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FamilyTrackers Blog

22 October 2005

Sherida K. Eddlemon Publishes Smith Facts of Missouri

Saturday, October 22, 2005
Sherida K. Eddlemon Publishes Smith Facts of Missouri

Sherida K. Eddlemon, a genealogist with over 15 years of publishing experience has published Smith Facts of Missouri at FamilyTrackers. This publication is part of Eddlemon’s continuing effort to publish and distribute her private collection of original and rare genealogical documents over the Internet.
The publication announced today will allow Smith researchers to easily locate a variety of information about their Smith relatives in Missouri. “This publication includes over 2,500 individuals listed in dictionary style. The information may include death, marriage and birth dates; names of spouses; locations; and children depending on the individual,” according to Eddlemon. These records were gleaned from Eddlemon’s private collection of original genealogical sources collected over a lifetime. According to Gene Hall, CEO of FamilyTrackers, Inc., “This publication is a real time-saver for researchers interested in the Smith family, including alternate spellings like Smyth and Smythe.” The 46-page publication is sold in its entirety on FamilyTrackers in Microsoft Word format and available for downloading immediately.
Genealogists can search this and every other publication on FamilyTrackers by entering a free search at familytrackers.com. The FamilyTrackers database will match your search with all current and future publications entered onto the site. Current FamilyTrackers members who entered matching searches in the past have already been notified to review the publication and decide if it will help their research efforts.
Hall continued, “We are delighted to work with Sherida on this project as well as the previous 16 publications that she has completed on FamilyTrackers. This is important information presented here for the first time.”
Sherida K. Eddlemon is a genealogist located in Tennessee and has published dozens of books including major works on birth, death, and marriage records in Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Arkansas and Tennessee. She has 17 publications to her credit on FamilyTrackers – many of them available for the first time.
FamilyTrackers is a California corporation established as a tool to help genealogists find and track information about their families all over the world.
Contact Info:
Gene Hall, CEO
FamilyTrackers, Inc.
1075-239 Space Park Way
Mountain View, CA 94043

Sherida K. Eddlemon

11 October 2005

Genealogy Brick Walls - Professional Help Is Just a Click Away

Have you been stuck on your fourth great grandmother for over 10 years? Did you ever wish you could just go to the courthouse that has the information you need? Don't have the time or money to climb your family tree? Planning a trip to meet long-lost relatives?

Consider hiring a professional genealogist.

Sometimes we become a little smug about our research - particularly after years of intense experience; some of us don't think we need any help. Regardless, there are times when all of us could use the services of a good professional. When I was researching the Hinde family for a trip to England, we wanted to visit some of the churches and neighborhoods important to our family. There simply was not enough time to get the information that we needed before leaving on our trip. In addition, some of the information we needed was in the Metropolitan Police Archives in London - information that was not yet online. We searched the APG - Association of Professional Genealogists for someone in London who could help us.

We had a really good experience. The professional we hired was recommended by a distant relative in England and they appeared in the APG database of professional members who abide by strict ethical guidelines. Both of these facts made us more comfortable in sending 100 British Pounds to a person we had never met. After spending half a morning trying to get a bank to issue a cashier's check, I finally wired the money via Western Union from Clyde's Liquor Store. My wife still teases me about managing my banking business at the liquor store, but that is another funny story that must wait for another day.

The important thing is that we were under a time crunch, didn't have access to the information, and needed someone to go to a source on our behalf. Since we were new to this area of genealogy, we decided to hire the professional to do 10 hours of work for us for $100. That limited our exposure just in case things didn't work out.

In our case, there was never anything to worry about. The professional demonstrated qualities that are common among many who provide these services.

Asked questions and provided guidance: At the professional's request, I provided the information that we had relative to the story that was passed down to us about William Thomas Hinde, a report from Reunion that detailed the facts we had at that time, and various documents that proved the information in the report. This information allowed the professional to give us good advice about the best sources of additional information. Perhaps the Police Archives were not the best place to start. We identified several other basic references to include in the research as a result of this early discussion. This activity focused our research and leveraged our dollars - uh pounds - to maximize our chances for success.

