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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coughlin's - Part 3

When using a Census to do research, it is recommended that you also look at all of he people listed on the same page and even look at the page before plus the page after.  There you will find the neighbors, community members, and sometimes, relatives.

The transcribed information for the area of Ballyvannan where I find my Coughlin's and McMahon's in the 1901 Census, also indicates several Minogues.  I have to then question if there is any connection to the Hickey's and Minogues living near Mountshannon.  I further wonder if Johanna Coughlin of Ballyvannan, Clare, had any passing knowledge of her husband, Patrick Hickey of Derrycon before they immigrated to the U.S. where they were later married. 

One big clue to this is the two generations indicated in Bodyke RC Church records of this family line from Revail who's children have Minogue sponsors for their baptisms.   Now, I have to wonder if the name Minogue in this part of County Clare is like the name Smith in the U.S., or am I onto something.
Maybe someone knows........?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coughlin's - Part 2

The Bodyke RC Church Records have two generations of families indicated in the research that they provided about the Coughlin's.  In actuality, even the church records are more about the McMahon's living in "Revail".

I tried to pinpoint the Coughlin’s location on a map with the “Revail” name listed in the research.  Based on my experience in researching Irish genealogy and locations, Revail may have been the title/name of the property at which they lived.   I am getting that based on my Flanagan’s property address in Louth, Ireland (even today).  It looks like the researcher in Ireland thought and noted the same thing.

The more I map things and look the information over, I am beginning to think that the Coughlin’s address might have been Revail, Caherhurly, Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland, or something like that, in the Parish of Taumgraney/Tomgraney.  I am thinking that the Coughlin’s were related to their McMahon neighbors, Anna McMahon Coughlin’s family.   The neighbor’s before and after the Coughlin’s are McMahon’s in the Census headed by Daniel McMahon and Patrick McMahon.  They, or McMahon relatives, are found in the 1855 Griffith’s Valuation for Ballyvannan, Tomgraney Parish, Scariff Union, County Clare.  This is stretching things a bit but I think I am on the right track if I try to find the McMahon’s.  

I found this other old map online at Link to Ballyvannan Townland Info, that I need to spend more time looking at.  I can clearly see the Bodyke RC Chapel on the map.  I’m still working on getting my bearing in this area.  I wonder how many generations of McMahon's lived in "Revail", Ballyvannan, Clare, Ireland?

I think that I am off and running.....................To be continued.............

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coughlin's - Part 1

Ask and you shall receive......Yes, I asked for some Coughlin information and received some in return from a cousin.  Again, I will thank her here.  Information on this side of my family has been slow in showing itself in the past year.  Waiting has paid off.  Also, the generosity and willingness of other family members to share has proven itself worth the subscription. 

I must admit that networking online is rewarding but can be tricky.  One must ask if you found the correct information.  When it comes to my Coughlin's, it would appear that the information that has been shared with me indicates a 99% certainty of having found the correct Coughlin's in County Clare, Ireland.  That said, more information is definitely needed.   A great help would be to have Johanna Coughlin Hickey's death certificate.  I may need to retrieve that soon knowing that it might take as long as 6 months to receive a reply from the State of New York and/or New York City.  I wonder if there is a quicker way.

The Clare Heritage Centre completed some brief research on my Coughlin Family in Ireland.  Johanna Coughlin's parents were Anne McMahon and Daniel Coughlin.  Johanna's family can be found in Ballyvannan, County Clare, Ireland.  What is interesting is that while they do seem to have found Johanna's mother's family (Anna McMahon Coughlin), the previous generations of Coughlin's are not as definite as the McMahon's.  I wonder where the Coughlin's originate.  It would appear that I have more research to complete on the Coughlin line.

In the 1901 Irish Census, I can clearly find Johanna with her family below......Oh, and I did not remove the McMahon's with which they are sandwiched in between as indicted in the actual Census.  The document below can be clicked on to open it larger in another window.
I must note here that the location on this Census is right where I'd expect to find them living in 1901 based off  Bodyke Church Records, Ballyvannan, Clare.

To be continued.......................

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here again I'd like to give thanks to all of those who have shared their information with me.  I hope that I don't leave anyone out.

