you want to see all your evidence together before making an informed decision?
• Do you want your genealogy software to help you feel confident in your research?

Evidentia was designed from the start to help the amateur and advanced genealogists alike to answer YES to those questions.

Happy Hunting

Frasers of Fife: Generation Two | William Fraser and Agnes Bane

3. William Fraser (Duncan - 1)  born at Craighouse Mill, Parish of Saline, July 24th 1767. Miller and Master Miller in Milldeans, West Mills Kirkcaldy, Auchmuty Mill, Mackay's Mill, Middle Mill, Sythrun and King's Mill Kennoway.

Married about 1789 or 1790

Agnes Bane born 1768. 6th daughter of John Bane, Coal Grieve, Balbirnie, and Hellen Scott. Her sisters, severally married Bennet, Thompson, Kinninmonth, Philip, Russel.

Children of the union:

9. i. Helen Fraser born 1791, married George Galloway

10. ii. Duncan Fraser born Kinghorn Parish, February 4th 1794 married Allison Grieve Forsyth

      iii. Isobel Fraser born October 4th 1795, died in infancy

11. iv. John Fraser born at Milldeans, Kinglassie January 3rd 1798, married Ann Brown

12. v. William Fraser born at Kinglassie April 16th 1800, married Christian Wishart

13. vi. Hugh Fraser born October 5th 1802, married Isabella Gibb (7) (1st cousin)

      vii. David Fraser born 1804/5, died in infancy

14. viii. Alexander Fraser born December 8th 1807, married Elizabeth Chalmers

      ix. James Fraser born at Middle Mill about 1810, died at Markinch September 5th 1851, aged 40, Miller at Kings Mill, Kennoway - batchelor

15. x. Agnes Fraser born February 25th 1814, married Charles Stewart

William Fraser died at Kings Mill, Kennoway May 20th 1838, aged 71 years
Agnes Bane, his wife, died December 4th 1835 aged 67 years

~ all information provided here has been taken directly from the John Fraser family tree compiled in 1880 and as such is the only source for these writings - the objective being to record his work for further study and documentation ~ 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Introducing: Tools for the Dig - the newsletter for our inner circle

We're excited to announce the launch of our brand new companion newsletter: Tools for the Dig

Being a member of our inner circle ~ our tribe ~ affords you perks not shared with our general blog audience. Here we'll bring you genealogy bargains and discounts, new discoveries, tips and hints. We'll talk genealogy and family history, maybe share some recipes from our grandmother's old recipe box. Anything goes!

We imagine the newsletter evolving over time, as we all evolve. Perhaps a monthly digest at first, expanding in the future as we get a better understanding of what you'd like in your inbox ... and how frequently! We'd love for you to join us on this brand new adventure!

Sign up HERE - join our tribe - your first newsletter will be in the mail soon!

We look forward to meeting you and talking genealogy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Frasers of Fife: Generation Two | Margaret Fraser and John Gibb

2. Margaret Fraser (Duncan - 1) born in Saline, June 10th 1764, married  John Gibb of Leslie, a tanner, born about March 9th 1772. His parents were Alex. Gibb, a farmer at Rothes, and Janet Williamson. His grandparents were George Gibb, a farmer at Ingrie 1716, and Catherine Philip.

Married 1799, they had the following children:

  i. Alexander Gibb born 1800 died in infancy

7.  ii. Isabella  Gibb born August 1st 1802, married Hugh Fraser (13), son of William Fraser (3), her 1st cousin, February 1st 1827

8. iii. John Gibb Courier at Leslie, born July 13th 1805, married Mary Harries

Margaret died January 23rd 1849
John died November 9th 1849

~ all information provided here has been taken directly from the John Fraser family tree compiled in 1880 and as such is the only source for these writings - the objective being to record his work for further study and documentation ~ 

UPDATE: Evidentia Special Offers for NGS2016

Just announced!

Evidentia is offering a selection of specials May 1 - 10! Can't attend the NGS conference this year? No worries! Evidentia is extending it's conference specials to everyone!

