Sunday, 16 August 2015

Review, Review, Review. Spending My Summer Looking at the Data Base And New Online Images

Fact: I have long been a proponent of reviewing, over and over again.  I have written about it any number of times over on Reflections From the Fence.  Review is a powerful tool in your research. Rarely, do I start a review of one of the ancestors that I don’t find something new and sometimes it is a wake up call.

Fact: I do love internet research. It is a wonderful thing, even with some of the less than stellar indexing found on some of the more popular web sites most of us use.  Don’t get me wrong, I would still love to live closer to a few of my favorite sticks 'n bricks libraries, like the Family History library in Salt Lake City, or the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, or the Mid-Continent Library near Kansas City, Missouri, or the Library of Virginia in Richmond Virginia.  OK, I would not mind being closer to the Library and Archives of Michigan, which is only about 90 miles, or the Statesboro Georgia  library.  Oh, the list could go on and on.  And, truthfully, my visiting the Mid-Continent, the Library of Virginia and Statesboro Georgia library never would have happened if it were not for my other affliction - - RVing.  But, I digress.  I love the sticks 'n bricks libraries and archives, but, not even as a serious RVer can I access these wonderful depositories enough to satisfy my genie addiction.  So, to the internet I go.  As frequently as I possibly can.  

Fact: There are a few new online collections that I have lost myself in, hours and hours, days, weeks. And, I still have much work to do.  One such collection contains new Virginia data bases over at Ancestry dot com.  Marriages. Deaths. Divorces.  I believe there are births too, nope, have not even looked at those.  Seriously, I cannot imagine how long I will be at the births.  I have been having a great time.

And, those little ”Suggested Records” that hint at other places to look for my ancestors.  They show up on the right side of the screen.  I look, I wander over there and find MORE neat stuff.

SOOO, the other day, or was that weeks ago?  I was wandering around looking for marriage records for Meredith Erskine Watkins.  He was married twice.  I find the marriages and the images.  Happy dancing internet style.  Then, before I have a good chance to study every line on those marriage certificates I glance over at the “Suggested Records” hints. 

I see a link to a data base named, “South Carolina Delayed Births, 1766-1900 and City of Charleston, South Carolina Births, 1877-1901".  Meredith born where?  South Carolina?  My facts on my data base show that he was born in North Carolina.  Well, isn’t this interesting?  Time for a bit of review and a look at this delayed birth registration. (Bless the Social Security Administration requiring birth certifications back in the 1930's and 40's.)

Where did this North Carolina birth place in my data base come from?  There is his obituary, which reads in part:

“Meredith Erskine Watkins , 90, of the 600 block of Dumville Ave., died Sept. 21, 1991, in a hospital.

Mr. Watkins was born in North Carolina. He was a retired lawyer...”

Next I started checking what census enumerations Meredith appeared in. In 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 he was living with his parents.  He did not marry until 1947.  I rechecked all the census reports, 1910 it is reported he was born in South Carolina. 1920, reported born in Virginia. 1930, reported born in South Carolina.   1940, I discover I do not have in my notes.  It took some serious digging to locate, however, I prevailed and finally found him on the 1940 over at  FamilySearch.  1940 reports he was born in South Carolina.  

OK, I will admit it, in the previous research, I never picked up on the birth in South Carolina information.  See, REVIEW!!!  It works every time. In review I also discover, that yes, both of his marriage records state he was born in South Carolina.  But remember those “Suggested Records” links drug me away from the marriage records.  It was not till I came back to them, that I discovered the actual city of his birth, Alcolu, Clarendon County, South Carolina, had been recorded on both marriage documents.  The current population of Alcolu appears to be less than 500, the town was originally a “company town”.  Yes, I did research the town. Seriously, I looked at that spelling and off I went, research tangent.  I discovered "The name Alcolu is derived from "AL" for Alderman, "CO" for Coldwell (a friend), and "LU" for Lula, the only daughter of the Aldermans at that time."  Nice bit of trivia for the data base.

I also edited Meredith’s Find A Grave memorial, which I maintain.

Yes, the internet research this summer has been wonderful.  I now have at least 150 new documents to review, and to do follow up research with.  

There is another story this summer, how Ida became Irene.  I think I shall save that story for another day.

It’s been a great summer.

* Delayed birth document was digitally enhanced and cropped for this presentation.

** Ancestry dot com is a service for which I pay.  They have not asked me to review or mention them in any blog posts I generate.  FamilySearch is a free service, which I use.  Please review my disclaimer, Disclaim THAT! Beholden to - - , over at my personal blog, Reflections From the Fence.


  1. Good for you. The rate that new records are being added, it almost becomes a catch up exercise.

    1. Catch up?? Fran, you silly girl, we will never catch up. Isn't that wonderful. Never lacking in new finds waiting to be discovered. Never bored. I do love it!

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  3. I enjoyed reading your article and the lesson that family history never comes to an end. Good luck with future Research Reviews.

    Family History Fun

    1. ScotSue, it never ends. Their stories await.


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