I thank my McLaughlin and Maxwell cousin's for all they have shared.  I hope that you know who you are.  Since you are all living, somewhat distant, relatives, I will leave your names off this post for privacy reasons.  I could never have gotten so far without all of your help.

Thank you to my Flanagan's.  You found us and then we visited you in Ireland.  What an amazing collection of information including letters.  When people ask me if I know where my ancestors are from in Ireland, I say, "...for the most part".  Then I add that I know the precise, exact location of where my Flanagan's are from.....They are still there.  The family has been in the same location for generations going back to 1773.  Almost 240 years later, you can still walk where Richard Flanagan (1733-1808) created his farm, made a living, and raised his family.  That location continues to be a living part of my family history with my grandfather's second cousin, a dairy farm and all.  What a special place and family connection!

I thank my Hickey relative who shared with me Hickey and Minogue information.  Without her information, I would never have known that I am a Minogue, Hayes,  and a Browne.  That same relative has indicated that she does have some Coughlin information.  I can't wait to see it.  I thank her for all that she has shared and hope to continue with the research on this line and share more "discoveries" with her.

My Borchers and Vienop line is being researched and has been for quite a long time by my aunt and uncle.  I thank them both for all of the information that they have shared including photos, stories, and the family tree.

Do I have more people to thank?  I am sure that I do.  I know of at least one Fox and a Shaffrey distant relative of whom I owe thanks for sharing the information that they have.

Thank you to all who have contributed to my research.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Children of William Hickey and Bridget Minogue

Confidence is a big deal when it comes to dealing with your family tree.  Sourcing a family line can be difficult, timeconsuming, expensive, and challenging depending on the location and the availability of documentation.  I have found that the best way to preserve documentation is to share it with other family members and post it here in my blog.  At this point in time, I feel confident enough in my findings for the following family unit to post it here in my blog.

The following information is courtesy of the Clare Heritage Centre, Corfin, Co. Clare, Ireland.  This information is a result of research with a date of April 10, 1992.  The following children are indicated in the Roman Catholic (RC) Church records for the parish of Inishcaltra-Clonrush which is more commonly known at the parish of Whitegate-Mountshannon.  The parish has been part of County Clare since around 1869 but was part of County Galway prior to that timeframe.

The records indicate Hickey children born to William Hickey and Bridget Minogue between 1883 and 1900.  At the time in 1992, church records from 1900 forward in time had not been indexed.  The following are William and Bridget's children found on record with their baptismal sponsors:

Mary - May 29, 1883 - Henry and Bridget Bugler
Patrick - Nov. 26, 1884 - John Browne for Walter Hickey and Mrs. Noonan
Ellen - Nov. 27, 1886 - William and Mary Browne
Michael - Jan. 1, 1888 - Bridget Bugler and Ann Noonan
Martin - Nov. 7, 1889 - Michael Taylor and Margaret Long
Timothy - Jan. 14, 1891 - Martin Long and Catherine Salmon
Bridget - Mar. 14, 1892 - Richard Sammon and Bridget Taylor
Elizabeth - Apr. 7, 1893 - Tom Mungavin and Winnie Hayes
Anne - Jun. 29, 1894 - ML. Noonan and Bridget Touhy
Margaret - Jan. 21, 1898 - ML. Noonan and Mary Dinan
William - Apr. 7, 1899 - Pat and Bridget Touhy
Ellen - May 16, 1900 - William and Mary Dinan

As you can see William and Bridget had a large family.  The above dates may, in fact, be the baptism dates for all of the children as opposed to their birthdates.  Patrick is my great grandfather by the way.  I have his date of birth on his death certificate as Nov. 22, 1884.  There are two Ellen's as it is presumed that the first Ellen passed away rather young and they reused the name which is something not uncommon.  I have found this time and time again in several branches of my family tree.  So were there only 12 children?  Not exactly. 

