Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Getting Organized (Part 1)

About two weeks ago, I revisited a project to get my 20+ years of research digitized and organized. Last night, DearMyrtle posted aboutthe same concept, outlining her process, which is a bit different than mine.

Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “Start with Why,” is meant to address leadership topics, but I think it can apply to other areas of life. As much as I hate filing and keeping logs, I definitely need to apply his principles to this project.  My motivation for doing this is that I want to apply to for several state pioneer certificates. Having my research results in writing and documented in my Legacy file will make it easier when I start those applications. 

Actually, listening to that talk again, I guess the above is more of the end result of my process. My motivation is to allow other researchers and cousins to have confidence in my  research. (How can I hope to transition to being a trusted professional if my own family files are a mess?)

My process includes one step that DearMyrt’s does not: writing proof statements for each BMD event and relationships to parents for each of my direct line ancestors. This is something I didn’t know was a thing until a few years ago, so I have a lot of catching up to do!

This is my own process:
  1. Gather documents
  2. Process documents (Scan, create citation, transcribe, document events in Legacy)
  3. Create proof statements in Evernote and copy to Legacy
  4. Create research plans for questions that come up during steps 1-3

I like DearMyrt’s suggestion of working with couples. It makes a lot more sense than doing individuals, so that is one change I am making to my methodology.

My mom researches her side of the family. Even though we’ve spent countless hours discussing her research over the years, I’m not ready to tackle documenting someone else’s research! So my focus is on my dad’s side of the family, starting on his mother’s side, so I can get my Florida pioneer certificate application in before the end of the year.

So far, I’ve completed my parents and grandparents (this was as far as I got when I started this project several years ago, but I’ve spent some time reviewing and making sure the documents were transcribed). This week my focus is on Russell and Maude (Sikes) Price, my great-grandparents.

Monday, July 29, 2019

AmericaGen Chapter 26: Cemetery and Burial Records

AmericaGen Study Group
Chapter 26 Homework 
Marceline Beem

Reference: Greenwood, Val D. “Cemetery and Burial Records.” In The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th ed., 727-738. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2017.

It's hard to believe that this is the last week of our study group! I've enjoyed the experience and have learned a lot from my fellow panelists. I'm not sure what I'll do with my Wednesday afternoons now. Maybe get back to research or writing? I'm sure I'll find some kind of trouble to get into! :-)

The last chapter focuses on cemeteries and burial records. Most of my family is from the rural south, where cemetery records are not common. Although sites like Find A Grave are great resources, I prefer to visit the cemetery in person when possible.  Many times the cemetery listings at Find a Grave aren't complete and not all that have been added have photos. There's also nothing quite like looking at the tombstones and surrounding area in person.

When I first started researching, I went to Eliam Cemetery in Melrose, where most of my grandmother's family is buried. The Baldwin section was particularly interesting because I discovered that Leonard and Addie Baldwin had several children who died as infants or toddlers.

Leonard Baldwin and Addie Johnson were married on September 21, 1865 in Putnam County.  Their first child was born in 1866 and died at 13 months of age. A year later they had their second child, who also died just after his first birthday. In all, they had 12 children, but only two survived to adulthood.  All but one child has marked graves near their parents. 

Robert E.L. Baldwin (1873-1874) and Theodocia Baldwin (1872-1873) tombstones, Eliam Cemtery, Melrose, Florida. Photos taken by Marceline Beem on July 29, 2019.

The following chart summarizes the children as they appeared in census records and their memorials on Find a Grave.

Several things jumped out at me after I made this chart:
  • Lucius (L. M.) is not on the 1880 census, and Thomas does not appear anywhere after that census listing. Thomas is not listed on Find A Grave. I went to the cemetery today to check for him or other children that are not on Find A Grave, but there is not a tombstone in the Baldwin family section. It seems odd that all of the other children have marked graves, but Thomas does not. Are Thomas and Lucius the same person? This is a conflict I need to resolve.
  • Of the 12 (or 11?) children, seven do not appear on any census records at all. Only a visit to the cemetery (pre-internet days) told me about this family's experience with so many children dying so young.
  • Two of Leonard's sisters, Martha and Nancy, also had several children who died as infants and toddlers. These children are buried in the same section as Leonard and Addie's children. The magnitude of the number of childhood deaths is overwhelming when you stand in the cemetery and see the grave sites together. 

Overview of the cemetery markers of the Baldwin, Jernigan, and Weeks children in Eliam Cemetery, Melrose, Florida. Photo taken on July 29, 2019 by Marceline Beem.

If cemetery records exist, by all means consult them. They may contain clues that you can't find in other sources. However, even when cemetery records are available or transcriptions and/or images are online, nothing beats visiting the cemetery in person. I've made several research trips over the years, and always include that on the to-do list. Sometimes I don't know where someone is buried, but if I make that discovery while I'm at the location, that cemetery visit gets pushed to the top of the priority list. 


"Florida, County Marriage Records, 1823-1982," entry for Leonard Baldwin and Adaline Johnson, Putnam County, 21 Sep 1865; database at Ancestry ( : accessed July 29, 2019), citing Putnam County Courthouse marriage records.

1870 U.S. Census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Orange Springs, page 46 (handwritten), page 535 (stamped), dwelling 130, family 124, Len Baldwin. Imaged at Ancestry (http://www. : accessed July 29, 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 133.

1880 U.S. Census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 11, ED 134, page 18B (handwritten), dwelling 114, family 114, Leonard Baldwin. Imaged at Ancestry (http://www. : accessed July 29, 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 131.

1885 Florida State census, Putnam County, District 11, page 165, family 1079, Leonard Baldwin. Imaged at Ancestry (http://www. : accessed July 29, 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication M845.

1900 U.S. Census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 18, ED 149, page 8B (handwritten), dwelling 122, family 122, Leonard Baldwin. Imaged at Ancestry (http://www. : accessed July 29, 2019), citing FHL microfilm 1240176.

Find A Grave, ( : accessed July 29, 2019) > Putnam County, Florida > Eliam Cemetery > Baldwin

Find A Grave, ( : accessed July 29, 2019), memorial page for Effie E. Riles (1880 - 30 October 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 101815913, citing Oak Hill East Cemtery, Palatka, Putnam County, Florida, USA; Maintained by Mack Wills (contributor 46912082).