From May 1st through the 10th get FREE shipping from the Evidentia Store.

Added bonus #1: On May 2nd anyone who buys the software AND the companion book will get the Evidentia Quickstart Guide for free!  (click HERE)

Added bonus #2: readers of this blog will receive 16% off their purchase with coupon code AARCH (click HERE and enter code at checkout)

Want to learn more about Evidentia? Click here to watch this short video.

• Do you want your genealogy software to help you separate fact from fiction?
• Do you want to see all your evidence together before making an informed decision?
• Do you want your genealogy software to help you feel confident in your research?

Evidentia was designed from the start to help the amateur and advanced genealogists alike to answer YES to those questions.

And, as always, there is a 14 day free trial! Try it today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Frasers of Fife: The Beginning | Duncan Fraser and Isobel Burness

Duncan Fraser married Isobel Burness and the story began. The acorn from which the mighty Fraser tree sprouted, being planted about 1763.

1. Duncan Fraser, a native of Invernesshire, date and place of birth unknown, was out in the rebellion of 1745 in cause of Prince Charlie. In 1764 he seems to have been a Miller at Craighouse Mill, Saline, Fife and in 1773 he removed to Milldeans Mill, Leslie of which he was a tenant until his death.

Isobel Burns or Burness, his wife (tradition says that she was of the same stock as Burns the Poet) and from the Session Records at Drumlithie, Kincardineshire it is found that an Isobel Burness daughter of a Robert Burness was born June 21st 1748

Married about 1763 they had the following children:

2. i. Margaret Fraser born June 10th 1764, at Saline married John Gibb

    ii. Hugh Fraser born November 3rd 1765, at Saline, contracted to Elizabeth Arnot November 15th 1794 in Kinglassie, died about Dec 1794 - no issue

3. iii. William Fraser born July 24th 1767 married Agnes Bane

4. iv. John Fraser born September 23rd 1770 at Saline married Ann Johnstone

5. v. Alexander Fraser born November 15th 1775 at Milldeans, Kinglassie married Janet Lockart

6. vi. James Fraser born 1777 Kinglassie married Mary MacLaren

    vii. David Fraser born August 15th 1779 died in infancy

    viii. George Fraser born December 25th 1780 died at 18 months

    ix. Issabella Burns Fraser born  January 29th 1782 at Milldeans, died in infancy

    x. Janet Fraser born December 12th 1793, died January 29th 1797

Duncan died about 1795/6 at Milldeans Mill, Leslie
Isobel died January 15th 1805 at Leslie

~ all information provided here has been taken directly from the John Fraser family tree compiled in 1880 and as such is the only source for these writings - the objective being to record his work for further study and documentation ~ 

Finding Faulkner: Part Four | Eastward Toward Michigan

It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale.

While I was still riding high on my new find, I became stricken with sadness; on two levels. One that my dad, the one who started this "operation" was no longer living. I couldn't call him up and say "hey! Guess what I just learned!" He would have been so excited - the information about the military would have fascinated him. The bit about Harrison being "a man of honest, upright character in all his dealings. he was well educated, as were all his brothers and a pleasing gentleman to converse with, having seen much, and observed and thought much about what he had seen" would have tickled him no end! (Ironically my parents had, several years before my dad passed, built a summer home/retirement home in Michigan - never once knowing the Faulkner family history in the state.) The other was the statement that James owned slaves. Even though it is a fact of this country's history, it is still very unsettling to be confronted with the reality that your family was a part of it.

I needed to learn more.

Failing to "consider the source" I lumbered ahead like a toddler after a toy and plugged this new information into my Ancestry tree. Looking back I wonder if my excitement hadn't blinded me more than necessary. If I had kept my head I would have avoided more than several rabbit holes and BSO's! But, I was racing to 'win' genealogy, so there's that.