There is a John Hickey who is indicated as the son of William and Bridget living with them in 1911.  He was indicated as 15 years old in the Irish Census at the time.  He would have been born in 1896.  The Clare Heritage Centre admits that his baptism may not have been properly recorded.  There is also a Thomas in the 1911 Irish Census in this Hickey household.  He is 9 years old and would have been born in 1902, or thereabouts, since he is 9 years old.  The following is the 1911 Irish Census for William Hickey's household:

As indicated on the full record, only 9 out of the 14 children are still living by this time.  I know by 1911 that Patrick had already immigrated to the U.S. as had a few of his siblings.  There are still a fair amount of children living at home.  It would appear that Timothy was the the son to carry on the farming.  It is good to know that everyone could read and write.  As no surprise to me, everyone is Roman Catholic.  I do think that it is interesting that some of the children were born in Co. Galway while others were born in Co. Clare.  They were all probably born in Derrycon including their mother, Bridget.  Again, the shifting county border might have changed the legal county but it's still the same location.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Someone's Ancestor Sunday - My Ancestor, My Father - Brian E. McGuire

Happy Father's Day to all dads, dads-to-be and grandfathers!  When I reflect on my own father, I realize that it has now been almost seven years since he passed away.  He never did get to meet his grandchildren, although, a very good friend once said, "Oh but wait, he has!  He's always with you, don't you know."  Depending on what you believe (and I want to believe!), that is such a comforting thought and makes my heart smile.

I often wonder what he'd think of his grandchildren.  Let's just say the youngest one is rather spirited and we all think that comes from my father's side of the family. 

Anyway, I would write more about my father but am not quite ready to post a fully researched and completed biography for him.  We do miss him.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Brian E. McGuire
January 26, 1944 - August 14, 2004

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Minogue - Are they Irish from Galway? - Part 3

According the information provided by the Clare Heritage Centre,  Thady Minogue and Mary Browne were married in the Mountshannon-Whitegate parish in 1853.  It is a bit of a leap of faith that this couple was Bridget Minogue's parents.  Is it that much of a leap though?  Is all of the research done? 

Having a copy of the actual R.C. church record for the marriage of William Hickey and Bridget Minogue is a good start to proving that Thady and Mary were Bridget's parents.  On February 20, 1882, William Hickey (age 27) married Bridget Minogue (age 21).  They were married in the RC Chapel of Cappuduffs in the district of Scariff, County Galway, Ireland.  Below is the record:

Plainly seen on this document is Bridget Minogue's father's name of Thady Minogue.  I must admit that there aren't a whole lot of Thaddeus Minogue's found in this area of Ireland.  In fact, I only found one on the Griffith Valuation.

I believe that I may not have to "leap" too much with these documents but my research appears to be far from over.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Minogue - Are they Irish from Galway? - Part 2

Minogue, Minnock, and O'Minogue are all versions of the Minogue surname.  The name derives from the Irish word for a monk.  The name originated in East County Clare and the townland of Ballyminogue in the parish of Tuamgraney.  The surname could be linked to the name Mannix from the diminutive of "Manach", monk. 

This basic heraldry information about the name Minogue does really get me started on a path of research for my Minogue family line.  If I look for Ballyminogue online, I find it right near Scariff.  Below is a map that I created online of the locations where I have found my Hickey's, Minogue's, Browne's, and Hayes'.


I think that I am beginning to really like the mapping.  Along with photos, maps like this that mark my ancestors' locations are wonderful.  I'll have to try my hand at more.  Maps give a perspective that truly interests me.

To be continued..................

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Minogue - Are they Irish from Galway? - Part 1

Yet another branch of my family tree has revealed itself to me.  I love it when networking with people online works and works and works.  My father's cousin, who I've never met but found online, mailed me her research.  Again, I have to thank her right here for sharing.  It is a beautiful thing.

I now know Patrick Hickey's parents names and 12 of his 13 siblings names, baptismal dates, and the sponsors of each of the baptisms.  I also have Patrick's birth registration record for Ireland and his parents' Roman Catholic Church marriage record.  Yes, it is a copy of the real book entry.  It is a golden treasure of mine.

So William Hickey and Bridget Minogue were my great great grandparents.  William was from Loughatorick, Clare, Ireland.  Bridget was from Derrycon, Clare, Ireland.  Both of those location may have actually been inside what was considered County Galway at one time.  The border of Clare and Galway shifted in this area by 1869.  Boy is that confusing.  It also makes it harder to find the parish records.  Do you ask the Clare Heritage Centre or Galway?  Which county is Whitegate, Mountshannon, Derrycon, Loughatorick, Woodford, and the like around the border in?  Clare?  Galway?  At different times each may have been in both.  Does that make sense?