Honesty: It goes without saying that you want to know the truth about your ancestry. Just the act of gathering additional information and giving candid feedback about our best course of action indicated to me that our researcher was honest. That proved to be true when we received results as well. Watch for signs of honesty as you make initial contacts. People who want to do only exactly what they are told are not really giving you the benefit of their expertise - you could hire a clerk to do that sort of work.

Accuracy: A good professional just has to be accurate. There is really no room for speculation in conclusions about your family. Of course you should get information about potential areas of further research. If conclusions are uncertain, the information you get should clearly line that out for you so that there is no confusion. Discussions about people should include full names, dates, and locations. Usage of words like 'she' or 'him' are sometimes confusing unless the professional is a very careful writer. It is also confusing to switch from a full name to an abbreviation like referring to William Thomas Hinde as Tom; now I wonder if there is a second person, or if the writer is referring to William Thomas Hinde. Ten years from now it will really be confusing.

Documentation: Your professional should expect to deliver all documentation that they found and used on your project. After just a few short years that will be all that you have to prove the conclusions that you make from this investment. If you only keep a letter from the professional outlining their efforts, you (or someone else) will have to do the research again. All conclusions are subject to your own questioning, "How do we know that is true?" and once you find that for one source, you have to ask again, "How did they know that is true?". Enough said. Get the documentation!

Experience: Please don't overlook this basic measure of quality. Professionals who have been in business for several years have stood the test of time and they are still in business. If you stick with trained professionals who are members of professional organizations like APG and you will find this one an easy question to answer before spending any money.

Pricing: I guess that I must include something about pricing. In terms of value, please consider how much it would cost you to travel to the location and get the information yourself. For anything other than across town, a professional is a bargain at almost any price. Also consider all of the other issues mentioned here; it doesn't matter how low the price if you don't get what you want. Most professionals are proud of their work and won't take your project at a price that won't allow them to give you a fair deal. There is tension between your ability to pay and the professional's ability to deliver at a certain price. Negotiate a deal that works for both of you even if you have to reduce the size of the project.

Professionals come in a variety of specialties based on geography, surnames, time periods, ethnic groups, events and special services like planning or genetics. There are some interesting new services like genealogy travel planning where the pro will do preliminary research, arrange for meetings with your relatives, and guide your group upon arrival. There are also services that cover wide geographic areas like those who live near the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If your search covers a broad geographic area, you should consider ProGenealogists Family History Research Group.

Do your home work and expect to have a wonderful learning experience when you use a professional genealogist. That has been my experience and hope that yours is the same.

08 October 2005

Birth Records - Moisei, Maramures, Romania 1866-1867 Published


A friend in Romania just published images of the birth records from Moisei, Maramures, Romania for 1866 and 1867. Part of this area is in Ukraine. Surnames included in this publication are . . .

Belimer, Deszkal, Einhorm, Erdan, Feige, Freiberg, Fruchler, Genuth, Gluk, Gold, Herstik, Indik, Katz, Kreiner, Malek, Polak, Pollak, Sali, Vakar

Enter a search at http://www.familytrackers.com/ if you have someone there. It will return any current matches to your search as well as continue to search any additional items that are added to FamilyTrackers.

Searching and membership are free at FamilyTrackers - but this publication is for sale by the publisher - much lower than the cost to travel there and find the info your self.

The publisher is Marcel Mindrescu, office@mindrescu.com. He is a professional genealogist with access to most of the records in Romania, parts of Hungary, and Moldovia. Thanks to Janos Kocs, another professional located in Romania, for indexing these images.