Ancestry unfortunately gave me more than I could process at first. For some reason, unknown to me to this very day, I got a "hit" on over 15 land grants in Whitley Co Kentucky that returned for not only James, but also Harrison. Land grants for thousands of acres purchased on or around 1816. Consulting a map I saw that Whitley Co., KY is very close to the Tennessee border - could this be the plantation written about in Harrison's obituary? I sent away for copies of the grants, hoping to discover why Harrison was being listed along with James on the land. Next I did an internet search of Grass Lake, Michigan. I managed to find Genealogy Trails for Jackson County, MI and the Jackson County Michigan USGenWeb Project page. At the Genealogy Trails site I made a good find! It was here I discovered a brief bio on James, learning that he had erected the first hotel in town in 1834. I also learned that the Michigan Central Railroad came to town in 1842, perhaps corroborating Harrison's obituary.

The census records I consulted added an additional layer of confusion. In 1840 I found a James Faulkner in both Grass Lake, MI and Whitley Co, KY. There was a James Faulkner in Whitley Co, KY in 1830 and 1820. I couldn't wait to get those land grant copies!

In the interim I had discovered the upper_midwest Yahoo group and posed my query there. That group pointed me to two publications, History of Jackson Co, MI and DeLand's History of Jackson County, MI, (not the same book) which held some information on James and his wife Martha (not Jane! The cemetery inscription for Harrison was wrong!) It was in the DeLand's History that I discovered James had a daughter named Nancy...... and 8 other children!

Now before you think that I am some sort of genealogical wiz, or that this all happened in a matter of days, the truth of the matter is that this ferreting out of James took well over 3 years! I am recanting this from faded memory as another five or six have passed since that time. And, to be considerate, condensing most of the bits that don't make for good storytelling. The tedious hours filtering through records only to come up empty are best kept to myself. I am if nothing else tenacious, and I don't rest if I have not found the answer. There were periods that living with me was, perhaps, a bit dicey? But I soldiered on and eventually made some breakthroughs.

The land grants finally arrived. Yes, a James Faulkner did purchase a considerable amount of land, but there was no indication as to whether this was my James. And there was absolutely no mention of Harrison. A mystery, indeed.

It was through Deb, an upper_midwest group member, that I later discovered more of the children's names and the town in New York where Harrison and many of the other children had been born. Wallkill, Ulster Co., New York.  She also led me to James' obituary and introduced me to Find A Grave, where she had been documenting all of Grass Lake and had done a splendid job of recreating my ancestor's family.

James Faulkner's obituary:

Col. Faulkner was a citizen of Orange Co. N.Y., previous to his residence here. In the War of 1812 he was in command of a regiment stationed on Staten Island. Afterward he was an officer of the State Militia. He was elected to the Legislature for several terms, and supported the measures of Gov. Clinton, particularly for the construction of the Erie canal. This course gave offense to his constituents, but later years justified its wisdom and value. In 1833 Col. Faulkner removed to Michigan, at that time and for four years afterward a territory. He located at Grass Lake, then a wilderness. For a number of years he pursued a retired life, though not indifferent to the events of the time.

When the late national conflict came upon the country, though past 80 years of age, he comprehended the issues and committed himself upon the side of freedom. His life covers almost the whole period of our history as a nation - extending to within three years of the Declaration of Independence. Col. Faulkner was a man of more than common physical and mental vigor. He was self reliant, independent, cheerful and deliberate. His parents were members of the Presb. Church O. S. His ancestors were from Scotland. For a number of years past he was a constant reader of the Bible, and gave evidence that he had found comfort and peace. The present generation are deeply indebted to these men of the past. We inherit the valuable fruitage of their wisdom, toil and self sacrifice.