While I have most certainly not exhausted my research on my Hickey Family Tree, I am now very curious about the Minogue's.   Hickey is a very common Irish surname.  When you try to find Hickey's in Clare, you will find them and wonder if the name is more like Smith in the U.S.  The Minogue name on the other hand is a much narrower pocket of research.

Some of the research completed on Bridget Minogue by the Clare Heritage Centre does trail off a bit to indicate that Bridget's father while indicated as Thady Minogue might actually have been Tim or Timothy.  I'm not sure that I agree and am left wondering on that one.  They couldn't apparently find the Minogue's in Griffith's Valuation.  Were they only looking in County Clare?

When I Google Minogue's online for County Galway, I get what appears to be an exact hit against a website for the Griffith's Valuation.

Griffiths Valuation of Ireland - Inishcaltra, County Galway
Minogue Thaddeus Mountshannon Inishcaltra Galway

It does not get much better than that if I do say so myself.  Thaddeus Minogue is listed in Mountshannon, Inishcaltra, Galway (which might actually be in County Clare these days).

To be continued....................................

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anniversary.....or rather.....Blogiversary - First Year!

It is hard to believe that I've hit my first anniversary of my blog.  That's a full year under my belt.  What I've liked best is connecting with others regarding my family tree or even just to discuss the basic principles of tracing one's ancestors.  There is a bit of a science to the process of creating your family tree.

I continue to find my skills developing as an amateur genealogist.  My favorite part about creating my tree are "discoveries".  The elation of a new discovery is quite satisfying.  Whether it is a record the helps me push further back in time or just a photo of my great grandparents, it does not get much better than discovering your roots.  Remember, a photo is worth a thousand words.

What have I liked the least about this is the "wait".  Yes, I have grown to realize over the past year that researching a family tree does not happen overnight.  It is not even close to overnight.  I have mustered up some patience and it has paid off.  Also, I keep "irons in the fire" on's and Genforum's Message Boards.  By keeping my posts fresh and updated, information eventually rolls in.

So, will I make it another year?  That is my plan.  I have more information to post to my blog.....this online diary.....a repository for the future generations.....a way to network and share with others.

Happy Anniversary to Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Someone's Ancestor Sunday - Walter Elias Disney

A couple of weeks ago I watched a documentary about the life of Walt Disney.  He is one of my favorite people in history.  His creativity and lasting impact on children and adults alike is almost unmatched.  Being very familiar with Disney, his life, and creations, I decided to see what else is out there about his family tree.

Walt's parents were Elias Disney (Irish-Canadian) and Flora Call (German-American).  Arundel Elias Disney was born in 1801 in Gowran, County Kilkenny, Ireland.  Arundel was one of Walt's  great grandparents who emigrated to the U.S.  Arundel Disney was a descendant of Robert d'Isigny.  He was a Frenchman who had travelled with William the Conqueror in 1066 from England to Ireland.  The anglicised version of d'Isigny is Disney.  In England, d'Isigny had settled in a town known as Norton Disney, in the county of Lincolnshire.

It is always interesting to find a bit of someone's family tree online especially on Sunday....And he is Someone's Ancestor.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hickey and Minogue - Part 3

A death certificate, while it represents a rather sad day in time, can provide you with more information that you can ever grasp on other source documents.  I wish that I had the funds to purchase all of the death certificates of my relatives.  It's a good thing that I've got a few of these certificates.  Now, I have Patrick F. Hickey's.

In my researcher's stance, I must pick apart the death certificate to find clues that support my family tree.   My analysis may not be the most interesting post on my blog yet but it is my process and I deem it necessary.  I am putting my analysis into bullet points below......

-Patrick F. Hickey.....Yes, the middle initial is indicated as F. which has looked like a T. on other documents.  I wonder what his middle name was.  That question now begs an answer.

-Patrick's last known usual address was 25 Charles Street, New York, New York.  I can confirm that this is in Greenwich Village.  My own father walked us past this location in 1990 pointing out where he had lived with his grandparents for first grade.  It is interesting to note that Patrick lived in NYC for 60 years of his life.  That is not to say that he lived solely at 25 Charles Street, specifically.  I know that is not the case.  Patrick lived in other locations within Manhattan but mostly in Greenwich Village.

