Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mastering Genealogical Documentation Study Group: Week 1


Mastering Genealogical Documentation Study Group
Chapter One: The Purpose and Nature of Genealogical Documentation

Marceline Beem



Reference:

Jones, Thomas W. "The Purpose and Nature of Genealogical Documentation." In Mastering Genealogical Documentation, 1-10. Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2017.


I can't remember a time in my research where documenting my sources wasn't important to me. Some of my earliest readings in compiled genealogies had me scratching my head and asking "How did he know that?" These books were, of course, older books that had no bibliography or works cited sections.


Although I understood the importance of citing my sources, I wasn't always consistent with that part of the research process, probably because I didn't understand the importance of writing my conclusions - outside of putting them into my Legacy file, that is. Now that I'm writing up my research notes and conclusions as I go, having a better understanding of how to craft a citation without relying exclusively on software templates or having to pick up Evidence Explained is one of the areas I'd like to grow in, and one reason I'm excited about being part of this study group.


One of the points that Dr. Jones makes in the first chapter is that citations formats found in guides such as Evidence Explained are great starting places, but sometimes adjustments need to be made, and that's okay.1 One example of this from my own research came in crafting a citation for the 1850 census listing of my 3rd great-grandfather, James Baldwin, who was living in Duval County, Florida. Here is an image of the census:

James Baldwin family, 1850, Duval County, Florida


Usually a census citation would include the dwelling number and family number, but on this page, those columns are hard to read. Using enhancement tools at both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch did not help. To overcome that, I use the line number and include a notation for the reason for that when I cite this census record.2 Making this substitution, the basic citation now looks like this:

1850 U.S. census, Duval County, Florida, population schedule, Thomasville District, page 118 (stamped), line 6, James Baldwin; digital image, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 Sep 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M432. (The page is hard to read because of faded ink, even when using viewing aids at Ancestry and FamilySearch. In the citation, the line item is used because the dwelling and family numbers are partially illegible.)


This is a simple example of having flexibility in creating citations, but hopefully it helps us start to think through what we are citing,  and go beyond using the style guides as "models and templates to slavishly copy."3
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1. Jones, Thomas W.  Mastering Genealogical Documentation (Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2017), 5.

2. See the first footnote on my blog post "GPS Study Group Week 2: Where was James Baldwin born?," 40th & Plum (https://40th-and-plum.blogspot.com/2017/01/gps-study-group-week-2-where-was-james.html), published January 22, 2017.

3. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Documentation, 6.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Martha Golden Mashburn: Who is her Father? Eliminating the Possibilities

Note: This is the second article in a series about Martha Golden Mashburn. Since last week's post, my aunt Sherry has sent me a copy of Griffin Golden's death certificate. His parents are listed as "unknown," so the search continues to identify their parents.

Last week I reconstructed the birth family of Martha Golden and her brother, Griffin.1 I believe they had at least five other siblings:
  1.      Nancy, b 1828-29 in SC (m. Elijah Alverson, 1852)
  2.      Jane, b 1832 in Alabama (m. Marshall Savage, 1854)
  3.      Martha, b 1834 in Alabama (m. Lawson Mashbburn, 1852)
  4.      Caroline (Eliza), b 1836 in Alabama
  5.      Griffin, b 1839 in Alabama (m. Peggy Alverson, 1863)
  6.      Robert, b 1842 in Alabama
  7.      William, b 1843 in Alabama
In 1911, Griffin Golden stated that he was born "near Jemison's Mill" in Talladega County, Alabama.2 Jemison's Mill, operated by Robert Jemison, was located on Choccoloocco and Cheaha Creeks.3 Two Golden men purchased land near Robert Jemison before 1840: John N. Golding (1837) and William F. Golding (1839).4

In 1840, there were three Golding families in Talladega County: two headed by a William Goulding and one headed by John N. Goulding.5 John and one of the William's is on the same page, just several houses apart. Assuming that all of the children are in the same household - a reasonable assumption given that Robert and William were born after the 1840 census - William's family is too small, with just three people in the household: one male age 50-59, one male ages 5-9, and one female age 15-19. The other William Goulding in Talladega County has young children in the household, but they are all boys - three under the age of 5, and one aged 5-9; there are no young girls in the household. That leaves John as the only candidate, and his household composition does fit the identified sibling group:
  • Males under 5: 2 [Griffin, one unidentified]
  • Males 30-39: 1 [John N.]
  • Females under 5: 2 [Caroline (Eliza), one unidentified]
  • Females 5-9: 2 [Jane, Martha]
  • Female 10-14: 1 [Nancy]
  • Female 30-39: 1 [John's wife, unidentified at this time]
The only Golden family in Talladega County in 1850 is headed by William Golden, age 38, who was born in South Carolina. John N. is not enumerated in St. Clair or Talladega Counties.6 The youngest of Martha's brothers, William (b. 1843), is living with Jackson Stewart, two doors away from William Golden's family.7 As previously discussed, Nancy and Jane are living in Saint Clair County with John Alverson and Zachariah Warren, respectively.8-9 It appears that John died between 1840 and 1850, and the children were scattered with relatives across two counties.