Obituary: Jackson Daily Citizen Tuesday May 4, 1869

The obituary made no mention of James owning a plantation. Or owning slaves. But I did have new leads in New York! His military and government involvement, and an allusion to his parentage! The first were mentioned again in the following:

From PORTRAITS AND BIOGRAPHIES OF THE GOVERNORS OF MICHIGAN... in a sketch on James' son in law Charles Cassedy:

Mr. Faulkner was a man of more than ordinary ability and learned surveying early in life, which profession he followed in his native county, laying out many of its lines and boundaries. He did gallant service as a Colonel in the War of 1812, and for several years was at the head of the New York State Militia. In politics he affiliated with the Democrat party and represented his native county in the New York Legislature one term. As a business man he was careful and conscientious in his dealings and one who enjoyed in a marked degree the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. After a long and well spent life, he departed hence at his home in Grass Lake Township, April 21, 1869, when eighty-nine years old. Col. Faulkner built the first frame house in Grass Lake Township and cut the first stick of timber on his land. The wife and mother had preceded her husband to the silent land many years, her death taking place about Christmas time, 1845, when she was probably fifty six years old. There had been born to them eleven children, eight daughters and three sons, nine of whom are living and mostly residents of this State.

Eleven children?!? DeLand's claimed there were ten. I still had not found all of them. Now, I needed to find one more. Thinking back, Harrison's obituary had said 'brothers'. So far I had found only one.

In another history of Michigan book there was this sentence: "Faulkner, James Col entered for land in Grass Lake Twp Jackson Co Michigan on 15 Jan 1836 in the same section as Nelson Faulkner" (From Pioneer Families of SE Michigan-Jackson Co by Helen Lewis) Nelson Faulkner? Who is Nelson? My first thought was brother, but then I started wondering if Nelson was that third son I was looking for.

As much as I wanted to head to New York, I knew my time in Michigan was not satisfactorily concluded. There was still much to be learned. Children's names, Harrison's involvement with the railroad, who Nelson was, and that darned plantation incident. I still needed to get to the bottom of that!

to be continued .......

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Frasers of Fife: Documenting the Family Tree

The writing, in my father's hand, on the outside of the mailing tube located behind the furnace read: "IRONS Family Tree"

Where on earth had he acquired this, I wondered? And why was it stuffed behind the furnace? My mom, weary from the monumental task of emptying one's home of a lifetime of memories, had hastily shoved it into my hand, saying "here, you want this?" Of course I wanted it!! No brainer. But where had it come from? She was remiss to answer. Didn't know, couldn't remember, too exhausted to care.

I took it home and, like a kid at Christmas, prepared to behold the wonder the tube contained. Inside was a cloth object, rolled around a dowel, wrapped in a thin tissue. Gingerly unfurling it, I discovered a hand inked family tree on linen. Badly cracked and worn. It frightened me. And thrilled me. 

And wait! What? It was not the IRONS family tree, as my dad suspected, but the FRASER family tree! Hand inked in 1880 containing well over 700 names! Did he ever look at this tree? The last FRASER in the direct family had died over 100 years ago.

The where will forever remain a mystery, I resigned.

I unrolled it once or twice more in the passing weeks, realizing that with each unfurling I was losing bits of valuable, perhaps priceless, information. I stored it away for almost a decade, but it kept drawing me back like the Sirens of The Odyssey, until finally I could bear it no longer. I had it archivally framed so that I could bask in it's magnificence, and record electronically what my ancestor John Fraser had done by hand 135 years ago.

Behold the Tree!
The Frasers of Fife - Family Tree c.1880

My next task was to sit down and begin entering and documenting all these people. Overwhelming? Yes. How to start? Paper and pencil proved too labor intensive, so I moved to photographing bits of the tree so I could enter the names into my software program. That also was difficult and too labor intensive. I finally decided on working with my laptop stationed next to the tree, which was now hanging on an interior, shaded wall, and too cumbersome to tote around.

I decided to start a public Ancestry tree too, there might be other Frasers out there looking for more family info. After all, mine is but a tiny twig on this mammoth tree, the IRONS branch on the FRASER tree.

That decision proved to be quite providential.

compiled by John Fraser 1880

to be continued .....

©2016 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finding Faulkner: Part Three | Minnesota Bound

It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale.

After the excitement of learning my 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers names died down, I set in to discover what I could of Lloyd Anson Faulkner's father Harry. My father's quest had ended there. He had not gone any further in his research, best I could tell.  My dad had had a photo of L. A. Faulkner, his grandfather,  hanging in his house - he looked eerily like my father as an older man. Perhaps that was some of the fascination for him in researching this man. The photo now hangs in my house and I, too, am fascinated. 