-Patrick is indicated as married at his time of death.  Most certainly he was.  His wife was Johanna Coughlin Hickey.

-I had an "ah ha" moment about Patrick's date of birth in looking at his death certificate.  Up until now, I had found his birth date as November 7th, 1884.  With Patrick's thick brogue, I can imagine that that the 22nd may have sounded like the 7th to a transcriber.  At any rate, this is good information.  I am going with his death certificate date of birth at this point in time.

-Patrick is indicated as being 80 years old and retied from the NYC IRT with a Social Security number of 032-07-9146.  He did, in fact, work for the New York City Transit Authority and its name variations.

-Patrick is indicated as being born in Ireland but became a U.S. citizen.  He was not in in the U.S. armed forces.  I am, however, more certain of the document that I found on that appears to be Patrick's WWI draft registration card.

-The following information has really been the find of the year for me.  Knowing who Patrick's parents were was always a mystery to me.  My own father did not know the names of his great grandparents.  Patrick's father was William Hickey and his mother was Bridget Minogue.

-The informant of this information at the time of Patrick's death was his wife, Mrs. Johanna Hickey.  It is interesting to note here that Patrick and Johanna were known to their grandchildren as Popeye and Mama.

-If I ever get the chance when I'm back in New York, I think it would be interesting to visit Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York where Patrick is buried.

-So Patrick died, or was declared deceased, in New York City, the borough of Manhattan, at St. Vincent's Hospital on October 20, 1965 at 6:30pm.  He is indicated as being male with an approximate age of 82 years old.  We know from his date of birth, on the same certificate, that he was actually 80 years old.  What Patrick died of is a bit of a question.  It would appear that New York City simplified things by having the ability to "check a box" if you will.   Patrick basically died of natural causes.  I guess I'll never really know what health issue he died of.

A death certificate can tell you so much information and also leave you with more questions.  At least now I know who Patrick's parents were.


{Notes, notes, notes.....Generally, I don't update a post later on but keep journalling it in future post.  However, I am making an exception here.  Patrick died of pneumonia after complications following prostate surgery.} 2/19/2012

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hickey and Minogue - Part 2

It is funny how some people utitlize the information found on other people's family trees on  I continue to be amazed at how people just grab on to a name on a tree and make it their own.  To each his or her own but don't you want it to be correct?

I looked at my Hickey Family Tree online the other day to find a person connecting into my Patrick Hickey and Johanna Coughlin.  This person was indicating that my great grandparents were the parents of a Mary Anne Hickey on their tree who was born in 1935, Ontario, Canada.  Well, I hate to break the news to her but my Hickey's did not go to Canada.  Anyway, if that person actually bothered to look at the sourcing for Patrick and Johanna that they borrowed from me, they will see no relation to their Mary Anne.  I can see this on Member Connect on if you are wondering.  That would be the wrong Mary Hickey!

Back to Patrick Hickey.....I now have his death certificate.  There is a lot to absorb.  The address of 25 Charles Street, New York, New York rings so true.  That is his last known address.  My father walked us by this location in 1990 in Greenwich Village.  He spent his first grade year living in this location with his grandparents during the week.  He was a bit young to start first grade so his parents sent him to the city for Catholic School a full year early.  As a result, my father spent his first year of school living with Patrick and Johanna Hickey on the weekdays.  He used to talk about those days.

Below is the certificate with so much information including his parents........

To be continued.......................

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hickey and Minogue - Part 1

"Wait awhile" are words that were spoken in such a calming, patient way by a very patient and wise man.  My grandpa, Richard "Dick" Flanagan, was just that man.  When it comes to my life including my family tree, I try to keep these words in the forefront of my mind.  I am not the most patient person to begin with but let's just say, if I pause and heed these wise words, I have the best results.  Ode to the wise words of the patient soul.