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  1. Marceline R. Beem, "Martha 'Blind Granny' Mashburn: Identifying Siblings," 40th & Plum (http://40th-and-plum.blogspot.com/2017/07/martha-blind-granny-mashburn.html : published July 17, 2017).
  2. Local Items and Comments,” Pell City Progress, Pell City (Alabama), February 2, 1911, p. 1, from the vertical files of the St. Clair County Archives (Griffin Golden file). The copy obtained from the archives does not contain the full page, so the column number cannot be identified.
  3. The Jemison-Turner House, Turner, Talladega County c. 1840,” Alabama Heritage (http://www.alabamaheritage.com/places-in-peril/the-jemison-turner-house-turner-talladega-county-c1840-places-in-peril-2011 : accessed July 5, 2017).
  4. “First Landowners Project”, HistoryGeo.com (http://www.historygeo.com : accessed June 30, 2017), search for Golding in Talladega County, Alabama.
  5. 1840 U.S census, Talladega County, Alabama, population schedule, pages 257 and 260; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing FHL microfilm 0,002,335.
  6. 1850 U.S census, Talladega County, Alabama, population schedule, Talladega, p. 472B (stamped), dwelling 1695, family 1721, Jackson D. Stewart; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 15.
  7. 1850 U.S census, Talladega County, Alabama, population schedule, Talladega, p. 472B (stamped), dwelling 1697, family 1723, William Golden; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 15.
  8. 1850 U.S census, Saint Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, District 40, p. 233 (penned), p. 116 (stamped), dwelling 202, family 202, John Alberson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 14. 
  9. 1850 U.S census, Saint Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, District 40, p. 233 (penned), p. 116 (stamped), dwelling 203, family 203, Zacariah Warren; digital images,Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 14.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martha "Blind Granny" Mashburn: Identifying Siblings

One goal of my recent trip to Alabama was to identify the birth family of my great-great-grandmother, Martha Golden Mashburn, also known as "Blind Granny Mashburn." In 1910 she is living with her brother, Griffin Grainwater Golden.1 Although Martha died in 1914 and Griffin in 1923, no death certificate has been found for either of them.2  Their father died (or deserted) when the children were young, but court records in Saint Clair County and Talladega County have been searched, and no probate or guardianship records name the children.3 Re-examining census records helped me identify other siblings and new members of the FAN club.


Martha Golden "Blind Granny" Mashburn

The earliest census record that can positively identify Griffin is the 1860 census of St. Clair County.4 He is 21 years old and enumerated as the head of house. With him is Eliza Golden, age 24, and William, age 17. Griffin married Peggy Alverson in 1862, so Eliza and William are likely his sister and brother.5 There are other Golden children living with Alverson and Warren families in the same neighborhood in 1850 and 1860:
  • In 1860, Robert Golden, age 18, is living with Elijah & Nancy (nee Golden) Alverson.6 This family lived two houses away from Griffin Golden.
  • In 1850, Nancy Golden, age 22, is living with John Alverson7. Included in the household is Newton Alverson, most likely John's son, who married Caroline Golden in 1854.8
  • In 1850, Jane Golden, age 18, is enumerated in the Zachariah Warren household, next door to John Alverson9

Nancy Golden married Elijah Alverson in 1852, and by 1860 Robert is living with them.10 Within the next two years, Caroline (Eliza)Golden married Newton Alverson and Jane Golden married Marshall Savage.11 In the 1900 census, Martha Golden Mashburn is living with her nephew, William Alverson, the son of Jasper Newton & Caroline Elizabeth Alverson.12

The older generations of the Alverson, Warren, and Savage families reported South Carolina as their place of birth. Nancy Golden was said to have been born there about 1828. The Golden children lived with and married into these families in the 1850's and 60's, suggesting strong ties before this time, perhaps back in South Carolina. From these records, I believe the following sibling group can be constructed:

  1. Nancy, b. 1828-29 in South Carolina (m. Elijah Alverson, 1852)
  2. Jane, b. 1832 in Alabama (m. Marshall Savage, 1854)
  3. Martha, b. 1834 in Alabama (m. Lawson Mashburn, 1852)
  4. Carolina (Eliza), b. 1835 in Alabama (m. Jasper Newton Alverson, 1854)
  5. Griffin, b. 1839 in Alabama (m. Peggy Alverson, 1863)
  6. Robert, b. 1842 in Alabama
  7. William, b. 1843 in Alabama




  1. 1910 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Riverside, Enumeration District [ED] 130, p. 8A (penned), dwelling 156, family 156, G. G. Galden; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 32.