L.A. Faulkner, M.D. was born in Minnesota where he lived out his life. Starting there I began my hunt. To retell this tale I found it necessary to pull out all my old notes, memory tending to write things differently .... 

This was all so many years ago that my timeline might be off. I wish I had been writing this as I went along, but I never imagined the quest would take me through so many years, so many states, so many lives ......

I had enough information to do a basic Ancestry search. I knew L.A.'s wife was Anna and that he was born about 1862 somewhere in MN, living there all his life, he died in St Paul in 1933.  I immediately got returns for census records and was able to start building his family. There were 5 children born to them, my grandfather and his twin sister being the youngest. As the family began to build, other documents began to appear.  The Minnesota death index, the Minnesota marriage index and the Minnesota cemetery inscription index, which revealed not only where L. A. was buried, but confirmed the information I had been given about his parents names - including his mother's maiden name! 

"Par. Harrison and Jennie Whitford Faulkner".

I immediately emailed the cemetery and sent away for the death certificate.

While I was waiting I added  L.A.'s father Harrison and mother Jennie to my Ancestry tree and did some searching on the Minnesota Historical Society's website. I found Harrison's death certificate/date of death (which I had not know previously), and by adding that to his Ancestry profile I found  the Minnesota cemetery inscription index for him. The index revealed where he was buried and confirmed the information I had on the name of his father - with a bonus - the name of his mother!! And her maiden name!! (I was starting to really love Minnesota for their record system!)

"Harry-Harrison Faulkner. Sp. Jennie Whitford. Par. James & Jane McBride Faulkner. Mar. 1855. Born Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y." 

I emailed the cemetery and sent away for the death certificate.

I bided my time filling out the tree with spouses of siblings, children, anything Ancestry would give me. Remember, I had never had any relatives from this side of the family before. This was very exciting! From the cemetery inscription index (above) I learned that Harrison was born in New York. That would agree with the tale that started this quest, but how did he get to Minnesota? And why? Did he come with his parents? And where were his parents? There was one James Faulkner that I could find in Minnesota, and about a half dozen of them in Orange Co, New York. I needed more information.

I didn't have to wait long.

Both cemeteries responded quickly, and Maple Lawn, where Harrison is buried turned out to be a gold mine. Larry, the cemetery secretary and local historian went over and above. Typical Minnesotan congeniality! He went out of his way to dig up the obituary and funeral notice for Harrison Faulkner. And even sent me a vintage post card from the church where the funeral was held! Larry also introduced me to a database his friend John had put together. His friend John Dalby. The Dalby Database was a spectacular find for me at this point in my research.

But everything faded into the background as I read Harrison Faulkner's obituary:

Was of a family Distinguished for Being Early Settlers.
"The late Harrison Faulkner, whose funeral took place in Faribault Wednesday afternoon, came of a family with some distinguished members. His great grandfather, who was of Scotch lineage, immigrated to what was in his time the colony of New York, early in the eighteenth century. James Faulkner, father of Harrison Faulkner, settled in Michigan 1833, on a tract of land where he spent the remainder of his days, near Grass Lake. He had been a colonel in the war of 1812, and was at one time in command of Staten Island, N.Y. before moving to Michigan.

Col. Faulkner lived for a time in Tennessee, and was owner of a large plantation, and of a good many slaves, but when he removed to Michigan he took only a few slaves with him, whom he freed soon after. They would not leave their old "massa." 

Harrison Faulkner was born in Goshen, Orange co., N.Y., in 1825. He studied medicine for two years, but gave up that profession. Working on a railroad, he was the first fireman on the Michigan central railroad. Then he went to the lead mines at Galena, Ill., and remained there a number of years. In 1855 Mr. Faulkner married Miss. Jennie Whitford, and in 1856 he came to Minnesota, being one of the first settlers of Faribault, as his grandfather had been one of the early settlers in New York, and his father one of the early settlers of Michigan.