The recent results of being patient and waiting awhile have turned up some great and true information about my Hickey side of the family.  Eureka!  I can't say that I found it but my father's cousin did.  I continue to be amazed at how many people seek their ancestors.  Of the many people on my Hickey side of the family, I finally did find someone who seriously sought our family line.  This person is still a living relative, of whom I have never met, yet she willingly shared her information with me.  I thank her for that.  I hope to now grab on and go with what she has found.  It may be a long road as it has been challenging to find information on this side of the family.  The information that she found is a true treasure to behold.

I must admit to having requested the marriage certificate of Patrick Hickey and Johanna Coughlin (my great grandparents) from the State of New York but to no avail.  As it turns out, there may have never been one to begin with.  While they were certainly married in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, they may not have filed their marriage legally with the local municipality which would have certainly been the practice by 1911 in Rye, New York.  In the eyes of God, they were married for sure.  I do have that church record.

Another record of great interest that provides some accurate sourcing for my family tree, is the death certificate for Patrick F. Hickey.   I now have a copy of his death certificate.  I've read over the document several times to absorb the information presented.  And, yes, his parents names are clearly indicated.

To be continued.................

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Someone's Ancestor Sunday - Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born on August 28, 1774, in New York City.  What makes her story so compelling is that while she was married to a wealthy shipper and had five children, she never stopped helping the poor and sick in our country.  Even when her husband went bankrupt and died.

So why do I bring her up here?  Well, in the past month her name has popped twice right in front of my face.  The first time was at a confirmation mass that I attended.  The second was at a first communion mass that I attended.  In fact, at that event, I noticed the church has one name and the school is named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Ever heard of Seton Hall University?  The University is named after her too as are several schools.

I was rather impressed with her story, not because she is a Catholic Saint or her religious association (for which I do respect and appreciate personally) but because of what she gave to the community.  She is also the first native born United States citizen to be canonized a saint.  Known as the patron saint of Catholic schools, her name appears on the front two doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City as a "Daughter of New York".  Next time I'm in NYC, I'll have to stop by the Cathedral for another visit.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is someone's ancestor and it is Sunday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Borrowing, Taking, and Sharing: Trees - Part 2

As I consider all of the sharing that does take place online for family trees in general, I can't help but question the accuracy of the information.  That brings me to my next and sixth point - Buyer Beware!  Yes, people spend a good chunk of money to subscribe to but how sourced and accurate is the information that is on someone's tree?  Before you borrow, you might want to really look over the information and make sure it is your family that you plan to copy over.

I have found people on Member Connect borrowing from my Flanagan Family Tree just because the first and last names matched and they are in Ireland.  Really?!  That's probably not the best way to construct a family tree.  How about sourcing a tree with real source documents?  I can't say my trees are perfect so those borrowing from me should be looking the information over very carefully.  Maybe they should shoot me a message and ask where I found my information.

My seventh point is that it pays to contact people.   You never know what you might find.  After a year of researching my Hickey Family Tree off and on, I popped on one day recently to find someone on Member Connect with my fairly exact Patrick Hickey on her tree.  I sent her a message.  She turned out to be a cousin and not a very distant cousin.  While I have never met this lady, she knew who my Dad way.  She turned out to be one of my father's first cousin's on our Hickey side of the family.  Wonders never cease.  I have never met her in person but she remembered my dad, his brothers and sister.  I do find connecting like this rather astounding.  I wonder what she looks like.

When it comes to my Hickey side of the family, the information is sketchy.  To my amazement, my father's cousin has researched the family tree and is about two generations back in County Clare, Ireland.  She mailed me copies of what she has in the way of research.  Patrick's death certificate is included.  How awesome is this?  I never would have gotten this information if I hadn't contacted her.  I love the connections with people and the discoveries that result.

So why in the world are some people so private with their research and fail to respond to messages sent their way?  My eighth point involves employment.  When someone is hired to complete research on another's family tree, privacy of their client is very important.  If the researcher receives a message from another family member, they may not know how to respond or even be in a position to respond on behalf of the client.  This is definitely something to keep in mind when contacting those with trees online.  It could be a professional, client based situation that prevents a response.  However, the professional may still borrow the publicly posted information off another's tree, especially if it is sourced!