07 October 2005

Cook Family Genealogy - Climbing a Brick Wall

All I had was a very confusing story passed to my by mother, her sister, and her brother about William "Bill" Cook and Mary Martha Higginbotham, their grandparents. My Uncle Everett Cook's version didn't include Mary Martha's first and middle name, but was the same otherwise. Here is my Aunt Ruth Dutcher's version from a letter she wrote.

"My grandparents were William Cook and Mary Martha Higginbotham. Mary Martha was born March 15 1837 and William was born in 1840. My dad was born either in Missouri or Nebraska and was raised in Nebraska. William died in the Civil War and Mary Martha married another man named Cook - no relation to any of us. Got that?"

No. I didn't get it either.

I was finding most of my relatives in the census records and not much information was online back then. It seems almost impossible to sort through every county in Missouri and Nebraska. I decided to look in counties that were near the corner of Missouri and Nebraska where the two states touched each other. One by one I went through counties looking for William in the 1860 census - just before the Civil War. One by one I marked off the counties and spread the search further and further from the border.

Finally I found a William Cook in Atchison county Missouri that was the right age. He was living in a boarding house or hotel - a place with lots of people with different surnames. There was no sign of Mary Martha. I continued to look over the years and spent at least an hour or two each week going over information and checking online bulletin boards for someone who knew about these two.

Aunt Ruth died just a few months after she wrote the letter documenting the story she and my mother had told before. Shortly after that I met a distant cousin from my Hall family who lived in Salt Lake City and we exchanged information via email about that family. Since he is Mormon and really a good researcher, I asked for his help. He invited me to come to Salt Lake City to search and he agree to spend a weekend helping me - too good an offer to pass up.

So I flew from San Jose to Salt Lake City on that very Friday to solve this years-old mystery. It is an interesting place - small town compared to the Bay area. The people are nice and I have never seen so many young people in slacks and white shirts. It is a town pretty much dominated by the church, news about the church, and doing church work. I was anxious to get started early on Saturday morning.

We went straight to the library in downtown. It is the focal point of any genealogy trip there even though there are other records scattered about town in other buildings. The front lobby of the library showcases a large mural that helps explain the church's emphasis on the family. It shows three families reaching across time - one family in the past, one family in the present, and one family in the future. It was a good image to set the mood for the rest of the day.

The library is just off the lobby and is filled with volunteers waiting to help. The help is hands on - for as much time as you need to get started. A very friendly and exciting place. There were lots of people with lists of relatives on the back of their shirt - you never know when you might meet a distant cousin and it apparently pays to advertise!

We got started with a handy index that circumvented the county by county search that had consumed so many years of effort. Within an hour we had located a promising couple named James P. Cook and Nancy Matilda Cook in Macon County, Missouri. They appeared to be living with James' parents William Cook and Elizabeth next door to a family of Higgenbothams. A little more research turned up a marriage between James P. Cook and Nancy Matilda *Higgenbotham*. The birth dates for both matched the birth dates given by Aunt Ruth. I had a hard time reconciling the names however and made every excuse to not belive that these were my great grandparents. It was just hard to believe that my mother didn't know the name of her own grandparents. So I continued to search the next day for perhaps twins - could James and Nancy have twins who also married each other - stranger things have happened.

On Sunday we found a great article about Frank Cook in Gage County Nebraska who married Nancy Matilda Higgenbotham - another match to the story. I returned to California with a lot of copies of information to study and try to figure out what was true.

I remained a skeptic until about six months later when I decided to go back to the last place where I knew my grandfather was in Oklahoma. I though it might be good to get some more information about him and perhaps put the pieces together. I discovered a new publication that included most of the cemeteries in Payne County where they first settled. To my amazement there was Nancy Matilda Cook buried in the same plot as my grandfather's first wife from Gage County Nebraska.

I had a great laugh with my brother who thought I was crazy for continuing this search way past when I had sufficient proof. I am still not sure why I couldn't accept the difference in names - but finding Nancy was convincing and I put this mystery away and started looking for another one. Don't you just love Genealogy?