Mr. Faulkner for a time followed the trade of carpenter in this city. He was a man of honest, upright character in all his dealings. he was well educated, as were all his brothers and a pleasing gentleman to converse with, having seen much, and observed and thought much about what he had seen. He will be missed not only by his family, but by the early settlers of the city.

Mr. Faulkner leaves three sons; Arthur E. of St. Paul; Dr. Lloyd A. of Lonsdale, and Louis N. of New York City. Louis Faulkner is a distinguished stone carver, having been an instructor of the Armour Industrial school in Chicago, and employed in work on some of the finest mansions in the east.

Harrison Faulkner was the last of his family - all his brothers and sisters having preceded him to the grave, at advanced ages."

Oh. My. Gosh.

In a matter of minutes I had gone from knowing zip about Harrison and his father James, to learning not only WHERE James lived, but that he was in the war of 1812, and a colonel at that! And I learned that Harrison had brothers and sisters - plural! There might just be other Faulkner descendants out there!

Insane happy dance ensued!

Looks like I'm off to Michigan ......

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Field Notes: Do You Yahoo!?

A bit old school, perhaps, Yahoo Groups is a great place to talk genealogy. And often get answers you might not find elsewhere. Researching Illinois? There's a group for that. How about Irish or Dutch? There's a group for that. Twin Cities? You bet. There are county groups, surname groups, state groups, nationality groups. City groups, DNA groups, adoption and brick wall groups.

Are you a member of one, or several? If not you need to be! I first discovered Yahoo Groups about 9 years ago when I was just starting my research into my Faulkner line. I can't even tell you how I happened upon it. Serendipity, happenstance, genealogy fairies?

The HOW, I guess, is really not that important.

I had more questions than answers and my research was going nowhere fast. I knew there had to be answers out there. After my lackluster success with various genealogy message boards, I stumbled into the Yahoo group that eventually was paramount to my success in tearing down a very irritating brick wall.

The key members of this particular group (it was a county group) either lived in the county or did extensive research in the county. Some were members of the genealogical/historical society there, others had centuries of family history, being of the same stock as the county's founding families. I was able to request lookups in various books and other materials that might only have been available to me had I made the 800 mile trip myself.  Bonus, the surnames I was researching were familiar to them and I was able to learn more than I would have in other types of groups or message boards.

And, like all of us, the group members in all the groups I belong to really, genuinely enjoy the research and are more than willing to lend a hand.

I encourage you to investigate Yahoo Groups for yourself. You just might discover that missing piece you've been searching for! Or possibly you could have the answer to someone else's brick wall.

So as not to reinvent the wheel, here's a great wiki that will walk you through the process and get you up and running in a flash.

Do you Yahoo!?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Finding Faulkner: Part Two | Operation Grampa

It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale.

The title made me laugh. My dad had been trying to uncover more information on his grandfather who had died a year before he was born. Knowing how tight-lipped my grandfather was about anything past, I didn't doubt that he never spoke of his own father. (dead is dead). My father knew that "Grampa" was a doctor in Minnesota. He knew that his name was Lloyd Anson Faulkner. He was attempting to discover more about his medical schooling, and trying to unearth his school records.

He had notes from people he had contacted, books he had referenced, libraries and other places he had called. Looks like he started out believing his grandfather went to Rush Medical College in Chicago, but through a series of phone calls and letter writing (this was done pre-internet!) he had traced his way to a man that gave him the answer: Bennett Medical College. Upon further investigation he learned that Bennett was now part of Loyola University. From his notes it appears that he was successful in speaking to someone at Loyola, but as to the outcome, all that followed was a xeroxed page from a yearbook and a copy of a letter sent.

I don't know if he ever got the answers he was looking for.

What caught my eye was the piece of yellow legal pad paper with my mother's handwriting on it. She had written down some notes as to Lloyd's parents. When I asked her about it she told me she was taking notes during a conversation my dad had had with his cousin. Since his cancer diagnosis in the late 1990's my dad had been stepping up his communication with her. They were both only children, their parents were twins, and I suppose my dad just wanted to gather as much family info as he could before he was gone.