Researching one's direct line is an option that many people prefer when it comes to their family trees.  By tracing the "straight" line to the past without deviating to other branches, cousins, aunts, uncles, can simplify the process for many.  My ninth point is that there are those people out there completing publicly posted family trees who don't really want to deviate off that "straight line" as it is distracting and presents a much more complex family tree than what they are prepared to deal with.  If you email these individuals, you may never hear a response.  They are on the straight and narrow......and might be missing out on an opportunity to find a cousin with photos, documents, or other information about a family line.

My tenth and final point (for the time being) is that with the increased popularity of creating a family tree and the ease of's software, many people have jumped on the bandwagon (or rocket) of working up their family trees.   Do they all know what they are doing?  Probably not.  These are the people who accept every hint, connect to every tree, beg/borrow/steal information (maybe not even realizing it), and have mistakes all over the place.  These are individuals who want a tree created quickly and want to find a king or queen back in the 15th Century overnight.  Good luck to them, however, success does not really work that way.  These people don't really have time to stop and say "Hello, who are you?" and "Thanks for the info that you posted and I borrowed!"

I must admit that I have borrowed but I am the messenger in your box asking "Hello, who are you? and Thank You!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Borrowing, Taking, and Sharing: Trees - Part 1

In my spare time (which is becoming close to nil lately), I write posts to my blog about my genealogy, maintain and gather photos of my family, research my family tree, and read a few other genealogy posts.  I wrote recently about the topic of borrowing from other's trees on  In reviewing a couple of other blogs, I found this topic covered in two other posts.   The two blog posts that I speak of are "I've Been Chain Linked" and "Musings On A Monday Lack of Courtesy or Lack of Common Sense?" .

Online courtesy is not very present in today's internet probably because people can remain somewhat anonymous.  Even if you can identify the sign-on of a person and pinpoint who they are, do you even know them or care who they are?

When it comes to my family tree, I must admit to caring and have a very strong desire to network with others who are in some way connected to my family tree.  You never know what or who you might find behind the person borrowing information from your tree on  I've been a borrower and a lender of information.  I have found volumes of information by contacting those on  Those "volumes" were not posted online.  I have also found relatives and people with whom I share a common ancestry and interest in blazing our family tree.

A couple of points have struck me recently about people's motives for borrowing (or just taking) without a courtesy message to the lender.  Actually, I have put together about ten points to discuss on this very topic.  It includes the ever so underrated virtue of sharing too.

The first point, which is very important and somewhat obvious, is that trees on are public trees (except living people) unless you go to trouble of updating the privacy on your tree so that others cannot see it.  If you do update a tree to "private", no one else can see it and you'll be left pretty much alone to your own research and be missing out on networking.

The second point is about fully making your tree private on  Member Connect is a cool bit of technology on the site that enables you to match up people to other trees and truly connect (network) with those who have more of an exact match to your family tree information.  If you want to be "left alone" then be sure to update your account to not be displayed in Member Connect.  This is in addition to making your tree private.

I do consider the above two points as "flying under the radar".  Secret researchers on can borrow all of the public information on other trees with minimal involvement, networking or contact with others.  In fact, you can be almost hidden from others online.  I do have to ask "What fun is that?".  I suppose it depends on your personality, research goals, and your desire to work on your family tree in a rather solitary manner.   You never know what information you might be missing out on though.

Putting yourself out there:  My third point is about posting a family tree online in the first place.  There is so much to find on the information highway known as the internet, yet tracking it down can be quite challenging. allows you to search and find people on your family tree but part of technology is about putting your tree out there.  It's tough going to hoard information online when you are seeking more for yourself.  Hoarding information is why it gets lost and becomes unavailable for the following generations.

If you are shy, try not to be online when researching your family tree.  My fourth point is just that.  I'm just not sure how far that you will get on your family tree by being shy.  Let's just say, I'm not.  If someone sends you a message over, give it a quick reply even if you don't think you want to open up a full correspondence.

I share to find others.  Networking is key in my family tree research.  Let's call this my number five point - NETWORKING.  Because others have public family trees and have put themselves out on, I have quickly found information about my Maxwell's, McLaughlin's, Gartland's, and a number of others.  Networking leads to collaboration which can lead to a group of people sharing information and pursuing more research on a family line.  Even if you do hit a brick wall, at least you are in good company.

To be continued.......................................