  2. Griffin G. Golden and Martha J. Mashburn tombstones, Harkey’s Chapel cemetery, Wattsville, Alabama. Personally observed by Marceline Beem on July 5, 2017. Martha’s tombstone was erected several decades after her death. Her middle initial is incorrect, but no conflicting information with the death date on her tombstone has been found to date.

  3. “Alabama, Census of Confederate Soldiers, 1907, 1921,” entry for G. G. Golden (1921); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed June 30, 2017); citing Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama, Census or Enumeration of Confederate Soldiers Residing in Alabama, 1921. Griffin reported he "was raised an orphan," indicating his father died when he was young.

  4. 1860 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Townships 16, 17 and 18, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 147, family 147, Griffin Golding; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.comb: accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 23.

  5. “St. Clair County Marriage Records, vol. I, II, and III, 1818-1894,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed June 30, 2017), images 953-954 of 977, entry for Griffin G. Golden and Peggy Alverson, 1862; citing Saint Clair County courthouse records.

  6. 1860 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Townships 16, 17 and 18, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 149, family 149, Elija Alverson; digital images,Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 23. For the marriage record, see “St. Clair County marriage records, vol. I, II, and III, 1818-1894,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed June 30, 2017), image 676 of 977, entry for Elijah Alverson and Nancy Golden, 1852; citing Saint Clair County courthouse records.

  7. 1850 U.S census, Saint Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, District 40, p. 233 (penned), p. 116 (stamped), dwelling 202, family 202, John Alberson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 14.

  8. “St. Clair County Marriage Records, vol. I, II, and III, 1818-1894,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed June 30, 2017), image 694 of 977, entry for Newton Alverson and Caroline Goldin, 1854; citing Saint Clair County courthouse records.

  9. 1850 U.S census, Saint Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, District 40, p. 233 (penned), p. 116 (stamped), dwelling 203, family 203, Zacariah Warren; digital images,Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 14.

  10. "St. Clair County Marriage Records," entry for Elijah Alverson and Nancy Golden.

  11. “St. Clair County Marriage Records," entry for Newton Alverson and Caroline Goldin; also image 681 of 977, entry for Marshall Savage and Narcissa Jane Golden, 1853.

  12. 1900 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Coal City, enumeration district (ED) 107, p. 9B  (penned), house 149, family 158, William Alverson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing FHL microfilm 1,240,038. In 1900 other members of the household are Analiza, aged 38 and Margret, age 40, both identified as William’s sister. In 1880, William is enumerated with Nute and Carolin Alverson and identified as their son. In 1870, Margaret, Analiza and William are enumerated with Jasper and Elizabeth Alverson. The age of the mother is the same across the census years (24 in 1860, 24 in 1870, 34 in 1880), indicating Caroline and Elizabeth are the same person. 1880 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Broken Arrow and Cropwell, enumeration district (ED) 121, p. 24D  (penned), house 200, family 201, Nute Alverson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 31. See also 1870 U.S census, St. Clair County, Alabama, population schedule, Broken Arrow, p. 12 (penned), dwelling 78, family 87, Jasper Alverson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2017); citing FHL microfilm 545,539.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vertical Files: Ignore Them at Your Own Risk!

Vertical files are often overlooked when researching in county archives and other local repositories. These files contain documents related to a specific surname, location, or other subject. The document types vary, but may include obituaries and other news clippings, photos, family group sheets, and correspondence. On my research trip this past week, studying the contents of vertical files helped me make two major breakthroughs.

At the Saint Clair County, Alabama Archives, the vertical file on Griffin Golden, my third great-grandmother’s brother, contained a newspaper clipping that named his place of birth and related a family story about their journey from South Carolina to Alabama. Other documents give his birth place as Talladega County, but this is the only document to give a specific location within the county. Using this news clipping, census records, and maps, I was able to re-create Griffin’s family and identified who I think is his father.

In Knoxville, I had already made a little bit of progress on my Horton clan, proving that the Joseph Horton in Knox and Roane Counties is the same Joseph Horton that previously lived in Dandridge (Jefferson County). Examining the vertical file of an allied family, I discovered a marriage record for one of Joseph’s daughters. It was just a hand-written reference, but it was sourced, and I easily located the original bond -dated October 22, 1789 from Lincoln County, North Carolina - at FamilySearch. It stands to reason that if his daughter married in Lincoln County, Joseph was there – or very close to that location. It was all I could do to not scream in excitement when I made this discovery! Of course, I need to do a lot more research, but at least I have a place to start looking now – all thanks to a vertical file at the McClung Collection in Knoxville!


Are you planning any research trips soon? Make a mental note to check the vertical files. You never know what nugget – that very thing you need to break down a brick wall (or two) - might be hiding in those files. Ignore them at your own risk!