Well, as far as I was concerned I had just found the Holy Grail! There on the paper were the names of Lloyd's father and mother (with maiden name!), his grandfather and his siblings! Birth and death dates and burial info.

After doing the Superior Dance (oh, like you have never done it) I set in to research this new found family of mine. (Later, it would turn out that someone had done some bad genealogy - but we'll get to that in due time.)

Shelving "Operation Grampa" for the time being I set my sights on finding my 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers......

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Finding Faulkner: Part One | The Backstory

It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale. 

As a child we were told stories of our maternal ancestors but heard very little of our paternal side. There were a few allusions of family ties to famous historical figures that, as children, we boasted about in the schoolyard. Genealogy was the weird hobby that my grandmother pursued. 

Later, when I had a child of my own I really started to get curious about my heritage. Quizzing my grandfather was not an option. He was not a talker and did not care for family history. (Or anything in the past, actually.) My father had pieced together what he could, talking to his various cousins. The Faulkner family was not a close family, whereas on my maternal side, there were reunions, holiday meals, weddings, family vacations, etc. I never really gave it a second thought, it was what it was.

I contented myself with working on my maternal line. My grandmother was over the moon that I had been bitten by the genealogy bug and would supply me regularly with packets of family info; all badly typed, accompanied with handwritten notes that I'm still convinced are written in cypher. I dutifully entered it all into my Family Tree Maker program on my Windows 3.1 boat anchor and spent my days writing (yes! writing) to distant relatives for information.

Time passed. Children grew. Grandparents died. Life moved ever forward. 

Then my dad died. 

On Father's Day.  

In the days leading up to the funeral my mother was a whirlwind of activity. Pulling out boxes of family memorabilia I was never aware existed. Old family photos, correspondance my dad had kept with various cousins, and a folder marked "Operation Grandpa".

Operation Grandpa? 

The time was not right to question this odd file, we were planning a wake. A magnificent wake. A party to end all parties. Just the way my dad would have wanted it. A grand party with him at the center. And it was wonderful, and he would have loved it.

Several weeks later my mom presented me with 2 large boxes filled with photos, documents, notes, letters, etc. "Operation Grandpa" was there too.

Seems my dad was trying to find out more about his Faulkner lineage, about his own grandfather and where he came from. He had check lists, correspondence, photocopied pages of  books. A small family tree that he was able to put together. He had sent away for coat of arms, family crest and name origin information. (This was prior to the internet!). It seemed he believed our Faulkner was of Scottish descent.

And then, there it was, in a notation written in my mother's hand:

 "His ancestor came to the Colony of New York from Scotland as a young man." 

Game on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Field Notes: Overthinking Things

I have been stoically attempting to pen my first proof argument for the past week. I sit down to write, notes at hand, and nothing flows.

I love to write. I have such fun weaving the details of my ancestors lives into a pleasant to read story. I love the sleuthing, the studying of historical events pertinent to the times. But for some reason the idea of writing something a serious as a proof argument (my first ever!) is unimaginably daunting.

What if I get it wrong? There are standards for these sorts of things, after all.

In my heart I want it to be an engaging story, but arguing the proof is really more cut and dried, isn't it? And maybe I'm not so much arguing the proof as connecting the dots and explaining to you, the reader, why I concluded what I concluded. The facts are convincing, but limited. The time period does not lend itself to many pieces of evidence.

What if I'm wrong?

I have dreams about this beast nightly.

My logical self says it's right, I've been working on this particular link for over seven years just waiting for the evidence to show itself. My Doubting Thomas side however, is telling me another thing ....

Maybe I'm just surprised that I'm the one who figured it out. Sort of feel like I stumbled upon something. Then again, I might be the only one researching this particular family connection ....

I've gone over the proof standard criteria about a million times. I've read articles and watched webinars about writing a proof argument. I think I'm over loaded ... and overthinking things. (Are you laughing at me? I'm laughing at me!)

I've second and third guessed myself.

It's time to stop "enlightening" myself and just write, right?

(Any thoughts, suggestions, words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!)